Hourly Comic Day Tomorrow!

February 1st is International / Intergalactic / Universal  Hourly Comic Day, as decreed by John Campbell, who’s a pretty weird guy nowadays, but anyways.  I’ve participated in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and you can see lots more entries from  HCDs past on this forum.  Here are the guidelines if you’re interested in joining in (do it!).  Anyway, I thought this snippet of this unrelated Kate Leth comic was appropriate:

Kate Leth ALongStory 8-9-2012

(Kate Leth has lots of great, unflinching comics about sexuality, mental health, depression, etc., so definitely check her out beyond just that snippet!)

I apologize in advance for my own uneventful autobio comics…  But part of the fun of HCD is seeing so many people’s days, even if they’re not super exciting on their own…  A fun annual comics event for sure!

Orientalist Opera Anyone?

Very short notice, but just in case…  Opera Lafayette, devotees of French opera from the Baroque to the Comique, have a one-night only NYC performance tomorrow night of Félicien-César David‘s 1862 orientalist operetta Lalla-Roukh.  It’s part of Opera Lafayette‘s ongoing rediscovery of the repertoire of Paris’ Opéra Comique.

Lalla-Roukh by David, Opéra Comique poster 1862

Premiere poster by Célestin Nanteuil

Further down the line in May they’ll be performing Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier‘s 1685 Actéon, but in their home base of Washington DC only, so plan ahead if that is of interest to you.

Poulenc Anniversary

Today marks the 50th anniversary of French composer Francis Poulenc‘s death, so here is the legendary haunting final scene from his opera, Dialogues des Carmélites about a group of nuns who were guillotined in the wake of the French Revolution.  

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RGSLSYXIek&w=350&h=300]

The opera gets a rare outing at the Met in May, for three performances only.  Another, slightly more immediate option is his Gloria for chorus and soprano, performed by the Barnard-Columbia and St. Olaf’s Choirs at Alice Tully Hall in March.  I’m looking forward to getting to know his work a bit better myself…

Meconis v PVP

So I’ve posted about webcomic fanart before, but since Scott Kurtz of PVP and Danielle Corsetto of Girls With Slingshots have both been running guest comics lately, it seemed like a good time to talk about it s’more.  In particular, I was impressed with Dylan Meconis‘ seamless take-over of PVP for a multi-part story starting here.  Dylan Meconis' PVP guest comic

Characters by Scott Kurtz, Art by Dylan Meconis

Goodness, she totally had me thinking that was our regularly scheduled Kurtz art…  Here’s Meconis’ post about the opportunity which is really sweet.  And she’s right about attracting new readers this way, cuz even though I’ve heard nothing but good things about her before, I did not know about her Eisner-nominated short webcomic Outfoxed, which starts cute and folksy before suddenly taking a dark turn…  Maybe now is the time to finally start on her werewolf webcomic epic, Family Man?

Dixon Place Tonight

There’s some free experimental musical theater going on tonight at NYC’s hothouse for experimental theater, Dixon Place.  Songwriter Justin Vahala, who has performed songs there before, will be putting on a 30-minute two-person show along with Paul Leopold, What Leaves the Wind has Laid, described as:

The story of two men whose paths cross in an enchanted bathhouse hovering in the liminal space where past, present, guilt, and bacchanalian abandon converge. This conceptual concert explores themes of redemption, hedonism, and the gaps in memory as it seeks to create a different future in a suspended world.

After the 30-minute piece, Justin Vahala will perform new songs too.  A good opportunity to test out the experimental theater waters!

Victoria Roberts at Dixon Place.

Victoria Roberts at Dixon Place. Photo by Barry Hoggard

If you need another Bizarro Twin reason to go, cartoonist Victoria Roberts, who appears frequently in the New Yorker, has a dual life as a performance artist and has performed two pieces at Dixon Place, and you can see some of her character designs for her piece Les Quattre Filles du Docteur March in the hallway leading to the box office!

The Wayne White Story

wayne white beauty is embarrassing

Copyright Wayne White

Missed this on PBS the other day, but seems borderline appropriate for the blog.  PBS‘ Independent Lens recently aired Beauty is Embarrassing by director Neil Berkeley, which is all about Wayne White, a former underground cartoonist, eventual designer on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and now an unexpected fine art world success.

The full documentary is available on PBS Video until Monday, Jan. 28th, so good weekend viewing.  After that, you can visit the Beauty is Embarrassing website to buy the video or learn more.

Beauty is Embarrassing – The Wayne White Story on PBS Online

gary panter last glare 2010

Copyright Gary Panter

Another interesting comics connection through Pee-Wee’s Playhouse is Gary Panter, another underground cartoonist-cum-artist (and recipient of MoCCA’s 2012 Klein Award!) who also worked on the design of that show.  I guess they knew each other?  Interesting network…

Marvel Now over Young Avengers

Marvel‘s Young Avengers relaunch by the UK dream team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (with art assist from Mike Norton) hits your local comic book shop today, and as you may know I am pretty excited for it…  As someone interested in writers’ and artists’ processes, I’ve been enjoying Gillen‘s blog posts presenting his thoughts on each of the main characters (with carefully selected, character-specific songs to boot), all collected here.

In Young Avengers, we have explicitly stated we’re doing little to pastiche the decades of history before us. You won’t see us doing a parody of the cover of the first issue of the Fantastic Four, for example. But the flip of that is trying to do something that speaks to the core values that resonate throughout the structure, imagine how a Marvel Universe may feel if it was created wholesale on January 23rd 2013.

Sounds pretty grrreat…  Newsarama has an advance review: 10 outta 10, my friends.  Be pumped.  Be very pumped.

Belated Inauguration with Marian Anderson

Inauguration Day 2013 sorta snuck up on me, so I didn’t get to come up with a topical post…  But in honor of the Martin Luther King Day / Black president double whammy, here’s Marian Anderson singing the anthem at Eisenhower‘s 1957 inauguration.

That same year she began a tour of India as a goodwill ambassador for the US government, which is just totes adorbs.  Don’t get that nowadays, huh.

Questa o Quella, Rigoletto or Doubt

Verdi‘s Rigoletto is getting a snazzy updated production at the Met Opera soon (just look at this moody, mysterious TV spot), and tonight the director Michael Mayer and set designer Christine Jones will discuss their process at the Guggenheim’s Works & Process series, with the singers performing excerpts too.

In past installments, these Works & Process events have been live-streamed on their UStream, so I suspect that may happen tonight too?  But I’m not seeing any explicit mention of it…   Well, tune in here at 7:30 tonight just to be sure!

If that doesn’t work out, my consolation gift is the full video of last season’s Works & Process event on Douglas J. Cuomo‘s Doubt, with libretto by original playwright John Patrick Shanley, set to premiere at Minnesota Opera at the end of the month.  The New York Times just had a feature article on it too, mainly from Shanley‘s perspective, so interesting supplementary reading.

20th Century British Opera Double-Feature

NYC Opera put out this trailer for the first two operas in their reduced, traveling 2013 season, their second season since leaving their long-time home at Lincoln Center due to monetary woes…  I think it’s a fun pairing, with Thomas Adès‘ first opera, Powder her Face (complementing the Met‘s earlier presentation of his Tempest), and Benjamin Britten‘s ghost story chamber opera The Turn of the Screw (which I have featured before in all its full-length glory).

In addition to the directors talking about their ideas and themes and whatever, you can also see stage design maquettes!  always fun…