Born in Sandusky, Ohio 3/5th of the way through the Twentieth Century, Randy Russell entered the new millennium having accomplished feats and realizing goals only imagined by much more ambitious, successful individuals. Ninety percent of his secret to success hinges on the liberal use of pseudonyms, or noms de guerre, if you will—so that one man can work while the other one drives, as they used to say in that orange juice commercial. With names like Richard Skiller, Ridge Ridgewood, and others far too numerous and potentially libelous to mention here, Mr. Russell was able to free himself of the constraints and paralyzing shackles of decorum that have limited more tasteful contemporaries. And no modern figure has defined this “free-wheeling” approach as has the now nearly legendary style (and hairstyle!) of Kokomo, Indiana’s own Aloysius Raymond “Ray” Speen.
R. Speen (as he is sometimes known) has spent much of his life exploring the far corners of this nation, both culturally and literally; a longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, his epic magnum opus, the film, Seafood, has been called by critics, “epic,” “a rite of passage,” and “unwatchable.” His online journals and “blogs” have covered such diverse subjects as vinyl records, the cinema, anxiety, and the annoying things people do. Mr. Speen’s guide to Key West—published on pink paper but now out of print—remains the standard for that bohemian outpost (though it must be noted that the sport bather should not rely on Speen’s misleading depictions of shark activity, or lack of it).
For his part, Randy Russell—while trained at some of the finest art academies (though no French ones)—retains the legitimacy of “outsider artist” through a studied and willful lack of any ability or skill. His labor of love has long been the construction of miniature soft sculptures he refers to as Friends (which are more commonly known in layman terms as “sock monkeys”). Furthermore, Russell’s Semioabstractique collage technique is unrivaled in the collage community. Though writing for “the movies” has taken a back seat, Russell continues to grace the screen with his idiosyncratic acting style (a conglomeration of Method, non-Method, and Ligneous) whenever called upon to depict the less flattering depths of the human condition. Musically, a purist, Mr. Russell currently refuses to allow mechanical recordings of his songs, and performs only in conditions unhindered by audience participation. And finally, Russell now devotes most of his time to fiction writing; he is following up his seminal story collection, Nine Lies, with a series of short novels which exist under the umbrella title, The Doughnuts.
Contact Randy Russell by email:
RandySRussell at gmail dot com
(Please note: the "S" between Randy and Russell stands for "Shit-outta-luck" - which is what you'll be if you don't include the "S" in the email address between Randy and Russell!)
Contact R. Speen by email:
RaySpeen at gmail dot com
(Please note: Mr. Speen is a busy man and should only be contacted with serious inquiries that involve cash payment, preferably.)