C. James Bye

Writer, Musician, Consumer of Nerd Culture.

Comedy Coven: Artistic Differences

Welp, this happened over a year ago, and I’ve just discovered I never posted about. Below, check out content from last August’s Comedy Coven XXVIII: Artistic Differences!

Promo video edited and produced by Dan Hartley.

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WALK A MILE lyrics

EMILY
Hey guys. I’m calling because we need to talk this through.

TRICIA
Who dis? Sorry, new phone. In a Pitchfork Fest portajohn, I dropped mine in some poo.

STEPH
How typical.

TRICIA
If you just got smoked up by Madlib, you would too.

EMILY
Anyway, this is Emily! And I think this conversation’s overdue.

Maybe you both just need to walk a mile in each others shoes.

TRICIA and STEPH
[spoken dramatically] It’s too late for that. But maybe? ...No. [both dramatically turn their heads away from each other]

EMILY
So are you both ready to talk about what we should do?

TRICIA
Why should we? My new Coven is actually cool. For example, most of them chew.

STEPH
Well, my new Coven doesn’t care about being cool!

TRICIA
Yeah, what else is new?

EMILY
Hey! [beat] Cool out, you two.

Maybe you both just need to walk a mile in each others shoes.

STEPH
No thanks. I don’t really feel like getting HPV from some guy I met at Bonnaroo.

TRICIA
It was an alley. Outside a dance club. On Bourbon Street. And also: fuck you!

EMILY
That’s it!

I don’t want to embarrass someone

By naming names.

But some of us -- I won’t say who --

Are stuck in a Coven of dogs.

Can you imagine? Just dogs. And you.

And dogs don’t laugh.

It’s risibility that they lack.

They just bark and bark

And stare at you for food

As if you don’t feed them

But of course, you totally do

Ok, it’s me!

Who wants out of this Coven of dogs!

STEPH
[horrified] Emily. I -- I didn’t know.

TRICIA
I mean, come on--it has potential. [spoken] I see a Huffpost pitch: The best drugs to watch dog comedy on!

EMILY
Do you see? I’m not prepared to be on my own. I’m just not ready.

TRICIA
You need me?

STEPH
She needs me.

EMILY
I need you both!

[But she’s brought down, reminded that they’re not ready, and her hopefulness turns to disgust] But you’re both being so greedy.

Hey, “I’m Tricia--Look at me! Comedy is only funny when there’s nothing funny to see.”

STEPH
Laughs

EMILY
[turns her attention to STEPH] And there’s nagging Miss Spreadsheets. “Oh look at me, I’m Stephanie.”

STEPH
Emily!

TRICIA
Nice one.

EMILY
And then there’s me. The Ally Sheedy of our Coven Comedy.

But I’m sick of being the basketcase. I guess I’m sick of being me.

No! Not sick of being Emily.

That’s not it, not really.

[she hangs up her phone and raises her arms to the sky]

And by the power of Hecate.

TRICIA AND EMILY are surprised to find themselves in the same space as Emily. They hang up their phones.

TRICIA
[spoken] Emily? Yo. Did you just magically pull us to the same location?

EMILY
Dark goddesses! Dark moons! Dark stars! Hear my plea!

STEPH
[spoken] This is getting very dramatic.

EMILY
And through the power vested by thee

I swear!

You’ll walk a mile in her shoes [throws glitter on STEPH]

And you! I Swear! You’ll walk a mile in her shoes [throws glitter on TRICIA]

And you will be just like she

TRICIA AND STEPH
And she like me?

EMILY
Exactly!

[EMILY begins to spin with her arms out to her sides and periodically throws more glitter]

In her shoes!

TRICIA
This shit is crazy AF. Now she’s spinning?

EMILY
In her shoes!

STEPH
Emily, I had no idea you’d become such a powerful Wiccan. I am soooo proud you right now!

EMILY reaches out her arms toward both STEPH and TRICIA who freeze, arms dangling, rising on their tiptoes as if EMILY is raising them. They remain frozen there as EMILY addresses them.

EMILY
[arms still outstretched to both TRICIA and STEPH but now pointing at TRICIA] When you push me and push me with all this aggression,

Then it becomes high time you both learned a lesson.

[pointing at STEPH] And if my spell didn’t do the trick,

Then I hope you know ...that you both [she looks to both STEPH and TRICIA disgusted and shakes her head] --both of you make me sick.

PART FOUR: One Small Leap for Comedy

EMILY
[sitting alone on stage, she whistles a forlorn version of the intro to the Quantum Leap theme then, her spirits rising]

Dun-dun den daaa!

Dean Stockwell!

Trav-el-ing through time.

And his best friend!

Sam Beckett!

Not to be confused with the playwright.

STEPH and TRICIA walk in.

STEPH
Whooaaa. Em-dog. What was that little quirky-weird thing you were just doing there?

EMILY
[startled they’ve arrived] Oh. It’s --It’s just, when I’m feeling down, I like to do two things? One: is umm whistle. And two: that is sing little words I make up and set to old TV show themes.

STEPH
Yeah. Yeah. I dig it.

TRICIA
I think it’s swell and also important that you have an outlet, Emily.

EMILY
Umm, yeah. Thanks. Well, I called you here, because, and I don’t know if you recall that night I started spinning around and shooting glitter from my fingertips and called on the power of Hecate and invoked some pretty dark magics. And umm, said some kinda mean things? To both of you. And umm, then I called down a thunderbolt that changed your personalities? Well I wanted to talk about that.

STEPH
Yeah. Totes. It was like that movie with that guy from Fast Times at Ridgemont High who is supposed to be a teenager when he’s jerking off to Phoebe Cates but now suddenly he’s old enough to be Fred Savage’s dad?

TRICIA
Excuse me, Judge Reinhold was 30 when he shot Vice Versa. And it wasn’t like that at all. It was clearly more like Freaky Friday.

