Thursday, January 21, 2016

Actress/Poet Interview: LORA LEE ORTH

Interview with LORA LEE ORTH

I recently heard you are involved in the making of a new horror movie. Shed some light on this movie and what it’s about? How did you become involved?
On November 1, 2014 Rich and I were headed to Long Island to a Twitch Twitch Productions/Macabre Faire event. We were excited that Demon Boy was performing some of the songs Rich has written with the band. Just as we got over the Verrazano Bridge our engine seized. The event began at 7:30 pm. By the time we were towed, we gave the engine last rites and rented a car. We arrived just as Demon Boy hit the stage at 11 pm. Once the band had finished we mingled with all our Macabre friends. Actor Edward X. Young was there and mentioned he was working on a new movie titled Bigfoot: Blood Trap. During our conversation Edward said there were two roles not yet cast. Edward then asked if I would play the role of his wife in a flashback scene, I said yes and the journey began. I filmed my scene on September 20, 2015. Bigfoot Blood Trap is directed by John Orrichio and my scene was filmed in the woods near his New Jersey home. Check out the Production's Facebook page at facebook.com/bigfootbloodtrap.

Can you provide a synopsis of Bigfoot Blood Trap as well as a rundown of the lead characters in the movie? What about the movie interested you in making an appearance?
Bigfoot Blood Trap stars Edward X. Young as Dr. Laurence Corman, Chrissy Laboy as Shannon.... our friends Adam Ginsberg, Elsie Ginsberg, and KJ Hopkins are also deeply involved. The story involves Bigfoot being captured and Dr. Corman attempting to mate him with a human female. What interested me most about appearing in the film was being in a film with many dear friends and also that Edward specifically asked me to be a part of this. I also have always dreamed of being in a bloody death scene and to scream till one cannot scream again.

Did you have to audition for the part? Were there other actresses who were interested or were you solely up for it?
No audition was necessary for at first there was no speaking part scripted. Thanks to Edward X. Young and director John Orrichio, there was no other actresses in the mix. Once he offered it, the part was mine.

Describe your experience filming the flashback scene for Bigfoot Blood Trap. Who else in the cast were you working with and how many takes were completed before everyone involved was satisfied?

For my first time filming on location, the shoot seemed pleasant and coordinated. Director John Orrichio had his vision, but listened to others’ input. The filming was five hours or so for a two minute scene. I worked with a film daughter, Lexi... a true professional. Working with Edward was such a pleasure. Bigfoot was brought to us by KJ Hopkins... the stunts with him were the toughest. Truly, it was fun and it was tough not to smile even during the most horrifying scenes.

Why did the filming process for that two minute flashback scene take five hours, and how much work did it require?
First was an introduction to the rest of the actors and an overview of the script and how it would fall into place. Then setting the scene and filming everything from multiple angles. Also, several shots had to be retaken due to outside intervention (the highway was very near and unfortunately the road was busy that day). Makeup artist Jay Stoddart also needed time to make myself and my "daughter" look good and dead.

What input did you and the others involved have into the flashback scene? Were you satisfied with the results? Is appearing in a horror/slasher movie; perhaps a larger role; an experience you would want to have again?
We brought some props for Lexi, the daughter, otherwise it was John Orrichio's show. We spent some time afterward watching clips and then less than a day later John sent the edited portion and it was a perfect editing job. If it is half as enjoyable as this process was I would love to move ahead with appearing in another movie in the near future.

How long had you been acquainted with Edward X. Young before you and he met at Macabre Faire’s event? And how long had he been an actor in independent horror movies previously?
I met Edward at an after party of the premiere of the movie Gilgo Beach Murders... recently released on DVD as The Long Island Serial Killer. I was able to land Rich a product placement deal for his first book, Rich Orth POEtry Girls. Edward X. Young has been in film since 2006! As a fan of the Hammer film genre, Edward costarring with Ingrid Pitt in Sea Of Dust was an honor for him and pleasure to watch.

What movie was Rich’s product placement deal for? What sort of an impression did Rich’s poems have on Edward X. Young?

