Archive for April, 2013

Pounding the Drums for my Blues Book

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

The publicity is beginning for the release of my book Legends of the Blues this weekend. Tomorrow (Wednesday) I’m doing a two hour radio show. The show starts at 3 PM (PST) and goes until 5 PM. It will be at www.LuxuriaMusic.com

I’ll be bringing some of my favorite blues CDs — many of which will surprise you (wanna hear Muddy Waters‘ original version of Led Zep‘s “Whole Lotta Love”?).

Here’s the Flavorpill link for my book signing at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery – please share on Facebook and Twitter. It’s directly from the Flavorpill page — Thanks!

http://beta.flavorpill.com/events/517ebbb39553f1001c000cd2r

And check out this great review of my book from Mother Jones:

http://www.motherjones.com/slideshows/2013/04/legends-blues/lobcover630jpg

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

This afternoon I’ll be winging my way across the northern US border to appear as a guest at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, one of the best-run conventions I have ever attended.

I’m bringing lots of Stout stuff for you to peruse, so I hope to see you there! Details can be found in the Appearances section of this website.

I am really looking forward to seeing my wonderful Canadian fans, as well as my nearby American fans who hopefully will hop across the border for the weekend. The food and drinks in Calgary are terrific (thank you, French influence) and the people couldn’t be nicer.

Please come by and say “Hi!”

Boston Survives

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Well, this has been quite the weekend.

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that as soon as I heard about the tragic bombing I reassured the Boston Comic Con that I was NOT going to cancel. I just had to show my support for that great city and its people.

I took off from LAX early Friday morning on a JetBlue flight. I monitored what was going on in Boston via CNN. As I was about an hour away from landing a banner scrolled across the bottom of the screen that read: “Boston Logan Airport: No Taxi Service; No Train Service; No Bus Service.”

Damn! It looked like I was going to have to spend the weekend at the airport. Already there were hundreds of potential college students trapped at the airport, as that weekend happened to be College and University Visitation Weekend.

As my plane was touching down, however, the taxi ban was lifted. After I retrieved my luggage I caught a cab into the center of town. It was 5:00 PM — the heart of rush hour. It was incredibly eerie; there was not a car nor any people on the streets.

It turned out that my hotel was across the street from the bomb site. There were barricades everywhere, staffed by hundreds of police. The press had set up across the street from the entrance to my hotel:

As I entered the lobby of my hotel I ran into Good Duck Man Don Rosa. He informed me that the Comic Con had just been cancelled (understandably, the Convention Center couldn’t give the show organizers a straight answer as to whether or not the Convention Center would be open Saturday morning. The second perp had not been found yet and there was a massive manhunt going on with huge chunks of Boston still locked down). I called to verify and, sure enough — no show.

I hadn’t eaten and was starving. I was informed by the hotel that their restaurant was open, along with just two others in the area, so if I wanted to eat, I had better put my name down on the seating list because the place was soon going to be packed. It was.

At dinner I sat with a fellow screenwriter from Los Angeles (Coincidence? I have begun to doubt that coincidences exist, as they happen to me on such a regular basis).

After dinner I met up with Frank Cho and some other artists. We spent the evening at the bar. I was over-served far too many Kentucky Bourbon beers (that’s beer that’s been stored in former Bourbon barrels — very potent). Thanks for all the free drinks, guys!

With the convention cancelled, I had the next day (Saturday) to myself. Boston is an astounding art city. The first place I always visit in Boston is the Boston Public Library. I go there to see (and drool over) the Symbolist murals by John Singer Sargent and especially the Holy Grail murals by Edwin Austin Abbey. And, Hey! — the library was right across the street from my hotel:

To my great disappointment, though, there were barricades preventing anyone from entering the Library. So close — yet so very far.

I decided to explore the area and have lunch. I found a great place to eat, the Parish Café.

Wandering the streets I was witness to a city cloaked in sorrow — yet with a tenacious spirit that refused to be defeated.

There were tributes to the city — and to the fallen — everywhere. People took every opportunity to express themselves.

I found a huge gathering of people. I stepped into their midst to find they were all visiting and adding to an impromptu memorial.

If you look carefully, you can see there are three crosses with photos and names of the three innocent people who were killed in the bombing. Sitting as a part of the tableau was a local homeless guy with his little pet beagle:

People kept adding to the memorial. They set down personal items and expressions of grief. Some contributed objects that represented and symbolized the city itself. I wept a lot.

On a quiet side street I spotted the sign shown above. I was puzzled at first (no…that’s not “Z” for “Zombie”) until I noticed more (and similar) signs, each with a letter of the alphabet.

These signs indicated areas where you could meet and find your family members (by going to the first letter of your last name) during the chaos of the tragedy.

I found these letter signs unbearably sad.

I spent most of the day at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (where I saw an incredible Anders Zorn exhibition and a whole lotta Sargent paintings) and at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, one of America’s greatest art museums. I must have seen over four dozen Sargent paintings, including several of his most famous ones. WOW! It was almost too much. Almost, I said…

On Saturday evening I got together with more artists and some artist agents. I was sketching in the restaurant’s waiting area. It turned out that the maitre d’, Javier, was a big monster movie fan. I was drawing monsters, so he kept bringing me free appetizers. He knew ’em all! This time I paced myself with the alcohol, as I planned to attend an impromptu mini-con at Larry’s Comics over in Lowell on Sunday.