STEPH
You’re more like Freaky Friday

TRICIA
Grow up.

STEPH
Blow me.

EMILY
Okay. Yes! So that is the evening in question. And, well, I wanted to apologize, because I only did it because I thought --clearly incorrectly--that the spell would give you both a bit of empathy. You know, maybe see eye to eye. But it didn’t work. And now instead of us finding a happy medium for Coven to work in, you’re arguing about obscure and irrelevant ...pop culture. ...Wait a minute… Yeah! Yeah that just. Might. Work!

The theme to Quantum Leap begins to play. They sing along.

EMILY
If the two of you can’t get along

Maybe we just need to find

Some middle ground to make you both happy

Also sorry again that I switched your minds.

Maybe if we all tried to be

[turning to STEPH trying to persuade] slightly more experimental

like doing a scene where we sing

along to the Quantum Leap theme

that seems kinda funny

STEPH
That's not funny

it's cheap!

Doing song parodies

TRICIA
You call that cheap?

Just think,

I came on stage wearing just spreadsheets

EMILY
Song parodies have set melodies

[To Tricia} Now that’s what I call structured.

STEPH
I think maybe she has a point.

TRICIA

I guess I’ll give it a try.

EMILY
That’s why I love you guys.

Song ends.

TRICIA
Okay, so we’re both on board. From now on, Comedy Coven exclusively performs lyrical parodies to long-ago cancelled, half-remembered TV show themes.

STEPH
Oh, I like that half the audience will have no recollection of the TV themes we parody. That’s obscure! And obscure is experimental!

EMILY
Yes, yes. You’ve learned something. We’ve all learned something. I’m glad everyone is happy. Finally.

STEPH
I only worry about keeping it from getting boring. I mean, how do we keep it fresh?

TRICIA
Oh, I have a few ideas.

VOICEOVER: “Later that week, at the Robin Theatre.”

TRICIA, STEPH, and EMILY have put on glasses that make it look like they have tits for eyes. They sing a parody of the Growing Pains theme.

STEPH
Show me those tits for eyes.

EMILY AND TRICIA
Ooh show me those tit eyes.

STEPH
Don’t waste another minute not having tits for eyes.

We’ll know we’re near the end

EMILY AND TRICIA
We’ll know we’re near

EMILY, TRICIA AND STEPH
The best thing is having tits for eyes!

EMILY
Ooh-oo-oo-ooh!

EMILY, TRICIA AND STEPH
As long as we’ve got tits for eyes

We’ve got the world jealous of our tits eyes

STEPH
Baby you and me

EMILY AND TRICIA
We gotta be

EMILY, TRICIA AND STEPH
The luckiest people ‘cause we got tits for eyes

As long as we have tits for eyes

We can take anything that comes our way

EMILY
Baby, rain or shine

TRICIA and STEPH
Tits for eyes!

EMILY, TRICIA AND STEPH
We’ve got tits for eyes

Sharing the laughter and love

Song ends.

TRICIA
We’ve done it!

STEPH
We’re back, baby! And funnier than ever!

EMILYPlus I have good news, guys! I did some research, and the spell should’ve ended as soon as you had literally walked a mile following it. So I just need to figure out what went wrong and do a reverting spell.

STEPH
Wait, like walk a whole mile?

EMILY
Yes. Just one mile. Wait. Have neither of you walked one single mile since the spell? That was, like, a week ago!

STEPH
Pshhhh. I downloaded my seven-day trial of HBO on Amazon Prime that same day.

TRICIA
Aww, no shit! I just did that too!

STEPH
Oh shit! Have you watched that documentary, Tickled? I swear to god, if anyone takes one thing away from this experience, it’s that they should watch the HBO original documentary, Tickled.

TRICIA
Oh my god, I totally watched that!

STEPH
Oh man, is it fucked up!

EMILY
[sigh] Well, come on you two. [gleefully] And I’d thought when I got rid of the dogs, I’d no longer have to take my comedy partners for walks!

STEPH, EMILY and TRICIA all laugh heartily.

EMILY
Aaaand hold for credits!

STEPH, EMILY and TRICIA freeze mid-laugh and a brief reprise of the Growing Pains theme plays followed by production logos. Thank yous / good nights.

curtain call

curtain call

the boob-eyes masks worn by Coven during the final scene; made by yours truly

the boob-eyes masks worn by Coven during the final scene; made by yours truly

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The Comedy Coven produces a sketch and stand-up showcase at the Robin Theatre in Lansing, MI. To see what else we're brewing up, check out their website, like their page on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Like, Comment, and Subscribe! comedycoven.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/comedycoven
Twitter: @comedycoven
Instagram: @comedycoven

Sketchathon 3

With kiddo back in school, there's been less mutual draw time. I'd mostly been working on illustrations for Halloween events, so here's a roundup of some recent kiddo sketches, plus a few I did at an MSU life drawing session.

last day of school be like...

last day of school be like...

first day of school be like...

first day of school be like...

Cup Head. So, apparently there's this trend marketing retro-1930-style cartoons and video games to kids these days. And then mixing it with some demonic shit. Which sounds random, but when you see it, it makes a sort of awesome sense. Cup Head and Bendy fall into this category...

Cup Head. So, apparently there's this trend marketing retro-1930-style cartoons and video games to kids these days. And then mixing it with some demonic shit. Which sounds random, but when you see it, it makes a sort of awesome sense. Cup Head and Bendy fall into this category...

and here they are meeting for the first time...

and here they are meeting for the first time...

and even Felix the Cat is back.

and even Felix the Cat is back.

And then there's this thing called Ed's World on Youtube. Which has nothing to do with 1930's animation. But here they are being stalked by Bendy, nonetheless. This one, kiddo drew about two months after the others above. Across the board, she's made some huge developments in that brief time.

And then there's this thing called Ed's World on Youtube. Which has nothing to do with 1930's animation. But here they are being stalked by Bendy, nonetheless. This one, kiddo drew about two months after the others above. Across the board, she's made some huge developments in that brief time.

a Bendy of my own.

a Bendy of my own.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

Been trying to find a regular figure drawing session since moving to Lansing. This one takes place once a week during the semester at the Kresge building on MSU's campus. 

10-minute pose

10-minute pose

half-hour pose

half-hour pose

another half-hour

another half-hour

10-minute pose

10-minute pose

half-hour pose

half-hour pose

hour pose

hour pose

More sketchathon updates soon!

The Return of FrankenFloyd (and other Halloweenyness)!

Last year, I was asked to create a t-shirt design for FrankenFloyd, a horror-comedy themed Pink Floyd Halloween show that's part of an annual Halloween party for friends, partners and clients of The Barn at Pioneer Acres in Polk, Wisconsin. This year, I received the same assignment. The theme: The Dark Side of Ed Gein.

WIP: pencil

WIP: pencil

the man himself.

the man himself.

WIP: pen

WIP: pen

cleaned-up version

cleaned-up version

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the reverse: a human lampshade prism

Unfortunately, with all of the other work that goes into putting this huge shindig together, deadline wasn't met on t-shirt final revisions and production. But, that's what this blog is largely for: housing homeless doodles and oddities. Luckily, I got to see some work come to fruition when I played guitar with the band.

wifey Jessa with my one of my best pals (and one of our bridesmaids!) Nichole (dressed as "The Sandman"'s Death) waiting for the show to go on.

wifey Jessa with my one of my best pals (and one of our bridesmaids!) Nichole (dressed as "The Sandman"'s Death) waiting for the show to go on.

my view from my guitar stool in the barn loft. (that table o' liquor should give an indication of how much party this party had in it)

my view from my guitar stool in the barn loft. (that table o' liquor should give an indication of how much party this party had in it)

my guitar-buddy Nate to my left.

my guitar-buddy Nate to my left.

our hosts gifted the band with authentic Ed Gein winter caps! (also: it's embarassing how proud I was to find that pink folder for my sheet music)

our hosts gifted the band with authentic Ed Gein winter caps! (also: it's embarassing how proud I was to find that pink folder for my sheet music)

human lampshade and chair back up during the show.

human lampshade and chair back up during the show.

The setlist:

  1. ONE OF THESE DAYS
  2. SPEAK TO ME
  3. BREATHE
  4. ON THE RUN
  5. TIME
  6. BREATHE (REPRISE)
  7. THE GREAT GIG IN THE SKY
  8. MOTHER
  9. MONEY
  10. US AND THEM
  11. ANY COLOUR YOU LIKE
  12. BRAIN DAMAGE 
  13. ECLIPSE
  14. COMFORTABLY NUMB

Here are edits of "Mother" and "Brain Damage/Eclipse" from an audience mic. The band is comprised of folks from Wisconsin, Michigan, and Arizona, so there was no full-band rehearsal pre-show. There were flubs, and the vox might be a bit low, but aided by that table of liquor up there, I don't know if anyone noticed. From my loft perch, I noticed several people, eyes-shut, swaying and singing along to every word.

dancing with the wifey during the opening act. we're lo-key Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, of course (notice the bolts on our necks).

dancing with the wifey during the opening act. we're lo-key Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, of course (notice the bolts on our necks).

And continuing our Halloween roundup:

mid-meeting post-it doodle.

mid-meeting post-it doodle.

our My Neighbor Totoro pumpkin, lookin' pretty good if I do say so myself...

our My Neighbor Totoro pumpkin, lookin' pretty good if I do say so myself...

and after a squirrel destroyed it and stole the candle the very next day.

and after a squirrel destroyed it and stole the candle the very next day.

so, rather than dwell on the past, in the spirit of the season, we chose to move on quickly.

so, rather than dwell on the past, in the spirit of the season, we chose to move on quickly.

 me and the wife.

 me and the wife.

Comedy Coven Halloween

Comedy Coven was nice enough to ask me to do an poster for their Halloween, ahem, Hallomeme shows. Tricia's concept was a fun one: it's the disloyal man meme (sample below) but the man is the Creature of the Black Lagoon walking with his favorite scream queen, Julie Adams, and the woman who's caught his eye is Elvira. 

finished product

finished product

WIP

WIP

I originally toyed around with a background more closely related to the photo in the meme, but then my lovely wife suggested illustrating Lansing's Robin Theatre, where the show would take place, along with the surrounding buildings. This is just one of the many reasons I keep her around.

I originally toyed around with a background more closely related to the photo in the meme, but then my lovely wife suggested illustrating Lansing's Robin Theatre, where the show would take place, along with the surrounding buildings. This is just one of the many reasons I keep her around.

the meme.

the meme.

my lovely wife, pulled up on stage to help hammer a nail in this dude's nose! (photo courtesy Juila Kramer)

my lovely wife, pulled up on stage to help hammer a nail in this dude's nose! (photo courtesy Juila Kramer)

Stir Up Summer!

Stir Up Your Grey Matter, the pseudo-label/Bandcamp under which I post my and friend's music, posted a song a day to our Facebook page throughout (most of) the summer. Each track is either thematically tied to summer activities or was recorded during on a summer day sometime within the last 20 years. 

Check out the full collection of tracks below!