Rich's first book, Rich Orth POEtry Girls appears in the movie Long Island Serial Killer... this placement is the precursor to all that has happened professionally for the both of us. I was able to attain it through Elsie Ginsberg and things took off from there. Edward is truly a fan and supporter of Rich's work. When introducing Rich to others, Edward always begins with how much he enjoys Rich's poetry and how much he believes in Rich's talent. One of his favorites is Carmilla, as he starred with the iconic Ingrid Pitt in Sea Of Dust... She inspired Rich's version of the poem.

What was Long Island Serial Killer about; its storyline and plot development? How would you rate it as a movie?
The movie was originally titled The Gilgo Beach Murders. Based on multiple bodies found in a beach area of Long Island. It follows an interpretation of what may have happened as the crimes have never been solved. The movie also tries to humanize the victims and not be a typical slasher film. The DVD is edited down from the premiere we saw in New York and tightened it up some. It was enjoyable as it is how we became friends with many in the Long Island horror scene.

Long Island has quite a few legends, including the Amityville House which the movie was based on and “Sweet Hollow Road” which is said to be haunted by the spirit of a young woman named Mary. Are you familiar with those or other legends?
As I grew up in the Philadelphia area, Amityville is the only Long Island story I am aware of thanks to the books and movies. I did Google the Sweet Hollow Road story and would like to visit that area and investigate the story more.

What local legends of Philadelphia do you most recall hearing about in your lifetime?
Well not really Philly, but the Jersey Devil is probably the most famous legend in the vicinity. In our area growing up it would be Byberry State Mental Hospital. The Hospital was said to be haunted due to all the atrocities committed upon the patients. In our youth we explored all the buildings, the grounds and the underground areas and though spooky and fun, we never came across anything supernatural.

What interests you in the legend of the Jersey Devil and how much research have you done on it, if any?
The length of time the legend has been around is impressive. Growing up in we would always drive through the Pine Barrens to go to the shore. It covers such an immense area it would be easy for something to stay away from civilization, though you would think more sightings would occur since it is purported to fly also, haha. Have never done research per se, but Rich and I would never turn down a chance to watch a movie or documentary based on the Jersey Devil legend.

I would recommend Axis Video (youtube.com/armpitstate) since their research on the Jersey Devil and other legends has always been extensive and they have produced films and books on the Devil.
Watched one 5 minute video by Axis which lead us to a Monster Quest documentary, but like Ghost Adventures all is speculation and no truth comes to the forefront. With all of today's media and phones being better cameras than the high quality cameras of the past we would love to once see a photo that was not blurry. Maybe in the next few years someone will get the shot that truly proves many myths existence. Till then we remain skeptical, but that does not mean we will stop watching these types of stories again and again.

Are there any websites with information about what went on at Byberry State Mental Hospital? What do you remember the atmosphere being like when you visited there?
Try philadelphiastatehospital.com and also opacity.us. The grounds and buildings always had an eerie air about them, but it was primarily a psychological effect. Of course we were always there after nightfall also, so that added to the atmosphere. One regret is we did not take photos. We spent many weekends there with sometimes thirty to forty people, it was fun to explore and a great place to party.

Do you watch anything on the History Channel or Discovery Channel about these legends we’ve been covering? Or any programs on internet TV channels?
We spend a lot of our TV time watching documentaries. Sadly the channels mentioned focus too much on aliens and nazis but of course we still watch! Rich recently watched one on the Manson Family and unsolved murders they were believed to have committed (he was not impressed). We will have to see if anything is available on Netflix and we have watched some asylum stories on Youtube. There is so much out there media-wise, I am sure we will unearth some interesting things in the near future.

How many asylum stories have you watched on Youtube and what about them appeals to you?
One was BBC's Mental History of a Madhouse (youtu.be/oswUssXzFlY). The other we found on PBS on Demand a few years ago about Walter Freeman who is considered the father of the lobotomy. There are a few videos of the documentary, but nothing in its entirety sorry to say. Both were striking because actual patients are interviewed and there was much documentation.

