Christian Lipski: Glam! Bam! Thank You, Pirate Man!
Where did you grow up?
That’s a question with a complex answer. My father worked for AT&T and got transferred a lot. I was born in Los Gatos, CA; then we moved to Danville, KY, where I lived from kindergarten to 7th grade; to Birmingham, AL, for 8th and 9th grade; to Long Valley, NJ, for 10th and 11th; and to Moraga, CA, for 12th grade and college. It’s hard to pick up and go like that, but the upside is, I have a wealth of accents to choose from.
Where do you live now?
I live just outside of Portland, OR, which is the best city. If you love beer, coffee, food, books, dogs, music, comics, creative weirdness, or the outdoors, it’s for you. Oh, and you must also dislike direct sun.
There’s nothing I dislike more!
What is your current home/family situation?
I am currently living with Jessica Hebert, her husband, Royal, and three dogs. It’s a very nerdy and musical house.
What do you do for a living?
I’m an application administrator for WebMD Health Services, which means I maintain the programs that our developers use to build health websites for big companies. Kim Ware is my coworker!
That’s so amazing! Do you actually come in contact with each other?
No, we work in entirely different parts of the country, but after TSII I messaged her on the in-house system :)
What instruments do you play?
The instrument I’m most comfortable with is the drums. I also play guitar, plus a tiny bit of keyboards and whatever else winds up in my hands—banjo, uke, spoons, theremin, whatever. I love to learn new things, so I’m always accumulating instruments. The only caveat there is that learning has to be fun, because I hate rote practicing.
Amen. I never took lessons of any kind. I just played because it was fun and gave me something to sing to.
What are your earliest memories regarding music?
My childhood always had music in it. My mother played piano, and my father played guitar, and we always had something playing in the house and the car. I remember my parents harmonizing together on Ian & Sylvia songs when I was very young. We had Motown, folk, show tunes, country, and Elvis everywhere.
The first album I ever “bought” (I asked my mom to buy it for me) was Jan & Dean’s Greatest Hits.
I distinctly remember hearing surf music on a K-Tel TV ad and feeling different about it than I did about other music that I’d heard.
How so? In what way?
It’s hard to describe, but there was a vibrancy that I hadn’t heard on the radio up to that point. It must have been connected to the harmonies or maybe just the production—less compressed, more peaks in the sound. Although at the time pop songs were very melancholy, so it could also have been the joy in those tunes.
Who are some of your greatest musical influences and what is it about them you’re drawn to?
It’s pretty obvious that David Bowie is a huge influence on me both musically and personally. The whole of his personality and music seems to be greater than the parts, which is fascinating. His ability to shift styles and moods throughout his career has definitely been inspirational to me. I always aim for the quality of his songs when I write, and even though I never hit the mark, I still end up closer than I was.
My musical tastes vary wildly, but the artists I admire most all have some kind of spark that makes them stand out from the rest. That may be a very subjective measuring stick, but that’s art for you.
The Beach Boys teach me both harmony and non-standard pop structure. T. Rex teaches me imagery and the value of following your own path. Enuff Z'Nuff teaches me the perfection of a pop song and the beauty possible in hard rock. Prince teaches me confidence and funk. Adam Ant and Billy Squier (and nearly all the above) teach me how to express a little sass in music.
How has music played a role in your life, pre-TM (professional experiences or hobbies, etc.)?
In 8th grade I took Band because I wanted to play the Superman theme on cornet. But when I couldn’t play a G right away, I switched to drums. After a trip to London at the end of high school, I picked up guitar so I could learn how to play Bowie songs.
I joined my first formal band in college, but didn’t start getting serious until late in college when my band Calling Voice started playing in San Francisco’s Irish bars two or three times a week. After I left that band, I started writing on my own and produced a couple of digital albums as Christian Allen.
When I moved to Los Angeles, my band simpleworld recorded a CD and tried to get some attention playing at the Viper Room and other venues in Hollywood. But it turned out that the music business is pretty tough. I did get to play on their follow-up CD when they recorded some of the new songs we had written together.
After I moved to Portland, I continued writing and recording under the name Astoria Hotel. My good friend John Lane was doing the same thing in Baltimore, so we got together as Expo. We have five albums as a duo.
Five albums! That’s impressive.
Now I sing and play guitar with the PDX Broadsides, a “nerd folk” band who do songs about the geeky things we like, including science, comics, and Lego. We have a digital album called Take Everything and a brand new physical/digital album called Aim To Misbehave. This is the most successful band I’ve been in, as we actually get paid to perform.
Nonsense! What kind of black-magic wizardry are you employing?!?
