Not a Blog

End of an Era

March 3, 2022 at 9:41 am
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Our friend Janis Ian was in Santa Fe last week, at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.   It was the first stop of her new tour.  She did three shows for us (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, all sold out), and on Sunday she conducted a Master Class for aspiring songwriters.   Janis, of course, is among the greatest singer/ songwriters of her generation (which also happens to be my generation), and has been for half a century.   She’s been a star since she was fifteen, and her music, new and old, has never failed to move me.   (“Seventeen” is, of course, the song she is best known for, but she has others that are just as powerful, and her new stuff… she is touring to promote her new album… is just terrific as well.

Janis has played at the Jean Cocteau before, though not for a few years.  (Covid, y’know).   It was an honor to have her back.

Especially since this is going to be her last North American tour.  (She has a European tour coming up).   But that will be it, she tells us.   She will continue to write and sing, of course… music is her life, as writing is mine, and neither one of us can really comprehend the idea of “retirement.”   Whatever that is.   But touring is another matter, especially when the tours are as long as hers are.

So if you’re a Janis Ian fan, this may be your last chance to see her live.   Don’t blow it.   Santa Fe was the first stop of her farewell tour, but far from the last.   She left on Sunday for Tuscon, and after that… well, take a look.

All four of her appearances in Santa Fe were sold out, and I believe many of her other dates are as well.   Not all, though, at least not yet.   If you’d like to catch a show, pop over to her website and grab some tickets ASAP.   You won’t be sorry.   Janis is a wonderful performer, a really nice person… and, as it happens, also a fan of science fiction and fantasy.   (I had loved  her music since the 70s, but the first time we met was at a worldcon).

Last week marked the end of another era as well.  Janis Ian not only opened her farewell tour… but she also closed the Jean Cocteau Cinema.   Her Master Class on Sunday was the last scheduled event at the theatre.   On Monday morning we shut our doors.

The JCC was Santa Fe’s original art house.   It opened in 1976 as the Collective Fantasy, and became the Jean Cocteau in 1982 after a change of ownership and a major renovation that gave the space its present configuration and its present name.   During the decades that followed, it remained the City Different’s most beloved movie theatre, famous for its eclectic offerings and its popcorn (best in town!  with real butter!!).   After several changes of ownership, it became part of the TransLux chain… but TransLux closed all its movie houses in 2006, and for seven years the JCC went dark… until I bought it in 2013.   We installed a new screen, new sound, digital projection (though we kept the old 35mm projectors as well), did a top to bottom renovation of the lobby, and turned a broom closet into our award-winning bar.

The theatre reopened in August 2013, with a bill that featured FORBIDDEN PLANET (best SF movie ever made), John Carpenter’s DARK STAR, and a classic from its namesake, Jean Cocteau.   In the years that followed, we have hosted all sorts of events: live music, magic, burlesque, author events and readings, and films of all sorts, old and new, Hollywood  and Bollywood, huge blockbusters and small art house movies.   All accompanied by our award-winning custom cocktails, draft beers, and of course our popcorn.

Movie theatres all across America closed with the coming of Covid-19 in March 2020, and the Jean Cocteau was no exception.   We shut down for the remainder of that year, and for most of 2021 as well, reopening a few times late in the year for special events when the vaccines and social distancing started to put a dent in the virus.

And now we are closing again…

 … but not forever!

The Jean Cocteau will be back.

It was time for another renovation.   We did a lot of work back in 2013, but that was nine years ago.

This time our focus is on the audtitorium.   (Above).   Say goodbye to those tired old blue seats, that tattered and soiled carpet, and that huge center aisle that took up so much room where the best seats in the house should have been.   We have all new seats coming in, larger and more comfortable.   Two side aisles instead of the big center aisle.   A new ceiling, a new floor.

