Posts tagged ‘art hoffman’

Timelines Converge

Two "Chips" meet and time lines converge.

Two “Chips” meet and time lines converge.

We saw only one person moving about in the cemetery.

If it wasn’t a caretaker, it must be him.

He was adjusting his lawn chair near the headstone of his wife.

I walked towards him.

When I got close enough to speak, I reached out to shake hands and said, “Good morning, my name is Chip.”

He smiled and said, “My name is Chip, too.”

My attention went directly to the tombstone, “I was sorry to learn of your wife’s passing.”
“She had dementia and died of double pneumonia.”

Our eyes met and I replied, “My wife was waiting on a liver transplant and died of double pneumonia.”

My voice broke.

He instinctively reached out and put his hand on my shoulder to offer comfort.

That was the sign my friend and two family members who were waiting in the car had hoped might appear. My brother-in-law said, “When he put his hand on your shoulder, we knew everything was okay.”

Our group consisted of a close friend, Art Hoffman, and my brother-in-law, John Coe and his wife, Veronica. Our outing that morning had been to visit a location Art had found a week or so before our visit to Louisville from North Carolina. My return to work begins next week and we all needed a break from home, Chip and Bob’s Flamingo Farm.

Earlier, the lady who told us about Mr. Chip appeared with little warning as we soaked in the ambiance of Art’s surprise. It

John, Veronica, and Art in front of Sissy's Consignment store.

John, Veronica, and Art in front of Sissy’s Consignment store.

was a consignment store that featured numerous flamingoes, my wife’s favorite fowl. The mystery lady said Mr. Chip had been keeping a daily vigil in the cemetery and cautioned us to approach with care and respect. It isn’t often a community sees a seventy-something year old man make daily visits to the grave of his wife—visits that last hours. The cemetery was on the main thoroughfare in town, just a block or two from the fire station. Mr. Chip was in plain view every day, on stage, for all to see. According to the mystery lady, the local townspeople had pitched in to purchase the headstone for Mrs. Perkins.

We had more than a nickname in common. His given name is Charles Franklin. Mine is Frank Cecil. So we share reversed initials, C.F. and F.C.

This morning, we had found him about to get situated in a lawn chair, in a blazing sun.

He was about to read to his wife from Open Windows, a devotional publication from LifeWay.

It was her birthday.

Who would have thought that on her birthday, a Chip from the present would cross trails with a Chip of the future.

I hope Mr. Chip found an unexpected visit from another “Chip” as comforting as I did.

Video, Part One:

For Part Two of the video, click, HERE.

Happy Santas!

A group of Santas get together in the off season and here's what happens!

A group of Santas get together in the off season and here’s what happens!

Born to be Jolly

My only shot at being Santa.

One summer over ten years ago, our church in Baton Rouge had “Christmas in July.” The usual “Santa” was unavailable so I got drafted. It was my only  and closest encounter with Sainthood. My wife made me a Hawaiian shirt with Christmas themed material, a do-rag, and I got a temporary tattoo.

Flash forward to 2015 and a group of professional Santas (one of whom is a close friend) who couldn’t wait till July. Let’s see what kind of fun they have in April. Were they convening an income tax session? I think not! These guys know how to be jolly and how to get HAPPY!  Sing, dance, and clap along with them!

My good friend, Art Hoffman, does great video work and had done all my video book trailers. He’s also captured many of the acts at North Carolina’s annual Folkmoot USA festival. See more Santa video and the amazing variety of topics by visiting Art’s YouTube channel, HERE.

Book trailer on a budget

My third book, A Year Without Killing, will debut in December on my publisher’s site. It will be presented as a serial, one chapter at a time, twice a week. Since it is the sequel to my first book, The Tourist Killer, the month of November will see extensive promotions for both.

A new web site called, The Books Machine, is offering The Tourist Killer for free to readers who agree to review it. Their site hosts hundreds of books by great authors and we’re pleased to have ours among them. The folks over at The Books Machine asked for a video trailer less than one minute, so here is what we produced:

Here’s how this trailer was made for less than $150.00.

1. I shot the video myself. It only required 5,283 takes.(Just kidding.)

2. I selected the music from a royalty free website:  They’re great and have a wide variety of selections.

3. Once the camera work was done, I mailed the SD card to my friend and videographer, Art Hoffman. He added the titles and music and VOILA!  Art does great work and has been involved with all my book trailers. Authors can contact him via his web site HERE for a free consultation and estimated production costs. NOTE: Including three days of mail time, it took Art and me only seven days to get this video live on YouTube.

Remember, there’s plenty of time to enjoy The Tourist Killer before the sequel begins and now’s the time to start your Christmas shopping.

