NOT THAT SPECIAL AFTER ALL: Conversing About Artifice & Authenticity with Frank Portman

I first saw Frank Portman (aka Dr. Frank) perform at a small venue in Santa Cruz in 1993. He was playing, of course, with The Mr. T Experience, an early fixture at 924 Gilman St. and one of the original Lookout! Records bands. It got pretty rowdy, as most shows did back in those days, and at one point while jumping and bashing around up front, I slipped in a beer puddle and took a pretty nasty spill. Even though I was a sprightly 20 years-old and numb from several belts of 100-proof Southern Comfort, I smashed my knee badly enough that I ended up watching most of the set from the back of the room. (It’s safe to say that 80% of shows in the early 90s resulted in some sort of semi-serious injury.) Still, it was a lot of fun. I’d heard plenty of MTX’s music before, at parties and blasting out of dorm rooms up at Porter College, but I wasn’t familiar with many specific songs. I knew the lyrics were smart and funny from the records I’d heard and the occasional title they would announce (“Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend”), but they were hard to make out through the wall of noise. However, when they kicked into a hyped-up punk version of the Brady Bunch’s “It’s Time to Change,” the place went apeshit, myself included. We all bounced around gleefully and shouted along with every word. They hit a giddy nerve and they knew it.

And they knew how to put on a show. I saw them a few more times throughout the 90s and it was always a good time. They had plenty of chops, but they also knew how to keep it loose, and it was clear that they never took themselves too seriously. That stood out back then, in a good way. While irony was definitely a hallmark of 90s rock culture, taking yourself too seriously was even more of one. MTX knew that we were there to have fun, and so were they.

I sort of lost track of them around the turn of the millennium. Then in 2010, while I was living in San Francisco, my girlfriend, a YA writer herself, brought home King Dork, Frank Portman’s novel, which had been recommended to her by a friend. I was intrigued. So that’s what happened to that guy, he became a writer. After MTX had released the album Yesterday Rules in 2004 it became clear to Dr. Frank that the music business had changed enough that it was no longer feasible to make even a modest living writing songs and selling records. He began to cast about for another line of work, and decided to try his hand at writing YA fiction. Starting with the title of one of his songs, “King Dork,” he wrote the story of Tom Henderson, a 14 year-old outcast, obsessed with rocknroll, girls, how terrible Catcher in the Rye is, and solving the mystery of his father’s death. With only his equally unpopular friend Sam by his side, he has to navigate the perilous social waters of his California high school, beset by bullies, cruel teachers, and all of the “psychotic” normal people of the world. Home isn’t much easier, inhabited as it is by his loopy, distracted mother, lovably awkward hippie-dip stepdad “Little Big Tom,” and eternally sullen little sister Amanda.

After my girlfriend finished it, I took it up and read the whole thing in one sitting. I loved the fuck out of it. It’s an unflinchingly authentic picture of a teenage boy’s inner life, and nearly every page has something laugh-out-loud funny on it. It has a perfectly calibrated blend of misanthropic cynicism and affection for its characters. Best of all, it wears its love of rock n roll all over its sleeve, and gets it just right (as you might expect from a seasoned professional rock musician). Tom may have plenty of chips stacked against him socially, but you know that as long as he sticks with rock n roll (and his sense of humor), he’s gonna end up okay.

It appears the reading public liked the book as much as I did. King Dork became a smash hit when it appeared in 2006, and Portman’s new career as a novelist was launched. He followed with the novel Andromeda Klein in 2009, about a teenage girl obsessed with the occult, and King Dork Approximately in 2014, the sequel to the first book. Recently, Dr. Frank set about on the project of writing songs from the book of King Dork Approximately, using the titles and the fragments of lyrics from the songs Tom writes for his band (the name of which changes constantly.) He put a band together and recorded the songs for the album, also titled King Dork Approximately, and after more than a decade hiatus, MTX is back in action, touring and playing songs from KDA and the back catalog.

We corresponded recently over email.


TG: Off the bat, I have to ask, is Santa Carla a deliberate Lost Boys reference?

FP: It’s just a California-sounding name for a county and not a reference with any intentional significance, though I am aware that that movie did the same thing.

In order to write King Dork Approximately, how did you get back into the Tom Henderson voice after so long?

At the risk of sounding pretentious, perhaps, a good “voice” carries itself, once established. It’s establishing the character and voice and constructing it that is hard to do (in the sense of “elusive” rather than labor-intensive — it either happens or it doesn’t, and when it does the source and the mechanics of it seems rather mysterious.) Once you’ve got it, though, you just run with it, and running with it is the easy and fun part.

What is your general writing method and style? Are you the clock in for a certain amount of hours every day writer? Or do you write in spurts, when the inspiration comes? How has your approach evolved over the course of three novels?

My usual method. if you can call it a method, is brooding and fretting over it for a long time, making a lot of notes, writing songs, walking around talking to myself or just staring off into space and then, when it’s “ready”, just sitting down to type for around six weeks straight. Then a big, big crash afterwards, after which that experience seems distant and surreal, almost as though it was done by someone who isn’t me. Following that is the editing and massaging and cleaning up part which requires a very different state of mind (and feels more like “the real me,” if you know what I mean.) It’s the same when I’m on a songwriting/recording jag.

I’m not sure it has evolved all that much, except it was maybe a bit easier the first time around because of being blissfully unaware of all the pitfalls, errors, and crimes against literature which you risk every time you attempt it.

One thing I always went back to from one of your early interviews about King Dork was you describing your reticence to use any glaring pop-culture references that would date the novel too much, particularly tech-related things like cell phones and the internet, because you wanted to create something more timeless. That, you said, was also the reason you gave Tom a more retro taste in music, because it was going to resonate in a much more universal way than him talking about Interpol or The Strokes or Taylor Swift (and also, let’s face it, it’s just better music.) I have always had the same tendency in my own fiction, this wariness of too much specific era-related detail, and it almost always irked me when other writers would put that in their stories. It rarely seems to heighten the work, and at best it seems quaint. Of course, you spread out a bit with that in KDA, giving Sam a cell phone, and Little Big Tom tinkers on his Mac, and Sam frets about Y2K, but that all seemed to ground the story in the turn-of-the-millenium era that in which it is set. In some ways, this almost seems like a book written more for a Gen Xer like me than for 21st Century teenagers. How do you think these choices helped the book’s appeal with younger readers? Maybe it was a bit different in 2006, but it particularly surprises me now that a “YA” book about old school rock n’ roll would be so popular these days. Maybe I’m out of touch, but even here in Portland, so many of the kids I know either seem hooked on over-produced pop or hip-hop or some form of electronic music. They definitely don’t seem to be buying vinyl and talking about Television. Do you have any sense of how that got through? Is rock n roll actually still cool with the young’ns?

Well, as you say the specific time frame of the first book was left unmentioned and fuzzy, but it could be figured out. (This is something that irritated a lot of people, I know, but it was deliberate, for better or worse. I’d wanted it to be a running puzzle.) After the date was established though, it seemed appropriate to acknowledge it, and to have a little fun with it.

As to your second question about the appeal of Tom Henderson’s take on and tastes in music to different sorts of demographics, I don’t see that as all that important. It’s a big part of the character, of course, and I made sure to make as comprehensive and authentic to him as I could, but other than as a feature of characterization it’s not “what the novel is about.” He could have been obsessed with any sort of thing, but I chose something that (a) I knew something about, and (b) that would actually be good, if often funny/silly as well. It was an objection, or at least a caution, that was often raised while I was developing the book and character, e.g. “but no one is going to get it because no one knows who the Sweet are anymore.” But I imagined a kid reading King Dork, investigating the situation, and becoming a bubble-glam rock fan, which I got a real kick out of. And as it turned out, I know for a fact that this has happened, and it fills me with joy, unequivocally. I don’t think people read novels or explore characters in order to see their own precise tastes and points of reference reflected back at them and “confirmed.” Everyone knows the kid who cultivates unusual interests as a way of setting himself apart from others in his own self-absorbed worldview, and most of us do it to some degree. That’s the real, non-window dressing part of “relateability” in this regard, though as I said it doesn’t hurt to make the window-dressing great as well.

The protagonists in your books don’t tend to get any real, solid guidance from the adults around them. They get some here and there of course, and there is love, however complicated, but ultimately the adults are as fucked up and lost as the kids, if not more so. This certainly speaks to a certain truth about life, how we never quite grow up and “figure it out.” At the same time, I was pretty lucky in high school to have two teachers in particular who absolutely changed my life with their irreverent, eye-opening approaches to the subject matter, as well as their ability to coax out certain talents and passions that I wasn’t even sure I had. Did you ever have a teacher or a mentor like that when you were younger? Or did any come along later in life? what did you learn from them?