The renovations will cost us a few seats.  The old Cocteau could seat 130.  After renovations, our capacity will be down to 80… but truth be told, very few of our offerings ever drew 130 patrons (Janis Ian, Neil Gaiman, and GAME OF THRONES premieres excepted).   And the new seats will offer more comfort and a better viewing experience for however many patrons turn up.

The popcorn will still be great, I promise.

So watch this space for news of our reopening in a few months time.

It’s the end of an era… but the beginning of a new one.

((I will open comments for this post, but ONLY for messages about Janis Ian, the Jean Cocteau Cinema, and old movie theatres in general.   Off topic posts will be deleted,)).

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

Beastly Books Reopens

June 10, 2020 at 8:34 am
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New Mexico has begun to reopen — cautiously, step by step — from its lockdown, and that includes at least one of my own enterprises.

Beastly Books, my bookshop on Montezuma Street, opened its doors again on June 2, for coffee, hot chocolate, and — of course — signed books.   We are not doing any author events at present, except the virtual kind, and we are taking every precaution, with masks, sanitizers, limits on the numbers of people allowed in the shop at one time, and so forth.   We shall see how it goes.   All of us hope the worst is over.

Of course, our mail order department remains open as well, as it has throughout the pandemic.   Check out our offerings at https://jeancocteaucinema.com/beastlybooks/     ALL our books are autographed, and we have some great titles on offer.

The Jean Cocteau Cinema, next door to Beastly Books, remains closed for the moment, but is showing new films every week via streaming video.  You can sign up for that via the JCC newsletter.   I am not sure when the theatre will reopen.  That depends in large part of the progress of the fight against coronavirus… but we are also looking at doing some major renovations to the old gal, down the line.

 

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful

The Jean Cocteau Channel

May 23, 2020 at 8:19 am
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My theatre in Santa Fe, the Jean Cocteau Cinema, has been closed up as part of the coronavirus lockdown in New Mexico.

But I’ve kept my staff on, and they’ve been busy working virtually… on our JCC YouTube channel (among other things).

Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwZDqU56IzUFXmzpMF4jRRg  — and give us your thumbs if you enjoy what you see.

Among other offerings, the site includes video of most of the other events we’ve done in the past year or, featuring a wide range of terrific writers, including Lee Child, John Scalzi, Erica Jong, Alan Brennert, Marlon James, John Nichols, and more.  You will also find recipes for some of our award-winning cocktails, music and magic, children’s book reviews, and our art show openings.   Lots of fun stuff.

And more to come.   We hope to keep adding content to the JCC… including new book events… once we reopen.

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

This, That, and T’Other Thing

April 14, 2020 at 3:41 pm
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No big news here, but it has been a week or so since my last blog post, so I thought I would say hi.   I am still up in the mountains, doing the social distancing rag, and writing WINDS OF WINTER.   I have good days and bad days, but I am making progress.

Most of the world remains closed, including my theatre and bookshop, the Jean Cocteau Cinema and Beastly Books.   I had originally announced that we would re-examine the situation come April 15.   That date is now upon us, and it is obvious that I was wildly optimistic in hoping we might even consider re-opening then.  No.  Won’t work.   We’re going to remain shut until JUNE 1.  Then, once again, we will revisit the question, once we see what state the world is in.

I am continuing to pay my staff during this closure, something I wish more small businesses would do.   Beastly Books is still selling signed books by mailorder.  Every order helps keep us afloat, so please take a look at our offerings: https://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/signed-books/

Along the same lines, though we cannot of course open our theatre to the public while coronavirus still rages, the JCC has gone virtual, and is screening new and old movies that way.  For details on our Virtual Feature of the Week, go to https://jeancocteaucinema.com/

Hollywood has largely closed down as well, at least as far as actual production is concerned.  (If this pandemic goes on long enough, I wonder if the pipeline will go dry, and we will start to run out of new films and television shows.  If so, sheltering in place is going to get an order of magnitude harder.  Television right now is doing a lot to keep us all sane — and no, not the news, which has the opposite effect).   But while nothing is being filmed right now, development is continuing apace, since writers can still write at home.  The only thing I am writing myself is THE WINDS OF WINTER, as I have said many times… but with my producer’s hat on, I am still involved in a number of exciting new shows for HBO, and a few film projects as well.  When and if any of these make it to the screen, well, that’s always the question… but I do know that Ryan Condal and his team are roaring ahead on the scripts for HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and that one has a full season’s order from HBO.  As for the other stuff I may or may not be involved in, I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you all.

