Roskilde Graffiti at 10!

For ten years now, my man Lars has run the graffiti project at the Roskilde Festival — every year, they gather writers from around the world, who come at their own expense to decorate the walls and barriers around the festival area and parts of the camping grounds, and the quality of the work has long been top notch. It’s a great partnership between the festival and the writers, which gives everyone some great work to look at, instead of the random tagging and throwups of earlier times. A veritable, if discrete, annual arts festival.


Rapspot and Molotow have documented this year’s walls, while Lars himself has run a bunch of videos from the street art area, as well as a couple of spots, one from the festival’s own web TV channel and one from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The festival itself also has a write-up in both English and Danish. Also, here’s the Bunker’s post from last year.


Here’s a drink, *ting!*


The Cage Stands as Before

The English illustrator, painter and comics artist Martin Vaughn-James passed away last week (obits here and here). Perhaps this will be an occasion for comics world to take greater note of this significant artist and innovator in the medium. Owing to his influences and probably especially the fact that he lived in Brussels for the latter part of his life, he is much admired by critics and scholars, if not the comics-reading populace at large, in the Francophone world. In America, however, he lamentably remains largely unknown.

From what little I’ve seen of his work as an illustrator and painter, I would hazard the guess that his work in comics, although comparatively limited — consisting as it does of a mere half a dozen books — is nevertheless his most significant. His approach to the form, both in terms of narration and, more concretely, his blend of words and images, remains unique in the medium, all the while prefiguring important later innovations by direct progeny such as Schuiten and Peeters and Marc-Antoine Mathieu, as well as by such less directly related figures as Richard McGuire and the Fort Thunder cartoonists, different as they are.

Out of Time

I owe Michael Jackson a huge debt. In many ways, he gave me a music I could call my own. Thriller hit at just the right moment for me, opening a musical path different from that of my parents. Youngsters were already popping and locking on the corners around my neighbourhood and tags were being scrawled on the walls on the way to school. I didn’t have a tape recorder myself, but friends would play the album when I was over, and we would imitate the bigger kids on the block with our own interpretation of the uprock and electric boogie.

Of course, Michael wasn’t hip hop, but he came from the same place, and he related directly to the culture and of course influenced it considerably—the moonwalk, for example, is intimately related to dance steps first taken on concrete. Before moving on to the Rocksteady Crew, Run DMC, and the Fat Boys—and eventually more broadly the music of Black America, including his great paragon, James Brown—he was the voice of the streets for me.

AWOL på Roskilde

Emmas og mit bryllup havde den uheldige konsekvens at vi glippede Roskilde i år. Det ville ellers have været undertegnedes 15. festival og den 10. i træk. Vi ville gerne havde kunnet klone os selv og have haft det skægt på to kontinenter samtidig, men sådan spillede drejebordet ikke denne gang.

Nåmmen, pointen er såmænd bare, at Rapspot som sædvanlig var på pletten med Danmarks bedste hip hop-dækning og at I bør checke for deres updates, der hvis jeg kender proceduren ret vil fortsætte i en jævn strøm de næste par uger.

Foto v. Rapspots Kenneth Nguyen. Her er sidste års Bunker-rapport fra festivalen.

Picks of the Week

“Among critics of American-style capitalism in the Third World, the way that America has responded to the current economic crisis has been the last straw. During the East Asia crisis, just a decade ago, America and the I.M.F. demanded that the affected countries cut their deficits by cutting back expenditures—even if, as in Thailand, this contributed to a resurgence of the aids epidemic, or even if, as in Indonesia, this meant curtailing food subsidies for the starving. America and the I.M.F. forced countries to raise interest rates, in some cases to more than 50 percent. They lectured Indonesia about being tough on its banks—and demanded that the government not bail them out. What a terrible precedent this would set, they said, and what a terrible intervention in the Swiss-clock mechanisms of the free market.”

— Joseph Stiglitz

The picks of the week from around the web.

  • The Economy. New York Times columnist Frank Rich in true form on the US government bank bailouts, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz in a short, pointed piece for Vanity Fair on the world economy and the international perception of US policy and excerpts from Matt Tabibi’s attack job on Goldman Sacks in this month’s Rolling Stone, probably to be read with some skepticism, but nevertheless thought-provoking.
  • Michael Jackson. Amidst all the post-mortem accolades and fawn, Maureen Orph’s articles on Jackson for Vanity Fair over the years provide a sobering, if also at times excessively muckraking tonic.
  • Wood/Frazetta. A blogger has posted paste-up images, with text, of Frank Frazetta’s version of the EC story “Came the Dawn” (1953), which Wally Wood drew for Shock SuspenStories #9, that I linked to earlier. Check it out — it’s still awesome.
  • Back from the Road

    It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you. Things kind of went out the window as Emma and I went off to get married (a big thanks to Henry for throwing in his update here!). After the wedding itself we went on the road through California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. It was a magical month, even if reality crept in and reminded us that the world don’t stop. Thanks especially to motel cable and cranky wi-fi, our thoughts were in Iran a lot of the time. Fingers still crossed here for a sensible outcome of the crisis there.

    In the coming days I’ll share a few thoughts and such from the trip, but will mainly concentrate on getting the blog up and running again. Unfortunately, this is also crunch time for my PhD dissertation, so expect erraticism.

    More MoCCA! More Mazzucchelli!

    Because YOU demanded it: Here are some more flix from last weekends MoCCA Art Festival and the simultaneous opening reception of the must see David Mazzucchelli retrospective exhibition. Immerse yourself in the festive moods! Savour the close-ups of great comic book art! Scroll past the pictures of people you don’t know!

    The MoCCA Flix (The Mazzucchelli Report)

    Set in the huge Manhattan Armoury, this year’s MoCCA festival started off slightly delayed, apparently because a shipment of books arrived too late from the MoCCA building, but never mind: the lines of people waiting to get in continued far around the block for almost the entire day. With (almost!) all kinds of comics represented, the exhibitor’s space sizzled with the electric air of the future.

    The day clearly belonged to the Duke of American comics, the great David Mazzucchelli, whose long awaited graphic novel Asterios Polyp debuted at Pantheon’s booth. Saturday evening saw the opening of an almost unbelievably strong retrospective exhibition at MoCCA’s actual museum, curated by Picturebox’s boy wonder Dan Nadel — undoubtedly the absolute highlight of the festival, with original artwork from Batman: Year One, Daredevil: Born Again, Rubber Blanket stories (“Discovering America”, “Big Man”, “Near Miss”), Asterios Polyp and much more.

    Although I myself participated in the lively Scandinavian panel discussion, I unfortunately missed all the other panels. Paul Karasik’s show seemed very exciting though. But on with the flix!