Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Craig Thompson’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: LANG LANG-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #11 (April 17, 2020).

Lang Lang is a superstar pianist whom I have never heard of.  But I agree with the blurb that it’s neat to see a fantastic pianist playing at home.  He seems relaxed and loose.  And the camera angle allows us to see his fingers (and his whole swaying body) pretty clearly.

Here’s something unique: a chance to eavesdrop on the superstar pianist Lang Lang at home.

The 37-year-old pianist, who typically plays sold-out shows to thousands, says he’s taking his recent solitary time to learn new repertoire at home in Shanghai, China. And home is where he thinks we should all be.

He opens with Chopin’s calming “Nocturne No. 20 in C-sharp minor.”  I loved watching him slowly and deliberately play that last note.  It seems like he holds his finger above it for minutes, but it fits in perfectly.

Lang Lang’s latest passion is Bach – specifically the Goldberg Variations, a 75-minute-long cycle of immense complexity grounded in the composer’s durable beauty. Lang Lang offers the “18th and 19th variations,” pieces that in turn represent the strength of logic and the joy of the dance. It’s music, Lang Lang says, that “always brings me to play in another level of artistic thinking.”

These pieces are just magical.  Even if I don;t know them well, I can tell pretty immediately that they are Bach.  Lang Lang’s fluidity is wonderful, as is the way his whole body seems to be absorbing the music as he plays.

[READ: April 11, 2020]: Carnet de Voyage

From March 5 thru May 14, 2004 Craig Thompson was on an international book tour celebrating the success of his (fantastic) book Blankets.

This journal was his visual diary (no cameras were used, only his memory) of his trip.  His editors thought it would be interesting for him to document his trip (and it is).

He flies into Paris then a 2 hour plane trip to Lyon.  He draws pictures of where he has been and the people he has met (and some of their fascinating stories).  There’s some wonderful sketches of rooftops from hotel windows.

He does interviews for radio and magazines. He laughs that one of the photos shoots was in the streets of Paris, where he is all dressed up.  But really he’s a county bumpkin from Wisconsin. The drawing of himself as a glamorous guy and his bumpkin alter ego together is pretty hilarious.

On March 15 he left for Marrakesh, Morocco and this exotic location rally sets the stage for most of his artwork and what is sort of the only “plot” in the book.

He had also just broken up with his girlfriend which weighs on his mind quite a lot on the tour. (more…)

Read Full Post »

fairytaleSOUNDTRACK: JOE BOYD AND ROBYN HITCHCOCK-“Tiny Desk Concert #142 (July 18, 2011).

robynThis is one of the more unusual Tiny Desk Concerts because it is not just music.  It is music and a recitation.  Joe Boyd (who I didn’t know) is a producer of many classic 1970s albums, including albums by Pink Floyd, Syd Barret and Nick Drake.  Robyn Hitchcock is an unusual and often funny singer songwriter.

Hitchcock opens the concert by stating (in his wonderfully British broadcaster’s voice) “All my life I’ve been Robyn Hitchock [and I’m here with] Joe Boyd who has been Joe Boyd even longer than I’ve been me.”

Joe and Robyn were doing a tour together in which Joe would talk about his experiences with these artists and then Robyn would play a representative song.

Robyn plays two songs.  The first is Syd Barrett’s “Terrapin,” a song I’ve always like.  His cover sounds a lot like Barrett’s version while still retaining Hitchcock’s distinctive singing quality.

The second song is one that Hitchcock wrote for the tour called “I Saw Nick Drake.”  It was planned as the first encore. It’s very much a Hitchcock song, a little trippy and strangely  catchy about him seeing Nick Drake and Nick being fine.

Between these songs, Boyd talks for about fifteen minutes, telling about working with Syd and how amazing he was…until he wasn’t.  And then about working with Nick and how every recording he did was perfect and how big his hands were.

If you care about either of these musicians or about British rock from that era, this is a great performance to check out.  It’s informative and a little funny too.

[READ: January 19, 2016] Fairy Tale Comics

This book follows on First Second’s Nursery Rhyme Comics book. Perhaps because this was a thinner volume or perhaps because Fairy Tales are a bit more substantive than Nursery Rhymes, I found this book even more enjoyable than the other.

And even though I (and possibly you) think that you know every a fairy tale, there were quite a few in here that I didn’t know.  In his editors note, Chris Duffy notes that he encouraged the artists to pick stories other than Grimms (although Grim is well represented).

Brothers Grimm stories include:

“Sweet Porridge,” which I’d never heard of.  This is done in a classic cartoon style by Bobby London.

“The 12 Dancing Princesses” seemed vaguely familiar.  This was done in a very pretty style by Emily Carroll.

“Hansel and Gretel” I did know, of course.  It’s fun to see Gilbert Hernandez doing a children’s story since I think of his stories as very adult.  But his simple drawing style works perfectly for this story.

“Little Red Riding Hood” has a very simple almost anime style from Gigi D.G.  It ends with a happy ending.

“Snow White” was done by the other Hernandez brother, Jaime.  His style is so peculiar and yet so perfect for this tale (the fact that the baby is actually white is a wonderful touch.

“Rumpelstiltskin” is done by Brett Helquist whom I know from the Lemon Snicket stories.  I can see his style a bit in these drawings but the colors really bring his interesting style to life.  It’s a great version.

“Rapunzel”  I have recently become a huge fan of Raina Telgemeier, and I love what she does with this story.  Although as I finished it I had to wonder if this is how the story is usually finished.  This seemed much more positive than what I imagine the Grimms intended.

“Bremen Town” I had never heard of this story.  And I can’t believe that this was how it was originally written. In this story a group of animals forms a band.  They frighten away bad guys so that they can jam.  How weird.  Karl Kerschl’s style suits it well.

“Give Me the Shudders” is another Grimm story that I had never heard of.  It’s about a boy who can’t shudder or shiver and so every one assumes he is fearless. He keeps asking people to teach him to shiver, but when they see he can’t they keep promoting him to better stations in life. David Mazzucchelli’s style works nicely with this because of the simplicity of his design amid the craziness of the story.

In addition to stories from Grimm, there are these fairy tales

From Charles Perrault:

“Puss in Boots” makes me wonder if I don’t know the story all that well.  I was quite intrigued by the way this one turned out.  Vanessa Davis has a kind of sloppy style.

From 1001 Nights Tales:

“The Prince and the Tortoise.” I had never heard of this story.  It’s pretty wild and weird.  The drawing style by Ramona Fradon reminds me of adventure comics from the Sunday papers.

From a Japanese Tale:

“The Boy Who Drew Cats” is a wonderfully cool and interesting story about the powers of fantasy and doing what you are meant to do.  Luke Pearson’s drawing is perfectly old school and nearly monochromatic for the Japanese landscape.

From Bre’r Rabbit”

“Rabbit Will Not Help”  I don’t know this tale but I do know some Bre’r Rabbit.  He’s such a bastard, and the drawing style by Joseph Lambert works nicely with that.  It’s a little weird and dark–perfect for this tale.

From an English Tale”

“The Small Tooth Dog”  I had never heard of this tale.  It’s pretty weird from start to finish, and that includes the art by Charise Mericle Harper whose style is very dramatically cartoony and also a little weird.

“Goldilocks and the Three Bears” I didn’t realize that this wasn’t a Grimm story.  This was my favorite in the book because of the way Graham Annable chose to do it.  There are no words just wonderful illustrations and great looks by both Goldilocks and the bears.  I suppose it helps if you know the story already–it may not be ideal for those who are seeing for the first time (whoever that may be) but as an interpretation, I loved it,

From the Russian Tale:

“Baba Yaga”  Russian Tales are always so dark.  And Jillian Tamaki represents this very well. This story has a house with chicken legs, wolves, talking cats and much more.  I really like Tamaki’s work a lot and I enjoyed her interpretation.

From The King and His Storyteller:

“Azzolino’s Story Without End” is another story I’d never heard of.  In it, a boy king wants to be told a story without an end.  And the king’s story-teller think of a great way to do it The story is short but Craig Thompson’s style is right on.

I really enjoyed this collection a lot.  And I love getting introduced and reintroduced to these stories that I’ve known for quite some time.

Thanks First Second. #10yearsof01

Read Full Post »