I don’t know who I’d be if music hadn’t been such a big part of my life. Probably someone shy and artistically frustrated with boring fingernails.
Boooooo! Let’s keep the Christian we got.
How did you first hear about Theme Music?
My friend John Lane told me about it not long after it started and sent me an invite. I was intrigued by the game of it and thought that doing covers would make it a lot easier to do casually.
What was your first experience of Theme Music?
I lurked for a while, getting a feel for what the level of expectation was. I remember Matt Brown’s car videos and understood that Theme Music was more about making song than it was about making complex videos. My first video was technically “Katy Why,” which was the first Expo song I contributed to. John Lane posted that for the Girls! Girls! Girls! theme. My first solo song for TM was Bowie’s “Did You Ever Have A Dream?” for Songs That Are Questions. Not surprising that my first song was Bowie, but it was also banjo, which I have no explanation for.
What is one of your best memories of TM?
There are many many, as it’s been just a love fest, but the best one would be when Bob Fenster got together with Lee Wiggins, Owen Hodgson, Bill Shaouy, Keith Klingensmith, Matt Brown, and Larry Cox to cover “Old Friends Don’t End,” a song I wrote for Expo. It was extremely touching, and they nailed the song. And the look!
Second place would be a tie between “The Brothers Saftleven” and “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn”!
You and Jeff Jensen are a force together, no doubt!
As a participant in Themestock, what did you make of the hangouts/parties?
The hangouts to me are the main reason for Themestock. The performance is amazing, but the opportunity to relax with people that you have so much in common with is unbelievable. These are people I’ve known for years but only get to see once a year every October, so it’s an initial awkward moment followed by a release of pent-up hangout energy.
Yes, perfect! I’m always sort of nervous at first, but then I’m generally the last one to leave.
What did you make of the rehearsals?
The rehearsals are a miracle of modern engineering. Just scheduling over 50 bands across two locations with so much personnel overlap boggles the mind. The rehearsals themselves go pretty smoothly. Knowing that you only have 30 minutes to practice a song that you will be performing makes you arrive as prepared as possible, and that means efficiency. You’ll also be performing with some crazy talented musicians, so that’s another reason to practice as much as you can.
The live show?
It’s like the Fourth of July. The glittering culmination of at least six months of preparation. The hangouts are love, but the live show is love squared. Everyone is at their most supportive, and it shows in the performances. When you’re in front of a crowd of people who accept you for you, it kicks everything into high gear. In the audience, you’re just blown away by the bands, and by the big reveal of people’s song choices.
What are your biggest interests outside of music?
Out…outSIDE of music? Huh.
I’d say that comics are my main non-music hobby. For three years I covered comics news in Portland for Examiner.com. Portland has the highest concentration of comics professionals in the country, so I put out an article about every two or three days and traveled to conventions where Portland creators were appearing. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. As a result of this, I made a lot of friends and was invited to be a judge for the 2014 Eisner Awards, which are like the Oscars for comics. Five other judges and I read *all* the nominated works from the previous year and convened in San Diego to decide the final nominees.
The comics medium is an incredibly expressive one and can cover everything from simple superheroes to complex autobiography to nonfiction. I still keep up to date, reading about 30 comics a week, and it’s always rewarding.
You know I’m a comics fan, too. I loved superheroes as a kid, and used to draw my own characters. But as an adult, I’m all about indie comics and stories with adult themes. Daniel Clowes is my hero. My nephew, Box Brown, is an ever-growing force in comics, so he keeps me abreast of insider info and points me to interesting stuff to read.
Oh, wait. This is about you.
Finally, if you could be a goofy side character in a TV show that meant nothing to you, and you would enjoy massive success and celebrity status, but no one would ever really consider you as anything other than that character for the rest of your life, would you do it?
My initial response is “Oh, no. I wouldn’t want to be seen as just that one goofy character.” But in reality, if my performance made people laugh or feel good in some way, that would not be a bad thing. I know some people who went through this, and you know what? They’re really good folks who are grateful for the opportunity to work and bring joy to people through that work.
…you did mention massive success and celebrity status, right?
so im watching a sitch in time and it reminds me of my au where shego is the supreme one (per usual) but like sometime in her early stages of ruling she and drakken form this relationship which produces two girls (what is it with me and their kids??).
The oldest one gets more attention from shego since she’s expected to be shegos heir and is the responsible one, whereas her much younger sister is wild and uncontrollable (as for their looks, the oldest looks like shego and her sister has the lipsky looks).
