2012 Jurors

Fan Jurors

Anthony “A-Log” LoGatto

Since first hear­ing of Dr. Demen­to in mid­dle school, Antho­ny LoGat­to dreamed of play­ing fun­ny music on a radio show of his own some­day. Sev­er­al years, and a nick­name bet­ter than “Tony”, lat­er, that dream was achieved when he entered the Col­lege of Stat­en Island in 2004. After a year of on-air work on “nor­mal” alt-rock, he was giv­en a chance to bring some much need­ed humor to Stat­en Island. And on June 22, 2008, “A-Log on the Air­waves” pre­miered! After grad­u­a­tion, A-Log con­tin­ued to do the show as a pod­cast on the Inter­net, gar­ner­ing new fans along the way, every Sat­ur­day night on Mad Music and Archive.org. Let the weird­ness con­sume you!

John Heering, Jr.

John Heer­ing, Jr. has been a mail­man for twen­tysome­thing years and a nerd since birth. His inter­est in fun­ny music start­ed when he heard his par­ents’ old 45 of “The Bat­tle of Kooka­mon­ga” as a tod­dler. He has been inter­est­ed in com­ic books since before he could read and has amassed a col­lec­tion of thou­sands of Super­man comics. Dr. Demen­to has described him as “the most pro­lif­ic song requestor” on The Dr. Demen­to Show, which is prob­a­bly why he was asked to be on this jury. Johnny’s friends say he sing a great karaōke ver­sion of “Mon­ster Mash”.

James Ford “Butch” Allen

James Ford “Butch” Allen, a.k.a. the “God of MarsCon”, became involved with his name­sake con in its infan­cy and has helped to keep it alive for over twen­ty years. He recent­ly chaired his fifth straight MarsCon, and under his watch its music pro­gram has grown to become one of the strongest con music pro­grams in the Mid-Atlantic, draw­ing such eclec­tic per­form­ers as Tom Smith, The Boo­gie Knights, Devo Spice, Pow­er Sal­ad, Rob Balder, Dan­ny Birt, Jon­ah Knight, and Coy­ote Run.

MarsCon is only part of Butch’s claim to Fan­dom Fame, though. He began work­ing on SF con­ven­tions in 1982 when he joined HaRoS­Fa (The Hamp­ton Roads Sci­ence Fic­tion Asso­ci­a­tion) and at Sci-Con 4, walked into the Con Suite to vol­un­teer, and was hooked ever­more. Dur­ing the years of Sci-Con he was instru­men­tal in improv­ing many areas of the con, as well as chair­ing Sci-Con 8 and serv­ing as vice-chair on three oth­ers. Over his life­time, he has assist­ed many oth­er local cons by help­ing them fill voids in what­ev­er area need­ed help. Dur­ing his active years in HaRoS­Fa, he served sev­er­al terms as Pres­i­dent and Vice-Pres­i­dent of the club, and revived the clubs fanzine “The Lib­er­at­ed Quark”, where he split the duties of edi­tor and writer, and is best known for his “Redneck’s in Space” short sto­ries.

Musician Jurors

Jonah Knight

Jon­ah Knight is a Para­nor­mal Mod­ern Folk Singer. After years floun­der­ing as a gar­den vari­ety singer/songwriter, Jon­ah began writ­ing about ghosts in 2009. He has since com­plet­ed four albums fea­tur­ing songs about mon­sters, clones, super­heroes, steam­punk, and space trav­el. Since 2010 he has been per­form­ing at Cons through­out the mid-Atlantic region aver­ag­ing one per month. In March, 2012 he was the Musi­cal Guest of Hon­or at Madi­con. His recent kick­starter cam­paign was fund­ed at 214% in sup­port of an album of creepy Christ­mas music to be released in Octo­ber. Jon­ah has per­formed on the same bill with many mem­bers of The FUMP, often fol­low­ing very fun­ny (and crazy) peo­ple with a set of Love­craft-inspired, super­nat­ur­al creepi­ness. He finds this hilar­i­ous.

