|Posted by johnstork on October 14, 2009 at 10:45 AM||comments (0)|
I just got back from performing at a fair in Iowa;
I didn't end up getting the job with the Midnight Circus in Chicago again this year, so I'm back in VT.
I did however get a job here. It's not performance related; it's construction. I work 10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week.
It's very strenuous work but I think it's good for me.
It only goes till Christmas when the ground freezes.
After that, I'm going to try and quickly produce a comedy karate act, kind of a solo version of what I did on The Gong Show. Then, in February, I plan on heading down to Key West to street perform again with a new expanded show.
Street performing has been going better and better for me,
I'm excited to keep going with it and finally make the money I need to do all the other things I want to do.
|Posted by johnstork on October 13, 2009 at 12:31 PM||comments (0)|
Who Wants to Be a Superhero: My Interview with John Stork, a.k.a. Hyper-Strike
September 30, 2009 by Timothy Sexton
The second season of Who Wants to Be a Superhero produced what was considered a disappointing climax in my household. Who Wants to Be a Superhero is the only so-called reality show I and my kids have ever watched and we were gravely disappointed that Hyper-Strike did not win. Not that
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike
Date of Interview: September 20, 2009 it had any effect at all on our desire to ever watch another so-called reality show, but I guess we sort of got a kind of understanding of how these people whose lives crushed when their favorite so-called reality show contestant doesn't win feel. Hyper-Strike's real name is John Stork and he consented to an interview with me. I hope you read it, because he's a fascinating person.
Q: I know you're probably still under some kind of contract not to say too much, but be honest with us. The fix was in from the beginning for The Defuser to win, wasn't it? It must have been because clearly Hyper-Strike was the most superhero-like contestant. C'mon, John, give us the inside story.
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: Ha, ha. I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist. I think the producers honestly chose who they thought would make the best superhero to win. While I might have made an entertaining superhero, or been able to portray one well, The Defuser is, in reality, far more heroic than I am. That is the inside story.
Q: Was there ever any talk of a Who Wants to Be a Superhero video game for the Wii? Gotta admit, my kids and I would love to play as Hyper-Strike and kick Whip-Snap's butt once she starts on one her crying jags. Was there ever any discussion about a video game and don't you think it would be a great idea? By the way, did anyone in the cast get as tired of watching Whip-Snap cry as we at home did?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: A video game would have been cool, but as far as I know there were never any plans for one. If the second season had been more popular I'm sure it could have happened. The structure of the show would make for a pretty awesome game. I would want to play as Mr. Mitzvah, no pants mode! He always cracked me up : ) As far as Whip-Snap is concerned, I was actually very close with her. I think our friendship is part of why it struck her so deeply when I chose her as the weakest hero. The contestants come off differently on the show than they do in real life. Both Whip-Snap and The Defuser are much more interesting and endearing than I feel the show was able to portray.
Q: You came under heat from Stan for revealing for your real identity on the show, but I thought it was one of the more touching scenes from that season. What advice would you give kids who get picked on in school because of their name. And isn't that such a stupid reason to pick on someone, as if they have any control over it?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: My thoughts when I did that were exactly as follows: 1; this kid is embarrassed about their name, just like I used to be. 2; they think I'm really cool right now, they may even think I'm actually a superhero. 3; if I set a good example now, it could impact the rest of their lives. It's like the butterfly effect; who knows what giant repercussions a tiny confidence boost for a kid that young could have? I made the judgment call that real life was more important than reality TV, and if doing the most heroic thing in real life broke the rules of the show and got me kicked off, so be it.
My advice for kids getting picked on in school is simple and proven to work through my own experience. Bullies thrive off of how you react to them. If they pick on you and you don't react, then you're no fun and they'll move on to some kid who is. If no one reacts to their bullying, they're left alone to deal with the things they're running from inside of themselves. So ignore them. Even if what they're saying is affecting you deeply, never let them know it. They will lose interest in you. If they think you don't care about what it is they're picking on you about, or even the fact that they're trying to pick on you, they will have nothing to use against you. Taking martial arts classes helps too ; )
Q: Okay, enough with Hyper-Strike, let's talk about John. Explain how video games changed your life. I think this is important because so many kids play video games so much and so many parents worry that the are rotting their children's brains and muscles.
