2011 Jurors

Fan Jurors

Will Frank

William Frank, aka “sci­fan­ta­sy,” is a geek and a lawyer, in rough­ly that order. Pro­fes­sion­al­ly, he spe­cial­izes in intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty law, has interned for the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion and the Cre­ative Com­mons, and was a com­put­er pro­gram­mer before he turned to evil–err, law.

Will has been a fan and avid lis­ten­er of demen­tia and filk for over ten years; though even before he knew the term, his grand­par­ents had intro­duced him to Tom Lehrer and Allan Sher­man, doom­ing him for life.

Will was also on the real­i­ty tele­vi­sion show “Beau­ty and the Geek” in 2007. (Guess which one he was.)

Jean “Jayekit­ty” Prior

Jean ‘Jayekit­ty’ Pri­or has been a DJ on Demen­tia Radio for over four years, host­ess of Radio Free Gal­lifrey under the moniker DJ Phoenix. A past Pen­guiCon music track direc­tor, she has fos­tered new com­e­dy and non-main­stream musi­cians since her col­le­giate days *mum­ble­mum­ble* years ago. She has also con­tributed inspi­ra­tion to past com­e­dy char­i­ty CDs, and as an alum­na of the Penn State Mon­ty Python Soci­ety, can often be found quot­ing the most inap­pro­pri­ate bits (when not at work). She is offi­cial­ly the crazy cat lady of demen­tia fan­dom, con­tribut­ing lyrics to one of Marc Gun­n’s cat songs, and a few of her cats have meowed their way onto her show. In her spare time, she enjoys writ­ing sil­ly fan fic­tion, mon­i­tor­ing a twen­ty-year-old list­serv for an obscure vam­pire tv show, online role­play­ing and video games, and fish­ing (a feline favorite).

Whim­si­cal Will

William Simp­son joined the cast of the “Dr. Demen­to Show” in 1980 as Whim­si­cal Will. He spe­cial­izes in Dick­ie Good­man-style “break-in” inter­views and has deliv­ered the week­ly “Dement­ed News” seg­ment since 1987.

Under the men­tor­ship of leg­endary voice actor Daws But­ler, Simp­son start­ed his career as a child in the 1970s, voic­ing such char­ac­ters as the title role in the Gram­my-win­ning “Lit­tle Prince” record­ing (with Richard Bur­ton), Young Spock in the ani­mat­ed “Star Trek” series, and numer­ous roles for Walt Dis­ney Records, includ­ing Christo­pher Robin in “Win­nie the Pooh.”

Musician Jurors

Austin Aeschli­man

Austin is an alter­na­tive rock musi­cian from Long­mont, Col­orado. He is one half of the band Smashy Claw. Austin has been writ­ing and record­ing since 2005.

Through­out his tenure as a singer/songwriter, Austin has per­formed in sev­er­al places across the coun­try and wrote the offi­cial theme song to the geek music fes­ti­val, Ner­da­palooza. In 2011, Austin co-pro­duced the pop­u­lar “Weird Al” Yankovic trib­ute album Twen­ty-Six and a Half, Yankovic him­self said about the com­pi­la­tion, “It’s fan­tas­tic. Every­body did an amaz­ing job; I’m so flat­tered and honored.”

Austin has also appeared on the Dr. Demen­to show. In 2009, one of Austin’s old tracks appeared at #14 on the Dr.‘s year­ly Fun­ny 25 countdown.

In ear­ly 2011, Austin wrote and record­ed 14 new songs as part of the Feb­ru­ary Album Writ­ing Month (FAWM). This is quite inar­guably the best col­lec­tion of com­po­si­tions Austin had ever com­posed. As such, much of the tracks are cur­rent­ly being re-record­ed (in addi­tion to a few songs writ­ten by band mem­ber Nathan Long) to cre­ate the debut Smashy Claw CD.

Austin is a reg­u­lar guest con­trib­u­tor to the Fun­ny Music Project. You can often find him on tracks by TV’s Kyle, Insane Ian, and play­ing bass for Nuclear Bub­ble Wrap at live shows.

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.)

“Weird Al” Yankovic

Al Yankovic was born on Octo­ber 23, 1959, in the Los Ange­les sub­urb of Lyn­wood. He first took up the accor­dion when a sales­man came around to solic­it busi­ness for a music school. His par­ents, Nick and Mary Yankovic, decid­ed on the accor­dion because of pol­ka king Frankie Yankovic (no rela­tion). As a child and young teen, Al watched a lot of TV, which gave him much inspi­ra­tion for his lat­er work. He also became a fan of such musician/comedians as Allan Sher­man and Spike Jones. He became espe­cial­ly acquaint­ed with these musi­cians through the radio show of Bar­ry Hansen, aka “Dr. Demen­to”, which would lat­er become a great source of pub­lic­i­ty for his tal­ents. After an extra­or­di­nary career at Lyn­wood High School, where Al grad­u­at­ed as vale­dic­to­ri­an, he attend­ed the Cal­i­for­nia Poly­tech­nic State Uni­ver­si­ty in San Luis Obis­po to study archi­tec­ture, a field he is said to have cho­sen because it was list­ed first in the cat­a­log (although he has said that he real­ly chose it on the advice of a guid­ance coun­selor). It was at Cal Poly that Al had a radio show and earned the nick­name “Weird Al”. Although he had sent tapes to Dr. Demen­to in the past, it was at Cal Poly where he record­ed his first real pub­lished piece, a par­o­dy of the pop­u­lar “My Sharona” by The Knack, called “My Bologna”. After the astound­ing suc­cess of that song, for­ev­er to be known as the “bath­room record­ing” as it was record­ed in the acousti­cal­ly per­fect mens’ room, Al began his phe­nom­e­nal career, which has spanned twelve albums, numer­ous com­pi­la­tions, a box set, movies, videos and edi­ble under­wear. He has also done a great deal to advance the cause of accor­dion-wield­ing weirdos, for which we can all be thank­ful. (from IMDB.com)

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)


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.