2.  "Burn Hazard"  by Thirsting Quench and the Captains of Industry from   Moving Gates

2. "Burn Hazard"
by Thirsting Quench and the Captains of Industry
from Moving Gates

3.  "Johnny, Row That Boat Ashore"  by Dr. Kamikaze and the $35 Sound from   Do Business in Outer-Space

3. "Johnny, Row That Boat Ashore"
by Dr. Kamikaze and the $35 Sound
from Do Business in Outer-Space

4.  "Sky Blue"  by Farewell Scalar from   Archives Vol. 1

4. "Sky Blue" by Farewell Scalar
from Archives Vol. 1

5.  "Suedesugarwatermelon"  by Thirsting Quench from   The Simian Script

5. "Suedesugarwatermelon"
by Thirsting Quench
from The Simian Script

6.  "Brazil"  by Electric Bolts from   Electric Bolts

6. "Brazil"
by Electric Bolts
from Electric Bolts

"  Think Hard, Pink Hearts"  by Dr. Kamikaze and the $35 Sound from   T    he Money Goes Up

"Think Hard, Pink Hearts"
by Dr. Kamikaze and the $35 Sound
from The Money Goes Up

"nɔʁ....jɔ̃ trāl"  by Thirsting Quench from   /lo͞op/

"nɔʁ....jɔ̃ trāl"
by Thirsting Quench
from /lo͞op/

"Let's Play...Fire Ball!"  by Diametric Correlator from   Diametric Correlator
"Sun Block"  by Farewell Scalar from   Archive Vol. 1

"Sun Block"
by Farewell Scalar
from Archive Vol. 1

"Oh, Wot a Dream!"  by Casey Bye (written by the amazing Kevin Ayers) from   Who Writes the Songs?

"Oh, Wot a Dream!"
by Casey Bye (written by the amazing Kevin Ayers)
from Who Writes the Songs?

"Grasshoppers"  by Diametric Correlator from   Strikes (again.)

"Grasshoppers"
by Diametric Correlator
from Strikes (again.)

"Swimming with Sharks"  by Thirsting Quench and the Captains of Industry (written by  Tom Heil ) from   Tarps & Blankets: 15 Years of Stir Up

"Swimming with Sharks"
by Thirsting Quench and the Captains of Industry (written by Tom Heil)
from Tarps & Blankets: 15 Years of Stir Up

"Good Night, Moon!"  by Lauren Svacina from   Oh, My Stars!    

"Good Night, Moon!"
by Lauren Svacina
from Oh, My Stars!
 

"Knee-Jerk Cookout" (originally "This Way To...")  by Thirsting Quench and the Captains of Industry from   Moving Gates

"Knee-Jerk Cookout" (originally "This Way To...")
by Thirsting Quench and the Captains of Industry
from Moving Gates

"Gesture 6"  by Thirsting Quench from   Figurative Study

"Gesture 6"
by Thirsting Quench
from Figurative Study

"Tonsillitis"  by Thirsting Quench and the Captains of Industry from   Tonsillitis   single

"Tonsillitis"
by Thirsting Quench and the Captains of Industry
from Tonsillitis single

"Ars Notaroria"  by The Furry Murrays from   No, Thanks

"Ars Notaroria"
by The Furry Murrays
from No, Thanks

"Quarternity"  by Dr. Kamikaze and the $35 Sound from   Quarternity

"Quarternity"
by Dr. Kamikaze and the $35 Sound
from Quarternity

"Broken"  by Thirsting Quench from   T    he (Possible) Origin of...
"Garden Party Rally"  by Lauren Svacina from   Oh, My Stars!

"Garden Party Rally"
by Lauren Svacina
from Oh, My Stars!

"Variation: Aug. 23, 2011" by Thirsting Quench from   Memphis Transitions & Variations

"Variation: Aug. 23, 2011"
by Thirsting Quench
from Memphis Transitions & Variations

"HWY 16"  by Diametric Correlator from   Cut the Slats

"HWY 16"
by Diametric Correlator
from Cut the Slats

"I Love You More Than All The Other Fishes"  by Thirsting Quench and the Captains of Industry from   The Sentimentary EP

"I Love You More Than All The Other Fishes"
by Thirsting Quench and the Captains of Industry
from The Sentimentary EP

"Escapism and Pep"  by Dr. Kamikaze and the $35 Sound from   Do Business in Outer-Space

"Escapism and Pep"
by Dr. Kamikaze and the $35 Sound
from Do Business in Outer-Space

"Dupe On A Stick VII"  by Dr. Kamikaze and the $35 Sound from   Effempty

"Dupe On A Stick VII"
by Dr. Kamikaze and the $35 Sound
from Effempty

Sketchathon 2!

Some more recent sketches here. The first three (as with the last post) were done at Draw / Be Drawn, a great sketching event hosted by Britta Urness monthly at Lansing's Blue Owl Coffee Co, a place where, and I can't stress this enough, you can GET A FLIGHT OF COFFEES. Britta was kind enough to use my final sketch for the poster of this month's event.

pencil WIP

pencil WIP

And what follows are two bonus, odd little things: a doodle and a Swamp Thing illustration (mostly) ripoff. 

An MSU meeting doodle, hastily colored.

An MSU meeting doodle, hastily colored.

WIP (Deadman is, admittedly, basically a copy of an old Stephen Bissette panel from  Saga of the Swamp Thing ).

WIP (Deadman is, admittedly, basically a copy of an old Stephen Bissette panel from Saga of the Swamp Thing).

DC comics' Deadman and The Spectre having an intimate chat in (not-so) living color. ('Cause they're both dead. Get it?)

DC comics' Deadman and The Spectre having an intimate chat in (not-so) living color. ('Cause they're both dead. Get it?)

Sketchathon!

Been sketching with the kiddo lately. She's been very into Bendy and the Ink Machine, Steven Universe, and Undertale. I broke the pattern with this Joker piece but had to pay the price of some side eye due to my not staying on assignment.

pen & ink WIP

pen & ink WIP

Joker needed a little color.

Joker needed a little color.

AND a few other pages from recent sketchatons.

Steven Universe's Lapis and Pearl.

