Saturday night, November 15, 2014, I went down to Full Circle Brewing Company and joined the Central Valley Horror Club at the Premiere viewing of Micheal S. Rodriguez’ Lamb Feed, an MSR STUDIOS and DeepMurder Productions L.L.C. horror short.
Here’s the description off the facebook page:
When overconfident businessman Mitchell Barnes gets a blowout in a quaint sleepy town all seems normal until he asks the community for a helping hand…What Mitchell gets instead is an invite to the darkest realm of his own fears…An invite to the LAMB FEED!!!
The night began with a mix and mingle and I quickly made my way to the horror club’s founder, Kaci Hansen (little did I know she is in the movie! I might have been more nervous had I known). I’d been meaning to check out the group for years, but kept missing opportunities–it usually meets in Visalia–so when this premiere popped up in my feed, I knew I had to make the effort to get out to Downtown and introduce myself. Having long nurtured the sci-fi side of the local genre community, I thought it was time I reached out to more horror fans. Kaci, a local celebrity in her own right as the Homicidal Homemaker, couldn’t have been nicer or more welcoming–and in fact, everyone I met that night was really open, friendly and kind, which greatly amped up the juxtaposition of the club’s reason for being–horror! Oh, and Death! And Guts!
I grabbed myself a High Speed Rail Ale–cold, a little bitter, but nice and hoppy–and found a seat to enjoy Michael’s first film, Night of the Sea Monkey (2011). It was good, quirky, creepy and fun, made all the more enjoyable by watching it with a room packed with horror aficionados, a distillation of campy B movies, with some brilliant surprising moments and lots of raw talent. The grandma stole the show!
After a brief intermission, Lamb Feed began–it started simply enough, with our protagonist, Mitchell Barnes (played haplessly and fervently by Luke Church) driving along a valley road, breaking up with his girlfriend on his cell phone, when he gets a blow out and then sets out to find help when his cell comes up with no service. As he makes his way through an eerily deserted town, we are treated to glimpses of disturbing images superimposed into the shadows, no doubt a foreshadowing of things to come. He “meats” Michael Wainwright’s insidious Rev Wicker, who draws him to the Lamb Feed. Once there, Barnes is enticed by the lovely Kaci Hansen’s barmaid and the sultry Meghan Chadeayne’s Lana. Without giving too much away, we are served an escalation of disturbing images, both real and imagined, until, by movies end, we are both shocked and awed by the things we have seen and heard. Luis Javier Obregon’s music is a visceral feast for the ears and skin and gut, adding tension and punch to the visuals, and Grace Cash Ortiz and Kalie Reed did a phenomenal job with Robert Allen Muke’s makeup for the Butcher. All in all, the Wicker family is a wildly welcome (unwelcome?) addition to the pantheon of horror film families, and I would love to see a full feature version of Lamb Feed. As it stands, it’s a deliciously wicked morsel of a short film. Do not miss it if/when you get a chance to catch it!
After the film, came a Q and A with most of the cast, a few of the key crew and writer/director Rodriguez. Kaci Hansen wanted to help promote the movie, so Rodgriguez just went ahead and put her in it (brilliant!). Rodriguez explained that Lamb Feed was inspired by the fact that communities often get together for no reason other than to eat, whether it be a crab feed, lamb feed, etc., and he wanted to create a twisted version of that. Michael Wainwright was excited, I mean really excited to be a part of Lamb Feed, and hoped this would be the start of more [acting] and encouraged the audience to pursue their dreams.
I was lucky enough to chat with Michael S. Rodriguez himself, briefly, and got a few tantalizing tidbits about what he’s working on next. I wholeheartedly offered my services, so who knows, maybe I’ll get to act again sometime in the future. Or do some concept art. Or some co-writing. Man, working with any of these talented folks in any capacity, well, that would be AWESOME.
For more on Lamb Feed, click on any of the above links, or check out the Blood Brothers Podcast Special Edition: Lamb Feed!
