Archive for the ‘Shameless Self Promotion’ Category

We All Died of Dysentery

February 5, 2017

rogue

So…I haven’t been here lately. And by lately, I mean it’s been more than a year. Truth be told, I forgot I even had a blog until today. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing.

For just under ten years, I’ve shared pretty much everything, unedited, unfiltered and sadly, in some cases, unfinished. I’ve enjoyed sharing the creative process with my writing, design and art, but somewhere along the line I decided it would be best to work quietly without a live studio audience.

I’ve been working on two books for a number of years, much of which I’ve shared along the way, but I recently put them aside to pursue a different story. I’ll return to them eventually, but right now I’m working on something new. It’s a work of fiction and a love letter to my generation. My recent exodus from social media has given me a new found focus, allowing me to dive head first into this piece, and I’m pretty electrified by what’s coming out. I don’t intend to share it until it’s finished, but since I’m here, I might as well at least leave something behind. This little snippet may not even make it into the final draft, but it was certainly the jumping off point for everything that’s come since. So here’s the prologue, and nothing else. I’d hate to spoil the story or any surprises that might come along the way.

Enjoy.

mtchmid

We All Died of Dysentery

Do you remember where you were when the Berlin Wall came down? What about 9/11? Are you old enough to remember, or did you grow up in its shadow? Where were you when you found out Kurt Cobain was dead? Do you even know who that is? Did you have an old black and white TV in your basement, growing up?

I did.

I grew up with a rotary dial phone tethered to a wall. I had a dial-up modem and before that, lived in a world where we could only connect four. (Pretty sneaky, sis.)

I lived through vinyl, cassettes and compact discs, and rented movies from an actual store on Friday nights. To quote the memes, streetlights were my curfew and trophies were earned.

I remember a time when, if you didn’t watch a show when it aired, you may never see it again, unless it found its way to syndication, a word that barely had relevance prior to cable TV.

I remember that, too. A time when the broadcast day ended. Snow was more than just a season’s mark, and there was a brief, dark moment when the world was completely quiet—when we could all collectively breathe.

Once upon a time, we could sleep without all the chatter, but now sleep is little more than a mode on our laptop. Our world—so immersed, so immediate, so apparent. Living, breathing, pulsating snapshots of a past we cannot ignore. Our present is so lost in posture and presentation while the future is merely the next unwritten meme. Moments of solace found in assumption, until our world comes back around again. We can try to hide—try to pull the covers up over our head, but we talk in our sleep; the chatter is always there, always on. Our world—so accessible, so obvious, so inadvertently tragic.

For as convenient as the world has become, life is anything but simple. Those days are behind us, and there’s too much momentum to stop. Our modern times have become accidental satire, and I’m too old too be anything more than annoyed by it all. Somewhere along the line, the rest of the world sped up and left me behind. Eventually, we’ll all become anachronisms if we’re lucky. Do I sound jaded? Just wait.

My name is Tucker Flynn, and I’m getting old.

And it really kind of sucks.

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Tangle of Christmas Lights: The Process…

September 18, 2013

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The process.

 

I love it.

 

It is, in essence the art, more so than the final product.

 

The process is what gives the masses their pretty picture; their art.

 

The process is what I treasure most as an artist.

 

The fear of finishing, not because it isn’t done…

 

Because I’m not.

 

len

 

I’ve been working on a piece for a good 20-30 hours now…starting with individual pieces that will ultimately barely be noticed, if at all, save for the moments when a drug-addled college kid stumbles across my work and stares too hard…which is just hard enough for why I did it in the first place.

 

It has to start somewhere…

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and from there it went. I continued adding things, moments, faces, torments, stress, baggage of sorts…Symbols of a man’s mind when he can’t find the silence.

 

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(click the image to see a larger variation)

Where it goes from here, I do not know just yet. The process is far from over.

Just wait and see…

I don’t care what rhymes with hug me.

September 6, 2013

flmstrp

I have written a lot of songs. I’m pretty proud of them. I know that not every lyric penned is that perfect, life-changing message, but by and large, I say what I need to say, and in a way that seems to work, at least for me. Today, rather than writing about the deeper things on my mind, the toils and troubles of being alive in an imperfect world (screws fall out all the time) I decided to pull just a few of my absolute favorite lines from Strawfoot’s catalog. I know not everything I write is great, but I feel like there are great moments hiding everywhere in this world, if you look hard enough—even in my songs.