I saw you and Rich at Long Island’s first Haunt Faire last September. Demon Boy was present at this event as were many local Long Island talents. What were your experiences like meeting some of these talents as well as new fans?
This was the first time I met Jay Stoddart who does most of the special effects in Bigfoot; Blood Trap. She kicks ass and the blood she synethizes never cleans easily. I was pink for a few days. I also got to recite one of Rich's poems, Teller Of Misfortune, in the Corpse Couture Fashion Show. I appeared as a gypsy in our friend and Rich's music collaborator, Nicole Oliva's show. And as always seeing Demon Boy perform and spending time with our Macabre Family makes a four hour drive worth every second, even on the Belt Parkway.

What made you choose Teller Of Misfortune from Rich’s body of work to recite at the Corpse Couture Fashion Show?
Teller Of Misfortune is a poem Rich specifically wrote for me to recite at Nicole Oliva's Corpse Couture Fashion Show. Once Nicole had decided upon my costume, it was left to Rich to create a poem as part of my presentation.

What else can you tell those reading this interview about the Corpse Couture Fashion Show? Where was it held where you attended? How much coverage did this show receive when it was put on?

Nicole Oliva is a multitalented performer. Rich is currently working on a CD with her singing his lyrics in operatic form. She brought together many friends for the show at Haunt Faire in Long Island and each model performed a skit. The reception that day was overwhelming and it was a very enjoyable experience.

How did you and Rich first come into contact with Nicole, and what made Rich and Nicole want to collaborate together?
We met Nicole through the Macabre Faire. Nicole contacted Rich about using a few of his poems to be arranged by Harrison Ingemarson into an opera style. Rich in turn converted the poems into lyrics, since they were written in a poetry style with no breaks, bridges or choruses. Rich loved the opportunity to get involved for two reasons. First, Nicole has an exquisite voice. Second his late Father loved opera and this is a little homage to him.

How much of a process was it for Harrison Ingemarson to arrange Rich’s poems into opera? Do you think Rich’s father would have appreciated the arrangement?

At Nicole's request Rich rewrote the poems as lyrics, so they had an easier flow with breaks, hooks and choruses. Harrison took the words as Rich had written and composed the arrangement. Being quite talented, I am sure Harrison had no trouble completing the work as he is classically trained. Rich was quite pleased with the demo Harrison sent with him singing the lyrics prior to Nicole recording her vocals. As far as Rich's dad, I am quite certain he would have loved the composition and without a doubt would have been smitten with Nicole and her beautiful voice.

Does Rich plan to work on new collaborations with Harrison and Nicole in the coming months?

Rich would like to do a complete CD with Harrison and Nicole.  Harrison has two more poems that Rich converted into lyrical format. Hopefully within the next year Rich and Nicole can get another six to ten songs completed and accomplish Rich's goal.

Which of Rich’s written verse is Nicole adapting to opera? How much of his work did she look through before deciding on something?

The first collaboration was Lady Sea, which Nicole has now been performing in her Dark Side of Opera and other avenues. Nicole has Rich's books and has perused many of his poems. In the future Nicole, Harrison and Rich we be collaborating on Summer Souls and Tea of Life. We also hope that Nicole chooses to do Rich's take on Greensleeves, Lady Greensleeves!

What spoke to Rich about Greensleeves, Lady Greensleeves, and what sort of twists did he put on it when adapting it as a poem?
Greensleeves is arguably Rich's all-time favorite song. He has many different recordings of it from Jeff Beck to Olivia Newton John. Rich has a great love for classical and European folk music and Greensleeves speaks to the yearning and loss that permeates many of his own writes. The twist Rich put into it is instead of the writer simply being denied Lady Greensleeves love by her, he is summarily executed by her actions. The execution could be physical as if she turned him in for treason or quite psychological and he was simply dumped and cannot overcome the pain.

Which version of Greensleeves is Rich most familiar with? I’ve heard Loreena McKennitt’s version most often.
Rich considers Jeff Beck's acoustic version the best. We are both fans of Loreena McKennitt and love her version. As I said earlier in the conversation, Rich has Olivia Newton-John's version on a 45rpm (guess some of the younger readers will say, what's that?). We also have a version by Blackmore's Night that we are both fond of.

