Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Us


Mindy Lee is without a doubt, one of the best illustrators around.

We met in 2005, at Warner Bros. Studios.

I wrote "Rock God Opera" around the same time, and she came to see the very first stage reading. Inspired by the story, she has been doing costume sketches for the project ever since.

Above is an illustration she did of the two of us--me on the right, she on the left.

And yes--Hades is hot!

Crowd Surfing


This magnificent image is by Mindy Lee.
It truly says it all--the main character, Eurydice, is worshipped by her fans--like the Rock Goddess she is.

Orpheus at mic stand


My friend Mindy Lee pictures Orpheus as a blonde bad boy...a bit punk rock.

I've always envisioned him to be a bit more alt rock, with a nod to the mod. I guess I'll have to crank out some drawings!

Our next goal is to publish a "Rock God Opera" sketchbook for the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco (Nov. 1-2).

In the meantime, "RGO" posters and postcards are available from Stuart Ng Books (there is a link to his store, on the upper right hand corner of this blog).

Venus



I wrote the Venus character to be a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Courtney Love. Mindy's visual interpretation rocks! I especially like the tatoo on her tummy...

Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich


My "Rock God Opera" script is an homage to the famous Greek legend of Orpheus.

I've updated the ancient myth to modern times, envisioning the Underworld to be populated by dead rock stars. One of the most famous is Elvis.

In Dante's "Inferno," Hell is divided into several "rings," one of which is the Hell of the Gluttons.

In my world, Elvis is the leader of the Gluttons, who are cannibals that feed on failed rock stars. The song he sings to Orpheus is darkly satirical:

"I’M GONNA BROIL AND BAKE YOU
I’M GONNA SAUTE YOU
YOU’RE A USDA CHOICE FAILURE
YOU’RE A T-BONE LOSER
YOU THINK YOU CAN
LIE CHEAT STEAL WHEN YOU WANT
WELL I TELL YA THAT’S NOT THE CASE
YOU’RE A RED-BLOODED SINNER
STRAIGHT THROUGH TO THE BONE
YOU’RE NOTHIN’ TO ME BUT DEAD MEAT
YOU GOT ANOTHER THING COMIN’
I’M GONNA THROW YOUR ASS
RIGHT IN THE OVEN"

Hades is Hot!


Hades, the God of the Underworld, is a moody and romantic guy. Despite the fact that he is surrounded by groupies (he is pictured here with the Sirens), he is madly in love with Eurydice.

One of my favorite moments in "Rock God Opera" is when Hades confesses to Eurydice that he has loved her "364 days too long."

His unrequited love is heartbreaking...

Orpheus and red guitar


Interestingly, many of my friends who have seen readings of
"Rock God Opera," relate heavily to the characters.

Men who have gone through painful divorces relate with Orpheus--and those who have felt unrequited love, relate with Hades.

Women have told me they know guys just like Orpheus (players?), and that they have been on the short end of the stick when it came to their own relationships (like Eurydice).

I've always meant Orpheus to be a bit of a bastard--it's his charm and sense of humor that make him a likeable character. Feodor, one of Lodestone Theatre Ensemble's best actors, did a great job delivering Orpheus' exasperated line: "No way am I gonna be Ralph Macchio!"

Pandora?


Hades, the God of the Underworld, has his own demons to deal with (drum roll...)

Not only does he compete with Orpheus for the title of "greatest musician this world has ever seen," but he also competes with Orpheus for the attention of the Rock Goddess, Eurydice.

One of Hades' henchmen (henchwomen?) is Pandora...she is cool and reserved, obedient and observant. (could she possibly be in love with Hades...?)

Two steps forward


The whole story of Orpheus hinges around the idea of not being able to resist temptation.

In my version of the legend, Orpheus is a Rock God, to the hilt. Meaning, he gives in to every temptation, every single time.

Here, Mindy pictures him with a multitude of worshipping groupies.

It makes his wedding to Eurydice a little tough...

John and Paul




I first got the idea for "Rock God Opera" in 2003--I remember pitching it to Glen Murakami (creative producer of "Teen Titans"). In my story, the legendary Orpheus meets several rock stars in the Underworld, including the Beatles.

Mindy Lee did this great sketch of Lennon and McCartney heckling each other in the After-life. This is one of my favorite scenes in the "Rock God Opera" script.

Carried Away


This is one of the most moving images that Mindy has produced yet, for "Rock God Opera." In this scene, Eurydice's heart has just been broken by Orpheus. Hades, who has always been in love with Eurydice, carries her off.

For the upcoming 2008 San Diego Comicon, Mindy and I have collaborated on a series of limited edition postcards that we will be selling at the convention. This image is one of them. On the back of the card, is an excerpt of lyrics that I wrote for this scene--Hades sings about the pain of loving someone that he can never have.

lady guitar


Mindy Lee and I met in 2005, at Warner Brothers. She is one of the most talented artists I have ever worked with. She currently works in the video game industry, but she has plans to go into the fashion industry. I have a sneaking suspicion that she will be bigger than Paul Frank...

This image is a poster she made for my musical, "Rock God Opera." Mindy came up with this beautiful image of a deathly-looking rock star using a woman as a guitar.

Eurydice designs







I've been a member of the David Henry Hwang Writers Institute for many years now, where I've written several plays (but never a musical!). Then one day, Alison Delacruz (one of my classmates at the DHHWI) was commissioned to write a version of "Dream Girls." Inspired by her example, I wrote "Rock God Opera" in 2006! It has been presented at EastWest Players twice, as a staged reading.

My friend Mindy Lee attended the readings, and loved the story. For the past two years, she has sketched numerous costume designs for my project. Pictured here are some drawings of Eurydice, the main character in "Rock God Opera."