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30 Years of ARTC – Guards! Guards!, Dragon Con 2001

This being our 30th anniversary, we thought we’d dip back into the past and recap some of our previous performances, triumphs and tragedies, in a series of posts. And don’t forget our Chronology! It’s not as detailed, but it really shows the growth of ARTC over the years. You can see all of the photos in their full size on our Flickr album!

In 2001 we had the great honor and privilege of being granted permission to adapt and perform Terry Pratchett‘s novel Guards! Guards!. Many ARTC members are great fans of Mr. Pratchett and being allowed to do this was a tremendous experience for us. The first, and most challenging task for us was to write the adaptation. Our convention appearances typically limit us to a one-hour time slot. Condensing a novel-length work down to an hour of audio was probably one of the most painful things we’ve ever done, especially with a work of Terry’s brilliance.

John Rhys-Davies as Lupine Wonse.

John Rhys-Davies as Lupine Wonse.

As if this weren’t enough, though, we also snagged John Rhys-Davies to play the role of Lupine Wonse! Mr. Rhys-Davies was extremely gracious and a pleasure to work with. His voice added an extra bit of gravitas to our performance. With the incomparable Thomas E. Fuller as Death, Doug Kaye as Samuel Vimes, Brad Strickland as Sergeant Colon, Jonathan Strickland as Nobby Nobbs, Phil Carter as Carrot Ironfoundersson, and Fiona K. Leonard as Sybil Ramkin, this cast was one of the best we’ve ever assembled.

Phil Carter, Jonathan Strickland, and Brad Strickland portray the City Watch.

Phil Carter, Jonathan Strickland, and Brad Strickland portray the City Watch.

The City Watch is simultaneously the comic relief and the crux of the story. We had a wonderful time listening to Phil, Jonathan, and Brad play the roles.

Thomas E. Fuller as Death and John Rhys-Davies as Lupine Wonse.

Thomas E. Fuller as Death and John Rhys-Davies as Lupine Wonse.

This was a dream scene with Death and Lupine Wonse – John Rhys-Davies and Thomas E. Fuller sharing a stage meant lots of deep, resonant voices and a distinct lack of scenery as the two of them chewed it all up!

The Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night. As portrayed by Dena Friedman Williams and Bill Jackson.

The Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night. As portrayed by Dena Friedman Williams and Bill Jackson.

The antithesis to the city’s Night Watch – The Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night, who are attempting to summon a dragon.

Fiona K. Leonard as Sybil Ramkin – a wide scope of expression!

The cast of Guards! Guards!

The cast of Guards! Guards!

The multi-talented cast of Guards! Guards!

Display for the Orangutan Foundation

Display for the Orangutan Foundation

Mr. Pratchett granted us this permission in exchange for a contribution to the Orangutan Foundation! We actually chose to “adopt” an orangutan for our donation. Here you can see our sales table’s display. And look! Cassette tapes!

We were also granted very limited distribution privileges! You can hear this classic performance (that was recorded in the Centennial Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency, so forgive us a few sound quality issues) on YouTube (in five parts) and also on our podcast (in three parts (part 1, part 2, part 3)!

 

Noir in the Naked City – Episode Four: Rebirth

Naked City Atlanta logoNaked City is a monthly live literary event held at the Goat Farm in Atlanta. Each month, the hosts reveal the theme for the next month and people sign up for the privelege of getting five minutes to speak, sing, or do whatever on the subject of the theme. Go over your five minutes? Then you must spin the Wheel of Consequences!

Naked City’s website
Naked City’s Facebook page

Starting in February, I began a writing challenge for myself: A crowd-influenced serial called Noir in the Naked City where, at the end of each episode, the protagonist would be faced with a choice. The audience would make the decision for the character, and then the next episode would be written with that choice in mind AND on the next month’s theme.

We’re four episodes in now, and new audiences are probably going to be a bit lost. So I’m posting them here so people can catch up. I’ll post one per week until we’re caught up, and then the next episode will go live right after the event itself. Hope you enjoy them!


 

Episode Four: Rebirth

In the baseball game of life, sometimes you get thrown a curve. Other times, though, it’s more of a slider. And then you have to make a choice, and that choice can be the difference between a hit and a swing and a miss. Lately I’d felt like the latter was happening a lot more than I’d like. And currently I was staring straight into the face of a fastball with my name written all over it.

The dame looked at me impatiently. She’d given me a proposition, although it wasn’t the kind I had been hoping for. She wanted me to help her create a master race. And she was right – a change was coming, the likes of which the world had never seen, and soon it was going to be time for everyone to decide whose side they were on. I’d always been on my own side, and that made the decision pretty easy for me. The murder case wasn’t going anywhere anyway. Time to get on with doing something a bit more important than just some poor slob with his throat torn out.

“I’m in,” I said finally. She smiled and looked at the old man with the cat on his lap. I still needed an answer about that, but I figured it would wait.

Looking back at me she said, “Detective, you have made my employer very happy.” She was right. I could hear him purring from here.

“What next?” I asked.

“Now you go home, detective,” the dame replied. “And you must stay there at all costs. Your safety is paramount until we can gather the necessary materials to take advantage of your unique situation. We’ll need some rather sophisticated tissue samples from you, for example.”

An hour later I was back at my apartment with instructions to wait until they got back later to pick me up.

Calling my place an apartment was an insult to the word, but the landlord objected when I called it a fleatrap and calling it an extension of the deepest, coldest pits of Hell tended to put off prospective dates. I unlocked the door, opened it, and fell through face first. I shut the door, slid out of my “wheat” coat, crawled across the floor into the bathroom, shedding the rest of my clothes along the way, and hoisted myself into the tub.  A warm bath was what I needed.  Then I could get drunk.

As the warm water caressed my skin, taking away the aches of the previous night, or most of them anyway, I heard footsteps out in the hall.  Probably the neighbors.  Except that they stopped.  I didn’t have neighbors on either side of me or across the hall.  They were all the way down at the end and I was used to the sound of them coming and going at odd hours just fading away, but these stopped.  And then I heard knocking on my door.  Fighting the urge to recite “The Raven” in my head, I sunk deeper into the water and hoped they’d go away.  Instead they knocked louder.  So loud that I could still hear it even after I dunked my ears under the surface, the water deepening the sound so that it resembled the heartbeat of an elephant, low and resonant.

Please, God, make it stop.

Surprisingly that seemed to work, as the pounding went silent.  I cautiously raised my head up, but heard nothing else. No footsteps. That meant they were still there. Patient. Patient usually means dangerous for me. I slowly got out of the bath and slid quietly across the hardwood floor. I kept it to a smooth shine at all times for just such occasions. When I reached the door I stood up and put my hand carefully on the handle. Tensing up, I yanked the door open and was confronted with a sight I hadn’t expected.

Another dame. This one was about as different from the first one as it was possible to be. A little shorter, her hair a little redder, and she’d shied away from the skintight dress look, which, based on what I could see, was a pity.

“Hello, Detective,” she said. It was at that moment that I realized I was still naked from the bath. I slammed the door, vaulted across the room, grabbed my “wheat” coat, and threw it on. When I felt decent enough to talk to a lady, I opened the door again.

“Sorry,” I began.

“Skip it,” she said, interrupting me and striding into the room without being invited. “I have a case for you and we don’t have time for this.”

A real no-nonsense girl. But I had bad news for her. “Sorry,” I said again, “but I just sort of retired.”

“To go to work for the jerks who want to create a master race, yeah, I heard,” she said, plopping herself down in my favorite chair.

“Sure,” I said. No point in denying the truth when it’s thrown in your face.

“Forget them. You’re going to want this case. It’s going to make you a new man. And we have to leave right now.”

“Why’s that?” I asked. “And I can’t go anywhere. My new employers told me to sit tight.”

“Detective,” she said impatiently, “this case…it’s about your brother.”

I fell down on the floor. That happens a lot in any case, but in this case it was because I’d forgotten I even had a brother. It had taken me a long time and a lot of booze to do it, but I’d finally managed it and here was this dame coming in here reminding me. The way she’d made herself at home told me that there was no way she was going to just take no for an answer, and she didn’t seem inclined to discuss it. I could throw her out physically and call the cops or I could go with her and find out what was going on with my brother…which meant that the master race folks were going to come looking for me, probably in an unpleasant manner. And I had to decide right now.

