Chuck Lamb clutched his mother’s hand as the steady stream of mourners approached his father’s casket. He recognized a few faces from the family’s infamous backyard poker parlor, attracting traveling card sharks eager to ante up with the local gambling legend and sometimes moonshiner. Even Chuck had his own side hustle since the age of six, running sandwiches and chips to the players for tips long into the night.
For someone as fabled as his father, the funeral still had way too many folks for just family and friends. Reverend Billy Graham himself was there to deliver the eulogy, but it was the guys in fitted suits and fedoras that stood out in rural North Carolina—each passing by the casket in suspicious silence. Chuck whispered into his mother’s ear wanting to know why they were there. Her reply was almost prophetic.
“They’re here to make sure he’s really dead.”
Columbus seems to inspire unlikely celebrities, from a long-shot boxer named Buster to a guy whose penchant for potato salad nearly broke the Internet. Lamb may not have the same name recognition or notoriety, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any actor more committed to character. He’d moved here to his mother’s hometown as a wide-eyed kid from the foothills of Appalachia, but always dreamed of something a bit bigger. Without the looks or chops expected by an industry built on image and experience, this everyman turned a singular skill into a career as a corpse.
Chuck Lamb is the “Dead Body Guy.”
“It was always on my bucket list to see my name in the credits for a movie or television show,” he explained. “I loved the beginning of Law & Order. Every episode opened with Jerry Orbach standing over a dead body making some smart-ass remark.”
Chuck and his wife Tonya hatched a plan. Posed in creative states of comical demise, she photographed her husband for the newly registered deadbodyguy.com website, which he’d whipped together on a whim. (Television crime dramas must always be looking for victims, right?)
“She came up with several clever ways to kill me and we posted the pictures. Tonya made up the blood and everything,” Lamb quipped. “Within six weeks, we were on the front page of the New York Times.”
That’s when macabre soon became surreal. Eager to land the first morning television interview, the major networks each angled for Lamb’s exclusive attention.
“I was on the phone at home with both the Today Show and CBS, clicking between the two, and Good Morning America on my cell phone—at he same time,” Lamb recalled. “They all wanted me to do their show first.”
NBC ultimately came back with the best offer, a promised appearance on one of their series, and CBS was still ready to send a limo to pick him up at Rockefeller Center to immediately do their show the same day. ABC wasn’t interested in third place and passed altogether, or so it seemed.
“I was at Port Columbus getting ready to catch my flight to New York and a camera crew from ABC tried to ambush me for an interview to air on Good Morning America before I could get to the Today Show,” he revealed. Lamb was having none of it. “When I got there, NBC actually booked my hotel room under an assumed name to keep the other networks from finding me.”
Forget slasher movies—network television is cut-throat.
Numerous notable and also-ran roles followed, but never quite ignited demand for a well-seasoned stiff. Expectations were high for an appearance on an episode of the sitcom What I Like About You, but most of Lamb’s cameo was left on the cutting room floor.
“I went out there for two days, sat for hours and hours, and all you see is me slumped over and my bald head. They never showed my face,” Lamb lamented. “That was supposed to be my breakout performance. But if you blinked, you missed it.”
There was also that time the Dead Body Guy bumped into the Terminator.
Schwarzenegger happened to be walking into Hollywood Casino at the same moment as Lamb. It turns out Chuck had worked on a TV pilot with Arnold’s old acting coach and introduced himself. The two shared memories of working with their mutual friend while someone from Schwarzenegger’s entourage ran out to the parking lot to grab a copy of his autobiography, Total Recall, which Arnold personally inscribed.
Lamb’s most recent television work was his most animated to date, an upcoming appearance on the game show reboot of To Tell The Truth, featuring Denise Richards, Kal Penn, Ken Marino, and Theresa the Long Island Medium. Celebrity contestants ask a panel of three guests questions and try to guess who are the imposters, and who is telling the truth. Chuck’s delivery was, of course, deadpan.
“The producers contacted me about doing the show. We shot it months ago, but it hasn’t aired yet,” he noted. “Theresa came over and asked to see all of our hands and immediately said she knew who it was. I fooled two of the four.”
Celebrity, living or otherwise, was at best a stunt that seemed to outlast its original intent, and Law & Order. Following a few unfortunate injuries, and multiple back surgeries, Lamb realized retirement was in his cards. (Save maybe a casting call from The Walking Dead; a dying wish, if you will.)
“After more opportunities and laughs than I ever expected or deserved, I need to stop before it actually kills me.” he explained, suggesting he’d like to pass on the legacy and namesake of the Dead Body Guy to the right person, like Zorro or Batman handing the mask to the next anonymous hero. “I don’t want this dream to die with me.”
Lamb has appeared in such films as Horrorween, ThanksKILLING, and Stiffs. For more, see deadbodyguy.com.
