Radio(active) Disney

First, I’m sorry. I’m about to attack Disney and I understand–for some? That’s like burning the flag.

But what’s the deal with Disney cranking out prostitutes at their whore factory?

Britney Spears. Christina Aguilera. Selena Gomez. Bella Thorne. Miley Cyrus. Lindsay Lohan. Ryan Gosling! (JK)

I shouldn’t say prostitutes. That sounds judgmental. But why, in Walt’s name, do all (or alot) of ex-Disney princesses go from Snow White to Toxic Tinkerbell?

This has bothered me for some time. What happens to these preteen pop stars? Too much pressure? Backlash from some secret Disney purity pact? An attempt to tarnish their goody-two-shoes act? What in the wide world of Disney is happening???

Disney,
Whatever you’re doing, stop! Please. For the sake of Disney and all that is holy, stop.

If you doubt me, all you have to do is Google any of the above names and you’ll see the very un-Disney images that pop up.

Am I too old to understand?

I don’t mean to blaspheme the Mouse, but I just wish Disney was what I thought Walt wanted it to be. We’re both Kansas Citians and we both went bankrupt. I live in Florida now. I grew up on Disney. I thought he was a kind, decent man, always telling a story of hope, purity, nobility and modesty. And I just wonder what he would think about his pop princesses these days.

This is just my opinion!

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Tell Me About Chris Churchill

I love interviewing people. I just wish I knew more awesome, famous people. πŸ™‚ But I know at least one and he’s super awesome and almost famous. To me anyway. He’s brilliant, creative, fascinating, funny, talented, accomplished and so, so friendly. Embracing. Welcoming. Decent, kind, inspiring. He’s my friend, Chris Churchill.

He so kindly agreed to let me interview him. He has quite a few things out right now. Book, songs, documentary. Thanks for reading and checking out my friend, Chris. He’s the coolest. Thanks, Man! for letting me probe your brain.


Background about Chris:

I’m an artist of many types of art. Writing, visual art, music, comedy, film-making. But, of course, not many make a living doing these things. So, I give tours and have recently started teaching.
Where did you start performing?

Started performing in high school. School plays, etc. Also tried, here and there, to play in bands. Wrote a lot of stories and little plays. In retrospect, any shiny artistic object, pulled me away from the previous one. I saw a good friend in an improv show in 1992 or ’93. I thought, “That’s really funny. And I’ll bet I could do that.” So, I auditioned for Lighten Up Improvisation Company and got in. This is where I met your husband (Guy Maggio).

How did you get to Chicago? What led you there? Anything you miss about KC?

I miss everything about KC. Home is always home. When I come home, the wind is the right kind of wind. The birds and insects are the right kind. The sky is the right sky. The Chiefs. The Royals. And all the people of course. My whole family is
still there.

I got to Chicago because I met Adam McKay and David Koechner at an improv fest in Austin, TX (I was performing with your husband and others). They were teaching an improv workshop which I took twice when I was there. Once as a participant. The second time, I just sat in the back and watched. I had never had a conversation with a famous person before. And Koechner had this amazing, positive, “you can do it” energy. He told a group of us that if we were serious about this, we had to move to Chicago. Eventually, I did.

What’s the best thing about following your love of and talent in music? Improv?

The best thing is that you can go to a place on your heart that needs massaging, when it needs massaging and massage it. Flood yourself with serotonin when you need it. The finished product has never really gotten me too far. The process makes me happy, though.