Folkmoot U.S.A. Celebrates Thirty Years in 2013

Beauty, talent, and native music combine to make Folkmoot USA a unique international festival. In fact, it has been named the North Carolina “State International Festival” and annually attracts over 100,000 visitors to the Western end of the state.  It also has the distinction of having been named a “Top Twenty Event in the Southeast.”


The 2013 edition will mark the thirtieth annual celebration of cultures from around the world.  Each year troupes of singers, dancers, and musicians from as many as a dozen countries converge in Waynesville, NC to share their cultural heritage.  In addition to their performances, there are many opportunities for the performers to meet the locals, get acquainted, and learn about their host country.


On Saturday, April 27, 2013, the Huffington Post reported that in 2012, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park led all national parks with over 9.6 million visitors. The most visited area of the National Park System was the Blue Ridge Parkway, with over 15.2 million visitors. Both attractions are easily accessible from the mountain hamlet of Waynesville.


Waynesville (population est. 10,000) is located in the Great Smoky Mountains between Asheville, NC and Knoxville, TN.  It is a popular tourist destination year-round, especially for Folkmoot and the changing of the leaves in autumn.  Located near the Cherokee Indian Reservation the Waynesville area features many other nationally popular venues, such as the Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley. Stay in or near Waynesville and you’ll be a short ride from Deal’s Gap and the world famous Tail of the Dragon.


The performers from each country participate in an opening parade, numerous public and private performances, workshops, and the closing candlelight ceremony at Lake Junaluska.  This year’s festival features invitees from France (Stilt-Walkers), Martinique, Thailand, Japan, Slovakia, Mexico, Canada (Scottish Highland Dance) and Paraguay.


Art Hoffman, recently named one of Folkmoot’s official videographers for 2013, will be on hand to document the celebration, many of the performances, and some “behind-the-scenes” action. Over the last few seasons, Art’s video clips have documented this unique event and attracted over 11,000 views. One of his best features the Burundi dancers in their 2011 appearance in which they invited audience members to dance with them. If you appear in this video, Art will promise to include you in one of his videos this year at the Saturday International street fair on July 20, 2013.


Art is part of a contingent that comes to Folkmoot each year from Louisville, KY. This year that group will likely number close to 20 (ethnic dancers all) who will be attending the festival; it is estimated these fabulously flush Folkmoot fans, farm  fresh from the Kentucky Derby will pump between one and two billion dollars into the local Waynesville economy.


While details of the performances may fade with time, I enjoy photographing the faces of both performers and audience members.  Whether the charm of a cute smile or the confidence of a regal glance, the Faces of Folkmoot are unforgettable.


Folkmoot 2013  runs from July 17 – 28. More details are available from the Folkmoot website, HERE.


I’m in with the in crowd;
I go where the in crowd goes.
I’m in with the in crowd;
And I know what the in crowd knows.

We breeze up and down the street;
We get respect from the people we meet.
If it’s square, we ain’t there.
We got our own way of walkin’
We got our own way of talkin’
We make every minute count! — Billy Page

Forty-eight years ago this month, December 2012, Dobie Gray had a hit (#13 in the U.S.) with the Billy Page composition, “The ‘In’ Crowd.”

The following year, the Ramsey Lewis Trio released an instrumental version. The album went to number one and the single of “The ‘In’ Crowd” went to number two.

In 1965, I became a teenager.  Being “in” was the subject of many a teen’s desires.

Being a “square” (today’s “geek”) was something to be avoided.

Could Billy Page’s lyrics be among the roots of today’s slang term, “whazzup?” (often spelled without the “h”).

The genealogy of words isn’t my specialty. I can, however, recall from personal experience, a number of slang words and phrases in the evolution of language that resulted in “whazzup.”

Before Mr. Gray introduced us to that most favorable of factions, Maynard G. Krebs introduced Imageus to a new way of talking. His vernacular replaced the term “slang” with “hip.”  A 1965 entertainment variety show took viewers, along with Dick Clark, to “Where the Action Is.”

In 1971, Marvin Gaye asked “What’s Going On?”

More examples of hip slang include catch phrases like: que pasa, What’s shaking?, the real deal, keep on truckin’, the whole nine yards, where to get your kicks, right on, don’t be a square.

In my own case, I didn’t quite make it with Gray’s crowd.
I wasn’t hip either.
The horn-rimmed glasses and pocket protector didn’t help.
But a friend of mine fit right in.

Claudia Barry was no square in the sixties. Who dat? She’s The Tourist Killer.
What’s shakin’ with The Tourist Killer?  A professional assassin battles conscience, hired killers, and burn-out while juggling relationships and attempting normalcy in a character study with political overtones.

Art Hoffman produced the video trailers, and came up with the answer to three questions:
1. What do we title the video featuring many of the settings in my book?
2. Where is the action?
3. Whazzup?

His answer: Where It’s At.

Can you dig it?

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