Hamlet Madness!

Just a friendly reminder about WQXR’s March Madness celebration of famous operatic mad scenes with daily full opera streams at 2pm each weekday!

Today’s selection is Hamlet by Ambroise Thomas, featuring a mad scene by Hamlet’s paramour, Ophelia.  Joan Sutherland sings it in the video above, and in today’s stream!  Enjoy!

Putting the “Book” back in Comic Books

Two events spanning the history of book design and illustration this week; not quite comics, but should be at least marginally relevant and totally edifying I think!

First up on Tuesday, the New York Comics and Picture-story Symposium presents Patricia Mainardi, art history professor at CUNY, who will discuss how advances in printing in 19th century Europe helped usher in both a boom in book illustration and the invention of comics.

And on Friday, the Center for Book Arts will host the concluding talk in a series devoted to the history of book design, this time focusing on 21st century issues in the field.  Suggested donation of $10 for the talk, and free access to the Center’s three exhibits.

I don’t know enough about football to pun…

Operavore, the Opera-dedicated division of WQXR, New York’s public classical music radio station, will be celebrating March Madness in its own way this week, with a full streaming opera each weekday at 2pm, each having some notable “mad scene”.  The week’s full schedule, from Mozart’s Idomeneo to Bernstein’s Candide, is available here; the Operavore stream can be listened to on the WQXR website.

In keeping with the sports theme, a new opera about Bum Phillips, American football coach, premiered in New York at La MaMa last week, and is up through the end of the month.  Commissioned by the collective Monk Parrots, with music by Peter Stopschinski and libretto by Kirk Lynn, it was apparently live-streamed earlier today  : P  How did I miss that!?

Sleepwalk with the Met Tonight

La Sonnambula Illustration

La Sonnambula Act 2, by William de Leftwich Dodge

Tonight’s the season premiere of Bellini‘s La Sonnambula at the Met Opera, and it’ll be live-streamed starting at 7:30.

The illustration at left, by American painter and muralist William de Leftwich Dodge, shows the climactic moment when the protagonist, Amina, sleep walks atop a rickety old mill bridge, very dramatic.

That’s sort of the defining moment in the opera, and apparently sopranos known for their Aminas would be painted with mills in the background as a shorthand…

Anyway, lots of lovely music in the opera, so enjoy the live-stream!

Internet Comics

There are lots of comics on the internet, but how many of those are about the internet?

Infomaniacs by Matthew Thurber

From Infomaniacs by Matthew Thurber

At tomorrow night’s New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium event, Matthew Thurber will discuss his comic Infomaniacs, originally serialized online and since published by Picturebox.  With an internet-addicted protagonist, the comic developed into a thriller confronting issues of privacy and ownership online.

In his talk he’ll discuss the influences on the comic and the making of.  This interview in The Paris Review  might be good preparation, as is this live-action trailer for Infomaniacs:

Later this week I’m going to an event for librarians about Google Glasses, which I am skeptical of, but have yet to see in person, so why not.  However, I was reminded of Vision Machine, the creator-owned comic by Greg Pak and RB Silva, which is freely available online under a Creative Commons license.

Vision Machine #1

From Vision Machine #1, by Greg Pak & RB Silva

Released in 2010, the three issue series imagines a sneakily dystopian future where everyone has a set of iEyes, networked video camera glasses created by Sprout Technologies.  It’s only a matter of time until users regret never reading the terms of agreement when they’re bombarded with ads and lose access to the content they generated to Sprout.

Worth reading now that Google Glasses are an actual thing, and a good companion piece to Infomaniacs.

Will Eisner Week 2014

Will Eisner Week 2014

Will Eisner was born March 6th, 1917, so the Will Eisner Week of Eisner- and comics-themed events is scheduled around that week each year.  Click here for a full list of events, the world over.

New York starts the week off with a New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium special event with DC Comics writer and editor Paul Levitz on Eisner’s contribution to the rise of the American graphic novel.

If you want to learn to cartoon like the great Eisner himself, you can always learn from his instructional books on comics and cartooning: