The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


Las Vegas isn't as fucking great as it's cracked up to be- judging by the funky occurances that happened on my last trip. Of what I had hoped it to be was a combination of a massive gambling spree to get myself ahead of the game before the IRS comes closing in on me for the kill and a yearly family reunion with my dad, brother, and my little niece Laura. What it actually turned out to be was a out of control Jackson siphoning losing streak even though I came close to hitting two jackpots. On one progressive I had hit three red sevens and got a pay out of $92 and another one this morning at the McCarron Airport netted me $74, but like a dickhead I couldn't leave well enough alone- I had to keep playing until it was time that they called my flight number back to Burbank and I walked away with $12 less than what I originally had my pocket. I'm never going to fucking learn.

On late Sunday, while my brother and my niece and I got lost in a rented car on the 215 to visit his mother (who btw used to be a restaurant critic for The Las Vegas Review) I started to feel a little weary- hoping it was some kind of allergy attack kicking in started to worsen on Monday morning and then presto, it turned out to be a full blown flu on Tuesday morning. I had to call in my work place in Burbank and tell them that there was no way in hell I was going to make it in by Wednesday morning and that I was going to have to postpone my flight back by another day. Fucking Southwest Airlines charged me an additional $65 to my credit card. The trip was a total financial disaster- but then, aren't all trips to Vegas in a vain attempt to get yourself out of fiscal hot water supposed to self destruct in your face?

On top of that, my six old niece looks to me as if I'm Freddy from Nightmare on Elms Street- she won't say anything to me when I'm in the same room with her and IF I'm in the same room with her- her first reaction is run screaming up the stairs to her guest bedroom at my dad's house. I've heard that I have a reputation of being a Scary Cary, but this is goddamn ridicious. I don't know what the heck I've done to piss in her Trix cereal, even though everytime I come out to see her I shower her with gifts from the studio lot. I can't figure it out. I really suck at child behavioral science - so that's probably why I don't have any.

AND ON TOP of everything else- I'm calling Obi Wan Danobi and checking out Heidi MacDonald's blog on my dad's computer (which doesn't allow me to send e-mail out) at the same time and the news from both of these sources sends me off on another spell of respiratory spastic coughing fits concerning Golden Apple Comics founder, Bill Liebowitz dead of a heart attack at the age of 63.

I was completely and utterly flabbergasted. I could hardly believe my eyes - If the presidental campaign were to really pull a October surprise (i.e. Kerry practically raising Clinton from the dead in helping to secure votes or Georgie girl W actually lowering his IQ another 10 points?) then the comic book industry's version really slapped us with a whammy this time around.

All that is going through my head right now is how is the city of Los Angeles is going to cope with the passing of it's first and only superstar of comic book retailers? I mean, this gentle giant of a guy was a pioneer in the development of what a comic book store should aspire to in areas of customer service, sharp looking continuously stocked shelves, great decor, and a over all safe shopping environment. Everytime I found myself stepping foot in Bill's store on Melrose Ave - it was if you'd walked into a party and Bill was always the guy who was serving up the trays of hors d'oeuvres. That store was Bill's party planet where you could find yourself mingling with some of the Hollywood power broker elite and not even know it! I remember just a little over a year ago, I was in the store to check out a rumor that my first issue of the Deposit Man and the Last Great Gate of Mortality was being carried in his store. I couldn't believe it because my distributor, FM International said that they only sold a handful of copies! Well guess who bought some of them up? That's right, Bill did. And whilst I was gaping in awe at seeing five copies of my book on his shelf in the independent area- Bill comes out of nowhere and makes an announcement that a special guest has arrived to sign some posters of a movie that he will be starring in that will be released early next summer. And emerging from a black curtain in the back of the store comes Ron Perlman who tells everyone (and there weren't that many people loitering at the store at this late Saturday afternoon hour) that he will be flying out to Prague next week to being lensing Hellboy and in order to celebrate he wanted to come down to sign some Dark Horse promo posters that were idly lying around. I thought that was pretty neat of Bill to allow something that spontaneous to just happen in his store with no warning or no fanfare. Everyday at Golden Apple could be a adventure in LA LA Land or at least flirtatious glance from porn stars to actress who liked to schmooze around the place- such as Chase Masterson or Hyapatia Lee. I even spotted John Singleton checking out some old 70's Jack Kirby Black Panthers once just shortly after he achieved his fame from making Boyz in the Hood. Scores of signings that Bill would arrange have been legendary and have been well organized- there have been so many, that I couldn't even begin to remember them all. Harlan Ellison's release of his Dream Corridor series for Dark Horse was the first time I ever mustered up the courage to actually saying something to the guy other than blowing it off everytime I saw him at a San Diego Comic Book Convention. There's a score of others who probably haven't done a signing in the states other than Bill's store, at least that I know of, of which Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison come immediately to mind and that's probably because of Bill's brilliant approach to comic book marketing has spread so fast and so vast across the globe that it's inspired other people in other countries to follow suit in modeling stores just the way that Bill diagramed them to be.

