Sunday, August 31, 2014

BANGKOK LAUGHS WITH CHRIS WEGODA




I FIRST MET actor Chris Wegoda while holding auditions for THE NATIVES a comical satirical play (tightly written, exceptionally great dialogue - whoever wrote that thing?) about dysfunctional English language teachers in Thailand. Chris Wegoda was chosen to take the role of a nerdy intellectual academic (forever typecast, is Wegoda) thrown together with a red-neck Kiwi, a yoga bothering eco-warrior vegan, a Vietnam war Washington Square acid casualty and a Star Wars geek played by Jay Acton, Meirav Botley, John Marengo, and FC Beer Nieuwoudt respectively. The show is on ice. I mean, not like Disney on ice. Nor performed on meth. The show is on hold, for now. But guys, if you are reading lets get it back on track.

I digress....

Wegoda stands up
In the meantime Chris has been a busy man, camping it up in The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Checkinn and again in the Second World War stage production Bent. Not only has Chris trod the boards across town he has also penned a deal for a motion picture being shot here in Thailand and also does a bit of modeling work on the side. As long as I can recall he has been an active member of the Bangkok Comedy circuit and is about to launch his own - The Comedy Club Bangkok will be situated on the top floor of one of favourite boozers - The Royal Oak.

I caught up with Chris Wegoda yesterday.

       
What makes you laugh?
 
I think about this for a lot. For sure everyday life is funny, it just is. Not everything of course, just the funny bits.  In terms of watching comedy, it wasn’t stand-up when I was growing up in the UK, sitcoms were huge such as Only Fools and Horses, also improv comedy with Whose Line is It Anyway? And perhaps my favourite, Shooting Stars a mock game-show of craziness and fun with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer… Now of course stand-up and panel-shows are all the rage.

What's all this comedy business down at the Royal Oak?
Ha! Bangkok’s first dedicated comedy venue! After running The Londoner open-mic for 3 years and that pub closing down, it was time to move on and move up. Bangkok deserves a real comedy club. The scene is lightyears ahead of what there was before The Londoner, as it is as much about cultivating the comedy scene with the resident Bangkokians as bringing in professional talent. Plus now the improv comedy scene is really kicking and I've teemed up with Canadian pro improviser Drew McCreadie (an award winner no less)! So the combination of stand-up, improv and a lot more now has a home and to start with the audience will know where to go every Friday for comedy.
 
The Royal Oak. Yesterday.
 
Tell us about the strangest thing that's happened at a comedy event?
Where to start… a drunk guy falling off his chair, another guy violently vomiting (not because of the comedy), me trying to (jokingly) chat up a girl on stage and finding out she’s a lesbian, or a comedian emptying large chunks of the audience? There’s been a few!
 
Chris, you also have some stage and film stuff going on, tell us about it?
It’s funny that when I started doing comedy, I was not keen on the label ‘comedian’ I wanted to be called an actor first and foremost, now I have to say both! As for the acting I do anything, film, short film, commercials, voice-overs (such as in the English dub of Yak – Thailand’s biggest budget and most successful animation of all time) and more. For stage, I recently had the lead in BENT – a play about the persecution of homosexuals and WWII, worlds apart from my comedy work although it did have many comedic moments.  It was the first play for ’Peel The Limelight’ who’s aim is to bring professional theatre to Bangkok, and trust me they did! Honoured to be a part. Also recently I  did the musicals Moulin Rouge as Christian and The Rocky Horror Show as Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Thankfully all well received. I also work on film such as the Thai cinema release movie ‘Scissors, egg, silk and 2 ½ Baht and will be shooting as the lead in a English language, Thai produced comedy later this year. 
 
A Yak. This morning.
 
 
What's the best way to spend an evening in Bangkok, if its raining, and you forgot your raincoat?
Well if you have a partner the answer is pretty obvious and if you don’t it’s important to love yourself. Asides from that, I like watching old British television and one or two new American series. I’m also a big movie buff.

Top five movies?
I hate these questions! These might not be my top five exactly, but they are damned good movies!
Godfather 1&2
Goodfellas
Empire Strikes Back
Aliens
A Beautiful Mind
Predator
Tootsie

Thanks and look forward to seeing the first show
For more details visit The Comedy Club Bangkok's facebook page HERE
Come along and enjoy the fun.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

BRUNI AND BEECH VISIT THE BEACH HUT



JIM’S HUT, a rude construction nailed together from palm timber and corrugated iron. A well-stocked bar and a floor covered with cushions, ashtrays, and old pulp dime store titles piled, Ace double backs, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales. A three-legged beach dog with terminal dermatitis sits beneath a hammock where JOHN BRUNI rests. JAMES NEWMAN fusses behind the bar while JASON BEECH flicks through the aforementioned pulp titles. Jim's business partner JOHN DAYSH is out by the bay gathering crabs. 

