Did you ever wonder what spurred on the the webmasters of some of your favorite fan sites to spend hours on end in front of the computer bringing you a fun site to visit? In Soapdom's Site of the Month, you'll have the opportunity to find out!
Site of the Month
Michael Easton Corner
Josi Kull, Webmaster
Josi Kull tells us that her Michael Easton Corner website is the most reliable online source for all your questions about Michael Easton.
Josi says, "Michael is an amazing and versatile artist (actor, poet, writer, director) who is currently starring as "John McBain" on 'One Life to Live'" on ABC Daytime."
A happily married mother of two boys, Josi has been a fan of Michael Easton since November 1997. She acknowledges that it is "not that long compared with some American fans I got to know in the meantime. Well, as I had not seen him on German television till that time, I didn't even know that he existed."
Which brings us to this -- Josi is from Europe! “I live in a small town called Stolberg in western Germany,” Josi reveals. "The next biggest towns that are perhaps better known to Americans are the cities of Aachen and Cologne. The region where I live is called the region where three countries meet -- namely Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.”
So, how did Josi get hooked on Michael Easton all the way over in Germany?
It happened in November 1997 when "TWO" was shown for the first time in Germany. Josi was immediately fascinated by the main character, played by Michael Easton, even though she had never seen him before on German TV. She wanted to know more about him but, at that time didn’t have a computer and had a hard time finding information about him. Only a single German magazine called "BRAVO" published a very nice photo and a very short report about him.
She tells us, "I wrote to many newspapers and magazines, but in vain. In addition, I wrote to the TV station which was showing "TWO." They had called the series 'Hunted - The Second Face.' They sent me a trailer with information about Michael. But unfortunately, that was not much more than I knew already. But nevertheless I was very pleased."
Then, in April 1998, things turned. "I heard that there was an Internet cafe in the neighboring town," says Josi. "I went there. It was at the Internet cafe where I came across Michael’s official website. WOW! It was great! At last, the information I had been looking for such a long time. Finally, I got my own computer (a secondhand one), and then arose the wish of creating my own Michael Easton homepage.”
But how to realize this idea without any knowledge of web design? “As I never attended a course in webdesign, it was often laborious,” Josi shares. “As the technology constantly develops, you have to work hard to keep up to date. The first version of my homepage was entirely dedicated to "TWO.” I never figured the website would become this huge as it is known today."
The website was first established in October 1998, and “aims to 'provide respectful and accurate information and media for fellow fans.”
Then, in May 2003, an amazing thing occurred. Josi was contacted by Michael Easton himself! “Michael contacted me that May and since then we cooperate,” Josi shares. Is the website an official one for Michael Easton? “Well, the website is more or less an 'official fan site,' she says. "Michael doesn´t want an official website again, and this should be respected. We both like a certain independence, and appreciate the casualness of our cooperation." Casual or not, Josi communicates regularly with Michael about her site.
A visit to Michael Easton Corner brings one to an informative, up to date site on everything Michael Easton. Josi even tells us the latest news that: “Michael Easton will NOT leave One Life to Live! A few days ago some fans drew my attention to a kind of rumor which can be found on the Tainted Love message board. However, no source has been mentioned. When I contacted Michael in this matter he replied that he absolutely could not confirm this. His wording was, 'This is the first I've heard of it.'"
In fact, there is a whole page full of news straight from Michael Easton himself. As well as a photo gallery with hundreds of photos Easton and his fans.
The site also boasts an extensive articles archive, video and audio archive (where you can watch and listen to excerpts from various interviews and appearances. There is even a 'Desktop Enhancements' section where you can go to get things to decorate your desktop with Michael!
Josi tells us that she enjoys the fact that she’s met so many nice and interesting people from many different countries because of the website. Many only wrote once or twice, others, however, remained friends.
"Michael Easton Corner would never work without the assistance of my online friends and the fans who supported me during the years," reveals Josi. "I especially like to mention my own family. Without their support and understanding, this time-intensive hobby won’t be possible." Josi is pictured here with her youngest son, Pascal.
"Once I was asked whether my husband Albert knew that this homepage exists. Of course he does. Furthermore, he respects Michael as an actor. And not to worry. Albert isn’t jealous."
Being in Germany, we wanted to know how Josi keeps up with Michael’s U.S. work, including One Life to Live.
“I´m supplied with tapes by a friend called Sylly,” Josi explains. “She sent me the Port Charles arcs where Michael appeared, and now she supplies me with tapes of OLTL. I, of course, pay for her expenses. I´m not quite up to date with the episodes, as I usually get the tapes two months after they have been aired. It would be far too expensive to dispatch every single tape, and thus she collects them and sends them in a batch.”
Others also pitch in. “In the past other fans also sent me tapes (for example "Total Recall 2070" and "The 70´s"), and I bought some from Amazon.com (for example VR.5). When it comes to media coverage, Josi hasn’t seen the U.S. soap magazines on the German market, and having them sent to Germany would be too expensive. Again she relies on site visitors who have become friends to help out.
“My friend and co-worker, Lois A. Troutman, supplies me weekly with scanned articles of various magazines. For some weeks now she is writing OLTL-John McBain recaps for the homepage and articles for her own column "Lois´s Life-Lines" which can also be found on the website,” continues Josi. “Before, I often auctioned press clippings and earlier editions of soap magazines at Ebay. And I also got earlier articles from two other fans named Lori and Laura.”
More information about Michael´s work comes straight from Michael´s manager and from Michael himself, who Josi has been in contact with since May 2003.
A website like Josi's and the others we have visited in the past months are a lot of work to maintain. Yet, they are all done as a labor of love, not profit...and they all deserve our accolades on a job well done!
"Sometimes I can hardly believe that I’m already working on this homepage for more than four years and still with the same enthusiasm as at the beginning,” says Josi. “In the meantime, it has become more than a hobby. I love Michael's work and what he stands for - actor, poet, director, writer, human being. Very often I wish my day would have 48 hours because I have lots of plans and not enough time *sniff*. Anybody in with me for 48 hour days? I would love it! On the other hand, a hobby is just a hobby, so when my enthusiasm for Michael Easton or website creation wears thin, I will formally retire. But I hope that is still a loooooong way off... "
I second that, Josi! Michael Easton Corner' is a wonderful site and I encourage you all to check it out soon. For all MECorner visitors Soapdom says Danke to Josi for her hard work on bringing us all Michael Easton Corner!
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