Steven Universe's Lapis and Pearl.

We found a My Little Pony Flash on Pinterest, because of course.

We found a My Little Pony Flash on Pinterest, because of course.

Undertale is a video game I have not played. So I know very little about it. But this is from that thing, I guess.

Undertale is a video game I have not played. So I know very little about it. But this is from that thing, I guess.

Amethyst and Bendy along with a creepy 1920's bunny in suspenders cartoon dude.

Amethyst and Bendy along with a creepy 1920's bunny in suspenders cartoon dude.

A Strange Alliance. Okay, I went off task more than once.

A Strange Alliance. Okay, I went off task more than once.

Filling out the post, this Talia al Ghul sketch is actually from a few months ago.

Filling out the post, this Talia al Ghul sketch is actually from a few months ago.

And here's one from a new drawing group I found in Lansing that meets at a quaint, new coffee shop called Blue Owl.

And here's one from a new drawing group I found in Lansing that meets at a quaint, new coffee shop called Blue Owl.

And another one.

And another one.

I've been drawing in an old pad I got as a kid but only ever used a handful of times. So here's a copy of Tony Harris' STARMAN #20 cover I did when I was about a year and a half older than my drawing partner is now.

I've been drawing in an old pad I got as a kid but only ever used a handful of times. So here's a copy of Tony Harris' STARMAN #20 cover I did when I was about a year and a half older than my drawing partner is now.

It Doesn't Fucking Matter: Comedy Coven Songs

I recently wrote three songs and lyrics (as well as some interim dialogue) for the fourth act of the most recent (and two-year anniversary) Comedy Coven show: Fake & Gay.

The setup: The Coven is fed up with dating guys with priors and girls who end up not being gay. Enter Emily's extremely scientific "Intraoral Kinsey Scale and Other Characteristics Thingy," which, with a quick swabbing of your partner's mouth, tells you most everything you'll need to know to figure out whether or not you're compatible. 

The below script (and mp3 vocal guides of the songs I delivered to the Coven) picks up just as Emily tries to pitch a catchy jingle for the device. They did a much better job delivering than I ever could, of course, and at the end had the entire theater slow clapping and singing along "It doesn't fucking matter!"

"THE INTRAORAL KINSEY SCALE AND OTHER CHARACTERISTICS THINGY"

Comedy Coven (L-R): Stephanie Onderchanin; Tricia Chamberlain; Emily Syrja

Comedy Coven (L-R): Stephanie Onderchanin; Tricia Chamberlain; Emily Syrja

EMILY

I used to think maybe you loved me now baby I know,

Cuz we both spit on a swab and baby, oh baby, it showed

That we are sixty-seven per-cent compatible-oh-oh-oh.

Although the stuff that she wants in the bedroom makes me uncomfortable.

The intraoral Kinsey Scale and other characteristics thingy Oh oh!

The intraoral Kinsey Scale and other characteristics thingy!

STEPHANIE

Whoa-whoa whoa whoa. [song stops] That entire jingle is hugely problematic, Emily.

TRICIA

Also: holy mother of fucking fuck—what was that Katrina and the Waves shit?

EMILY

It’s upbeat. [Despondent] …Like love should be.

TRICIA

Also-also: uhh what kinky shit is she making you do in the bedroom you’re so uncomfortable with?

EMILY

[blushing, looks down; beat]

STEPHANIE

That’s exactly what I’m saying. You brush that off as if it’s nothing, but the rest of the song totally focuses only on the fact that you matched on the Kinsey Scale but nothing else. I mean come on guys, we all know…

TRICIA, EMILY and STEPHANIE

[TRICIA AND EMILY morose, like children just scolded; STEPHANIE proud] That to correctly look at behavior and sexuality, we need to consider them related but different things.

TRICIA and EMILY

[still morose] Yeah, we know.

EMILY

So… you’re saying you don’t like the song?

STEPHANIE

Just—just let me take a stab at it. We need the advertising to represent our rationale for the all-encompassing magnitude of the product. Okay, let’s see. …Ok. Ok, I think I’ve got it.

"BRAND REFRESH"

STEPHANIE

The one-dimensional nature of the Kinsey scale

Leads to an idea that the more

Attraction you have toward your own gender

The less that you have toward the “opposite”

Gender!

[spoken] What? My Spotify Discover Playlist had a bunch of Tool songs in it this week for some reason. …And I kinda liked it.

We need a brand refresh that’s intentional real quick.

This device will be intersectional or it will be

Bullshit!

It should account for all aspects of compatibility

Like if you found Kristen Stewart oddly sexy in the SNL Willy Wonka parody

She played!

Charlie!

It should tell me if you like the smell of patchouli

Or if you maybe like to tell jokes about dead babies

Like what’s harder than nailing a dead baby to a tree?

Nailing it to a… [upset] dead puppy.

[spoken] God dammit. I hate those jokes. I don’t know why I keep Googling them.

TRICIA

TRICIA puts her arm around Stephanie and strokes her hair

[spoken] There there. This device—it’s causing nothing but trouble.  

But I think I have just the song to make it all better.

[over intro of song] Yeah. That’s good. I like that.

photos by Julia Kramer

photos by Julia Kramer

"IT DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER"

TRICIA

Do you remember my boyfriend Chad?

Remember how he could always make me laugh?

I found out he was a flatulophiliac [spoken] That’s someone who’s turned on by farts.

We were still together eight months after that.

So just remember that

It just doesn’t fucking matter

Or how about that girl Emily dated who we all thought was great?

Her browser history was full of Vore, and I don’t mean to throw shade

But that’s fetishism for swallowing your partner whole after you mate.

So they both joined a student-run Vore club at Michigan State.

So just remember that

It just doesn’t fucking matter

I hope you didn’t think I’d leave out Stephanie.

She dated a girl who left her for a Brony.