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: Some video games do rot brains and muscles. Others are part of a new, largely unrecognized, interactive art form that has the potential to be as relevant, sophisticated, and celebrated as any other medium. Either way, when played irresponsibly and in place of life rather than as a supplement to it, all games can become damaging. Escapes are meant to be temporary and serve only as a means to re-inspiring and rejuvenating yourself to fight the real battles of your life and continue the pursuit of self-improvement and higher values.
That being said, there are few things that help me to do so better than a good video game! The first game I ever played was Super Mario Bros. 3 at a friend's house when I was about four or five. I'll never forget the effect it had on me, nor discredit the enormous impact it must have had on expanding my imagination. The game is insanely creative. It moves at the same pace as a child's uninhibited mind. Children sense the immense potential that life holds, yet most of their experiences bore, disappoint, or discourage them, bringing them ever closer to abandoning their instinctively enlightened, positive outlook and surrendering to pessimism. Super Mario Bros. 3 was, for me, infallible proof that life was as exciting as it felt like it could be and that I was right to hope for and expect so much out of it.
Video games did not make it into my own household for a few more years; the system was a Sega Genesis, the game was Sonic 2. Sonic was a positive male role model for me. Confident, decisive, cool... Silent, he favored action over talking. Later, Shinobi III and Mortal Kombat would inspire me to continue and intensify my martial arts training. The Donkey Kong Country series encouraged my passion for both monkeys and comedy; I loved how much personality and detail those games contained, right down to the instruction manual. Then came Super Mario 64 and both of the Nintendo 64 Zeldas; Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask (the latter, by the way, can only be fully enjoyed after playing the former). The level of artistry and craftsmanship in those titles set an example for me that will no doubt affect the work I produce for the rest of my life, regardless of what field it is in.
Q: What made you decide to pursue martial arts? How long did it take you to learn that martial arts was about more than just physical prowess?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: Two things made me decide to do martial arts: 1, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and 2, I was being bullied at school. After getting to take a sample karate class as part of an after school activity, I discovered that martial arts were actually real, unlike so many other things I enjoyed on television. Upon arriving home after my first official class, I engaged in an impromptu practice session in the living room that lasted about 30 seconds before I smashed myself in the face with my knee during an attempted high kick.
I think I realized that martial arts was not solely a physical undertaking after just my first class, but that is probably more thanks to the quality of my dojo and teacher rather than any special intelligence on my part. Respect and discipline were discussed at length and in detail. I'm sure that was part of what attracted me to martial arts; I couldn't imagine any of the bullies I knew possessing or being able to develop those necessary character traits required for realizing the true potential and uncovering the greatest secrets of the martial arts... I felt that you couldn't progress in the dojo unless you were a good person. I liked that. : )
Q: I've got a couple of kids that I would like to get into martial arts. What kind of martial arts would you recommend for parents looking for a way to teach their kids both self-discipline and a way to defend themselves?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: I think the style of martial art is not nearly as important as the quality of the school and its instructors. I urge parents to one, get their kids involved in martial arts immediately if they are in any way interested, and two, to thoroughly examine all the schools in the area. Many schools will try to get you to sign up on the spot, but it is very important to subject all that are available to you to a thorough screening process before choosing one. The most important thing anyone can take away from martial arts training is not the physical techniques, movements, or conditioning, although those are all of great benefit. The moral values and principles stressed at a school are paramount and can promote growth in all areas of life for a lifetime. Not all schools incorporate this side of the martial arts into their teachings, and some do it better than others. Carefully observe, research, and choose the best.
Q: I'm not sure that as many kids dream of running away and joining the circus as they did 50 years ago, but in a way you did just that. What drew you to the circus life and what keep you interested in it?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: What originally drew me to the circus arts and variety entertainment was my idolization of Jackie Chan. His physical and character comedy, acrobatics, stunts, and prop manipulation are things not covered in a traditional martial arts curriculum, yet I desperately wanted to learn them. When the possibility of circus training came into my life, I saw that it could fill a lot of those gaps for me. What keeps me interested in circus and variety is how much I love performing for a live audience. I find it more rewarding and dynamic than performing for a camera. I'm not against working in film more in the future, but I just don't see how you could possibly know what to do in front of a camera unless you'd performed directly for live audiences for many years first. I feel that what I'm doing now is very vital to mastering the art of entertainment.