Oh, of course, I am doing a lot of reading these days.  Rereading too.  Some of my favorite writers are Robert A. Heinlein, Roger Zelazny, Tony Hillerman, Nnedi Okorafor, Howard Waldrop.  Oh, and that GRRM guy did some good stuff too, before he started that fantasy series.   Some of his old stories might even make good movies, donchaknow.  (No, seriously, you guys should check out DREAMSONGS.  Signed copies available from Beastly Books).

I have also been trading emails with my friends down in New Zealand.   CoNZealand, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, has also gone virtual in response to the crisis.   A prudent move, but a challenging one.   As this year’s Virtual Toastmaster, I am still going to be hosting the Hugo Awards… virtually.  That should be… interesting.  Especially for me, since I am one of the least tech savvy guys in fandom.   I still write my novels with WordStar 4.0 on a DOS computer, after all, and when I interface with the internet it is mainly through this blog.  (Good thing Howard Waldrop isn’t going to be hosting.  He still works on a manual typewriter).

Anyway, the Kiwis have some smart guys working for them, and they assure me everything will go fine.   They are working out the tech now, and we hope to have several trial runs before The Big Night.   We are all certainly going to try to do our best.  I expect there will be glitches and mistakes, many of them doubtless mine, but I do hope all those looking in will be patient and understanding.  In any case, the rockets will be handed out one way or t’other, though the actual delivery may have to be entrusted to DHL or Federal Express.

Some cool stuff happening with WILD CARDS that I should mention.   Check out our Wild Cards website, if you haven’t seen it in a while.  Lots of great content there for you to explore, including a new blog post every two weeks by a rotating cast of our amazing Wild Cards writers.  You will find it at https://www.wildcardsworld.com/   

We also have a brand new Wild Cards original coming out at the end of this month from Harper Collins Voyager in the UK.   The title is THREE KINGS, and it’s a full mosaic,  was edited by Melinda M. Snodgrass (yours truly assisting), and features contributions from  Peter Newman, Peadar O’Guilin, Caroline Spector, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Melinda herself.  It’s a sequel to KNAVES OVER QUEENS, and like that volume it is set entirely in the British Isles and features an English and Irish cast.   (More on that one in a later post).

There’s more, of course.   There’s always more.   But this post has grown long enough, and Westeros is calling.

Current Mood: busy busy

More Maltin

July 5, 2019 at 3:29 pm
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For those who missed it…

A video of our event with Leonard and Jessie Maltin at the Jean Cocteau is now available.   Enjoy it at:

A selection of SIGNED books by Leonard Maltin is available from the JCC bookshop:

https://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/signed-books/

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Two Fanboys

July 1, 2019 at 12:16 pm
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Leonard Maltin, a legend among film critics, and his daughter Jessie Maltin were in Santa Fe last week, for a visit to the Jean Cocteau Cinema.   I taped a segment with Leonard for his podcast, and afterward Leonard and Jessie did a talk, a Q&A, and a booksigning at the theatre.  Great fun.

We discovered that Leonard and I sprang from the same roots.   We were both Jersey boys who got involved in fanzine fandom at an early age.   While I was writing superhero stories (Manta Ray!  Dr. Weird!  Garizan the Mechanical Warrior!!!) for the comic fanzines of the 60s, he started his own film fanzine.

