Thursday, February 28, 2013

Laying out the ground rules.


I had a show tonite with my new band project Whitman's Ghost.  We're a six-piece Americana/folk outfit that writes all original music.  We've only just begun (four months or so) and we still need to iron out some things, but we've got a really fun sound.  I'm also in this other band (first and foremost) called The Echo & Sway who just celebrated five glorious years.

I'm finding that a little something on the side isn't necessarily a bad thing.  What I am realizing, however, is that there always comes a little bad with the good.  As of tonite's post, I'm in the middle of a four-gig stretch (plus practices) in a little over a week.  Next Tuesday I've got a short fiction reading in Williamsport at Alabaster

Long story short: I'm finally coming to terms with a bit of depression after the fact.  Had a really great show tonite, really great, and stuck around to listen to American Opera whom we opened for.  Got home, though, after the second act and all my kibitzing, relaxing with the wife and watching an episode of our show.  Suddenly, I realize that as the credits roll how sad I am.

It's not that there's anything really wrong with me.  I could have talked longer, offered the musician a place to stay the nite, helped close up shop...trying to get a fix on the problem.  The problem is that I'm trying too hard to put my finger on a pulse that is only beating improperly because I'm making it so.  Please, let me explain.

I'm not doing my duty as a christian, as a man of God, as a matter of fact.  Did I pray before tonite's gig?  Nope.  Did I pray after tonite's gig?  Not then, either.  What about five years with The Echo & Sway?  Can say I can recall definitely one.  And therein lies the problem:  the fact that I'm the odd man out in these situations (a third of WG and half of TE&S) is really only the tip of the iceberg.  No wonder my Titanic self-esteem gets ripped apart once things have concluded.

Like I said, we did well tonite.  I can point out positives and negatives, but that's something I do on a minute-to-minute basis anyhow.  With last Saturday's performance, the show was EPIC.  For an anniversary show we were golden.  Seriously.  You can't make this stuff up.  (You could, but I can't embellish that much.)  The joking around, spot-on poems, even getting past the flubs--is was the cat's meow.

I'm no slouch behind the mic.  Could really use an instrument to round things out, but I have fun with what I'm doing, and it's hard to dance with a guitar.  I've been given a gift with voice, harmony, writing.  But it's not from me.  God has given me the fruit of the Spirit and I should be honing it through prayer, praising Him for the gifts He's given me, even using them to show others what Christ has done through little 'ol me.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Defiantly Jim Colbert

Defiantly Jim Colbert

I’ve known Bellefonte folksinger Jim Colbert for maybe five years now. We met through my uncle Kevin’s music scene, so that automatically makes us compatriots for life. Maybe it’s because I know Jim personally and am humbled enough to share the poems he’s put together—even more so that he’s thrown my name into the “thank-yous.”

Jim’s creative endeavors run the gamut, but the poetry is that which I’ve in my hands and can turn to again and again. This Bellefonte balladeer’s deliciously heartfelt poetry collection “Defiantly Blue Sky” has had me shooting for the clouds for the better part of a year. 

As much as I get in a funk about social media, Facebook has been a great place for the two of us to connect and share poetry, music and all other creative nonsense over the interwebs. Just don’t get us started talking about bacon, monkeys and trains.

I have seen some of these poems before making publication and am reminded again and again Jim’s ability to make music with his words.  Whether it’s writing about Johnstown steel workers, an approaching storm from the roadside or a special Valentine’s Day gift, Jim has it covered.

Snippets grab you as you read, pulling you in. Like poetry is wont to do, it comes alive here and rises from the page long after reading. Scattered throughout are photos of Jim’s, making the collection that much more personal.

You can order “Defiantly Blue Sky” at and hear his music at or just come out and see him play Friday nite, 02/22 at Avenue 209 Coffee House.

This originally appeared in the Lock Haven Express 02/21/13.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Making Memories with The Echo & Sway

 Beautiful article written my good friend Aron Agerton wrote about our show a year ago appearing in the Lock Haven Eagle Eye 02/16/12.  Feels like forever ago, but so was Allison Walden.  Looking forward to Saturday nite's anniversary show.

You can read the original article HERE.