Also Stephanie got into dudes wearing female doll masks—it’s called “masking.”

But that girl and that Brony are now happily married.

So just remember that

It just doesn’t fucking matter

TRICIA, EMILY and STEPHANIE

Oh-oh!

It doesn’t fucking matter

Oh-oh

It doesn’t fucking matter

[start handclap, encourage audience to join in]

Oh-oh

It doesn’t fucking matter

[repeat]

[good nights and thanks for coming over drum beat fadeout]

Don't Blame Me, I'm Color Blind!

Never done much coloring on my illustrations, 'cause, well, I'm color blind and never feel like I know what I'm looking at when I'm done. "Why is that person's face green?" I'd regularly be asked in Graphic Design classes.

"Because it's not. Not to me at least," would be my reply as I ran off crying.

But I figured I'd take a stab at playing with Illustrator's coloring capabilities on a couple of my recent superhero doodles.

Comedy Coven Sampler CD

Music? Good. Free music? Even gooder! This 19-track sampler will be available for FREE (What? Yeah, you read that right, bruh.) at the merch table at this Tuesday's Comedy Coven show. 

The sampler includes some tunes I've recorded for podcasts and videos as well as some tracks from various bands I've been involved in (Farewell Scalar, The Captains of Industry), some tracks the Knee-Jerk Mag guys and I recorded for Kickstarter rewards, and a guide-vocal demo for one of the songs I wrote to be performed in the third act of the Coven show! So come for the Comedy Coven and stay for a free music sampler!

I'll also have a few copies of The Way We Sleep for sale for $10.

Learn how to get tickets for Comedy Coven XXIV: Fake & Gay HERE!

And if you're in need of some music for your next project, drop me a line at caseyjbye@gmail.com.

front cover

front cover

back cover

back cover

Cover illustrations manipulated from The British Library public domain files.

Ready for the merch table!

Ready for the merch table!

Comedy Coven Zine illustrations

I recently began working on illustrations and music for Lansing's Comedy Coven, a sketch and standup comedy trio made up of the amazing and talented Emily Syrja, Stephanie Onderchanin, and Tricia Chamberlain. I could spend hours writing about why they're awesome, but this Lansing City Pulse article does better than I probably could (plus: fascinating backstories of the group!). So go read that, then come back!

Below, check out some illustrations I've done for an upcoming Comedy Coven zine. And then check out Comedy Coven on Facebook, on their site, and at the Robin Theatre the third Tuesday of every month! Oh, and don't forget about their new Comedy Coven Presents series! The next one is Feb. 27 and featuring the hilarious Krish Mohan.

I'm so proud to have the opportunity to work with these insanely talented women. More Coven-related work to come!

A hovering Wiccan.

A hovering Wiccan.

Deer in the moonlight looking out through a moon (whoa trippy!)

Deer in the moonlight looking out through a moon (whoa trippy!)

Hans Memling inspired hell-pit.

Floating schoolgirl witch with cyote pals.

Floating schoolgirl witch with cyote pals.

A witch's ladder.

A witch's ladder.

Demon-fingers witch hand with occult ring/braclet.

Demon-fingers witch hand with occult ring/braclet.

Crow in a tree.

Crow in a tree.

Cloak girl.

Cloak girl.

Satan goat.

Satan goat.

Grasshopper familiar.

Grasshopper familiar.

Witch costume girl.

Witch costume girl.

Ol' sunface.

Ol' sunface.

Skull; excerpt from an original DC Comics Constantine sketch I made 2 years ago.

Skull; excerpt from an original DC Comics Constantine sketch I made 2 years ago.

References (along with some fantastic pieces I found on Pinterest, most of them, unfortunately not credited).

References (along with some fantastic pieces I found on Pinterest, most of them, unfortunately not credited).

JLI

Saturday sketch of some sort of battle between a few members of the JLI. Why? Why not? The better question is why is Dr. Light's right arm so long? Has she been sneaking Ralph's Gingold? Can I make a geekier reference?

There are several things I'd like to correct here: the physics-defying cape folds; the angularity of Fire's face (faces on a small scale have been tricky lately in general--this was done in an 8x11 sketchbook); Dr. Light's foot placement making it appear like she's walking rather than floating which just screws with the entire perspective (is Fire behind or in front of her?). But I had some fun playing with the more casual, impressionistic cityscape, which allowed for trying out some new pen techniques.

WIP pen & ink

WIP pen & ink

A little digital polish, and things are looking much cleaner!

A little digital polish, and things are looking much cleaner!

My Wife: The Lovely Tattooed Lady

For my wife Jessa's 30th birthday, she requested an original tattoo design. So one night over drinks in a California establishment, aptly named Dive Bar, where women dressed as mermaids swim above the bar in a giant tank, she doodled an outline on a cocktail napkin: a Wonder Mop forming a stoic, hard X against a broom. Here were two symbols of domesticity and submission that had been taken back, reclaimed by women, both loaded with connotations of woman's innovation, choice, perseverance, strength, and mystery, the persecution of women as witches and man's fear of the unknown. With the dichotomy of the modern Wonder Mop and the ancient broom, the image also hinted at the long history of woman's struggle for respect and equal rights. Surrounding the symbol, in a witchy and archaic font, would be the word "ma'am"--an equally loaded title of respect (we brainstormed several other words that could have fit here, mostly consisting of four letters; I'll leave those to your imagination).

MA'AM

MA'AM

The finished product on the underside of my lovely wife's right arm. Ink by  Fishladder Tattoo  in Lansing, MI.

The finished product on the underside of my lovely wife's right arm. Ink by Fishladder Tattoo in Lansing, MI.

In early July, the weekend following her birthday, Jessa had the piece finalized and has been proudly displaying it ever since.