Being that September’s Haunt Faire was the first ever on Long Island, how memorable would you say the convention was?
It was memorable for it was the first ever Haunt Faire... not just in LI. We also got to volunteer and participate. We were able to meet you, Robert Uller and many others for the first time. I was able to perform one of Rich's poem in a segment contrived by our dear friend Nicole Oliva. Demon Boy performed.... so many things... The Macabre Family is something all should experience...

How would you describe Demon Boy’s live show to people who haven’t seen him and his band perform yet?
Demon Boy shows kick ass... they are like viewing Alice Cooper or Rob Zombie in an intimate atmosphere. Demon Boy is always an extravaganza. The premiere Horror Rock show and at Haunt Faire he pulled out all stops. The band was joined on stage by performers Robert Uller and Swordsha. Between the band kicking ass, Robert's interesting use of a razor blade, Swordsha and her sword work and the showman that is Demon Boy leading the way, the show is always worth the price of admission! It was also fun since Rich is the band lyricist and this Haunt Faire we were both involved in the photography and filming of the stage show.

How many events in Long Island have you attended to promote your work? Which of them have been most memorable?
We have attended events since 2013. Every one tops the next, though our first Red Carpet event was most dramatic. Flashing lights... interviews... just a dream within a dream… Honest.

Name the events you have attended since 2013? Have you attended shows outside of New York and Pennsylvania?
Our first was the movie premiere for Long Island Serial Killer in NYC and the after party in 2013.  Then in 2014 Rich was a guest at the Red Carpet event and shared an event table with Demon Boy all weekend. Since we have been to every event we are able to make. This group makes you a part of the family and you do whatever possible to be at every event.  We have only done Philly, New Jersey and New York events so far.

What was the Red Carpet event where you appeared to promote Rich’s publications? Describe your experience there.
That Red Carpet Event in January 2014 was phenomenal. Organizers, Adam and Elsie Ginsberg included us because of their belief in Rich's Poetry. Rich was known in some circles as a poet, but this certainly brought his work to the masses. Having so many talented people surrounding you at an event certainly does elevate you... validates you in a small way. We still have loyalty to the Long Island scene... Honestly we have not attended anything in our area that did not involve our Macabre Family... Our loyalties lie with them....

What other events in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia have you and Rich promoted your work?
We have done the New York Horror Show, Macabre Faire Film Festivals, Haunt Faire, any Demon Boy show and in Philly area we did the Steam Punk World's Fair in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Are there any poems you have written or any collaborations you and Rich have worked on together?
I have interjected some thoughts in many poems Rich has written. We have collaborated on a larger scale on a few poems and maybe soon we will write another one exclusively for AEA. Our work schedule has slowed us down; Rich has been in a temporary writer's block mode, but he and we will be back.

Name some of the poems you and Rich collaborated on? Is there a process by which you arrange the verses?
Still Life is one that we collaborated on from start to finish and is included in Rich's book, Rich Orth Poetry Girls with artwork done by Levi Lionel Leland. Most other interaction is Rich having me read his work and give input on its content, and many times Rich will ask me for help titling his poems. I also did much of the design and layout of his second book, Bloody T'is My Valentine. I also have taken many photographs for Rich's books and look forward to our future Cemetery trips and photographic excursions. As for process Rich has no set style so we just go back and forth with just an idea that sparks the poem.

What local cemeteries do you visit to photograph for Rich’s books? How many shoots have you done with him and are there any personal favorites?
Rich and our daughter Cait have been to several in the area including St Valentine's which is in the neighborhood where Rich grew up. His late friend PJ grew up there as his Dad was the caretaker. Rich spent much of his life hanging around death and has always looked at that time as great inspiration. We shot some at two cemeteries in the Kutztown Pa area and also Cait and Rich went to Holy Sepluchre in Philadelphia where Rich's maternal grandparents and paternal grandfather are buried. Our favorite is also in Philly, Laurel Hill. One would truly have to visit several times over to digest its 81 acres of grounds. The Schuylkill River runs alongside the cemetery. The monuments are exquisite. Up until the turn of the century people would picnic amongst the dead, so surreal, and serene. I am quite positive we will be heading back to Laurel Hill sometime in the spring!

