Heres Comes Love Again

To raise money for Typhoon Haiyan relief in the Philippines, the cast of Here Lies Love, the concept album cum disco musical by David Byrne of Talking Heads and Fatboy Slim, will reconvene for one night this coming Monday, Nov. 25th, at Terminal 5 in New York.  Tickets are $58 (including handling fees) and all proceeds go to Doctors without Borders.

Here Lies Love poster

Here Lies Love poster

The show is about Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos and her rise to power and fall from grace, and this reunion benefit concert was apparently suggested by the mostly Philippine cast.  If you missed it the first time, here’s your charitable second chance.

Consider donating to Doctors without Borders or other relief efforts too.

The Syria Situation

As the international reaction to the use of chemical weapons in Syria starts taking shape, Matt Bors‘ comic from about four months ago continues to be relevant:

Matt Bors political cartoon, Dear Assad

Copyright Matt Bors

So many people have died in Syria over the past two years without chemical weapons, that choosing to act now feels kind of… arbitrary.  It’s a mess of a world.

Opera Fundraiser

The financial woes of New York City Opera raise their head again, with the news that if they cannot raise $20 million by year’s end, they may have to cancel most of this season and all of the next.

NYCO 13/14 Season

Towards this goal, they’ve launched their very own KickStarter campaign, hoping to raise $1 million by the end of this month.  It just started Sunday, and as of this writing they’re 2% of the way there…

Not sure what the most money raised on KickStarter has been (maybe $7 million for a high tech watch?), but $1 million seems ambitious…

I guess this is as good a time as any to share this neat video on NYCO‘s education initiatives, staging operas for New York School kids and sending artists to the schools as well.  This past year they put on Unsuk Chin‘s 2007 Alice in Wonderland, a very modern work, but i like that some kids’ first exposure to the “stuffy” medium of opera is something so unexpected…


New York City Opera’s Opera is Elementary 2013 from New York City Opera on Vimeo.

This season’s planned opera is Tobias Picker‘s Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the book by Roald Dahl.  I actually saw this in its world premiere at the Los Angeles Opera in 1998!  For more on the work, visit Picker’s page on it.

Fantastic Mr. Fox at LA Opera

Tobias Picker with cast members of Fantastic Mr. Fox at LA Opera, 1998

Once again, here’s the KickStarter, in case you’re feeling generous…  Also, NYCO & BAM’s presentation of Anna Nicole starts next week, so hurry and grab whatever tickets may remain!

AltOpera Fest, now actually accurate…

Next week is InsightALT, American Lyric Theater‘s mini-fest of new opera.  The centerpiece of the event are three concert readings of new operas, running the thematic gamut of Alan Turing, war vets returning home, and a Mexican drug “queenpin”.  Click here for full descriptions, and a special code for $5 off single tickets!

The composers being featured are Jeremy Howard Beck, Justine Chen, and Jorge Sosa (triple J’s, nice), a pretty diverse crew, which is nice to see in the world of opera.  Today I’ll start with Jeremy Howard Beck.

MASSIVE EDIT: Turns out there are two composers named “Jeremy Beck” and the one in InsightALT is Jeremy Howard Beck.  I feel like an idiot, but seriously, what are the odds!  Well as it turns out, they’re pretty high…  Anyway, here’s my revised post:

Based on the memoir of the same name by Brian Castner, former Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit member in Iraq, The Long Walk is about veterans’ struggles on adjusting to life back home after returning from war.  Should be interesting stuff…

Here’s a performance of Beck‘s 2009 piece Awakening, by it’s commissioners, trombone quartet The Guidonian Hand.  A trombonist himself, Beck says the piece was inspired by the then-recent passing of Proposition 8 in California (overturning the legalization of gay marriage there) and its concurrence with the Jewish high holidays, with their use of the shofar horn.

And here’s the InsightALT trailer, reproducing an interview with Castner by BBC.  Their YouTube channel, has features from past events too, so good way to get a feel for InsightALT generally.

MoCCA Fest Comes but Once a Year

Poster by Michael DeForge

Next weekend is the MoCCA Arts Fest, the first under the management of the Society of Illustrators since MoCCA was absorbed into the Society last year.  Considering the current exhibits on Harvey Kurtzman, of Mad Magazine fame, and Bill Griffith, of Zippy the Pinhead fame, as well as MoCCA Fest guest of honor Jillian Tamaki, and  you get the idea that they’re really courting the comics crowd.

Society director Anelle Miller was recently profiled in this nifty New York Times article, but we’ll see after next weekend if she’s managed to impress the discerning indie comics scene…

Anelle Miller, photo by Agaton Strom

Habemus Papum

Copyright Scott Kurtz

My grandmother is tuned 24/7 to the Spanish version of Alabama-based retrograde Catholic propaganda channel EWTN (ewww is right!  they’re bashing gays as I type), so I just saw the whole new pope thing, en vivo.  I guess I dig the fact that he’s Argentine, having been born in Argentina myself, but otherwise: whatever.

Courtesan with a Heart of Gold

La Monnaie, Brussels’ opera house, has a new production of Verdi‘s La Traviata updated to take place in a brothel, and it’s now available for free online viewing.  Leave it to those crazy Europeans!

La Monnaie La Traviata 2012 poster

Poster for the 2012 La Monnaie production of La Traviata; Photo by Flore-Aël Surum

Oh but what’s this…  Even some Europeans are uncomfortable with aspects of the production, prompting La Monnaie to invite four stage directors and production director Andrea Berth to comment on the question of artistic freedom, censorship, and what’s appropriate for the stage.  Interesting stuff…

Another interesting aspect of La Monnaie is their online database with information on past productions.  You can look for posters (like the one above) and design schematics (like the one below; I’m guessing the 1955 production didn’t have as many naked ladies prancing around).

La Monnaie La Traviata 1955 set design

Hours of entertainment for a library science student like me…

Left2Right / Right2Left

I recently got linked to Israeli cartoonist and illustrator Asaf Hanuka‘s blog because of this succinct demonstration of the Israel-Hamas conflict, out of Tel Aviv I believe.

Asaf Hanuka, Realist Comics, 90 SecondsCopyright Asaf Hanuka

Going back in his archives though, I found another comic that eerily foreshadowed the current situation, and interesting and well-done as it was, the big thing I noticed was how he handled the English-Hebrew translation:

Asaf Hanuka, The Realist, The Existential Threat and UsCopyright Asaf Hanuka

Which one did he draw first?  I guess he just reflected it in Photoshop or something later, right?  Does he have to consider the fact that it’ll be read in both directions when planning and drawing somehow?  The linguistics major in me is intrigued

T. Hanuka, New Yorker illustrationCopyright Tomer Hanuka

I feel like any mention of Asaf should go hand-in-hand with his brother, Tomer Hanuka; they’re both great cartoonists and illustrators, and Tomer‘s illustration process blog is a fascinating resource for wannabe illustrators.

The History (Motion Comic) Books are Written

It’s been a week since the 2012 presidential election, and the official history has finally arrived in the form of a strange strolly motion comic from the UK’s Guardian, America: Elect!

America: Elect!By The Guardian‘s US Interactive Team, Richard Adams, and Erin McCann

Interesting to see the history of this screwball election as seen from across the pond…

Obama Fanfic

Now that we have four more years of Obama to look forward to, you might want to read some exclusive behind-the-scenes comics by Steven Weissman

Barack Hussein ObamaCopyright Steven Weissman

His gag strip Barack Hussein Obama is being put out by Fantagraphics (buy it here), and it’s a strange little thing, so maybe read Comics Alliance‘s great interview with Weissman to try to wrap your head around it all…