Many, many thanks to Michael Hofstedt, who did all of the heavy lifting on this video.
A five-minute account of the 6+ hour event that took place at Moct Bar in Milwaukee.
In theater, a post-mortem doesn’t refer to the dead, but to the finished. The show’s over, you’ve got a little distance, and now it’s time to discuss what went well, what went wrong, and how you improve for the next time.
I have to say, having Tea Krulos helm the creative side was fantastic. A single creative director made a huge difference. Motionary Comics is much more about the magic of process (making) as opposed to product (a painting), but that doesn’t mean we didn’t want the best comic possible. The cohesion that a single individual made helped immensely.
The benefit for the United Way wasn’t as successful as the art event, though not for lack of trying. Christine and Joan did amazing work pulling it all together, but there simply wasn’t enough time to put it together. When I say “put it together,” I don’t even mean getting stuff to bid on. They did that. But organizing the benefit on the “production” end – we should have had announcements during the evening, ideally we would have put the tables in a room where they weren’t quite as bludgeoned by sound, we would have made a bigger deal about the competing storyline ends…
In other words, I discovered the shockingly obvious truth that benefits need to be as solidly and 100%-ly produced as the art event. It was not a wash – we raised a couple of hundred dollars. But we did it the hard way. Talk about a learning curve.
I drove up to Milwaukee last Thursday morning and put in about 7 hours. Friday ran from 9am to 1:30am Saturday morning. 5 hours of sleep and back to Moct to take down lights and get them back to Jason Fassl, who generously loaned them to us for the operation. I’m almost not-tired today, but I think it’s really tomorrow before I’m back on track energy-wise.
I had a meeting today about a different kind of live-arts event, a sort of musically-conducted painting, but the budget for that is probably $5-6,000 and the two Motionary Comics have already been largely out-of-pocket, in spite of all of the volunteer labor. Really what I need to do is figure out what to do with Bad Soviet Habits. For the moment, though, it’s going dormant.
All photos (c) Kelly Crandall, 2011.
That’s it. After all the hubbub, bub, Motionary Comics 2.0 is
underway over. We’re still working on getting our documentation up, but in the short term, here’s a couple of videos that the incomparable Matthew Miller and Tea Krulos put together with Paul Weir Doctor Lupus, speaking with the A/V assistance of his werewolf minions high atop his secret hideout on the summit of Mount Lupus.
You can watch the smack-down begin here.
Here’s some press that’s informative about us:
- The Onion’s AV Club.
- Third Coast Digest (online magazine), by D.J. Hostettler.
- Bonnie North at NPR affiliate WUWM on Lake Effect interviews Tea Krulos and Chad Edwards.
Tomorrow night we’ll be streaming at:
Twitter feed: @kurthartwig
There might be more, but those are some stable links for now.
If you don’t live in Milwaukee, you have until Friday afternoon to get there. Do-able by any standards in today’s razzle-dazzle, jet-setting world.
Stop by the bar between 6 and 7pm and get a sense for what’s going on. Check out the empty canvases covering 60′ of wall space at a height of 8′ tall, blocked into panels by 2″ blue painter tape. Here’s what you’ll see.
Chad Edwards, Jason Fassl, Tea Krulos, and myself will have been working the long day away to get ready for the whole event – hanging lights, the fabric, etcetera and so on. Round about 4:30, well before things really open up, we’ll be joined by the colorists – fabulous painters Carri Dahl from the Skylight Theatre, freelancer Andrea Toussaint, and newcomer Lisa Rowe (this’ll shake up later, just to keep things interesting). They’ll get all of their gear ready for the next 90 minutes. At the same time, we also welcome our Tyvek people, the six individuals who will dress up in white paper suits and have paint spattered all over them: Jason Waszak, David Bohn, Paula Suozzi, and our three supervisees, Carmela, Dorothea, and Hanah. Don’t worry – legal guardians will be on hand.
Here’s what I have for you regarding these intrepid youngsters: Dorothea is 8 1/2 years old and a second year participant of Motionary Comics (along with Jason Waszak!). For her 9th birthday party she and ten friends created a life sized comic strip in the backyard. She loves swimming, soccer, reading and art class. Carmela is 5 years old and happy to get to do what her big sister did last year. She loves taking dance lessons and hates eating salad. Hanah is 9 years old and is part of the comedy club at her school. She loves to draw, read and play soccer. This is her first time participating in Motionary Comics. She likes to play dress up and hair salon.
But they don’t just splat themselves on the wall. They need direction, ably provided this year by choreographic team Dan Schuchart and Monica Rodero:
Monica Rodero earned her BFA in dance at UWM and is in her ninth season with Milwaukee based Wild Space Dance Company. She teaches yoga through the UWM Outreach Department and enjoys instructing children and adults of all ages. Daniel Schuchart graduated from UWM with a dual BFA in dance and painting/drawing. He has been a company member of both Wild Space Dance Company and Danceworks Performance Company. Both Monica and Dan were recently made Artistic Associates of Wild Space Dance. Keeping a home base in Milwaukee, Rodero and Schuchart have been greatly influenced by the additional training received by traveling throughout Europe and the U.S. to take classes and attend workshops and festivals such as the Impulstanz International Dance Festival in Vienna, Austria. We are going to be sad to see them trundle off to grad school, although it does mean that they’re going to kick even more ass even harder.
