Connect with us

Arts & Culture

Dead Celebrity

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 [...]
J.R. McMillan



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 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

Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

See what’s re-opening: Entertainment venues get June 10 go-ahead




Who would’ve thought that people would be getting excited about a roller skating rink reopening in 2020?

As far as keeping ourselves entertained, Gov. Mike DeWine blessed the state with wonderful news on Thursday. DeWine announced that certain entertainment facilities would be able to reopen under certain health and safety restrictions starting June 10.

Skate Zone 71 has already reopened as of today, but there’s still a handful of entertainment venues who have had to hold off on letting people back in until next Wednesday.

Those venues include:

  • Aquariums
  • Art galleries
  • Country clubs
  • Ice skating rinks
  • Indoor family entertainment centers
  • Indoor sports facilities
  • Laser tag facilities
  • Movie theaters (indoor)
  • Museums
  • Playgrounds (outdoor)
  • Public recreation centers
  • Roller skating rinks
  • Social clubs
  • Trampoline parks
  • Zoos

Below are a few we know are re-opening next week. Check back for more next week!

  • Otherworld  — The immersive art installation that took Columbus by storm in 2019 is set to return on June 11, according to the venue’s webpage. Otherworld will be operating at a capacity of one visitor per 160 square feet, or around 20 percent of the regular admittance.
  • The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomes back members beginning on June 12, 13, and 14, and all guests starting on June 15. The Zoo will be open daily from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., and all Zoo visits (including for Members) will require a dated, timed ticket to help ensure that social distancing and other precautions are followed appropriately.
  • Skate 71 is gearing up for re-opening, according to its Facebook page. It’s currently selling tickets for Adult Night Skating on June 11. Buy them here.
  • The Chiller is also prepping for re-opening and has been selling passes for various sessions since June 1. You can learn more about grabbing some time at the rink here.
  • Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will reopen its operations to visitors on Saturday, June 13. The reopening includes all of the Conservatory's interior biomes and outdoor gardens, filled with colorful summer horticulture displays and topiaries. Visitors will also be able to enjoy the annual Bonsai exhibition and the Conservatory’s entire collection of Dale Chihuly glass artwork.
    For more information and updates on the Conservatory, please visit or follow the Conservatory on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

What’s Open: Venues slowly start to roll out live music




When it was announced in mid-May that wedding venues and banquet halls would reopen at the beginning of June, the next question became: When will music venues be next?

Although the rollout has been slow and will be gradual, Columbus venues and attractions that regularly house live music are making their comeback. When the high-spirited, good-feeling cover band Popgun graced the Natalie’s Music Hall & Kitchen on May 27, many people’s greatest fears of being robbed of live music for the rest of the year were eased maybe a little.

The only way for us to get currently get down to live music is to sit down, which is a fair trade-off given the times.

Check out a few Columbus venues that are set to reopen or have reopened under strict coronavirus guidelines.

  • The Forum Columbus -- The Forum welcomed back live music on May 29 with a tabled RSVP DJ showcase. For this event, guests were required to come in groups of no more than 10, be seated six feet apart from other groups, and remain seated unless you have to use the restroom. There are no future events planned as of this publishing.
  • Otherworld  -- The immersive art installation that took Columbus by storm in 2019 is set to return on June 11, according to the venue’s webpage. Otherworld will be operating at a capacity of one visitor per 160 square feet, or around 20 percent of the regular admittance. It’s unclear when the next time Otherworld will host live music, but this is a giant step in the right direction in terms of venue re-openings.
  • South Drive-In -- It’s not a venue in Columbus that traditionally holds music, but it’s become one and may stay one for the time being. Viral DJ Marc Rebillet will be bringing his sold-out drive-in show to the South Drive-In on June 14. With these types of performances popping up all around the country and the South Drive-In owner getting plenty of event requests, we will hopefully be seeing more shows of this nature in the warmer months.
Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

Q&A: Columbus artist Mandi Caskey wants to bring us together




Photo by John Thorne

Context plays one of the most important roles in our understanding of art. For instance, if you saw the unveiling of Columbus artist Mandi Caskey’s latest masterpiece, you’d probably equate the message to the daily protests that have been held in Columbus over the past week.