Arts Fest Preview: Kate Morgan, 2D mixed media artist
Kate Morgan began developing her ghostly, layered two-dimensional portraits after going back to school at the Columbus College of Art & Design in 2005. She already had some background in visual arts through her work in fashion and commercial photography, so the transition to drawing and painting was organic.
Morgan’s textured collages are inspired by folklore, mythology and a variety of artistic periods — especially Byzantine art. The 2011 Columbus Arts Festival Emerging Artist alum and 2019 exhibiting artist welcomes a wide array of complex themes into her pieces — including symbolic, cultural, historical and spiritual themes — while utilizing layers of vintage paper and original drawings to create visual depth and a sense of mystery.
Her pieces are purposely vague, leaning toward more minimalistic ideas to allow for wider interpretation by audiences. Largely her art depicts the female form, with as many layers and stories to tell as that of every human being. This is done with an eclectic assortment of materials — including sheet music, German Biblical pages, newspaper and maps — to add detail in both a topical and textural sense.
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And yet, Morgan still continues to look for a challenge. From venturing away from her familiar blue hues to exploring different mediums like ceramics, her work knows no creative limits.
Morgan has exhibited at the Columbus Arts Festival nearly every year since 2011. She has gone on to win two jurors’ choice awards in the 2D category at the Columbus Arts Festival, as well as sell and have work juried at other major festivals across the country. In Columbus, her work can be seen as part of the Columbus Makes Art and Donatos Pizza collaborative mural “Every Piece Is Important” at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.
Morgan has a BFA from CCAD and currently works out of her Franklinton studio in Columbus. Experience this stunning work first hand when you visit her at booth M572 on the Main Street Bridge during the Columbus Arts Festival from June 7-9 at the downtown riverfront.
Be Square: Changes coming to arts community at 400 W Rich
If you haven’t visited the thriving arts community at 400 West Rich street in awhile, you might be surprised to see how much things have changed. Now, the minds behind the city’s hub for the arts are changing things up to better reflect the area’s evolution.
400 Square is the new collective moniker for the array of concepts that currently occupy the buildings on the 400 block of Rich street in Franklinton. The rebrand seeks to unify the community of artistic innovators who call the area developed by Urban Smart Growth their creative home.
Spaces encompassed in the rebrand include Strongwater, The Vanderelli Room, and Chromedge Studios, and of course, the studios at 400 W. Rich. While the name may be changing, the group remains committed to providing and sustaining a thriving hub for creatives through education, resources, and entertainment opportunities in the area.
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With the launch of 400 Square, Urban Smart Growth Director of Operations Seth Stout has led his team to develop new offerings for each of the growing spaces. Food and Beverage Director Lauren Conrath and Events Director Molly Blundred have taken the lead with changes to the Strongwater brand, while Community Director Stephanie McGlone and Art Director AJ Vanderelli are facilitating programming for all ages and abilities on the artist side.
Through all of the changes on the way, the staff at 400 Square are committed to bringing the public the same high quality of workshops, events, exhibitions, and more that have always been part of their unique creative community.
Stay tuned for more info—the new 400 Square officially rolls out during the weekend of Columbus Arts Fest 2019, June 7-9.
Arts Fest Preview: Cousin Simple to wow crowd with energy, passion
As a young up-and-coming band, Cousin Simple is excited to play at this year’s Columbus Art’s Festival. In their two years as a band, they have already done a lot of really cool things, such as making a single with L.A. multi-platinum music producer David Kershenbaum, playing at Vans Warped Tour at Blossom Music Center, and selling out shows at the A&R Bar, the Basement and The Big Room Bar. But there is much more they want to accomplish including recording more music, making a music video and playing more shows in and out of Columbus.
The band members are all Columbus born and raised. Four members currently attend The Ohio State University, while their drummer Joel is finishing up his junior year at New Albany high School. Cousin Simple brings an energy and passion to the stage and gives everything they have to their performances, regardless of the crowd size. They just released a new single in February called Honeybee, available on iTunes and Spotify and have a single set to release May 10 titled “Star Destroyers.”
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Columbus is a great city for musicians. Whether you’re in the indie, rock, or hip hop scene, there are other musicians and music industry people willing to help you out. Columbus also takes a great sense of pride in its “local gems.” People love to see musicians who are doing well in their hometown and are willing to support them in many ways.
There are so many organizations that have taken this to heart and are helping bands get great opportunities. CD102.5, WCBE 90.5, PromoWest Productions and the Columbus Music Commission have helped Cousin Simple get airtime, shows and support. When it comes to music cities, Columbus may not be the first place that comes to mind, but there are so many bands and musicians doing exciting things it’s making the future bright for them and the Columbus music scene.
But Cousin Simple recognizes that none of this would be possible without the support of their family, friends and FANS that come to each and every show. They are humbled and motivated by their audiences who energize them to make every performance an experience their fans won’t forget.
Cousin Simple will perform on the Big Local Music Stage on Rich Street on Friday night, June 7 at 7:45 p.m.