Making Memories with The Echo & Sway

 Even under the weather, The Echo & Sway manages to be above the bar. “Sorry we’re not our usual energy level. I’m just trying not to snot over everyone,” said lead vocalist Anthony LaLota.  Without fail, Anthony and his partner Jared Conti manage to use a folk style reminiscent of Badleys and a light hints of pop that bring back adolescent memories of the gin blossoms and kissing Allison Walden behind the bleachers during gym class.

Mixed and mingled through the show is a beautiful melange of music and madrigalities that manages to make even the meanest of meanies mistakenly miss their mothers. The duo tell stories of their family and friends that make you wish one day, perchance, you too may be mentioned.

A time for all ages, the Echo and Sway lets you relax your shoulders for a spell and sip down a sweet vanilla chai latte just as it was meant to be sipped.

No atmosphere like avenue, nor sound like E&S can be found in this faded town.  As the snow falls on to the quiet streets, and the underage kids begin their raucous journey into the cold night, those of any age can find solace knowing that in a world where chaos is on every Evergreen apartment and campus dorm hall, there can be peace wandered upon in the music and lyrics of The Echo & Sway.

In a town where it’s so very hard to feel good without the help of a captain, jack, or fast food clown, at Avenue 209 I found it at an evening with two men who sought only to make me remember Allison Walden behind the bleachers during gym class.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A love story, from a different point of view.

In all the post-apocalyptic literature I’ve read in the last few years, Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Mad Scientist’s Daughter has felt the most like home. On a planet that is inundated with people, summers are scorching, winters are wickedly unpredictable and springtime lasts all but two weeks. Sounds a little familiar as of late, no?

Caterina Novak is the namesake daughter of this love story which starts out innocently enough. Raised as an only child, Caterina spends her days tromping around the woods learning through experience. When they feel it is time for their daughter to be taught in a more formalized capacity, they do what any parent in a science fiction story would do: get a robot to teach her.

As she grows up, this artificial intelligence becomes more a friend than tutor. Yet as life progresses, Caterina’s budding sexuality does as well, and with it an unhealthy interesting in the one that is not programmed to teach her of the birds and the bees. It isn’t until she kissed him (the robot, as he is referred to throughout Daughter) she accidentally (literally) turns him off.

What follows as Caterina matures into adulthood is a lonely sexual journey. A cold, empty woman emerges through romance and an on-again/off-again affair with the robot. She runs her own scientific experiments as the artificial intelligence of the robot learns to live his life through more feeling.

Digging deeper into the novel, the reality of robot emancipation mirrors a seriousness akin to real-life issues of immigration reform, race relations and even same-sex marriage. The inherent subtleties only exacerbate the problems at hand, giving them much stronger legs on which to stand.

The style and substance of Clarke’s world-building catapults this story above and beyond my hopes for it. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a deep, dark tale of passion that fills the emptiness with the same lies and rationalities we tell ourselves to make us feel better about the choices we make. I was hoping for some sort of robotic craziness when all I needed was a little love of my own.

Books with Your Barista featured in the Lock Haven Express, 02/14/13.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

'tis better to have loved and lost, and all that happy crappy.

Poem Trio

This is one of the first tidbits that made The Jared Anthony Show what they are today.  Poetry, music and hijinks was our motto, and we amped it up for the first couple of gigs.  As you can tell by the audio, though we sound phenomenal, no one really knows what to do with music AND poetry.  Very little giggling, it being one of the gigglicious poems I've got.  Delivery is key.

If you'd like it in e-book, all you have to do is click for Back in the Saddle: My Love/Hate Relationship with the Space Cowboy.  Download it on the cheap for your Kindle.  If you'd like it for real for real, you know where to find me.

These days we're pretty much the same, but more hijinks than anything.  Make sure you join The Echo & Sway at Avenue 209 Coffee House for our special 5 Year Anniversary Show on Saturday 02/23/13.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Was thinking through these stories or novels or whatever and realizing that there are (for the most part?) interludes as far as the chapter breaks are concerned.

Last 4th of July will have more story-driven pieces because of the nature of Barry's livelihood: Mrs. O'Leary's Cow, interference at Fantasy Forest and even the dream sequence at the beginning of the story overall.

Not too sure about Homelands yet, though I like the scope of the book being slightly more self-contained, at least within the confines of the immediate area.

Metro is another of those Ogethan-centric tales and I think it'll be more solidified with song, especially the Superman bits.