It’s also fun to step back and chart my growth as a writer, from time to time. The band’s sound has evolved, and so have I. So, without further adieu, here’s a nice little time line of my lines.

45

I can tell by the way you look, clear as homemade gin

Your mouth is full of hornets, and your body’s built for sin

 –Achilles Heel, Chasing Locusts

You grab the bottle, I’ll hold the glass

We’ll toast the future and forget the past

You got an itch, I lost my cool

You ran your mouth, I broke the golden rule

–Effigy, Chasing Locusts

 

I wish I had a conscience,

A voice I could obey

I wish I had a heart

But my chest is made of hay

Wish I had a fiddle, for on it I would play

I would play until the lord takes me away

–Fiddle and Jug, Chasing Locusts

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I’d scream right up to heaven if I thought it’d do me good.

I’d wash my hands of sin if I really thought I could

I’d speak my mind right now if I had half a mind to give

And I’d lay right down and die if I had ever really lived

–Broken Crown, How We Prospered

 

Well you think your words are final,

That you speak the gospel truth

But you speak them with a forked tongue

And a fang left for a tooth

–Hole, How We Prospered

 

Whiskey in the morning, scotch the night before

My back is full of carpet burns from snow angels on the floor

–Seven Ways, How We Prospered

 

I gave you everything, till everything was gone.

I’m marching on.

–Funeral March, How We Prospered

 

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Go ahead and lie to me, say I’m the only one

I could be your Icarus if you’d only be my sun

–Poison Me, 1000 Tragedies

 

Abuse me like a drug, drink me like gin

For every veil that’s shed, I find another sin

–Unveiled, 1000 Tragedies

 

I never meant to shatter such a fragile little thing

It was not an invitation for the sadness that you bring

Deliver Me, 1000 Tragedies

 

You didn’t love me, until I went away

Until I tried to leave you, it didn’t matter if I stayed

–Goddamned Shadow, 1000 Tragedies

 

You’ve been lying to yourself more than anyone but me

As my boot scraped cross your floor you hoped I wouldn’t see

Are you the victim or the killer, whose heart is beating now

I’ve heard more stories than our pages should allow

–Telltale, 1000 Tragedies

 

You’re a troubled mind, an empty soul

A catalyst, a rabbit’s hole

I hate to say, though we know it’s true

I have to fall out of love with you

–Fool, 1000 Tragedies

 

I hate my wrinkles, my skin and bones,

I hate my weary face

It’s always staring back at me,

It whispers sweet disgrace

I hate the things you said to me

And all the damage done

Mostly I just hate the fact I’m not the only one

–Wrecking Ball, 1000 Tragedies

 

You were always so far away, even when you were so near

Even when you were in my arms

You were never really here

I’m tired of your ghost, and I’m tired of the blame

I’m tired of excuses and I’m tired of the pain,

You tried to fly away but keep rapping at my door

But to still the beating of my heart I cry out nevermore.

–Nevermore, 1000 Tragedies

 

I miss your taste, your warm embrace,

Lips fuller than the moon.

But I I despised the long goodbyes,

And all the promises of soon.

We lived through all the seasons

And stood through all the weather

So how’d we end up here,

I could swear we came together

We lived a thousand tragedies

We’ll live a thousand more

And I’ll just keep on dancing

No longer keeping score

–1000 Tragedies, 1000 Tragedies

 

 

 

doinmydo

New Music Monday: This ain’t Mary Poppins…

September 2, 2013

sf

When we play a Beggar’s Carnivale, we usually learn about 10-15 songs per show. Some we write, some are existing originals, and many are covers, as requested by performers. By and large, our covers are exactly what you’d expect of us…Tom Waits, Devotchka, , Gogol Bordello, etc.

 

but.

 

Sometimes, the requests are…out of our comfort zone.

 

But we persevere, and do our best to make them ours.

 

When Jeez Loueeze approached us with Chim Chim Cher-ee from Mary Poppins, my first reaction was one of dread.

 

A Disney song? Us?

 

But then I remembered something. I am a rather large fan of Dick Van Dyke. He’s one of the last great song and dance men in Hollywood.

 

Plus, how can you say no to Jeez?

 

So we learned it. Played it. And honestly, it’s become one of my favorite songs to sing, original or otherwise.

 

So, enjoy, download it while you can.

 

 

bnd1

Tangle of Lights: Poster Boy

August 2, 2013

ashtry

I have designed a lot of gig posters over the years. I like to think I’ve kept a fairly decent level of variety in my approaches and layouts, while maintaining my own recognizable style.

 pstrwp

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Except when it comes to the Beggar’s Carnivale. When we started, I made a very special point to keep all the posters looking very similar, to develop our brand recognition from show to show. I think it helped.