What inspired you to come up with β€œAbraham Lincoln: The College Years”? What is just improv or something you thought about?
When I was recovering from a psych issue I’d had a few years ago, I finally got to the point where I could artistically express myself again and it helped me get back to “normal”. At this point, I just made up the worst ideas for television pilot episodes and wrote 12 of them. For fun. Because I was crazy.
Later, I decided to have staged readings at Second City for four of them. Well, obviously, they’d need theme songs. So, I made up these silly theme songs and recorded them. Originally, I thought I’d just play them at the live show but, since I already had an audiobook on Mint 400 Records, I asked them if they’d put out my “Doomed Pilots” soundtrack. As far as the Lincoln song goes, I started with the lyrics, searched within the lyrics for the rhythm and recorded that. I added the simplest of bass-lines so that when I sang the lyrics I’d be on key. Or at least I’d know where the key was. Then, from within that framework, I improvised the recording or the rest. The guitars, the backing vocals were improvised because I don’t like planning too much when I’m in creation mode. I think it worked out. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever recorded.
How did the project β€œTell Me About My Mother” start? (check out the video here)

My siblings and I constantly find ourselves telling these old family stories over and over again about how crazy our mom was/is. After I’d had an internship at a video company and had begun to make more of my own independent stuff, my sister Deb said, “This should be your next project.” And she was right. It turned out really well. It’s been getting a lot of emotional responses from people.

I’m sure it was difficult reliving the past, was it healing or just messy?

It was definitely healing. My mom needed validation for a lot of what she went through. It was nice to hear my dad’s side. Even though some might say he doesn’t come off smelling like a rose in this movie. And my siblings, as usual, served as comic relief when necessary. Some of these stories are pretty intense.

Do you think that your past/childhood set you up for how you live your life now in terms of music, improv, life goals, career choice, or creativity in general? Do you think it propelled you? Or do you think it was a detriment?

My childhood gave me both the artistic tools for survival as well as the need to use those tools to keep my sanity (most of the time). The problem and the solution are wrapped up in the same thing. My upbringing was alternately exciting and fun and sad and lonely. In terms of being able to make any money, it’s never really happened for long stretches. That is probably just a case of not having the right backing, connections, luck and also, let’s face it, I’m not making mainstream anything. I don’t know how to do that because I don’t feel the same way most people do.

What are you working on now or hope to be hearing about in the near future? What’s coming up for you?

Always working on something. Thinking about raising money so I can edit the rest of the story of me and my family and release the whole thing on DVD. Mixing an album for the label. Writing for an online magazine called Literate Ape. Teaching one college course and still giving tours of Chicago.

Thanks, Chris! You’re amazing. ❀

Gonna Wreck It!

I used to be an acting coach. We would put on classroom sketches to show what we had learned in class that semester for the parents. For our showcase, we picked Wreck-It Ralph and used themes from the show to connect acting, Christianity and Wreck-It Ralph. Here’s our opening intro music composed by my daughter, PenPrin, with video game sounds and my husband doing the voice of Wreck-It Ralph. Thanks, Kacey Moe. You should do radio or something. πŸ˜‰

You know, Ralph sacrificed himself at the end for his friends. Just like Jesus. He was definitely a Christ-like figure at the end. We love you, Ralph. Can’t wait for the sequel!

Enjoy! Let me know your thoughts. Lilli loves composing music. She uses Noteflight. She has a whole bunch of songs.

Oh! And I edited this all together using Audacity. πŸ˜€

Love Words

I’m in love with your words.
They seduce me with sounds like:
grace
mercy
comfort
unconditional love.

I’m in love with your face.
It draws me with lines like:
chin
lips
cheek
eyes.

I’m in love with your hands.
They play me with strength like:
pluck
stroke
feather
hold.

I’m in love with your heart-and-mind.
It’s a mystery to unlock like:
LIFE.

 

Writing

Good writing is a new lover
With which you want to be,
Telling her all about
Your incredible fantasy.

Writing won’t wait.
You can’t be gone long.
Your story will up and leave you
For another writer’s song.

Write every day.
Make mad, passionate choices.
Listen to the Muse’s gift
Of many different voices.

Set them all down.
What does her chorus tell?
Sink your teeth into the flesh
Of the Muse’s pulsing well.

She swirls and floats. She stretches out.
She pounds the keys with sound.
She catches you with ragged breath,
And now your words are down.

So satisfying.

