Monday, December 17, 2007

Interview with filmmaker Kurtis M. Speiler

By Frank Reynoso

Writer, director and producer Kurtis M. Spieler trekked from Connecticut to New York’s West Village, braving the chilly October rain to attend the screening of his short film Sheepskin. A group of young suburbanites abduct a man who they claim was responsible for the murder of one of their own. Armed with chains, bats and a gun, they drive him to an abandoned drive-in where tension thickens and moral doubt creeps in. The subtle thriller was one of the many shorts that pointed to a new crop of filmmakers – at this year’s New York City Horror Film Festival – who are forging new territory, making the beloved genre their own.

After a program of shorts that included Spieler’s short along with the feature presentation of Hershell Gordon Lewis’ notorious Two Thousand Maniacs, the young filmmaker took some time out to answer some questions in the lobby of the Cantor Film School of NYU.

How did you get into filmmaking?

It’s always been something I’ve been interested in ever since I was younger. I got my hands on a video camera when I was younger. My friends and I actually started off by making mostly skate boarding videos and we sort of learned how to cut them ourselves. It was just always a passion and I kind of ran with it.

It took me a while. I didn’t originally go to school for it; I have a degree in criminal justice. When I was in the working field, I realized that that wasn’t what I really wanted to do and that filmmaking was. So I stopped what I was doing and went to film school here in NYU and that’s where it’s taken me.

How did you come up with the idea for Sheepskin?

Basically the idea behind Sheepskin sort of spawned from [asking] what if somebody killed a friend of yours or a family member? You would ultimately view them as a monster and so you would see them as not human in a way. So what I was trying to do was take the idea of this person being a monster but actually, literally making him a monster.

Why are people so interested in mythological movie monsters like the werewolves, vampires…?

I would say because it’s fear of the unknown. (Sigh) Frankly, there’s a lot of fear that we have amongst each other as people but it’s scary to admit that. People can be the scariest things. I think sometimes we create these monsters to distract us and make us be afraid of the unknown instead of what’s in front of us.
So stand-ins for our own fears and anxieties.

Right. Basically.

What social/cultural function does horror serve aside from the one you just explained right now?

For me, I think it allows people a safe environment to express how they feel, both for filmmakers and for the viewers. Movies are fake; they’re not meant to be real. You know, horror in real life is scary and it’s ugly but this allows us a safe environment for people to act out fantasies and enjoy things that in society are wrong and taboo.

I think for filmmakers it allows us a chance to just express ourselves in various ways by creating monsters that may represent other things. I think for the audience it allows them the chance to sort of indulge in those fantasies in a safe place as well as be scared and face things that maybe they are afraid to face in real life.

How would you explain particular horror films like Halloween or vampire movies that stand the test of time?

As far as what?

Well a particular film speaks of a particular fear and anxiety of that moment? So why would something like George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead still stand the test of time?

I think some of the classics have universal themes and they are expressing things that are universal throughout. Sort of what I was saying before about us being afraid of, really, each other, that’s definitely what’s in Night of the Living Dead. There’s a lot of social commentary in [that movie] but that for example is taking people, dead people but still people, and making them the monsters. So I think [in] things like that, there are themes that can go throughout. [In] Halloween, you have the nameless, faceless killer. He can represent any nameless, faceless killer that you see on the news. [In the news] they give them names, they give them faces but in the movies we don’t. Those are themes that go throughout because that’s what everybody is afraid of. It’s that guy who’s lurking behind you, lurking in the closet, looking in the alley. I think they have universal themes that stand throughout.

Any last thoughts you’d like to add?

No. It’s a great experience for me here at this film festival. I sort of upped and stopped my life and decided to pursue this career of filmmaking full force. I finished at NYU at the beginning of January and since then I’ve shot a few short films and have really put myself out there and it’s a great honor to be here at the New York Horror Film Festival.

Are you working on a film right now?

I have a couple of shorts that I have shot and now cutting and I’ve also been working on a couple feature lengths.

Thank you so much.


© Frank Reynoso, Oct. 2007, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 10, 2007


(left to right: Kimberly Sheridan, Nik Moore, and James Tehrani)

Inborn Tattoo, NYC
hosted an opening party on Friday night for their new art show, showcasing some new works by tattooists. Above are some of the colorful and talented people who populated the Lower East Side bash.

© Frank Reynoso, Dec. 10, 2007, All Rights Reserved


On Friday Nov. 30. , some of the folks at The Indypendent gave a talk at Hunter College about the importance of alternative media - specifically the major role that our newspaper plays. With my tummy warmed by a cup of coffee and an updated Powerpoint presentation (who doesn't love slides?), I spoke about the evolution of our cover and the synthesis between visual art and journalistic activism.

I'm the small, spectacled, bearded guy with dreadlocks. :)

© Frank Reynoso, Dec. 10, 2007 All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bring on the Blood: Review of the 2007 New York City Horror Film Festival

(Top: still from Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door. Bottom: still from Uwe Boll's Seed.)