When the mural on the abandoned highway overpass near Scioto Audubon Metro Park was started, that wasn’t the case. It was a message meant to distract us from the hardships that COVID-19 flooded our lives with.

Video by John Thorne


Now, to some people, the mural’s message, which stretches over 400 feet, takes on a new meaning.

(614) caught up with Caskey to find out the inspiration behind the piece and how she feels about subjectiveness in art. Check out a brief Q&A below and some incredible aerial footage from photographer/videographer John Thorne.

Obviously a project this big can't be tackled alone. Who all helped bring this idea to life?

This project was originally an idea that I wanted to do secretly aka illegally, but my business partner came up with a better idea. And that was to get other artists involved and pay them during the stay-at-home order. 

The whole time we honestly didn’t think we would be able to get approval on all the permits we needed, but thanks to Lori Baudro, over a month and a half we got permission and permits from the Department of Public Service, ODOT, and the Arts Commission. We were honestly in shock. 

When it came down to businesses, we started working with Tim Cousino, who’s an architect. He figured out all the measurements we needed. From there we had to get our hands dirty and clean the surface of the bridge, which had five 9-foot around dirt piles that we shoveled off.

Once the surface was prepped and ready to go, we had Jacob Bench come out. He’s an engineer that helped translate all of Tim’s measurements. The project would have been 10 times more difficult without him! 

Through the process, we slowly grew the team. David Greenzalis is my partner in crime so he was there from the beginning. Katie Bench, Hawke Trackler, Lisa Celesta, Ariel Peguero, Chris Blain, Patrick Cardwell, Eric Terranova, Sam Rex, and Justin Paul, who has taken the amazing footage everyone has seen. All of these people are passionate, hardworking, and just awesome to be around. I was excited when we all came together. 

From what I've read, it seems like your idea for this was green-lit very quickly and easily. Why do you think people responded to the idea in your message so strongly?

There’s a combination of reasons everything moved so quickly (in terms of government) ha-ha. Part of it was the fact people were at home; they wanted something to get excited about. This was a project people could easily get geeked out about: 400-foot long mural on the bridge that has been abandoned for 10-plus years! I think they just wanted to see if it could happen. Also, the bridge will be torn down in a year or so; this means the mural doesn’t need any upkeep. The fact it was temporary made it an easy Yes for people. Still in shock this all worked out so smoothly.

What roadblocks did you run into during the process of creating the mural?

A big roadblock that no one could help was the weather. Man, was it a beast to work with. When we first started prepping the bridge, it was raining and around 40 degrees outside. We were in coats with gloves for half of the project. Then it rains for almost two weeks straight, which pushed back any painting we wanted to do. The days when we did get to work was easily 95 and scorching! We were all burnt to a crisp! It was stressful but fun working with this crazy Ohio weather.

How do you think art helps people during times of unrest and uncertainty like we're in right now?

Art is truly the bridge between thoughtful conversations and action (pun intended). Public art specifically can be the most impactful since it’s meant to be viewed by everyone. There’s no fee to look at it, no dress code, no need for art knowledge, just acceptance and appreciation are necessary. 

Art in general helps people look outside of their own personal bubbles. We can see into someone else’s mind for a split second and become apart of the art and experience. I think we forget that art is a living representation of us, but I hope through this unsure time we start to remember why humans started painting in the first place.

I think there's something to be said about how the mural was made on the basis of the coronavirus pandemic and bringing people together and now it can take on the meaning of the social change that needs to happen in this world. What are your thoughts on that?

Originally the mural was made because I personally felt alone and knew so many other people were feeling the same way during the stay-at-home orders. Once the project actually started to become a real thing, “we are stronger together” became more about the people who were working together; so many different types of backgrounds and artists. People from different periods in my personal life, all coming together and making something epic. 

When it was all said and done, the words are made for everyone, from any background, race, gender, far and wide. It’s a message that I hope makes people know I’m with them, that no matter the craziness in the world, someone’s got your back.


Continue Reading