If you're looking for someone to draft an original design to permanently attach to your skin, drop me a line at caseyjbye@gmail.com

FrankenFloyd Halloween T-shirt Extravaganza!

I was recently asked to create an illustration for The Barn at Pioneer Acres, a beautiful wedding reception location in Polk, Wisconsin owned by friends of my family.

Every Halloween, they throw a party for a few hundred people, and every year there is much food, much booze, and a one-of-a-kind Pink Floyd-themed horror show complete with projection screens, smoke machines, props, costumes, and a mix of Floyd recordings and live performances. This year's theme was FrankenFloyd with a production that focused mostly on music from Floyd's iconic Wish You Were Here album.

Below, check out some of the work that went into the FrankenFloyd illustration.

WIP: So I forgot to take a photo before I began inking.

WIP: So I forgot to take a photo before I began inking.

Original pen and ink illustration

Original pen and ink illustration

b/w t-shirt front

b/w t-shirt front

T-shirt layout and printing done by the fantastic, quick, and cordial  createmytee.com .

T-shirt layout and printing done by the fantastic, quick, and cordial createmytee.com.

Shirts for sale.

Shirts for sale.

The show!

The show!

Lost Jazz Funk Greats

Drawing from photos and turning the people into superheroes--I guess that's the name of my current art project (I'll come up with something better later). And here's attempt #2 in the series.

One of my last days as a senior, bumming around the library, avoiding studying or essay writing or whatever it is you're expected to do those last few moments of being a kid, I found a 1970's Menomonee Falls High School yearbook. Inside, I discovered a photo of what must've been a killer funk combo performing in the cafeteria.

Something about this hit my sentimentality button just right--seeing a long-lost band documented in this decades old artifact, playing in a space where, over the past three years, many of my own bands had played, photos of which were also captured for yearbooks--yearbooks that maybe some future-kid, decked out in his holo-vid sunglasses and space-age tie-dye t-shirt would find and likewise appreciate--I began to feel a sort of nostalgia for something that hadn't actually even ended yet.

So I took that old yearbook and photocopied the picture. I planned to do something with it one day (maybe a poster, maybe a sketch, maybe a screen print). So I shoved it in a book so it wouldn't be torn or folded. And I forgot about it.

Yesterday, while rummaging through my bookshelf, that photocopy slipped out from between the pages of the drawing book I had placed it in when I was 18 for safe keeping.

So here it is--15 years since I graduated and around 40 years since the photo was taken--my version of a band with a lot of brass (in more ways than one) depicted as members of the Justice League ('cause why not?).

(Left to Right) on brass -- Green Lantern John Stewart; Animal Man; Vibe; Black Lightning; Bronze Tiger; on guitar and vocals -- Steel

(Left to Right) on brass -- Green Lantern John Stewart; Animal Man; Vibe; Black Lightning; Bronze Tiger; on guitar and vocals -- Steel

Kinda wishing I made a note of what the band was called or the name of the members or what year the photo was taken...

Kinda wishing I made a note of what the band was called or the name of the members or what year the photo was taken...

Hopefully there's more to come. I have an awful lot of Kodak photo folders in my basement just waiting for the superhero treatment!

Golden Age Pals (more experiments in inking)

Still in love with my newish Faber-castell pen set. And still very much learning all they're capable of.

While testing those limits, I figured my buds Dr. Kamikaze and Farewell Scalar's d.auge deserved to get the golden age superhero treatment. So here they are as Plastic Man and Superman (in Clark Kent guise) along with me decked out in Jack Knight Starman attire.

pencils WIP

pencils WIP

final, inked

final, inked

Based a pic from our mutual bud Elliott's (who pops up on some Dr. Kamikaze and other recordings of ours) 2013 wedding.

10 Things I Learned While Compiling Tarps & Blankets

Tarps & Blankets is a big mess of 50 cover songs I and a slew of friends have recorded for Stir Up Your Grey Matter bands/projects and which have (mostly) never been released anywhere. 

2016 marks 15 years of my releasing music under the Stir Up label (starting with hand-dubbed cassettes, later CD-Rs, and since 2010, via Bandcamp). Some of the recordings here, however, span all the way back to 1997, which, if you're doing the math, you'll realize is more than 15 years ago. Digging through boxes of four-track-recorded tapes to digitize and compile this thing, I found a few surprises in songs I'd forgotten existed and learned a few things.

1. I really have some great friends who are willing to put themselves out there to make some occasionally really grating noise with me.

2. Doing some of these releases to drum up interest for recent and upcoming Farewell Scalar recordings, I can now see it would've been downright logical to shorten the Bandcamp URL to simply stirup.bandcamp.com rather than stirupyourgreymatter.bandcamp.blahblahblahblah.com.

3. As a teenager, I was apparently shiftless (that's probably the most generous way to put it) enough to ask a girl I had a big crush on to come to my band practice to record her breathing to the beat of a song in which I repeatedly sang "I love you."

4. When Eddie Dirtnap and I first went splitsies to buy a four-track recorder freshman year of high school, all I did was learn Pink Floyd songs and record them. And make mix tapes of these recordings to give to the above-mentioned girl.

5. I also apparently have a thing for The Pixies, Spacemen 3, Neil Young, King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, and Radiohead whose songs all appear at least twice but as many as four times. None, however, beat Floyd/Syd Barrett's five appearances on the comp. And I didn't even include my nearly complete acoustic recreation of The Final Cut or my 24-minute version of "Echoes" performed on Casio keyboard.

Me in high school.

Me in high school.

6. I have many, many recordings of my first band. This band was originally called The Inconsistent Jibberish, but Eddie Dirtnap, the lead songwritter and decision maker, and I argued over whether or not gibberish was indeed spelled with a J so much that we changed to Karp with a K (on purpose). In college, I would learn that there is already a punk band named Karp with a K.