The mini-con was fun. I met some smart, staunch fans and made some new ones. I left from Larry’s Comics for the airport and made it to my gate with but five minutes to spare. Boston traffic was back to normal!

I sat next to a forensics expert on my flight home, so I had lots to talk about and learn, as I have always found forensics to be an exciting topic of discussion, CSI fan that I am.

I’m happy to be back but feel sadly lucky that I got to share in and witness firsthand this tragic historical moment.

It looks like the Boston Comic-Con might take place later this year. Watch my Appearances section on this website for an update.

I’ll be there.

Boston Comic Con!

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Hokey Smoke, Bullwinkle — it’s time for the Boston Comic Con!

I look forward to seeing all my New England friends and fans this weekend! Soon!

Dog Snout Salsa

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

OK; this concoction might just make the Wolfman‘s nose run with spicy delight!

The recipe for this Yucatán salsa dates all the way back to the ancient Mayans. I have modified and enhanced the recipe with touches of my own. Note that habanero (ah-bah-NAY-roe; I hear this word mispronounced all of the time. The “H” is silent and there’s no Spanish tilde over the “N” like in the middle of “mañana”) peppers are incredibly hot, even for a hot pepper lover like me. When you mince them, wear rubber gloves; otherwise, you might accidentally touch your eyes. YIKES! That would be an EXTREMELY painful experience!

DOG SNOUT SALSA
(Mayan Name: Xnipek)

2 fresh habanero chile peppers (scotch bonnets may be substituted for habaneros. They’re just as hot but a little fruitier)
2 medium-to-large tomatoes, chopped
1 small-to-medium white or purple (whichever is sweetest and mildest) onion, chopped
1/3 cup bitter orange juice (see below)
3 tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro (aka Chinese parsley)
1/3 cup (or a little more) fresh, dark, sweet pomegranate seeds

To make Bitter Orange Juice:
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons lime juice

Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Use within 24 hours. Yield: 3/4 cup.

Back to the salsa…
Remove the stems and seeds from the habanero peppers (don’t forget to wear rubber gloves!), then finely chop them, just slightly larger than if you minced them.

Combine all of the ingredients except for the cilantro. Let the mixture sit for two hours to blend the flavors. Add the cilantro just before you serve it. Yield: 2 cups

Serve it with Mexican restaurant-style tortilla chips (not crap “fake” chips like Doritos).

The salsa will keep in the fridge for two or three days (if it’s not all eaten within the first hour. I usually make a triple batch). Personally, I like salsa best when it’s chilled.

This is a very refreshing salsa. The citrus juices and the pomegranate seeds (one of my own non-traditional touches) make for a cool sweet/tart counterpoint to the saltiness of the chips and the spiciness of the peppers. I’ll bet a few chopped pieces of tangerines or mandarin oranges (remove the seeds of either before chopping) or mango would be a nice addition to the recipe. Make sure you don’t use too much onion; it can overwhelm everything else.

Let me know what you think! It’s always a big hit with my family.

Getting Ready for Boston

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Well, fuck the terrorists; I’m going to Boston anyway. This weekend I’ll be at the Boston Comic Con. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in that great city.

What do I love about Boston? The great art (I never miss seeing the Edwin Austin Abbey Holy Grail murals and the John Singer Sargent Symbolist murals at the Boston Public Library), the great food, the sense of American history that is there and, most of all, the great people of Boston with their unique spirit and outlook on life. If you have a friend from Boston, you know you have someone that’s got your back in any situation.

I wouldn’t think of cancelling on this show. I hope you won’t either. It’s going to be great!

PS: Up above is another of the monster pics I did for Monsterpalooza. Drawn and inked in 2012 but colored about a week ago.

Monsterpalooza – Last Day Today

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

It’s All Things Monster at Monsterpalooza! There’s an incredible Howard Sent (not Mike Hill, as I had reported earlier) display this year. It’s full size figures of Jack Nicholson, the twins and Jack’s little son (all from The Shining) that are blowing people away.

It was packed yesterday and everyone seemed to have a smile on their face. The Museum there this year is exceptional.

I hope to see you there!

MONSTERPALOOZA — WOW!

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

I had a great time at Monsterpalooza last night. It felt like Old Home Week for all of us Monster Kids!

A big first for me was my ability to take credit card payments via my new Android and Square. Woo hoo! Finally stepping into the twentieth Century…

Today should be even better. Eliot Brodsky puts together an incredibly well-run, well organized show. I’m in Booth #1, just down from Mike Hill‘s incredible display of characters from The Shining.

See You Today, My Friends (I hope)!

Bill

MONSTERPALOOZA!

Friday, April 12th, 2013

This morning is my set-up time for the coolest monster convention in the world: Monsterpalooza! Nearly every special effects artist and make-up person in The Biz will be there this weekend (see Appearances on this website for where, when, etc.).

