Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Keith Emerson interview

While going through some of my old files, I found a brief interview I conducted with Keith Emerson (of Emerson, Lake & Palmer fame) that was never published. (Keith Emerson, along with two other composers, wrote the score for Godzilla: Final Wars, Godzilla's 50th anniversary film.) Why was it not published? Because, as you'll see, the answers were too short for publication. So I sat on the interview for three years, unsure of what to do with it.

Now that I have this handy blog, I feel that I can finally publish the interview, as brief as it is. My questions, and Mr. Emerson's answers, follow.

UPDATE: After publishing this post, I just realized that two of the questions were actually submitted by Erik Homenick of Akira Ifukube.org. (Hey, we are talking three years ago!) So I've updated the transcript to reflect that.

Erik Homenick: How did you become involved on the soundtrack to Godzilla: Final Wars? (I understand the film's director, Ryuhei Kitamura, is a big Emerson, Lake & Palmer fan.)
Keith Emerson: Kitamura-san had come to my last concerts in Japan. As I had had experience writing for horror films (Inferno, Murderock, etc.) I was only too honoured to be invited to contribute music to such a legendary iconic character.

Brett Homenick: What was your reaction to being asked to compose the score of a Godzilla film?
KE: My main concern was if I would have the time before going on tour.

EH: In Japan, composers are traditionally given less time to write film music than in other countries. How much time did you have to write the score?
KE: About two weeks. But I should point out I did not write all of it. In fact, in the end, I wrote more than was used in the final cut.

I would like to thank John Arnold, Mr. Emerson's tireless webmaster, for all his assistance. For more information about Mr. Emerson, please visit his official Web site.

Monday, May 24, 2010

G-FEST XVII press release

Daikaiju Enterprises, Ltd.
Jeff Horne - gfest@jeffhorneweb.com

May 15, 2010
News Release

For Immediate Release

North American Godzilla fans will be gathering July 9-11, 2010 at the Rosemont Hotel at O’Hare in Rosemont, IL, for G-FEST XVII. The special guests for G-FEST XVII are Akira Takarada, who has appeared in a half century of Godzilla films: Godzilla (1954) to Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) as well as the classics: Half Human, Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Invasion of the Astro Monster, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, King Kong Escapes, Latitude Zero and Godzilla vs. Mothra; Robert Scott Field, who appeared in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah as Android M-11; Dr. William M. Tsutsui, author of Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters; David Kalat, author of A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series; Bob Eggleton, Hugo Award winning artist and author; and J.D. Lees, editor and publisher of G-FAN, North America's longest running magazine devoted to Godzilla and other Japanese monsters.

G-FEST XVII will feature panel discussions with Akira Takarada, Dr. William M. Tsutsui and Robert Scott Field, David Kalat, and Bob Eggleton, along with fan movie historians. There will also be a giant dealers room, video game contests, video contests, art contest, modeling contest, costume contest & parade, special programming for young fans, and more. Movie screenings will be held at the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge, Illinois. This year includes the return of the "Double-Double Feature" on July 8th (Son of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), Godilla 2000, and Godzilla x Megaguirus). In addition, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster with be screened on July 9th and Godzilla on July 10th.

Weekend admission tickets are $40.00 for adults, $20 for youth (15 and under). Daily admission (at the door) is $25.00 for adults, $10.00 for youths. Children 5 and under are admitted FREE. For more information, log onto www.g-fan.com.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men still available

The first biography of Ishiro Honda, Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda, is still available through AuthorHouse. If you haven't yet picked up your copy, here's where you can remedy your problem.

I was only too happy to support Peter's project. I first met Peter in 2003 outside the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. I introduced him to several Godzilla fans in the L.A. area, some of whom turned out to be more fanatics than fans! Despite that, I've always enjoyed my friendship with Peter.

Here's to you, Peter!

Let loose the dogs of preliminary G-FEST schedules!

A preliminary schedule of events for G-FEST has been posted on G-FAN.com. It is preliminary, so things may change before July. But you'll find more or less everything that will be on tap for the convention.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy birthday, Kenji Sahara!

Kenji Sahara poses with Martin Arlt and Brett inside the Hancock Building during G-FEST 2009. Photo by totorom.

Thanks to this blog post at Monsterland Ohio, I was reminded that today, May 14, is Mr. Kenji Sahara's birthday! The famed Toho actor, who was born in 1932, turns 78 today. Mr. Sahara immensely enjoyed his stay in Chicago, which I can tell you first-hand, as totorom and I accompanied Mr. Sahara throughout his time in the Windy City.

Several months after G-FEST, Mr. Sahara contributed to G-FAN's 35th anniversary tribute to Terror of Mechagodzilla in issue #90.

