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Fun With Max Headroom

May 19, 2017 at 3:08 pm
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The fun continues tonight and tomorrow at the JCC… with me, Michael Cassutt, Steve Roberts, and Max Headroom himself, Matt Frewer.

Mister Meat At Last

May 15, 2017 at 6:10 pm
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Hiya, kids, hiya hiya. The fun continues tonight at the Jean Cocteau with the third night of our Max Headroom M-M-Maxathon. Michael Cassutt will be there once again to answer questions and shine his light into the darkness of thirty years ago, and we’ll be screening episodes four and five of season one of the MAX HEADROOM show, “Security Systems” and “War.”

But that’s not all. For the real die-hards, we have a special treat. For the first (and probably last) time, I will be giving a public reading of the story treatment for my own, never-produced MAX HEADROOM episode, “Mister Meat.”

“Mister Meat” was originally intended to be the fifth episode of the show. There’s no script, however, and certainly no film. I delivered my treatment on November 5, 1986… and ABC promptly drove a spike through it. “Offensive” and “disgusting” were a few of the words I recall.

They didn’t like it.

So if you’re in Santa Fe tonight, come by the JCC and hear what ABC found too shocking to air in 1987. And if you’re not in Santa Fe tonight… well, sorry, you’re out of luck.

M-M-More M-M-Max

May 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm
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The M-M-Maxathon got underway in fine style last night at the Jean Cocteau, with the screening of the original British TV movie, and the American remake of same. Michael Cassutt, who was a member of the writing staff on the show from beginning to end, was on hand to do the introductions and answer questions, and a fine time was had by all… even the young’uns who wandered in with absolutely no idea who the hell Max was.

The fun continues tonight with the screening of episodes two and three. Mike Cassutt will be with us once again, to answer questions and share all the great behind-the-scenes gossip.

And best of all, admission is FREE

Vanishing Magicians

April 24, 2017 at 3:14 pm
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Francis Menotti was at the Jean Cocteau over the weekend, and amazed us all. This is the third time we’ve had Francis at the JCC, and he always does a great show. He performed the trick that stumped Penn & Teller, of course, along with a lot of other tricks that stumped the rest of us, including me. Always a fun time when Menotti is in time.

Alas, alack, a couple of the other magic acts that we’ve been looking forward to — the ones I blogged about here http://grrm.livejournal.com/528565.html — have vanished from our schedule, at least temporarily.

The astonishing Misty Lee, one of our faves, was scheduled to return on June 9-10, but she’s run into a scheduling conflict with a television appearance, so we’re having to push her visit back until September. And the Naked Magicians, scheduled for May 30, are gone as well. We lost our venue and partner for that one, and the Aussies are too big for our tiny JCC stage and auditorium. We still want to bring them to Santa Fe, but right now we cannot say when and where. Watch this space.

So… there’s a bit less magic on our schedule, for the none, but we still have some amzing special events coming up at the JCC. TERRY BROOKS will be here for an author event on June 17, and RICHARD KADREY on July 13. July 7 – 9 we have the GAME OF THRONES season 6 marathon.

But much soon, do not forget, Max Headroom will be coming for our M-M-M-MAXATHON! That’s May 13 – 20, with Michael Cassutt, Steve Roberts, and Matt Frewer… and my own, never before seen or heard, Max Headroom episodes. Don’t miss it.

More Author Videos

April 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm
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We’ve added two more videos from recent author events at the Jean Cocteau to the JCC website:

CONNIE WILLIS, interviewed by Melinda M. Snodgrass

JOHN NICHOLS, interviewed by Lorene Mills

If you weren’t able to be with us in person, you can check them out at

http://jeancocteaucinema.com/exclusive-video/

Connie and I have known each other for decades, of course, and she’s always a delight. John Nichols, however, I’ve only met once or twice previously, and the last time was probably twenty years ago at an event up in Colorado organized by Ed Bryant. Nichols is a fascinating man, however, and he had a lot to say. Even if you don’t know his work, you should find him interesting.

The video of my own talk with John Scalzi is not ready yet, but should be up soon.

Autographed books by Connie Willis, Melinda Snodgrass, John Nichols, John Scalzi, and myself are all available from the JCC website, of course. Along with lots more from other authors.

A recent comment from a “fan” said, in rather strong words, that he was not interested in the Jean Cocteau or anything that went on there. Fair enough. No one said you had to be. Maybe you should skip the posts with the JCC icon on top.

Thing is, though, that Santa Fe cares about the Jean Cocteau… I’ve had many people tell me that they love our little theatre… and more to the point, I care as well. The Jean Cocteau doesn’t bring me big wheelbarrows of money. Far from it. If we ever manage to get it into the black, I may die of shock. It is, however, a source of joy… for our patrons, for our city, and certainly for myself. And in the end, we all need some joy in our lives.