CHOICE: Sit tight and wait on the dame to continue creating a master race? Follow the new dame to investigate his brother?

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30 Years of ARTC – All Hallows’ Moon, Dragon Con 2000

This being our 30th anniversary, we thought we’d dip back into the past and recap some of our previous performances, triumphs and tragedies, in a series of posts. And don’t forget our Chronology! It’s not as detailed, but it really shows the growth of ARTC over the years. You can see all of the photos in their full size on our Flickr album!

Continuing our annual appearances at Dragon Con, and 2000 was a real doozy. First, it included one of Thomas E. Fuller’s best original pieces, All Hallows’ Moon. But we were also priveleged to perform an episode of Ron N. Butler’s Rory Rammer, Space Marshal series, The Queen of the Spaceways with Ted Raimi, Alexandra Tydings, and Claire Stansfield! All that plus Zap thy Neighbor by James P. Hogan, and you’ve got a stellar lineup!

Doug Kaye, Fiona K. Leonard, and Thomas E. Fuller set the scene in

Doug Kaye, Fiona K. Leonard, and Thomas E. Fuller set the scene in “All Hallows’ Moon”

ARTC doesn’t normally do costumes. It’s actually a long-running debate within the company – how to create visual appeal for a medium that doesn’t normally rely on visual appeal at all! But when you’re performing live, the audience expects to be able to see something and asking them to close their eyes can lead to inopportune snoring, so occasionally we give costumes a try.

David Benedict, Ron N. Butler, William L. Brown, Doug Kaye, Fiona K. Leonard, Daniel W. Kiernan, and Thomas E. Fuller portray the inhabitants of Mother Lode, New Mexico.

David Benedict, Ron N. Butler, William L. Brown, Doug Kaye, Fiona K. Leonard, Daniel W. Kiernan, and Thomas E. Fuller portray the inhabitants of Mother Lode, New Mexico.

Here’s another example of the costuming work for this piece. We have been very lucky to have a number of professional costumers work with ARTC in the past to help us on occasions such as this.

William L. Brown accepts the first ARTC Lifetime Achievement Award

William L. Brown accepts the first ARTC Lifetime Achievement Award

In 2000 we also debuted the ARTC Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in audio. Presented first to ARTC founder William L. Brown and informally known as the “Brownie”, the award was renamed as the Thomas E. Fuller Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Ted Raimi, Karen Barrett, and Claire Stansfield perform in

Ted Raimi, Karen Barrett, and Claire Stansfield perform in Rory Rammer, Space Marshal: Queen of the Spaceways as Alexandra Tydings waits for her cue.

We also had the great honor of performing with three of the stars of Xena, Warrior Princess that year. Ted Raimi hammed it up as Rory Rammer, turning in an uproarious performance…that also happened to be about half an hour longer than we’d scheduled it for! Claire Stansfield and Alexandra Tydings were also spectacular in the roles of Michiko Sakai and Aphrodite DeHavilland.

Alexandra Tydings and Ted Raimi

Alexandra Tydings and Ted Raimi

This performance is still recalled fondly by those members of ARTC who were lucky enough to be present.

We hope you’re enjoying this look back at ARTC! If so, let us know! And don’t forget that your support is extremely important. Tell your friends! Tell your family! Buy a CD or make a donation!

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Noir in the Naked City – Episode Three: Hate

Naked City Atlanta logoNaked City is a monthly live literary event held at the Goat Farm in Atlanta. Each month, the hosts reveal the theme for the next month and people sign up for the privelege of getting five minutes to speak, sing, or do whatever on the subject of the theme. Go over your five minutes? Then you must spin the Wheel of Consequences!

Naked City’s website
Naked City’s Facebook page

Starting in February, I began a writing challenge for myself: A crowd-influenced serial called Noir in the Naked City where, at the end of each episode, the protagonist would be faced with a choice. The audience would make the decision for the character, and then the next episode would be written with that choice in mind AND on the next month’s theme.

We’re four episodes in now, and new audiences are probably going to be a bit lost. So I’m posting them here so people can catch up. I’ll post one per week until we’re caught up, and then the next episode will go live right after the event itself. Hope you enjoy them!


 

Episode Three: Hate

Sometimes you just never know where you’re going to end up. Sometimes choices can be a real bitch. And sometimes you make the wrong one. Currently I was faced with a choice where both options were suboptimal in the extreme. On the one hand I could head down to the train yard, following a free lead from a known selfish prick who never gave away anything for free. On the other hand I could follow the mug in the doorway who was frantically motioning for me to come over there. The flames from the recent explosion down at the train yard were billowing up into the air like Marilyn Monroe’s dress over the grate, except a lot less attractive. I could already see the guards scurrying around like heavily armed ants over a mound that had recently met the business end of a sturdy boot. And I could see the mug in the doorway being impatient, his long trench coat and hat obscuring most of his features.

I glanced at my watch. It was a heavy pocket watch, engraved with some poor schmoe’s retirement message. I’d picked it up from a pawn shop. I guess retirement hadn’t gone all that well for this guy. The watch face read 11:59pm, one minute until I was supposed to meet this supposed informant that Gek had sent me to meet. Or had he? All he’d said was that I had a train to catch. Maybe he meant for me to go up in flames, roasted like a cheap scallop dredged from the ocean floor so it could become dinner for a species that only considered itself dominant because it acted like it hadn’t heard of insects.

I glared at the shadow in the doorway. Its motions were becoming more insistent, more frantic. Clearly he wanted to be out of there before the guards started their inevitable canvass of the surrounding area. I inwardly rolled my eyes and began the laborious process of getting up off the street and flinging myself into the doorway to see what the mug wanted. Once he saw me moving in his direction, he darted off and ducked through a doorway. I followed, knowing in my gut that I would regret it.

On the other side of the door was an extremely large room that was mostly empty except for a man sitting in a plain wooden chair with something furry on his lap. The mug was shedding her trench coat and hat to reveal a woman in a brilliant red dress so tight it looked like someone had bled on her. She had hair as black as der fuhrur’s soul, eyes as green as the envy in a man’s heart, and legs that went on and on and on…like a PBS pledge drive. A dame. This was about to get a lot more complicated.

The man looked up at me, his rheumy eyes clearly bloodshot even from across the room. The bundle of fur in his lap opened its eyes and stretched a long orange tabby paw, its claws raking the air. And that’s when it got a LOT more complicated.

“Good evening, detective,” the woman said. She had only the slightest trace of a German accent in that soft, lilting voice of hers. I made no reply.

“You’re probably wondering why you’re here,” she continued.

“Yeah,” I said, my eyes not leaving the cat on the old man’s lap. I wasn’t afraid. What I was was curious.

“I will come straight to business,” the woman said. “We want you.”

“Get in line,” I replied.

“You jest, but you have something my employer needs desperately.” She took a cigarette from a small table nearby and lit it, the smoke encircling her head like a halo. I couldn’t help but think that that was an accessory she would never be able to wear effectively.

“That him there?” I asked, indicating the old man.

“Of course,” she said.

“Tell him to get rid of the cat and we can talk about it.”

The woman looked puzzled for a moment, and then burst into laughter. “Detective, the cat is my employer. The man with him is just for warmth and companionship.”

“I hate those things,” I said, deciding not to mince words.

“The fact that you are not surprised tells me that you are exactly the person we need,” she purred.

“What do you need me for?” I asked, knowing I would hate the answer.

“My employer and I are of a similar mindset. We feel that, given certain technological advances recently, that humanity is on the verge of a new age. But it will be an age of bigotry and hatred, repression and segregation. We think we are so enlightened because we have integrated all races, religions, and creeds into a universal tolerance where everyone gets along. But people are inherently distrustful and are always looking for the next group to oppress to make themselves feel superior.”

“What’s this got to do with me?”

“You know perfectly well,” she snapped. “You are only the first member of the next group to be shunned and feared. You already experience it daily.”

“And what do you and your…employer intend to do about it?”

The cat yawned. The dame continued talking “We intend to follow in the footsteps of one who knew all about hatred and oppression, but got the details wrong. There isn’t a master race…but there could be. And we will create it together, the three of us. What do you say, detective? Will you join us in creating the next step in the evolutionary cycle and prevent another hundred years of violence and hatred in the process?”

