The image above is from the wrong ’22, of course — it’s a still from Cecil B. De Mille’s Manslaughter (1922) and depicts the aftermath of an orgy. We should have been so lucky!
I’m about a week late in preparing this post, which has been an annual end-of-year exercise for me for years. Like all workaholics I always feel like “I haven’t done anything”, and this year felt more like that than usual so I dragged my heels in taking a proper look. As always, I’m surprised to be reminded that I accomplished more than I thought I had, though I can’t deny that various factors such as catching Covid and other minor calamities cramped my style more than usual. Some highlights of the year:
Jim Moore’s book Don’t Miss This, in which I am amply represented, was released
Produced podcast show about the William Desmond Taylor murder with my wife/partner Carolyn Raship
Produced podcast show about the life and career of Bert Williams
Ayun Halliday’s book Small Potato Manifesto, to which I contributed, was released
Made a field trip to the historic Smith Opera House in Geneva, New York
Interviewed Downton Abbey cast member Lesley Nicol
Performed in Marx Brothers live stream event
Guest posted on HiLoBrow.Com on the Death of M*A*S*H’s Henry Blake
Released new podcast show about the centennial of Our Gang (The Little Rascals)
Taped an appearance in a new vaudeville related documentary by Gary Bohan
Recorded voice-over role for an upcoming Heather Quinlan podcast about Tom Carvel
Began recording Chain of Fools audio-book edition
Most of what I did this year was behind the scenes though, which is a little frustrating from the standpoint of reporting, but saying it aloud helps me remember that I did the work, and it also provides a glimpse of what’s in store for this year and beyond. In 2022, I plunged into work on my next two books, as well as an audio-book version of one of my previous ones; I worked with collaborators on the development on two new stage shows; I worked for about three months in the back office of Theater for the New City in the spring, which was energizing; and made a ton of new show biz friends and contacts, which bodes well for future collaborations.
Above all, in a kind of meat-and-potatoes way, I worked very hard on Travalanche this year, and I’m prouder of the content than ever before. It’s grown (as I’ve long intended) into being a platform that is not strictly about the past, but rather one that connects the past to the present. Like a stew, I feel like it’s gotten richer as a result of the diversity of ingredients. If you’ve never done so, I encourage to go directly to the main page and scroll down. As in vaudeville, if you aren’t grabbed by what you see immediately, I predict that you won’t have far to scroll before something will strike your fancy. We’re at over 7,000 articles now, and nearly 3 million visitors. And if you’re a vaudeville fan (our point of origin), I think I can now comfortably lay claim to having created the largest repository of original biographical articles about those who performed on the circuits. Obviously, there are libraries and museums that contain much more raw information for researchers; but I can claim to have written the largest number of biographical entries for the benefit of readers.
As for what’s coming up, I’m still in the midst of planning and booking, but there are already a couple of things on the calendar, and we’ll be ready to announce them soon.
Until then, I am way overdue to thank YOU for reading, and especially to thank my Travalanche family of supporters: Carolyn Raship, Scott Stiffler, Bruce Schaffer, Noah Diamond, Kathy Biehl, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Martin Denton, Cheryl Rice, Jennifer Glick and Lincoln Hallowell, Gary Hardcastle, Barry Rowell and Catherine Porter, Alyssa Simon, Edward Einhorn, Lisa Vogel and Tom Racz, Anthony DiFlorio, Jeff Lewonczyk, Jody Christopherson, Peter Hilman, Douglas Gray, Rob Farr, David Crump, Gary Bohan, Cindy Yochim, Tammy Rose, Henry Bial, Heatherlyn Egan, Mindy MacLaren, Sara Nilsson, Jeff Sensabaugh, Tom Samuels, Charlie Morrow, Brad Sultan, Peter Genovese, David Carlyon, Miriam Shuman, Vincent Marano, Margaret Cross, Timothy Babcock, Michael Karp, John Nelson, Pete Boisvert, Michelle Collins, Allison Anderson, Fred Backus, Richard Backus, Kate Dale, Sunny Stalter Pace, Flash Rosenberg, Stephen Garraty, Deborah Karpel, Killy Dwyer, Conrad Barrington, Brendan Schweda, Erik Bartlett, Mitchell Jewell, Pete Bainbridge, Rob Bates, James Bigwood, Mathew Brady, Reed Martin, Magnus Magnus, Charles Monagan, Daniel Gaulin, Melani Carty, Martin Ladshaw, Geordie Austen, Alexandra Krebs, Suzanne Dreyfus, Andy Wood, Brian Nelson, Celia Wren, Bambi Everson, Allen Johnson, Professor Pinkerton Xyloma, Len Peoplowski, David Newell, John Wells, Susan Lane Stewart, Chris Roy, Chris Fratiello, Virginia, Sandra, and if I’m missing anyone, you go ahead and let me know! There’s also an equal number of past supporters I’m grateful to; hopefully some will come back on the rolls as their resources permit.
Honestly, these people have all kept me going in concrete ways through fair weather and foul and I am immensely grateful to them all. But I sure wish you’d join them, and we can make a big, ugly noise together! The place to do it is here
Happy New Year, all!
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