“The diamond looks much smaller in person.” ~Ms. Merrywood
“‘Tis true, ’tis true, ’tis true. Celebrities always do.” ~The Twin
The day-to-day existence of even the most eccentric rock star or celebrated of creative souls is probably mundane. This is certainly true for this minor cult artist. I generally scratch away my hours, locked-up in my apartment, trying to write or draw something that doesn’t totally suck, usually failing, and then starting the whole wretched cycle over again the following morning.
Since I work from home, weekdays, weekends, holidays, and even day and night tend to blend together in this artsy routine. AM and PM are typically delineated only by coffee and whiskey (ladies’ choice)… and then, seemingly out of nowhere, inspiration strikes and creative ideas, once aimless, start to coalesce into something that works, and all of that boring artistic plodding is suddenly worth it.
It’s because of the long, un-glamorous trail between those noteworthy spurts, that I tend to struggle with social media. As a result of a public demand for constant online entertainment, the days of the mysterious artist who hid under a rock for years and only emerged when they had something mind-blowing to share seem gone. Instead, we get blanketed with photos and posts of what so-and-so ate for breakfast, who they ate it with, etc., until everything, even the stuff that was once sacred and used to move our souls, becomes a corporate-sanctioned, reality TV soup… but I don’t have any opinions on the matter.
All rants aside, the exciting moments of my career as an artist are special. Precisely because they are so few and far between. These magic flashes are the ones that I want to share with the world, and it’s often difficult to have to wait the months, and sometimes years, for an album to be mixed, a film to be edited, or—as is recently the case—a board game to arrive from the manufacturer, before I can.
Recently, my American Murder Song writing partner, Saar Hendelman, and I offered a front row seat to aspects of our creative process to some of our most dedicated fans. Specifically, we hosted board game nights where a handful of willing souls could compete against Saar and I on a prototype version of our upcoming The Donner Party Board Game (the game won’t be available to the general public until late-June, but can be pre-ordered here). We also assembled a small band of brave mortals to sing on our next album.
I’m happy to share that the game night experiences were wonderful, even for this shut-in of a social media-fearing Grinch. Sure, I was the first to lose at each of our matches, but it was a thrill to be able to tabletop adventure a project that was twelve months in the making with those for whom it was made.
The studio session was no less successful. The chants, whispers, hoots, and warbles from our quintet of songbirds will be a featured part of our upcoming album (which will be released later this year). As a bonus: the admissions we charged for our game night and studio get-togethers are helping to fund the projects themselves. Double-bonus: if a budding Annie Wilkes was a part of these adventures, she was kind enough to leave her axe at home. Now that’s teamwork.
To everyone who participated in the above fun, thank you. It was an honor to share the experiences with you. To everyone else, there will more opportunities for communal mischief and merriment coming down the pike. For starters: to those in the Salt Lake City area, come join me for a 10-year anniversary screening of Repo! The Genetic Opera at the Tower Theatre on Saturday, May 26th.
For everybody, everybody else, if Saar and I were to offer a select number of board game nights with us during travel days on an upcoming tour, is that something for which you’d be interested in buying a ticket? If you’ve already played the game with us, is this something that you might recommend to a fellow fan? Please share your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.
(Game Night photos by Beverly Hendelman; Studio photos by William Rot)