Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tribute to Tommy Welch - Update

Since I've been getting a lot of hits from people looking for information about the Tommy Welch tribute, I thought I'd post a small update.

Sunday was, by all accounts, a big success. The event went well into the evening, with several bands, lots of great art, and steady attendance. There were members of Tommy's family there, as well as those of us who never got to meet him in life.

Amy G has some photos from the event and some of her own thoughts on her MySpace blog and Photobucket. There are also a few photos on Robert Trudeau's Shreveport Faces blog. Many, many kudos to Amy and everyone else that helped make it a reality.


Sunday, April 22, 2007


It starts in the kitchen. Meals of the last week clog the drains, the sink won't work, no one wants to be the one to fix it. The dishes sit there, fill it, gather around the edges until the entire room becomes unusable. It spreads to the rest of the house, because there's nowhere to take the cups and bottles and cans. It could have been the aftermath of a hurricane, but it was only laziness, a laziness showdown.

The war machines rumble overhead, rattling the wine glasses and windows. It's the air show, our city's greatest pride, engines and guns and bombers. It could be war. It could just be the local economy. At any rate, it's distraction.

This is how the world will end. Not with hurricanes or bombs, not with fire or ice or darkness. Just laziness. A laziness that spreads, and convinces the few trying to pick up after themselves that there's no longer any point, and they've tired of cleaning up behind their fathers and brothers. At least we'll all go in our sleep.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Open Expression - A Tribute to Thomas Welch

Shreveporters - please pass this on as you see fit.

Friends of Thomas H. Welch will gather on Sunday, April 22nd at 2:00 PM to celebrate the former Shreveporter's life and accomplishments at an art & music tribute.

The event, to be held at 516 Soundstage on Texas Street, downtown Shreveport, will include performances by Dirtfoot, Chris Alexander, Kern Courtney, the Peekers, and other musicians. Local artists will also be displaying original work in a one-day exhibition.

Memorial services have also been held in Colorado and California. Sunday's tribute will provide an opportunity for all those in Shreveport touched by Welch to gather together in remembrance. Organizers will also be raising money for Welch's family.

Tommy Welch passed away in Los Angeles on February 27th at the age of 29. He grew up and lived in Shreveport until moving first to Colorado Springs and then Long Beach and Los Angeles with punk band Raised Under Reagan.

During his time in Shreveport, he was an influential player in the music, art and theater communities. He used his talents in everything from his work with children to expressing his anger with the government and status quo. Friends describe him as someone that lived every day like it was his last. He was an inspiration for countless people from the deep south to the west coast.

Welch attended C.E. Byrd High School and graduated from Centenary College in 2001 with a degree in Theater. He stayed involved and invested in the community in more ways than most of us would have the energy for. Among other things, he worked with KSCL, Centenary's radio station, was active in local theaters including the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse, and passed his love of drama on to children through drama workshops, art classes, and the Peter Pan Players children's theater. Welch was also active in the music community and worked with groups like Shrevepunx, booking shows at the Zebra Room and expanding the range of music available locally.

The tribute, which will be on the eve of Welch's 30th birthday, is open to the general public. To contribute or to find more information, contact Amy Guendulay at 865-5257 or 210-5836.

Art & Music Tribute to Tommy Welch
Sunday, April 22nd, 2PM
516 Soundstage, Texas St., downtown Shreveport
Featuring Dirtfoot, Kern Courtney, Chris Alexander, and a one-day exhibition of work from local artists
Donations to benefit Tommy's family in Los Angeles


Tuesday, April 3, 2007


"Yes, yes, you're all very sorry," said Ms. Minnie Parish with a dismissive wave of her hand. "It's such a tragedy, a real shame, et cetera et cetera. And I'm grateful, I am. But I'm not here for your sympathies. I'm here to talk business."

"Then we'll get right to it," said Kevin Hume. Hume appreciated a woman like Parish. He'd have liked to have more people like her working at Bloodlust. But he'd built his production company from the ground up (mostly) on his own, and still essentially ran it on his own. If you want something done right...

"I've never heard of someone willing their body and estate to a movie before, but I don't think we'll have many problems. If you can donate your body to science or have your ashes shot from a cannon, surely you can use it in a horror movie."