How many of Rich’s poems have you helped title? Do you think of a title when studying each line and verse he writes? How easily does it come to you?
Over the years I really cannot put a number on how many I have helped title. Rich likes the title to draw you in, but not necessarily be the most obvious line or word in the poem.  He also uses many words not even used in the English language any longer and tends to make up words on a whim, so usually I will read word by word, line by line straight through and then decide with him the best choice. When titling it usually will come to you immediately, something pops out and simply that aha moment occurs.

Do the titles you thought up usually fit the verses Rich puts to paper? What does Rich usually think of your titles?

Most times I help title after the poem is complete, but on occasion I will throw a word or title out and Rich will write to that. Rich is quite good at getting the most out of a word, a sentence, a photo, or a piece of art and we have been together long enough that I know his trigger points!

Another show you and Rich recently attended was Macabre Faire, which is held at the same location as Haunt Faire. Describe this event from your visits there?
The Macabre Faire Film Festival had over 140 films screening this year from one minute shorts to feature length movies. It is an opportunity for filmmakers from all over the world to be seen and heard. Some very talented artists debut their work at the Faire. This year the entertainment was magicians, ventriloquists and stand-up comics. Honestly, all that aside, The Macabre Film Festival is special to us mainly because we have become family. Rich and I have been given so many exciting opportunities from acting, book signings and networking that would have been nearly impossible to achieve without our Macabre Family, especially Adam & Elsie Ginsberg who coordinate the event and Robert Frankenberg, who kindly engineered Rich's audio book which Adam voiced. Also for me, I was able to have parts in two movies thanks to Edward X Young and Robert M. Jackson.  So many friendships I cannot mention or it would fill and entire page or more in the zine!

I saw a brief interview with Rich at last year’s Macabre Faire on Youtube, and at this year’s event he was interviewed for a local cable access show on Long Island. Tell of your other experiences there, such as any new movies you got to see etc?
By the way we both thank you for asking Zen Bock to interview Rich.  Rich had a great time and enjoyed the experience and Zen Bock himself. As usual we did not see as many movies as we should. Two that stood out were first, Spammers made by our friends Sanj Surati and John Iwasz which had some Cthulhu influenced scenes. Secondly, we watched Adam Ginsberg's son Addison in the Sin Reapers.  It is extremely rewarding to see the next generation of friends plying a craft we all enjoy.

What plans do you and Rich have for the future? Rich mentioned a thing or two in passing but what is the whole picture?
Well, I have been offered a role in another movie. A friend is writing the screenplay and has a part they would like me to play. When more info is available I will contact you. I am sure in the next year or so, I will piece another book together for Rich. Bloody T'is My Valentine was an enormous amount of work editing and compiling, but to see the finished product was and is extremely exciting! As mentioned in the earlier Cemetery question, I am positive there will be many more adventures amongst the marble happening in the future. Rich has several collaborations happening. He will be writing to two pieces of artwork by Mark Kokopelli Watkins, who appears in both of Rich's books. Rich and Alex Kautz still have a book they are collaborating on and I am quite sure much more shall come from their minds before the year ends. One more art/poetry collaboration will be between Rich and our friend Jay Stoddart. Jay does movie makeup and is an amazingly talented artist. During the weekend Rich also talked to Robert Frankenberg (engineer of Rich's Whisper on the Wind audio book) and it looks like music/poetry videos will be coming in conjunction with Whisper on the Wind. Finally, well most likely not, Rich hopes to have a poem become the basis for a script for a short movie, hopefully with Edward X. Young having a strong involvement!

Rich Orth's Facebook profile
LoraLee Orth's Facebook profile

-Dave Wolff

3 comments:

  1. What an awesome and revealing interview with LoraLee Orth. Filled with real stories and incredible achievements for her and successful dark artist, Rich Orth/Poet, her husband. This reality journey through their lives so far gives credence to their varied and fantastic talents. They, as a couple and creative team always inspire me to focus ever further and deeper into my artwork. I consider them my artistic friends, extended family and contemporary colleagues! You will want to read this whole interview to get beautiful insights into their incredible Journey!!
    Mark Kokopelli Watkins, Artist

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