NEWMAN: First question, straight of the bat, is what can we get you from the bar? And what record should we put on? We have this old gramophone that still plays like the day it was born and the bar is comprehensive.

BRUNI: I think this calls for a double Wild Turkey 101 neat and some Tom Waits. Maybe HEART ATTACK AND VINE

John Bruni Drinks Wild Turkey

NEWMAN: Got it. Mine will be the Singapore Slag, a cocktail I invented myself. Kicks like a mule.
BEECH I’ll have a River Horse Milk Stout. It's filling, so I can drink all day without wasting time with food. We should do the Nutty Dance to Madness' Bed and Breakfast Man before the alcohol makes us look silly

NEWMAN: I'm on it, Madness and Wild Turkey, often mentioned in the same sentence. I’ll slip on Waits first while the booze takes her time to take effect. Now let's cut to the chase and talk about reanimated flesh... My story in the Zombie Triple Spanking is about undead monkeys who escape and run wild on a cargo ship….We all know that the zombie stories go back to Voodoo and I’ve managed to dig up various stories about people going into drug like trances following spells and intoxication…This shit is interesting….[Newman downs his Singapore Slag and begins to prepare another.] Can you guys sum up your contributions in a sentence or two? And why, why, did we decide on zombies? Is there a revival? A resurrection or something blowin’ in the breeze?

BEECH: While Frank is blowing zombie heads to pulp, Lizzie's view that she is now the world's mother is ballooning. She doesn't much like Frank, but she'll trigger bloody mayhem when she realizes there's a rival Eve out there. Zelmer Pulp's C'mon do the Apocalypse gave me the itch to write a zombie story. Try not to run when you see me scratch. Ryan Sayles' contribution blew me away. Then there's Shaun of the Dead, a film I've seen about twenty times. There's some gut-punching terror mingling with the comedy. Could you shoot your mum? Even if she did want to eat your brains? I need another stout to ponder that terror. I'm not sure it's a zombie revival. Zombies have seemed a permanent fixture ever since the Romero remakes. Tom Waits' voice would make great zombie ambiance.

BRUNI: I agree with Jason. There is no zombie revival. The undead shamblers have been with us for a while, and they're here to stay. That said, there are very few zombies in my story, despite the fact that it happens during the zombie apocalypse. I always try to do something different with a trope, and I hope I've succeeded here. My story is really about a slacker who used to work as a pirate captain on the Treasure Island Adventure Show in Florida. Except now he's a real pirate, and he's saved a lot of lives on his quest for a zombie-free zone. Rumor has come down to him that Chicago is just such a place, but he doesn't know why until it is too late. You see, a former junkie/drug dealer, Captain Meth-Mouth, fancies himself a pirate. He has made Chicago safe, but only from zombies. He is a ruthless, vicious leader, and his one true dream is to battle another pirate at sea. He is about to have this dream fulfilled in Captain Meth-Mouth on the High Seas of Chicago.
Tom waits for service.

NEWMAN: Hear what you saying, and must say that Romero was a big influence on me as a nine-year-old. Up there with Kubrick. The Dawn of the Dead -shopping mall - "When there's no place left in hell the dead will walk the Earth" made a huge impact on my pre-pubescent years. I want to thank you guys because I probably wouldn't have written a zombie story without reading your stuff first. Before we kill this bottle of Wild Turkey, tell what other coals you have in the fire? John - you and I are doing something similar. I've been working on a book called Rich Fuckers for a while and you have something called Poor Bastards and Rich Fucks.

BRUNI: POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS is a tale about class warfare in the future. A bunch of rich fucks kidnap some poor bastards that society won't miss--prostitutes, the homeless, people like that--and pit them against each other in a battle to the  death with a prize of $1 billion to the winner. The rich fucks have been doing this for many years, but this time around, there are a few complications. Two of the poor bastards are actually the children of some of the rich fucks, and there is also a ringer. In addition, one of the rich fucks likes to hunt down the contestants himself, just for the thrill of the hunt. And then there is the journalist and his rebellious friend who are out to expose the whole thing to the world. It's a tale of violence, betrayal, corruption and the desire to do good in a fucked up world (and what that will get you in the long run). Like with Captain Meth-Mouth, this one has a very memorable villain in the form of Richard Coppergate, who graces the cover of the book in all his decrepit glory. I'm curious, though. What is Rich Fuckers about? cover of the book, here
 
 

NEWMAN: Great cover. Fantastic synopsis. Can't wait to read that mother. Rich Fuckers is about an international Swingers club. A secret club who meet once a year tropical locations and swing, they hire a local prostitute to add some spice to the event. Problem is things get out of hand and the hooker dies in the swimming pool.Like Bryan Jones, she was a good swimmer so questions are asked. Fingers are pointed. Its a novel about greed and the lack of respect for the poor by these rich fuckers who grow up thinking they are better than anyone who doesn't evade tax. Jason, do you have a new project to share? 


