S1: Hey , have you. Have you read the book Titan yet ? I have not read it. No , no , I skim through a few pages. I just got like the other day. Word. How'd you get it ? So , yeah , I got a Amazon. Yeah. As Medifast shout out to Amazon Prime. You're listening to the Parker Edison Project , Edison Project. There's something so special about seeing your friend succeed , especially if you're from where I'm from. I'm not from the hardest block , but I'm still too familiar with getting the news that so-and-so got locked up or they're down bad someplace. It's a blessing when we get to celebrate life victories , not even Olympic medals or million dollar wins. Just finding someone you grew up with is living the kind of life they always wanted. I've known both of these guests 20 plus years , and from a young age , you could clearly see their endless potential. This episode is about some authors I respect and the experiences that inspired them in the process of writing. Each of my guests walked their own unique path to get where they are. Sometimes they weren't easy , but they're definitely interesting. I've known this first gentleman for what seems like ever. He's always been out of the box and ahead of the curve. The man reduced to one of my oldest friends.
S2: And I'm calling from Snowy Mobile , Quebec , in Canada. And I've been up here for , what , seven years or something like that. I'm originally from San Diego. I grew up in San Diego.
S1: I'll try to do the math. I'm like , I think I've known you 30 , more than 30 years now.
S2: I think so , yeah. Because we did meet like in elementary school. Like I said , I don't know , I was like ten or something like that. So it was a long time ago.
S1: This is dope and it's fantastic to have the topic that we're talking about. The whole episode is about craftsmanship of author hood and being a writer.
S2: Weirdly enough , that's what I do. I write and I draw comic books for a living , and that's what I wanted to do when I was a little kid. Spend my day telling stories , writing comic books , drawing comic books , all that kind of stuff.
S2: I was in the Scholastic Book Club and they sent me all kinds of different stuff. But you know what's one that really influenced me that I did read Pretty Young was 1984 by George Orwell. I had gotten into fantasy books and science fiction , but I don't think I was prepared for what it was , you know , like I didn't think I was going to get such a convincing , dark look at , like , humanity. And , you know , like I went on to read all of George Orwell's other books , I think that that definitely had an influence on me pretty early. That or Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume you take your parents. It's interesting to think about when I was younger because I knew you when I was younger and you had a big influence on me. You were like my slightly older but definitely much cooler brother. And I was like , Oh , okay , like and you kind of turn me on to all kinds of stuff. I remember a book you turned me on to was The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I remember I read that pretty early , too. And that also , you know , it's like you start building out your brain or whatever and fitting in the pieces of the puzzle. And it's interesting those things that we read early on , right ? Absolutely.
S1: As an adult , I look back and I'm like , wow , we were big readers , right ? Yeah.
S1: Yeah. Speaking of books , you just put out an amazing piece. It's a book called Titan.
S2: It came out at the end of 2020. It's about a worker revolution and said , about 200 years in the future it's set on the moon of Titan and all the workers there have been modified so that they can work there. So they're all giants , you know , they're like eight , nine , ten feet tall. But all their managers , all the security forces that , like , make sure that there's order on the planet , everything they all come from the Earth. They're tyrants. They're like us. And so there's all these tensions between the Titan workers , the Terran management. Those tensions eventually end up exploding in the book. And the book is about two characters one , well , who's the guy from the Earth ? And the other Phoebe , who's the woman from Titan. And they're caught up in the middle of all these historical events , these things that are much bigger than they are , but they're also influencing the events. And so they're trying to survive that , maybe trying to make the world a better place at the same time.
S1: Heavy content for a graphic novel.
S2: During my lifetime , like the kind of stories that can be told through comic books , too. Graphic novels , whatever you want to call them , has totally transformed. And now you can kind of do anything with it with the medium. And for me , I like that feeling in science fiction where it really reflects our hopes and dreams , like it holds up a mirror to our society , like the cracks and the problems that we have , and then maybe some of the solutions that we might be able to have. Although the solutions are harder to write about than the problems , the problems are easier. They're easier to see. The solutions are tough. That's my next project is I want to get better at talking about the solutions.
S1: And I notice the themes of uprisings and classism.
S2: You know , I mean , things like Ferguson. And then Oscar Grant and stuff like that. That was all happening while I was working on the book. Not to be like , Oh , it's ripped from the headlines. But honestly , some of those things in the book could have been happening on the street in summer of 2020 , in the fall of 2020 , and maybe even today. In all honesty , rather , my book was like a weird kind of fantasy world that had nothing to do with reality. Then for it to be like it's so connected to the news. But I'm big into history and thinking I'm big into just world events and politics and economics , that kind of thing , that I also try and think about it like in the global context of like labor movement and you know , the Arab Spring was happening , you know , like ten years ago , the green movement in Iran , all these different things are happening all over the place. And then everything in the United States , you know , like for 200 years of more of our history and everything like that. So , you know , it was Titan was my first real book. So it was like the first I put a lot of my energy and a lot of my thoughts about all kinds of different stuff into it.
S1: And it definitely speaks to how you you're clearly at the pulse of something.
S2: I guess it's the way I look at it is you look back at history and there's all these cycles and repetitions and things like that. You know , history doesn't repeat itself , but it rhymes. There's Mark Twain , I think , said and so you you hear those rhythms and rhymes of like things where you're like , oh , this reminds me of something that happened before , but it's a variation or a twist on it. I like that about science fiction , right ? Because you you can kind of imagine into the future and then our present becomes the past of the future , the same way that we're all affected by the past today. The future would theoretically be affected by what's going on right now.
S1: My favorite character was the music. Oh , the music. Yeah. It's like the fifth Beatle. Oh. You essentially created a soundtrack that the reader hears in their head.
S2: It's a silent medium. Right ? Like , so you can't actually have , like , the power of the music. Be there on the page. Like , music for me for a long time , inspires a lot of my work. And I had had some little bit of music and some stories I'd done before , but when I started doing Titan , I think that there was one song in particular that was the kernel of all that. The main character , he's from Brazil. I thought about this song called Terror from Caetano Veloso , a song that he wrote the first time he saw the photo of the Earth from space. Caetano Veloso was actually in jail when he saw that photo for the first time because he was a political prisoner of like the military junta that ran Brazil in the sixties or seventies. I'm not an expert , so I won't remember the exact dates. The idea of like looking at the earth from space but from inside of a jail cell was so complicated. All these ideas start popping off in my head about like , what can I do ? So it's like , Oh , man , I like what that song to be in this book. And I thought , Well , why don't I have like really music ? You really connect it throughout the whole book. And so each chapter is named after a song from the 20th or 21st century. The narrative reason that that exists in the book is that the two main characters , they are both fans of what they call folk music. And so for them that's everything from like the blues to rock and roll to the rap. They consider all that one kind of music , like kind of the way you and I might be like , Oh , classical. And that's like Bach and Beethoven and Debussy and everything. And it's like 500 more years of stuff. So they think about it all being the same thing. And that was that was the narrative reason why it was there was music and and because that's the connection. That's one of the things that connects the two characters.
S1: It makes it a like a paper film. It's very cinematic.
S2: Cinema is as big an influence on me as like literature , as comic books , graphic novels as music. Like , cinema is my , you know , it's very central to the way I perceive the world. I'd love to be in art form in other ways. Sometimes I feel like it's too late , you know ? It's like I'm like a middle aged guy , and I feel like I'm also just getting started to have some sort of artistic control and mastery of this graphic novel medium that I'm working in right now. I would love it. I'd be lying if I said I would love it if somebody called me and was like , Hey , we want to do this film concept. We're so inspired by what you do. I'd be like , Yes , let's do this. But , but at the same time , you know , it's like I'm probably going to concentrate on the comics , on the graphic novels.
S1: They're dope. Do so listeners can look you up and find some of the stuff that we're talking about.
S2: It's F , R and C0 ES and the last name Zvi G and e u l t and my website is just that with a little hyphen between those two words dot com and they can find me there.
S1: As soon as you finish this episode , shoot over to Francoise website and get a copy of his newest work. It's flat out cinematic and speaking of cinema , it's tapping with my guy , King Di's , for another segment of. MMS him. His guest is exceptional , if I do say so myself. Alrighty. I am your host , King Dice , social commentator , musician and connoisseur of fine cheeseburgers. And this is movies. Millennials should movie. I'm going to have our guests introduce themselves.