Happy birthday, Mr. Sahara! I hope to see you in Chicago again very soon!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

G-FEST XVII: Here's what to look for

Akira Takarada is ready for his first North American convention appearance at G-FEST XVII. Photo by totorom.

Godzilla fans have less than two months to wait until G-FEST XVII stomps its way into the Rosemont Hotel in Rosemont, IL, for a weekend of monsters and mayhem. From July 9 to 11, G-fans of all ages will converge on a brand-new location for G-FEST, as we all celebrate our favorite hobby.

The convention's guest of honor is Akira Takarada, the biggest star to attend any North American gathering of Godzilla fans. Mr. Takarada's first convention appearance in the United States was arranged primarily by totorom, who certainly embodies the true spirit of what it means to be a G-fan. Mr. Takarada, the star of such Toho classics as Godzilla (1954), Godzilla vs. the Thing (1964), Monster Zero (1965), Half Human (1955), The Last War (1961), King Kong Escapes (1967), and Latitude Zero (1969), is excited to appear at G-FEST and eager to share his memories of working with his famous co-star, The Big G. Mr. Takarada will receive the Mangled Skyscraper Award for his contributions to the genre.

Also in attendance will be Robert Scott Field, who starred as Android M11 in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), and also acted in episode #6 of Ultraman Neos (2000-01) and Red Shadow (2001). Scott will be translating for Mr. Takarada throughout the convention. A 20-year resident of Japan, Godzilla fans have no greater resource on traveling to the Land of the Rising Sun than Scott.

William Tsutsui, the author of Godzilla on My Mind and co-editor of In Godzilla's Footsteps, will host a presentation for the first time at G-FEST. The Japan Society is sponsoring Dr. Tsutsui's appearance.

David Kalat, author of A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series and J-Horror, returns to G-FEST for the second year in a row and will host a session entitled "Godzilla without Monsters: The Rising of the Sinking of Japan."

Damon Foster, editor of Oriental Cinema magazine since 1978, makes his triumphant return to G-FEST this July. Among other activities, Damon plans to host a presentation entitled "Beyond the Borders of Reality," which is guaranteed to live up to its name!

G-FEST once again will host a "double double feature" on Thursday, July 8, at the Pickwick Theater. The lineup includes:

- Son of Godzilla (1967) at 1:30

- Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) at 3:00

- Godzilla 2000 (1999) at 7:00

- Godzilla x Megaguirus (2000) at 8:30

Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966) screens on Friday, July 9, at 10:30, and Godzilla (1954), which will be introduced by its star Akira Takarada, will play on Saturday, July 10, at 10:30.

But that's not all! Other surprises are in the works, but you'll have to show up to find out what they are!

G-FEST XVII is on track to become the biggest one yet. According to J.D., pre-registrations in April were already at the level they were in June last year. While this may be due to many factors, such as the new location, improved advertising and promotion, or the return of the "double double feature," Mr. Takarada's first-ever appearance in the U.S. is most assuredly the reason for the bump. What Godzilla fan wouldn't be excited to meet the series' biggest star?

See you (and about 1,500 others) this July!

For more information, visit G-FAN.com.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Robert Scott Field returns to G-FEST

Robert Scott Field and Brett pose for a picture at G-FEST 2007.

The actor who portrayed Android M11 in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) returns to G-FEST this summer. Field, who has attended every G-FEST since 1999, will help translate for the convention's guest of honor, Mr. Akira Takarada.

G-FEST takes place from July 9 to 11 in Rosemont, IL. For more information, visit G-FAN.com.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

G-FAN back issues for sale

Fellow Godzilla fan Ron Burton is currently selling several back issues of G-FAN magazine, most of which are now sold out and unavailable through Daikaiju Enterprises. He's selling them for $8 a piece (including shipping), so if you're interested in purchasing any back issues, write to Ron at torahata [at] yahoo.com and find out what he's got.

Ron also tells me he's selling a copy of Stuart Galbraith's "green book." Ask Ron for details.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Destroy All Planets special edition on its way!

Retromedia's special edition release of Destroy All Planets is due to come out soon. Image property of Retromedia Entertainment, Inc.

Fred Olen Ray's Retromedia is set to release a special edition DVD of Destroy All Planets (a.k.a. Gamera vs. Viras) that has literally been years in the making.

"We've transferred an original 16mm AIP-TV print and color corrected it two times to produce the best version of this film available," commented Fred.

"But the real reason to catch this Special Edition is the commentary track by American star, Carl Craig... his recollections of the film making process is fascinating. Hosted by Brett Homenick and Damon Foster, recorded in Chicago by our own Randy Carter," added Fred.

No release date has been set, but once it is announced, you'll read it here.