BEECH: Those projects sound nuts. I'm working on Moorlands, a novel about a former council estate kid, Larry, on his uppers as an adult. The novel starts with him breaking into his old house for an old ring he stole from a neighbor years before, after finding out its value. He can't find it under the well-fingered floorboard where he hid it as a boy. His step-dad, Bill, an ex-cop, bangs on his door the next day, rolling the jewelry between his index and thumb. Larry's eyes show the fire revealing his cool reaction as bullshit. He can have it - if he looks for his estranged sister, who's gone missing. The search will make Larry confront his past, question the incident in the woods where he left her alone with friends all those years ago, and ask whether he really wants to find her. It will have action, murder, and desperation. I'm half way through the bugger.

James Newman with Kevin Cummings.
·    NEWMAN: Sounds goood, man. We should talk about influences here. I recently did a podcast thing where I talked about reading as much as you can before and during the fiction writing thing. It occured to me that a writer is influenced by all kinds of shit. What are your influences? - mine are as follows: William Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Jack Daniels, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Grey Goose Vodka, Hugh Gallagher, LM cigarettes, Kevin Cummings, Dashiell Hammett, John Daysh, Patrick Hamilton, Florida lemon juice, Coke a Cola, Edward Bunker, James Hadley Chase, Honduran cigars, Lou Reed, real ale, Luke Haines, Patty Smith, great hornbills, treefrogs, rare predatory moths and Bangkok City.
BRUNI: Wow, I have so many influences, it would take forever to talk about them. Obviously, I wouldn't be here without Stephen King. To a certain degree, I wouldn't be here without Joe R. Lansdale or Richard Laymon, either. Richard Matheson had a pretty strong hand in my make-up. But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be doing any of this without Franklin W. Dixon, the conglomeration of authors who wrote the Hardy Boys books. These books were the ones that made me want to write when I was a little kid, THE HAUNTED FORT in particular. Also, Nick Cave helped a great deal with his book, AND THE ASS SAW THE ANGEL, which is my favorite novel of all time. If you haven't read it, you should give it a shot.

·    NEWMAN: Nick Cave? My friend and fellow author/publisher Tom Vater met him and had dinner with Cave in Indonesia at a festival a while back. He is also been shortlisted for the movie soundtracks of the best book movie adaptation of all time (that has yet to be made). Cave's book, I read, enjoyed, but felt that I would have gotten more from it if I had read the Bible in more detail than I have. Looking forward to the new Cave biopic. So time to switch the jukebox. Red Right Hand, gets my vote and my coin so that's it slotted.... Murder Ballads. Great record - like Miss Marple on crystal meth. Jason, what writers or film-makers float your boat?


Nick Cave Yesterday (almost).


BEECH: I've always wanted to write, but I didn't know how far a writer could go until I read James Ellroy's American Tabloid and Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory. They're completely different, but they both sparked my engine. I'm loving Niccolo Ammaniti's books. His As God Commands and I'll Steal You Away are as wild as they come.  I've never read a Stephen King book. I feel I should walk on glass and lash my back with a broken stick for saying so. Recommend something and I'll get on it. I'd like to say I drink hard liquor reading all that, but it's usually the black stuff. Either a stout, or a cracking cup of tea. I'll drink those watching Shane Meadows movies, such as Dead Man's Shoes. Christopher Nolan is always great, and when the Coen Brothers make something like Miller's Crossing, I'm there. 
 
And with those wise words the three authors proceeded to drink the hut dry while swapping unspeakable tales of the undead.
 
The Zombie Triple Spanking is out on Spanking Pulp Press soon featuring...

JASON BEECH - The Bloody Path to New Mexico
JOHN BRUNI - Captain Meth-Mouth on the High Seas of Chicago
JAMES A. NEWMAN - Undead Cargo
 
You can find out more about John Bruni HERE
And Jason Beech HERE
And Spanking Pulp Press HERE/
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

THE FAST RATS


THANKS TO Kevin Strange and John Brunni at STRANGE HOUSE BOOKS for publishing my STRANGE STORY SATURDAY. Like most of my fiction it was inspired by a nightmare...
Its about Rats, and sewers, and stuff read on....THE FAST RATS  




THE BEAT GOES ON.
JAN.