Actress/Writer/Model/Singer/Bunny Advocate: Lilith Stabs

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Lilith Stabs is another in the independent world who knows how to utilize her many talents.  As an actress in film, she has a long string of movies under her belt including Sever Injuries, Bad Movie Police, Malefic, Zombiegeddon, Vampire Call Girls, and Weregrrl.  Other projects include modeling, writing (children’s books demonstrating her advocacy for the safety and care of bunnies), and music with the Dead Horse Saloon Band.  And if that weren’t enough, she also is into photography, visual art projects, running an online store, and even coming out with her own perfume line, 13 Scents (see the advertisements for the first two scents, Scream Queen and Heartless at the end of the interview).  She is also known for bringing along her pet bunnies along to her film festival and convention appearances.  Read on!
MU: One thing that has always been known about you is your love of bunnies and you’ve even written a couple books educating children on various information concerning the bunny. What was it that made you become such an advocate for bunnies?
LS: Indeed I am finishing up work on my latest bunny book project. I have had bunnies for many years now. I find them to be the most innocent and beautiful creatures on the planet. So I think very highly of them and desire to help them any way I can. I know that at Easter time and really any time of the year they are given as gifts to children who only like them when they are small and then they loose interest. Once the novelty of having a rabbit wears off many people think its ok to set them loose, these animals were born in captivity and do not have the survival skills to survive in the wild. Others take them to overcrowded shelters that end up putting them down or they just keep them and they live lives of sadness and neglect. People should not give animals of any kind as a gifts. Rabbits are among the most mistreated as pets. I can’t stop this but if anything I say gets through to anyone and they don’t give their children bunnies then I may save a rabbit from harm. And if some of the bunny books show children who may have a rabbit to be careful with their pet and take good care if it my goals are accomplished.
MU:Now obviously due to your being in several horror films, you have been given the title of Scream Queen at times. Do you see this as a positive or negative impact on a person’s career?
LS: It can go either way. If you are an actress in the indie movies it may be a label you are to have for all of your career. If you act in one high budget Hollywood horror movie, they may call you scream queen for awhile but that is easier to shed that title with a other roles in other types of movies. So negative or positive it really just depends on what you as an actress want to be known for.
MU: Do you feel the title tends to get overused and/or misused nowadays?
LS: Sure it can be overused like when every actress who acts in some form of horror flick gets labeled (or should I say mislabeled) a scream queen.
MU: Do you think the whole “Scream Queen Genre” died with the 80s like many argue?
LS: The typical scream queen from the 80’s, you could say that died when that type of 80’s horror movies did. But I think the scream queen label has really tended to get stuck on many of the actresses in the low budget horror movies.
MU: You’ve stated in a few interviews that you’ve never done nudity in a film. Do you find it to be more of a challenge to obtain roles as a result?
LS: When I entered into the b-horror movies I cannot even think of one actress at the time who was not doing nudity. I was a little off put and thought I might not get any roles because I did not want to do nudity. I did get roles, not as many as I would have if I did the nudity. So yes, I turned down work due to not doing nudity. I still turn down work due to not doing nudity.
MU: In a debate on facebook a while back (on the age old question ‘to do nudity or not to do nudity’), a filmmaker actually stated that ‘an actress not wanting to do nudity shows a complete lack of commitment to her acting career and her ability to commit to a role’ and would therefore ‘never cast an actress who didn’t want to do nudity even if that particular role didn’t call for it.’What are your thoughts on statements like that and how have you managed to maintain your career without giving into a pressure that many actresses feel, especially the younger newer ones?
LS: hmmmm….I wonder if this filmmaker feels as strongly about actors doing/not doing nudity? Or is it just a self proclaimed “filmmaker” wanting to get girls naked for their own reasons. Believe me there are a lot of those types around. Good story telling will show the audience all it needs to know without the in your face, perverse flashing of body parts. Besides being sexy and being naked are two very different things I think I have portrayed that well in my career. A lot of actresses lack class and are willing to go to any length to have another notch on their IMDB page. And it boils down to taste or a lack of taste. Pinup style girls are sexy, full nudity 99% of the time is just gross.
MU: Now in your opinion, what would you say is the biggest obstacle those of us in the indie world face?
LS: Lack of funding/backing. In short no money. Indie stuff does not really make enough money and there is never any for the projects I want to do. I know some people who seem to get by and get people to back their projects. I have attempted to do so a few times and met up with people being very rude and got no where. So I would have to say the biggest obstacle is money. We don’t make enough of it when we work and there is never really enough of it for
our own projects.

