Search blog:
Subscribe to blog posts:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Me, as comic book badass

The lovely Jake Stetler got in touch with me some weeks ago with the following illustration by Courtland Ellis, which is cool enough that I am forced to swallow my boundless modesty and post it here.

No Santuary - Tanner

If you're curious as to why on earth someone would draw a picture of me in edgy clothes looking like I'm about to kick someone in the face: back when I lived in Central PA, I played a role in this indy action flick No Sanctuary, which was a terrifically fun experience. Director Jake tells me: "At picture lock. Final assemble & sound left!"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The O'Neill National Puppetry Conference Day 3

I hit the ground running. In the last 24 hours or so, I have half-constructed a pair of articulated white pigeon wings with a total span of about 12 feet. The feathers are made of white duct tape and cable ties. It's taking shape nicely, but it's a long way from finished. Perhaps this was a little too ambitious a project for what is effectively my first puppet show. But it's not like I'm here to play it safe.

In good news, my soprano, the lovely musician/puppeteer Alissa Hunnicutt, thrilled me to bits by having the featured two movements of Tesla's Pigeon down pat at our first rehearsal, despite being horrendously busy herself. Everyone needs to hire her, like, immediately.

Last night I had about four hours' sleep after an exhausting day, and I thought I was doing so well coping with that deprivation until a presentation by Jane Henson, during which we had to sit in a darkened theater. Lights down, BOOM, sleep came roaring out of the jungle, chased me down, and began to eat me in front of everyone. I was mentally slapping myself and rocking back and forth trying to keep it at bay, because it's pretty damn cool to hear firsthand how Jim and Jane Henson got started. I only rested my eyes for a moment. A few times. It was rough.

Nothing a coffee afterwards couldn't fix, though.

A few moments ago, I took Paul McGinnis's Vegeminity, which is to say, I gave him his first taste of Vegemite, spread sparingly on a toasted bagel with a lot of butter, and he liked it. If more Americans had gentle first encounters with Vegemite, it probably wouldn't have such a bad rap here. Speaking of, there are no fewer than three Australians at the conference this year. One of them, Lana Schwarz, is fresh off the plane from Melbourne, and I'm collaborating with her, composing music for her (hilarious) project. Consequently, I can feel my full-strength accent returning. She pronounces the L in soldering! She says Texta! In the context of listening to me bitch about American vacation time, she uttered the sentence, "Don't they get long service leave?" I hadn't even heard the term "long service leave" in over eight years, and I'd completely forgotten about it. Suddenly I'm even more pissed off about American vacation time.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


It has been so long since I last blogged, because of course, I've been busy, and rather than spending tedious minutes explaining all the things I've been doing since the beginning of last semester, I'm just going to start with what I'm doing now.

Today was the first day of the O'Neill National Puppetry Conference, here in sunny Connecticut. Oh, wait, it's not sunny, it's COLD AND WET AND HORRIBLE. But the conference itself is awesome and filled with awesome people. It was awesome last year, and it's even better this year because instead of suffering through that vaguely awkward new kid phase, I can look people in the eye because they know who I am. This year, I'm back as a staff member (music tech assistant) but I'll also be composing for myriad puppetry shows again.

I packed the station wagon and drove it up here on Friday. For those not aware, Matt and I own a Dodge Magnum now, for the purpose of going on the the Great American Roadtrip ™ next year:

Five weeks is still kind of a short amount of time for this journey, but with American vacation time being as paltry as it is, it's the best we're going to do before we retire (or before I start raking in so much cash as a composer that Matt won't have to work at all HA HA HA). We're tricking out the car to sleep in most nights. It's probably the largest vehicle I've ever owned, but I realized after we bought it that when I was growing up in Brisbane, my father had a big blue station wagon (dirty as hell and packed full of fun-to-explore, probably tetanus-infected hardware), and when I lived in Sydney, I owned a big blue station wagon (dirty as hell and packed full of band gear) which, incidentally, was condemned during a random police road check while I was hanging out with Matt in the USA for the first time. So, as much as I love teeny little cars, the big blue station wagon is kind of like a familiar home-cooked meal that was easy to digest (and remember how to park).

Here's a shot of the Magnum before I left Philly:

Contained within:

  • cello
  • electric cello
  • mandolin
  • mandocaster
  • violin
  • djembe
  • toy accordion
  • recorder
  • Assorted percussion: toy glockenspiel, maracas, chimes, thumb piano, egg shaker, tambourine, toy tambourine
  • Junkyard drumkit, put together Thursday night
  • Assorted electronic equipment: Stylophone, Kaoss pad, laptop loading with crap, soundcard, Tivoli radio, PA speaker, guitar amp, 6 microphones, mic stands, Alesis wedge reverb, Boss GigaDelay pedal
  • cables galore
  • assorted building materials
  • Clothes and bedding

  • I'm workshopping adding puppetry to a selection from Tesla's Pigeon. It's going to be RAD.

    Tonight I played my junk kit at Blue Gene's Pub on campus. I had one beer and got very drunk. Ahh, Wellbutrin, you reduce my tolerance chemically *and* by making me lose stupid amounts of weight.

    Anyway, as you can probably tell from this explosion of Babel, I am still a little tipsy, and I should probably get to bed, since I'll be up at 7:30AM tomorrow.

    Wifi is spotty here and cellphone reception is basically non existent. I am sorry if I appear to disappear. Do not get mad at me for not replying to your e-mails! I really, really hate when people do that. You know how you get too busy to reply to someone, and the next thing you know, they're leaving you passive-aggressive e-mails/voicemails/facebook messages complaining about how you don't pay enough attention to them (essentially)? I do not understand why people do that, because generally it makes me NEVER WANT TO TALK TO THEM EVER AGAIN. God.

    Enough! Good night.