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Work: My tribute to SANDMAN in Mash Tun Journal

Posted on 27 February 2014

I love dreaming. Day dreaming. Lucid dreaming. Dreaming up art I want to make, and photos I want to take. I live and frolic in the Dreaming most of the time. So I created this photo essay in homage to Neil Gaiman‘s SANDMAN graphic novel series about DREAM, the king of dreams and imagination, and his siblings, the personifications of natural forces known as The ENDLESS. (I do not say this lightly, but the Sandman comic series published by VERTIGO is one of THE greatest literary and graphic masterpieces of our time. If you haven’t read it yet, please do.)

As this project was slated to be published in Mash Tun Journal, a fine craft beer periodical, I enlisted Plex Lowery, the free-agent rogue comic book artist of KnifeXLife, who is also one of L.A.’s best bartenders, to design three cocktails inspired by the Sandman comic characters. When he carefully poured Absinthe on a sugar cube and set it aflame over a mason jar, I knew I had picked the perfect mixologist for this assignment. It was a Dream come true, as he totally got the concept! (As did Jamie, my awesome editor over at Mash Tun, who gave me the thumbs up when I pitched this random tribute to a comic book that has absolutely nothing to do with beer. Thanks for letting me run with it, Chief!)

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Photography by LOVE ABLAN /// Recipes by PLEX LOWERY


I cast the beautiful and voluptuous Ryan Keely (of the Muff Said podcast and Playboy TV) in the role of DESIRE, as she herself embodies that inflaming emotion, and I have witnessed both men and women succumb to her supernatural powers of attraction and seduction. And that’s when she’s just casually standing in a room, chatting nonchalantly with people about comic books, animation and awesomely nerdy movies. She was the natural fit to play Desire. (Besides, who else could rock that epic chain-bra? Like, seriously?!)

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Ryan Keely as the personification of DESIRE


Then I cast the energetic and lovely Megan Hutchison (illustrator of the fantastic new graphic novel, Will O’ The Wisp, published by Archaia) in the role of DELIRIUM, for eM’s hair changes color and style constantly, and she herself embodies unpredictable and delightful chaos and psychedelic randomness wherever she goes. Hanging out with her is always a deliriously fun time that often results in blobs and swirls of rainbow paint all over the floors and walls and skin. It would have been sheer madness to not have her play Delirium.

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Megan Hutchison as the personification of DELIRIUM


And though I normally dislike being photographed, I cast myself as DREAM’s peculiar sister, DEATH. You see, in the Sandman canon, Death is not at all like the Grim Reaper. She’s actually rather… nice. Kinda down-to-earth, nurturing, generally pleasant and perky. My rampant cheerfulness and relentless optimism is the bane of cynics and hipsters alike (which I suspect are the same), but I can’t even help it. It’s just my nature to look at life (and death) in a positive light. So I feel fairly confident representing the anthropomorphic personification of the unshakably upbeat Guide to the Afterworld. At least in this very loose interpretation of Gaiman’s beloved, immortal characters, whose stories I still enjoy reading to this very day.

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Yours Truly, LOVE, as the personification of DEATH


The photos here are unedited, in color and without the title types, but still include Plex’s delicious recipes. (I drank all three cocktails, and they are LEGIT! Give ‘em a try!) To read the full article, titled Death and Delirium in Los Angeles, pick up Mash Tun issue #3!

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Mister Sandman, Plex, making the Delirium-inspired drink at Tony's Saloon


Much thanks and love to the good folks at Mash Tun, smexy Plex, the rad guys at Tony’s Saloon, Ryan Keely, Megan Hutchison and my kick-ass photo assistant that day, podcaster and photographer Nick Ahrens (aka Robotpants). You guys were all a Dream to work with! And I might as well thank Neil Gaiman, and all of The Endless entities too, for continuing to inspire both my dreams and waking life. (Extra thanks to Megan for the gold Ankh earring to commemorate our friendship and mutual love of Dream and Death. She is also now the Keeper of all my Graphic Novels when I moved out of L.A. I am glad they have found a good home in your nest, Mother of Ravens!)

Mash Tun Journal Issue #3 - Photo courtesy of Mash Tun


And with that, I leave all of you wonderful dreamers with a little ear worm for your sweet dreams tonight…


♪ Mister Sandman…
Bring me a dream…
Make her the cutest…
That I’ve ever seen… ♬

I’ll see ya in the Dreaming, friends. I might be dressed up as Death again. Or I might show up in spandex as the other comic book dreamscaper, Nightmask. I suppose that depends on you, and whether you’re a bigger fan of DC or Marvel. And exactly how much craft beer you’ve had to drink. We shall see…





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