I thought it over. She had a point. It was tempting. If I joined them I could forget about the poor jerk murdered in his car. Clearing my name wouldn’t matter anymore because in this scenario I’d be in charge. But could they do it? Could I do it? I had to decide – continue with the case and worry about these two stabbing me in the back, or join with them and worry about what would happen if they failed…or if they succeeded.

CHOICE: Continue with the case? Help the dame and her feline employer create a new master race?

 

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30 Years of ARTC – Throne of Shadows, Dragon Con 1999

This being our 30th anniversary, we thought we’d dip back into the past and recap some of our previous performances, triumphs and tragedies, in a series of posts. And don’t forget our Chronology! It’s not as detailed, but it really shows the growth of ARTC over the years. You can see all of the photos in their full size on our Flickr album!

ARTC has been priveleged to perform at every single Dragon Con since the very beginning back in 1987. In 1999 we debuted the audio version of Thomas E. Fuller’s Throne of Shadows: The Last Relic of the Empire. It’s a complex story involving the Emperor of Mexico, an actress pushed to her limits of sanity, and an alternate history of the way things really went in 1867. But leaving geopolitics aside for a moment, the story is really about the love that Maximilian shared with his wife Carlota and how that love transcended death and madness.

The cast of

The cast of “Throne of Shadows”

In this photo we see an extremely young Sarah Taylor as the fictional Sofia, along with several other members of the cast of the production. We managed to get Sarah into the studio to record her lines while she still sounded like a girl instead of the young woman she has grown up to be. Also pictured, Trudy Leonard as Carlota, Dena Friedman Williams as the actress Victoria Forell, and Thomas E. Fuller as Emperor Maximilian.

Foley for

Foley for “Throne of Shadows”

Foley for Throne of Shadows was fairly involved. There was lots of walking around on castle floors when the scenes were set in Bavaria, but when the scenes magically shifted to the Mexican Empire in 1867, it was occasionally necessary to have dense foliage available. One side set in winter, the other in a glorious Mexican spring.

Brad Weage at the keyboard

Brad Weage at the keyboard

Brad Weage composed the haunting score, including the essential “Imperial Waltz”. For the final studio production, Joel Abbott provided a good deal of a replacement score, due to Brad’s original compositions being unavailable, but the “Imperial Waltz” lives on!

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Noir in the Naked City – Episode Two: Progress

Naked City Atlanta logoNaked City is a monthly live literary event held at the Goat Farm in Atlanta. Each month, the hosts reveal the theme for the next month and people sign up for the privelege of getting five minutes to speak, sing, or do whatever on the subject of the theme. Go over your five minutes? Then you must spin the Wheel of Consequences!

Naked City’s website
Naked City’s Facebook page

Starting in February, I began a writing challenge for myself: A crowd-influenced serial called Noir in the Naked City where, at the end of each episode, the protagonist would be faced with a choice. The audience would make the decision for the character, and then the next episode would be written with that choice in mind AND on the next month’s theme.

We’re four episodes in now, and new audiences are probably going to be a bit lost. So I’m posting them here so people can catch up. I’ll post one per week until we’re caught up, and then the next episode will go live right after the event itself. Hope you enjoy them!


 

Episode Two: Progress

Choices. Life’s full of ‘em. You make one, it leads to another, which leads to another, an endless string of consequences flowing through everyone’s life like a river downstream from a major city. The question is whether the river is filled with honey…or blood. Currently my choices had me shambling down the street through a rainstorm that would give a respectable monsoon a run for its money without my hat.

I’d been going like this for about an hour. I don’t drive a car, don’t trust ‘em, and I can’t work the pedals in any case because of my special circumstances. My special circumstances also mean that I fall down a lot, but it’s ok. I’m used to it. I turned a corner and made it as far as a local movie theatre before falling down, which I considered the moral equivalent of winning a biathalon and the Boston Marathon on the same day.

The marquee threw its harsh neon message at me like a shotput, burning my eyes out with its brilliant intensity, announcing to the world that something part fifty was having its 30th anniversary.  I briefly wondered if the last original idea that left Hollywood had turned off the iron before it went out, but then I decided I could ponder the artistic integrity of the average moviegoer better from the comfort of my own apartment. I wouldn’t be making it there tonight, I suspected, but the thought gave me the motivation I needed to get going again. I staggered up, shifted my weight, did a forward roll, used the momentum to get my feet under me, and moved on.

