Black Comicks

Black Comic Book Festival 2014 poster

This weekend is the 2nd Annual Black Comic Book Festival at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.  Over Friday and Saturday, there will be 40 exhibitors in the convention, as well as several panel discussions, cartoon screenings, and some comic-related workshops.

Though admission is free, you do have to reserve tickets, separately for each day.

As a newly minted library scientist, I’m pleased to see libraries getting in on the comics game.  Seems like a perfect match, since libraries already collect comics.  Would also seem like a natural setting for comic-making workshops; teens would be all over that, right?  Hope the 2nd installment of this fest goes well, and that it has many more installments to come, and hope the comic bug spreads out to more NYPL branches…

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Tucker Up

In the centennial year of its namesake’s birth, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation‘s annual concert will be aired on PBS  tomorrow, Friday, at 9pm (check local listings).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-e7D2goVyE&w=350&h=300]

Named for the famous American tenor, the Foundation awards a rising American opera singer each year, and the accompanying concert features them and a host of famous singers too, guaranteed to be an especially luminous bunch for Tucker’s 100th birthyear…  This year’s awardee is the mezzo soprano Isabel Leonard.

Tucker La Gioconda publicity shot, 1945

Richard Tucker in La Gioconda at the Met, 1945

Tucker made his Met debut in La Gioconda in 1945, where this excerpt was apparently recorded:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K1tnuxxvTo&w=350&h=300]

The initial impression, based on this New York Times review, was apparently somewhat mixed:

Special interest naturally centered in the company’s new tenor, Mr. Tucker, who had the misfortune to make his initial appearance in a formidable role too heavy for his essentially lyric type of voice. Nevertheless, he made a definitely favorable impression and was enthusiastically received by the large audience.

Arctic Vortex, Antarctic Puppetry

In honor of the Arctic Vortex hitting the US, here’s a musical theater depiction of a the failed 1914 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by Shackleton.

69˚S, created by marionette collective Phantom Limb Co. with music by Erik Sanko, was performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music‘s Next Wave Festival in 2011, where it was recorded in full for BAM’s Hamm Archives, and subsequently put online by co-producers ArkType.  Click on the image below to see the whole thing.

Phantom Limb's 69˚S at BAM

Phantom Limb’s 69˚S at BAM

Phantom Limb’s “69˚S.”, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY from ArKtype on Vimeo.

69˚S was co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects, incubators of many new operas and creators of Prototype Opera Festival for new opera, which starts its second annual incarnation in New York this week.

If you’re more interested in the Shackleton side of things than the opera side of things, you could also watch the 3-part Chasing Shackleton documentary starting tonight on PBS.  It follows that failed 1914 Antarctic expedition, focusing on the improbable rescue mission led by Shackleton that ultimately saved every member of his crew.  Check your local listings.