This is an excerpt for a review I did on the 2007 NYC Horror Film Festival. You can read the full review on the Indypendent site.

by Frank Reynoso

Cold, sporadic rain didn’t deter ardent fans from making the pilgrimage to NYU for the sixth annual New York City Horror Film Festival. The five-day extravaganza, like a Mexican Day of the Dead celebration in celluloid, brimmed with as many laughs as gasps. Festival directors Michael Hein and Anthony Pepe selected excellent films that showed the breadth of an often pigeonholed genre. A broad range of works from Australia, California, Germany, Indonesia and New York drew as diverse a crowd of supporters.

Despite scholarly attention and critical success, horror is viewed by many as little more than porn: sadistic and voyeuristic schlock for degenerates. This year’s fest presented a thriving genre that’s often thought stagnant and juvenile and rampant with clichés and predictable narratives. I had shared that opinion but this fest showed me that horror is alive and kicking.

Standout films included Richard Gale’s crowd-pleasing Criticized (which won the award for best short), a black comedy about an unhinged filmmaker who abducts and tortures a prominent critic who trashed his film. A period piece set in Texas, Chickenfüt is a funny and touching short about the torment of a German exchange student who gets revenge on his bullies; his fate spawns an urban legend. Matthew Byrne directed the eerie and pensive Southern gothic tale The Wake. The mostly pantomimed film follows a middle-aged woman who binds a boy, hangs a cabbage above his face, and starves him. Quiet and revealing, the story plunges into a surreal ending. The Fifth is a tightly written and acted absurd comedy about five suburban men gathering for their regular poker game, which is annoyingly interrupted by one man’s job as a serial killer. The claustrophobic short Of Darkness, by Gary Irwin, is a modern Lovecraftian tale about a group of suburban boys who unlock an incomprehensible evil contained within an ancient book.

[Read full review...]

© Frank Reynosos, Nov. 2007, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Now that the Young Principles Theater Company's show "Laugh Du Jour" is over - we did two shows that got lots of good feedback - I'm taking a much needed vaca. Thanks again to all who came and especially to the YPT Crew for making it happen. WE DID IT!!

I'll keep you posted on the developments of my stage short "Winning The West," directed by Thomas Slivinski. It should be up before the Christmas Craziness kicks in.

Now I'm going to take a nap on this soft, furry, white bunny...

© Frank Reynoso Nov. 2007, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Jeff Faerber art at Group Show

My friend Jeff Faerber is having 12ish works in a Coney Island themed Group Show at the Object Image Gallery in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The show also has works by Joanne Pendola.

Coney Island show
Object Image Gallery
in Park Slope Brooklyn
91 Fifth Ave
Brooklyn NY 11217

Gallery Opening

Nov 10, 2-6 pm.
Jeff will be there from 4-6

more details:

Thursday, November 1, 2007

What I read and watched...

What I read and watched...

Desolation Jones
by Warren Ellis and J. H. Williams III
A sordid romp of espionage, government experiments and Nazi porn. J. H. Williams III's crisp and graphic illustrations embedded in experimental layouts sometimes further entangles an already convoluted narrative.

NextWave: Agents of Hate
by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen
High-velocity action and attitude make this mainstream comic a delight. If only it's price tag would equal it's shelf life...

Fog of War
directed by Errol Morris
An opaque documentary on one of the architects behind the war in Vietnam and one of the most influential figures in world history. Morris masterfully presents a complicated and mysterious man against the backdrop of a brutal political world.

The Thin Blue Line
directed by Errol Morris
Morris' critically acclaimed documentary on a heinous injustice in Texas perpetrated by the legislative authorities and its consequences on an innocent man.

Interviews: Mike Leigh (Conversations with Filmmakers Series) by Howie Movshovitz
An intelligent look at one of the world's most respected filmmakers alive right now and his confounding methods for producing his works. Leigh ultimately appears as complex and layered as his films.

Pride of Baghdad written by Brian K. Vaughn and art by Niko Henrichon
A captivating although simplistic narrative that presents some harsh realities of the war in Iraq. The anthropomorphic characters dull a potentially powerful story. Henrichon's art, although skillfully rendered, at times feels to light for a scene.

Reel Bad Arabs directed Sut Jahlly with Jack Shaheen
A good documentary and educational filmthat explores the various Hollywood stereotypes of Arabs on the silver screen. Unfortunately the narrator Jack Shaheen makes a couple sweeping statements that are simplistic, undermining some of his good intentions.

Wong Kar-wai
by Peter Brunette
A thoroughly researched but often overly complicated and theoretical book on one of the world's greatest filmmakers. The collection of interviews alone, which shed some light on Wong's unconventional production process, makes this book worthwhile.

© Frank Reynoso, Nov. 2007, All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 26, 2007

Covering the NYC Horror Film Fest


Starting with their kick-off party at Don Hill's on Wednesday night, I've been covering this year's New York City Horror Film Festival with much glee. Today's selection of cinematic terror looks to be promising, based on the films thus far and the assorted blurbs in the program. With pen, pad, tape recorder, steel nerves, and a disposition for some of darker things in life, I march off to another day's celebration of evil, death, and destruction.

