The nights grow longer, o best beloved, and the evenings are perfumed with the scent of burning leaves. The season of the witch approaches, and something stirs in its grave, eager to be reborn...
Relax. It's just Atkins & Hirshberg up to their old tricks. Or treats, depending on how easily pleased you are.
Yes, kids, I'm delighted to announce that, after its sabbatical last year, The Rolling Darkness Revue is back. RDR -- for those of you who came in late -- is an annual October event featuring ghost stories, a wrap-around play, and live music. The highlight of every right-thinking person's Halloween since 2004, it was founded by me, Glen, and Dennis Etchison and is, to use a scientific term, the dog's bollocks.
This year's show -- which once again features everyone's favorite clueless-but-lovable lost souls, Algy Black and Artie Mack, this time as bumbling wannabe Occult Detectives -- is called The Raven of October. First person to post a comment identifying the source of that title, by the way, wins a free copy of this year's chapbook.
"Chapbook?" the intrigued newbie asks while, let's face it, googling his or her way to the correct answer. "What is this chapbook of which you speak?" (Apparently, Intrigued Newbie just got off the boat from Odessa.)
I shall explain, Boris or Natasha, I shall explain. The great Paul Miller of Earthling Publications has, since 2005, been kind enough to produce an annual chapbook to accompany each RDR show and wise enough to employ the fabulous Deena Warner to design their fantastic covers. The latest is another beaut. Check this the fuck out:
Paul covers his costs by making 75 signed copies available to his Earthling customers so, if you can't make the show but would like to read the stories and the full text of the accompanying play, head on over to Earthling's website and help keep a roof over the head of this kindly patron of the arts. (But don't head there quite yet; the chapbooks are still at the printers. When you do go, however, do yourself a favor and also buy a copy of Glen's superb new novel, Motherless Child. You will not be sorry.)
Our 'guest author' this year won't be appearing in person with us, on account of being dead. The Edwardian writer, Thomas St. John Bartlett, whose work also featured in our 2009 show, is back from the grave once more and the presence of his story, "The Problem with Mirrors", makes the fifteen-bucks-or-so that Paul will be asking for the chapbook even more of a steal. Why? Because the only other places you'll find that story are in a 1909 copy of The Strand Magazine, or in Bartlett's sole (and posthumous) collection, The Memory Pool:
Yeah, good luck. The bulk of its 1917 print run was lost to a warehouse fire in the last German airship raid of the Great War and the only copy to come on to the open market in the last ten years went at auction for $11,000.
Of course, you might be smiled on by fortune. You might, for example, wander into a junk shop in Colwyn Bay in 1983 and find a copy in a cardboard box labelled 'Old Books' and give the nice-but-underinformed gent behind the counter the three quid he was asking for it. I shall say no more...
Anyway, in Bartlett's absence, his story will be read at the show by the magnificent Kevin Gregg, who will also portray Algy'n'Artie's latest, and most mysterious, client. Also present -- and providing their wonderful ambient eeriness once more -- will be our musical brothers of the rolling dark, Jonas Yip and Rex Flowers.
So where will all these dark delights take place?
Well, we had a theatre lined up, and were ready to begin rehearsals next week. But, just four days ago, the theatre owner was approached by someone else and was made an offer he couldn't refuse. Well, he could have refused it, but let's not be unpleasant.
So watch this space. As soon as we've locked down a new venue, I'll let you know dates, times, prices, etc. Of course, if you happen to have an auditorium in your back yard, then please don't stand on ceremony. Drop me a line, and we'll bring the dark directly to you.
[Edited to add:] Oh, the chapbooks are free to every paying attendee of the shows, by the way. It's like the fanciest ticket-stub ever.