I was nervous. Gek had told me that I should be at the train yard at midnight. There were all kinds of things wrong with this. First, the trains didn’t run that late. Second, he told me this at just after 10:00pm and he knew it would be a push for me to make it there in time from his place. And third, while it’s true that he knows a ton about what goes on in this burg, Gek doesn’t give away information for free. This was going to cost me and it was only a matter of time before the bill came due.

I nearly didn’t go at all. But I didn’t have a lot of other options available. At this time of night all my usual informants were going to be asleep, in jail, or otherwise occupied with each other. Not to mention hard to find. At least the train yard didn’t move around.

After another forty five minutes of staggering, stumbling, falling, and getting back up, the yard finally came into view. I stopped to catch my breath. Normally this kind of trip wouldn’t take that much out of me. I’m pretty tough, but the sustained breakneck pace had put an ache in my body that made me think my muscles were staging a revolt. Plus, I couldn’t get warm with the rain pelting down. I gotta move to Venice some day so I can just swim everywhere I need to go. A part of me wished I had my leg braces with me, but I rejected the idea. I needed the flexibility when I was on the job.

The train yard, visible now at the bottom of a hill about two hundred yards away from me, was a glittering vista of shiny metal and polished plastic. There’s a kind of romance about trains and locomotives that’s ingrained into the collective unconcious, and this place had about as much of it as a single man’s apartment the day after Valentine’s Day.

People think about trains and they think of  locomotives hauling lumber, coal, and hobos across the great expanse of the American midwest, connecting the great cities and bringing goods and culture to the masses through steam, grease, and a plaintive whistle that echoes forlornly through mountain passes. There’s an element of danger, where desperate men gather to seek out new lives and fortunes and risk death by misadventure for the thrill of exploration and dreamed-of riches.

That’s just because they haven’t ridden one lately and get all their news from picture books. These trains were maglev bullet trains designed to hurtle along tracks at nearly 200 miles per hour. They shone when the sunlight hit them and glittered in the moonlight. There were no desperate men here, unless they were desperate to get away from the guards that patrolled the area like ants invading the picnic of life. Trains had been big business once and were becoming so again thanks to modern technology and people’s insatiable need to be somewhere besides where they were.

I glanced at my watch. 11:55pm. I gathered myself for one last plunge down the hill, fully expecting to have to roll most of the way there, when suddenly there was a massive explosion at the far end of the yard. A plume of orange fire and thick, dark smoke billowed up into the night sky, casting garish shadows on everything in the general viscinity. I hit the dirt and swore, a long and lurid string of expletives that rivaled the explosion for heat and intensity. This was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it meant that all the guards were going to head for the explosion – a better distraction would be hard to find. On the other hand it meant that everyone was going to be on high alert. Besides, what fool runs TOWARDS an explosion when he’s already a suspect for murder?

“Psst”

It was barely audible over the sounds of the fire raging and the alarms that had started down at the train yard, but still distinct.

“Psst”

About twenty feet away I could see a shadow detaching itself from a brick wall, motioning for me to come over. I looked at my watch again. 11:58pm. If I hurried I could still get to the train yard before midnight. Could the person I was supposed to meet have set the explosion as a distraction? If so, they weren’t going to linger. I could rush to the yard and try to find them in time or I could see what the mug in the doorway wanted. But I couldn’t do both.

CHOICE: Continue to the train yard? Follow the mug in the doorway?

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The Doom of the Mummy part 1 of 4

Size: 7.3M Duration: 15:39

Bill Kronick as Dr Creighton AlastairIn 2008 we performed The Doom of the Mummy at Dragon Con. The performance was dedicated to Thomas E. Fuller, who had already provided us with retellings of the classic monster stories The Passion of Frankenstein and The Brides of Dracula (not to mention an adaptation of The Invisible Man). Although he’d never really talked about it, it seemed natural to assume that he would follow those up one day with more audio dramas in the vein of the Universal Monsters by also retelling the time-honored tales of the wolfman, the mummy, and several others in that same vein.

Unfortunately, Thomas passed away in 2002 and we were never able to see what his vision for these classic monsters might have been. We are forced to fill the void ourselves, and have begun to do so with The Doom of the Mummy by William Alan Ritch and The Wood-Bound Werewolf by Kelley S. Ceccato.

Now, here in 2014, we dedicate this performance again, this time to Bill Kronick, himself recently passed away. Bill was a marvelous voice talent, a skilled improviser, and a great friend to all who knew him. We are proud to present his work here as Dr. Creighton Alastair.

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30 Years of ARTC – Decatur Arts Festival 1999

This being our 30th anniversary, we thought we’d dip back into the past and recap some of our previous performances, triumphs and tragedies, in a series of posts. And don’t forget our Chronology! It’s not as detailed, but it really shows the growth of ARTC over the years.

ARTC has performed at the Decatur Arts Festival on five separate occasions. We loved our experiences there, but the fact of the matter is that outdoor venues aren’t kind to us from an acoustic point of view, and often from a weather point of view. Our 2004 Frontier Days performance was particularly memorable. Ask us about it sometime! You can see all of the photos in their full size on our Flickr album!

But, that said, we did get appreciative audiences. Here’s a few of our favorite moments from the show!

Trudy Leonard, Clair W. Kiernan, Tony Trauring, and Daniel Taylor perform.

Trudy Leonard, Clair W. Kiernan, Tony Trauring, and Daniel Taylor perform.

As you can see, we’re in a tent. It was a lovely sunny day and the tent helped keep the sun off our heads. Rain would have been a completely different story.

Bill Ritch and Thomas Fuller look over the technical side of things.

Bill Ritch and Thomas Fuller look over the technical side of things.

One of the great things about this festival was our opportunity to connect with some of our younger fans (and fans-to-be!).

Old tech helped make this show possible.

Check out the ancient technology!

Trudy Leonard, Daniel W. Kiernan, Clair W. Kiernan, Tony Trauring, and Daniel Taylor are on the stage playing to a decent audience, but what’s really interesting here is the tech in the foreground. Check that stuff out. An actual tape deck! And that laptop had to weigh ten pounds. Not pictured: A ton of other stuff we don’t have to use anymore thanks to modern technology. Now we lug around completely different (but equally heavy) stuff!

More older technology in use for the show

More ancient tech

Some of it is pictured here. But that’s still not all of it.

Foley table for the show

Foley work

Foley stays pretty much the same. I think we used some of those props at our last performance!

Brad Weage at the keyboard

Brad Weage at the keyboard

And what trip down memory lane would be complete without Brad Weage? Here he is right at home behind his keyboard.

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Noir in the Naked City – Episode One: Obsession

Naked City Atlanta logoNaked City is a monthly live literary event held at the Goat Farm in Atlanta. Each month, the hosts reveal the theme for the next month and people sign up for the privelege of getting five minutes to speak, sing, or do whatever on the subject of the theme. Go over your five minutes? Then you must spin the Wheel of Consequences!

Naked City’s website
Naked City’s Facebook page

Starting in February, I began a writing challenge for myself: A crowd-influenced serial called Noir in the Naked City where, at the end of each episode, the protagonist would be faced with a choice. The audience would make the decision for the character, and then the next episode would be written with that choice in mind AND on the next month’s theme.

We’re four episodes in now, and new audiences are probably going to be a bit lost. So I’m posting them here so people can catch up. I’ll post one per week until we’re caught up, and then the next episode will go live right after the event itself. Hope you enjoy them!


Episode One: Obsession

Life is full of choices, choices that determine where you end up in life. Currently my choices had me in an office, leaning against a wall, while a man who had to be at least 300 pounds of pure muscle loomed over me. I felt instinctively that I had made a few wrong choices somewhere along the line. Like going into the PI business to start with.

It all started yesterday when I woke up in a gutter, the rain backing up behind me as if I were the Hoover Dam. I ached. If my bones could break, they’d be good for toothpicks about now. Someone had worked me over pretty good, and I had a briny taste in my mouth as if someone had been trying to give me a message at the bottom of a saltwater dunk tank. Which was weird, because how’d they know I like salt in my water?

I pushed myself up and wondered when my head was going to stop hurting, when I realized that part of the problem was that some damn fool was blowing the horn on his car. I groped around for my hat, but it looked like someone had stolen it. At least I still had my coat. It was beige, but the label it had when I bought it said “wheat”. The sound of the horn wrapped itself around my brain and squeezed.