© Frank Reynoso, Oct. 2007, All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Emily Niewendorp's Blog

My friend, actress and writer Emily Larson, aka Emily Niewendorp, started a blog wherein she'll:
  • post links to articles she find interesting,
  • write about her travels,
  • brag about her friends & family and their accomplishments,
  • post poetry,
  • discuss current events, and
  • of course, journal.
Check it out:

© Frank Reynoso, Oct. 2007, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Keith Knight Interview

My friends Mikhaela Reid and Masheka Wood introduced me to Keith Knight at this year’s MoCCA Arts and Comic Fest. I got his email address and permission to conduct an email interview. I shopped the interview around a bit but didn’t get anywhere. Rather than letting it whither away, here’s the unedited interview.

By Frank Reynoso

With two fierce, weekly comic strips, (th)ink and K Chronicles, Keith Knight easily surpasses many cartoonists’ creative output. Add to this his numerous books, his band Marginal Prophets, greeting cards, and his ubiquitous presence at annual comic events like MoCCA and SPX, and you’ll get a better understanding of the word prolific. Behind Knight’s gentle demeanor and pleasant voice is a sharp mind that roars in his works, delving into a range of subjects: from everyday racism to post 9/11 America to urinary mishaps. Mr. Knight took some time to answer these email questions that reveal what makes for a good political cartoonist and how he’d physiologically describe his visual style.

FR: Where are you originally from and how did you end up in LA?

KK: I grew up in Malden, Massachusetts. Just north of Boston. Birthplace of Converse All-Stars and Jack Albertson, the old man from "Chico and the Man".

I just moved to Los Angeles four months ago after 16 years in San Francisco. I moved cuz I was getting complacent.
FR: What is one childhood experience that's defined you?

KK: When I asked my 11th grade English teacher if I could do a comic book report instead a regular book report. He allowed me to do a comic book parody of George Orwell's "Animal Farm". He gave me an A-plus, and said I should be doing a syndicated comic strip.

FR: What's a typical day for you? Talk us through your day from waking up with a coffee in your hand to passing out with a pen in your mouth.

KK: No coffee. I'm a green tea guy.
I get up. Make some cereal. Write down a list of what I'd like to accomplish for the day. Check email. Take care of any impending comic deadlines by 5pm eastern time (2pm my time). Shower. Grab my drawing stuff and head to a local cafe. Draw for a few hours. Head home. Check email. Make calls. Fill online orders. Prepare dinner. Fool around with the wifey. Mebbe go to another cafe to draw some more. Mebbe we watch a movie and go to bed.

FR: Who is the biggest non-comics/cartoon influence on your work? How did you end up being a cartoonist?

KK: George Lucas. Richard Pryor. Spike Lee. My great uncle Owen. Does it have to be just one?

I've always wanted to be a cartoonist. I didn't know how it was gonna happen. I just knew I was gonna be one.

FR: What is your biggest cartooning regret?

KK: No regrets. I ain't got time for regrets.

FR: What makes for a good political cartoonist?

KK: Taking a complex issue and distilling it down to a simple, humorous and effective image.

FR: Which of your works do you like least? Which one do you like most?

KK: There are a ton of strips that I'd like to write and draw over again. But you just move on and attempt to do better with the next one. There are a few K Chronicles that I really enjoy. The K Chronicles is my favorite strip to do.

FR: What's missing in comics and/or cartoons?

KK: Nothing and everything. You can do so much stuff with a comic. It's like your own little film where you control the dialogue, the actors, the scenery. It's a great medium.

And there are so many different people doing some many different things. Something for everyone. You just gotta search for it.

FR: What body part would you use to describe your visual style?

KK: Ass. Pure ass.

FR: Where can folks find your cartoons?

KK: Lots of places. Mad magazine. The Funny Times. A lot of alternative weeklies and college newspapers. Go to my website: It'll tell you where you can find my stuff.

© Frank Reynoso Oct, 2007, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Excerpt from "By George" for Young Principles Theater Company comedy show

This is an excerpt from "By George", a skit written and directed by me for the Young Principles Theater Company. Now we're considering titling the show Laugh Du Jour and putting up the show in the first week of November. Stay tuned for actual dates and location.

By George

In a corporate office, a young, manic businessman, MR. RICHARDS, sits at his desk, punching madly at the keyboard to his computer while looking away. His intercom buzzes.

RICHARDS (pressing intercom): Yes, Naps?
RECEPTIONIST: Mr. Andrews, your 10:30, is here.
RICHARDS: Shoot him over.

Dave straightens himself out, checks his breath and looks at his wristwatch. ENTER MR. GEORGE ANDREWS, a confident young business hopeful.

