Talking with Ken Reid, The TV Guidance Counselor

By Jason Harris

Courtesy of Ken Reid Tumblr page.

Courtesy of Ken Reid’s Tumblr page.

Ken Reid is a stand-up comedian and a podcaster, TV Guidance Counselor. He will be attending the New England Super Megafest this weekend. He will be performing Friday night at the Cosplay Comedy Kickoff Party. I had the pleasure recently to ask a number of questions about

Q:     In 2003, you decided to try your hand at stand-up. What was the impetuous behind that decision?

A:     I had been in bands from 1996-1999 or so, I am in no way shape or form a musician, but always wanted to perform. Once the band broke up and I had no musicians to ride the coattails of I thought stand up was my only route. I always liked comedy and watched tons of stand up, so i gave it a go.

Q:     How many stand-up engagements do you perform in a year?

A:     I average about 2 a week so 100-150 a year is probably about the normal.

Q:    Do you have any engagements coming up? If yes, where and when?

A:     I’ve taken the rest of 2015 off for the most part for a much needed breather, but I’m still doing the podcast weekly and will be back to frequent shows in 2016. My updated schedule is always at ikenreid.com

Q:    When did the idea for your podcast, TV Guidance Counselor, come about?

A:     Friend and fellow comic Sean Sullivan basically told me that I have all these TV Guides, when people come over my house we often will flip through them and discuss old shows, why not just do that as a podcast? I wanted to do a podcast for a long time but didn’t have a great idea that would be different from the usual two comics just chatting format, until Sean threw that at me. I also do almost no pop culture stuff in my stand up, despite that occupying a huge part of my brain, so it was a great excuse to exercise a lot of that stuff.

Q:     When did you start collecting TV Guides?

A:     As early as I can remember. There are photos of me at age 2 with a TV Guide in my hand.

Q:    What issue made you want to collect TV Guides?

A:    Not sure if it’s a specific issue really . I like having the little digest sized time machine on hand.

Q:    Are you still collecting?

A:    Not new issues, but if I see some old ones I don’t have, I grab them.

Q:    What were some of your favorite shows growing up?

A:    Just the Ten of Us is a lifelong favorite, Newhart, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, The Adventures of Pete and Pete. The Facts of Life. Weirdly I’ve been lucky enough to have people who’ve been on all those shows guest on my podcast.

Q:    What are some of your favorite shows now?

A:    Weirdly I don’t watch too much new stuff. I like The Flash, and I still watch Supernatural. Fringe was the only show I watched weekly as it came out and LOVED in the last few years. I think it is the best sci-fi show of all time.

Q:    Who are some of the people you would like to have on your podcast?

A:     I do have some dream guests. Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens, Cassanda “Elvira” Peterson, John Larroquette, John Waters.

Q:     You will be at Super Megafest in November and the Pop Culture Expo in December, are these the first conventions you have been a guest at?

A:     Weirdly no. Gary at North East Comic Con has had me do live TV Guidance Counselors at the last few. I always have a good time. Last year, I did the stand up show at Super Megafest, which was also fun.

Q:     What drew you to being a guest at a convention?

A:     They asked, and I’m almost always there anyway, so it’s a win-win.

Q:     Are there any comedians you looked up to growing up?

A:     Dana Gould was my absolute #1 for sure. I was also always a huge Bob Newhart fan.

Q:    Who are some comedians today that you would suggest people go see?

A:    Hmm….I’d still go with Dana Gould.

Q:    Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to become a comedian?

A:    Don’t do it! But if you must be prepared to be terrible for at least two years even if you think you are. Don’t do it with a goal in mind, just do it to enjoy doing it and you’ll be fine.

If you are free this weekend, go to Super Megafest to hear Ken and to meet a lot of celebrities. Find out more information here.

Lou Ferrigno, the Original Incredible Hulk, at Rhode Island Comic Con this Weekend

By Jason Harris

Lou Ferrigno.

Lou Ferrigno. Photo by Jason Harris.