Mikey Mason

Born in Ken­tucky and dragged through­out the south before set­tling in Indi­ana to be raised in a trail­er, Mikey Mason has a diverse back­ground to draw mate­r­i­al from. With his abnor­mal child­hood, five sib­lings, two mar­riages, two chil­dren, mul­ti­ple pets, col­lege expe­ri­ences, and many career changes (rang­ing from fast food, to work­ing at a funer­al home, to teach­ing mid­dle school, high school and col­lege, as well as work­ing with at-risk youth,) he’s got a lot to talk—and sing—about. Mikey went from per­form­ing in bands and sketch and improv com­e­dy troupes to per­form­ing standup over the last 15 years. He’s per­formed at Crack­ers, the Com­e­dy Car­a­van, Wiley’s Com­e­dy Nite­club, Snick­erz Com­e­dy Bar, Mason City Lim­its, Go Bananas, and One Lin­ers, and has per­formed with Todd Yohn, John Fox, Rob Haney, Lord Car­rett, Steve Iott, Troy Davis, Chris Speyr­er, Tracey Tedesco, and Tim Row­lands, among oth­ers, and has made mul­ti­ple region­al tele­vi­sion and radio appear­ances. Mikey draws the audi­ence in with his saucy, irrev­er­ent blend of sto­ry­telling and out­ra­geous songs. No sub­ject or musi­cal style is off lim­its. From coun­try to rock, pop to rap, reli­gion to rela­tion­ships, pol­i­tics to child­hood inse­cu­ri­ties, Mikey is unabashed, unafraid, and unques­tion­ably fun­ny.

Tom Smith

Tom Smith is a singer-song­writer from Ann Arbor, Michi­gan, who got his start in the filk com­mu­ni­ty. He is a four­teen-time win­ner of the Pega­sus Award for excel­lence in filk­ing, includ­ing awards for his “A Boy and His Frog”, “307 Ale”, and “The Return of the King (Uh-huh)”, and was induct­ed into the Filk Hall of Fame in 2005. Smith has writ­ten songs in many musi­cal moods and styles, from dra­mat­ic to sil­ly to roman­tic, and from oper­at­ic to hip-hop to Klezmer. In per­for­mance, he tends towards com­e­dy folk-rock, usu­al­ly with many ref­er­ences to films, lit­er­a­ture, pop­u­lar cul­ture and pol­i­tics, fre­quent­ly using puns.

His nick­name, “The World’s Fastest Filk­er”, comes from numer­ous instances of “instafilk”, i.e., quick­ly-writ­ten or impro­vised songs. He has impro­vised entire con­cert sets, per­forms fre­quent­ly at con­ven­tions across the Unit­ed States, and has also per­formed in Cana­da and Eng­land. He has been fea­tured fre­quent­ly on Dr. Demen­to, Pub­lic Radio International’s Sound & Spir­it, and oth­er radio pro­grams. In 2007, he joined with com­e­dy musi­cians such as Rob Balder, The Great Luke Ski, Sud­den Death, Worm Quar­tet, and oth­ers in The FuMP (The Fun­ny Music Project). Smith has appeared in con­cert with Dr. Demen­to. (excerpt­ed from Wikipedia)

Permanent Juror

Dr. Demento

Dr. Demen­to is the on-air name of Bar­ret Hansen, the long­time host of The Dr. Demen­to Show, a syn­di­cat­ed radio show in the U.S. that fea­tures nov­el­ty and com­e­dy records. Hansen stud­ied music at Reed Col­lege in Port­land, Ore­gon and at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Los Ange­les. He first used the Dr. Demen­to moniker in 1970, in his ear­ly days as a Los Ange­les disc jock­ey. By 1974 he was nation­al­ly syn­di­cat­ed, play­ing rare nov­el­ty songs from the past and present, from Spike Jones and Tom Lehrer to Frank Zap­pa and Weird Al Yankovic. Hansen is also an avid record col­lec­tor and expert on the his­to­ry of record­ing who has pro­duced sev­er­al com­pi­la­tions, most­ly for Rhi­no Records. He was induct­ed into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2009. (from Infoplease.com)