No, to be honest I never did, not till university anyhow. (I’ll name Alain Renoir, an English professor who taught me how to drink properly and to read Old English in a loud, gruff, drunken, slightly French-accented slur. Also he had great stories.) Most all of my Dead Poets Society moments came via the printed page and recorded music, mostly by people very old or long dead. But you are spot on with that “we never grow up and ‘figure it out’” observation: that’s precisely the point of all the adult depictions. “High School never really ever ends…”

All of your characters feel well-developed and real, but Little Big Tom is a particularly vivid realization. We all know a guy like that. Was he inspired by a real person or people?

I’m also very fond of Little Big Tom. He’s not based on any particular person, but there are many, many guys like that around as you say. For what it’s worth, I think Tom’s disdainful yet affectionate depiction of him is the distinctive part and is what makes the whole thing work as well as it does.

Tom and Sam play two epically terrible shows, which of course, in the true spirit of rock n’ roll, through their sheer terribleness turn out to be a strange sort of success in their own way. I can only imagine that in thirty years, you’ve experienced similar disasters on stage. What was the worst show you ever played? What happened? How about the best show you ever played?

Lots of disasters, for sure. But the worst shows are simply the ones where no one shows up, and there usually isn’t anything interesting to distinguish them. On the other hand, we played a show in a Montreal club where a there was a plate glass window behind the stage facing the street, and when a street fight broke out outside during our set, a person was thrown through the window, knocking over the bass amp and bassist in a shower of shards; or there was this basement in Arizona with malfunctioning plumbing and leaking pipes over heard during which raw sewage dripped down on the band and audience throughout the set. Or there was the time a former guitar player had his girlfriend climb on stage and serve us with papers to appear in small claims court. Or the time a stalker type chick showed up to an outdoor festival with a gun, apparently intending to shoot me. I’ve fallen off the stage drunkenly several times, and got shocked and knocked down to such a degree that I saw light and started walking toward it before I came back to my body. But, those weren’t “bad shows.” Some of them were pretty good.

As for best, to be honest, I think we’re doing our best shows now. We did a great one in Chicago last month and another last weekend in San Antonio. What made it great was, you could “feel the love”, if you know what I mean. I always used to wonder what that was like, back when most of our shows were to empty or indifferent rooms, and now I know, and it ain’t bad.

What are some of your favorite venues around the world to play? 

I always like playing at the Garage in London, and there were some very memorable nights at the Duchess of York in Leeds. I’ll never forget the Fireside Bowl in Chicago, or the Shelter in Detroit, Coney Island High in NYC, the Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill. And it’s always great to play in Italy, pretty much anywhere, because of how crazy and excited/excitable the audience invariably proves to be. The thing that makes it great is the audience, not the venue per se. When a venue is an integral part of a culture, it can transcend almost any limitation that the club might have per se.

You don’t really pull any punches when it comes to subject matter or language, which is part of what makes your books so good. In general, younger readers can handle way more than we give them credit for, and it’s also a much truer picture of how teenagers really are than if you were to file off some of those edges. It makes aesthetic sense for Tom to say “ramoning” instead of “fucking,” because it’s funny, and also, while he’s not a linguistic prude like Sam, he’s something of a gentleman who is not going to explicitly say every crass thing that comes into his head.

You have the position exactly.

At the same time, like the Seinfeld characters talking about being “master of their domain,” it managed to be funny, and also skirt the network censors. When you were writing, did you often feel like you were walking a fine line between what you could and couldn’t say?

Yes, and in fact even when I’m not writing, in our current censorious cultural climate, I feel this fine line. However, when writing, I have just chosen not to pay heed to it, to let the chips fall where they may and let the characters and language go where they “want to go”, figuring that anything that is too much would be complained about by the editor and then we could deal with it then. When you’re writing, being authentic to the character is the main concern. The appropriate time to fight with him or yourself, is when you’re being edited and revising, and even then authenticity almost always wins.

Were there explicit parts you left out, that you just didn’t feel like risking?