That’s not to say this approach didn’t have its own challenges. I had to do more than simply change the date and performer lineup. While I wanted people to recognize it immediately as a Beggar’s Carnivale promotion, I did not want them to think it was an old poster, for an old show.

It still required work, new images, no background colors, etc. But it was still essentially the same, recognizable format.

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But.

Here we are, into our third year. Three years of capacity shows and a growing fan base throughout the country.

I think it’s safe to say people know who we are. Our logo is strong enough to stand alone.

So, I’ve decided to take a few creative liberties with this season of productions. Stepping away from the templates I had created for the previous seasons, I decided to try to be a little more true to the era we’re emulating in our work.

 newestrings2

I am not very good at art deco. Never have been, probably never will be. Sure, I’ve used bits and pieces of the style…fonts, borders, flourishes…

But I’ve never tried to emulate the overall look and feel.

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The challenge in this is maintaining enough of the Beggars look and feel, while stretching my creative wings.

So here’s the poster for our next Beggar’s Carnivale. It’s not a completely authentic deco design, but it’s about as close as I could get while keeping the brand standards. Standards I set.I have a lot invested in this next show creatively, so stay tuned for more developments about the…developments.

flprdprMore to come, friends and/or neighbors.

Last Practice…

April 24, 2012

This week we stepped away from Django Tango and other such pieces to focus on original transitions for the next Beggar’s Carnivale, May 19th. We’re giving the key characters their own themes, and scoring the action. Professor Thump and Baron Von Winterbach are a regular Rogers and Hammerschtein.

The first piece is a little bit of Too-Me’s theme song. Just a taste, though…You’ll have to come to the show for the full shebang.

The other piece we worked on is the Knock’em Outs/Bon Bons Theme, two variations on the same progression.

All in all, a good practice. Only two chairs were broken.

Show and/or Tell

June 30, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any works in progress…

I figured now is as good a time as any to catch you up on what I’ve been doing…poster-wise.

Sisyphus Incarnate: Idle Time, Ribs and the Suicide Jones

December 8, 2009

I can still remember the first time I was ever laid off.

Not fired, laid off.

My soon-to-be former boss pulled me into his office at the very end of the work day, as I was packing up my briefcase and preparing for another road rage-inducing commute home.

The meeting was a blur. It started with small talk then degraded from formal pleasantries to the matter at hand.

Once they said they were going to have to let me go, the buzzing in my head drowned out all other sounds in the room, including my now-former boss, who kept speaking, though I was reduced to reading lips at this point in the conversation.

I can’t be sure, but I think they said it wasn’t me, it was them. I can’t be 100% certain, but I believe they told me we could still be friends.

I made no speeches, I gave no retort. I just sat frozen, uninvited tears swelling up in my eyes.

It came out of nowhere, like an assassin jumping from the shadows. I wasn’t prepared.

I left, defeated—deflated.

Now, I’ve been fired before. It has almost always sucked, but I could usually see it coming. Usually it was time to move on anyway.

I could usually make my exit with venomous parting words, a bridge burned and a conscience clear.

But this was different.

This time, it was less my fault and more the side effect of a crumbling economy.

This time, I wasn’t ready to go.

I returned later that night to pack up my belongings in solitude. I couldn’t face my now-former coworkers.

When they came to work the next morning, all they would find would be an empty office and perhaps an email from the Vice-President of the company.

For the first few weeks, I didn’t know what to do with this new found free time.

Sure, I updated my resume and built a web portfolio—I combed the want ads, Monster.com, Hotjobs and Creative Hotlist.

But a Bush had taken office, the dot.com bubble had long since burst and we were in the throws of 9-11.

There were no jobs to find.

I had far too much idle time on my hands—hard liquor and internet porn can only take you so far.

The more time that passed, the more often I replayed that final meeting in my head; Every time I relived the fateful exchange that left me laying by the wayside, I grew angrier and angrier, full of impotent rage.

After months of fruitless job searches, countless reruns of the Rockford Files and no less than 567 naps taken, I began fantasizing about what I would have liked to have said when the hammer dropped.

Shortly thereafter, I found myself unconsciously writing it all down.

The words flowed from my fingertips as if I were in a trance, speaking in tongues.

When I was finished, I had ten pages of corporate-casual rants written in far more eloquent a diatribe than had I spoken it off the cuff.