S3: I am Mickey. I am hip hop kid , hip hop artist , hip hop lover , playwright , and just an artist in general.
S1: It is a pleasure to have you on. Today we are talking about books that have been made into movies. If you ask my wife , she'll tell you that a book is always better. But I don't know if any shows long enough to settle that debate.
S3: I'm not. I think some are. I think depending on what it is. Some are. Some books are better. Sometimes a movie is a little better.
S1: I agree with that. I completely agree. But before we get into the movies , let's talk about you. I think I first saw you perform at the DIY Music and Fashion Fest in Pomona. A while back. I saw Mickey Bale , the rapper.
S3: He said , Well , you are cooking serious right there , applied because we live in some serious time. Brother , if you plan in serious lines , if you can't see the lines behind enemy lines , the perfect time when I'm speaking at Martin and I.
S1: Know you do a lot more than just music.
S3: My brother was involved with some house in L.A. Liquid Crew is familiar with liquid alcohol. Alcoholics.
S1: Oh , yeah , yeah , definitely.
S3: The he was involved with them , so he was he had a studio and everything. And when we met , because we didn't grow up together , we met in the in the nightlife in Santa Barbara , California. When we met , he got me in the studio for the first time with Ono , the producer unknown. And that was my first introduction into recording. Wow.
S1: Wow. And now you're doing something at San Diego's Old Globe Theater , right ? Yeah.
S3: I'm a teaching artist at the Old Globe , and I'm a commissioned playwright. So I just finished writing a play that's going to be produced this summer in July.
S1: That's amazing. With a dope name. Sabu I know we're making.
S3: Do you did it ? I don't know.
S1: So I'm not going to spoil it. But just know I am a movie fan , so.
S3: They go.
S1: Get it in. Let's talk about the movie. Today's movie that I have for you is 1995 Devil in a Blue Dress. For a year. RAWLINS L.A. was a world of sunshine and shadows.
S4: ADAM Hey , how you doing ? JOE Here , take easy on upstairs.
S1: Black and white.
S5: We got no work here. Sorry , Charlotte. My name's not. Fella.
S1: Fella. My name is Ezekiel Rawlins. The movie stars Denzel Washington , Jennifer Beals , Tom Sizemore and Don Cheadle. It's a noir detective film set in L.A. in the late forties , following a man named Ezekiel Easy Rawlins , who is thrust into the life of a private investigator and must find a missing white woman in 1940 L.A. against the backdrop of racism , murder and organized crime. It's based on Walter Mosley's book of the same name. And to be honest , let's just talk about dropping the ball like Hollywood's biggest ball drop is not creating an entire franchise based on this character. Netflix , listen to me.
S3: Favorite movie of all time.
S1: The Color Purple and American story for the whole world. It's about life. It's about love. It's about us.
S3: I don't watch a lot of movies. My attention span doesn't work like that. Right. That movie I have watched over and over and over and over again. And every time I watch it , I see something new or hear something new. It's just it's amazing. It's an amazing film.
S1: Well , that's Steven Spielberg. Whoopi Goldberg. If I'm not mistaken , they're remaking that movie The Color Purple. If you've never seen it , get in while they're getting this good. I think it is customary that we rate our movies using emojis , so I'll go first. I'm going to give Devil in a blue dress five out of five detective emojis. I didn't even know we had detective emojis. That's what you're getting from me. Five out of five detective emojis.
S1: I love it. That's perfect.
S3: Mikki , build the NC. Am I v a l e t h e amc. AMC stands for Master Creator and I'm Mickey Bound AMC on all the platforms.
S1: And look forward to seeing that play this summer. I'll be there.
S3: All right.
S1: My name is King Dykes. This has been movies. Millennials should movie watching movies. Don't let cinema die.
S3: Stay tuned for more of the peppy EP.
S1: What's up fam ? This is Kelsey Rae , editor of the Parker Edison Project. I want you to check out my show. Chris sees the Internet live Sundays at 7 p.m..
S5: On the platform.
S1: Collection page and YouTube. We talk about culture , art , tech and do in-depth interviews with our favorite forward thinkers. Christie's the Internet hosted by myself.
S5: And O.G. Hip Hop. Daddy.
S1: Daddy. Sundays 7 p.m. on YouTube. Platform Collection. Hello.
S4: Hello. This is Maya from Maya's Cookie's San Diego. We are America's number one black gourmet vegan cookie company. You can check us out on our social media. Maya's cookies. San Diego.
S1: And now back to the Pepe. Pepe. Welcome back. In 1999 , the Napster streaming service launched pioneering the concept of peer to peer audio file sharing. Everything changed after that. It destroyed the foothold monopolies had on artists content. Over the past 20 years , we've seen its trickle down effect on other mediums. TV stations are competing with YouTube , movie theaters with Netflix. And book companies were not exempt from these winds of change. The library's Dewey Decimal System is now competing with Audible and Spotify extensive audio book catalogs these days. Authors are quite similar to rap artists. They have to diligently monitor the Internet to collect royalties for their works. They must find ways to market themselves to new audiences and keep a close eye on their content so their stuff isn't ripped off by desperate moviemakers. My next guest and like me to another similarity authors need publishers like rappers needed record labels. Right off the bat , listeners don't know what's your name ? I go by Q Jay Stouffer , artist , author , struggler in the In the Game , Hustler , painter. And I was born and raised right here in Southern California. You're probably the first person I knew who was into fashion , like literally had a clothing line , maybe 10th grade , and you had a t shirt line named Gravy. That's great. Do you remember that ? It's crazy that you remember that. Yeah , I do. I remember Brady , and I remember busting out the prints and the shirts and doing the drawings. And , you know , that was before Photoshop. So , you know , everything you did was , you know , kind of outlined. And then I put in the cork and then you kind of , you know , had to find somebody with the silkscreen press and all that stuff. Yeah , we did. We tried and we did our best. Not it didn't last very long. However , we we definitely got to go to it. There wasn't an Internet. There was not a place where you could just find how to do it. Three steps , like you had to really blaze your own path to find your own way to that. You know , you and I , we lived through that non internet age , but I don't think people born after it could really even imagine what it was like , especially when it comes to our art. You know , for the longest time you have to and you have to go where it is to see it. There was a lot of legwork for us all , just what we had to do to invest in the culture and to begin to engage and to participate , you know ? Tell me tell me about the nine orders soccer. Growing up as an African American. Our own history is theoretical to some extent , especially when you go when you try to talk about it to the diaspora or to the culture at large , and you're met with a river of naysayers like no , Egyptians weren't black. No , you know , there weren't any free blacks in America ever. No. There was no black contributions to culture , you know , before slavery. Are there any stories out there that don't include colonialism or the institutional racism that are about us ? I wanted to write a book that spoke to our human origins , and so I chose to write a story based on the perspective of a young girl and an older man , different ethnicities , to try to push them through a world where they uncovered mysteries and secrets about our past , where we came from , why we're here , etc. , etc. , etc.. So that's really that was my story. That's the story I wanted to tell. Kind of a theory of everything kind of book , but making it fun and approachable and accessible and readable. Where does the nine order saga take place ? It takes place in in our time , several years in the future. And but and by that , I mean , like , literally , it could be , you know , 5 to 10 years ahead from where we are now. This this whole episode was going to be completely different. I had a whole different a concept. But you and I , you know , we were chopping it up and you were describing the experience that you were having as an author of color trying to land a publishing deal. Lord have mercy. Can you can you kind of share some of those insights that kind of speak to that ? You know how it is being a brother , trying to find a job ? Whoa. Real talk. Did I get too real for a second ? No , I want it. I want to know. I've got an MFA. So I went over to China to teach at an international school. Art history , AP art history and studio art. I went over there , I got paid really well , is great , but at some point I needed to come back home. So I came on back. And I must have put in 250 applications over the course of a year. I came I came back to America to be closer to my aging mother and father. And I was basically unemployed for an entire year and all that money that I saved in China. And it just started to dwindle away trying to find a writing deals analogous to that in the sense that there's a lot of talk about , you know , we need more people of color to write fiction books. You know , we need we need that. But when it comes time to review someone's manuscript , that talk goes away. Someone says to you , there's no reader , reader base for that. You see them saying , that's their justification. There's no there's no reader base for that. I'm trying to create a market. Give me a chance. I think I can really do