To be honest, the mechanics of the book will come along when they need to.  Maybe I'm thinking too broadly?  Maybe I'm letting things get in the way?

Just as the thoughts come naturally, organically, maybe that's how these interlude-y things should.  A story might get some place that a song or a quote might not be able to reach, let alone mesh within the fabric of the story.  It's going to need to flow to have the reader's experience it, live it as best as possible.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Win a Limited "Doctor Sleep" by Stephen King.

Win a Limited "Doctor Sleep" by Stephen King.

Folks, you know you want this: It's the sequel to The Shining!

Click on the link or pic to sign up!

Even if you don't want it, sign up anyhow and give me a copy to show how much you love the Beard!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

LHU Eagle Eye 04/12/12

So, just fiddling around on the internet today and Gail Simone of all people posted about none other than "super"villain The Crumbler.  It just so happens that I read that comic and some other silly ones a year or so ago.  Hope you enjoy these!
And oh, yah!  I'm already married!  It was a superhero wedding in case you didn't know.  Pictures to follow!

So, if you didn’t already know, I’ll be getting married in a coupla months. I’d like to think my lady fancies me a bit of a super hero, and we’re focusing that into making a theme-wedding. With superheroes. Not sure of all the details yet, but we’ve been buying up old comic books and re-purposing them for decorations. The most positive outcome of this whole thing is that I get to read before we get to use ‘em. I found these few on a jaunt to Pittsburgh a few weeks ago for a quarter a piece. Read on, true-believers!
 “The Punishment of  Superman’s Son!”  Action Comics No. 391 Aug 1970

In this “imaginary story,” Superman’s son Clark Kent, Jr. isn’t the crime fighter his ol’ pa is. It doesn’t help that Supes is overly critical of his son—even to the point of calling him a flop—or that he’s comparing him to Batman, Jr. Batman’s kid, however, is smart because he works hard at it, and Superman the younger doesn’t, just because he’s invulnerable. Superman’s son’s punishment? Ever hear of Gold Kryptonite?! Ridiculous!
“The Crimes of the Crumbler!”  Green Lantern/Green Arrow No. 114 Mar 1979

In this team-up series, Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) have been making a case across the United States to stand in for crimes against humanity, and not just the super heroic ones. Dealing with Speedy’s heroin addiction and other social justice victims, this issue specifically deals the with the atrocities of a vacation condominium developer. Turns out he’s also a villain, suped-up with a  bodysuit, sabotaging his own projects to fund his suit. Sound crazy? Well, he is a super-villain.
“The Patchwork Man” Swamp Thing No. 3 Feb-Mar 1973

At the helm of this issue are Len Wein and Berni Wrightson. There’s really no need to go on, but I will for your sake. Heck of a coupla guys writing a hero that’s basically a humanoid plant, and making him real. Quite the feat. Swamp Thing is traveling around the Balkan mountains looking for traces of his former way of life and stumbles upon his arch-enemy’s labs that may or may or may not have spawned him. He meets a Frankenstein-like character that’s more horrific than he! Not your typical superhero fare, but real smart reading.
“The Men Who Sold Destruction!”  Justice League of America No. 125 Dec 1975

As far as comics go, this is a bitter pill to swallow. The issue is being narrated by some sort of alien beings, discussing at length their plan to transfer catastrophic energies from their planet to ours. In order to do this, they have outfitted typical “bad guys” with powers that essentially make them gods.  One of their many downfalls, however, is choosing to recruit Harvey Dent a.k.a Two-Face. This Batman foe flips his coin and decides not to help these alien beings and instead calling for help from the JLA, making use of one wicked villainous idiosyncrasies. The aliens are unsuccessful (particularly because they’re disguising themselves as famous generals in statue form) they call upon the Weaponers of the anti-matter planet of Qward to return next issue!
“Hellfire and Holocaust” All-Star Comics No. 61 Jul-Aug 1976

Another great issue because of who’s in charge of what’s happening, you’ve got Keith Giffen pulling illustration duties.  We find ourselves in the middle of the melee with between Dr. Fate and Alan Scott Green Lantern battling Vulcan. Poor Vulcan was an astronaut caught in some sort of hideous transformation as he orbited the sun. It’s nice to see the Justice Society of America here without any kind of filthy continuity to get caught up in. Also nice to see Power Girl not look like a skank.  Oh, the action’s pretty good, too.