Authors on Video

April 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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We’ve been doing our author events at the Jean Cocteau Cinema since 2013, but until recently they’ve only been available to those who could attend in person.

This summer, however, in response to numerous requests, we’ve begun taping the events.

And now, for all of you who were not able to be there, we’ve uploaded some of the videos to the Jean Cocteau website. You can find them at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/exclusive-video/

There’s some fun stuff there, including my talks with Carrie Vaughn and Stephen King, our HAP & LEONARD event with Joe Lansdale, and — from last summer — the big big WILD CARDS event where an all-star lineups of Wild Cards authors try to play their characters.

Check it out.

And for those of you who ARE in New Mexico, don’t forget the events we have coming up this week: JOHN NICHOLS on April 15 and JOHN SCALZI on April 17. Reserve your books (and your seats) for those two early, if you haven’t done so already. They’re both filling up fast.

Max Headroom Returns

March 30, 2017 at 5:48 pm
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Remember Max Headroom?

Sure you do. If you’re old enough.

M-M-Max was a king, once upon a time.

Twenty minutes into the future… thirty years into the past… it was 1987, and Max was the hottest television personality in the world, with the hottest television show. Actually, he had several shows. He started out in the Uk introducing music videos. Then he got his own talk show, also in the UK. And then a ground-breaking British television movie. New Coke made him their official spokesman. Then Max crossed the Atlantic to get his own sf show on ABC. He made the cover of NEWSWEEK, was parodied on the cover of MAD, did a guest appearance with David Letterman.

Alas, alack, Max Headroom’s reign as the king of popular media proved as short lived as New Coke. His series on ABC was hailed as innovative, startling, ground-breaking, original… like nothing else on television… the first cyberpunk television show… but it proved to be way WAY ahead of its time, starting strong and falling fast, surviving for only two short semi-seasons, an initial run of six episodes, and a second season of seven. Then ABC pulled the plug, and Max vanished from the airwaves, surviving only in the hearts and minds of science fiction fans.

Thirty years have come and gone since that glorious year of 1987, and once again we’re going twenty minutes into the future… in Santa Fe, at least. So mark the dates May 13 – May 20 down on your calendars, and be sure to swing by the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

That’s the week we’re having our M-M-M-MAXATHON!!!

Yes, that’s right. We’ve having a whole week of Max, to celebrate his 30th anniversary. We’ll be screening all fourteen episodes of his show: the original British pilot, “Twenty Minutes Into the Future,” and the American remake of same, plus every one of the ABC hours that followed. You saw them once on your little-bitty 1987 tv set. Now see them again on the Cocteau’s big medium-sized screen. With our world famous popcorn… and maybe we can even find some New Coke!

Some very special guests will be coming to Santa Fe to help us celebrate the anniversary. Head writer STEVE ROBERTS, who scripted the British pilot and crossed the pond to head the writing staff for the ABC show, will be flying in to join us, and MICHAEL CASSUTT, another of Max’s writer producers will be with us start to finish. After thirty years, they’re ready to spill all the secrets. But wait, there’s more… Max himself is coming too. Yes, MATT FREWER, the one and only Max Headroom, will be on hand for the last three days of the M-M-M-Maxathon.

Oh, and one more thing. We’ll also be featuring, for the very first time anywhere, two Max Headroom episodes that have never been seen or heard before anywhere, two episodes written by a guy you won’t find listed anywhere in the credits for the show: me.

Yep. That’s right. MAX HEADROOM is the great “what if” in my own television career.

For me, MAX came along after my stint on TWILIGHT ZONE and before BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. When ABC first greenlit the US show, they ordered six original scripts to follow the pilot, almost all of which ended up getting assigned to writers just coming off TZ. I was one of those. Mine was supposedly to be… hmmmmm, let me see now… the fourth episode of the series. My title was “Mister Meat.” Now, TV writing in those days was a two-step process: “story with option to teleplay,” they called it. You wrote a ‘story,’ a short plot outline with all the major beats and characters. Then, when the showrunners, studio, and network all approved it, you went on to write the teleplay.

“Mister Meat” never got that far, alas. The showrunners and my fellow Maxxies loved it, as I recall, but when ABC saw the story they reacted with horror. Way too disturbing and offensive, they announced, driving a spike firmly through my concept and sending me on my way. Which I why I never got hired onto MAX HEADROOM and wound up on staff on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST instead.