Q: You are clearly in spectacular shape, flexible, and have a keenly developed sense of fun. Have you ever considered becoming part of the Cirque De Soleil family?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: I auditioned for Cirque twice when I was 17. At the time they were looking for martial artists for their upcoming production "Ka" in Vegas. I passed both my auditions but did not end up getting hired. I would like to audition for them again someday, but first I want to complete some new material that I will feel confident enough to present to them.
Q: I've heard that you also have street performance cred. I've seen guys playing instruments on the street and we've all avoided mimes. But what would we see if we came upon John Stork performing on a street corner?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: Yes, street performing is actually my main focus at the moment. If all goes well, it will foot the bill for the new circus acts I want to develop. I spent most of '08 in LA performing on Venice Beach, Hollywood Boulevard, and 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Last winter I was down in Key West and this summer I was up in Burlington, Vermont on Church Street. While in LA, I worked on a very theatrical show where I played the "Street Dodgeball World Champion". I would challenge people to "street dodgeball" matches, claiming to have never once been hit by the dodgeball. Of course someone would hit me eventually, and I would have to surrender my golden (plastic) championship belt to them. But first, I would make them promise to face me in a rematch at the end of the show and give me a chance to regain my title. I would then launch into my super special secret dodgeball training, which mostly consisted of the audience pegging me with many dodgeballs all at the same time while I was blindfolded. It was overly ambitious and impractical. My new show is more traditional; I jump through a hoop of fire and then get a bucket of water thrown in my face. I plan to return to Key West this winter and use the hoop of fire as the beginning of an expanded show that I will finish by juggling fire and doing a one arm handstand on top of a 12 foot pole.
Q: What is the appeal of manga and anime? And are you concerned about the highly sexual nature of some of that genre and kids getting their hands on it?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: I think the appeal lies in the combination of a unique and striking visual style with themes that are all at once serious, comical, and refreshingly different from the popular fiction of Western culture. Hard-work, self-improvement, commitment to values, independent thought/action, and having passion/love for what you do are common and venerated attributes in the characters and stories of Japanese comics and animation, yet commonly left out of their American counterparts.
The content or existence of sexually explicit manga and anime does not concern me so much as the negligence of parents and websites that allow kids to come into contact with that kind of material in the first place. People are particularly shocked and offended by pornographic comics and cartoons since those mediums were almost exclusively reserved for children's entertainment in the past. Their initial reaction, therefore, is to assume that just because something is animated or resembles a cartoon, its creators intended for it to be seen by kids, or even to try and trick kids into watching it, when that is of course not the case. Rather than begrudging where the medium has gone because of one small part of the spectrum that comprises its total growth, I hope that people will realize the result of animation's recent maturity is the exploration of dimensions extending far beyond sexuality and violence.
Q: What makes Venom more interesting than Spider-Man?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: A lot, but I think it's mostly the same thing that makes Vegeta so cool in Dragonball. Both characters are able to operate outside the code of conduct which oftentimes impedes the hero. They are in essence "above the law", which is very exciting, liberated, and dangerous, especially in comparison to the main character (Spider Man or Son Goku, respectively), who is usually hung up with the vital, though at times banal task of anchoring the narrative. Another intriguing thing about these two characters is that they aren't necessarily all bad. This keeps them from becoming too one dimensional and also makes them much more realistic and accessible than a character that is completely evil, or completely good for that matter.
Q: My kids would love to see you in action in at the circus? Any chance of your being on some kind of national tour in the future? Maybe Ringling Brothers, even?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: Ha, ha. It's gonna be a while before anything like that happens. I have to iron out this whole street performing thing first. Key West this winter (Feb. thru April) is your best bet if you want to see me performing sometime soon.
