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Remembering Roger

On June 14, 1995 Roger Zelazny died at St. Vincent's Hospital here in Santa Fe. Though it seems very hard to believe -- for his voice and his presence are still very much with those who knew and loved him, and his words will live forever -- this June will mark the twentieth anniversary of Roger's passing.

At the memorial service shortly after his death, I spoke a few words about Roger and his work, and what he meant to me and to SF and the wider world of literature. You can read them here:

http://www.georgerrmartin.com/about-george/friends/in-memoriam-roger-zelazny/



Twenty years is a long time, but Roger and his work are still remembered. With the dark day of that anniversary approaching, we thought the time was right to share some of our memories of this amazing man and his incredible stories. It did not feel right to do it on June 14, however; we want to celebrate his life and his work, not his death. So we chose May 31 instead.

On Sunday night, May 31, the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe will offer a special one-time only night of readings and reminiscences we're calling "Remembering Roger."

Roger's son Trent, a fine writer in his own right, is organizing the event for us, and other members of Roger's family are also expected to attend, along with lots of us from the New Mexico science fiction community and Albuquerque fandom. I will be there, as will Jane Lindskold, Melinda Snodgrass, Walter Jon Williams, John Jos. Miller, and many many more. We have lots of folks coming in from out of town as well. Neil Gaiman is trying to make it, if his schedule allows. Joe Haldeman is flying in. So is Michael Cassutt. And many folks who cannot come to New Mexico in person will be Skyping in to join us, or sending video greetings and readings. Joe Lansdale, Steven Brust, Howard Waldrop, and others will be heard from.

We won't be showing DAMNATION ALLEY, no... but we may screen the trailer, just for hoots and giggles. We will have other films and videos, though. A slide show, maybe... so if you have some good pictures of Roger, send jpegs to me or Trent. Artwork too. Most of the evening will be taken up with readings from Roger's work: his poems, his stories, favorite passages from his books. We expect there will be tears; we hope there will be laughter too. And Roger's own voice will be heard: he recorded the Amber audiobooks himself, and we hope to play some of that.

The evening's final offering will be a play. If you're read my memorial, above, you'll know that one of the last things Roger ever completed was a short musical play called GODSON. He read it aloud in my living room a few weeks before he died, but to my knowledge it has never been staged or performed. Until now.

GODSON will have its long LONG awaited premiere on the stage of the Jean Cocteau on May 31. Its the story of what happens when Death adopts a child, and it's pure Roger. We are in rehearsal now. Advance tickets for the evening will be on sale shortly; watch this space for announcements. All box office proceeds will be split with the Zelazny family and the actors and director who are bringing us GODSON. The Cocteau has only 130 seats, so if you want to be part of this, do not hesitate when tickets are made available. This is a one-time only event. (Though we would consider further performances of GODSON if the play is well received and there seems to be sufficient demand. Roger would like that, I am sure).



If you knew Roger, or even if you only knew his work, and you would like to help or be a part of this, please get in touch with Trent Z at trentzelazny@juno.com

We want to make this an evening worthy of one of greatest science fiction writers who ever lived.

Comments

ckovacs
Apr. 18th, 2015 09:37 pm (UTC)
Previous Godson performances
The Cocteau performance will be the third one, to the best of my knowledge.

The Godson musical was first performed at Boskone in 2010, with music by David Grubbs to support the lyrics of the songs Roger had written. David played Morris/Death, and I had a cameo as Dr. Dan Puleo.

The second performance was at Worldcon (Renovation) in 2011 with the same cast.

Not sure if I'll be able to attend the event in Santa Fe but I will look into it.

Chris Kovacs

(editor of The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny (NESFA Press), and author of the Zelazny biography "...And Call Me Roger" The Literary Life of Roger Zelazny.)
grrm
Apr. 18th, 2015 09:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Previous Godson performances
Wow. Fascinating.

I do find it curious that Trent and the Zelazny family seem to have no knowledge of these prior performances.

I hope the play was well received.

Our version will have different music, certainly. Roger had asked Bruce Dunlap to write the music, I am informed, but he never did, so Trent has brought in some local musicians. He had no knowledge of any existing music.
ckovacs
Apr. 18th, 2015 09:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Previous Godson performances
The performances were done with the prior approval of the Estate, so they have obviously forgotten!

The first performance was well enough received that it prompted the second performance at Renovation, to a larger audience.
erinunderwood
Apr. 19th, 2015 10:24 am (UTC)
Re: Previous Godson performances
Just remember, informing the Estate isn't necessarily the same thing as informing the Zelazny children. It is often unsafe to assume that information like this always passes down from the executor's lawyer to other related people, which means that they may not have actually known. I'd caution giving them the benefit of the doubt on this.
ckovacs
Apr. 19th, 2015 06:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Previous Godson performances
At the time, the Estate was being managed by Trent and his mom Judy, and so permission of the Estate implied that either Trent or his mom authorized it. That's why I wrote that they must have forgotten about this. Another potential explanation is that the agents gave permission -- twice, over a year apart -- without asking the Estate, but that seems unlikely. But as Dave Grubbs already explained in this thread, he obtained permission of the Estate each time through the agents (Kay and Kirby McCauley), and so what conversation transpired between the agents and the Zelaznys is unknown to him. At the time of the Boskone performance, there had been some hope that Trent would attend, but we were told that he had sent his regrets -- which is another reason why it seems like that this was something that the Estate just forgot about. It was, after all, a not-for-profit fan production at a convention on each occasion.
grrm
Apr. 19th, 2015 06:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Previous Godson performances
Well, it is what it is... but I am glad it was well received.

Did anyone tape either of the shows? Worldcon, especially, often do a lot of taping.
ckovacs
Apr. 19th, 2015 06:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Previous Godson performances
Dave was going to answer this for you but he hasn't gotten to it yet. There was partial filming of the Boskone performane but the quality isn't good. Dave was told that the Renovation people were going to film the second performance, but he never heard anything further, and so he is checking on that. He was planning to post a message once he hears from them.

I do have copies of the brochures from both performances if that is of any interest.
ckovacs
Apr. 19th, 2015 07:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Previous Godson performances
If I'm able to attend, I could bring one of the first edition six-volume sets of The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny, and the accompanying bibliography Ides of Octember, to donate for a door prize, auction, or fundraiser. Quite a few of the authors who wrote introductions to these volumes will be there, and so that set could become extra-special with their added signatures.

Also, since your theater sells books related to the events, will it be arranging to get some of the later printings of these books from NESFA Press?
dggrubbs
Apr. 19th, 2015 01:55 am (UTC)
Re: Previous Godson performances
George,

After NESFA Press published the Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny (edited by me [David G. Grubbs], Chris Kovacs and Ann Crimmins -- and to which you contributed an introduction and your "In Memoriam" piece), I got permission from the estate (through their agents) to perform Godson at Boskone 47 in 2010 and again later at the Reno Worldcon in 2011.

We originally had in mind a simple reading of it, but after working on those collections for four years (from the first suggestion at NESFA Press that we should do them, until all six volumes were printed) I couldn't get the story and the idea of a musical version of Godson out of my head. I also wanted to play Death -- which turned out to be a lot of fun. And it appeared to be well received both times.

So it expanded from a local-convention reading into a fully-staged musical. I got some musical friends to help me write the music and engaged some fans and some local theater friends to perform it.

I've spent a decade working with Roger's writing. He was and is one of my favorite writers. It would be great to attend your celebration of his life and career, but I don't think that's possible. If you record any part of it, I would love to hear or see it.

David G. Grubbs
grrm
Apr. 19th, 2015 04:37 am (UTC)
Re: Previous Godson performances
Thanks, David.

I am curious... is there any recording of the Boskone or Reno performances of GODSON? We'd love to see them.

Trent Zelazny had no notion that the play had ever been performed, so I know he is curious as well.
dggrubbs
May. 6th, 2015 05:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Previous Godson performances
It took a while to find the tech crew member who actually handled potential recordings at Renovation. It doesn't look like any recordings were made.

It seems that the camera was damaged during the convention, either before Godson (so they turned turned it off before the event) or after (and couldn't upload the recording from the camera).

Sorry about that. Good luck with your performance.
grrm
Apr. 19th, 2015 08:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Previous Godson performances
Door prize would be great.

We should indeed be selling some of Roger's books.

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