Besides all the laudations and commendations from all honors bestowed from the comic book industry, I like to remember Bill the best for, along with his business partner and wife Sharon, to be the finest community servants. Bill and Sharon have at countless times volunteered in a tireless effort to get the word out on the value of reading comic books and to motivate children to read by picking up a comic book - particularly the Archies or the Simpsons line of titles. Their presence was always welcome at all the Teen Age Comic Festivals that I've helped Eugene Mandelcorn organize at the Los Angeles Central Library. They've always had a couple of booths set up at the Los Angeles Festival of Books in the young readers area that takes place every spring on the UCLA campus that was always well attended by talent supplied by Bongo Comics. From what Obi-Wan Danobi describes, Bill was also running a little DJ company on the side, supplying music and doing yo-yo tricks for three barmitzvahs that his DragonLady wife had dragged him off to (Bill's accountant just happens to have his office right next door to Obi-Dan's insurance office- that's the reason why they always got invited) these shindigs- but I understand that Bill always volunteered his time - because he was a just that kind of all around community teddy bear. And that about sums it up for the man- a big fluffy cigar chomping gentle giant of a teddy bear that looked and talked like a New Jersey mafiaoso- Tony Soprano definitely had nothing on him. Personally, I think Bill's lovable girth may have given David Chase the inspiration for his mob boss in the Sopranos.I wouldn't be at all surprised

Anyway, I'm going to miss all those swell radical events that Bill would help to organize to make the Los Angeles area a comic book industry melting pot. The LA Weekly has for the past few years or so has done a issue at the beginning of each year that is devoted to the comic book art form and Bill will always throw a bash at the store surrounding that theme....

...y'know what the heck am I saying?

Every week, Bill was always celebrating some monumental event that fluctuated within the art form, no matter how big or minuscule- it didn't matter- just as long as Bill got it media exposure, he got the job done.

What? Your book got a Movie deal out of it because of exposure in my store?


Next. Whose turn is it now?

What can I say?

The man ate, drank, and shat comics. It's Simple as that.

Lots of people, including me, are going to miss him...tremendously.

I hope the tradition of the qualities that I listed above will carry on within his family for many generations to come.



Sunday, October 24, 2004

By Cary Coatney

One of my favorite all time closet bands (the kind of band you don't dare admit to liking past the age of forty due to the retaliation of mullet haircuts and parachute pants jokes) embarked on a two week tour of Border's Books and Music stores all across the US that was both initimate and unique. I was fortunate enough to catch a couple of the shows due to that they were within a reasonable travel distance from my place of residence. Earlier this year, Yes did a similiar type of a event at a Tower Records that was within a two block walking distance from my house, but there were some unforeseen circumstances that made that event a little bit too much of a media blitzkrieg with all the waiting on line to get a wristband, the mandatory cash or credit plunk down for a new CD and DVD, and wind up with nothing but perhaps a fifteen second chat with each member- but alas, with John Payne and Geoff Downes of Asia, you could have a sit down and chat about the weather, Quiznos oven baked sandwiches, or who they think is going to win the November US Presidental election until they got bored with you and sent you away.

The first show in Westwood or the West Los Angeles area which took place on a Friday night, was surprisingly sparsely attended by as few as twenty-five fans (but they had a nice little stage to perform on) with a few lookee-loos here and there peeking over the coffee bar to ascertain who was responsible for all the racket as opposed to the smaller and more crowded coffee bar area that followed on the next night in my hometown of Sherman Oaks, Ca ( approximately more than sixty heads were counted). If I owned some wheels, I would probably would have followed them up the coast to Santa Barbera for the next afternoon show.