Thirteen Stories of Mind-Expanding Science-Fiction and Horror
Fresno, CA – Rob Lopez, creator of the sci-fi, horror and fantasy webcomic and blog Forsaken Stars (http://forsakenstars.com) is self-publishing Prelude to Spiral Legion, a short story collection that serves as a primer to his Spiral Legion Universe. Spiral Legion begins in 2589 AD, when our colonization of the galaxy becomes threatened by the Shrekar, a reptilian alien race that can render all technology on a planet useless. Prelude to Spiral Legion covers the time between now and then, not just with the epic moments of future history—new technology, war, traveling to new frontiers–but with more intimate explorations of human, robot and enhanced human interactions. Prelude to Spiral Legion is now available for kindle and kindle for smartphone, tablet or pc at http://amzn.com/B00NRI61QY
Three stories from the collection were released over the last two years to create buzz for the collection, including:
“Cleaner than Spotless” takes place in 2150 in Locus New Jersey, where Jovey CR-1477, an android-robot hybrid designed by Doctor Aryo Caredeñas, cleans up the unfortunate accidents for the family. Jovey must deal with Officer Dominic Serposa, the violent Metrofane Catalano, and his own Emotion Controls to keep his family safe.
“Ko Maua Ia Moana Male ‘ana (Our Ocean Wedding Day)” takes place in 2176 off the coast of the California Islands, fifty years after “The Great Quake.” Coast Guardsman Lieutenant Derrick “Dee” Keyes, first mate of the Cutter Zyrfass is about to marry the love of his life, marine agriculture technician Anjaneia Nui Waikamali`i, a third generation mermaid, homo sapiens aquarius. Their obstacles? A tsunami and Dee’s disapproving mother, Gladadale.
“The Skies of Mars” takes place in 2265, on Mars, where Agent Raaf Krusen, the last UFOlogist, interviews retired Sheriff Gerald Corbett about his personal experiences with unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) over the skies of Viking Colony at Terra Meridiani over a span of fifty years. Together they connect the dots between a paranoid miner, a mecha test pilot, and Krusen’s own daughter.
Other stories in the collection include:
“Time to Put the Toys Away” –circa 2230s- A telepath, a clairvoyant and a telekinetic play a game only one can win.
“Preyer Jar” –circa 2300- Wherein a religious man undergoes a radical genetic make-over to forget his sins.
“Future Vagrant” –circa 2513- A vignette about a homeless man and his robot doll.
“A German Shepherd, His Lord Magician and the Chippendale Arm Chair” –circa 2572- Wherein a blind agent of the Vatican and his guide dog are dispatched to the planet Altar to investigate the claims of a possessed arm chair!
…and, as they say, much, much more.
Kyle Aisteach, fellow Fresno Scifi and Fantasy Writer, said of this collection, “Rob Lopez is one of my generation’s successors to the greats of the Golden Age. From the hilarious to the darkly disturbing, these are the kind of stories that made you fall in love with science fiction in the first
About Rob Lopez:
Raised in rural Orange Cove, Rob Lopez was influenced most by the Star Wars films, Spider-Man and X-Men comics and the works of H.G. Wells and Isaac Asimov. While in high school Lopez created the comic strip “Nucleon” for the Reedley Exponent, Foreign Affairs, an original play performed by his peers, and his short story “Magdalaine” was published in Symmetry, the Reedley College literary magazine. In his twenties Rob designed Spiral Legion, the sci-fi/horror roleplaying game. In 2009, he created the webcomic and blog Forsaken Stars and in 2010 he joined the Fresno Scifi & Fantasy Writers. He is a fan of his parents, his fiancée, his fiancée’s parents, Sarah McLachlan and the Fresno music and art scene.
If you haven’t forsaken me for not updating the comic for years, and you’re interested in my other work, I entreat you to visit https://facebook.com/SpiralLegion, where I’m running a contest to win my latest short story collection, Prelude to Spiral Legion! Please “like” the page and vote for the art–by leaving a comment–that you think makes the best book cover!
Your choices are:
Benji De La Torre, the elephant boy from the story “The De La Torre Family”
Carmen Toyfriend 306b and Dugg from “Future Vagrant”
and “Time to Put the Toys Away” Agent Blackchurch facing her assassin(s).