RICHARDS (all smiles): Ah. Mr. Andrews. Glad to see you’re early.
GEORGE (shaking hands): Well, I make it a virtue, Mr. Richards.

Mr. Richards and Mr. Andrews chuckle.

RICHARDS (motioning to empty chair before desk): Please.
GEORGE: Thank you.
RICHARDS (turning to computer): And please call me Dick.
GEORGE (amused): Sure, Dick.
RICHARDS (smiling): Just looking at the resume you emailed us here and it looks doable. As you know very well, this company’s in dire need of leadership at the ground level. (leaning closer to George) Let’s just say that the streets aren’t holding butter. Catch my drift?
GEORGE: Holding butter?
RICHARDS: But a man of your qualifications shouldn’t have a sandy time. The work is difficult but you’ll be trained a good whipping. (surprised at himself) Well take a goggle at me: I’m preaching to meows here. So, let’s save ourselves some time and get down to business. (turning to computer, punching madly at keyboard) Yes, sir. Time is cheddar, time is cheddar.
GEORGE: I don’t understand a thing you just said.
RICHARDS: Well, you should get out more. (laughs) In this fast-paced market you can’t expect oranges to fly just for you. You sniff? (return to files) Once you’re with Berry Jiggly. (grinning) You’ll be gagging till Denmark, Mr. Andrews.

George smiles and folds his hands over his lap.

GEORGE: Oh… (relaxing) Well, you can call me George.

Richards glares at George and restrains himself. His fingers dig into the edge of the desk.

RICHARDS (forcing himself to speak): Excuse me?
GEORGE (confused): I beg your pardon?
RICHARDS (standing up): What did you just say? To me?
GEORGE (taken back): I said you can call me George.
RICHARDS (fuming): How dare you?
GEORGE (confused, pointing to monitor) My name’s at the top of the resume.

Richards gasps at the screen and covers it with some papers from the desktop. Repulsed, he turns it away, adjusts his tie, and turns to George.

RICHARDS: Is this some sick joke? I’ll have you know my mother’s a saint.

George looks around.

GEORGE: Is this some prank? (smiling) Alright, come on out! You got me!
RICHARDS: The only prank, Mr. Andrews, is Berry Jiggly’s serious consideration of your employment.
GEORGE (stands outraged): I want to speak to Mr. Jiggly immediately.
RICHARDS (stands and reaching for intercom): It’ll be my buffet.

© Frank Reynoso, Oct. 2007, All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tribeca's "Other" Film Festival

Tribeca’s ‘Other’ Film Festival

This is an excerpt from my review, with Irina Ivanova, of VisionFest 2007. You can read the full review at The Indypendent.

- Frank

VisionFest 2007
Tribeca Cinemas

VisionFest, founded in 2001 as The Guerrilla Film and Video Festival, aims to elevate domestic filmmaking to the status of foreign films. Dubbed “the other festival,” the Tribeca-based annual event occasionally unearths films that go on to success at Sundance and elsewhere.

Participating films are mostly unrestricted in length and subject matter, and everything from three-minute horror shorts to full-length features are shown side-by-side, loosely organized by theme and genre. This year’s VisionFest, which ran from Sept. 19-23 at Tribeca Cinemas, was a mixed bag with a few gems.

Several films caught our eye. Patrick Smith’s Puppet is a humorous and existential treat in traditional hand-drawn animation.

Roland Becerra’s Dear Beautiful, a 30-minute animated horror feature, blends rich textures and a single-narrative voice to portray an apocalyptic story set behind a Connecticut couple’s deteriorating relationship. In the House of the Sin Eater, by Paul Kloss and Mathew Acheson, animates puppets and found objects to create a lush blend of anthropology and fairy-tale.

© Irina Ivanova & Frank Reynoso Oct. 2007, All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 28, 2007

Stills from "Intolerable" rehearsals by Young Principles Theater Company

Here are some still from the Young Principles Theater Company's rehearsal of my skit "Intolerable" at 440 Studios, NYC. This skit was also directed by me.

Art snob Charles (Jared Scheinberg) mocks introverted web-head Ernie (Emily Larson).

Charles (Scheinberg) toasts while the ambivalent Ernie stands aside (Larson).

© Frank Reynoso, Sept. 2007, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Stills from "By George" rehearsals with Young Principles Theater Company

Here are some stills from the Young Principle Theater Company's rehearsals of "By George" - written and directed by me - at 440 Studios, NYC.

Mr. Richards (Jared Scheinberg) and George Andrews (Dennis Giovanni Pimentel) begin the absurd interview. "You sniff?"

George (Pimentel) is confounded by Richard's (Scheinberg) jargon.

Receptionist (Jessica Duclos) does her nails as Richards (Scheinberg) looks over George's promising resume.

"Time is cheddar. Time is cheddar!" Richards (Scheinberg) and George (Pimentel).

© Frank Reynoso, Sept. 2007, All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why Write? Dispatch from Daniel McGowan

Daniel McGowan's story is sorted and entrenched in the political climate we're in now. Below is an excerpt from a feature on him that ran in The Indypendent. Farther down is a dispatch sent by Daniel McGowan to his friends, family and activists.

