Author Spotlight: Ralph Sevush
The author spotlight on contributors to A Darke Phantastique keeps on going, and we are now highlighting Ralph Sevush.
Sevush’s story involves the mysterious world of Pablo Picasso:
“Picasso was drunk again last night. But that was not unusual. He could often be found drunk at Le Bacchanal, a seedy tavern in the 18th arrondissement, down the street from Lapin Agile and not far from his Montmartre studio. With the Nazis still occupying his beloved Paris, he had more than sufficient reason to render himself continuously insensible . . .”
And the inspiration for the story:
“I go to art museums with my wife. It’s just something we like to do. At some point, it occurred to me that it might be interesting to construct a story based on a random sequence of paintings in an exhibition. The point was to find a narrative in a non-narrative sequence of images. It’s how I think our brains work anyway . . . trying desperately to bring order out of chaos, to find meaning where there is none. Hence religion and Reality TV. So we went to a Picasso exhibition at the Met, featuring the postwar work he [Picasso] did in the south of France. I was surprised to see so much classical iconography represented in the paintings, as they had become more abstract by that time. Of particular note was the painting Joie de Vivre, which included his then-paramour Françoise Gilot. The image of this pregnant young woman dancing to the pipes of centaurs and satyrs, as a sailboat bobbed on a blue sea in the distance, just struck me. It struck me hard. And I couldn’t help thinking: what if he painted it from live models?
Because that’s the sort of thing that I think about.
I was fascinated by the curator’s notes (I love a good curator’s notes). They focused not just on the artwork but on Picasso’s relationship to Gilot, who was the only one of his lovers and wives who ever escaped his orbit with both life and sanity intact, and his involvement with the Château Grimaldi, later to become the Picasso Museum. It seemed to me that, despite this late burst of creative life, Picasso had sacrificed a lot for his work (both privately and professionally), and the notion of a Faustian bargain suggested itself, representing the choice between art and life that many artists face (though generally in far less dramatic fashion).”
Ralph Sevush, Esq., is an entertainment attorney and Co-Executive Director of The Dramatists Guild of America. As an undergraduate at Stony Brook University, he co-founded the S/F convention I-CON, which still continues and is now in its 33rd year. As a writer, in addition to 100+ essays on theater, copyright and free expression for The Dramatist Magazine since 1997, his credits include “The Savage Cinema,” a film review column for Worlds of If. . . Magazine (1983); Little One, Goodbye, a play produced by the Tada! Theater, the Enchanted Players of NJ, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the Innovative Stages Company (1994-1995), and the following short stories: “Emmett, Joey & the Beelz,” a pulp noir fantasy published by Abyss & Apex (2006), reprinted by Kaleidotrope (2008), produced as a podcast by Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine (2011), and reprinted in the British anthology, The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes, V.3 (2014); the western fantasy “Mad Gilly & the Were-Bear” (Scareship.Com, 2012); and the S/F story, “Survivors in the Dark” (EverydayFiction.com, 2014). He lives in New Rochelle with his beloved wife Tobe, their beautiful children, Jamie and Matthew, sweet dogs Nalo and Elphaba, and a frog.
He also has the following stories available online:
MAD GILLY & THE WERE-BEAR, published by Scareship.com: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/4903871/scareship-issue8/29
EMMETT, JOEY & THE BEELZ, first published by Abyss & Apex: http://www.abyssapexzine.com/archives/abyss-and-apex2006/abyss-apex-second-quarter-2006-emmett-joey-the-beelz/ also available as a podcast on Dunesteef: http://dunesteef.com/2011/06/24/episode-105-emmett-joey-the-beelz-by-ralph-sevush/