it. I know I can do it in my computer saves probably about 300 rejection letters from literary agents that I will keep. And when I make it and I will make it , I will print them all out and I will put them in frames and I will put them all around my office to remind myself that nothing great in this world comes into being without complication , without pushback. I respect literary agents , but it's been difficult. It's been difficult. You've got this book coming out. How did you navigate a way around that process ? Very good question. Essentially , someone who knows me introduced me to someone who read the work and was so excited that he formed a division of his company that normally deals with music publishing strictly to handle publishing. My work and I signed a deal with him for the first three books in the series , and we'll see how that pans out. You know , who knows what the future has. But I can tell you that I have somebody believe in your soul. So again and I know it's not a traditional , but we're going to get the book out there. It's going to be in brick and mortar stores. It's going to be available as a as an impulse buy on all the major , you know , Apple , Amazon , you know , wherever you can buy an e-book , my book will be there. My book will be in Barnes and Noble. It'll be it'll be there. So I'm really happy about that. Shout out to MTW publishing , by the way , and the book is available at the nine borders dot com. Listeners , you might be listening to the start of the next big series. The next J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter , the next Twin Tower. And Lord of the Rings. Just in case. Just in case they missed it. Tell me your name one more time. QJ Zephyr Z p h y r j Zephyr. There's an endless magic at the end of a pin , one with the power to change the things we think in the way we think of them. Guests like Francois , Mickey and QJ are intellectual innovators , avant garde daredevils , telling stories they dream up while they're awake. I think it's all inspiring , literally. Awesome. In fact , I'm coining the phrase literarily awesome because that's what they are. I'm super interested to see the way their works blossom in the world. Do me a favor. Go to my Twitter page at the PEP on KPBS and tell me what writer does it for you. I got one more wordsmith I want to put you on to the card , his live show in Ontario late last year. And he floored me. I'm trying to get him back here on the West Coast. But in the meantime , let me get you a little more familiar.
S5: Is your boy feel more green ? Represent Chicago West. Want to reach.
S1: Fillmore's is an acronym. Yeah.
S5: Yeah , yeah. Fillmore. Fillmore Green. All my whole name is an acronym. He stands for plate H when investigated last make obstacles real effortless and green green E It stands to grow righteously every day Expect nothing equal You know me so if you please the haters and instigators last and they make obstacles real easy that means for progress is everything. You can't look backwards in a race at a marathon. You look back was why you run it ten times out of ten. You won't trip , you won't fall , you stagnate yourself rain with air to air. That means you teach yourself some new every day , and when you expect nothing equal , you can't go below. You can't be stagnant. You can only go up. Boom.
S5: Yeah , feel more green. That's some I live.
S1: For that they don't. They don't surprise me at all , man , because I was run through your catalog. And the Chicago album is real dope , by the way , bro.
S5: Thank you , brother. Thank you.
S1: It's an impeccable project , man. And this is wild , heavy with lyricism.
S5: My soul rate process varies. I can I can make a cover art for single some of my phone and do this and do the song afterwards. I might see a movie scene and get inspired by the movie scene and record a record. I can't describe , you know , it's like a warm feeling at the top of my head and , you know , you know how your body get that that electric bill. It happens , you know , whichever way it is , I know it and I accept it , and I just go to work. Hmm.
S5: Feature of scars produced by my man , Kenny Keys , man. Amazing. He was playing a bunch of beats for me , and when I first heard the track , I felt like I was listening to some of Illmatic. I stayed on some beats for probably a year , six months , a year. But I sat on that one. And one day , when the pandemic had first hit the world , you know , I ordered some equipment because I didn't know how long we were going to be in the crib. And I said that to Scott Zoom , but I sent them a video. Right. You know , he was coming off a surgery to , you know , you had a pallet on his throat. You know , he was , you know , very public with that. He was letting everybody know. And when I sent it to him , the video showing him the equipment that song was playing in the background , you know , Scott Talking like , yeah , that beats bank. Like , man , that's my man. Can you feel me ? Like , you know , you want to hop on it. So I was like , you know , when I'm ready , send it to you. Whoa , whoa , whoa. When he got done with the surgery , I hit him and was like , you know , I still got that slot open on that beat. If you in the space , the record , shoot it over to you. He did the verse. He sent it back later that day. I think that was one of the first verses he did Fresh Off of surgery. But that that song came about poof.