I’ll be set up in my usual spot. I’m bringing a new batch of six little classic monster portraits (see The Creature, above) that I just painted. They’re priced to sell, so I hope I’m successful.

See you there!

Wild Bill’s Cowboy Beans

Monday, April 8th, 2013

WILD BILL’S COWBOY BEANS
BARBED WIRE VERSION
INGREDIENTS

Beans
Pinto Beans (16 oz.)
B & M Beans (16 oz.)
Black Beans (16 oz.)
Ranch Beans w/Jalapeño Peppers (16 oz.)
Dark Red Kidney Beans (15 oz.)
Bush’s Best Grillin’ Beans – Smokehouse Tradition (22 oz.)
Bush’s Best Grillin’ Beans – Black Bean Fiesta (21 oz.)
Country Style Baked Beans (28 oz.)

Sauce
Robust Molasses (8 oz.)
Plum Jam (3 heaping tablespoons)
Worcestershire Sauce (6 tablespoons)
A-1 Steak Sauce (6 tablespoons)
Jack Stack BBQ Sauce (6 tablespoons)
Pepper Creek Farms BBQ Sauce (6 tablespoons)
Chipotle Fire BBQ Sauce (6 tablespoons)
Mrs. Renfro’s Green Salsa (4 tablespoons)
Mrs. Renfro’s Red Salsa (4 tablespoons)
Buffalo Chipotle Sauce (3 tablespoons)
McIlhenny’s Tabasco Sauce (3 tablespoons)
McIlhenny’s Tabasco Caribbean Steak Sauce (3 tablespoons)
Vidalia Onion Jalapeño Hot Sauce (2 tablespoons)
Heinz Catsup (3 heaping tablespoons)
Safeway Southwest Salsa – Medium (4 tablespoons)
Sweet Pickle Relish (3 heaping tablespoons)

Fixin’s
Cornichons (18; diced)
Large White Onion (sliced and grilled)
Large Celery Stalks (2; diced)
Bacon (7 large strips)
Smokey Sausages (4 links; sliced)
Salt (3 teaspoons)
Fresh Ground Pepper (2 teaspoons)
Mint Leaves (2 teaspoons)
Basil (2 teaspoons)
Sage (2 teaspoons)
Bay Leaves (3)
Rosemary (2 teaspoons)
Marjoram (2 teaspoons)
Chili Powder (1 teaspoon)
Coriander (1 teaspoon)
Ground Cumin (2 teaspoons)
Minced Garlic (2 teaspoons)
Ground Cloves (1 teaspoon)
Cayenne (1 teaspoon)
Cardomon (1 teaspoon)
Dill Weed (1 teaspoon)
Cinnamon (1 teaspoon)
Thyme (2 teaspoons)
Ground Mace (1.5 teaspoons)
Ginger (3 oz.; peeled & chopped — or you can chop up the same amount of Trader Joe’s candied ginger)
Ginger Snaps (2.5 oz. crushed)
Brown Sugar (4 heaping tablespoons)
Crushed Red Pepper (2 teaspoons)

DIRECTIONS
1) Put on some good, soulful blues music. Play it loud. This will be your cooking music.
2) Pour all of the beans into a very large crock pot. Set the heat on low.
3) Fry the bacon.
4) Remove the bacon after cooking but leave the bacon grease in the frying pan.
5) Coarsely chop the bacon.
6) Add the chopped bacon to the pot of beans.
7) Fry the sliced sausages in the bacon grease.
8) Add the cooked sausage to the pot of beans.
9) Fry the chopped onion and celery in the bacon grease.
10) Add the onion and celery to the pot of beans.
11) Add all the other ingredients to the pot of beans.
12) Simmer all day, stirring occasionally, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.

This will yield a huge pot of extremely spicy y muy caliente (but legendary) cowboy beans. People from Wisconsin and other Midwest regions will not be able to eat them — but if you like hot, spicy food, you’re in for the treat of your life. Many heartfelt, passionate and manly poems have been inspired by just one taste of these beans. Grown men have been known to weep with pleasure from the experience.

TENDERFOOT VERSION
For a more family friendly version, double the amount of beans. This batch will still be hotter than hell, but not so hot that you’ll be bawling like a baby in public.

SISSY VERSION
There are some sorry folks who just can’t handle much spice or heat in their food. I don’t know why, but most of them seem to be gathered in great numbers in the center of our country. Don’t mock these poor souls; simply pity them, as it’s just so damn sad to ponder.

For the Sissy Version (if you feel you must desecrate this culinary adventure), double the amount of beans and use half as much Mrs. Renfro’s Green Salsa, Mrs. Renfro’s Red Salsa, Buffalo Chipotle Sauce, McIlhenny’s Tabasco Sauce, McIlhenny’s Tabasco Caribbean Steak Sauce, Vidalia Onion Jalapeño Hot Sauce, and the Safeway Southwest Salsa (Medium), then curse your wussy tongue.

Eliminate the chili powder, cayenne and crushed red pepper, then take the time for a moment of silence to lament their loss.

If you’re all really good, next time I’ll share my oatmeal raisin cookies recipe, or maybe my cheesecake recipe (a perfect cooler after you’ve tried the beans).