T.V. History.

The reality show I'm working on films interviews once a week with the couple in that week's episode. I put together a small set for these. We normally do them at a hotel in Century City, but scheduling this week had us do them on a stage at a studio in Hollywood.

When I pulled up in front of the stage to unload my stuff, I noticed a plaque mounted on the wall.

I had to smile reading it...

I grew up watching "I Love Lucy" every night at 6pm on Channel 11 in New York. Sometimes my Mom would let us watch on the small t.v. in the kitchen during dinner. It was a favorite show we loved watching. It's strange to remember being a kid laughing at every episode , I would of never imagined one day working on that stage.

Inside there was many old behind the scene photos hanging high up on the walls (forgive the blurry pictures, taken with the a camera phone).

The stage was just like most old ones...dark, dusty and cold. Once I did my job putting up the "interview" set. It gave me time to imagine back 50 or so years. My set designer eyes plotted how the floor plan might of been and were Lucy and Desi's apartment was. It was fun to look at the old photos and try to figure out were the door Fred, Ethel and Mrs. Trumble made many an entrance.

I did some research and in those years, on that stage, the classic "candy factory" and "vitameatavegamin" episodes were filmed.

Right outside to the left was a tiny studio coffee stand...

called the "BABALOO" cafe.

Daily sketching.

My drawing is out of shape. I once carried my sketchbook everywhere. Now I just sketch for a few moments in a week. My t.v. work of late does not require much doodling, so it's easy to fall out of practice.

I've been working on drawing everyday for a little while with small self assigned homework. Sometimes it's from life, sometimes it's a great face from a magazine and sometimes, like 2 weeks ago...re imagine movie monsters from the 80's.

I liked were my version of Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th was going.

The sketch inspired some needed digital art practice.

Click on images to enlarge.

RISD 20 Years ago - Flashback Friday #6

The ongoing series down memory lane every Friday to celebrate (or curse) 20 years since graduating the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987 continues. I neglected to post last Friday so today is a 2 in 1.

First though is an update to the Blues Brothers "air" band story from the previous (click on to read) Flashback Friday #3 . I found the pictures I mentioned, seeing more of the band in....

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Now, on with the flashbacks...

My friend and fellow 1987 alum Megan Jeffery inspired this series with her original RISD Flashback Fridays. Last week she posted a great picture of caricatures done by old friend Rich L. (click here to see). It reminded me of this one below I drew in the summer of '84, missing my new college friends looking forward to the fall.... it even has Rich L. himself in it!

Click on picture to enlarge.

From L to R, back row- Lois, Lee, Eileen, Rich, Pete, Me and Steve. Front row- J.P., Juan(ita) and Chris.

In that same summer my Father's work had him living full time in Los Angeles. He had spent almost 2 years bouncing between coasts and was just visiting us on occasion. It was decided to move the whole family from New York and go west to California. For me being at RISD meant upgraded from trains to planes going home for vacations.

In my sophomore year my Dad mailed me a ticket home for Christmas and attached the single greatest letter I've ever gotten. I have it framed now (because of the accidental coffee spill) and read often on occasion for a laugh...

Click on picture to enlarge.

...And yes, the envelope contained a name tag for me to wear, which sad to say I have lost.

Being an Uncle.

To be an Uncle is the greatest thing ever. In my case, I have a niece from my little sister.

Being an Uncle gives complete freedom. You can make up your own science, tell stories from imagined history and lay the seeds for a healthy teenage rebellion.

It's common to hear the description "crazy" before the title. That alone allows you to bend rules. Grandparents can spoil a grandchild but are obligated to teach discipline as wise elders. The Aunt usually becomes the parent's "go to" second in command and is forced to maintain discipline.

An Uncle remains free without much required. Your main job is to teach new things a kid can add to thier chaos creating arsenal. You are the brother of one of the parents and this continues the long held teasing/torture tradition of siblings.

The Uncle code...support the parent's rules, but teach the loop holes.

When you hear a parent say in surprise..."Your Uncle taught you that?" Your job that day is complete.

Work never fails to surprise me.

In my work, you never know what will be asked of you. This week I decorated the basket of a "hot air" balloon. I had to add a few romantic touches to it for a special date a couple was to have on a new reality show I'm working on.

My decorations are nothing to speak of , but the experience was fascinating.