Lurching to my feet, I staggered over to the car to see what this guy thought he was going to accomplish with his dissonant New Age concert imitation. Blowing your horn in traffic around here was like building a signal fire in a volcano. And then I saw the guy and realized that he would never be accomplishing anything unless his goal in life was to help the grass grow.

He was slumped over the steering wheel, blood running down into the seat in a river that rivaled the river of rainwater I’d woken up in. His eyes gaped open, his jaw sagged, and he had bite marks on his neck. Ragged, flesh-tearing bite marks, leaving a grotesque, deep hole.

Great. Just great.

I ran away as fast as I could. I needed answers and I knew several places I could start, but I could only pick one. Starting with Betty was always pleasant, but usually time consuming. Huck often had good information, but you had to find him first. That left Gek.

Gek was one of those funny kids who always seemed to know everything. He pretty much did only two things: read and exercise. He’d decided at an early age that improving your mind and body were the only two activities in life worth doing, and he’d done them both to an extreme that made Jekyll and Hyde look like identical twins.

He didn’t want money or favors, he wanted information. Obscure, useless trivia was his favorite. You could tell him what time it was and he’d tell you the date, but tell him that Simon Bolivar triumphed over Spain in the Battle of Boyaca on August 7, 1819 and he’d tell you your secret admirer’s name, address, phone number, and your choice of a list of turn-ons or escape routes. I wondered what I’d have to tell him to get what I needed and I suddenly realized I knew too much already.

I pulled the collar of my “wheat” coat up a little higher to ward off the rain, which helped about as much as putting up an umbrella under Niagara Falls. I was going to get the bastard that stole my hat if it was the last thing I ever did.

When I arrived at Gek’s place about twenty minutes later, he was sitting behind a large mahogany desk that had been polished to a brilliant finish reading a book. He didn’t bother to look up at me. I cleared my throat.

“I know you’re here,” Gek said in a smooth, deep voice. Despite that acknowledgement he still didn’t look up and continued poring over his book. After about fifteen minutes he opened a drawer in the desk, took out a leather bookmark, placed it carefully in the book and closed it.

He regarded me impassively. “Now,” he said, finally, “what can you do for me?”

I licked my lips nervously. “I’m here about a guy in a car,” I eventually managed.

“He’s dead,” Gek said, “But you already knew that, so you can just tell me what time it is now.”

“It’s ten minutes after 10:00PM.” I said, checking my watch and cursing my luck. I was hoping he hadn’t heard yet. Someday I was going to figure out how he did it.

“I’m glad you’re here, actually,” he said, unexpectedly cutting to the chase. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you. A little detail I’ve had some trouble unearthing.” He got up from his desk. And that was how I ended up with this behemoth hovering over me like the goddamned Hindenburg.

“I know what you want to know, Gek,” I said. “But I can’t tell you. I can’t tell anybody.”

“Then we have a problem.”

I considered my options. The future loomed over me just as Gek was looming over me now. Considering where I suspected this case was going to go, I’d be able to spill the beans on the whole thing very soon. But I needed to know something about the guy in the car right now. Gek stopped moving towards me and looked thoughtful for a moment. Then he turned, went back to his desk, sat down, and opened his book.

“You have a train to catch,” he said. “It’s pulling into the yard at midnight. I suggest you be there.”

Nice. Nice and vague. And suspicious. Gek never gave away good information for free.

CHOICE: go to the train yard? Try another informant?

 

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The Call of Cthulhu – Sample

The Call of C'thulhuThe Call of Cthulhu – Sample

It’s hard to believe that we started this production all the way back in 2010. Another casualty of our notoriously long production schedule – BUT! There is starlight at the end of the tunnel! The production is nearly finished and will certainly be released this year and we are excited about ARTC Studio, which should put an end to these interminably long wait times for new material from us.

You can look for The Mark of the Beast and Dr. Geoffry Stanhope, Investigator of Occult Phenomena: The Dweller in the Depths later in May, and we’re ramping up for The War of the Worlds: The Untold Story.

In the meantime, since the stars are almost right, here’s a little sample of The Call of Cthulhu to whet your appetites.

Like Lovecraft? Check out our other offerings!

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