Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kamishibai, out and indoors

So I've talked a bit about kamishibai, the Japanese art of paper theatre, elsewhere on this blog. Above, the inestimable and highly esteemed Bruce Woolley and I rehearse the story, 'A Very Kamishibai Christmas', which we co-created and first performed in December 2010, and here are getting ready to perform it at Chugnut in March 2011. Chugnut (a weekend away for cartoonists of many stripes) this year, as last, was held at Camp Eureka near Yarra Junction.

One of the distinctive things about 'A Very Kamishibai Christmas' is that there is no narration or dialogue (well, okay, there's two words - yelled), and so the attention of the performers - and hopefully audience - is even more directed at the rhythm of the reveals of the cards. The music of comics, kids.

Of course such playing with the kamishibai form wouldn't even occur to me without the fine guitarship, and even finer friendship, of Bruce Woolley.

(Chugnut photos by Anna Brown, whose astonishing gallery of Australian comics volk, paired with their drawn self-portraits, is called Light vs Line.)

After 'A Very Kamishibai Christmas', I performed the kamishibai produced by Jo Waite ('The White Crow'), Ben Hutchings ('Jupiterian Brain Theatre') and Chris Downes (MR James' 'The Mezzotint') for the 2010 Melbourne Fringe Festival Paper Theatre exhibition. Bernard's t-shirt also by Jo Waite.

A month or so later, on April 11, just before Bruce returned to Berlin by way of Sri Lanka, he and I performed the new epilogue to our 'Miracleman: the two man show' at Fleur's place (thanks Fleur!). This epilogue of course incorporated kamishibai, and attempted to bring the incredibly complex questions of ownership and copyright of 'Miracleman' into our show. Later, from Dohar, Bruce sent me this doctored picture, which I think is an excellent title and image:

In case you're wondering: yes, Bruce IS playing the iPad piano and piano accordion simultaneously. And for a closer look at what's on the teevee, go here.

Next post: more kamishibai.

Footnote: for Free Comic Book Day 2011, the Chugnutteers, under the expert guidance of Mister Anthony Woodward, have produced an online book chock full of fine work, findable here. For FREE.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Big Arse Comics Launch- February 2011

Hello there! I'm going to play catchup for a few posts, as there are notable Melbourne comic book events over the last couple of months that need blooging, and I have some work deadlines breathing down my neck and need to distract myself from them.

Above, from the left, are: Bruce Mutard, Brendan Halyday, Bobby N., Jason Franks, Matt Emery and James Andre. No, not members of the 'Shaved Head and Glasses' League from a long-lost Sherlock Holmes tale, but the 6 comic book author/artists who launched the nine (yes 9, that's right NINE) comics, graphic novels and illustrated books on Saturday 19 February 2011.

To see Bobby N.'s eye-widening poster, and the covers of the books, go to Gary Chaloner's Comics Journal post about the 'Big Arse Comic Book Launch', as it was named.

Above: a happy punter (and there were MANY - a big arse night it was) leafing through 'The Loneliness Manifesto', written by James Andre and illustrated by Brendan Halyday.

The other place to read about the launch, and to hear a pre-launch chat between the creators, is the always-reliable Bobby N's blog, here.

There's me, who had the very happy job of launching this fine clutch (should I really use that word, given the title of the launch? perhaps not) of graphic fiction. As you can imagine, I made much of the 'big arse' metaphor. And I cannot now imagine why not tucking my purple (in Japanese, 'murasaki') shirt seemed such a good idea at the time. But unlike Han Solo, who can 'imagine quite a bit', there's quite a bit I can't imagine.

The crowd at Eydies (the bar that my lovely and only sister Anna manages) enjoying my 'Star Wars' references. Nah, not really - that speech, it was all about the comics.

Hey: there in the middle of the shot in the white t-shirt is comic book writer Jen Breach, now an resident of NYC - sob! - we miss you, Jen. Have a good time in that large cider town, but come back, y'hear?