Starting at 6pm, Dan and Monica will place the Tyvek people into poses, creating a silhouette-driven story – that is, once the colorist have sprayed them down, each Tyvek person getting his or her own color. But how will we do profiles without getting paint on their faces, you ask? Ah ha! That’s where the wranglers come in. We also dress up in Tyvek, make cut-outs of profiles, hands and feet, and catch everything that falls between the cracks. This year’s team has returning participant Chris Warner joined by Joan Williamson, and Christine and Mieko Kuramoto.
The illustrators roll in at 7pm. You’re still nursing your first because you’ve got a big evening ahead of you (I applaud how well you’ve thought this out, by the way) when these six interlopers roll in. They’re all returning from last year: Christopher MacDonald, Michael Cothroll, Matt Chic, Pietro Norante, Dan Hernandez, and David Beyer, Jr.
Colorists and illustrators alternate at the beginning of the comic every hour. At 8pm, the colorists are back at the top, at 9pm the illustrators. You probably went and grabbed dinner at some point in here, planning on coming back to the bar later on. This is a good idea on your part. Not only are there rumors of as many as six different Real Life Super Heroes showing up (representing Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison, and Rochester), not only is there talk of a Real Life Super Villain showing up, not only is this whole, free (to watch) event a benefit for the United Way, but local DJ Dori Zori is going to be playing music throughout the night.
Oh yeah, and around 9pm Nathan Stuber (returning colorist) does a tag-team tag-out with Andrea Toussaint. Expect professional wrestling antics. I sure do.
If this wasn’t enough, we’re documenting the whole evening. Photographer Kelly Crandall will be taking stills that we’ll upload periodically throughout the night (you can buy copies if you think they’re lovely – all proceeds go to – you guessed it – the United Way). Mike Hofstedt is carrying out our video documentation this year, and we’ll be live-streaming at http://www.livestream.com/motionarycomics (or just click the link). Don’t complain about the ads, it makes the service free.
Have I missed anyone? This thing wraps up maybe on the far side of midnight – and you, my drink-nursing, canny, not-soused friend, get to decide how the story ends. Tea’s got a couple of possibilities, but we’re going to vote with our pocket books – loose change, dollar bills, hundred dollar bills, everything in between (the proceeds go – do I need to say it? – to the United Way). May the most generous bucket win.
Two weeks from today, we’re back in Real Live Comics action. For now that means an awful lot of prep work. We had one meet-n-greet last night and we’re doing a second on Saturday.
I’m taking inventory of all of the materials from last year so that I know how much more stuff I need to purchase for this year.
We brainstormed various ways we can try to make this a larger and more successful benefit for the United Way.
We talked schedule. We talked technology – we’re hoping to have live streaming and photos loaded to the web so people outside the bar of Moct in the city of Milwaukee in the state of Wisconsin can take a look.
In short, there is a great deal that we still have to do – but I’ll tell you this. I was giddy with delight last year. Giddy. That’s how much fun it was.
And what do I expect this year?
Mark your calendars and make your travel plans to get to MKE by mid-evening at the latest on April 29. Let me know if you need some good hotel recommends.
My exciting early-winter news from last year was having Moct ask me if I’d be interested in producing another round of Motionary Comics at the bar. Immediately flattered, I still noodled on the idea a bit. Did I want to recreate the same thing, which might be a bit boring, or strike out and do something new? I worked on a couple of new ideas, but ultimately decided that the smart thing to do would be to work on last year’s model with just enough variation to make it fun for me but still let me try and improve the system, find the bits that didn’t work as well as others.
With that in mind, I invited Tea Krulos to be the lead artist. I didn’t have one of those last year, and the introduction of a lead artist entails a couple of changes. First of all, Tea has come up with the concept – it was a gimee, and the reason I asked him. He blogs about Real Life Super Heroes (RLSH). He’s coming up with our story, he’s the one who’s going to design our panels, and he’s creating the text.
Most of the rest of the evening is largely the same. Choreographers will position people dressed up in Tyvek that our colorists will spray. Illustrators will fill in the blank spots that their bodies leave against the canvas, and from there on out the colorists and illustrators alternate until 11:30pm or so, by which time Tea will be putting the text up.
We’re documenting again this year – stills, video, and (I hope!) some live streaming. Rumor has it we’ll be visited by a couple of RLSHs, and we’re going to put up some video links from their nemeses across the continent – Real Life Super Villains. Dori Zori from local rockin’ radio station WMSE has the tunes.
If you’re anywhere near Milwaukee on April 29, 2011, I think we all know where you should be.
And did I mention that it’s free? And that it’s also a benefit for the United Way? Come on. Come out and play.
