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.

Peach Boy goes to War

Tomorrow I’m seeing a 1942 propaganda anime, Momotaro’s Sea Eagles, which transposes a traditional Japanese folk tale to the Pacific during World War II.  The movie, 37 minutes long, was released with English subtitles for the first time in the above early anime sample pack from Zakka Films.

A 74 minute sequel, Momotaro: Divine Warriors of the Sea, was released in 1945.  This was the first full-length animated feature out of Japan.  Some kindly soul has put it up on YouTube for all to enjoy:

PS: Sorry for the long absence dear fans!  I just finished the last of my summer classes and have been trying to make my part time job as full time as I can ever since…  Will try to get back on schedule now…


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.

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.

Britten War Requiem

Sunday may have officially been Veteran’s Day, but today’s the federal holiday, so it still counts…  That bit of crassness aside, I’ll let Benjamin Britten‘s 1962 War Requiem speak for itself:

This full 1992 performance is by the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.

Also, if all goes according to plan, this will be the first post to be shared to Facebook, so hello!  This is my blog about all things comics & opera, so check it out if you like either or both of those things, I guess.