The Jonny Hollywood Saga Part Two: The Pensacola Wildman

The Jonny Hollywood Saga Part Two: The Pensacola Wildman

Part Two of The Jonny Hollywood Saga investigates Jonny’s experience as a wrestling manager in Pensacola, Florida. Apparently I wasn’t the only one terrified to accept a ride from him. His mode of transportation in Pensacola was a motorcycle with no brakes.

Suicide is far too common among wrestlers. Two of his friends and fellow PWA wrestlers Bob Govoni (Bobby “The Black Sheep” Doll”) and Will Daley (Maze) talk about their time working with Jonny. And former NWA undefeated champion Kevin Frazier discusses the toll wrestling took on his life, and how it almost led him down the same path as Jonny Hollywood.

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A Review of Jessica Abel’s Book OUT ON THE WIRE

A Review of Jessica Abel’s Book OUT ON THE WIRE

Timing is everything, and rarely books come along at the exact moment we need them in our lives. Last week, I read an article in the Chicago Reader about Jessica Abel’s yet-to-be-released graphic non-fiction book Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio, the same week I officially began my Masters program in Digital Storytelling.

Despite having lived for two years in Japan, I steer clear of comics and graphic novels. I love regular
novels, movies, and podcasts, so I never felt like I needed to learn about and appreciate another format. Just as National Public Radio revealed the power of audio stories to millions of listeners, Abel opened my eyes to the power of comics. Her research could have been presented in a multitude of platforms, perhaps a documentary film, but no platform would have the soul of her artistry. The characters’ idiosyncrasies and brilliance came to life with her drawings.

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Q: Are we not storytellers? A: We are DEVO

Q: Are we not storytellers? A: We are DEVO

Seeing my high school students walk down the hallways making films out of every insignificant tick of the second hand, I wonder if we’ll all look back on this era as a true renaissance, a time when technology enabled us to finally create the grandiose visions previously locked up inside our heads. Perhaps all these young minds needed was a piece of technology as awesome as a smart phone to unlock their true potential. We hear the messages the advertisers are sending loud and clear–WE’RE ALL STORYTELLERS! No longer are we consumers; we’re creators.

I teach journalism, and I find this message frightening. By taking the “We are all storytellers” message seriously, my students, really folks of all ages, run the risk of hubristically producing films and projects that abuse all the worst parts of our culture–stereotypical tropes, unlikeable characters, pointless special effects, and Michael Bay level dialogue. I’d choose Aunt Patty and Aunt Selma’s vacation slides any day.

Somehow storytelling became one of those jobs/hobbies/careers that the American everyman feels competent in doing, recreationally or professionally. I believed it in myself as well, for years. Just as I was convinced as a child that even though I didn’t make the junior high basketball team, I had what it took to make it to the NBA (that Michael Jordan story got to all of us).

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The Jonny Hollywood Saga Part One: Along for the Ride

The Jonny Hollywood Saga Part One: Along for the Ride

I met Jonny Hollywood in 2002–he picked me and my friend Chris up late one summer night in his white van. What should have been a five minute ride turned into a trek around the many landmarks that made up Jonny Hollywood’s life.

After a few near death moments, and after I fled the van in terror, I realized the story of that night would remain with me for years. So what happened to Jonny Hollywood?

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