December 2005
Happy New Year!
Every year, my boyfriend Joe and I try to get the cats to pose for our Christmas card.This year, a few treats sprinkled around a Charlie Brown ornament did the trick.
Last year they couldn't be coaxed into Santa hats, but it worked out:

2005 Events:

Thanks to the transit strike and the general hecticness of the holidays, we didn't get our traditional newsletter done this year, so here are some highlights of 2005:

• Our biggest news this year was that we moved into Manhattan, and are now living in an NYU residence hall with 950 freshmen. (See below.)

• This summer, Joe and I went to my 20th high school reunion, in Coffeyville. None of my family members live in the 'ville anymore (Mom and Dad have each moved back East in recent years), so I don't make it back there very often. It was fun seeing everyone, and it was really hard to believe 20 years have gone by. Joe's favorite part of the trip was discovering Sonic hamburgers.

• We also made another trip, our third trip to Europe together, this summer -- this time to London and then Dublin -- working on the NYU study abroad program. (He teaches; I take pictures and shoot video.) We arrived in London just a few days after the subway bombings there, so it was a little surreal -- very similar to being in New York in September of 2001... I took a lot of photos, some of which you can see by clicking here. We saw two amazing musicals there: Billy Elliott and Mary Poppins.

• Joe's play transfigured had a successful limited run in February. Based on actual events (the homophobic attack of a high school student) and featuring the music of the rock band Queen, transfigured is my favorite piece that Joe has created so far, and I think it will have a much wider exposure at some point in the future. You can read more about it on Joe's site. I designed the poster for the show, and shot some behind-the-scenes stills which you can see on Joe's site. Below he's pictured observing a rehearsal with his co-writer, Julie Marie Myatt.

• In October, the National Residence Hall Honorary named Joe its Faculty Member of the Month, and he was delivered the keynote address at their awards banquet in December.

• I wrote an article for TV Guide this summer (see below) then another for; and I've been working on two more books: Both Exposure, a photography how-to; and Reruns: The TV Trivia Party Game should be ready for publication by February. You'll be able to read some excerpts from Exposure here on soon.

My Health
My battle with colon cancer continues. The short version: I'm still on chemotherapy, and this past October marked the third anniversary of my diagnosis. I have good days and bad days -- and the good ones absolutely make the bad ones worth getting through. Statistically speaking, I shouldn't still be here, but I've never been very good at math, so I've chosen to ignore those silly statistics and just plow on. :) Seriously, there have been so many advancements in treatment over the past five years or so, thanks mostly to the attention Katie Couric has drawn to colon cancer, that there are really no statistics that reflect the current medical treatments. So...who knows? The upside of this illness has been that I've learned to live in the moment and be grateful for every day. I had a pretty major setback in August, which landed me in the hospital for almost a month and confined me to a wheelchair for a little while. A nasty blood clot nearly killed me...but that's all behind us now. I'm not as mobile as I used to be, but I am walking again, and very slowly I've been building back up my strength.

Anyway.... I don't like to dwell on all that, so I want to get on with the "news." But if you do want the longer version about how this illness has affected me, click here. (UNDER CONSTURCTION -- I'll be adding that page soon.)

My first TV Guide article
As anyone can tell by the course my work has taken over the years, I love television, and ever since I was a kid I've enthusiastically plowed through TV Guide every week. So, it was a dream come true when one of the magazine's editors contacted me after reading one of my books and asked if I'd be interested in writing something for him. Hmmm... Let me think about it. Yes! :)

I wrote "TV Guide's Ultimate Trivia Quiz!" which appeared in the August 7, 2005 issue. I've seen my byline on hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, dozens of websites, and even a handful of books, but finally seeing "BY CRAIG HAMRICK" on a TV Guide page was definitely one of the high points of my career.

I worked in some personal references as "wrong answers" to a few of the questions -- including the names of my nephew Christopher and my friend Denise Nickerson (who played Violet in the original Willy Wonka movie); the name of my favorite Kansas town, Manhattan, where I went to college; and of course I worked in a Dark Shadows question.

The following month, the editors tapped me again, to write a much more extensive trivia quiz for It was tied into publicity related to the resizing of TV Guide. (The magazine changed formats this summer, and is now standard-sized instead of digest-sized.) So, it was fun to be a little part of that historic transition.

Return to Manhattan -- and Back to College Life!
Twenty years after I first lived on a campus, at Coffeyville Community College, I found myself moving into a dorm again this fall. But things are quite different. This time around I'm at NYU, my "roommate" is a professor, and our "dorm room" is actually a pretty amazing two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan's East Village (with not one but TWO terraces...not to mention a dishwasher and a washer/dryer. We're in heaven!). :)

Joe is now a "Faculty Fellow in Residence," meaning we get to live in one of the university's residence halls and work with the residents -- 950 freshman! -- planning and producing events in the building, to help foster a feeling of community. We really love it. Not only is it fabulous to be living in Manhattan again (we were in Brooklyn for a few years), but being around all these young, energetic, fascinating students is a wonderful experience.

We've hosted several events each month, with varied levels of success. We're learning about what the students do and don't find interesting enough to put aside their books. Our biggest turn-outs so far have been programs featuring artistic friends of ours: Denise Nickerson hosted a screening of one of her movies, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (as mentioned above, she played Violet, the human blueberry, in that film); and Anthony Rapp (one of the stars of the play and movie Rent who is a friend of Joe's) conducted an acting Master Class with some of our residents. Click here to see some shots of Anthony's class.

Buster and Dusty have adjusted well to being Manhattan kitties. They spend hours staring out the windows, watching cabs and people down in the street. And lots of students who miss their own cats back home have enjoyed visiting them.

Book Signings
Along with my friend and fellow author Michael Karol, I was a guest at two Big Apple Comic Con nostalgia conventions in Manhattan this year -- in January and in April. Above is a photo of me and Michael, taken by Marie Wallace. (Michael and I edited Marie's career memoir, On Stage and In Shadows, which was published this year.) The April convention featured a Dark Shadows cast reunion, so my friends Nancy Barrett, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Denise Nickerson, Diana Millay, and Marie Wallace were there too. It was a lot of fun.

My Second Movie Appearance!
Well....sort of ... :) Our good friend Craig Lucas made his film directing debut this year, and I was happy to be a small part of the process. (Craig's better known as a playwright. He was nominated this year for a Tony for writing the book for the amazing musical Light in the Piazza, and his past stage hits have included Prelude to a Kiss and Reckless, and he wrote the movies Secret Life of Dentists and one of my top-five favorites, Longtime Companion. In their review for Dying Gaul, Entertainment Weekly called Craig a "born filmmaker," and I know we're going to see more great things from him in the coming years.)

Anyway -- if you see the movie (and I strongly recommend it!), if you listen REALLY closely, you might be able to hear me making my voice-over debut. Along with several other friends of Craig's, I spent a few hours in a studio last year helping provide background party noise for a scene in the movie. And even more excitingly, I "have a scene" with the film's star, Campbell Scott: He's standing on the sidewalk and a man bumps into him and says "Hi Jeff!" I got to dub those two words. Campbell wasn't there...but still, I'm sure the Academy is going to notice the depth I brought to my performance. I'm preparing my Oscar acceptance speech, just in case. :)

Joe and I attended the premiere, which was pretty exciting. All the stars of the movie were there -- including Campbell Scott, Patricia Clarkson, and Peter Sarsgaard, plus Maggie Gyllenhaal (Peter's girlfriend) and one of the Baldwin brothers (couldn't tell you which one...). Afterward there was a party at a nearby bar, and I took a few photos but didn't want to be too much of a dork, so I didn't end up getting many good shots. I did get a couple images at the theater that I was happy with, of the red carpet proceedings. Click here to see them.

An exhausted Craig Lucas rested his head on my shoulder at the Dying Gaul post-premiere party in November.
By the way, my actual big-screen debut was in 2003, when I was an extra in Bumping Heads, directed by another friend (Brian Sloan). The most exciting part of that was meeting one of my favorite actresses, Parker Posey, who wasn't in the film but who visited the set one of the days I was there. My actual job was as Still Photographer -- and I even got a credit at the end of the film, and an entry on the Internet Movie Database. Click here to see some of the stills I shot for Bumping Heads.


"News" Highlights of 2004

The 2004 Dark Shadows Festival
I spent part of the summer working with my friend Nancy Barrett, developing a new cabaret show with her. (I've produced several shows for Nancy since 1996.) She presented the show, titled So Beyond, at the 2004 Dark Shadows Festival in Tarrytown, NY.

At the Festival, I also manned a table in the dealers' room along with Diana Millay, where we sold our new books; she debuted a new edition of her cookbook, I'd Rather Eat Than Act, and I had three books there: my newest, The TV Tidbits Classic Television Trivia Quiz Book; plus copies of Barnabas & Company and Big Lou. You can read more about all these books at Dark Shadows Online and Diana Millay Online and they're available on

One of the highlights of the Festival was the staged reading of a teleplay called The House, by Art Wallace, one of Dark Shadows' main writers. My friend Marie Wallace played the main character, and it was great watching her sink her teeth into the dramatic role, along with costars including David Selby, John Karlen, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, and Denise Nickerson.

The Festival took place from Aug 13 to 15. For more information about the annual event, you can go to The 2005 Festival was held in California. Unfortunately, I had a scheduling conflict, so I wasn't able to attend. The '06 Festival will be a celebration of the show's 40th (!) anniversary in New York, and health and schedule permitting, I'm planning to be there.

Photo Show
In April I took part in the Tribeca Open Artist Studio Tour (TOAST), and displayed some of my photography in my studio. My friends and fellow photographers John Blackford and Brian Sloan had some of their work on display there as well.

We had a great turnout -- hundreds of people came in during the two-day event. Part of the fun was that my next-door neighbor, Broadway legend Tommy Tune (pictured at the right), took part too. He paints in the studio next to mine, and he had a lot of his canvasses on display and for sale during TOAST.

Unfortunately, not long after the TOAST show, I decided it wasn't practical to keep my studio open while undergoing chemotherapy treatments; I simply didn't have the energy for photo. So, reluctantly I closed the studio.

I have continued taking pictures, but I doubt if I'll ever have my own studio again, so it was the end of a fascinating and exciting chapter of my life. I do miss it, but at the same time there's a certain satisfaction to having that behind me and moving on to other things. I'm planning to post a new section of photos here on my site called "Studio 505" -- documenting that part of my career.

Click here to see some more photos from the TOAST '04 weekend.

Brazil with Diana Millay
In January 2004, I journeyed to Brazil with my pal Diana Millay (Laura from Dark Shadows). She'd been there once before, when she starred in the 1967 movie Tarzan and the Great River, but it was my first time. She was doing research on mysticism and alternative healing for her next book, and I, of course, took a lot of photos. I have two online galleries of pictures from that trip:
Gallery One and Gallery Two.