Cesare on TV

Can’t believe I forgot about this!  

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GtZBErqxco&w=350&h=300]

Tomorrow at noon (12:30 in New York), PBS is showing the Metropolitan Opera‘s performance of Händel‘s most beloved opera, Giulio Cesare.  This production, by Sir David McVicar, was imported from Glyndebourne where it premiered in 2005, and it’s a fun one, as the choreographed number above shows.  

Giulio Cesare at the Met

Giulio Cesare at the Met, 2013, photo by Marty Sohl


Robot Overlords

Nedroid by Anthony Clark 8-21-2013

Copyright Anthony Clark

This happened to me at my fancy workplace bathroom recently, but with the paper towel dispenser.  Not sure how long I waved my hands short of sticking my hand up a hostile machine to yank some paper out, but once I was halfway out the door I heard that familiar whirr to see the machine working in my absence…  Creepy.

This is also the 2nd consecutive Nedroid I’ve featured on here, what can I say, I’m a fan…

Ancient Roman Holiday

Hadrian & Antinous brooch, Metropolitan Museum

Mid-18th Century brooch of Hadrian & Antinous, from the Metropolitan Museum

Operamission, a small New York opera company that I knew of mostly for their performances of rarer Handel operas, is workshopping a brand new opera this season, Antinous and Hadrian.

Divided into three chunks, it’s being presented at three separate, $10 events.  I just learned of it yesterday, so we missed the first one, but the second is tonight at 7pm, the third on Saturday.  Tickets here!

Love Scene from the opera ANTINOUS AND HADRIAN from operamission on Vimeo.

From composer Clint Borzoni, an alum of programs from American Opera Projects and American Lyric Theater, the opera tells the story of Hadrian, Roman emperor from 117 to 138 AD, and his relationship with the young Antinous.  (Gotta love those same-sex lovin’ Romans!)  After Antinous’ death, Hadrian had him exalted to the level of deity, accounting for much of the contemporary art of him…  The duet above is sung by bass Matthew Curran (Hadrian) and tenor Tommy Wazelle (Antinous).

I’m intrigued by some of the other projects from Borzoni, including song cycles, but especially his one-act opera Margot Alone in the Light, based on a Ray Bradbury story…  And what do you know, Operamission has it in full on their YouTube channel

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpDdB442mIY&w=350&h=300]

Get your $10 tickets here for tonight and Saturday’s performances of Antinous and Hadrian!

Much to Learn…

Comics Beat put up a Top 10 list of hard-learned lifelong cartooning advice GI Joe-and-other-things writer & artist Larry Hama posted on his Facebook then took down; I’m a sucker for comics advice from just about anyone, and it’s neat that Hama is a more mainstream cartoonist who still has experience writing & drawing his stories…

  • 1. Don’t have people just standing there.
  • 2. ANY expression is better than a blank stare.
  • 3. Avoid tangents, and any straight line that divides the panel.
  • 4. If you use an odd angle in the shot, there has to be a reason for it.
  • 5. If you don’t have at least one panel on each page with a full figure, your “camera” is too close.
  • 6. Plan out your shots in “Lawrence of Arabia” mode rather than in “General Hospital” mode.
  • 7. Don’t think of backgrounds as “things to fill up the space after the figures are drawn.”
  • 8. If you know what something is called, and you have an Internet connection, there is no reason to draw it inaccurately.
  • 9. If the colorist has to ask if a scene takes place at night, you haven’t done your job.
  • 10. If you can’t extend the drawing beyond the panel borders and still have it make visual sense, you’ve cheated on the perspective

This is great of course, but I can’t help but feel some of it is more for the active, action comics…  People standing around is like half of the autobio comics I read, and definitely the ones I’m planning on making!  Conflicted…

Comics Alliance also has a great appraisal of Hama and how his varied life experiences, including in the Vietnam War, informed his run on GI Joe, the property he’s most closely identified with.

Punk Rock Jesus #6 cover

Copyright Sean Murphy

Also, for any of my readers who happen to be aspiring cartoonists, fellow writer-artist cartoonist Sean Murphy, of Vertigo’s Punk Rock Jesus, announced a competition to win an apprenticeship with him in Portland, Maine; application details here!