Cease and Rector, his lawyer and assistant, nodded their pointy heads.

"I've got some paperwork drawn up," said Cease, sliding a short stack across the table to Parish.

"Does this include a written description of my roles? Both of them?"

"Of course. We'll film the living scenes and hauntings first, while you're still in fair health. And afterwards..." Rector cringed. He couldn't speak of her impending death as practically as Hume. "Afterwards, we'll complete the other scenes."

Parish smiled and reached for her pen. Rector thought she looked dead already.

Parish was a widow. She had no children. She'd never been a celebrity or an artist or a politician. She'd played philanthropist for a little while after getting control of her husband's estate. Mostly to local artist types, small films and startup companies. But she felt like she'd never done anything to achieve that immortality everyone looks for.

It was ironic that cancer finally told her to live. Screamed it, and underlined it by trying to suffocate her. She never knew she was sick until she was having trouble breathing, and of course by then all anyone could do was drain her lungs and give her morphine.

Six months to come up with something really good. Maybe eight. Maybe less.

Then she'd remembered Hume and Rector. She'd made their little production company possible. She had a brilliant idea, and they couldn't turn her down easily. Hume would bury her good.

Much to Rector's dismay, the working title of Parish had become the official title. Hume thought it would be wonderfully artistic and that much scarier if the lead character were a real woman, a real dead woman. A living legend, so to speak. While audiences wondered how much of the story were true and looked for poor Minnie Parish in the dark corners of their rooms, they'd be throwing their money at Bloodlust.

It didn't hurt that the sickness was real, either. At least, it didn't hurt anyone but Parish. Her thinning hair, her yellowing skin; it was better than any effects they could have afforded. And it made her "performance" all the more convincing.

In real life, Parish was dying of cancer, just like her husband before her. In Parish, our heroine is dying of cancer. The same cancer as her husband before her. Except in the film, it's not like a cancer anyone's ever seen outside of the Parish family. It's probably not cancer at all, just a viral, solid form of Death, some evil that's taken a liking to her forty-something body and everything her soul will leave behind.

In Parish, our heroine suffers and raves through morphine-induced hallucinations of fire between days of sleep. She would probably be better off dead. At least that's what the nurse who furtively smothers her failing patient believes. And she could have been right, but Minnie didn't think so.

In real life, they wheeled her coffin (empty, of course) down a red carpet. As a widow with no children, she didn't have much family to speak of. Only a few friends. The majority of the mourners were actors. Some were professional. Parish didn't mind. She went out in style.

Working with dead bodies involves a hellish amount of red tape. Cease was glad he'd had most of it taken care of ahead of time. He got some interesting reactions in the process. Date of death? they'd ask. About two months from now. Yeah, that's a fun one to explain.

In Parish, Minnie's niece and heir thinks it would be a good idea to have the body autopsied, strange tissue cultured, and the new cancer studied. And it would have been a good idea, except our heroine doesn't much care for it.

The cancer spreads. You know you've got it when you see Ms. Minnie Parish. Sitting right on your chest. Not much for social graces.

By the finale, the nurse and half the ICU staff are dead of the disease. The niece and everyone at the coroner's office. Most of the artists and businessmen and filmmakers Parish had poured money into.

Parish does well. But it's the backstory that earns the millions. The realism. The actual, maybe, just-enough reality of it. And the spectre of Ms. Minnie Parish behind your shoulder. Because, gosh, maybe you met her! You think you remember talking to her at the grocery store one day. You're pretty sure she bought an oil painting from your friend Deb. What an incredible woman! She made death an art form. She went out in style.

Hume was really quite pleased. Cease was thrilled. Rector felt a little sick.

It was time for a second funeral, and an actual burial. They'd mutilated the corpse pretty badly during filming - her idea - so there couldn't be an open casket this time around either. Parish never wanted her corpse to be the last thing people remembered anyway. They remembered her ghosts. Both of them.

It took about three hours before the first Minnie Parish sightings were reported. It took about three months for the DVD to break sales records. It took a year for her home to be placed on the Haunted Hollywood tour. It took ten to name a lung disease after her. It took the instant of her last breath for Parish to find that immortality everyone looks for.