MU: The mainstream media tends to saturate us with the stories of “overnight successes” with all the reality tv ‘stars,’ American Idols, and the ‘cinderella stories’ of how “so and so became an overnight sensation in a matter of five minutes.” Would you say that such articles and stories tend to give (especially) young people trying to break into the industry a sort of false hope and distorted view as to how the industry really works?
LS: Well yeah, there is so much of that stuff these days. The reality stuff is really a lame way to play the fame game. I tend to think very lowly of people who go that route. But an even worse thing is the ones who are famous because they have wealthy parents and they do something beyond stupid like screw someone on film and have it released to the public to gain notoriety. Pathetic!
MU: Now you’ve been working on some music with your husband, is that correct?
LS: Yes, correct. I’m very pleased with the work so far. The Dead Horse Saloon Band featuring Lilith Stabs is the name of the project.
 
MU: Are there plans for a release and how would you describe the music to prospective listeners?
LS: We are going to be releasing the songs just one at a time, eventually it will be about an albums worth of songs. The music is horror rock, but not all the songs will have a horror theme. We would have already had some out but there have been a few delays with our recent out of state move. He does the music, we work on lyrics together. I do some featured vocals and some backing vocals.
MU: If a young aspiring actress fresh out of high school came to you for advice on the industry, what would you tell her?
LS: To be careful and be selective, don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable even if someone says you need to do so to “make it”. Do it your own way you will end up more satisfied with the outcome when you do achieve your goal. And in the event you don’t reach
your goal you will not have compromised yourself.
Check out more of Lilith and her projects her Official Website
Check out her children’s book dedicated to educating children on proper care of their pet bunnies (under the pen name L.A. Starr) on Amazon
Lilith also has some of her artwork and photography at Fine-Art.com/lilithstabs
Check out her ebay store, Atomic Thunder Bunnies  and a couple fun commercials for two fragrances in her perfume line, 13 Scents:
And her message to prospective rabbit owners:
About the Interviewer:  Tiffany Apan is an award winning and acclaimed independent recording artist along with being a stage/film actress, producer, and writer.  You can find more about her at her Official Website , Web Blog, MySpace , Twitter , and Facebook She can also be found on IMDb and her music releases on CDBaby along with iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailers.  She also writes for the publications Rogue Cinema and Horrornews.netShe is also responsible for starting up the Music’s Underworld Webzine .

Writer/Actor, Michael Varrati

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I had the pleasure of meeting Actor/Writer, Michael Varrati at Horror Realm about a week ago.  We did a brief interview with him on video (also posted in Short Horror Realm Interviews) and have brought him back for a more in-depth interview.  Michael has acted in and worked as a crew member for several independent films and writes for publications, Ultra Violent Magazine, Fatally Yours, and Peaches Christ.com. Read more about Michael and also check out his Video Interview!

 

MU: So we talked a little about your background at Horror Realm a few days ago, but for those who haven’t seen the video interview yet, give us a little background of yourself as an actor and writer.

MV: Where to begin? I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I used to write stories for my parents around the holidays. Usually they were mystery or adventure-themed tales that
corresponded with the holiday in question. Mom and Dad were always really good at pretending the
stories weren’t crap. Ha ha. Concurrently, I’ve always had a performance streak. I did a lot of theatre,
both in high school and community productions, and it culminated into me having my own cable access
show in college. I wrote a lot of my own material, and it was all pretty bawdy and outrageous for local
Cleveland TV. I got in trouble a few times my humor, which really was just a sign of things to come.

It was a lot of fun, and when I graduated, I thought I had seen the end of my acting days. After all, I
needed to find more “grown up” pursuits. How wrong was I?

Not long after college, I fell in with Ultra Violent magazine. I really clicked with Art Ettinger, their
managing editor, in terms of journalistic sensibilities, punk outlook, and appreciation of the same kind
of twisted films. I set to work writing for them, and it reintroduced me to the indie film world. Shortly
thereafter, I started getting parts in people’s horror flicks, and it just kind of steam-rolled. I’m still
involved in UV, and have forged another well-documented association with Peaches Christ. I toured the
country with Peaches in support of her film, All About Evil, and got to work with an amazing number
of cult film notables like Mink Stole, Thomas Dekker, and Elvira. I still work with Peaches, and write
a regular column on her website. It’s usually through the Peaches Christ-universe that most people
initially discover my work.

I’ve worked on some wonderful films, including Happy Cloud Pictures’ Demon Divas & The Lanes of
Damnation and Razor Days, the Tim Gross debut Undead Holocaust, and the Ruby LaRocca/Monica
Puller/Rachael Deacon short Second Hand Girls. Currently, I’m a few days away from heading off
to Rhode Island to shoot a role in Ricky LaPrade’s ghost anthology Erebus (which also stars Michael
Berryman of The Hills Have Eyes), and a movie I wrote, Dreams, is shooting in NYC next month. I’m
particularly proud of that one, not only because I wrote it, but because of the stellar cast. We’re
reuniting Amy Steel and Adrienne King for the first time since Friday the 13th Part II, Caroline Williams (of
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) is also on board, as well as the amazing Bette Cassatt, who I worked with on
Razor Days. Dreams is being directed by the remarkably talented Bart Mastronardi, and Alan Rowe Kelly,
Amy Lynn Best, and Mike Watt are all lending hands as well. It’s very much a horror-filled family affair,
and I’m very, very excited about the whole thing.

There’s so much going on right now, it’s hard to sum everything up! However, I think that should suffice
as an overview, yes?

MU: I noticed on your IMDb page that you had a brief stint with MTV’s TRL. What was that experience
like and what made you decide to take the indie route as opposed to trying to take a more
mainstream career? Were there any noticeable differences between the independent world and the more mainstream world based on your experience?

MV: I should clarify that my TRL gig was one day only and really happened by a fluke. I just happened to be
in the right place at the right time. That said, it was an amazing experience. I was still really young and it
was my first real experience in a TV studio, let alone one that broadcast to millions of homes.
Essentially, the gist of my role in the show that day was that I was hired by Carson Daly to wash Mariah
Carey’s car. We did several segments of me hanging out with Carson, and then there was a series of
bumpers before and after commercial break of my struggles washing the car. It’s kind of silly, but it was
fun, and Carson was really great. I’m sure in retrospect I looked like a total idiot, not knowing anything
about anything, but it was really fun.

As far as choosing one route or the other, I don’t know that it was a conscious choice. I liked working
on MTV, and I wouldn’t turn down a mainstream gig if it came my way and the shoe fit. I think I found
my way into indie art solely due to my own interests. I prefer things that are a little more subversive,
shocking, and dissonant. For example, people like John Waters and David Lynch are heroes of mine, but
with a few exceptions, don’t really work well in a mainstream format. Their work succeeds because it
pushes boundaries, and that’s the kind of work I’m interested in doing. Furthermore, it would be rather
presumptuous of me to assume that I could just choose to be mainstream. All aspects of the industry
are the same in that they require a lot of hard work to be noticed, and sometimes the commitment to
be on a show like 90210 requires more bustle than making a zombie film, you know? It’s all in the eye of
the beholder. The only difference between those worlds is the money involved in the productions, and maybe the message. But for the people working the jobs, the common goal is still to make a movie or a
show. I don’t know if that’s the right answer, let alone a popular one, but it makes sense to me.

MU: Despite all the strides the independent world has made in the last 20-30 years, I find that people
still have a hard time taking what we do seriously. For example, I find that often times when
someone from the indie world mentions that they work in the independent world, the person they mention it to reacts like ‘oh…that’s nice…well I guess when you’re a major name in Hollywood, we can say we knew you when’. And then of course there are the IMDb trolls who seem to like to tear
indie films new assholes: “it has a basic video look, bad acting, etc” and I would say 6 or 7 times out of 10, I would watch the movie in question only to find that it is actually very well done! Then you have
people going onto message boards of indie actors/actresses/directors/writers/musicians commenting on how the indie person in question should ‘get a good agent, try to go to Hollywood and get some
real quality work’. Despite the good films and progress the indie world has made, do you feel there is
still a sort of prejudice against the independent world? Maybe we’ve become to spoiled by the over-glossified look of many Hollywood productions that the appreciation for the grittier look of films from
decades passed is lost to some of these people?

MV: Well, again, I think that’s probably more of an outsider perspective, and if there’s prejudice within the industry, it comes more from a management or studio level. When it comes to performers, I think we
all share a kinship and understanding of the process. I have made very dear friends and acquaintances in this industry who are definitely involved in A-List shows and films, and never once have any of them ever been derisive about the kind of films I do. In fact, most people are outright supportive. Whenever I face negative comments or snark, it’s usually from someone outside of the field who either doesn’t get the concept of transgressive art, or is just not interested in anything outside of the mainstream. It
is true that studios tend to prefer actors who have been in glossier projects, because it sells better toMiddle America. But, I mean, do I really want to be embraced by the same people who think Fox News
is legitimate. No. I’ll take the freaks of the underground over the suburbs any day. The weird ones, those
are my people. I’ve just never fit in with the bake sale-types.

Now look, could I sit here and shit all over the work of blockbuster filmmakers like Michael Bay?
Sure. But, ultimately, Bay’s films are meant to cater to a certain audience, and he does so rather
successfully. But, at the same time, the people who watch our kind of movies aren’t the ones seeking
out Transformers anyway. I don’t think we’ve been spoiled by big, glossy movies, because I don’t think
that’s ever been our audience. Jim Jarmusch fans are not watching Jerry Bruckheimer movies, and vice-
versa. There will always be a market for big, explosion movies. But there’s also always going to be the
people who want a taste of the dark side. That’s why horror continues to thrive, and why I think the
indie film world will always have its place, naysayers be damned.

MU: Sort of stemming from questions 2 and 3, do you feel that the mainstream media (with the
American Idols, reality “stars”, and the like) gives out an unrealistic view to young people (and people
in general) on the industry and how it really works?

MV: I hate reality television. Not only does it take jobs from screenwriters, but it basically is the modern day
coliseum. People tune in to watch others be torn down. It’s kind of disgusting. However, I also think
it’s really reflective of our times. We live in an instant culture. Text messaging, social networks, and the
like have made everything thing available at the press of a button. There’s zero accountability and zero
patience. People are so ill-behaved, and they almost can’t be blamed. The climate of our enabled culture
allows them to act as such. So the idea of instant fame doesn’t seem all that unrealistic to me, because
we glorify and celebrate people’s bad behavior every single day. Furthermore, because this instant celebrity culture is so glorified, there is a part of the industry that caters and thrives off it, thus making
it a very unfortunate reality. So, no, I don’t think it’s unrealistic, but I also think it’s up to the viewer to
be discerning. If you’re an artist, what would you rather be known for, what is your work going to say about you? I think it’s a good litmus for people who want to be famous as opposed to people who want
to make art. They are not the same thing, nor should they be celebrated as such.

MU: Now you’ve been an actor, writer, and even worked behind the camera. Is there one you prefer over the others?

MV: Oh, I’m most definitely a writer first and foremost. It’s solitary work sometimes, but it’s ultimately the
most rewarding to me. There’s something really special about taking this seed of an idea and cultivating
it into something bigger. Whether it turns into a script, short story, or book, it’s kind of amazing seeing
how something you created can take on a life of its own and become real to other people. I really, really
love that process. I’m currently at work on a movie I wrote [Dreams], and every single time the director
comes to me and shows me some physical reality that has sprung from the pages, I always get excited like a school kid. It’s the concept of seeing something you imagined come true. It never gets old.

Don’t get me wrong, I like to act too. But, I’m also aware of my limitations. I’m not Geoffrey Rush. There are certain types of roles I play really well, and I think I’m talented, but I will never hold out hopes to win
an Oscar. Whereas with writing, there’s really no boundaries. It’s as limited as imagination, which, as we know, is limitless.

MU: When we talked at Horror Realm, you mentioned how you like to cook. What is your favorite food to make?

MV: Ha! My burgeoning cooking hobby is really merely that: A hobby. I love to cook, but I live alone, so I
don’t often take the time to make fully realized dishes. However, when I do invest the time to make
a meal, I’m really into trying new things. Lately I’ve been somewhat obsessed with crafting meals out
of fresh food. I don’t really like preservatives or anything like that, and I really think there’s a world of
flavor that you can discover by spending a few extra minutes picking out fresh vegetables instead of
frozen and/or exploring your spice rack. I recently made roasted Brussels sprouts, with just a little bit
of olive oil and garlic salt…and they were DELICIOUS. Granted, I’m sure I lost a lot of people at mention
of “Brussels sprouts,” so I’ll shut up now.

MU: If someone fresh out of high school looking to get into the entertainment industry came to you for
advice, what would you tell them?

MV: I do occasionally get asked to talk to high school film classes about the entertainment world, and I
always tell them the same thing: Do this because you believe in the art, not because you want to be rich.
Now, obviously, we all would like to hit a point where we can live comfortably doing the thing we love,
but I also think it’s important for people to know that only 1% of the entertainment world is actually
netting millions of dollars. If you are doing this solely to make money, become an accountant instead.
Besides, if you lack the passion for your art, it will show in the final product, and your audience will see it
too. It’s all about loving what you do. If you put that love into your work, the rewards will come, though
maybe not always in the ways you’d expect. Remain true to your art and your beliefs, even if everyone
else thinks you’re nuts (and they will). Make something original, make something outrageous, and don’t
be afraid to piss people off. There’s only one of you, so let your voice be heard. If you make art just like everyone else, what do we need you for?

Find more out about Michael at his OFFICIAL WEBSITE and at the OFFICIAL PEACHES CHRIST SITE.

 

About the Interviewer:  Tiffany Apan is an award winning and acclaimed independent recording artist along with being a stage/film actress, producer, and writer.  You can find more about her at her Official Website , Web Blog, MySpace , Twitter , and Facebook She can also be found on IMDb and her music releases on CDBaby along with iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailers.  She also writes for the publications Rogue Cinema and Horrornews.netShe is also responsible for starting up the Music’s Underworld Webzine .

Singer/Songwriter/Dark-Electro Pop Artist, Roniit

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One thing that is always prevalent in the independent art scenes is artists who show much dedication of the old punk rock DIY (Do-It-Yourself) method of producing and showcasing their work.  Roniit (pronounced ROW-NEAT) is such an artist determined to be her own person and artist making her own way in a world where many are looking to be the next cookie-cutter pop princess owned by a major label.  She is one of our Highly Recommended Artists, so read our interview with her and for the love of God and all that is holy, BUY (need I emphasize that word enough) her music!  She is one of the many artists out there well worth it.

 

MU: Ok so first, tell us a little about yourself and your musical background.

R: Hi! My name is Roniit (row-neat), I come from the mountains of Colorado where I grew up in a cave with my family of bears…  As a youth I was forced to take piano lessons by my Mother.  I wasn’t crazy about my teacher because she made me play happy songs that were rewarded with stickers, and all I wanted to do was play songs from the Phantom of the Opera.  Eventually I ditched her and learned my own spooky piano songs then went on to major in music business and performance.  I joined 4 different bands, hated them all and then started writing my own music.
MU: For people who haven’t heard your music yet, how would you describe it and who were your influences?
R: I call it dark electro pop and I think that sums it up pretty well since it’s you know, dark and electronic and pop.  I look up to other electro artists that invoke emotion, because so few songs make me feel anything but bored these days.  Royksopp is awesome, so is Mansions on the Moon.
MU: So being a touring musician myself, I’ve had my own share of interesting ‘on the road’ stories.  Have you had any bizarre, odd, or interesting (in a good or bad way) experiences from being on the road?
R:  Well, we spent 6 months planning our month and a half long tour, which made everything run pretty smooth.   I was kinda disappointed because I wanted more horrible things to happen to us so I’d have good stories to tell, but I guess the best-worst thing that happened was at the last show when someone lit the bar on fire at the beginning of Rainbowdragoneyes’ set, forcing the show to end early.  Apparently this arsonist had been lighting bars on fire on this street all week.  Other than that it was fun being homeless and living in Uncle Van.  Seriously, I loved it.
MU: Are there any obstacles you have faced as an independent artist and what would say is the biggest obstacle for an independent artist to overcome?
R: There are a zillion obstacles I’ve overcome, and sadly most of them are related to money. If I had a million dollars this would be a piece of cake, but instead I have to talk people into helping me for free which gets tricky.  I honestly don’t know how anyone could do this if they didn’t record for free in their house and have a best friend that happens to be the best graphic designer in town.  It’s a lot of work – many hours a day which you are not getting paid for.
MU: Do you feel that there is a sort of disconnect in how people tend to view the industry vs. how it really works? I ask this because the mainstream media tends to saturate us with stories of the so-called ‘overnight successes’, the American Idols, the reality tv ‘stars’, etc. Do you think that such images tend to give (especially) young people a rather unrealistic view of becoming the ‘next big thing’?
R: Definitely.  People expect to sit around and be discovered, which rarely happens.  Even if it does happen you still have a small chance of being a success.  Think about American Idol.. the odds of getting into the top 10 are so slim, and how many of the people from last years top 10 do you even remember??  Also, people don’t always realize that there are hundreds of DIY artists out there making a living that they haven’t even heard of.  I just try to ignore the ignorant people who ask me why I don’t go on American Idol.  Ugh.
MU: If an aspiring performer fresh out of high school were to come to you and ask you for advice on ‘making it’ in this crazy business, what advice would you have for them?
R: I really like making lists so I would probably just make them an awesome color coded to-do list.   It would probably have 100-500 things on it, but I’ll just give you the first few.  Write really good songs, learn to produce your really good songs at home for free, take professional photos, have someone design a professional logo and website, make accounts on all 50 different music promotion websites, buy anti-anxiety pills, put full album on iTunes and all that, advertise, book tour (that oughtta take you a while), repeat.
MU: So what do you have coming up and where can people find you and check out your music?
R: I’ve been saying this for months, but a music video is at the top of my list.  Also planning a mini tour of Colorado for the summer.
You can check out my music on my website
or you can talk to me on Facebook
or you can download my music for free…if you must….:  www.roniit.com/free
OR, buy it on iTunes, or buy a CD from meeee!
About the Interviewer:  Tiffany Apan is an award winning and acclaimed independent recording artist along with being a stage/film actress, producer, and writer.  You can find more about her at her Official Website , Web Blog, MySpace , Twitter , and Facebook She can also be found on IMDb and her music releases on CDBaby along with iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailers.  She also writes for the publications Rogue Cinema and Horrornews.netShe is also responsible for starting up the Music’s Underworld Webzine .

Short Horror Realm Interviews

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We caught up with some indy filmmakers and vendors at Horror Realm Convention in Pittsburgh, PA!  And check out some of their links at Friends and Minions!

AMY LYNN BEST

An interview with filmmaker and actress, Amy Lynn Best of Happy Cloud Pictures as she discusses her newest project, Razor Days which also stars Debbie Rochon.

LAWRENCE C CONNOLLY

Short interview with Bram Stoker Award nominees, Lawrence C Connolly as he discusses his literary works.

KYRA SCHON

“Karen Cooper” of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is interviewed!

MIKE CHRISTOPHER

Sit down interview with Mike Christopher/ Hare Krishna Zombie!

MICHAEL VARRATI

Random interview with writer/actor, Michael Varrati at Horror Realm!

JOHN AMPLAS

We caught up with John Amplas for a short interview at Horror Realm!

ULTRA VIOLENT’S ART ETTINGER

Interview with editor of Ultra Violent Magazine!

CHRIS RICKERT

Interview with owner of Eljay’s Used Books and Perfect Fish Designs, Chris Rickert!

 

About the Interviewer:  Tiffany Apan is an award winning and acclaimed independent recording artist along with being a stage/film actress, producer, and writer.  You can find more about her at her Official Website , Web Blog, MySpace , Twitter , and Facebook She can also be found on IMDb and her music releases on CDBaby along with iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailers.  She also writes for the publications Rogue Cinema and Horrornews.netShe is also responsible for starting up the Music’s Underworld Webzine .