Friday, May 05, 2006


For the Shriek movie, we need photographs of a character named Sybel, a man who is a bit fey and ethereal in some ways, very grounded in others. Below find a relevant description. We don't care about the clothing--just about the general look.

If you're interested and fit the profile (generally--some leeway allowed; for example, we can photoshop eye color if necessary), please email a photo of yourself (a jpeg is sufficient--nothing over 1 meg) to vanderworld at

You'd need to be able to take a series of high-res photos at the direction of Juha Lindroos, who is putting the film together. Payment will be a signed copy of Shriek, $50, any photo expenses reimbursed, credit in the film, and some other freebie stuff. (Remember, this is a low-budget flick!) Remember, we don't need an actor--just a face. The role is being voiced by Matt Cheney. (The film is a mix of live-action and still photography.)

Thanks! We'll accept applicants through the next week or so.


Sybel—luminous, pale,sweet Sybel—was one of those people I met during this time. He had a thick rush of dirty blonde hair exploding off the top of his head, like waves of pale flame, clear blue eyes, a grin that at times appeared to be half-grimace, and he wore outrageous clothes in the most impossible shades of purple, red, green, and blue. He liked to prance about like a peacock, although I soon learned that this reflected a nervous energy. He had the metabolism, in those early years, of a hummingbird. A coiled spring. A hummingbird. A marvel.

The first thing Sybel said to me was, “You need me. New Art will soon be dead. The newest art will be whatever Janice Shriek decides it is. But you still need me.” Which made me laugh.

But I did need him. Sybel had explored every crooked mews in Ambergris. A courier for Hoegbotton, he also knew everyone. A member of the Nimblytod Tribes, he had an affinity for tree climbing that no one could match, and a cut-bark scent that clung to him as if it was his birthright. His only pride revolved around his knowledge of the streets, and his well-tended, lightweight boots, which had been given to him by his tribe when he had left for the city. He couldn’t have been more than eighteen years old when I met him for the first time.

“I’m quick and good,” he said, but did not specify good at what. “I’m eyes and ears and feet, but I’m not cheap,” he told me, and then named a large monthly fee.

I suggested a smaller amount, but added, “And you can stay at my apartment whenever you like.” After all, I was rarely there, except to catch up on three or four hours of sleep.

So it was that, for the next few years, I acquired a roommate I rarely saw. I know he welcomed the refuge, though: his tumultuous love life meant he was continually getting kicked out of some woman’s apartment.

I soon found I had chosen well. From careful observation at Hoegbotton—when he was not out all night cavorting with painters and novelists, sculptors and art critics—Sybel had learned how to run a business, something I never did well. Over time, he became my gallery assistant—on and off, because he had a habit of disappearing for several days at a time. But I was hardly punctual myself, and I loved his energy, so I always kept him on, no matter what his transgressions. I used to imagine that every once in awhile, Sybel got the urge to return to his native forests, that he would fling off his clothes and clamber into the welter of trees near the River Moth, soon happily singing as he leapt from tree to tree. But I’m sure his absences had more to do with woman troubles (Actually, Sybel's absences had a myriad of causes, because he led a myriad of lives, some of which he did not tell you about. He liked to keep each one separate from the next. I cannot remember exactly when I entered into one of those lives, but I do remember many a morning when, having emerged from yet another dank hole in the ground, grimy with dirt and sweat, I would stand exhausted by the banks of the River Moth, beside a particular tree chosen in advance, inhabited by a certain member of the Nimblytod Tribe.

(Sybel always smiled down at me from that tree. It was the same smile on the face of that idol we found in the forest as kids. I don't know if he liked the dawn or liked the tree or liked me, but it always made me smile back, no matter how grim the context of my emergence.

(Our meetings had a practical purpose, though. The Nimblytod were renowned for their natural cures, using roots, bark, and berries. Sybel made a considerable amount of money on the side selling various remedies. You had to go to him, though, and that meant appearing at a particular tree by the river bank and a particular time.

(For me, he did two things--sold me a tincture of ground bark and leaves for fatigue and, if I thought it was warranted, paid him to sneak a rejuvenating powder into your tea, Janice, to balance the effects of your debauchery.

("If she ever found out, she'd be furious," Sybel told me once.

("Better that than dead," I said.

("She's much stronger than you think," Sybel said. "She can go on this way for a long time. So can I." He was looking at me with some measure of amusement--me in my fungal shroud, with the appearance of tottering on my last legs. Who was I to lecture anyone about these things?

(I just stared back at him, a half-smile of acknowledgment on my face, and said, "Give me my tincture."

(He never left that tree during any of my meetings with him there. Not once.)


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