Lou Ferrigno, the original Incredible Hulk, is in town for the fourth Rhode Island Comic Con, which starts this afternoon and runs until Sunday, November 8. We sat down at the Dunkin Donuts Center to talk about bodybuilding, the Incredible Hulk, and being the personal trainer for Michael Jackson.

Ferrigno discovered weight training 52 years ago at the age of 12, he said.

“When I was a kid, I was really skinny. I was just obsessed with power. I wanted to be powerful. I discovered weight training and I knew it would make me feel good about myself.”

Ferrigno wanted to be a hero like Hercules. He would watch old Hercules movies, then want to be a modern day gladiator or some other heroic character from the movies or comic books.

“I would fantasize about being the Hulk because of the way I was built.”

One day, he received a phone call about auditioning for the role, which at the time was being played by Richard Kiel. Kiel played the character of Jaws in two James Bond movies. The reason behind the switch was because director Kenneth Johnson’s son was on set one day and said Kiel didn’t look like the Hulk in the comic books, Ferrigno said. They contacted hundreds of people, including him, to audition.

“They called me, I went down for the screen test and immediately they hired me. And the next day, I was filming. In 48 hours, I went from bodybuilding to show business.”

Everything he did for the role came naturally to him, Ferrigno said.

“When I did the pilot, I used a lot of the animalistic behavior the way the character should be.”

One of his favorite moments on The Incredible Hulk was meeting Cary Grant, who came to the set with his nephew to get a picture taken with him.

“I was excited because he was one of the top movie stars in the world. That was one of my exciting moments because of the fact I was well respected.”

Ferrigno enjoyed working with Bill Bixby, who he considered “a very talented actor.” He was a fan of Bixby’s television shows The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and The Magician.

“I learned a lot from him. He was an icon. I was excited to learn from him and watch him.”

Ferrigno’s portrayal of the Incredible Hulk ended in 1990 with television movie, The Death of the Incredible Hulk, but he has continued with the character by voicing him in the UPN cartoon and in the current Marvel movies that started with The Incredible Hulk in 2008. The job was given to him after the director heard him say “Hulk crash” and “Hulk smash” at New York Comic Con seven to nine years ago, he said.

In the last few years, Ferrigno has been on Celebrity Apprentice and in an episode of Star Trek Continues.

“It was great because you’re on a show with a bunch of egos, celebrities,” Ferrigno said about Celebrity Apprentice. “I’m glad I raised 100,000 for my charity [the Muscular Dystrophy Association]. It taught me what it’s like to be with other celebrities. It was fun, but the hardest thing was no one wanted to be fired so you’re forced to look at other people’s faults. That was tough.”

Ferrigno did mention that “Donald Trump is a loose cannon.”

“I was very tense because you’re in the boardroom three times a week. You have to be careful how you conduct yourself. So with me, they were afraid of me, because when we were in the boardroom I just spoke my mind.”

Ferrigno has always been a fan of the original Star Trek so he was happy to play slave trader Zaminhon on Star Trek Continues when Vic Mignogna asked him. He wasn’t happy with the makeup, which took five hours to apply, he said.

“I knew I wanted to play [the character] because it was against type. I enjoyed playing that character.”

His upcoming movie Instant Death will be released next April. You will see him do things in the movie that audiences have never seen him do before, he said.

“I would say it’s my best work ever.”

Along with his acting, he continues giving advice about being a person’s own personal trainer at his website here or being a personal trainer to stars like Chuck Norris and Mickey Rourke. He was also Michael Jackson’s personal trainer for 20 years, which came about because he was a good friend of Jackson’s doctor.

“He learned a lot from me and I learned a lot from him,” Ferrigno said about Jackson.

You can meet Ferrigno at Rhode Island Comic Con this weekend. Find out more about the convention here.

‘Insanity Tales II’ Cover Revealed by Books and Boos Press

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Books & Boos Press has debuted the cover for Insanity Tales II: The Sense of Fear. The cover plays off of the eye theme from the original Insanity Tales anthology cover. Both covers were created by artist Melinda Phillips.

