Stephanie is teaching a class at the LaGrange Art League called "Creating Abstract Art Using The 'Pour' Method."
Details, and sign-up information are on their site. She's taught this class in the past to much acclaim and much positive feedback. Classes are now under way, but there's still time to sign up and join the fun!

The next Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series night will be on Saturday, June 23, and Matt will be reading the next chapter of his new "Barnstormers" story. You can read the previous chapter on his web site at storiesbymatt.net/. On that site you can sign up for his mailing list, and you will receive the entire Barnstormers story to date, most chapters with content not read at the Tamale Hut.


For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out artbystephie.com.
For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!


02/13/18: Judging by the dreams I've been having lately, I must not be very ambitious. Two nights ago, I had a dream that I was in London, meeting dignitaries as a representative of the US Government (not the current administration, obviously.) The problem was that I was Vice-President. I wasn't dreaming that I was President, but Vice-President. Who does that?
     And in my dream last night, I was driving around a rural countryside, meeting people in small cafes and stopping at quaint little shops. It may sound like a great dream and it was. The only problem was that I was driving a Yugo! Couldn't it have been a little sports car, maybe a vintage MG or Triumph TR6? What's the matter with me?


01/25/18: Lately I've been listening to Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, and found that I'm liking it more than I expected to. I first heard about it via a mention on Mark Evanier's blog, which is also highly recommended by me. Mark wrote that he was scheduled to be on the podcast soon, so I thought I'd check it out. To be honest, I didn't recognize a lot of the names of the guests, but once they were on the show, I found that I knew them. Gilbert and his co-host Frank Santopadre have a great affection for character actors, in both movies, TV, and the stage, and while some guests were not instantly recognizable, the conversations are fascinating, because they inevitably include many of the big names in entertainment of the past 50 or 60 years. One name that came up was Harry Dean Stanton, and I believe that I had a hand in his popularity. Let me explain...
     Until he passed away last year, Stanton was one of the more popular character actors, rarely a star but always making an impact in the films he was in. His career went back to 1954, but I first noticed him as the doomed engineer Brett on the star ship Nostromo in the original Alien film. After that, I noticed him in Escape from New York and Private Benjamin and other, earlier films. In 1982, he had a small part in a goofy comedy called Young Doctors in Love, which tried to capitalize on the "spoof" genre after Airplane became a big hit. Before the movie was release, I found myself walking through Evergreen Mall when I was approached by a cute girl holding a clipboard. She asked if I had some time to talk about some movie advertising, and since I had some time to kill, and she was cute, I agreed. She showed me several images and asked me whether each would entice me into a movie theater to see the film. As I was studying the posters, I noticed Harry Dean Stanton's name listed in the fine print of some of them. I mentioned that I liked him, and she asked me who he was. I told her that he was a solid actor who deserved more recognition, and that him being in the film could possibly be a factor in my wanting to see it.
     Weeks later the movie was released, and I was surprised to see Stanton's name listed on all the posters. I even remember his name specifically mentioned in most of the promotional material. After that, it seemed to me that he was everywhere, starring in Christine, Repo Man, Paris, Texas, and the original Red Dawn over the next few years. Suddenly, it seemed that Hollywood discovered what a great actor he was, after almost thirty years in the business. In that fantasy world that I live in, I like to think that my mentioning him to that influential ad executive who stopped me in Evergreen Mall while I was drinking my Orange Julius was instrumental in his success.


12/29/17: I saw on the Internet today that Sue Grafton passed away. She was best known for her Kinsey Millhone mysteries, the titles of which all started with a letter. Stephie had picked a few of them up at the sorely-missed Brandeis Book Sale that accounted for much of our book collection. She was immediately a fan, and we've picked up every volume since. We even met Ms. Grafton twice, once at a book signing in Skokie (coincidentally minutes from where the Brandeis sale was held) for 'J' is for Judgement, and again in 2013 for the release of 'W' is for Wasted.
     The latter was an amazing experience. A long line snaked through Anderson's Bookstore in Naperville, to a table in the back where she stood and greeted her fans. She was not a young woman by this time, but she stood by that table and greeted everyone warmly, taking a few minutes to chat with each of her fans while signing their books. I told her that I had written a few books by that time, and she was very encouraging. She even posed for this very nice picture with Stephie.
     It's a little unfortunate that she passed away after the publication of her 25th Kinsey Millhone novel, so she wasn't able to complete the alphabet, but she left behind an impressive body of work, and a strong impression in me of how to interact with fans should I ever be fortunate enough to have someone wait in line to speak to me like we did with her.



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