Anyways, drakken and shego’s relationship eventually comes to an end, due to shego’s fear of losing control of power, and she has him sent away for ‘experiments’ (this is where his buffness comes to play). Shego also orders her henchmen to erase his memory so he has no memory of their relationship. Their oldest daughter discovers this and begs shego to spare his memory so drakken will remember his children. Shego, without telling her daughter, listens to her daughter’s pleas (because she really does care about her babies’ daddy) and spares drakken’s memory of his children, but erases their relationship. Drakken is sent away and shego continues taking over the world, without realizing that her oldest daughter is starting to resent her for her actions.
Fast forward, I don’t know, ten years and drakken returns. The older one is excited to learn of her father’s return while her sister only sees him as a new recruit, due to the fact that she was really young when their father was sent away and has no memory of him whatsoever. Shego has given her oldest strict orders not to tell her sister about who their real father is. She also ordered drakken away from the girls to prevent from bonding, but their oldest meets drakken in secret a few times.
But here’s where the story starts (or probably the middle): shego finally decides that her oldest daughter is ready to go on missions. Shego sends her off to do something (I’m not really sure what yet). Anyways, she gets mixed up with the resisters and they don’t know who she truly is. (She meets a boy!) She gets them to trust her and they reveal that they’re planning a big attack on the supreme one. She gets home and of course performs her duty as heir to the supreme one and tells shego of the planned plot. And as they prepare for the attack she begins to question her mother’s power and tries stop the attack on the resisters. When that plan fails and the day of the attack comes, there’s this really dramatic moment where she has to decide over her mother or the resistors. She choices the resisters and wants her father to join, but he can’t because he’s bound by the electric collar. And end of part one.
Part two begins with a more serious younger sister, since she’s taken on the role of successor of the supreme one. It’s really not as interesting as part one since it would have a lot of the movie synching in to the plot of the fic. Anyways, it mostly has drakken and shego meeting in secret, with the oldest trying to convince the youngest to join the resistance and the youngest trying to convince the oldest to come back. Honestly, as I’m writing this, I haven’t really thought about what occurs in part two.
Lavanna is a bit of a spitfire and quite rebellious. Even when coming to WDA she still holds onto this rebellious attitude. Give me an example of when she’s being completely rebellious especially with the Stormbloom sisters.
Lavanna has a really rocky relationship with her parents. Why is it so rocky? Give me a situation which peeves Lavanna, and where she knows she just wants to be out.
Lavanna is big on opinions. What’s her opinions on certain things? How does she react to big political scandals? For example if Watergate happened again, what would she do? She’s a hot-headed, opinionated girl so you could go different ways with this.
In her bio it says that Lavanna is scared of nothing, but what’s her deepest fear and how does she react when she discovers this fear? Is she shaken?
How does Lavanna stand out of a crowd? Besides being a passionate debator, what else does she do to make sure that she’s different?
I hope this is enough! If you need any other prompts, just send another ask!
Born and raised in Meridian to a single mother, Drew has always been a special child. At a young age he proved to be quite intelligent and advanced; learning how to read, walk and talk earlier than most of his peers. His mother was always proud of every little step he took, always doting on him and telling him he was wonderful and brilliant, especially for someone his age. In his younger years he showed a lot of interest when it came to then-complex topics and ideas, solving and answering them with ease. Many of his teachers praised Drew during parent-teacher conferences; and in return, Mrs. Lipsky would reward him by granting him any toy he wanted. But the boy didn’t like toy guns or racecars as much as those in his grade did — rather, he preferred drawing paper and packs upon packs of Lego blocks, using them to create prototypes of inventions that were cooked up in his young mind. Many of his works were often created for the benefit of the masses, making complex tasks easier and simples for everyone. At age twelve he begged his mother to use their empty shed as a place where he could construct and create his inventions, and she obliged. Drew created many, many inventions; and those that were special and unique were often entered into science or invention fairs — and, more often than not, won many medals and earned the young boy certificates of merit for his ideas and creations.
High school was relatively uninteresting for Drew — he was often referred to as a nerd or a weirdo, but he deemed himself too much of a genius to bother about what his simple-minded classmates said. He was a pale, scrawny kid with oversized glasses and long hair, which was often fashioned into a ponytail to keep hair out of his face while he was creating his inventions. He continued joining conventions and contests, keeping the money in a bank account his mother set up for him to use when he was older. When he graduated high school, he decided to leave and attend college in San Francisco, where he knew he could find more opportunities there to learn and show off his talents. There, he enrolled in a yearly summer program under Dr. James Possible, one of the country’s most advanced scientists in his field. Along with others who had joined the program, they began experimenting with robotics and other various forms of technology, creating possible ideas for inventions that could help people — just like what Drew had imagined with his childhood ideas. However, everything went wrong when the young man singlehandedly created a robot prototype called Bebe, modeled after what he had envisioned as the perfect woman. Although she worked just fine at the beginning, she began to malfunction quite quickly, insulting Drew’s female classmates and belittling others. Even though he claimed there must have been a malfunction in the programming, Dr. Possible asked him to shut down Bebe, telling him there was no future for the robot if she were to have any possibilities of malfunctioning once more. Angry and spiteful, Drew left the program and dropped out of college that year, going back to his hometown of Meridian.
