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Fred Seibert's Blog

Steve Tompkins (and Edward Gorey. And Michael Mantler.)

November 20th, 2008

Steve Tompkins
Steve Tompkins in his Nickelodeon writing office, with The Gashlycrumb Tinies poster

If this gets too complicated, I’m sorry about that…

Last week I was walking by the office of one of Fanboy & Chum Chum’s executive producers, Steve Tomkins*. I noticed his cool poster of Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies, which he was obviously very proud of and it got me to telling him of my unusual, casual run in with Gorey’s work back in the day.

The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey

My soft spot for Gorey comes from a particular circumstance. In 1976, I was working with the composers and musicians Michael Mantler (who I posted about last month) and Carla Bley, when Mike released his LP which used Gorey’s writings as the libretto for his compositions called “The Hapless Child and Other Inscrutable Stories.”

Get your own at Scribd or explore others: Culture Music music poetry

I’d never heard of Gorey (his Amphigorey hadn’t quite crashed into the mainstream), and Mike had always had a taste for interesting authors he liked to compose to (like Harold Pinter or Samuel Beckett.  And Mike’s always unique casting had me quadruply intriqued (Robert Wyatt for the prog-rockers, Mike (on trumpet), Carla, Steve Swallow, & Jack DeJohnette for the jazzbos, and Terje Rypdal all of them). Check out a track, and pick up some MP3s.Michael Mantler > The Sinking Spell

So, while it’s always fun saying hi to Steve*, I got an extra cultural dose of nostalgic inspiration the other day. Thanks bud.

* By the way, in addition to doing a hilarious job on Fanboy & Chum Chum,  I found out about another unsung showbiz story. Who knew that Steve Tompkins created Ari Gold on Entourage?

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