Bari Greenberg Passes Away

Bari and Cat Greenberg

Bari and Cat Greenberg

Bari Greenberg died August 17 reports SF Site News. Greenberg co-founded the St. Louis filk band, The Unusual Suspects, along with his wife and songwriting partner, Cat Greenberg, Cat’s daughter Valerie Ritchie, and their friend Mark Ewbank.

He worked professionally as an engineer and also was co-owner of Mountain Cat Media LLC, a recording and design studio.

The Unusual Suspects produced a CD, Accidental Filk Band, in 2012. Bari and Cat released a duet CD, Romancing the Filk, in 2013.

Greenberg also had been looking forward to making his debut as a fiction author in Sword & Sorceress 29.

The SFWA blog ran an In Memoriam post that noted his wife Cat Greenberg is the SFWA Bulletin advertising director.

A video of Bari with The Unusual Suspects is linked below – he starts singing at :19.

2014 Pegasus Award Shortlist

The 2014 Pegasus Award finalists have been posted:

Best Filk Song

  • “Acolytes of the Machine,” by Dr. Mary Crowell
  • “Child of the Library,” by Piers & Gill Cawley
  • “Pageant Legend,” by Ju Honisch & Katy Dröge-Macdonald
  • “Paper Worlds,” by Talis Kimberley
  • “Snow White, Red Road,” by Cheshire Moon

Best Classic Filk Song

  • “Apology,” by Bill and Gretchen Roper
  • “Before The Dawn,” by Mike Whitaker
  • “Grandfather,” by Gary Hanak
  • “I Am Stardust,” by Lloyd Landa
  • “Storm Dancing,” by Tom Smith

Best Performer

  • Cheshire Moon
  • Copy Red Leader
  • Tim Griffin
  • Stone Dragons
  • Toyboat

Best Writer/Composer

  • Tim Griffin
  • Phil Mills
  • Ben Newman
  • Ada Palmer
  • Eva Van Daele-Hunt

Best Adapted Song

  • “Meat,” by Kathleen Sloan
  • “Midichlorian Rhapsody,” by Jeff Bohnhoff
  • “Snitch Ball Wizard,” by Steve Macdonald
  • “Threes Rev. 1.1,” by Duane Elms
  • “TIE After TIE,” by Debs & Errol

Best Song of Passage

  • “City of Doors,” by Dr. Mary Crowell
  • “Outward Bound,” by Cat Faber
  • “Persephone,” by Michelle Dockrey
  • “Scarlet Town,” by Cathy McManamon
  • “Starlight & Saxophone,” by Tom Smith

Anyone with an interest in the filk community may vote for their favorites online through October 19. Links to recordings of all the nominees, which can be heard free, are included with the ballot here. The winners will be announced at Ohio Valley Filk Festival.

Filk on Today’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”

NPR’s quiz show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” featured three questions about filk music today in the “Not My Job” segment.

Oscar Isaac, the actor who plays the titular character in Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, was posed questions that included references to Doctor Who and Captain Kirk.

To hear that part of the show click on the link above link. The filk questions begin around the 5:50 mark.

The program is moderated by Peter Sagal who passed on being a special guest of Chicon 7 to film a documentary in Iceland.

 [Thanks to Sam Long, Rich Lynch and Andrew Porter for the story.]

Mara Brener (1952-2013)

Mara Brener in 2004.

Well-known filksinger Mara Brener died February 27 in West Covina, CA. She was Music GoH at Leprecon 30 in 2004 and one of the GoHs at Contata 2005.

She was married to Dr. Harry Brener from 1975 until his death in 2012.

A science assignment in 1970 found Mara concocting a bawdy ballad about the metamorphism of the local Tuscarora quartzite, until an emergency at NASA brought a change of course. “The Ballad of Apollo 13“ (not the song fans know by that name) earned an “A“. It was Mara’s first filksong, although she didn’t discover “filk“ for another fourteen years.

In 1984 the Breners attended their first science fiction convention; LACon II in Anaheim, for the once-in-a-lifetime Star Wars Trilogy Marathon. They chanced upon the word “filksinging“ on the schedule, and spent most of the rest of the con in the indicated room. Contacts they made there led to publication of songs by both Breners in the fanzine Filk Fee-nom-ee-non.

Mara hosted a Los Angeles Filkers Anonymous meeting within the past year.

[Via Lynn Gold.]