You can hear our whole conversation on his podcast, Maltin On Movies http://maltinonmovies.libsyn.com/george-rr-martin

Leonard also blogged about his fanzine days and his visit to the JCC.   You can read the full text here:

We filmed the talk by Leonard and Jessie as well, and will be uploading that to the JCC website soon.

Meanwhile, for all you Leonard Maltin fans out there, we have autographed copies of four of his books available from the Jean Cocteau website — along with signed books by Alan Brennert, Neil Gaiman, Lee Child, Marlon James, John Hodgman, Lisa See, Diana Gabaldon, Carrie Vaughn, Melinda Snodgrass, Robert Jackson Bennett, Rebecca Roanhorse, Daniel Abraham, and many many more… along with yours truly.  Check out the full listings at:

https://jeancocteaucinema.com/shop/

Current Mood: geeky geeky

Author Events

June 10, 2019 at 9:09 am
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If you’re not fortunate enough to live in the Land of Enchantment, you’ve missed out on all of the wonderful author events we have at the Jean cocteau Cinema.  But of late, we’ve started recording the events for streaming and later viewing.

Here are three of our most recent events, with

— LEE CHILD (Thrillermaster, and creator of Jack Reacher),

— ALAN BRENNERT (from my days on TWILIGHT ZONE, author of DAUGHTER OF MOLOKAI).

— MARLON JAMES (author of BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF)

Author Events

Autographed books from all of our featured writers are available from the Jean Cocteau website.

Enjoy.

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Football, Fire, and Other Stuff

November 5, 2018 at 2:47 pm
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Tomorrow is the official publication day for TEXAS HOLD ‘EM, the latest original mosaic novel in the Wild Cards series.   Grab one from your favorite local bookstore or online bookseller.   If you want an autographed copy, those will be available from my Jean Cocteau Cinema bookshop.

FIRE & BLOOD comes out on November 20.   There are two sources for autographed copies of that one: preorder from the JCC, or attend the launch event in Jersey City on November 19, at Loew’s Jersey in Journal Square.   We’ve sold more than a thousand tickets for that event and the rest are going fast, so act soon if you want to come.   The theatre is expecting a sellout.   Please note: personalizations and other inscriptions are not available either from the JCC or from Loew’s, just straight signatures.   No use asking, I just can’t personalize that many books, it would take forever.   Please understand.

That’s the cover of the trade hardcover from Bantam Spectra above, fyi; this is the edition that is being offered at Loew’s and the JCC.

Many other editions will be coming out on November 20 as well, however.   Some cool covers on those as well.

Here’s the cover for the Brazilian edition:

Here’s the British cover for those of you in the UK, from Harper Collins Voyager:

Here’s the German edition:

 

Feuer und Blut – Erstes Buch von George RR Martin

And this one is the Gary Gianni cover, for the Subterranean Press limited edition:

Speaking of the JCC… our November 12 NIGHTFLYERS premiere is now SOLD OUT, sorry.   We still have seats (and books) available for Lee Child on November 11 and Cixin Liu on November 14, however.  Reserve a book (and a place) now if you would like to attend, those two may sell out as well.

On other fronts… the Giants did not lose this week, because they did not play.  A mercy.   The Jets played, and lost.  Badly.   The score was close, but the game was painful to watch.   The defense played hard and looked good, as they have in several other games, but the offense could not move the ball, and our kid quarterback Sam Darnold threw four interceptions.   Darnold threw too many INTs in college, the biggest strike against him leading up to the draft, and he appears to be repeating that pattern in the NFL, which does not bode well for Gang Green’s future.   I don’t care how good a quarterback’s arm may be, if he throws INTs he will kill you.  Nothing hurts worse than a turnover.   Darnold was hailed as the new Joe Namath, but I would have settled for a new Chad Pennington… Chad was deadly accurate, and did not throw INTs.   Sam needs to stop doing that, or the future will be as painful as the past.   Oh, and what the hell is going on with the center?  All those bad snaps… c’mon, coach, isn’t there another center on the bench?  One who can deliver the snaps into Sam’s hands rather than three feet over his head?

