Vancouver Mountain Majesty

Since I’m in Vancouver for the week, I’ve been thinking about my favorite Vancouverite cartoonist, Angela Melick of Wasted Talent!

Copyright Angela Melick

Copyright Angela Melick

This is kind of like New York last week, nasty winter suddenly giving way to mild spring…  Though we don’t have the same sort of majestic natural setting…  One stereotype I’ve formed about Vancouver thanks to Angela is the importance of extreme outdoor sports…  so will bust out my hiking boots!  Or walking boots at least…

Maybe she’s the only Vancouverite cartoonist I know, actually…  But you can see her depiction of her town by looking through her Vancouver tag!

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.

34th meeting Feb. 25 at 7pm

NYCPSS returns with a pretty Bizarro Twins-appropriate session…

James Romberger's Post York spread

Copyright James Romberger

New York-based artist & cartoonist James Romberger and his son, the musician Crosby will discuss their collaboration on the book Post York, a post-apocalyptic comic by Romberger set in a submerged NYC that’s sold with a song by Crosby that expands on the story.  The meeting will include slide shows of Romberger‘s work and a performance by Crosby, so perfectly interdisciplinary for our interests.

Romberger will also be discussing 7 Miles a Second, soon to be re-released by Fantagraphics (article from Publisher’s Weekly here), a biography of artist David Wojnarowicz which he worked on with his similarly multidisciplinary, Lower-East-Side royalty wife, Marguerite Van Cook, and Wojnarowicz himself.  Sounds like another very interesting story from a very interesting family…

You can also follow Romberger through his writings for The Hooded Utilitarian, a comics and cultural criticism e-mag.

via NYCPS’ 34th meeting, Feb. 25 at 7pm.

Snow Maiden Go Away

Nicholas Roerich's Snow Maiden

Images by Nicholas Roerich

The Russians know a thing or two about snow, so in honor of our new winter wonderland, here are some selections from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov‘s 1881 opera The Snow Maiden.

Here is Estonian soprano Margarita Voites singing an aria on TV in 1977.  Going  further back, here’s Alma Gluck, a Romanian-born American soprano who was one of the world’s most famous singers at her peak around 1910.

The painting up top is by Russian artist Nicholas Roerich, who designed sets and costumes for a production of The Snow Maiden (click here for other designs from that production).  He was a real renaissance man, traveling the world, advocating for preservation of art during wartime, and a frequent Nobel Peace Prize nominee.  If you’re in New York, he has a small, free museum on the Upper West Side, on 107th Street just off Riverside Drive.  Well worth a visit.

Roerich scene design for Snow Maiden

Is it Antarctica Yet?

Since by now we’re probably completely snowed in in a barren arctic wasteland, here’s a great comic taking place in the frozen hinterlands: Alpha Flag

Alpha Flag page 2

Copyright Jon Cairns and Renee Keyes

Written and drawn by Jon Cairns with superb color symbolism from Renee KeyesAlpha Flag is “about a man who has lost his mind and is trying to reclaim its scattered pieces in a hostile environment”.  It’s beautifully drawn and colored, very mysterious, and there are about 5 chapters up already for you to catch up with.  Good reading as long as you’re snowed in  : P

A Blizzard Everywhere

Apparently a blizzard is heading our way, so in anticipation of all this crippling of infrastructure and shutting down of cities, let’s have some themed blog posts!



Starting with the only opera I can think of with “blizzard” in the title, A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck by Jeanine Tesori with libretto by Tony Kushner.  Premiered at Glimmerglass summer opera festival in 2011, it reunited the team, who had previously worked on the critically acclaimed through-composed musical Caroline, or Change.  This opera tells the story of Eugene O’Neill getting locked out of his house during a fight with his wife in the middle of a blizzard.  Scary prospect.

It was commissioned to be a double-bill with John Musto‘s 2007 Later the Same Evening, inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper.  In fact, Tesori and Kushner were asked to make their opera about another American artist to match up.

Haven’t heard much about either of these since 2011, which seems unfortunate.  Anyway, stay warm and dry this weekend!



Der Sturmy Weather Continues

Presumably I’ll still be locked up at home when this goes up, possibly internet-less, scraping cans of beans in order to survive the annual NYC Hurricane Season, so this seemed appropriate:

Frank Martin’s Der Sturm, streaming performance from Opera Today

Edmund Dulac The Tempest illustrationImage by Edmund Dulac

Frank Martin was a Swiss composer, and Der Sturm (ie, The Tempest), premiered in 1955, was his sole opera.  Opera Today features opera reviews from around the world, but they also have an amazingly diverse selection of full, free recordings of live opera performances (though they are streaming, meaning you need to stay internet-connected to listen).

Here’s the full German libretto, if you’re into that, and the multi-award winning Hyperion recording, if you’d like to support the many people it takes to make such a recording possible.

Stormy Weather Indeed…

This year’s NYC Horror Hurricane just snuck up on me, but of course thought turned instantly to Stormy Weather of another sort…

This 1933 recording of Harold Arlen‘s song by Ethel Waters, the song’s first interpreter, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame 70 years later, in 2003.  Here’s Youtube’s Ethel Waters playlist if this isn’t enough for you…

Also, looks like my viewing of The Tempest yesterday was eerily appropriate…

Stay safe and dry out there!