MadCon

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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markabaddon
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Re: MadCon

Postby markabaddon » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:08 am

Ok, got my kids this weekend and need some time to reconstruct everything. I will work on this on Monday (need something to keep me busy at work). If Keeney does not pop on on this thread, I will ask him to contribute if I see him this week. Peggy, Doug, Keith, Barney & Sara, etc. all had great stories/interactions with Harlan to contribute, plus they may be able to provide more details to some of the stories I will tell but missed some specifics (as it is really hard to follow all of the various side notes in any story Harlan tells verbally, one of the reasons why I cannot wait to hear what Deep Shag does with the recordings from MadCon)
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

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markabaddon
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Re: MadCon

Postby markabaddon » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:40 am

Let me start with the Zandor tale, remembering that I can, in no way convey how truly funny this is when Harlan tells it, because of his mannerisms, his sidebars, and knowledge of the subject.

Nevertheless....has everyone read the story of Harlan mailing a dead gopher to the Comptroller of a publishing house? If not, ya should. During that story, before mailing the gopher, Harlan mentions that he contacted a Lithuanian hitman to put a scare into the guy. The hitman's name is Zandor. Harlan's meeting of Zandor was never referenced in the story but begins, as many Harlan's personal stories do, in a rather convoluted manner.

Harlan was asked by one of those society ballabustas (yiddish term, means doyen, high class society muckety-muck; as a side note, Harlan clarified this term for me over MadCon, when I could not remember the term for a Yiddish matchmaker, as I was trying to set up an incredibly obtuse Keith Cramer with my frined Jody; further sidenote, holy shit can one catch the disease of sidebars from someone, if so Harlan has infected me) to speak at a a conference about, of all topics, the use of hallucinogenic substances. Considering that Harlan has never taken any drugs (although I am trying to piece together in my mindthe story he told about taking some kind of hallucinogen that eventually morphed into Harlan and anotehr guy throwing Bob Dylan out in the street), he was unsure why he was being invited, although Shattered Like a Glass Goblin may have been the rationale IMHO, he went anyway.

The guy that picked him up from the airport, cannot remember if this was Jersey or one of the affluent areas outside NYC, was Zandor, who acted as his bodyguard/driver for the entire conference. For those who are familar with the Gopher story, Zandor was described as a very tall pockmarked penguin. Harlan elaborated a bit more this time. I would suspect every guy here, and many of the women, have seen The Godfather? If so, you know what Zandor looked like, as Zandor was the model from which Luca Brasi was created. Harlan did not go into any detail by saying if Zandor had any contact with either Puzo or Coppola, but was clear in saying that Brasi was intentionally modeled after Zandor.

Zandor apparently died fairly recently, but Harlan implied (never stated, although he might have and I missed it) that they kept in contact over the years.

If I mis-stated something, or did not include pertinent imformation, I do apologize. Although I have a fairly good memory, trying to recreate these events form a couple of months ago is a bit challenging. More later, but if I screwed up too badly, I am sure Doug or Keeney or someone else can easily correct me

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Re: MadCon

Postby Moderator » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:11 pm

Nicely done Mark, though the asides confused me a bit. (And yes, they're addicting...)

I believe the Zandor story might be on one of the Deep Shag CDs, though at this point can't say so with certainty. I've heard the anecdote live a number of times and may be confusing my mediums. (Pun most fully intended.)
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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markabaddon
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Re: MadCon

Postby markabaddon » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:54 pm

Yeah, I figured the asides might be, but I wanted to give you at least a flavor of what Harlan was like telling this story live. If anything is particularly confusing to you or anyone else, let me know.

While the Gopher story is covered by Deep Shag, the Zandor story was a new one to me.

I am very glad to hear that Deep Shag is working on a multi-CD set from MadCon and that it will be released at some point in the next 4-5 months (my interpretation of the comment before the snow melts in Madison)

More stories later, if you still wnat em, as they may be included on the upcoming CDs
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

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markabaddon
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Re: MadCon

Postby markabaddon » Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:54 pm

Harlan ended up going to Old Country Buffet (OCB) for dinner on Friday and had an incident there that he kept referencing throughout the Con but never seemed to address until the final day. On Friday and on Saturday he would begin to tell the story about making a child cry at OCB but somehow never seem to finish it.

Finally, on Sunday, he got around to telling it. I was not at OCB this night (was in the bar with Peggy, Doug, & Barney) but others including Keeney I believe were there so they might provide a first hand perspective.

Harlan begins by setting the scene. A busy night at OCB, hordes of rather large people wandering around with trays piled high as if they had just been released from Dachau and are able to have their first meal in months. Harlan, Susan and a number of their friends are seated at a table in one section and Harlan is doing his normal shtick wandering around and talking to everyone around him (whether they know him or not).

At an adjacent table, there is a family seated. A little girl and her younger brother (he does not mention the approximate ages of the kids, or if he did I was unable to catch it) are part of this family and the little girl is tormenting her brother. The parents are either oblivious or uncaring about the abuse the girl is inflicting on her younger sibling (nothing major, just normal stuff from what I remember, pulling hair, taking away a toy, etc.).

Harlan watches this for a while and becomes incensed. Memory being the fastest form of transportation in the universe, HE is transported back to his sister performing similar indignities upon him. He goes over, screws up his face (and anyone who has seen Harlan mad can picture the face I am referring to) and tells the little girl something along the lines of, if she does not stop picking on her brother he will eat her. The girl instantly bursts into tears and looks for the comfort of her parents. Harlan looks to the father, expecting a confrontation of some sort, and instead sees in his eyes that he understood the situation and he was not going to take any action against Harlan.

For those who were in attendance, either when Harlan spoke of this, or who actually witnessed it, please feel free to correct me, as I am cognizant of the fact that I may have misremembered various details
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class


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