But I didn’t know what to do with it. I liked my now-former bosses and coworkers. I’m sure (or at least hope) the decision was hard enough for them without my literary bitterness adding to it.

Still, I hit the ‘save’ button before stepping away.

A few more weeks rolled by, a blur of bad daytime television and time spent staring blankly at a wall, before I reopened the document and read it again.

While riddled with bitterness and uncharted anger, it was at times quite entertaining. Though quite dark, there was humor lurking beneath the venom.

So I kept going—and going.

A new fire was burning within. Where time once stood still, suddenly there weren’t enough hours in the day. Morning, noon and night saw me hunched over my keyboard typing.

For the remainder of my unemployment, and well into my next three occupational downgrades, I kept writing—laboring over what would eventually become Rorschach’s Ribs.

That’s how I became a writer.

And now ten years later, nearly to the day, I find myself swept back up in long naps, hard liquor and bad daytime television.

It’s a vicious cycle.

I guess that means it’s time to finish another book.

I started one a few years back, but between a full time job, wife, dogs, a band and blogs, it somehow landed on the back burner, left to simmer.

I reckon it’s time to heat things back up.

When I write, I find comfort.

Comfort in the control I have over something in an otherwise chaotic world.

Comfort in the fact that if I keep pushing that boulder, eventually I will make it to the top of the mountain.

Stuff This In Your Stocking…

December 6, 2009

Work In Progress

November 7, 2009

forkI’ve been working on our next gig poster, for our show at the Deluxe November 27th…

Here’s what I’ve got so far, as usual, it might be finished, it might not…

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Me and Ole’ Honest Abe? We’ve Got History…

October 9, 2009

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He lead our country through civil war. He is the great emancipator, and considered the greatest American President by historians.

And now, 200 years after his birth, he is a (Gothic/Americana) rock star.

In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday, my band, Strawfoot, has taken Lincoln’s words and turned them into a dark song about a man slowly going mad.

Lincoln was a complicated man, he fought a lot of demons. He was also a phenomenal poet.

One of his poems in particular, But Here’s an Object More of Dread really jumped out at me. It was simultaneously ominous and beautiful. It was perfect for Strawfoot.

But Here’s an Object More of Dread was written by Lincoln in 1846, upon returning to his childhood home.

In a letter to close friend, William Johnston, Lincoln wrote:

abe2abe3Included in the letter was the poem But Here’s an Object More of Dread. This being his 200th birthday, it seemed only fitting to bring his poem to life, and put it on our upcoming CD, How We Prospered.

Here it is…I hope we did it justice…the video is just a bunch of our promo shots thrown together to accompany the music…all of the band photography was taken by Marshall Gibson…He’s one of the best at what he does…

I’m no film maker…so if you can do better, please, by all means have at it…we’ll even email you the MP3…

Our CD will be available Halloween.

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How We Prospered is Coming…

October 1, 2009

New Gig Poster: the Ataris

September 3, 2009

Just started finished a new poster, this one for the Ataris, live at Off Broadway. They’re playing with my friends’ band, Resoldered, and another band called (I kid you not) It’s All About the Benjamins

Seriously, that’s their name.

I know nothing about this third act, other than the fact that they have an unfortunate band name. They could be thugs-for-life rappers in saggy jeans singing about pimps and/or hoes through a gold-toothed grin, a group of satan worshipping death metal heads, with giant skull belt buckles, ready to drink some beer and kick some my ass, or a group of awkward, dirty, skinny jeans wearing hipsters in search of the ultimate in ironic names, singing angst ridden yet catchy pop songs chok-full-o’ emotion and falsettos…

I just don’t know, and I’m not in the mood to google them to find out.

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The Reluctant Twitt…(er)

August 31, 2009

angry

I love the written word—the language. I love reading it, and I love writing it. Very little ranks higher than the smell of a book, new or old. It’s the smell of something greater than its binding.

As a writer, I am disgusted by some of the evolutions in media. Primarily, Twitter. Twitter is destroying us. It’s destroying our culture, and perhaps our final semblance of genuine thought and intellect.

We’re being reduced to abbreviations and phonetics—reduced to 140 characters. Twitter does nothing but promote a short attention span and fascination with the mundane and irrelevant.

But.

87% of my waking hours are spent entrenched in the consumer warfare that is advertising, promotion and marketing. This means that, love it or not, I have to hold mastery over all the new media—I must keep up with the Jones. It’s integral to my survival as a professional.

I remember when I first started working in advertising.

