Friday, May 13, 2011

'Drawn Out' - 3RRR - 12 May 2011

Every month I have a spot on Richard Watts' weekly arts news, views and interviews radio show on 3RRR FM, Smart Arts. My spot's called 'Drawn Out' and it covers local and international comic books and events.

This Thursday morning just gone, I talked about Jason Lutes' Jar of Fools, credited as 'A Picture Story' on its cover, (a relief to those who revile the term 'graphic novel'). 'Jar of Fools' is kinda venerable now, being first published in its complete edition in 1997. This Faber and Faber edition (yes, Faber and Faber, the big UK poetry publisher - they also publish Adrian Tomine's books, which makes sense) was published 2008, and I'm a big fan of the cover design, and particularly the typography, by Rui Tenreiro (wow, whose drawings are even better - take a look!) which bespeaks a looseness of line that belies Lutes' drawings within. This really is a lovely graphic novel (ghasp!), the story of a washed-up magician, Ernie, and the outcasts who gather around him. The tone is melancholy and sweet, and it's beautifully maintained. Lutes' current work, a long comic book series called Berlin, concerns that city in the 1930s. The first 16 issues have been collected into two big books, the last 8 will be collected some decade soon.

Other things I spoke about: the comics-and-related-arts festival at Sydney Opera House, GRAPHIC, is returning 19/20/21 August 2011. Last year Jordan Verzar got Neil Gaiman, Eddie Campbell, Shaun Tan, Gary Groth to come (wow!), and this year it sounds like another bunch of great guests are coming - the lineup gets announced on May 23, but you can line up for pre-sales here.

I am talking about editing comics at the Australian Society of Editors, Victorian branch, this Wednesday night 18 May in Melbourne town - anyone can attend, and you get a meal and the talk and the society of lovely editor-type folk for $33, with concessions available. I'll be speaking about the history of editing comics, and my own experience of that strange art. You can make a booking here.

And, finally, as mentioned last post (quick! someone play the reveille!), May's 'What It Is?' is coming up on Monday 30 May at 8pm at Readings Carlton, featuring Mike Shuttleworth, Brenton McKenna, and me - more info and a wonky picture of wonky old Jean-Paul Sartre on the Readings website.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What It Is? show #1: Eisenstein and Comics

Above, Michael Camilleri and I starting our 'What It Is?' show at Readings bookshop in Carlton on Monday 28 March 2011. It was a show about Sergei Eisenstein, the great Soviet film director, and his approach to montage (a way of editing film, a way of presenting film stories), and the ways that this might apply to comics.

Here's me presenting 'Sergei's Pram', a kamishibai which imagined Eisenstein and fellow filmmaker Lev Kuleshov discussing the filming of the famous Odessa steps sequence from 'Battleship Potemkin'.

For this, I was lucky enough to borrow this amazing kamishibai box from Jackie Kerin (for the tale of its construction by Ted, go to Jackie's blog entry here).

Michael and I also wanted to look at mise-en-scene (another, complementary, sometimes oppositional - thanks, Andre Bazin - way of considering film editing), so we enlisted friends Fleur, Mark and Bruce (in the hat) to help us present a scene from 'Citizen Kane' by Orson Welles. With hilarious results.

Finally, Michael presented his epic homage to Soviet-style montage, 'The Two Podlokovs' which may be viewed in all its glory on his website, here.

A remarkable night - thanks to Christine Gordon of Readings for asking for a series of nights looking at the art of comic books. Oh yes folks, there's going to be more What It Is...

Also thanks to Dan Hayward of The Video Factory for the photos in this post, and for shooting and editing together a great video of the night, to be found on youtube here. And thanks to Oliver Montagnat for additional camerawork.

NEXT 'What It Is' show: Monday 30 May, 8pm at Readings Carlton - Mike Shuttleworth and I will build Angouleme, city of comics, out of paper, live on stage (with music too!), and then we'll speak to Brenton McKenna, of Broome, about his new graphic novel for kids, Ubby's Underdogs.

What a night it promises to be...