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Category: Press

02/02/11

Permalink 12:51:23 am, by bobcalhoun Email , 611 words, 6396 views English (US)
Categories: Press, Television

Parenthood Recap: My Book Makes its NBC Debut

NBC Parenthood
My book, “Beer, Blood and Cornmeal,” makes its network television debut as a piece of set decoration on the NBC series “Parenthood” in the lower left corner of the screen.

“Parenthood” is about the Braverman family. We know this because they tell us over and over again. They’ve already said the word Braverman four times by the episode’s 25-minute mark. Craig T. Nelson, as grizzled patriarch Zeek Braverman, says his surname three times. Does my dad say “Calhoun” this many times? Does he regale me with tales about the “whole Calhoun male bonding experience” or the “original Calhoun hunter-gatherers"? No. He doesn’t. But he’s just a Calhoun, not a Braverman. When you’re a Braverman, you’re really into working your last name into sentences.

Three minutes in. Bonnie Bedilia as Camille Braverman is standing in front of a bookcase. I can’t make out the spines of the books even with a 45″ Zenith Plasma TV. There are a couple of black books with white lettering. I don’t think that any of them are “Beer, Blood & Cornmeal” though. I can spot my 2008 punk-wrestling memoir on the bottom shelf of the sports entertainment section from across a crowded Barnes & Noble. I could definitely spot it on Camille Braverman’s bookshelf.

Last month, I got an email from ECW Press publicist Simon Ware telling me that my book will be “used as permanent background set dressing in the NBC series ‘Parenthood,’” starting with season 2, episode 14. This episode was supposed to air last week, but was preempted for the State of the Union address.

We’re 11-minutes in. Bonnie Bedelia is reading a book, but it’s a hard cover. My book is a trade paperback. Damn it.

Eight minutes later. Amber and Haddie, two teens, are unpacking. Haddie has been exiled from her parents’ home because she’s dating a 19-year old. The camera pans out into the hallway. There’s a bookcase or some kind of table in the hallway. Saints be praised! Clearly visible on the shelf is a copy of “Beer, Blood and Cornmeal.” They don’t just show it once, but twice, with the NBC Peacock right next to it. Thank you cinematographer David J. Miller for getting my book into the frame. I owe you a beer or ten.

NBC Parenthood
A closeup of my punk-wrestling memoir, “Beer, Blood & Cornmeal,” on the Braverman family’s hallway shelf in the NBC comedy-drama “Parenthood.”

I don’t know why the producers of “Parenthood” chose to put my book on the shelf in the Braverman family’s hallway. Maybe art director Susan Alegria or art department coordinator Charlene Blanco Agabao read the book and liked it. (Thanks to both of you by the way.) Maybe they or somebody else working for True Jack Productions thought that the cover picture of The Cruiser rolling up a Macho Sasquatcho for a pinfall. The show takes place in Berkeley so they could think that this what people in the East Bay are reading these days. If only this could be so. But then again, maybe this is just the kind of rock-ribbed rasslin tell-all that hard-headed Bravermans like Zeek and Camille like to sink their teeth into.

Thirty-nine minutes Adam Braverman (Peter Krause from “Six Feet Under") gets high from a THC loaded lollipop. Shortly after, Kristina Braverman (Monica Potter) and Bonnie Bedelia have a heart to heart on the porch. “Beer, Blood & Cornmeal” isn’t seen again, but maybe next week Craig T. Nelson will crack it open for the cameras. This would be rad because not only was Nelson in “Poltergeist,” but he got killed by vampires in both “Scream Blacula Scream” and “The Return of Count Yorga” back in the 1970s.

12/17/09

Permalink 12:17:31 pm, by bobcalhoun Email , 601 words, 7073 views English (US)
Categories: News, Press

In the Kindle Wrestling Top Ten

Beer, Blood and Cornmeal
#6 on the Amazon Kindle Wrestling 100.

My punk-wrestling memoir, Beer, Blood and Cornmeal: Seven Years of Incredibly Strange Wrestling (ECW Press, 2008) was finally released for Amazon’s Kindle this week. This pleases my good friend Len E. B. who only buys books on the Kindle now since he spent around 300 bucks on the thing. Likely due to Len’s purchase (thanks Len!), for a brief, shining moment yesterday BBAC was #6 on Amazon’s listing of Kindle bestsellers in the Wrestling category. My book was behind a download of The Marine Corps Close Combat Manual, which goes for the low, low price of $2.99 a pop and is authored by no less-storied an organization than the USMC. However, BBAC was ahead of Rey Mysterio: Behind the Mask, which came in at #8, and two different digital versions of Hulk Hogan’s 2002 biography Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Surprisingly, The Hulkster’s 2009 follow-up, My Life Outside the Ring, wasn’t in Amazon’s Kindle top-20.

The inclusion of my memoir, with its celebration of the ring exploits of Macho Sasquatcho, El Pollo Diablo (the Devil Chicken) and El Homo Loco, is likely to cause consternation among two types of grappling purists: college wrestling coaches and lucha libre aficionados.

Collegiate wrestling coaches (along with mixed martial arts fighters, Marine Corps Drill Instructors and judokas) are vexed that Amazon lumps theatrical pro wrestling, also known in certain parts of the country as rasslin’, with books on “real” sports such as amateur or competitive wrestling, mixed martial arts, judo, aikido and jiu-jitsu. This creates an odd-listing to be sure, where earnest self-defense manuals written by Ultimate Fighting legends like Randy Couture and Royce Gracie share a category with my book that features a guy who wrestles in a chicken costume while drunks hurl tortillas at him. As I write this, the current #6 on this list is the 3rd edition of Coaching Youth Wrestling, which sports a cover photo of two ten year olds trying to take each other down. Coaching Youth Wrestling is not only on the same list as my lurid account but also The WrestleCrap Book of Lists! (sic). I will agree with these Greco-Roman coaches: there is definitely something wrong with this.

Lucha libre aficionados will be angry at how my book could have come in ahead of the life story of a genuine luchadore for even one whole hour yesterday. I get emails from these guys from time to time, usually railing on how I haven’t “paid my dues” in the squared circle.

For any regular readers, I must apologize for what is nothing more than an overwrought press release here. I’ve abstained from such things for a while now, choosing instead to write what I term “quality blogs” or “essays.” But originally, I started blogging at the behest of my publisher to create a “platform.” These early blogs usually detailed publicity stunts like holding a book reading in front of Cody’s Books in Berkeley after it had closed for good or demonstrating choke holds on booksellers and librarians at the 2008 Book Expo America. Dan Sirota details this phenomenon in his latest OS essay, When Julia Became Julie, Content Lost Its Throne. It is difficult to imagine Robert E. Howard spending the time to prattle on about the release of The Bloody Crown of Conan on the Kindle. Or could you imagine Hunter S. Thompson doing this? Maybe we should crank call Harlan Ellison posing as a rep from Fictionwise Classic and ask him to blog the 69¢ download of Paingod and Other Delusions. I’m sure ol’ Harlan will love that.

02/23/09

Permalink 11:43:22 pm, by bobcalhoun Email , 719 words, 4754 views English (US)
Categories: Press, Black Dragon Fighting Society, Count Dante, Music, Wrestling

Roctober Keeps on Rollin'

Roctober #46
Roctober #46 features in-depth coverage of Soul Train’s Chicago roots, trucker music, and my days of having tortillas thrown at me while I wrestled women + plenty of comics!

JAKE AUSTEN DON’T TAKE NO MESS. While such zines as Psychotronic and Punk Planet have folded in their tents due to the corporate rape of their distribution system, Austen still grinds out hard copy of his Chicago based music and pop culture zine Roctober, has them printed on pulpy newsprint that deposits a healthy amount of ink on your hands, stuffs them into envelopes and mails the mags to subscribers. He’s not giving up and becoming a blogger. The sheer volume of info on psychedelic freak outs, proto metal bands, Midwest soul and blues musicians, forgotten garage rockers and strange yet fascinating pop cultural phenomena lovingly packed into each ish of the Roctober cannot be broken down into one line bullet points on Twitter or lost to the flotsam and jetsam of the blogosphere. It was relatively recently (this century) that Austen embraced the scanner and computer as a means of delivering his pages to the printer. For him the medium is truly the message and that medium is the ‘zine.

Austen called me “the dynamic wrestling, seminar conducting, kung fu fighting, rock and roll genius” in his review of the last Count Dante and the Black Dragon Fighting Society CD Fat Power in Roctober #43. While that was flattering as all getout, what was even more awesome was that review of my most recent trash rock opus was in the same mag as an in depth interview with Paul Williams about the ghoulish rock musical, Phantom of the Paradise (1974). Not only is Brian DePalma’s Phantom one of my favorite films but, watching it recently, I realized that the glam numbers in it informed me of what a rock band should be at a tender young age. It didn’t help that they showed clips of it in the intro to Creature Features every week on KTVU Channel 2, reinforcing the message that rock bands should play distorted pentatonic riffs, wear outrageous costumes and be electrocuted on stage. Un-characteristically, the interview with Williams is available online by clicking here.