S1: With no further ado. Could you do me one more favor ? Would you mind introducing the track ? And I'm a player right now.
S5: Please , please. Is your boy feel more green ? And you're now listening to Time featuring Scalzo Barfield , More Green , produced by Kenny Key's salute to our buddy Rucker. When we've got to get through it , like boom , boom. Your character precise flaw with the Passion of Christ. Oh , geez. Flashy with dice in a pack and a knife. I'll be yachty tracking the flight every show. Pack for the night. They love you if you rap And it breaks my man flat with a tracking device Slumlords rats in a mice They caught him so on pack in the kikes commissary Never bury Never ask for the price This is life We go to junkies when we ask for advice. Shorty's youngest 12. Frannie should play if she was to to kick back. So when you hit that quick look at the damage in life. Married to the game shaking in a race match to the field. Montana , TomBrady Pain and race come wrong paying the price hit the ball stay in the night cold chillin laying on nice every day Be a gamble Go play with your life You only get one rolling No playing it twice This is life honest seen enough up in this world to know Ain't nothing worth more than time Nothing worth more than time Got to keep your Don't chisel Do it from the heart And you will be fast You will be fast. It took a lot of use just to get here time. It took a lot of years just to get here town. It shook a lot of years just to get here. Hurry up. I don't got time. He put his name on an affidavit for term goals. If you've got to say Memphis watching a movement , they circulate in the pavement fighting cases. We've seen a lot of life faces jumping in the picture. Well , so these other rappers could trace it. His basic maneuvers throughout the land in a faceless shootouts , broad yellow tabs cover the cases 12 patients shouting , knocking on doors , trying to get a description of faces from every innocent patron. Money brings jealousy and jealousy , you see. But you can have we got to go make it hunger , pain and shady lack of the motivation. I'm driving these niggas crazy strap up and embrace it made a family is within my rap pages give me a mic and I'll take flight rock stages. It took years to make it two years in the making , but once you there , you've got to keep it secret. Come on. It's seen enough in this world to know enough and worth more than time. Nothing worth more than time. I've got to keep your mind. Don't listen to it from the heart. And you'll be fine. You'll be fine. It took a lot of years just to get here in town. It took a lot of years just to get here that time. Took a lot of years just to get here. You want to go ? Got time ? Yeah. Sweet time. Get headed out the mummies of school and it's time. It's a big catch. It was quick this loop and the judge don't want it had a vision cruel but every minute he slain is a minute he loses word that sound chilling for the book for like the old pro saws keep it they'll let sound bouncing. I'll come. You want her to show it always been around people in circles closed up that with murder flow it like Mason messed up hit like way back was it'd be like out working both hybrid Sam likes having you Cody so he could chime in in all the words his mirror image would you let me speak the design that but damn with the redefining scenery daddy whoever keeps it flash you know what the spelling bee models on then I take photos with credit date Oh part of the part. It's enough in this world to know way it works more all the time Nothing worth more than town Got to keep your mind Don't chisel Do it from the heart and you'll be fine You will be fine. It took a lot of years just to get here town. It took a lot of years just to get here. Town. It took a lot of years just to get here. Hurry up. I don't got time.
S1: Thanks for stopping in. The Parker Edison project is produced and hosted by yours truly , Parker Edison in the Good People That platform collection. Be sure to subscribe and catch the next episode on Apple , Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. If you have any comments or questions , visit the Parker Edison Project dot com or hit us on Instagram at the project. My guide , Kurt CONAN , is audio production manager. Lisa J. Morrissette is operations manager and John Decker is Associate General Manager for content. This programming is made possible in part by the KPBS. Xplore Content Fun. Hello. Saying that because it reminds me of Sesame Street. Just a safe out there.
This episode discusses the works of Black sci-fi author QJ Zephyr and Canadian graphic novelist Francois Vigneault. Plus, we check in with Chicago’s Philmore Greene for insights on his track "TIME" featuring Skyzoo.
• Miki Vale, playwright
• King Dice
• Q.J. Zephyr
• Francois Vigneault
• Philmore Greene
Credits: Parker Edison (host), Kurt Kohnen (co-creator), Chris Reyes (head editor) and Gene Flo (music supervisor)