The Dr. Demen­to Show is radio’s week­ly two-hour fes­ti­val of “mad music and crazy com­e­dy” avail­able for stream­ing on the inter­net. It is a free-wheel­ing, unpre­dictable mix of music and com­e­dy. Along with leg­ends like Spike Jones, Tom Lehrer, Stan Fre­berg, Mon­ty Python, and Frank Zap­pa, the Doc­tor plays new fun­ny songs sent in by ama­teur and pro­fes­sion­al singers and come­di­ans. (from Dr. Demento.com)

Chairperson

Danny Birt

A tremendous(ly small) bat­tle rages amongst the Fans of Fan­dom as to whether Dan­ny Birt is bet­ter-known for his authorial/editorial con­tri­bu­tions to SFF lit­er­a­ture, or for his musi­cal com­po­si­tions and par­o­dies. On one side of the argu­ment, for exam­ple, his most recent fan­ta­sy nov­el “Between a Roc and a Hard Place” has won sev­er­al nation­al awards – believe it or not, even from out­side of fan­dom. On the oth­er side, at SFF con­ven­tions Danny’s live filk con­certs always draw larg­er crowds of fans than his read­ings (where­in Dan­ny often has to speak VERY LOUDLY to drown out the crick­ets’ chirp­ing). Per­haps the fact that he has a Master’s Degree in Music Ther­a­py tilts the bal­ance in the lat­ter half’s favor. Per­haps the fact that almost nobody in the world can explain exact­ly what the heck Music Ther­a­py is tilts the bal­ance back. Who knows? Maybe this bat­tle will last until after Dan­ny is dead… which is prob­a­bly right about the time that all this writ­ing and com­pos­ing will start to make him enough mon­ey to live on. In the mean time, Dan­ny has set­tled in east­ern North Car­olina where he is a fac­ulty mem­ber at a local col­lege. In his spare time, Danny’s hob­by is find­ing new hob­bies. (Danny’s web­site is DannyBirt.com – which shows just how cre­ative of a guy he is.)

Founder

Rob Balder

Rob Balder is a pro­fes­sion­al car­toon­ist, singer/songwriter, game design­er and web entre­pre­neur. Most of his time is con­sumed writ­ing and pro­duc­ing Erf­world, an epic fantasy/comedy com­ic about an obses­sive strat­e­gy gamer who is sum­moned to fight a real war. Erf­world was co-cre­at­ed in 2006 with illus­tra­tor Jamie Noguchi, and con­tin­ues now with the tal­ents of illus­tra­tor Xin Ye. Time mag­a­zine named Erf­world one of its top ten graph­ic nov­els of 2007, and Wired.com called it “Geeki­est Com­ic Ever.” The first phys­i­cal book of the series, “Erf­world: the Bat­tle for Gob­win Knob,” was pub­lished in Feb­ru­ary of 2011.

Rob also writes and sings com­e­dy songs, and has record­ed two solo CDs. The title track from his first CD, “Rich Fan­ta­sy Lives” was co-writ­ten with Filk Hall of Famer Tom Smith. It won the Pega­sus award for Best Filk Song of 2007. In 2009 he col­lab­o­rat­ed with -=ShoE­boX=- of Worm Quar­tet on a CD called “Bald­box: the Dumb Album.” Rob’s songs have often been heard on the Doc­tor Demen­to Show. In Jan­u­ary 2007, he and six oth­er com­e­dy music per­form­ers found­ed The Fun­ny Music Project, where they present new songs every sin­gle day, released under a Cre­ative Com­mons license. The FuMP won the 2009 Par­sec Award for Best Spec­u­la­tive Fic­tion Music Pod­cast.