"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog

Friday, September 16, 2011

Johnny Legend Shocks the Bay on October 31st!

The man, the myth, Johnny Legend returns to San Fransinister!

CALLING ALL COOL GHOULS! Haunting the historic Café Du Nord on October 31, 2011, the SHOCK-IT-TO-ME! HALLOWEEN SPOOKENANNY will, claws down, be the most insidious show in San Francisco this Ghoultide Season! Bringing back a real sense of old skool All-Hallows-Eve fun, event promoter August Ragone (columnist for Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine), has sewn together a monstrous fright night of horror hosts, maniacal music, creepy contests, and more tricks ‘n treats than you can shake a bloody stake at!

After a ten-year ban in thirteen countries, Ragone is proud to announce the triumphant return of the legendary "Rock n’ Roll Rasputin", straight from his heart-stopping performance at the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans: JOHNNY LEGEND & HIS NAKED APES! Johnny’s latest musical incarnation (featuring members of The Mummies and The Chuckleberries) will be seizing Café Du Nord’s sinister stage with the organ-blitzing madmen of BEACHKRIEG and fellow maniacal maniacs THE UNDERTAKER & HIS PALS!

Our Demonic DJ, OMAR (Popscene, Shutter, Leisure, Sixxteen) will be spinning the wicked wax through the dark Samhain Eve, from The Cramps to Screaming Lord Sutch, to fulfill your sinister garage-stomping urges! Ragone boasts that in case of sudden monster attack, a team of Resuscitated Nurses will be on stand by, while each and every putrid patron will be insured for $1,000,000 by Wm. Castle & Sons of Hollywood against death by fright. And he warns, “Come early! No one will be seated during the final 15 minutes of the show!”

Your horrifying hosts for this night of ghoulish guising are MISS MISERY (Creepy KOFY Movie Time) and the infamous THE MONSTER MELONS (Ms. Monster & Her Monster Melons), who will MC our “Scary Screaming Contest” for a crawling cache of putrid prizes — including a real “Dead Body” — and our “Creepy Costume Contest”! But wait! There’s more gore: Horror Host Historians, MICHAEL MONAHAN (American Scary) and LON HUBER (UHF Nocturne) will be there to shock you with the release of their premiere book, “Shock It To Me: The Featured Creatures of Bay Area Televsion”!

Vampiric Vendors at the event will include Scary-Art.com’s NICOLAS CAESAR (artist and curator for “Scream 4″), celebrated horror artist, ALARIC BARCA, and more! Ragone concludes that the SHOCK-IT-TO-ME! HALLOWEEN SPOOKENANNY “will scare the YELL out of you!”

Stay tuned to the SHOCK IT TO ME! website for more Special Guests, Vendors, and added Eerie Events!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Actor Takeshi Yoshioka's Big US Adventure

ウルトラマンガイアの出演、吉岡毅志の米国ツアー !

Wanted! More readers like Takeshi Yoshioka!

This past July, actor Takeshi Yoshioka, who starred as Gamu Takayama in Tsuburaya Productions' popular 1998 television series, ULTRAMAN GAIA, visited the US with his wife, Aiko, of the twin pop act, Flip-Flap. The couple was married in 2009, and spent two years planning their Honeymoon vacation — landing in New York, and on to stops in Nigara Falls, Chicago, and Florida. From there, they rented a car and drove though the South to California, including stops in San Francisco and Southern California. Since this wasn't a professional visit, we were asked not to promote or advertise their trip, or to organize any fan meetings — this was their Honeymoon, after all.

My cohort, Dave Chapple (not to be confused with the slightly more famous comedian of nearly the same name), was contacted about their their trip and arrival in California, and was told to take care of them. After the couple's visit to San Francisco, including an afternoon at Japantown, the Yoshioka's headed south to Palm Springs to spend five days at Casa de Chapple. In 2005, Godzilla suit actor, Tsutomu "Tom" Kitagawa, stayed with Dave for the same stretch, while he was in the US promoting GODZILLA FINAL WARS (which is a completely different story that needs to be told). Dave's reputation for his intuitive understanding of Japanese customs and decorum is well-known among many tokusatsu actors and their agents in Japan, so it is no surprise that he was entrusted with hosting the Yoshiokas at his home in Palm Springs.

While at Casa de Chapple, Dave entertained the Yoshiokas and visited some of the great restaurants and hot spots which Palm Springs is renown for (and if you've ever been to Palm Springs, you know how hot it can be). Part of their plan, while staying with Dave, was to visit Hollywood, San Diego and Tijuana. Since Dave was well aware of their tight schedule, he suggested an alternative: a trip Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead would perhaps be a better trip, with the few remaining days they had left in the US. The couple agreed, and so Dave drove them up to Big Bear Mountain for the day, which they said that they would never forget. Departing Dave's house, the couple still ended up sightseeing in Hollywood on the way to Los Angeles International Airport. The Yoshioka's had a blast on their American journey, and they thanked Dave for making it even better with his hospitality and humor — Dave's just that cool.

It's not everyone that can say that Ultraman Gaia swam in their pool!

My treasured autograph from Takeshi Yoshioka!

Visit Tsuburaya Productions' official ULTRAMAN GAIA page!