All right, things have now gotten a little less crazy around here, and I finally see a window for getting some thoughts down on Tintoretto, inspired by the big retrospective in Madrid that I had the pleasure of seeing a few weeks back, and which closes on Sunday. So, over the next few days, I will be posting on Tintoretto here.
They were both monitored by the NYPD in the months leading up to the immaculate propaganda bonanza that was the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. Files just released courtesy of the New York Civil Liberties Union, despite attempts to block them by city officials, list hundreds of organizations and individuals put under surveillance due to concerns about their possible actions relating to the convention (the New York Times has an accessible presentation of it here). Of special interest to this site, the list includes both a cartoonist – the infamous Ted Rall – and, as far as I can tell, several hip hop MCs and activists who had participated in Russel Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network: Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, LL Cool J (yes, even him!), and Alicia Keys, amongst others. Uh maybe Puffy was right, after all, when he proclaimed himself to be “Public Enemy #1” a few years back… NOT.
Nice one NYPD, I would feel much safer now, were I still in New York.
If nothing else this piece of news gives me an occasion to post this chillingly hilarious edit of the speeches held at the convention. Pretty much says it all:
Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie just got married!
You gotta love ’em!
Neil Gaiman has posted a bunch of photos from which this one is taken. Also, check out Gebbie’s neat invitation to the proceedings here. And while we’re at the topic of Moore, go read this great interview from Arthur Magazine with him about his thoughts on magic. Along with Eddie Campbell’s Egomania interview and Dave Sim’s “Conversation from Hell”, it’s one of the best Moore interviews since the big one in The Comics Journal ages ago.
As he himself promised, El-P’s new album, I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, is less personal than its predecessor, the solo debut Fantastic Damage (2002). Where that album to a large extent was introspective, this one presents a more distanced perspective. I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead is a panorama to Fantastic Damage‘s kaleidoscope.
Although the nerve and the noise are the same, El-P has developed as a musician over the five years it has taken. Generally, the sound is less abrasive despite the foundation being the same noisy, megaton b-boy steez as always. We are still dealing with unadulterated dystopian New York hardcore, but El has developed the symphonic approach to production nascent on the last album. The grandly conceived soundscapes of cuts like “Stepfather Factory” and “Innocent Leader” are here given room to breathe. Several of the tracks are allowed to unfold and develop over longer run times and at times become almost narrative.
After a rather delayed return from Oslo, which included an unwilling nightly sojourn through London for alternate transportation to Cambridge (courtesy the combined – and perpetual – ineptitude of British Rail and the London Underground) and an even more unwilling stopover at a hostel, I am now sufficiently rested to take a proper look back at the inaugural Oslo Comics Expo, which I just attended. Overall, it must have been a success: it was well-attended and well-organized, there had been a good deal of media attention, and the atmosphere was very pleasant. All of which is made extra impressive by it being a first-time event. However, in some ways one could argue that the copacetic and unassuming attitude of the organizers was also the weakness of a festival that could have attained a higher profile with a little more ambition brought to the programming.
Just a quick note, here from Oslo, where OCX is going swimmingly. Centered around Oslo’s comics library, in the middle of the hip cafe & kebab quarter Grünerløkka, it’s a chill little festival with a number of interesting guests, mostly Norwegian – Jason, Lars Fiske & Steffen Kverneland probably being the most interesting, though a good cross section of Norwegian cartooning is certainly present.
Also, the Swiss artists Kati Rickenbach and Andres Gefe are here, representing what is probably the premier European comics anthology, the long running-still going strong Strapazin. Just attended their panel, which provided a good look at their very different work – Rickenbach does energetic and loose, autobiographical slice-of-life cartooning, while Gefe works in a more illustrative style with his most recent book, Der Gesang der Generale (written by Boucquet) being done in gorgeous computer colored monotype. Good stuff, and definitely worth checking out.
Tonight’s the big party with several cartoonist’s bands lighting it up. Should be fun. But first, I gotta do my panel…