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Featured Audio
A Story by Horror Master Stephen Volk

March 20th, 2015

Gothic-1986-poster

I’ve been a Stephen Volk fan ever since I caught the movie Gothic at a midnight run back in 1987. Directed by Ken Russell, the same over-the-top director responsible for such classics as Altered States and The Devils, Gothic presents Stephen Volk’s reimagining of events that led to the writing of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Among his other film credits are Ghostwatch, which made broadcast history by smashing television’s fourth-wall back in 1992; and The Awakening (2011), which may be the best ghost story ever put on film.

Volk has also authored some of the best novellas and short stories currently available in the genre, and over the years I’ve had the privilege of . . . [Read and head more at The 21st-Century Scop].

Featured Audio
A Story by Horror Master Stephen Volk

March 20th, 2015

Gothic-1986-poster

I’ve been a Stephen Volk fan ever since I caught the movie Gothic at a midnight run back in 1987. Directed by Ken Russell, the same over-the-top director responsible for such classics as Altered States and The Devils, Gothic presents Stephen Volk’s reimagining of events that led to the writing of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Among his other film credits are Ghostwatch, which made broadcast history by smashing television’s fourth-wall back in 1992; and The Awakening (2011), which may be the best ghost story ever put on film.

Volk has also authored some of the best novellas and short stories currently available in the genre, and over the years I’ve had the privilege of appearing with him in the anthologies Gaslight Grotesque (2009) and Gaslight Arcanum (2011).

challenger_Both books are edits by Charles Prepolec and J. R. Campbell, the same team behind the forthcoming anthology Challenger: New Worlds, Lost Places, in which Volk and I will again share the pages.

I had the opportunity to meet Volk when the World Horror Convention was held in Brighton in 2010, right around the time his story “Swell Head” was released in The Seventh Black Book of Horror. The book launched at the convention, and “Swell Head” made a strong impression on me, lingering in the way the best stories do, acquiring richness and meaning over time.

While in Brighton, I gave Volk a copy of the my newly released CD Veins: The Soundtrack, which included some spoken-word tracks that have since been released as Aberrations. He evidently liked what he heard, because later that year he asked if I’d be interested in doing an audio performance of “Swell Head.” I didn’t have to think twice about that one.

svolk1In one respect, “Swell Head” is an atypical Stephen Volk story. Its narrator has a distinctly American voice, making the story a fitting project for the 21st-Century Scop. In other respects, it’s very much what one might expect from the author that Andy Hedgecock (Asst Fiction Editor of Interzone Magazine) has called “one of the most provocative and unsettling of contemporary writers.” The story is by turns surreal, nightmarish, and yet surprisingly touching in its portrayal of the protagonist’s commitment to his monstrous sibling.

Until recently, the 40 minute recording has only been available at StephenVolk.net, broken into two pieces for easy download. Now, for the first time (with the author’s permission), I’m making the recording available as a single MP3 file via my podcast service at Libsyn. To listen, simply click the player below . . . and get ready to enter the strange world of one of our foremost practitioners of fantastic fiction. Scop on!

Rockin Riley’s:
St. Patrick’s Weekend and Beyond

March 15th, 2015

Rocking the Pour House St. Pat's Weekend - Friday night - compressedPittsburgh is the number-one city for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. That’s according to Niche.com, who shows the Burg beating out Chicago, Philadelphia, and even Boston for top honors.

According to Pittsburgh Magazine, past attendance at the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has ranged from 150,000 to 350,00.

Fittingly, the best advice anyone can give . . . [Read more at The 21st-Century Scop].

Rockin Riley’s:
St. Patrick’s Weekend and Beyond

March 15th, 2015

Rocking the Pour House St. Pat's Weekend - Friday night - compressedPittsburgh is the number-one city for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. That’s according to Niche.com, who shows the Burg beating out Chicago, Philadelphia, and even Boston for top honors.

According to Pittsburgh Magazine, past attendance at the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has ranged from 150,000 to 350,00.

Fittingly, the best advice anyone can give about attending St. Patrick’s Day events in Pittsburgh is simply this: Arrive early!

Tommy and Jimmy - compressedThat advice definitely applied to this weekend’s events at Riley’s Pour House, where the place was already packed when Connolly & Davis (above) took the stage at 8:00 on Friday night.

Backing us up were good friends Tommy B and Jimmy Z (right), and Lauren Connolly-Moore — who brought down the house as she lent her soaring voice to our renditions of “Leaving Liverpool,” “Bye, Bye Love,” and others.  In all, the night was an effective prelude to the following day, when Jim Riley opened the tent in the lot beside the main building. All day Saturday, the party became a two-stage event with both sites hosting capacity crowds that overflowed into the front and rear courtyards.

tent openConnolly & Davis took the main stage from 6:00-8:30 that evening, opening for The Wild Geese Band, who brought the first phase of Riley’s St. Patrick’s bash to a close.

Among the event’s other highlights were performances by Erich Dagnal and John Puckett, and a special appearance from the boxers of Team Ireland, in town to take part in Pittsburgh Donnybrook, to be held at The Priory on March 17.

irish boxing team from ireland - compressedCarnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek introduced the team at 8:30, bringing them onto the big-top stage along with Team Pittsburgh’s boxing coach Jack Mook (right).

“It’s going to be an honor to fight you,” Jack told the team, although naturally he predicted a win for Team Pittsburgh.

This year’s Donnybrook event is sold out. If you don’t have a ticket, I’ll hope to see you back at Riley’s.

The final phase of Riley’s St. Patrick’s Party party will be held on March 17, featuring pub favorites Mike Gallagher, Young John Gallagher, and Mark Guiser. Music starts at 2:30 and continues until the last Guinness is poured.

patrickstoriesaAnd if that still isn’t enough, you’ll want to be sure to return on March 31, when Riley’s monthly Story Night will feature St. Patrick’s Day Stories — a chance to revisit the party in story form. If you have a story to share, whether it involves this year’s three-day party or any any other St. Patrick’s Day related event, we hope you’ll consider joining us as we respond to the ancient Irish question: Cad é an scéal? (What’s the story?)

Until then . . . scop on!

Images:

Connolly & Davis — photo by Lauren Connolly-Moore.

Tommy B and Jimmy Z, performing at our January show; Riley’s Garden Tent Sign; and Jack Mook with Team Irish — photos by the 21st Century Scop.

St. Patrick’s Day Stories – image from celebratingholidays.com. It’s a neat little image, even if it does have a four-leaf clover masquerading as a shamrock. Perhaps it’s intended to suggest the luck of the Irish. In any event, it’s a step removed from St. Patrick’s trinity symbol. Alas!