Insanity Tales II: The Sense of Fear will debut in early October. According to Stacey Harris, co-owner of Books & Boos Press, she hopes to have copies of the new anthology to join the first one at their table at Rock & Shock. Two of the authors, Stacey Longo and Rob Smales, will be on hand during the convention to sign copies.

The collection features eleven stories from six of New England’s finest storytellers. David Daniel, Stacey Longo, Dale T. Phillips, Rob Smales, and Ursula Wong each have two short stories in the book; Vlad V. contributed a novella. Multiple Bram Stoker winner Joe McKinney (Crooked HousePlague of the Undead) wrote the foreword.

The book is a themed anthology: each author based their stories on different senses, going beyond the traditional (sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste) to elements such as a sense of doom, of powerlessness to control the future, and a sense of false hope.

The anthology is the second installment from Books & Boos Press. Insanity Tales debuted in October 2014.

Discover Books and Boos Press

By Jason Harris

 

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Books & Boos Press first came on the publishing scene in 2013 with the publication of Secret Things: Twelve Tales to Terrify by Stacey Longo. This collection of wickedly entertaining stories will compel you to lock the doors, keep the lights on, and ponder what it might be like to embrace the darker side of human nature. Everybody has secrets. Sometimes they can kill you. These twelve stories will have you wanting more from this author. In 2014, two of Longo’s stories were included in the anthology, Insanity Tales. This anthology also includes works by Dale T. Philips, Vlad V., and Ursula Wong.

In 2015, this Connecticut based press published My Mom has MS by Longo in February and Where Spiders Fear to Spin by Peter N. Dudar in May. Dudar is a  Bram Stoker Award® Finalist. Acclaimed artist Morbideus Wolfgang Goodell illustrated the book.

These books will be available at the Books & Boos table at Connecticut Horrorfest this Saturday in Danbury, CT. Longo will also be on-hand to sign her books.

Books & Boos Press announced in June that they will be publishing works by Dan Foley and Rob Smales. This is a press to keep your eye on in the future.

‘Where Spiders Fear To Spin’ is Now Available from Books & Boos Press

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Books & Boos Press is proud to announce the release of Where Spiders Fear to Spin, the terrifying new novella from Bram Stoker Award® Finalist Peter N. Dudar. Acclaimed artist Morbideus Wolfgang Goodell illustrated the book.

Where Spiders Fear to Spin tells the tale of former soap opera star Sadie Mills, a woman literally haunted by her past whose final days are filled with horror. Her daughter resents taking care of her, her former lovers are dying off one by one, and her dead husband’s vengeful ghost has returned from the dead to drag her to hell.

We’ll be celebrating the release of the book at Anthocon in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (www.anthocon.com), June 5–7, 2015. Both Dudar and Goodell will be available on Saturday, June 6, at the Books & Boos’ tables to sign copies of the novella.

The book is available in paperback or e-book wherever books are sold. Visit one of these links to buy your copy today!

Amazon:

Paperback: http://tinyurl.com/spiderspaperback
Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/spidersebook

Barnes & Noble:

http://tinyurl.com/spidersbandn

Review copies are available upon request. Contact Stacey Harris at stacey@booksandboos.com.

‘My Mom Has MS’ Author to Appear at Rhode Island MS Walk

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Author Stacey Longo will be on hand at the Walk MS event being held at Mt. Hope High School in Bristol, RI this Sunday, May 3. Longo will be selling her children’s book, My Mom Has MS, to help fundraise for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

My Mom Has MS is the story of Patrick Holder, an impressive young man whose mother Renee was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008. While the entire family banded together to help Renee cope with her diagnosis, young Patrick began asking his friends not to buy him gifts on his birthday, but rather to donate to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Longo and Renee Holder have been friends for a decade. “I wrote the book as a surprise for Renee and her family, to both honor all of them—they really are an amazing team—and to help raise money to find a cure for MS,” Longo said. “Patrick’s tale was both endearing and remarkable. I was honored to be able to put it to paper.” Longo also illustrated the book.

Renee and Patrick will be volunteering at the Bristol MS Walk. Book-buyers are welcome to have their book signed by both the author and the stars of the story.

My Mom Has MS is published by Books & Boos Press. The book can be purchased here.

Pictures from Queen City Kamikaze 2015

By Jason Harris

 

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Authors Dale T. Phillips, Vlad V., Ursula Wong, and Stacey Longo at the Books & Boos' tables.

Authors Dale T. Phillips, Vlad V., Ursula Wong, and Stacey Longo at the Books & Boos‘ tables.

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Convention attendees playing video games on the big screen.

 

From left to right: Emily Drouin,  an illustrator, comic book artist, caricaturist, and painter and Jeremy Drouin, writer.

From left to right: Emily Drouin, an illustrator, comic book artist, caricaturist, and painter and Jeremy Drouin, writer.

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Jason Voorhees from Jason X.

Jason Voorhees from Jason X.

Authors David Daniels, Dale T. Phillips, Stacey Longo, and Vlad V., the authors in the collection, Insanity Tales, published by Books and Boos Press.

The Writing, Editing, and Collaborating on a Book Panel: authors David Daniel, Dale T. Phillips, Stacey Longo, and Vlad V., the authors in the collection, Insanity Tales, published by Books and Boos Press. Photo by Jason Rivers.

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The Two Jasons. Jason Voorhees and Jason Rivers.

The Two Jasons. Jason Voorhees and Jason Rivers.

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You can find out about Queen City Kamikaze here.

Connecticut Author Participates in Bacon Academy’s Annual Arts and Crafts Fair

By Jason Harris

Bacon Academy held its third annual Sleigh Bells Arts & Crafts Fair at Bacon Academy in Colchester, Connecticut. This year Hebron author Stacey Longo was on-hand selling and signing her books including Secret Things and Pookie and the Lost & Found Friend.2014-12-06 09.28.56

Author Stacey Longo holding her book, Secret Things.

Author Stacey Longo holding her book, Secret Things.

She also had a number of anthologies she has stories in at her table. One of the anthologies was Insanity Tales, which was published this past October.

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Pictures from Vermont Comic Con, Part II

 

By Jason Harris

 

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Harley Quinn.

Writer/artist Bob Layton

Writer/artist Bob Layton.

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The Flash and Mr. Fantastic.

The Flash and Mr. Fantastic.

Writer/artist Matt Bessette.

Writer/artist Matt Bessette.

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Jareth the Goblin King and Sarah.

Jareth the Goblin King and Sarah.

Deadpool and Spider-man.

Deadpool and Spider-man.

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The Penguin.

The Penguin.

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Rick Grimes and a zombie.

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Authors Matt Spencer and Kristine Croto.

Authors Matt Spencer and Kristine Croto.

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Actress Melissa Cowan (The Walking Dead).

Actress Melissa Cowan (The Walking Dead).

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The Mighty Snorter table.

The Mighty Snorter table.

‘Insanity’ Authors to Sign at Haunted Acres in New Hampshire

 

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Dale T. Phillips and Vlad V., two authors in the Insanity Tales anthology published by Books & Boos Press, will be signing copies of the book at Haunted Acres in Candia, New Hampshire this Saturday, Oct. 11, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

It’s a collection containing stories and one novella by such illustrious authors as David Daniel, Stacey Longo, Dale T. Phillips, Vlad V., and Ursula Wong. Enter a world of madness as you read these nine tales of twisted psyches, peculiar people, and demons of the mind and spirit.

This anthology includes a foreword by award-winning author Jonathan Maberry (Rot & Ruin) and the cover was created by Melinda Phillips.

If you can’t make it to Haunted Acres to see , you can purchase the paperback by clicking here or the e-book here.