As for the G-Men, Eli is getting a lot of blame, but not all of it is deserved.  Look at his numbers.   He is still throwing for a lot of yards, and Odell and Saquon are both playing great.  Our other receivers cannot seem to catch the ball, however, even when Eli delivers it right into their hands.  And the O line, shockingly, impossibly, seems to playing even worse than last year.   No QB can perform well when he is being sacked on every drive.   There are too many stupid pre-snap penalties as well.   The Giants seem to start half their drives at 1st and 15th rather than 1st and 10.  That doesn’t help.

Oh, I should also mention… HBO has informed me that the Jane Goldman pilot is not (yet) titled THE LONG NIGHT.   That’s is certainly the title I prefer, but for the moment the pilot is still officially UNTITLED.  So… mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.  Elsewise, the pilot is coming along well, with casting falling into place.   I could tell you more, but I am not supposed to.   We also have a couple of other successor shows still in development, but I cannot tell you about those either.   Sorry.   And some exciting things are happening with the Wild Cards television series, but I can’t talk about those.   Nor can I say much about WHO FEARS DEATH, based on Nnedi Okorafor’s wonderful novel.   Hush hush, it’s Hollywood, they like news to come through officially approved channels out there.

That’s all in television.  In feature films, one of my best known short stories is being developed, and another of my best known short stories may soon be under option for a big movie… and my team is doing its best to set up another of my novels with an actor I adore and a director I worship… but those are not yet ready to be talked about either, so all I can do is tease.   Consider yourselves teased.

I CAN plug the Meow Wolf documentary at least.   That will be opening on hundreds of screens nationwide by month’s end, be sure to catch it if it turns up near you.   It tells the whole history of the crazy bunch of wild dreamers who call themselves Meow Wolf, and I turn up in there as well.

I better go.  Lots more to do today.   Believe it or not, I am working hard on a lot of things (yes, including WINDS), even though I am not allowed to talk about most of them.   Eventually, I hope, you’ll all be able to enjoy the fruits of my labors.  I hope…

Current Mood: busy busy

Superheroes v Aces

October 13, 2018 at 9:55 am
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Here’s a cool new video from the Wild Cards event at the Jean Cocteau in August of 2017, wherein our wild card authors discuss their favorite comic book superheroes… and whether their own Wild Cards characters could take them in a fight.

Yes, it took us quite a while to get this edited and on line.   Sorry about that.   What can I say?  We’re busy.

I wasn’t interviewed myself, since I was busy running around herding cats and running the whole shebang.   But if I had been I would have said my own favorites were the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, and a few oddball titles like the Challengers of the Unknown, Space Ranger, and Cosmo the Merry Martian.   How would my Wild Cards characters have done against them?   Hmmmm… well, depends on the match-up.   Doc Strange could probably wipe the floor with any of my guys, him being the Master of the Mystic Arts and all, but Lohengrin and the Turtle could have given most of the others a good fight, and Popinjay maybe couldn’t defeat them, but he could send them to another planet light years away, which would be distinctly inconvenient for most of them.   Oh, and any of my guys could take Cosmo the Merry Martian.

Comments permitted… but ONLY on superhero death matches, please.

Current Mood: amused amused

An Evening with Joe

March 2, 2018 at 10:56 am
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We had a great fun evening last night at the JCC with Joe R. Lansdale and the premiere episode of season 3 of HAP & LEONARD. Joe brought along writer director Jim Mickle and actor Douglas M. Griffin, and a terrific time was had by all.

The first two seasons of HAP & LEONARD were very entertaining, but if the opening episode is any indication, this third season is really going to kick ass. It’s based on Joe’s novel TWO BEAR MAMBO, for those of you who’ve read the books.

And speaking of the books, we have lots of AUTOGRAPHED Joe Lansdale title available at the JCC Bookstore. Check it out at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/author/i-l/lansdale-joe-r/

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy