A Storyteller All His Own: James Hannon
By BRYAN C. KURIAWA
July 6, 2013 at 4:16 PM
Every writer and storyteller has their own creative processes and their own manner of telling to readers and audiences, a tale to entertain and inform. Whether it is through articles in news and media publications, books for a wider audience or a short film or documentary, the individual themselves possess a key insight into whatever subject or field they are covering. For James Hannon, whatever option is available will prove more than sufficient to tell a magnificent and fascinating tale
Born in the Bronx, New York City in 1967, Hannon had what was termed as a “typical Irish Catholic childhood,” growing up around the neighborhoods of Fordham and Bedford Park. For most of his childhood, he was primarily interested in the world of computer programming and pursued this interest into his college years. Despite eventually securing a position with a local Board of Education, his interest in this field extended elsewhere.
“After becoming a computer programming consultant, at one point I was bored,” Hannon said. “I wanted to design websites, but I ended up back as a programmer.”
A subsequent meeting with musician Shelly Riff to design a website for his new band caught his interest. The band, Richard and the Young Lions, had been well known for a late 60’s cult hit entitled, “Open Up Your door,” and had been gearing for a series of revival concerts. After completing his work on the website, Hannon saw a key opportunity in the possibility of a documentary.
“I said, let’s do it and began filming their revival concerts, interviews and rehearsals,” Hannon said. “It was tough putting it together, yet I learned a lot with everything involved.”
After previewing the film to lead singer Richard Tepp, who passed on following a battle with leukemia, the documentary had a brief run as a tribute to Tepp’s life and the band, who regularly tours to this day. While Hannon had enjoyed his time working with the band, he turned his attentions to another documentary project he had been interested in for some time.
Fascinated with story of the Bronx gang, The Ducky Boys, whom he had learned of from the 1979 film, “The Wanderers,” Hannon began gathering interviews for his planned film, only to rechange his focus, from film to the written word.
“My former brother in law talked up “The Wanderers,” yet I didn’t see it until the early 80’s,” said Hannon. “Over time (while researching), I realized it was more about the Bronx in a certain time, than about the Ducky Boys Gang.”
Through his various interviews and collaborating evidence, Hannon learned the Ducky Boys were less the vicious antagonists of the above-mentioned film and were much less threatening in reality.
“It was a vendetta (by the other gangs) and the Ducky Boys were made to be worse than they were,” Hannon said. “It was 120 kids who wanted to hang out in the park and drink.”
The book, “Lost Boys of the Bronx: The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang” made its debut in August of 2010 and Hannon was quite pleased with its release. Yet once more seeking a potential project and interested in writing a book, Hannon turned to the interesting world of fandom costuming, in which individuals dress in the costumes of their favorite characters from television, film and literary franchises.
“It was for different reasons, I needed a project,” Hannon said. “I didn’t want to do the same book again.”
Spotlighting his own interest and love of fandom costuming, his book will be a look into this subject through his own experiences, along with interviews, both in-person and on various occasions, through e-mail questionnaires. He stated he originally intended to finish the book last year, but has a planned completion date of September, 2013 presently. In addition to his current writing task, Hannon has kept a close eye on a Facebook page he created, spotlighting local occurrences around Scotch Plains.
“It originally started on Yahoo Group as a site to get local recommendations for Scotch Plains residents on any company or group,” Hannon said. “Yet it has recently proved successful in reporting local news events.”
While his project still has several further months before an intended release, Hannon is quite optimistic about its outcome and had some friendly advice regarding individuals who wish to embark into the world of his latest book.
“They (fandom costumers) know what genre they like,” Hannon remarked. “You want to make sure you know why you are doing it.”
For Hannon, his statement rings quite true. In any field, whether it is writing or an individual who dresses up in costumes, it is possible for someone to lose oneself in that part. Yet the way someone feels in that role is often what truly matters most.
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