For updates on Daniel's situation click here.

- Frank

Enemy of the State
by Jessica Lee

Growing up in New York City, Daniel McGowan saw first-hand how pollution fogged the air and fouled the beaches in some of the city’s poorest communities, setting him on a lifelong path of environmental and social justice. But how he ended up drenched in gasoline and setting fire to Oregon’s Jefferson Poplar Farms in 2001 and was later targeted as a “domestic terrorist” is the story of someone who cared too much and didn’t know what else to do.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens’ Rockaway Beach, Daniel McGowan grew up sandwiched between asphalt and the sky, in a forest of buildings and buzzing streets. Until Dec. 7, 2005, the 33-year-old with a round face and a chipmunk smile was mostly known in local circles for his involvement in a variety of activist projects. Today, after a nearly two-year legal battle that saw him labeled an “eco-terrorist” by the U.S. government, McGowan is serving a seven-year sentence at a federal prison in Minnesota on 15 counts of arson, attempted arson and conspiracy to commit arson against two private companies in Oregon in 2001.

(for the full story and interview with Daniel go to Enemy of the State)

Why Write?
by Daniel McGowan

It's a question I have been pondering the last two months since I reported to prison and the clock started ticking. Why, indeed? What do I have to say that is new or fresh? Will I bore people with repetitive tomes about my case or the Green Scare? Do people want to read what I write? All these questions haunt me as I put pen to paper attempting to deal with a ton of unexpressed thoughts and emotions made worse by a self-imposed silence during my legal proceedings. Where do I even begin? I doubt at times whether I can handle the release of these emotions-- anger, frustration, betrayal, profound sadness. . . I fear that there won't be a lesson or a neat and clean conclusion to what I write about that you'll get to the end and ask. So yeah, that sucked-- what am I supposed to do? The idea that anyone might think I know also freaks me out.

As in all things though, you learn by doing. You start the journey with that first step, you are that much closer to leaving prison after the first day or month or year. I'm in prison so what sense is there in not trying to make sense of it all, to not risk failing or looking stupid or being wrong. So, I've decided to write, to not wring my hands endlessly, scared to release my writings. I've even figured out some damn good reasons to write too-- I'm going to write because we need to be more flexible in our approach and if I can't be on the streets fighting my ass off for a better world, well, at least I can speak my truth on these pages. Because we live in a world where people who abuse women rarely go to prison and when they do, go in for a few years while people who destroy the inanimate property of multi-national corporations go in for longer. Because silence is complicity and I won't be bullied or silenced by prosecutors who brag that I was forced to self-report early because of my website and speaking on Democracy Now. Because I've lost some friends and comrades these past years and they can't. Because I will never for a second accept the label of terrorist for trying to call attention to what our species is doing to our planet, and because maybe we can all learn from mistakes I have made.

See, there really are some good reasons to write despite my fears after all. I don't know what this path of exploration will look like but I'll do my best to keep digging and fighting.

© Daniel McGowan, Aug 2007, All rights reserved

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What is he reading now...?

The Improvised Play: The Work of Mike Leigh by Paul Clements

An unnecessarily complicated but insightful look into the methods of a brilliant playwrite and filmmaker. You can own this out-of-print book at the low price of $145.

Art by Committee by Charna Halpern

Although targeted to comedy, an invaluable resource for improv and performance arts based on the teachings and theories of the late Del Close.

Apparat: The Singles Collection Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis, Jacen Burrows, Laureen McCubbin, Carla Speed McNeil, Juan Jose Ryp

A collection of fantastic and weird tales - inspired by old time pulps - from a master comics writer with great art by some of the best artists around. A kick in the head to a medium with so much potential.

© Frank Reynoso, Sept. 2007, All rights reserved

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Something I'd love to forget but damn this new technology...

Some years ago I considered myself a poet. I went as far as doing open mics and making a couple of chap books. I devoured ArthurRimbaud, Charles Beaudelaire, and Le Comte de Lautreamont along with whiskey and proceeded to make an ass of myself before a live audience. I loved every minute of it. I felt alive and free. In the moment, if you will. Small wonder that I'm so into the performing arts now. Hehehe. Below is a remnant of those times.

Technology is the bastard medium that constantly, clinically reminds us who the hell we were, are and can be.

© Frank Reynoso, Sept. 2007, All rights reserved

A Sip of Texas Tea

A while back James Spruill and I made a comic that we submitted to a publisher for consideration. "Texas Tea", written by James and illustrated by me, is a metaphor for the Iraq War. We were rejected. James and I turned it into a zine called "Lung Juice" - along with some other comix - that we gave away at MoCCA Art and Comic Fest 2006.

Ahh...memories... :)

© Frank Reynoso Aug. 2007, All rights reserved

A Touch of the Cinema

It's been a little while since my last post. I've been kind of busy with Young Principles rehearsals, The Indypendent and some other side projects that I'll post when we've developed material.

The haggard looking guy in this blurry picture is Aldo Mora-Blanco, filmmaker, co-worker, and best bro. We used the slate he's holding for our production of his feature film Mongoose, which we made last year. I co-wrote - whatever that means - the mostly improvised film and was production manager.

Sorry about the poor quality of the picture. I took it as I sat on his bed and shivering slightly from his fan blasting right on me.

Shortly after taking this picture we watched Children of Men by Cuaron. Great, great film.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Interview with Percy Carey aka MF Grimm


Here's an excerpt from my interview with the multi-talented artist Percy Carey, best known as MF Grimm. For the full interview, go to Comic Critique.

["One man's trash is another man's treasure." Percy Carey outside the Puck building.]

Percy Carey has embarked on a new venture, which is to be expected of an artist like him. With enough street cred to choke a stable of horses, he’s trained his energy to music under names like Grand Master, Jet Jaguar, Grimm Reaper, and MF Grimm, and founded Day by Day Entertainment. Even if we were to dismiss all of his previous musical output, his latest release American Hunger, an imaginative and versatile triple-disc album, is enough to make him a force within Hip-Hop.

And it’s his former street life and artistic aspirations that’s the subject of Vertigo’s upcoming, autobiographical graphic novel Sentences: The Life and Times of MF Grimm illustrated by Ronald Wimberly. Sidestepping the well-publicized rivalry he had with one-time friend and partner at the mic, MF Doom, Mr. Carey discussed his latest creative endeavor as a writer of comics. Sitting between smokers and dumpsters on a warm Sunday afternoon on the infamous Mulberry Street outside the Puck Building — and with Mr. Carey’s blessings — we spoke about craft, comics, and Krypton.

FR: So how did this project come about?

PC: It came about with a good friend of mine, Casey Seijas. He’s an editor at Vertigo, DC comics. He approached [me] with the idea of doing a story on my life. [He asked me to do] a couple of pages on my life. It was something that I didn’t really – I thought my life was boring to write about. But he showed me that everyone has a story so I [sat] down and [wrote] it out. [I] did it and [editor in chief] Karen Berger and [publisher] Mr. Levitz, Paul Levitz approved it. And here we are today. It was a beautiful experience. And Ron Wimberly I can’t forget him. Ron Wimberly did the artwork for Sentences.

FR: Yeah. Looks like he did an awesome job from the looks of the sampler.

PC: Thank you so much.

FR: What’s it like to transition from being an artist, a rapper, [and] a musician to being a writer of comic books?

PC: I would have to say it’s the equivalent of a writer of comic books coming into the realm of hip-hop. You have to be looked at. You have to be watched. For instance, I don’t want it to be seen as a gimmick or just a commodity. I really have comics in my heart and I’m a creator so I want to be viewed in the same way and held to the same standards as someone coming into my medium. I want to be watched [and] critiqued and also if need be, and appropriately, praised. So, I’m just thankful. I don’t want it to be viewed as something to be taken advantage of, you know. It’s a sacred art and it should be held at a higher esteem and I look forward to the people telling me if I’m appropriate for the medium.

© Frank Reynoso, Sept. 2007, All rights reserved

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Current readings

City of Tomorrow by Howard Chaykin (Graphic Novel)
A dystopian-noir graphic novel with amazing visuals. I wish the characters and setting were more than elements to move the plot. The action moved too quickly for me to understand, let alone care, about what was going on.

Doom Patrol: Down Paradise Way by Grant Morrison, Richard Case, Kelley Jones,
Mark McKenna and others (Graphic Novel)
A mad romp throughout the inner and outer universes with a team of absurd heroes. Ideas, history, and imagination abound, creating an unforgettable read.

Reunion & Dark Pony by David Mamet (Plays)
With eccentric dialogue and haunting characters, Mamet pens visceral stories
not intended for casual readers.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Excerpt from another skit "That's Not Cool" for Young Principles Theater Company

This is an excerpt from my skit "That's Not Cool" for the Young Principles Theater Company showcase.

The tentative date for the showcase is Oct. 26th - 28th at 8pm. Some titles for the show that we're considering are Gumbo and Oxy Moron.


by Frank Reynoso



Two gals, KIM and STEPH are hanging out outside their building. Both are long time friends as well as hip, ubran twenty-something year olds who love to hang out. Kim paces about while puffing her cigarette. Steph is filing her fingernails.

KIM: The hell was Dan thinking?
STEPH: Obviously a delusional moron.
KIM: Somebody needs to shoot that head of his down before it burns up in the stratosphere. Does he seriously believe we laugh at his stupid little antics?

STEPH: You have to make retards feel good about themselves. It’s an unwritten law.
KIM: And his hairy chest? (gags)

Kim pauses, takes a pull from her smoke, grunts and continues to pace around.

STEPH: Write him an anonymous letter. (pulling out a notepad and scribbling) Dear Shit licker, you SUCK, your ass SUCKS, and I hate your stupid, suck-ass FACE. You ASS! Signed, a secret admirer.

Kim snatches the notepad and pen.

KIM (shaking the pad in Steph’s face): Uh Hello! Don’t you think he’ll figure out who sent it?
STEPH (annoyed): Uh Hello! You can type it and print it out. (reclining) It was just an idea.
KIM (snatching notepad and pen): Leave the thinking to the professionals, alright?


STEPH: Do an intervention!
KIM: What?
STEPH: My cousin had one the other day because she couldn’t stop smothering her chihuaha. Everyday it was new pictures, new toys, new dresses.
KIM (approaching Steph): Eew. Psycho.
STEPH: Grade A psycho.

Kim listens intently.

STEPH: Anyway, we’ll get a bunch of people together, you know, people who know Dan sucks and we’ll lock in a room and we’ll tell him the truth.
KIM: Can we bring snacks?
STEPH (glaring): Can I finish?

Kim scowls.

© Frank Reynoso, Aug. 2007, All rights reserved.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Still from rehearsal of Global Warning

Here are some stills from the Young Principles Theater Company's rehearsal of my skit "Global Warning" at 440 Studios last night, Aug. 27. This skit is also directed by me.

Left to right: Tom (Dennis Pimentel), Jerry (Jared Scheinberg), Karl (Emily Powers), and Graham (Connie Xanthopoulos) - four religious leaders - meet to discuss a grave matter that's threatening America: global warming.

Graham (Connie Xanthopoulos) gets riled up about those "feminazis."

The four men brainstorm on the religious cause for global warming.

Karl (Emily Powers) berates Graham (Connie Xanthopoulos).

Jerry (Jared Scheinberg) listens intently as Karl (Emily Powers) puts his foot down.

© Frank Reynoso, Aug 2007, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fly in Your Eye: excerpt from my interview with LES cartoonist Fly

FLY IN YOUR EYE: An interview with LES cartoonist and activist Fly

Here's an excerpt from my interview with radical cartoonist and awesome person, Fly. You can find the full interview at Comic Critique or the Indypendent. Thanks to Louis Vitela at Comic Critique, and John Tarleton and Irina Ivanova at The Indypendent for punching this material up.

- Frank

Fly’s distinctive style and message came to my attention some years ago on a flyer for a political event at ABC No Rio. Her actions and works speak volumes of the enigmatic person: a consistent presence in New York City radical circles, a member of the World War 3 Illustrated collective (founded by Seth Tobocman and Peter Kuper), and an adamant supporter and teacher of DIY zines and comics. From the cover of the first issue of $pread, a magazine by and for sex workers, and PEOPS, her zine-turned-book by Soft Skull, which chronicles the lives of many downtown Manhattan residents, artists and activists, Fly hardly shies away from the controversial and the commonplace. The prolific cartoonist and illustrator took some time out to talk about the laborious task of making zines, her artistic growth inspired years ago by Sue Coe’s powerful work and Fiona Smyth’s techniques, and the transformation of the Lower East Side in Manhattan.

FR: What she makes of the transformation of the Lower East Side?

FLY: That’s a big question. The LES has been transforming for so long! It’s sort of the nature of the place. People have been fighting [the latest wave of gentrification] since way before I arrived here in the late 80s. There was of course the real estate boom of the 80s that sort of went bust. Anyway, when I got here it was still pretty rundown and crazy in good ways and bad ways. I have to say that I do not miss the drug dealers or the people shooting up on the street but I do miss all the insanely talented artists and performers and just general characters that used to populate the area and I also think it is very unfair that so many people who were born in the Lower East Side now cannot afford to live here. It used to feel a bit like a small town around here but with all the options of a big city. Now if I am out in the evening, especially on the weekend, I am horrified walking along the sidewalks — even on avenue C! — to see the multitudes of loud drunken idiots making so much noise and making a big mess. I don’t know what the hell they are doing but its just so boring! I think a big problem with the Lower East Side is that it used to be a neighborhood and it had real character — and you can still find that here but it is seriously threatened by the dorm mentality of some idiot developers and the fancy restaurants and hair salons that no one living here can afford to go to. With the whole clean-up of the area of course it became safer and so suddenly since it’s considered so “edgey and hip” everybody wants to live here and the rents have become ridiculous. So what happens in the long run is that the real neighborhood gets displaced because people can’t afford to live here and they are slowly being replaced by a very transient population, NYU students and other high priced renters who are not interested in working on a connection to the real soul and history of the place. The LES is just a stepping stone for them, a place to sleep and to use as a background for pictures — oh — I could rant for hours about this. I know I am generalizing but hopefully you get the idea. There are some books I could recommend for your further edification like the recently published Resistance, edited by Clayton Patterson and published by Seven Stories

FR: What would be your dream collaboration? Living or dead.

FLY: Hmmm…. That’s a really hard one because there are so many people that I’d love to collaborate with… and lately I have been collaborating more… But I’m such a control freak. I think my dream collaboration would probably be not with another visual artist but with a writer. There’s so many writers that I really love so it’s hard to… I know: Kathy Acker. She died a while ago but I would love to have been able to work with her on a comic. (excited) Oh man, yeah. Kathy Acker. Definitely Kathy Acker. I first read her stuff in the 80s when my life was really chaotic and transient. I felt like the way she wrote was like the way I was thinking; it was like the voices in my head mixed with what was happening in the moment mixed with what already happened. It was like deconstruction or something… sorry I’m not much of a literary critic. Her writing to me was just really authentic — she wasn’t afraid to just put everything out there. I could feel it in my bones and the thing about it was that when ever I read any of her stuff I would get so inspired that I would end up doing a lot of writing and drawing myself and I would also have the craziest dreams — I used to do a lot of comics based on dreams too. I just think I could have done some amazing comics in collaboration with Kathy Acker! Hmmm maybe I should try to do a piece on her.

© Frank Reynoso, Aug. 2007, All Rights Reserved

Global Warning: A skit for The Young Principles Theater Group

This is the opening of 'GLOBAL WARNING', a skit I wrote for The Young Principles Theater Group. The group is planning to put on a showcase of sketch comedy in either October or November. As soon as I know the actual dates, I'll let you know.

We haven't rehearsed this yet but I can't wait to see it come to life. I'll try to get some pictures - and maybe video - of the rehearsals.

The idea's been in my head for some time - maybe a month or so. It pretty much wrote itself in one train ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Bob Odenkirk and David Cross' Mr. Show came to mind as I scribbled the first draft of this in my notepad.

- Frank

by Frank Reynoso


In the middle of the room is a simple, round table that looked like it was bought in Ikea. A pitcher of water and a couple of empty glasses sit in the middle of the table. Beside the pitcher is a tray with freshly backed cookies. The room is hot. Three men, in the middle of a tumultuous debate, sit around the table. Behind them are a couple of similar looking, empty tables. JERRY is a clean-shaven, thin, lanky dandy with a slouch. His body seems to get lost in his suit. Whenever he walks, he drags his feet. Jerry uses a handkerchief to wipe his brow. TOM is a thick-mustached, middle-aged, husky guy who looks like he played a lot of high school football and remained in that mentality. His movements are heavy and grave. His blazer is unbuttoned, revealing a barrel chest. He exhales often and heavily, using some papers to fan himself. GRAHAM is a slender, proud fifty-year-old man. His movements are grand; he strides whenever he walks. His silver hair caps his intense eyes and pronounce chin. Graham sits with his legs crossed and his blazer unbuttoned, cordially sipping his glass of water.

KARL enters. He’s a thirty-plus year-old, balding man, with thin-rimmed glasses and a heavy second chin. His pasty skin contrasts with his dark suit. He waddles to the excited men. The three rush to greet Karl. He smiles, hugs, pats shoulders and shakes hands with each. He motions them to sit down.

KARL: Please, continue your conversation while I settle in here. (chuckling and dabbing his brow with a kerchief): Tad warm in here.

The men take a seat and chuckle at Karl’s joke.

KARL (cont’d): My, my. The Lord is glad, as am I, to see four pillars of American spirituality gather like this. But please, go on.

Karl removes his blazer, drinks some water and sits at the head of the table.

JERRY (snickering): How about them homos and queers and lesbos? I always liked them.
TOM: We can’t. We’re still using them for New Orleans.

Karl opens his briefcase and pulls out folders filled with papers, which he places on the table before him. Graham turns to Tom.

GRAHAM (waving papers in Tom’s face as if about to slap him): C’mon, Tom. You’re hogging all the good ones. Well what about feminism? We haven’t had a good angry-bitch-feminazi campaign in a while. They’ll never see it coming.
(amused) It’ll spread like a California forest fire in the summer.
TOM: Jesus Christ, Graham. Feminazis? Cliché.
JERRY (tossing his file across the table): Out of season. Unless we can come up with a new spin on it, I’ll block your proposal.

Karl clears his throat and raises his hand as if he were about to do the laying-on-of-hands.

© Frank Reynoso Aug. 2007, All Rights Reserved

Microphone check, one, two, what is this...

Hey everyone,

Many of you know me as an illustrator and a cartoonist whose works have appeared in numerous publications like the Indypendent and $pread magazine. Some have come to know me as a writer of fiction and non-fiction. I've decided to collapse these two personas with this blog, thus presenting a more current and complete face.

Due to circumstances within and beyond my control, and the feedback I've gotten on my writing, I've worked more fervently as a writer mostly for the stage and print.

I could ramble on and on about the myriad of reasons behind this transition - and how it's not a transition but rather an extension - but I'd like to save this topic for casual evening over a beer in a cozy hole in the wall of your liking.

So, on to the writing.


PS. The title of this post comes from A Tribe Called Quest song. The line is an opening, rapped by Phife Dawg. :)