Q: Okay, let's say that I win 250 million dollars in the lottery and I decide I want to invest in one of them there superhero movies that the kids seem to like. I come to you and I say, John, I'm going to make a movie about a superhero and I want you to pick any comic book hero you want to play. You're the star. Who would you pick?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: First of all, I'd say you're crazy. Second, I'd say let's pick an anime instead of a comic, and let's make that anime Gundam Wing. I would want to play Duo Maxwell, pilot of the gundam Deathscythe. I wouldn't mind playing Heero Yuy either, but I think I'm a more natural fit for Duo...
If it has to be a comic, let's pick the manga One Piece, and I'll be Luffy. Either that or Eyeshield 21 and I'll play Hiruma. Or Manta... Shin and Sakuraba are interesting characters too... Dang that is such a great manga! Everyone please read it!!!
Q: Okay, now for the truly important question: Who would really win in a fight between King Kong and Godzilla?
John Stork aka Hyper-Strike: Ha, ha! Well, before I get into this, I would first like to express my utmost and sincerest respect for both contenders. Each has had a considerable impact on my life and growth as a human being. Now, it could be argued that Godzilla would never even have been created if it weren't for the path that King Kong had so famously blazed decades earlier. One could also point out that King Kong's height in his original self-titled debut is a mere 50 feet, and that Toho had to generously bump him up to 400 just to make him a worthy opponent in King Kong v.s. Godzilla... Finally, before giving my answer, I think it is only fair to inform all who are reading that the ending of King Kong v.s. Godzilla was in fact altered for American release... Universal Pictures re-edited the final scenes of the film to depict only Kong surfacing from the final under-sea battle before swimming off into the distance, giving the obvious impression of a Kong victory. However, the original Japanese version of the film shows that neither monster surfaces, which would of course point to the politically correct resolution of a tie. With such a fair ending, it's perfectly understandable that no one should seek to remind anyone that King Kong and Godzilla do not both share the ability to breathe underwater... Only one can do this...
There really isn't an answer, because there isn't any real question; only facts leading to an undeniable truth: GODZILLA WOULD WIN.
|Posted by johnstork on November 10, 2007 at 12:32 AM||comments (0)|
Thanks for stopping by, this is my first blog ever! No joke!!!
Hope you enjoy this extra super bonus information, there's more to come!!!!!
THE ORIGINS OF HYPER-STRIKE!!!
Hyper-Strike's comic book backstory (as well as powers, catchphrases, etc.) can be found at www.theheroeslair.com, a fansite for Season 2 created by the one and only Parthenon!!! There's also a Hyper-Strike fansite on MySpace.
His real-life backstory however, is also shrouded in mystery...
Few are aware of the truth, and even fewer believe it. But now, I will reveal everything to you! My loyal Hyper-Strike fans!!! Alright. Here goes;
Perhaps you noticed the strange costume I was wearing during my audition in Episode 1??? Well, not only was I wearing a different costume, I was performing as a completely different character! That's right!!! The origin of Hyper-Strike doesn't start with Hyper-Strike at all! It starts...
with SUPER! IMPACT!!! MAAANNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"WHAAAT!?!?", you say? "I don't know this Impact dude AT ALL!", you say? Well, you actually know him alot better then you think...
When I said he was a completely different character, it was a bit of an exaggeration Impact Man and Hyper-Strike's personality and powers are nearly identical. Super Impact Man was the first superhero character I ever created. He is the character I perform as in the circus (most of the time...). He is anime/manga/videogame inspired goodness. And he is who I auditioned as for Who Wants To Be A Superhero 2... AND 1!!! That's Correct!!!!! I actually auditioned for the first season as well!!! And I didn't even audition live! I SENT IN A VIDEO!!!
Anyways, I made the change from Impact to Hyper at the last second to avoid Sci-Fi getting the rights to Super Impact Man. Had I not done this, I would have no longer been able to perform as Impact man... Ever Again!!! No more Impact-Impact Blasts! No more Death Machine 6!!! No more Super Impact ACT!!!!! Needless to say, I did what I had to do, and in doing so, an incredible new character was born! HYPER-STRIKE!!! Who you could almost say is a "clone" of Super Impact Man... END!
Coming Soon: The Lost Audition Video! - Heeeeere's IMPACT!!!!!
right now I am on my way to L.A. to work for my old coach