Retro Wonder Woman

DC Comics’ premiere heroine recently received a rocking retro reinvention in their DC Nation series of shorts.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHZKIVS3h2g&w=350&h=300]

Created by cartoonist, animator, and illustrator Robert Valley, these shorts have brought Wonder Woman some much-need media exposure at a time when higher-ups in DC Entertainment cite her “tricky” background as an impediment to her own TV show or movie.  Sue, the blogger on DC Women Kicking Ass, has used these shorts as proof to the contrary, and Comics Alliance called them the cartoon equivalent to a summer jam.

The shorts so far are now officially available in full on YouTube, starting with the one above.  Here are Part 2 & Part 3.  I have to admit I found the last installment pretty sexy, what with Wonder Woman saving dude-in-distress Steve Trevor on a surfboard, full 70s style.

Responsibility is Overrated

As summer ends, with classes looming on the horizon, and graduation after-er that, and the real world even more after-er that, I’m tempted to take Anthony Clark‘s problem-solving advice from his webcomic Nedroid:

Nedroid by Anthony Clark: Beartato Problemsolver

Copyright Anthony Clark (click for full comic)

For a more fleshed out and sadly even more appropriate description of my turbulent, tenuous relation with adult resposibility, there’s always Allie Brosh‘s early but super-popular illustrated essay, entitled This is Why I’ll Never be an Adult

Hyperbole & a Half by Allie Brosh: This is Why I'll Never be an Adult

Copyright Allie Brosh (click for full comic)

… which even gave rise to its own meme!

This is all to say that if you never hear from me again, I’ve probably crumpled under the (feather)weight of my immense and multi-faceted responsibilities…  I can only do so much, y’know?

Russian Double Bill

Speaking of small-scale opera companies in New York, this week also brings the 2013 production of Opera Slavica, the company devoted to Eastern European opera.  This year’s performance is a double bill of Prokofiev’s first, and Tchaikovsky‘s last opera, ie Maddalena & Iolanta, respectively…

Just two performances, tomorrow and the day after (at Bohemian National Hall, appropriately enough), so Czech it out!  HA!

And if you miss these performances, being one-act operas, there are some full videos available on Youtube, including this Maddalena from Rostov-on-Don, Russia, and a full-out Soviet film of Iolanta…  OSTALGIA FOREVER!

Incoronation Week

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_isL0E-4TsQ&w=350&h=300]

Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble in New York, dedicated to giving student performers a bridge from school to professional productions, is presenting Claudio Monteverdi‘s 1643 opera L’incoronazione di Poppea this week through Saturday.

Above you can see Philippe JarouskkyDanielle de Niese duetting it up in a production from the Teatro Real Madrid.  And at this other, full length YouTube video, you can see a 1993 performance from the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Italy, including Anna Caterina Antonacci and Jennifer Larmore.  Enjoy it while it lasts!

55th meeting August 19 at 7pm

Tom Motley was my first professor of cartooning, so his workshop on panel sequencing at Monday’s New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium should be a good time…

New York Comics &Picture-story Symposium

The fifty-fifth meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposiumwill be held on Monday, August 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in room 1104. Free and open to the public.

Scheduled Presentation:  Panel Sequence Workshop.  Cartooning instructor, Tom Motley, will present a slideshow and discussion on cinematic sequences in comics, followed by a related cartooning worksheet. This will be a fun sequential art exercise to stimulate comics professionals and fans alike. Drawing skills are welcome but not necessary.



 Osamu Tezuka, Shintakarajima (New Treasure Island), 1947, revised 1984.

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Britten to Zandonai

This Sunday and Monday you can treat yourself to a double feature of operas from the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Glyndebourne opera festival in England.

Francesca da Rimini at The Met, 2013

Copyright Metropolitan Opera, Photo by Marty Sohl

First up, Sunday at noon in New York, PBS is airing the Metropolitan Opera‘s performance of Riccardo Zandonai‘s Francesca da Rimini (check your local listings).  The Met gave the opera’s American premiere in 1916, but it’s gotten pretty intermittent revivals since then; this performance is a revival of a 1984 production.

Then on Monday, via the internet, you can see Glyndebourne‘s 2010  production of Benjamin Britten‘s Billy Budd (lots of B–alliteration), fitting for his centennial year.  They just say that the webcast will be at “lunchtime”…  Greenwich Mean Time, I presume…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSVW47iCv70&w=350&h=300]

Luckily, all the webcasts of this summer’s Glyndebourne performances are still available online, so you can catch up with some Rameau, Strauss, or Donizetti after you’re done with Monday’s Britten.