January 20, 2015

The Shows Get Booked, the Shows Get Played

Well, this is a show update I probably should have posted a bit sooner, but these things have a way of sneaking up on a person. Anyway, come to these.

Friday, January 23

Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA, 91101. 6 PM.

I will "rock" as hard as it is possible to do in southern California's largest and oldest independent bookstore.

Then afterwards on that same night:

Redwood Bar, 316 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. 9PM

With Kepi, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Turkish Techno, So Social, Pizza Wolf. This is a rock and roll show at a pirate bar and it cannot fail to be real, real fun it seems to me. (FB event page here.

Saturday, January 24

I can't figure out exactly when it goes up, or out, or off, or whatever the word you use to describe where a podcast goes when it is released to internet, but I'm doing the Jordan Jesse Go! podcast on this day.

Sunday, January 25

Porchlight + Sketchfest, Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110. 8 PM.

This is the Porchlight storytelling series show where they team up with the SF Comedy festival Sketchfest, and I'm gonna be doing it. These are always a good time, so basically you should come.


Monday, January 26

StudioNPL, Nashville Public Library – Green Hills Branch (with sales by Parnassus Books), 3701 Benham Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215. 5:30 PM

Tuesday, January 27

The Booksellers at Laurelwood, 387 Perkins Extended, Memphis, TN 38117. 6:30 PM. More here.

Saturday, February 7

The Night Light, 311 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607. With Blag Dahlia, Kepi Ghoulie, and Jon Gianoli. 9 PM. $10.
Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:39 PM

January 09, 2015

Linkus Interruptus

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Here's a bunch of links I would have posted earlier if the book release, Christmas, New Years, and Second Christmas (Feast of Kings) hadn't got in the way.

-- Photographer (and great all around gal) Julie Pavlowski Green took a bunch of photos on the day of the Oakland book release show and posted some of them under the title Dr. Frank: A Day in the Life of a Rock n' Roller. Yeah.

-- Once again, I was honored to be invited to contribute a playlist to Laregehearted Boy's excellent Booknotes series.

-- I did an interview with Tuffgnarl.com.

-- Some reviews of KDA: Guyslitwire; Willamette Weekly; Jersey Beat; V's Reads.

-- SF Chron: Grab a title from one of 2014's notable Bay Area authors.

-- Popsugar recommended KDA as a Christmas gift for the awkward high school guy. I really should have posted this earlier. Next year, maybe?

-- According to OC Weekly, I've got one of the five best punk rock day jobs. I agree it's great, except for the always being broke part.

-- I am interviewed about songwriting on Terry Morrow's blog: "My dad took me to see the Pirates of Penzance when I was a kid. Probably the first brush with music I liked. Then I heard Metallic K.O. and decided to try to combine the two as best I could."

-- If It's Too Loud... recommends the purchase of the "King Dork Approximately" cassingle, because why not? I whole-heartedly concur.

-- Hippodilly Circus has kind things to say about KDA.

-- Sophie has also has kind words about King Dork: "I urge you all to read this book at some point in your lives. I'm a 17 year old British girl and I related to the 15/16 year old American boy in this book so much."

-- Finally, I'm doing a KDA book + t-shirt giveaway on goodreads.


Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:17 AM

January 08, 2015

Fan Mail

Most correspondence I get these days is of course electronic, but every now and again I'll get an envelope from my publisher containing physical mail sent to their address in New York. These are almost always the result of write-a-letter-to-an author school assignments, from what I can tell.

This one, carefully written in pencil on lined notepaper, comes from a middle school somewhere in Indiana:

Dear Frank Portman,

I just read your book King Dork. It was horible. It could not keep my attention at all. Sorry but it was probably one of the worst books I have ever read. The only reason I even read the book was because my teacher made me for a book report. To be honest though I might have liked it if I liked to read. But I am not a fan of reading.

Sincereley,

[name withheld, of course]

The teacher added the school's address underneath the student's name, and of course I'll write back. Maybe this kid will find something to interest him in King Dork, and in reading, in a couple years or so. Then again, maybe he won't.

Take it away, Leonard:

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:15 PM

January 06, 2015

Come to Moe's, Prevent a Tragedy

Just reminding you all that my thing at Moe's in Berkeley is tonight. (Tues. Jan. 6, 7:30PM, free.)

I just learned last night that one of the events co-ordinators happens to be my upstairs neighbor. Basically what that means is that if no one shows up, I'll be (or will remain) the laughing stock of the building. Help me out here, folks, come on.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:53 PM

Patrick's

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Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:43 PM

January 05, 2015

My January

Well, Christmas, New Years, and Second Christmas (Feast of Kings) always come all in a row and it's weird how that always seems to come as a surprise. Hope you all had a great one.

I have quite a bit of catching up to do with my all-important "web presence" and I'm getting right on that but first things first here: you must go to these shows. I mean, if you're in the area and feel like it and it doesn't conflict with anything more important of course. Don't forgo surgery or miss a funeral a wedding or a parole check-in or anything like that. But if all you've got going on on the days in question is watching the endless succession of Big Bang Theory reruns that are all TV ever shows anymore these days, well, I bet I'll be at least as funny as the Big Bang Theory. At least I'll try.

The first one is tomorrow, Tues., Jan 6 at Moe's in Berkeley, followed by all the other ones.

Tuesday, January 6

Moes Books, 2476 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704, 7:30 PM

I'll be playing songs, talking up my book, reading something maybe. I'll make it fun I promise. (This is the fb invite/event thing.)

Saturday, January 10

Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, Oregon. 4PM.

Songs, talking, reading, that sort of thing.

Sunday, January 11

Sandy Hut, 1430 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR, 97232. 9 PM.

With Beach Party and Faster Housecat. This is a rock and roll show in a bar. The plan is for me to around half the set solo-acoustic and then to be backed up by Faster Housecat for the other half. They learned some songs I haven't done in forever so I've got to work on trying to remember how they go as soon as I finish typing this. Wish me luck. (FB event page here.)

Friday, January 23

Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA, 91101. 6 PM.

I will "rock" as hard as it is possible to do in southern California's largest and oldest independent bookstore.

Then afterwards on that same night:

Redwood Bar, 316 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. 9PM

With Kepi, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Turkish Techno, So Social, Pizza Wolf. This is a rock and roll show at a pirate bar and it cannot fail to be real, real fun it seems to me. (FB event page here.

Saturday, January 24

I can't figure out exactly when it goes up, or out, or off, or whatever the word you use to describe where a podcast goes when it is released to internet, but I'm doing the Jordan Jesse Go! podcast on this day.

Sunday, January 25

Porchlight + Sketchfest, Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110. 8 PM.

This is the Porchlight storytelling series show where they team up with the SF Comedy festival Sketchfest, and I'm gonna be doing it. These are always a good time, so basically you should come.

There's more to be filled in here I think, and I'll update as appropriate but this is what I've got now.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:07 PM

January 04, 2015

Priscilla

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(Here she is with AK from a ways back.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:05 PM

December 24, 2014

In Love with Leather

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Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:10 PM

December 23, 2014

"Shelfie"

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Posted by Dr. Frank at 11:59 PM

OO-DF

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So my custom Dr. Frank guitar was built mostly to the specs of the Martin OM/OO, but is considerably deeper than the standard. This made finding a case for it challenging (I actually had to have one of those custom made as well in the end) and in a unique sound that I've really heard nowhere else. And it is much, much louder than you'd expect from such a small bodied guitar, which is really a help playing unamplified in school cafeterias and places like that.

Now Jason Ingrodi, the guy who made it, is making a copy of it (with koa back and sides) for a local guy who was impressed with the sound of the orginal, and he's calling it the OO-DF, the "DF" standing for "Dr. Frank." Which is quite cool. I'd really like to hear what that will sound like, though it isn't likely I never will unless I get rich and order up a koa one myself. He's also doing a cherry one, if my facts are right. Hm, cherry... This could get loud expensive.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:53 PM

December 21, 2014

Ben

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Posted by Dr. Frank at 08:03 PM

December 19, 2014

Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:14 PM

The Curse of Halford

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So I went to see Judas Priest in San Jose a ways back. I love Judas Priest. The last time I saw them was some time in the early 90s I believe, and before that in the mid 80s.

The show was great, maybe even the best one yet (even though the opening act was Steel Panther.) I certainly felt the absence of KK Downing conceptually, as it were, but it didn't impact the power of the set itself, which was damn powerful. Tipton is still a wonder to behold, standing stock still, nothing moving at all besides his fingers, which were all a delicate blur as much as they've ever been. I love the new album and "Halls of Valhalla" sounded great. As did Rob Halford. He's a man of many jackets. And he's still got his shriek.

But things have changed as well. Judas Priest, and Halford in particular, seem a lot more -- for want of a better word -- "evil" these days. In previous shows I've seen, his stage act was enthusiastic, energetic, and honestly, quite goofy. A lot of jogging in place, like a leather-clad aerobics instructor; melodramatic, flailing operatic gestures (to match the impossibly operatic high notes I suppose); and an eager-to-please demeanor of rock and roll showmanship (the occasional serious mic break about how they're all just working stiffs like us giving it all they got notwithstanding.) His continual pointing at the audience, front, back, and sides seemed to reflect an exuberant spirit of inclusion, at least to me at the time. We're all in this together, loaded, screaming for vengeance, united, united, united we stand. And that means you, buddy.