I got a second chance when MAX was picked up for a second season, however. As a freelancer, I got the choice assignment of writing the Christmas episode. And this time I went to town. Wrote the story, rewrote the story, wrote the teleplay, revised the teleplay. “Xmas” was the title of the episode, and it got as far as pre-production…

And then the show was cancelled. Rather suddenly and unceremoniously, I must say. America was spared from celebrating Xmas with Max.

Ah, but with strange aeons even death may die… and like all good writers, I never throw anything away. So as part of our Jean Cocteau M-M-M-Maxathon, the world will meet “Mister Meat” and “Xmas” for the first time. “Mister Meat” is just a short treatment, so I will be reading it myself on the third day of the marathon, in the slot it would have filled if it had been filmed. Come and hear the episode that ABC deemed too offensive and disgusting for Ronald Reagan’s America.

As for “Xmas”… hell, we have a whole finished script of that one, so we’re going to be performing it, live, on the tiny little stage at the Jean Cocteau. Lenore Gallegos will direct, and the parts of Edison Carter, Bryce, Theora, Blank Reg, Max himself, and all the rest of the gang from Network 23 and the ZikZak corporation will be performed by a fearless cast of local actors… whoever ends up playing Max will HAVE to fearless, to play the part with Matt Frewer in the audience.

May 20. Be there, or forever rue your absence.

Oh, and as usual, the screenings will all be FREE.

((But we will charge admission for the performance of “Xmas”))

May 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20. Don’t m-m-m-miss it.

Magic Times Three

March 23, 2017 at 7:35 pm
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If you’re a fan of magic, we have some great shows in store for you these next few months, right here in River City Santa Fe.

First up, at the Jean Cocteau, the amazing FRANCIS MENOTTI will be returning for three more shows. Francis is the guy who stumped Penn & Teller, and he’ll be performing the “stumper” for us as well, along with a host of other tricks, on Friday April 21 and Saturday, April 22.

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Next up, all the way from Down Under, will be a pair of young Aussie lads who call themselves… yes… THE NAKED MAGICIANS! The Jean Cocteau is co-sponsoring this one with the Lensic, since our stage is way too small (and way too close) to hold an act as… revealing… as the Naked Magicians. The Lensic, with its big auditorium and huge stage, will do just fine.

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The boys from down under will be in town for ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY on Tuesday, May 30. For tickets, you will need to go to the Lensic website at http://tickets.ticketssantafe.org/single/EventDetail.aspx?p=3965

Last, but far from least, one of our favorites returns to the Jean Cocteau for her third time: MISTY LEE, straight from LA’s famous Magic Castle. Catch her at the JCC June 9-10, for three shows.

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For this visit, Misty has promised to STAB an audience member!

Tickets for Misty Lee and Francis Menotti can be purchased from the Jean Cocteau Cinema website, at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/

Don’t miss you, or we’ll turn you into a toad!

March Madness

March 18, 2017 at 3:57 pm
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No, I’m not talking about basketball. I’m a football guy, mostly. A little baseball on the side. But I don’t follow basketball, or hockey, or soccer, or tennis, or golf.

My own March has been pretty damned mad, however. Hard to believe half the month is gone already.

We had two great nights at the JCC with Leeman Kessler and ASK LOVECRAFT. His YouTube videos are a lot of fun, but he’s even better in person. If you have a chance to see him at a con, don’t miss it. Some of his bits are funny, but he also has moments (as HPL) that are moving and profound.

The HAP & LEONARD premiere was also terrific. It’s always great to see Joe Lansdale, and the second season of the show looks to be even better than the first.

And of course on Tuesday we brought together the Santa Fe film community up on the hill, and rolled out the Stagecoach Foundation. That was exciting as well.

(Though I have to confess, reading some of the various reports about Stagecoach on line makes me want to bang my head against the desk and bewail what passes for journalism in this age of the internet. Back when I was a journalism student at Northwestern, some of these clowns would have gotten themselves a “Medill F.” They don’t even get basic facts right. mutter mutter mutter)

Besides all that, there’s been the huge new Wild Cards deal, the Wild Cards reread, lots of stuff with HBO that I cannot talk about yet, and of course — always, always — WINDS OF WINTER.

So much to do. And the days go by so quickly. I love my work, all my work, all my projects, all my children, but sometimes it seems as if the harder I work, the further behind I get.

Maybe things will calm down soon. But I am not holding my breath.

HPL at the JCC

March 12, 2017 at 4:14 pm
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Yes, it is true.

That which is dead does not eternal lie, and with strange decades even HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT may rise!

And we’ll have him Thursday and Friday at the Jean Cocteau Cinema

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Learn the secrets the Mad Arab knew, and gaze into the face of Azathoth, the blind idiot god at the center of our universe.

And have some popcorn too! It comes to us strait from Leng!