The crew arrived in the Temecula, Ca wine country at 5:30 am. The balloon "captain" inflated an simple party balloon and let loose into the air to check the wind direction. A massive tarp was laid out in a open area and the balloon was then carefully spread out. The basket was placed on it's side and the crew began rigging it.

There was a short time for me to add my details, because of the weather and the nature of "hot air", it was best to get the balloon aloft as quickly as possible once inflated. I kept it simple with fabric bunting and rose bouquets. I started my decorating sideways while it was being blown up. This gave me an intimate seat during the process of rigging a "balloon".

I was impressed how professional the crew was, but there was a moment of doubt when triple checking as the captain said to another crew member...

"Wow, you would think after dozens of flights, I would never make a mistake like this"

and he re tied a rope...it was minor, not a good looking "chippy caboodle" knot or something and although safe he wanted it looking perfect on camera. So I felt OK not to share what I heard with the production team and instill false panic. From there they triple checked and triple checked and triple checked once more and all was good.

Once elevated I was able to jump in and finish the side that was on the ground. That's when it was weird because the basket strained to float up but kept down by crew members. As I wired and secured roses to the basket it bounced and swayed all over the place until it settled.

Meanwhile a second or "chase" balloon was made ready for camera people etc.

Soon the couple climbed in and set off into the air.

There was a "oooo" and "aaaaa" moment as the sun rose and they quietly floated away...

over the pretty grapevine fields.

As I marveled at the nice sight and seeing the "chase" balloon follow ...

I suddenly remembered using scissors to cut fabric and immediately freaked out.

Where were they?

I knew I put them back in my tool bucket but was paranoid all the same.

Did I leave them on the edge of the basket in the rush to decorate?

I ran to my tool bucket.

Would they fall off into some field workers head?!

I found them, safely placed in the bucket.

My work never fails to surprise me.

Spring has Sprung!

Spring has arrived in our backyard and with it the blooming of our mystery plant. No one remembers buying it or planting it. It grows from a cheap plastic pot on the patio.

Year one, it was a sad tropical looking plant with drooping long leaves. Year two, it sprouted 2 beautiful blooms. The blooms faded and died in just a few days before I had a chance to research what plant it was. It's probably something common that I'll feel stupid learning many people have.

This year, it's exploding with blooms. I've been Google image searching with no results. I'm going to take these pictures to a nursery this weekend for answers. In the meantime if anyone knows, tell me!

I'm no botanist, but I'm pretty sure it may be an amazonian human face eating annual...or I hope it's something exotic like that.

UPDATE! My sister Monica and brother in Law Kirk say it might be a "naked lady" lily, could be and best suggestion so far!


I got my tax return done this afternoon. It was quite painless having help, but I found myself telling the poor guy my life story in 2006...

Happy Easter 2007

History Channel of the APES!

Last night, The History Channel aired the original Planet of the Apes.

I watched it of course being an all time favorite film but this morning it makes me wonder.

My beloved network for all things about barbaric hordes, reasons for the fall of Rome and what George Washington was really thinking crossing the Delaware is airing a movie set in a post apocalyptic world ruled by apes...how is this history?

Are the programmers part of a secret society who know it will happen and are trying to warn us ?

Worse still, did it already happen? Is the world we live in one that has been rebuilt as it once was only to be trapped in some time loop doomed to repeat it and this film is actually a documentary?

RISD 20 Years ago - Flashback Friday #5

These cartoons are from a freshman year (1983) sketchbook.

I love my work!

Working in T.V. can be frustrating and exhausting one minute, then it's silly and fun the next.

Here are some pics working as art director on DIY's Knitty Gritty last season (courtesy of Vickie).

For a small "knit bit" on light up knitting needles producer Andrew Wollman wrote a Star Wars gag. Host Vickie Howell used the force on some yarn.

It was a fun afternoon working with Jane Manfolk, the wardrobe stylist, on the details of a jedi costume and doing low tech special effects with propmaster, Andri Silanandra.

Sure, it's not working with George Lucas at ILM as I dreamed of as a kid but I love this goofy stuff and there are a billion worse ways to pay the bills.

Family Fun TV portfolio

Simple craft projects I made (looking nice via good photography thanks to Brian at Disney) for FAMILY FUN TV. Click on pictures to enlarge.