Now, however, the backdrop video show is all flames and altars and symbols that fall just short of pentagrammatical. Halford is a menacing presence in his floor length, druidical leather coats, bald head, and flamboyant whiskers, stalking the stage with measured deliberation, giving the audience meaningful looks if not the stink-eye, lifting one arm skyward in a grim salute, or sometimes raising both as if invoking the nameless, unspeakably ancient gods to which his backdrop's altar of blood and fire appears to be dedicated. And when he points, it feels like a curse.

Well, maybe I'm projecting backwards there. In the event I was having a great time, wallowing in the metal and general Judas Priest-iness of it all. This new aesthetic style, as I perceived it, is in many ways an improvement, even an achievement. It is a comprehensive, integrated work of art, greater than the sum of its parts, or at least greater than the relatively conventional plain old rock and roll stadium shows I'd seen before, wonderful as they were.

But my girlfriend, new to Judas Priest, new to metal, and definitely new to San Jose, said: "wow they're so serious." And of Rob Halford: "man, I hope he doesn't point at me."

And I could see what she was saying. We joked of the Curse of Halford, even then, knowing nothing of what was to come. Marion don't look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don't look at it no matter what happens. (We have fun.) But as we were riffing like this, Rob Halford was dedicating himself to pointing meaningfully at a whole lot of people. And as it happens, I was one of them.

Continue reading "The Curse of Halford"
Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:28 PM

Paige

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Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:19 PM

December 18, 2014

If I Wrote "Adult Books"

Was asked last night whether I'd ever consider writing "adult" books. My inclination, as usual, is to dispute the premise of the question, as I don't see the same unbridgeable chasm between "adult" and "teen" fiction that others seem so committed to. I'd approach and execute a novel narrated by a 40 year old exactly the same way I'd a. and e. one narrated by a 15 year old, mutatis mutandis. A demographcially-tailored "feature set" in a novel seems to me a terrible idea when you're trying to present an authentic character from the inside, whatever his or her age might be.

But it does occur to me that if I keep writing about these guys and I do it for awhile, as I plan to do, they're going to reach adult-hood (or as close to it as any of get in our society) fairly quickly. In fact, Sam Hellerman is already twenty-one when he pops briefly into Andromeda Klein, and both Tom and Sam would be in their early thirties at the current date if I'm doing the math right. So, there's your "adult novel" right there. All it has to do is get itself written.

As for how an adult novel might differ from a teen novel, I'd guess that an adult novel might be less dark, less cynical, less morally ambiguous and complex, less "meta", with a more conventional, traditional narration and plotline, a simpler vocabulary, and would be far more likely to resolve cleanly and tritely with an edifying lesson that makes the reader feel good about him or herself and his or her assumptions about how good people ought to think and feel. That's just a guess though. Stay tuned.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 08:33 PM

Art by Kozik

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Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:18 PM

December 16, 2014

Alex

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Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:32 PM

plus ça change

Beth pointed out this paragraph that closes Dickens's "preface to the first cheap edition" of Nicholas Nickleby:

There is only one other point, on which I would desire to offer a remark. If Nicholas be not always found to be blameless or agreeable, he is not always intended to appear so. He is a young man of an impetuous temper and little or no experience; and I saw no reason why such a hero should be lifted out of nature.
It is really quite something that this is still a thing you find yourself having to say in the 21st century. Or perhaps it's not so surprising, given our slow and steady transmogrification into pseudo-meta-neo-Victorians (or whatever the hell we are these days.) It's NOT OKAY!

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:07 PM

December 15, 2014

It Was a Pretty Good Week

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-- Check out Nathan Pensky's review of King Dork Approximately over at the AV Club. (It got an A!)

-- Alex Scordelis interviewed me for Vice/Noisey and this cool piece was the result.

-- I did two songs on the Chris Gethard Show last week, and you can watch the show here:

And, well... a whole lot has happened in the last week, probably too much to aggregate here at the moment. If you're interested, you can scroll back to the beginning (Sun. Dec 7 in Oakland) through the middle (12/9 in NYC) to the cliffhanger ending (Seattle) on the facebook, twitter, tumblr, and instagram. That's way more rock and roll than I usually cram into a week, I can tell you that. But there's more to come if things work out like they're supposed to...

In the meantime, come see me at Book Passage tonight (Mon. 12/15, 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, 6PM.)


Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:26 PM

December 06, 2014

Temporary

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Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:22 PM