If one, both or all grab you, let me know! Tell me what you think! I’m a comment whore! Vote and you could win a copy of the book or a free sketch or back rub!
Thank you for your support!
Rita and Augustine Vargas are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Alisha Celeste Vargas, to Rob Lopez, son of Juanita and Robert Lopez.
Alisha earned a Bachelor of Art degree in Mass Communication and Journalism/Public Relations, and a Minor in Child Development and English from California State University, Fresno. She is a Direct Support Professional at Social Vocational Services and also freelances as an editor.
Rob earned an Associate of Arts degree at Reedley College. He is a sales associate at Macy’s and a writer and artist about to self-publish a collection of short stories.
The couple met in 2007 while working at Babies “R” Us.
A 2015 wedding is planned.
Arthop August 7, 2014
Too Much Good Stuff
While I’ve been working on several possible covers for my upcoming short story collection (check them out at the Spiral Legion facebook page), I’ve found it very difficult to build momentum and get into any sort of artistic groove, between picking up more hours at my day job and my long-time coming engagement to my space goddess (but that’s another story, so stay tuned), so I chanced taking the night off to hit my first Fresno Arthop in months.
My first stop in Downtown Fresno was Arte Américas, the largest non-profit Latino cultural center in the San Joaquin Valley, to see artist Jeannette L. Herrera a.k.a. Blue Face Killer’s show Beautiful Dreamer. Working in acrylics, oils and a variety of materials for canvases, and many times creating her own frames, Herrera’s paintings are “glimpses of a dream world populated by fantastical creatures that reflect her Peruvian heritage, personal trauma and street culture. Themes of death, survival, heroism, defiance, love and religion flow through her work…direct, enigmatic, tragic yet humorous.” This exhibition displays paintings that are punny (“[Freddie] Mercury Rising”), inspired by colloquial turns of phrase (“hotter than two
rats fucking in a wool sock”), or literally poured out of her own tortured heart (my personal fave “Battlecry of Kleine Maus”).
Beautiful Dreamer will be at Arte Americas through August, so please check it out, and if you’re not local, check out the website at bluefacekiller.com
Next up, I went to Broadway Studios, a must see stop for ArtHop since it has a dozen rooms, closets, nooks and crannies overflowing with art in practically every medium—glass, sculpture, paintings, murals, jewelry, heck, even many of the attendees seemed to be walking pieces of art, though I did my best not to stare. A few of the artists I caught there were Cory Ballis, glass artist; Maries Joseph, acrylic, oil and mixed media, Sia, the puzzlist and Carmen Solis, a young painter out of L.A. who sold me on one of her pieces. “Oh, I’ve got to save for my wedding,” I said, sheepishly. “But she’s a bride!” Carmen replied of the pen and ink and oil pastels portrait. It was actually a steal at the price she quoted, so I paid and ran
out the door with my keepsake for the night.
Finally, I went to Studio Itz to catch Patrick Contreras, the Electric Violinist. I wasn’t prepared for the room full of Kurt Watson and Noel Montoya paintings—it was crazy how much they packed that living room with art! Greeted by Kurt himself, I made my way through it and the kitchen, into the backyard, where a small stage had been set up. Patrick and a couple of his friends played a few audience-pleasing songs, jazzy, bluesy latino tunes (I think I got the times wrong, because I think I caught the tail end of their set), followed by The Holy Raleigh, the disturbing answer to acoustic guitar playing, and a surprise performance by I Kill Cameron’s Phoebe Zayas-Defiance on ukulele. The really cool part was that I got to talk with every one of them after their performances. You just can’t do that at a typical rock show.
This was an amazing night and one I won’t soon forget!
I had certain things I wanted to check out this night, but there was soo much good stuff, I can’t wait to go back to these venues and some of the others that are in the same area, like KJewel and Liquid Fetish! The Tower District also has a few galleries and venues that host artists. One of these days, I hope to have my own show, but until then, I’ll keep visiting and supporting and getting inspired.