STP

I grew up on Stone Temple Pilots and when Scott Weiland died a few years ago, it made me sad. He, obviously, had a troubled life and couldn’t conquer addiction. I loved their music and he had a great voice. I had an idea for a tribute poem; it may be trite, but it sums up my 20s with titles and lyrics from STP.


Creep along the interstate
Love song plays when I show up late

And I feel it–empty inside
This sour girl is Lonesome’s bride

Though my scarred-up heart still remains
Days of the week in tight-gripped reins

And so I know, and so it goes
Plush is the place where shallow grows

The dogs do find me, Smell on the street
Make my way to collapse at your feet

And as I lay my troubled head
Vasoline on plain, white bread

RIP S.

We Are the Lost Souls

My daughter Lillian wrote a song last year. I think it’s one of the most brilliantly written songs I’ve ever heard. I know I’m biased, we’re related. She’s the fruit of my loins. But dang! It’s cool.

She recorded the music using a computer, multi-track digital recorder and singing her own lyrics. She sang harmony for her own voice and laid the tracks down together. I’m really proud of her effort here. She’s only 13 and I can’t wait to hear what she will do in the future. She also did another song for talent show this year too. Imaginary Friends

She also did a funny little parody with Dad and I helping out. Baby, It’s Cold Outside

This next song is about the Terracotta Army. Really meaningful look and unique perspective of those soulless sculptures. Her teacher covered the Terracotta soldiers in history last year and Lilli was fascinated by the topic. So, when she’s obsessed with a subject, she gets inspired and writes songs. Like ya do.

I love the modern sound and well-thought out words. I helped with some minor editing, but she did all the hard work composing, singing and recording. Without further ado, here’s Terracotta Souls by Lillian Maggio. Really cool, hope you enjoy it.

Trapped

This is another story my daughter wrote. She won an award for this one. PTA Reflections 2017 awarded her honorable mention at state level for Missouri, junior high division. Really proud.

“What is Your Story?” was the theme this year. Lilli’s story is a little sad, but truthful and daring. Her piece is a great perspective on writing and art creation, in general. A true reflection of how many artists feel about revealing their work. It’s risky to put your heart on the line. But brave to try!

lil award.jpg
Here she is walking across the stage, accepting her award!

“Trapped Inside My Own Mind” by Lillian Maggio

Isn’t it strange? I love to compose music, and I love imagining the way it will sound. I take joy in writing the lyrics and listening to my accompaniment played with clunky digital sounds, but I absolutely detest my own voice. In addition, I can’t play any instrument, so I have hardly any idea how to write music for another person to play. I hate the concept of someone else singing for me, because I know in my heart that they wouldn’t do my song justice. I’m afraid to ask a musician for help because I don’t know if my songs can even be played. So I compose scores which I am proud of and rejoice in, yet no one really ever hears my music but me.

I love thinking up beautiful and magical characters with complex and wonderful designs and personalities, but I hate the style in which I draw, so their appearance remains a mystery. I’m so petrified that I’ll make a mistake or portray them wrong that I can never portray them at all. I long to use my art to bring light and wonder to the world, to tell a story that hasn’t been told before, but I’m so afraid that my story will be incomplete and riddled with flaws. So my characters are never brought to life, never see the light of day.

I love to write, and I would love even more to be recognized for my talent. I write based on my own experiences, sometimes even making up fantastical worlds all by myself. Still, I can never bring myself to actually try and publish any of my works. I tell myself that I don’t have a chance, that I’ll never become popular and that no one will ever read, let alone care about, what I have to say. Or, even worse, that someone will see my work and copy it, claiming my creation as their own while I can do nothing. So I hide everything I do, far from where anyone could see or hear it.

I’m trapped inside my own mind. My worst adversary is, in reality, myself; my own fear. I can’t show everyone all the amazing stories I’ve been dying to tell. And it’s because I’m holding myself back, preventing myself from sharing my thoughts and ideas with the world.

So I can’t tell my story. I’m far too afraid.