Eddie Dirtnap

Eddie Dirtnap

7. Like seriously, there are so many Karp/Inconsistent Jibberish tapes in my basement! I'm going to California next week to see Eddie and his brother Stevert Enson (Karp drummer) for Eddie's bachelor party. Gonna surprise them with a CD-R worth of awkward teenage glory. Each song is introduced by some conversation I caught one day after practice while we watched a rerun of Mad About You. We're fifteen. So there are a lot of really stupid sex jokes.

There are surprisingly few Paul Reiser gifs out there.

There are surprisingly few Paul Reiser gifs out there.

8. I can't believe I've never recorded a Billy Joel cover! So I've decided it's time to get on that. I'm thinking a track-by-track recreation of The Nylon Curtain. That'd be cool. That'd be real cool.

giphy.gif

9. I had no idea what you are supposed to do with your mouth or throat or air or anything when it comes to singing until I was maybe 28. And now that I do know what to do, I still don't know how to do it.

I searched "can't sing" on Giphy.com. It was mostly Miley Cyrus gifs. That's cold.

I searched "can't sing" on Giphy.com. It was mostly Miley Cyrus gifs. That's cold.

10. When I originally started talking about compiling this thing back in 2007, my best-man, friend for life, guy who officiated at my wedding, bandmate Jeff/Dr. Kamikaze informed me that he did not in fact write the words for "Don Santa Grants Rudolph His Wish," a piece we performed as The Knights Who Say Ni! in 2000 (due to some revisionist history now credited to Dr. Kamikaze and the $35 Sound). Only then did I find out this was in fact a Mark Mothersbaugh (of Devo fame) piece set to music the band improvised. My best-man, friend for life, guy who officiated at my wedding, bandmate: big liar. Our bass player served cookies with whipped cream and poured dixie cups of milk for the audience during this piece.

It was a big hit for us.

It was a big hit for us.

Farewell History

d.auge reminded me of a bit of history behind the forming of Farewell Scalar. I thought it might be worth sharing as the two of us continue to debate whose idea it was to actually form "a real band."

2/4 of the original Diametric Correlator: 2005

Eddie Dirtnap

Eddie Dirtnap

In 2005, d. had make-shifted part of his home into a fairly decent recording studio. The two of us, along with friends Eddie Dirtnap and Eric Wolfram got together one fall afternoon and recorded a few droney improvs. The next time I saw d., he handed me a CD-R with the words "Diametric Correlator" written in squiggly Sharpie. Years later, these five songs were added to the Stir Up Bandcamp page as a self-titled ep (which you can download here) with a cover image featuring Eddie passed out in d.'s basement, wearing what we called "the Whiskey Wizard" hat and holding a drumstick like a wand. 

the Whiskey Wizard

the Whiskey Wizard

In July, 2006, for my college graduation party, d. and I organized a jam session in my parents' garage. d. and I again disagree on who came up with the idea to learn a few simple cover songs. The trend seems to be for me to want to put d. in the driver's seat for any inciting incidents in the story of Farewell Scalar. I do know I came up with a list including songs by The Dandy Warhols, Brian Eno, My Bloody Valentine, and The Jesus and Mary Chain and d. augmented that list with some Pavement, Violent Femmes, and Silver Jews. We rehearsed the songs on guitar once, wrote out bass tabs for whoever wanted to join in, and set up the drum kit for whoever wanted to figure it out.

Friends who have appeared all over Stir Up recordings--Eddie Dirtnap (Diametric Correlator, Universal Chickenhawk, $35 Sound); Dr. Kamikaze (Diametric Correlator, $35 Sound, Complete Audio Destruct); Elliott (Melkbox); David Jensen (The Literacy Program, Complete Audio Destruct); Lauren Svacina (The Literacy Program, solo)--took a turn on a song or improv, much tequila was drank, and, I think, a grand time was had by all.

L-R: me, Eddie Dirtnap, d.auge, Elliott

L-R: me, Eddie Dirtnap, d.auge, Elliott

d.auge's then girlfriend, Stacey designed this amazing cling along with a t-shirt for me to wear in honor of the celebration. She also videotaped the entire drunken mess.

d.auge's then girlfriend, Stacey designed this amazing cling along with a t-shirt for me to wear in honor of the celebration. She also videotaped the entire drunken mess.

Now, it wasn't long after this that I remember d. asking me to form a "really real band." d. recalls me wanting to push things forward. The name was certainly d.'s as evidenced by the fact that he knows what it means and I kinda sorta really don't at all.

d. says we formed to play a fundraiser for the soon-to be-defunct Undercurrents section of the Riverwest Currents newspaper for which I was, at the time, a staff writer. I do know I brought the fundraiser to his attention and that it would become our first show. And I remember trying out a drummer and then disliking the drummer and having to back out of one fundraiser show before recommitting to the second, later fundraiser once we had Corey in place. If d. and I had a band by the time I became aware of Undercurrents likely demise and the earlier backed-out-of fundraiser, I'm not so sure. 

poster with red augments by d.

poster with red augments by d.

Since then, Scalar has broken up, d. has turned the make-shift recording studio into a pretty damn fancy recording studio called Sound Encampment, Scalar has continued to finalize old projects, and Diametric Correlator has become a beast of d.'s burden (a sort of catch all for recordings gathered from impromptu Sound Encampment sessionswhere I only infrequently show up.

This is the new (old) stuff. Available for download/listening MARCH 30.

I'm not even entirely sure if d. and I began collaboratively writing songs in 2006 and then decided to form a band or vice versa. I'd tend to believe the earlier as we had a set of at least seven originals at the Undercurrents benefit. I likely was the one to suggest writing together even if I had no intended results for the music. I liked some things d. had written on his own and his jangly, experimental pop sensibilities. 

I suppose the point is this: memory fails, so good thing we recorded just about everything we possibly could.