Surprisingly few. I was persuaded to de-emphasize and veil some of the darker features of Andromeda Klein’s inner life. In King Dork I was strongly urged to find a way around a particular term that was, on information and belief, “strongly disliked by librarians.” My guiding principle in stuff like that is only to make the change if I can come up with an even funnier or more interesting alternate; thus, Huntsvale Vista became Salthaven, and “Slut Heaven” was born. Which was a good change. Ramoning was a similar gift, not because of being asked specifically to tone down the “fucking” but because it afforded an opportunity to play around with the idea of euphemism by finding one and running it into the ground. Sam Hellerman’s prudishness is a great conceit there, because he acts both as a foil and as a kind of “audience” for it.

I haven’t turned up any evidence in my searches online, but I can only imagine three YA books with this much sex, drugs, occult magic, swearing, and misbehavior probably stirred up some ire and controversy among parents and would-be censors along the way? Am I correct? How did you deal with it? Have your books been burned anywhere? If so, that sucks, and it’s also kind of fucking awesome.

You’re right, people get mad at all that stuff. I’m not aware of any actual book burning. The way that sort of censorship happens in America on a broad scale is a much more prosaic manner, e.g. a librarian will just silently decline to order the book, or some crusading passive-aggressive ninny will take it upon himself to post a flurry of one star reviews from a cluster of sock puppet accounts. I did have a school visit cancelled during the Andromeda Klein release. I tried to turn myself into a Best Selling Free Speech Martyr on the basis of that single incident but it didn’t take.

Todds in pop culture get a pretty bad rap. They’re either the dweeb, the uptight yuppie, or the asshole in any story. In fact, the only semi-cool Todd in Pop-culture I can think of is Keanu Reeves’ character in the movie Parenthood. Sure enough, the two Todds that show up in your books are Todd Panchowski, the out of touch “percussionist,” and Todd Dante, the vicious brute who breaks Tom’s nose. Franks on the other hand, seem to do a bit better. Off the top of my head, you have Frank Underwood from House of Cards, “Frank” from the eponymous movie, played by Michael Fassbender wearing a giant papier mache head… not to mention Frank Sinatra, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Zappa. Do you think Franks have gotten a fair shake out there? Who are some of your favorite and least favorite Franks?

I considered the idea of changing Todd Dante’s name when it struck me that the KD universe had already had a Todd, but I didn’t because that name is just… right. Some fictional names feel realer than others. Frank is a good name to have if you are an auto mechanic, an Irish novelist, or a cop. Otherwise, not so much. You’ve mentioned two of my three favorite famous Franks. Third is St. Francis. Of Assisi.

It appears plans for the King Dork movie have stalled. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were sick of talking about it, but do you have any news about it’s status? Is it dead in the water? Of course, Adam McKay and Ferrell are a great production team to have, and DV DeVincentis seems like a perfect fit to write the screenplay, and when Nick Offerman was involved, I could only imagine he would be a perfect Mr. Teone. If it is stalled or dead in the water, are you able to say, in a perfect world, who your ideal cast would be, as well as writer and director for the film? How about for Andromeda Klein?

It is still alive and in development, but the set-up has gone through many changes and configurations over the years. Currently it is being developed as a series, by Miguel Arteta. He’s great, I love his work, and he has great feel for and understanding for the book, the characters, the “tone and feel,” etc., so it is very promising. If it materializes I bet it’ll be great. So here’s hoping it happens.

Andromeda Klein I’ve always felt would make a pretty great film in the right hands. No bites on that one as of yet, though.

I know that with most things I write, whether songs or words on paper, the title usually comes last, or at least well after the shape and content of the piece has come into being. That’s just kinda how it works right? The final stamp you put on something to give it life. I imagine that is usually the same for you, yes?

In fact, for me it is usually the opposite. Each of my three published novels, and the two I’m working on now, began with the title at the top of the page and white space under it. That’s how most of my songs come about as well, especially those written in the last half of my “career” when I’d figured out what I was doing. For the songs, they have to start with a conceit, a plan, an objective, and summing that up in the title is the most natural way to do that. I’ve done it the other way (i.e., writing the song and then figuring out what it’s supposed to be about afterwards) but that doesn’t lead to great results usually. In the case of King Dork, it was a song to begin with anyway.

But for the King Dork Approximately record, it seems the song titles (and some of the lyrics) were already in place, and you had to write the songs from some pretty tricky corners you had painted yourself into. I know that sometimes these limitations can be freeing in their own way, because just by taking away a whole bunch of options and directions the song could go, it helps focus your energy. At the same time, I’m sure this framework presents its own set of challenges, not the least of which being that its probably not your usual approach to a song.

Yes, all that above being said, turning Tom Henderson’s fictional songs into actual songs was a challenging “assignment.” But also as you say, being forced to work within pre-ordained parameters can be a spur to creativity and can lead you to places you’d not have gone otherwise. And I think that did happen. And you’re right, there can be something paradoxically “freeing” in being constrained in such a way. It mitigates the terror of the blank page for one thing.

How was the process of writing these songs? At any point did you feel like you were in over your head?

I never felt I was in over my head, no. The process was very much like the process I usually go through with songs, which is start with a conceit and gradually develop it and massage it into a song by playing it thousands of times, and then, when that has happened, obsessively editing the lyrics to make them as good as they can be. (And then recording, where the grand vision always seems to come crashing down and you have to try to rebuild it to something that hints at the grandeur of your previous delusions.)

Like you, I grew up in the Bay Area. The culture there has changed a hell of a lot since we were kids, and I think its safe to say that a lot of those changes are not for the better. How are you feeling about it these days? Is the music/literary/art scene holding up, or destined to be snuffed out, or merely the domain of those who do it as a hobby or have a lot of disposable income? If it is on its way out, do you think there is anything we can do to save it?

I’m a native San Franciscan — the only one I know, and one of the few I’ve ever met, really — and I love the city; it pains me greatly that I will never be allowed to live there. Even over here in Oakland, I’m a box-tick away from evicted homelessness and just have to hope for the best because regular people simply can’t live here sustainably under any sort of math. So I’m bitter about that. But I have to admit I don’t know very much about the music/literary/art scene. I’m not a joiner. When placed within a “scene” I have the distinct sense of myself vs. the “collective” looking reciprocally askance at each other. As for Bay Areans in general I’ve always predicted we would eventually kill ourselves by patting ourselves on the back with too much intensity one time too many, and this may well be what’s happening now. And though I love SF, as I said, we do deserve it.

Aside from Catcher in the Rye, of course, and some of the other books mentioned in your own books, what are some of the books and writers who inspired your own writing, that you drew power from and that you hoped to emulate?

PG Wodehouse casts a long shadow over the King Dork books, both as a matter of conscious ironic/bathetic pastiche echo in the narration, but also, in aspiration at least, as an exemplar of the sort of humor in which the narrator makes jokes and is “in on” those jokes, while in the process illustrating further deeper jokes at his own expense that he is completely unaware of. Of course Tom, and I, are quite clumsy and Californian about it, which is also, I hope, kind of fun in and of itself, a la Woody Allen standing in for Marcello Mastroianni. It’s not a matter of emulation as much as having learned something about what makes first person narrative humor funny and taking a stab at it.

And of course in a more general sense the KD books are meant to recapitulate, comment on, undermine, and trash everything in the previous corpus of teen fiction with a smart-ass self-absorbed narrator, like Catcher. I like a lot of writing, obviously, but I don’t think I’ve ever consciously emulated anything without the intent of ridiculing it on some level.

In a recent interview with Terry Gross, Jim Jarmusch talks a lot about punk rock, and how it fostered his own devotion to artistic “amateurism,” which despite its linguistic association with half-ass dabblers and dilettantes, comes from the Latin “amatorem,” meaning “one who acts out of love.” He says that even after decades of making films and writing and making music, he still considers himself an amateur. What are your thoughts, if any, on amateurism as an artistic philosophy? If it is indeed a viable one, then when and where is professionalism necessary, if at all?

I think there’s a lot in that, but on the other hand such a pretense of exalted amateurishness can most effectively come from a seasoned professional like him. There’s a spark you get from not quite knowing what you’re doing that can produce magic, but along with it comes a great deal of clumsiness. The ability to simulate that spark and create the impression of the magic while minimizing the clumsiness isn’t easy to come by, and it isn’t something that can just be dashed off off the cuff. (Though sometimes you get lucky and unlikely things work beyond expectations. An example from my own stuff would be the teen narration, in the books and in the songs. You need to bring quite a bit of artifice to create a convincing teenage voice. I wrote songs when I was fourteen, and they are not it. They don’t work as songs, nor do they work as an effective embodiment of anything in particular. But I think it is useful to force yourself into trying things you’re not comfortable with or necessarily very good at, just for a chance at that magic spark, because there isn’t another way to get it.

Personally, I am deeply suspicious of “authenticity.” Too often it’s an excuse for snobbery, arrogance, and self-righteousness. Along with irony, it is the cornerstone of the hipster credo. For the most part, I couldn’t care less what people like, why they like it, when they started liking it, and whether they are “doing it right” according to some arbitrary authenticity rulebook.

Me too. As I indicated in my previous response, it’s all artifice anyhow.

Even if they aren’t completely genuine, it’s no skin off my nose, as long as they are shoving it in my face. My point being that the person crying foul about someone’s alleged “inauthenticity” is almost always more annoying than the allegedly “inauthentic” person.


But that said, the cultural landscape is so saturated with garbage, we do need something to ground ourselves with, we need to know where we stand in relation to the “phonies,” as per Holden Caulfield. Tom, being a teenager of course, in love with rock n’ roll and deeply wary of the “normal” world, is engaged explicitly with many levels and notions of authenticity. Not so much out of the aforementioned snobbery (a little bit, of course), but mostly for his own survival. Basically, who and what can he trust in this dangerous world, where “normal” means “psychotic,” and where nothing and nobody are what it or they claim to be?

“Trust no one” isn’t a bad program, but severe alienation of the kind he cultivates has big limitations as way of life. The thing that hasn’t happened to Tom yet is the realization that in fact he’s not all that special after all. This hits some people very hard (and I suspect it will hit him harder than most, if I ever get the chance to write it out, say in book 6 or so.)

Have you mapped out the story of these characters that far? Do you have any real, or semi-real plans to write more books in this series?

I have a general story in mind that follows these characters into adulthood (and also brings Andromeda Klein and her world into it as well) and I do plan to write at least some of it.

I’m sure coming from the world of Gilman St. and East Bay punk you rubbed up against all different ideas of “authenticity,” some of which can be as reactionary and conservative as certain right-wing ideals, no? What are your thoughts about these different notions of authenticity?

I’m as cynical as you can get about such things and I suspect everyone who makes these kinds of claims, especially when they attack others for failure to “get with the program” and join their aesthetic crusade masking itself as a moral one. Beneath all virtuous attitudes — I mean that in a literal sense, i.e., a series of poses struck — can always be found a base, disturbing, often quite repugnant will to power over others and enjoyment in their suffering. Transcending or counteracting this “chimp nature” of ours isn’t easy and when it genuinely happens it’s rare and precious, a kind of saintliness that sometimes is characterized as “love.” So, no, I don’t believe in authenticity per se, though as I said above, it is obviously possible to simulate it; I certainly don’t think the ability to simulate it is any kind of moral virtue. But: this dynamic is the essence of being human, so I am fascinated by it, and I observe it with I what I suppose could be termed “rueful reverence”. Without human frailty there would be no stories. There would be nothing, really.

How are you planning on surviving the current Presidential administration? Have any advice for the rest of us?

If I had to offer advice it would be: stop being so hysterical. You won’t like how you look in the mirror after four years of round the clock sputtering panic. Have a drink. Kiss your significant other. Buy my books and records.

Five albums that changed your life?

“Changed my life” might be putting it a bit strong (and this will be different list every time I type it) but, in no meaningful order, let’s say: 1. X-Ray Spex – Germ-Free Adolescents; 2. Robyn Hitchcock – I Often Dream of Trains; 3. The Wombles – Remember You’re a Womble; 4. The Modern Lovers – the Modern Lovers; 5. John Prine – The Missing Years.

Five books that changed your life (separate, perhaps from those that inspired your own writing)?

1. Dune – Frank Herbert; Hangover Square – Patrick Hamilton; The Cry of the Owl – Patricia Highsmith; Lizard Music – D. Manus Pinkwater; The Complete Upmanship – Stephen Potter

Five best movies about high school or growing up?

1. Carrie; 2. The Squid and the Whale; 3. The 400 Blows; 4. Donnie Darko; 5. If…


FRANK PORTMAN (aka DR FRANK) is the author of three novels: King Dork, Andromeda Klein, and King Dork Approximately. He has written, recorded, and released numerous albums with his band Mr. T Experience, and under his own name. To find out more, check out his website and you can buy books, records, and merch at


About Todd Gleason

Editor-el-Heifer of DMC. Head Drunk. Big Sinker. John the Conqueroo. Like a knight from some old-fashioned book. View all posts by Todd Gleason

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