Upon exploring the attic one day, the young man found a wax recording of his grandfather, Bartholomew, talking about one of his evil plots to take over the world someday. This led to a change of heart in Drew, as well as a change of plan. He left Meridian again as a totally new person — tattoos, piercings and cropped hair — to travel to Phoenix, Arizona, in search of inspiration and a new assistant. It was there he bumped into a young girl named Shelley Gomez, known to the public as Shego, a criminal recognized for numerous counts of theft and shoplifting. He offered her a position as his assistant in his newfound desire to take over the world, one invention at a time; as well as a place to stay — somewhere she would never get caught by the police. She eventually agreed in exchange for continuing her education and a monthly wage; and the two set off on the next flight to California and onto a bus to Meridian. By day, Drew works at his grandmother’s famous cupcake bakery; but by night and in between shifts, he’s creating new inventions to help him achieve world domination and prove to the world that he is so much more than the geeky kid everyone made fun of at school — but not until he gets his mother to stop breathing down his neck and for Shelley to ensure he doesn’t blow himself up before it happens.
Jason Segel, James Ponsoldt, Anna Chlumsky Celebrate BAMcinemaFest Opening of ‘The End of the Tour’
There was no small amount of shock and surprise when it was announced in 2013 that Jason Segel would portray the late author David Foster Wallace in “The End of the Tour,” an adaptation of David Lipsky’s “Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace.”
To capture the mannerisms of the hulking, shy and frequently bandana-clad writer, Segel read as many of Wallace’s intricate, lengthy tomes as he could. “‘Infinite Jest’ was really the one that I focused on,” he told Variety at the BAMcinemaFest opening Wednesday at the Howard Gilman Opera House. “There is some video of him available, and we also had the luxury of those recordings of those four days from David, so I listened and I watched and I read.”
While many comedic actors use ironic detachment to get laughs, throughout his career, starting with “Freaks and Geeks,” Segel has often mined humor from being too earnest for the room. It’s an artistic approach that helped him find common ground with a writer who famously disdained irony and longed to have an authentic emotional rapport with readers. “I connected with him in that way,” he said, “and I really connected with this very honest question he was asking, which was, ‘Does anyone else feel dissatisfied?‘”
Anna Chlumsky, who plays Lipsky’s girlfriend Sarah, wasn’t that familiar with Wallace’s work when she signed on for the film. “When he was so popular, I was 13. I had a lot to catch up on,” but she told Variety that she was excited that the script was written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Donald Margulies, one of her favorite playwrights.
“It was so funny, for me, growing up in the ’90s, you never think of it as a period film, but it was. We had to source costumes from the period, and really think about what was going on in the ’90s in New York at the time, and what was her point of view,” she said. “She’s very much part of the literati. And also, you had to uncover what she felt about her relationship, because that’s really her place in this story, is her relationship with David Lipsky and how much she supports him.”
In order to get the period details right, director James Ponsoldt told Variety that he and his costume designer “obsessed over everything, most specifically what these guys wore, but also everybody around them,” noting that he paid particular attention to the music he selected; the soundtrack is filled with deep cuts from R.E.M. but also a plot-appropriate Alanis Morissette song. “It was a fine line of not wanting to become kitsch or parody, but getting the details right, and removing some details that didn’t age so well,” he said.
The movie is largely a two-hander between Segel and Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Lipsky, as the authors discuss pop culture and the often lonely nature of being a professional writer, as Wallace vacillates between being afraid of how he’ll be portrayed by Lipsky and elation that he’s found someone he can connect with.
“We never wanted it to be a cold, cerebral from-the-neck-up talking-heads movie. We wanted to find the conflict. Where was the tension? Where was the emotion?” Ponsoldt said. “For me, it’s not a story about two smart guys talking, although it is that; it’s an unrequited, platonic love story, from someone who went out to get a story, and started projecting his own issues onto the guy, his own success and self-worth, and it became something much more resonant.”
After the screening, Segel, Ponsoldt and the rest of the cast attended an after-party at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, where they were feted with corn dogs, snow cones, Fritos nachos and caramel corn.