From what Geoff Downes sermoned to the audience at some point during the performance, he stated that the purpose of this chummy little cozy get-together was not only to promote or make aware of the newly released Silent Nation album (on that fabulous Insideout Music label), but to sort of demonstrate or ruminate to attendees of what goes in a songwriting process. If one can follow along with the bare bone essentials of how all the ingredients fall in place into what goes into a song, the better in the appreciation of listening to it- at least that's what I tried to rationalize from what Geoff was trying to say after they finished playing Wildest Dreams on nothing but a Korg Triton keyboard and a Spanish guitar before launching into the current single, What About Love off the new album.

John Payne revealed a few secrets of what inspired him to write the new material. The lyrics to the new single, Long Way From Home reflected on John's feelings on traveling abroad to record the new album from all the way from Wales to Burbank, California and the origin behind the title track from the new album dealt with a Howard Stern rant on the eroding of America's civil liberties by evidence of the FCC crackdown of radio shock jocks across the nation that John just happened to be tuned into whilst between tour stops during the last time they were toured America (Janet Jackson's much talked about wardrobe malfunction during last year's Super Bowl halftime didn't help matters either).

The little bits of monologue in between numbers wasn't all that adroitly somber. Both Downes and Payne had some lighthearted moments as if they were channeling the spirits of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (or was it the Smother Brothers?) , especially when it came to telling amusing jokes & stories about Steve Howe since John Payne was fortunate enough to tour with Steve when he first joined the band for the Aqua album. I never did quite get the punchline to the 'how many Steve Howes does it take to screw in a guitar string? - are you sure you even want to be in the same room with them? Was John Wetton actually thinking of Steve Howe when he wrote the line in Wildest Dreams, 'they recommended enthunasia for non-conformers everywhere?' However, John Payne did manage to break a string right towards the end of 'Only Time Will Tell' and had to play the rest of the song like air on a G string - but he did leave the audience pondering an incredible twenty year mystery which has never been solved to this very day- did the hair band, Europe actually swipe Geoff Downes' opening synth motif for 'Only Time Will Tell' for their hit single, "the Final Countdown'? Even Jon Anderson wasn't immune, they made a playful jab on maestro Anderson's Alzheimer antics based on a story they heard from their collaborator, Billy Sherwood on a couple of tracks of the new album about how Jon would keep getting his name confused with Bobby Sherman - and that was the dedication to Ghost in the Mirror, one of my favorites of the new songs.

For those crowdpleaser awaiting late seventies retribution got their wish when Geoff did took off on his little medley of 'Video Killed the Radio Star' from which I understand that Geoff will be performing with his one time Buggles partner Trevor Horn for a benefit in his honor sometime in England next month. The new material was just as well received as the old stalwart hits from the hit bag judging by the audience reaction. Hearing the striped down versions of Wildest Dreams and The Heat Goes On had my mind flooding back to those nostalgic times of innocence of rigorious pain-in-the-ass piano instructors or heated moments when I would hide with my Asia and Alpha sheet music in between transcribing manuscipts of Bach or Mozart during my assignments for Music Theory classes back in high school just for a little dose of sanity - so it was fun to hear these 'low carb' versions over the coarse of two nights and from what I could see from Geoff's point of view or the visualization of seeing him displaying his chops up close and personal- there was a lot of augmentative thought that goes into these simple 'pop' songs.

It was a shame that drummer Chris Slade hasn't mastered the skill of figuring out a map of the Los Angeles area yet- otherwise, I would've gotten three autographs on the new album for the price of two. I'll be anxious for Geoff and John to be bringing the full band back for a 'real' album tour sometime in April of next year.

Setlist: (both nights, October 14 and 15, 2004)

Wildest Dreams
What About Love?
Long Way From Home
Heat Goes On
Silent Nation
Only Time Will Tell
Ghost in the Mirror
Video Killed the Radio Star
Heat of the Moment



Testing, one, two, three.

Currently in Vegas - drinking Tequila shots, losing at slots- even though I'm in debt to the IRS for close to 4 grand, and watching a whole slew of DVDs that I'm trying to catch up on that I haven't had time to do at home.

For some peculiar reason, I'm having a bitch of a time trying to access my yahoo and MSN accounts on my dad's computer. I can read mail on yahoo, but I can't send any out or delete. Ditto for hotmail. I was hoping that I would get the chance to send out my long overdue Deposit Man newsletter from my dad's house- but alas, I guess that's spamguard show biz. If this blog is working - I could maybe draft my next two entries - one dealing with the Asia acoustic shows back home and the other shooting the shit on Saturday nights with Starsky & Hutch.

Testing- one, two, three.