Oregon – Birth state, home of much of my family, all sorts of Pretty Places, and often offbeat. Oregon fits me.
And (plug!) you’re about to see more of this fair state, because Season 2 of Leverage is shooting in and around Portland.
Radio – TruFax: In 2002 and 2003 I seriously considered pursuing radio work, say starting with an internship and (I hoped) moving up to on-air. A friend who’d been a DJ told me what I’d likely to be into if I became a DJ, and I decided that the job wasn’t for me, so I’d be a fan and supporter of good DJs and stations instead. Before that, I already was the sort of radio listener who followed DJs from station to station: on and off, I listened to Don Geronimo from 1984 to 2008. I’ve followed Daria since 2001, and she’s had four different shows in that time (including one that lasted less than a week; NOT a good fit, but it led to a better-fitting gig).
Radio’s a wonderful medium. I’m glad I got exposed to audio drama early in life, thanks to Brian Daley’s Star Wars adaptations: I can appreciate “theater of the mind.” (My brother T.J. is an even bigger fan; he’s collected a lot of ’30s and ’40s radio drama.) Don Geronimo and his partner-in-crime Mike O’Meara made their 1980s “Morning Zoo” more like a soap opera, with actual drama (sometimes real-life drama) playing underneath the morning show wackiness, and that made it a deeper show.
Radio can and should be better than it is. Radio should be allowed to do more than circumscribed playlists and talk-radio crankery (which isn’t a word, but I’ll use it), and I’ve tried to find DJs who do more than that. That’s one of several reasons I like Cort and Fatboy.
Serenity – Not my first exposure to Joss Whedon (I’d seen a fair amount of Buffy Seasons 5 and 6 before abandoning my TV in mid-2002), but the most all-encompassing.
Browncoat friends let me know of their fondness for Firefly, and later of the unusual tactics used to make the film happen and get the word out about it. Mike Russell covered the spring 2005 Portland screening of the unfinished film in one of his Culture Pulp comic strips. The film, when I finally saw it opening weekend, pressed a lot of my buttons, and I became a fan. Smartasses forced to save the universe: it impressed me. (At the final 2005 showing of the film in Portland, I met Mike Russell, Dawn Taylor (coffeeinhell), and Dawn’s husband Patrick Hurley in person finally. After that screening, though I didn’t know this until months later, several fans started having the chat that led to the founding of the worldwide charity effort Can’t Stop the Serenity.) People heartily endorsed the series Firefly even more, and I’ve since seen the show’s whole run twice – first on DVDs borrowed from the library, and then in the “Firefly at the Mission” screenings in summer 2007. And I’ve seen Serenity maybe 10 times.
Boingo – formerly Oingo Boingo, formerly The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, and a band I love. 17 years of rock madness came from them. I’d been a Danny Elfman fan since his score to the 1989 Batman, and in college my Southern Californian friend Paul Breton (think young Dr. Drew in looks) supplied me with tape dubs of a bunch of good Boingo stuff, so I could finally expose myself to Elfman’s rock side. Later I hooked my girlfriend Alicia on Boingo, too; she actually took my Boingo Alive 2-CD collection and didn’t give it back.
I became a fan too late to ever see them, except on video. I got the two-tape Boingo Farewell on VHS, of their last-ever show in 1995; Alicia now has that, too! And I perk up when I see people tied to Boingo show up somewhere, like drummer Johnny “Vatos” Hernandez’s cameo in From Dusk Till Dawn. And last year, during a KUFO charity fundraiser, I paid for a song to be played: Boingo’s “Cry of the Vatos,” with all the “Wow-wow-wow-wow-oh-wow” chants and backmasked lyrics that in fact were praise-Jesus shoutouts. Cort called it “a song as weird as the dude requesting it.”
One more Boingo anecdote: their song “Islands” scared me once with that siren sound effect. I first heard the song in Hermiston, Oregon. Which has sirens, in case chemical weapons leaked from the depot next to the town. And hearing that siren sound on a pretty strong stereo system made me look around and think What? That a real siren? No.
Harlan – A reader of Harlan Ellison’s since high school. A collector of Harlan’s since college. Someone who’s seen Harlan in person twice and spoken briefly to him once. That’s me. I’m also acquainted with a fair number of people who know Harlan Ellison and his wife Susan. The source of many great stories, both those he’s written and those he’s lived. (“The Three Most Important Things In Life”: hilarious when talking about that bad date, then horrific and sad when talking about the death in the movie theater, and then hilarious again when talking about getting fired from Walt Disney Pictures.) I’ve been aware of Harlan since the mid-80s when he got briefly mentioned in David Gerrold’s The World of Star Trek; I also watched The New Twilight Zone, which he worked on, around the same time. Sometimes I wish I could be Harlan when I grow up, but I have completely the wrong personality for that. Though he has been an influence on my reviews.