Sheila Willis Passes Away

Filker Sheila Willis, part of the filk music group “Technical Difficulties”, has died, reportedly of a heart attack. (Exact date unknown.)

“Technical Difficulties “ with Willis, Linda Melnick and T.J. Burnside (now T.J. Burnside Clapp) won a Pegasus Award (“For Excellence In Filking”) at the Ohio Valley Filk Fest in 1989. Their recording “Come You Knights” [YouTube] is available online. The group’s legend persists – it even garnered a mention in The Drink Tank #300.

Sheila Willis also co-edited Fifth Season, a Blake’s 7 fanfic zine, and contributed art to other zines celebrating the tv show, including Southern Seven and Vault of Tomorrow.

Sheila Willis illo from Southern Seven.

[Thanks to Susan de Guardiola and Andrew Porter for the story.]

Fandom’s Most Beloved Typo

Wordnik.com’s “Word of the Day” for May 25 is “filk” —

adj. (adj) About or inspired by science fiction, fantasy, horror, science, and/or subjects of interest to fans of speculative fiction; frequently, being a song whose lyrics have been altered to refer to science fiction; parodying.

The Wordnik post takes its definition from the Wikitionary entry for “filk”.

Unlike most developments in the history of popular culture, how the word “filk” got its start is precisely known. Lee Jacobs typoed the word “folk” in the title of his manuscript “The Influence of Science Fiction on Modern American Filk Music” intended for distribution in a mailing of the Spectator Amateur Press Society in the early 1950s. While I’ve never seen the article and can’t say what the problem was, Wrai Ballard, SAPS’ official editor at the time, feared its bawdy content could get him into trouble with the Post Office under the Comstock Laws and he refused to send it out. Ballard nevertheless enjoyed the typo, as did the others he told about it. “Filk music” rapidly became part of the faannish jargon.

Thanks to Lee Gold, we even know that the first composition to designate itself a filksong was “Barbarous Allen”, lyrics attributed to Poul Anderson, in Karen Kruse Anderson’s SAPSzine Die Zeitschrift für Vollstandigen Unsinn #774 (1953).

[Thanks to Sam Long for the story.]

Look for Bill Mills at Renovation

Las Vegas fandom’s own Bill Mills will be putting on a “Filk Concert” at Renovation. Bill says he and Roxie are hoping to see many old L.A. friends and SF fans in the audience. So if you’re coming to the Worldcon, please plan to spend time Saturday night starting at 9 p.m. listening to Bill perform his versions of classic filksongs like “Mary O’Meara,” “Shottle Bop,” “Ship of Stone,” “Bouncing Potatoes” — and some new ones too!

Bill will be doing programs throughout the con:

Thu 8pm – 9pm, Liar’s Panel (Game Show), A03 Reno-Sparks Convention Center (RSCC) Panelists attempt to come up with the most outrageous prevarications in an ongoing quest to best the other panelists.
Jay Lake, James Patrick Kelly, Bill Mills, Connie Willis

Fri 1pm – 2pm, Voice Acting (Panel), A16 Reno-Sparks Convention Center (RSCC), Voice acting is resurging with the explosion in audio books and podcasts. listen to a discussion among voice actors about the field.
Bob Kuhn, Ellen Klages, Bill Mills, Lloyd Penney

Sat 2:30pm – 3pm, Reading: Bill Mills, A15 Reno-Sparks Convention Center (RSCC), “No Exit” By Larry Niven and Jean Marie Stine. With introduction written and read by Jean Marie Stine

Sat 9:00pm – 9:30pm (possibly 9pm-10pm, this is still being decided) – Peppermill Hotel – Sorrento1 room, Filk Concert – Bill Mills

When the Economy
Goes Off the Rails

It’s hard to visualize all the economic connections that are tangled up in the current crisis. It’s easier to understand practical examples, like the long trains of freightcars that link farmers with city-dwellers.

A Filknet discussion reminded Kay Shapero about Leslie Fish’s “The Grain Train“.

I forget who said it, but it’s true that when you try to pick up just one thing you invariably find it’s hitched to the rest of the universe.

Leslie Fish explained, “I wrote that song in Chicago, which sits at a huge rail-junction, and at the southern edge of one of the Great Lakes, AND at the edge of the Wheatlands. If the trains stopped rolling, even Chicago would be in serious trouble.”

[Thanks to David Klaus for the link.]