Roctober #43

The newest ish of Roctober (#46) has a flip cover. One side is cartoon of a trucker barreling down a highway with his trusty ape (pictured). The flipside has a photograph of Don Cornelius wearing what can only be described as a low cut blouse and an accessory that closely resembles a dog collar interviewing a very well dressed B. B. King. In the corresponding article, Austen delves into the locally produced, almost DIY Chicago Soul Train that ran parallel to its LA based nationally syndicated show.

But amidst the pages and pages of record, book and DVD reviews is a rollicking four-page interview by Dan Kelly with yours truly where I not only discuss Beer, Blood and Cornmeal but also get to spout off about my band like we really did something. I even start quoting The General’s lyrics to the still unreleased Sgt. Rock and talk about Steve Leialoha (the Fat Power cover artist), comic scribe Doug Moench, Shang Chi Master of Kung Fu and those really weird DC Shadow comics from the late 1980s. In all, it’s the kind of Filmfax or Psychotronic interview that I’ve always dreamed of doing. Reading it made me feel a little bit closer to H.G. Lewis or the late Ray Dennis Steckler talking to Fangoria or V. Vale. Thank you Roctober.

And if that wasn’t enough to inflate my already dangerously enlarged ego, the magazine also sports what may be the last interview with country picking legend and Smokey and the Bandit co-star Jerry Reed, an essay on Sam Pekinpah’s movie version of the hit C.W. McCall tune Convoy and a crazy comic spoof of 70s cosmic Kirby comics called The Internals.

It’s Roctober. There isn’t an online version. You have to buy it. It’s worth it even if you don’t want to read about me. You can click here to order a copy. In fact, get a three issue subscription. You’ll be glad you did when those 100+ pages of glorious newsprint arrive in your mailbox every now and then. You really will.

06/10/08

Permalink 12:45:33 pm, by bobcalhoun Email , 332 words, 18307 views English (US)
Categories: News, Press, Count Dante, San Francisco

Best Blog on Redroom.com and my Librarian Past

My blog about choking out librarians and booksellers at BEA earned the BEST BLOG spot on the front page of the lit website Redroom.com. I guess choking out librarians taps into some kind of deeply held subconscious desire in the lit community. I mean who doesn’t want to slap a sleeper hold on a librarian? Here’s the screen grab…

And yes, for those of you who aren’t up on your Count Dante/Bob Calhoun trivia, throughout much of the time that I was wrestling in Incredibly Strange Wrestling, I worked as a library technical assistant in several Bay Area specialty libraries. I did far too much loose leaf filing for local law libraries (probably the most tedious job in all of bibliodom) and was sometimes the default library director at St. Mary’s Medical Center in SF because, well, for vast stretches of time, nobody else worked in the library except for me and a couple of volunteers. I was the whole show; doing Medline searches, ordering documents, shelving books, processing books, prepping journals for the bindery and panicking when I realized that the journal subscriptions were about to run out. I was also doing technical support on the library PCs that the residents used and AV setups on top of the library duties. If that wasn’t enough, I often fielded long assed booking calls where Audra, The Cruiser and me would determine just what the hell to do with The Poontangler and Super Pulga in the next Fillmore show. Thank God that place had a sound proof office for some reason. It was a Catholic hospital you know and nuns were always strolling into that library. Come to think of it, some level of Catholic guilt probably fueled the concepts behind those ISW matches.

But yeah, wearing crazy assed kimonos and choking out librarians – it’s the way to get ahead in this world.

(PS: I hope this post doesn’t hurt my current job search! Damn those blogs!)

05/05/08

Permalink 09:34:52 am, by bobcalhoun Email , 105 words, 6796 views English (US)
Categories: News, Press

Bay Area Bestseller!

Beer, Blood and Cornmeal debuted at #9 in quality paperbacks on this week’s San Francisco Chronicle Bay Area Bestseller list

#9 in paperbacks! Yes, I was part of a punk rock and wrestling cult!

Hey, I’m beating out Cormac McCarthy! Now if I could only knock Eat, Pray, Love off the charts, then America can be saved. This is especially amazing when you consider that every other book on this chart is already a national bestseller and/or put out by a major publishing house. ECW! ECW!

I’d like to thank all of you who have bought and supported BBAC. This really means a lot to me.

Beer, Blood and Piecemeal.

The rock and reading odyssey of a 300-pound hulk.

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