It was a weird moment in the industry, as a torch was reluctantly passed from the old generation to the new. I had a computer on my desk, they had markers and pens. They all found themselves packing a box and being escorted to the door by security sooner than later, grumbling angrily about how times were changing for the worse.

They didn’t adapt.

So what does this mean?

It means that I’m a Twit. I tweet.

Sigh.

The author in me needs a shower.

The Next Work in Progress

May 28, 2009

Our drummer, John is a bit of a musical polygamist…his heart belongs to multiple bands, as do his drum sticks…and van…He makes it work…he’s young…

His (other) band, Fattback is about to release a CD, Canary…I’ve been working on some posters for the CD release show….I’m doing three designs, all of which will be posted around town and that interweb thing…

So here’s where I am with them so far…I might be finished…

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wp2wp3They also gave me a drawing for their cover art, I’m trying to help them add some text….it’s a great drawing, but a challenge to make work as packaging…

I’ve tried a bazillion combinations of fonts, colors and placement….still not happy with it but who knows…maybe I’m on the right track…

wp4I also took the liberty of designing a different cover…(using design elements later used for the above posters)

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A Fork in the Road…

May 23, 2009

fork

I think I was programmed early on…as an Art Director, I never came up with just one design…I always had to present at least two, usually more, for any given client…The client NEVER chose the design I preferred, even when I tried stacking the deck by offering an obviously less inspired, less developed look as their second option…

These days, I work in-house, so the client never changes, and neither does the work…it’s less about multiple options and more about multiple revisions…but hey…I’m just thankful to be employed during these trying economic times

But this isn’t about my vocation, it’s about being programmed…well, it’s not really even about that…

It’s about choices…it’s about options…it’s about that fork in the road I tend to reach more often than naught during the creative process….

It’s about deciding which design to move forward with…

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, we’re playing with Scott H. Biram in August…I’ve been working on the poster for a while…

To refresh your memories, here’s where I am with it…

biramlr1I like this design well enough…the image is interesting, it’s simple…minimalistic to a certain degree…

but…

I wasn’t quite happy enough…so I put together something completely different…

biramlr3

it’s a little brighter, more fun…it follows the second rule of advertising (behind the color red): sex sells

It’s also a nice little nod to my theater-geek past…no, it’s not She-Hulk

It was inspired by the book cover design for Bukowski’s Women (great book)…

wmnThis was designed by Milan Bozic…he does some great work…especially his series of Bukowski covers

So there you have it…two very different looks…what do you think?

Bop this Ditty (Work in Progress)

May 23, 2009

As I mentioned, we’re going to be playing with the Ditty Bops in June (14th) at the Mad Art Gallery. (click on the Ditty Bops’ name to view just a mere moment of their eccentric, melodious, entertaining show…)

Odds are, the Mad Art people, (having relationships with real artists) will eventually design a better different poster a day or so after I finish/print these…but we need to start getting the word out, and visual aids really seem to help…So, here’s where I’m at so far with it…

I wanted to create something a little softer/more feminine for the headliners…since they’re women and all…I think I did a fairly good job representing both bands with the images used…

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I leave you with a video of the Ditty Bops recording a song at Studio U.G.O…(click on UGO’s name to visit their website for a veritable cornucopia of live performances…think daytrotter only with video…)

Feel free to drop me a line to tell me how much you love/hate the poster…especially if you happen to be a Ditty Bop…

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Survey Says…

May 23, 2009

So every single person who weighed in on the poster designs for our upcoming show with Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers seems to have agreed…100% of you preferred the design with the cigarette box…so I made a mild compromise of the two…

shkshrlr1

I even managed to find a home for the rooster…I also darkened it a bit…

shkshkr2So now that’s decided, and the posters have been printed and are ready for, well, posting…

here’s a video to get you excited about Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers

mid

Time to turn my attention to the next poster…the Ditty Bops…

Paperback Trailer…

May 17, 2009

(Blatant Promotion)

Swayze Crazy: Point Break Live

May 17, 2009

cool shit

It’s no secret I’m Swayze Crazy.

Hell, I wrote a book called Nobody Puts Swayze in the Corner: the Tao of Swayze…(All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society)

That’s why my jaw dropped when I discovered Point Break Live…yes that’s right, Point Break as a stage production. All the parts are cast except one…Johnny Utah…they felt they could do the best justice to the character by pulling someone out of the crowd to play the part…What I wouldn’t give to see this in St. Louis…

And they say theater is dead…Now if only they’d do Road House..