CACTUS reading 001

Last Thursday (October 29th, 2009) there was the ACT-I-VATE SALON, which is code for a book reading of our new A-I-V Primer. After the cut, check out the pictures, the videos, and my overall review of the night!

Cactus Reading 1

For more of the night’s details, please read my
Act-i-vate members were asked by Dean Haspiel aka man_size to host a reading in conjunction with the newly released ACT-I-VATE PRIMER over at Brooklyn’s Book Court. Here’s the story: I don’t like readings much. There’s something that makes me twitch a little when I am being read to. I think comic book readings are even more ridiculous in that they’re not meant to be read aloud. I mean, you CAN, but the whole “word and image” uniqueness is completely lost if half of that equation is read to you by some cartoonist who barely talks on a phone. The idea intrigued me, though, and so I forced myself to come up with something that enhances the reading experience rather than read verbatim a story that wasn’t written with the spoken word in mind.

I asked a few of my pals to help me out. I thought they would read in my stead. The idea then evolved into a full fledged performance, with them volunteering time and effort and ideas to the performance. I suggested they improvised, that it was OK if the performance strayed from the actual comic, but I came to find that improvising was harder than I thought. They stuck to the script. I wanted to buy a little rubber cactus to have as a prop. Why not build the damn things, I figured.

Now I had actors, Cat and Bryan, as well as props… but what about the silent scenes with the SPOILER ALERT: ghosts reuniting in space? Somehow, as I described to Jennifer Hayden aka jenniferhayden, I remember this mounting effect, like a row of idea dominoes collapsing; one leading to another and eventually… our pal Ricky was the answer we were looking for. How else are we supposed to perform some pseudo abstract, silent scene from a comic book but to have Ricky… well, you’ll have to see the video to believe it (scroll down).

Here I am, building one of the props.

Our first ZEGAS victim, disgustingly cute.
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This ugly duckling is kinda cool.
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The co-stars of the show “CACTUS”.
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I wasn’t really as nervous as I look in this picture. You’d think I would be; I absolutely hate speaking in front of an audience for a number of reasons, yet I was filled with giddy pride mere moments before showtime. This pic and the upcoming ones were all by Kat Roberts aka sateenduralux.
Cactus Reading 4

The house projector was huge. It was very cool to see my artwork all blown up like that. Big thanks to our own Joe Infurnai aka infurnari for manning the projector.
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Here is the cast: Cat Cabral as Emily, Bryan Galatis as Boston, and Ricky Martinez enhancing another element of the story. Extra thanks to Jen Ferguson for the additional batch of pictures!

Cactus Reading 1


Cactus Reading 2



Quick note: I’m sorry if you happened to miss this event, guys. It was truly something special and your presence was surely missed. That’s right, I’m talking to YOU… you, the out-of-towner… you, the single parent sans babysitter… you, family of four with a sick dog… you, the church-going love bear with the steel trap eye for detail… you, the private mentor who struggles with the daily battle of severe agoraphobia. Hey, man, I’ve been there. I’ve had to tear myself from the toilet bowl in the middle of a panic attack in order to go to work, too… but it really is too bad that you missed this. It may sadly be the first and last time my “Cactus” story is performed. Given everyone’s conflicting schedules, it will take a small miracle to get everyone in the same room again.

For your enjoyment, however, here are a few video clips thanks to the awesome Reid Harris Cooper aka lordrexfear:

My very own “Cactus” (from my new ZEGAS comic series) was graciously performed by my aforementioned good friends Cat Cabral (as Emily), Bryan Galatis (as Boston), and Ricky Martinez (as the bum/ghost). Although these videos are great and appreciated, nothing compares to the live performance.

Simon Fraser aka simonfraser read “When Lilly Met Cosmo” with the help of Becky Cloonan. As you will see, Simon donned a pink-ish wig and proceeded to breathe life into his character.

John Leavitt and mollycrabapple had assistance from Vasilis Lolos for their Backstage reading.

66kmph aka Mike Cavallaro’s Lovaithan story was read by him, Chris Irving and Tucker Stone. They all had great radio voices and it all flowed seamlessly. Lots o’ laughs to be had.

Dean Haspiel read his Birry Darama yarn “Bring me the Heart of Billy Dogma” with George O’Connor rocking the hillbilly cop/German broadcaster and Joan Reilly supplying the sexy moans ala mummy turning in its tomb. It was great.

Maurice Fontenot aka mfont861 closed the night off with the help of two unwitting members of the audience who thought they had *only* won free copies of the A-I-V Primer (through a raffle). They paid the ultimate price, if you ask me, when asked (forced) to help Maurice read his Ghost Pimp story “All Men Are Whores”. Hilarious.

Who woulda thunk it… I happen to like comic book readings! They have this awkward charm that tells a side story, almost. It reveals more about the creator than the piece itself.

After the reading, we all stuck around to sign some books and chat with some folks. The fine folks at Book Court were kind enough to arrange the entire place around us, provide us with their new projector, give us wine and accommodate our peoples. We all tried to rally afterward but that plan soon fell through when we realized every bar in the area was chock full of World Series fans. Thanks a lot, Baseball. You ruined my opportunity to have a beer with the guy that never blinks, or to clink mugs with the queen of over medicated talentless narcissism, or to have body shots while avoiding getting my ass grabbed by the wino in a sports jacket and that faux Victorian lisp, or to get schooled on Replacements trivia by the narcoleptic over a shot of whiskey.

Ah, maybe next time, pal. Maybe next time.

xoxo Fiffe

2 comments so far

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  1. Great. Now I’m EXTRA-SPECIAL sorry I missed it.

  2. Awesome recap!