In a zero-sum game, there are a finite number of pieces. You can’t win without me losing or tying and vice versa. It’s big in game theory, it’s big in political rhetoric (in such a way as to declare compromise impossible), it comes up in economics.
Let me give an example: there are 24 hours in a day. Let’s say I split my time between sleeping, eating, housework (including cooking), work, research, relaxing, spending time with my wife, and spending time with friends. I mean, let’s just say.
The more time I spend sleeping, the less time I have to do everything else. Yet at a certain optimized point, the amount of sleep that I get means that I perform the other time-events better. If I get less than six and a half hours of sleep over an extended period of time, I’ll slowly begin to fall apart. It’s something I test periodically (on purpose and by accident alike). Still holds true.
My work these days is writing. The whats and whys (maybe even the hows) will be for another post, but the reason it’s relevant here is that – as much as I want to be posting on here more – it’s more writing.
It’s not even that I’m sick of writing and once I’m done with one batch I don’t want to do another. It is that when I’m writing pretty much all I want to be doing is working on my stories. And that there are only so many hours in the day.
But here I am, trying again. Up and at’em.
And by the way, if you don’t know me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter – get ready for post on here regarding Motionary Comics 2.0 – April 29 at Moct Bar in Milwaukee. It will rock your world.
And I’m not sure how we’re going to pull it off. So in the meantime, I’ll just go ahead with some more introductions. First off is Michelle Sherkow, who’s going to be doing still photography of the event.
NAME: Michelle Sherkow
FAVORITE NICKNAME: Shellz
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST: Does Lichtenstein count?
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA: POW!
FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Batman
LIKES: really good comfort food, mismatched bright socks, zip-up hoodies
DISLIKES: Ethnocentrism, an unavoidable evil.
TURN ONS: intelligence
TURN OFFS: impatience; lack of effort to understand.
WHY DID YOU GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY? I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember. I think I fell into the Land of Oz when I was about 3 and haven’t quite made it back to Kansas.
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB? Creating art while traveling and learning as much as I can from observing a multitude of cultures and being allowed to participate in various rituals as appropriate.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16? In the role of photographer, I will still get paint on me somehow!
CAKE OR DEATH? Cake. Always cake.
Michelle is followed by lighting designer and man-about-town Jason Fassl. Watch out. He’s got a motorcycle.
NAME – J.Fassl
FAVORITE NICKNAME – JF
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST – Nate Stuber
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA – Zoom
FAVORITE SUPERHERO – Green Lantern
LIKES – Electricity
DISLIKES – Glenn Beck
TURN ONS – illumination
TURN OFFS – black outs
WHY DID YOU GET INTO THEATER? – the girls
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB? – not working
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH PROJECT ON APRIL 16? – hundreds will see it – thousands will hear about it – millions will never know it happened
CAKE OR DEATH? – taxes
Yes, he’s a funny one, that Jason Fassl.
Okay, I confess. Now I’m just associating topics to do mad libs for these introductions. Brian Patrick Moore almost got re-introduced, but instead we’re starting with with the cranky wrangler, Kat Danielsen.
NAME Kat Danielsen
FAVORITE NICKNAME Xerxes
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST Dan Piraro
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA thwap
FAVORITE SUPERHERO Dr. Manhattan
LIKES Lima Beans, brussels sprouts and parsnips
DISLIKES zombie movies and working retail
TURN ONS education, intelligence, a love of cats and crafts, alan rickman
TURN OFFS suvs, ignorance, terrible ghetto grammar
WHY DID YOU GET INTO THEATER? Theatre had this really cool set of pipes and when it started playing, I couldn’t help but follow
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB? Stage Manager in Germany
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS JOB ON APRILApril 16? drinks will be shared, paint will be splattered somewhere and minds will be blown
CAKE OR DEATH? Death, tasty tasty death by chocolate
DISLIKES: restrictions, greed, bad touch, corruption, lazy workers
And Jason Waszak completes the morning’s round-up.
NAME: Jason Waszak
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST: Johnny Hart vs. Chris Browne
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA: Boing!
FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Super GroverLIKES: frisbee, food, good touch, danger, :48-1:04 of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIa1Tvbh1qo&feature=player_embedded#
TURN ONS: light switches, deli slicers, trash compactors, mini laptops, blenders, amplifiers, tv, cable box, voice recorder, dvd player, boombox, oven, microwave, clock, cell phone, light board, iron, power tools, lawn mower, car, (i’m sure there’s more)
TURN OFFS: just about everything i turn on. i try not to waste energy.
WHY DID YOU GET INTO THEATER? i can’t stop playing with the things and people around me.
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE DREAM JOB? to each day further my artistry without having to ‘work for a living’ outside.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16? enough to get me in trouble.
CAKE OR DEATH? which one includes ice cream?
Oh, yes, he’s a clever one.
Okay, lessee, I think I have a couple of, oh, here they are. Right. Our first contestant today is Dan Hernandez. Give’im a big hand, ladies and gentlemen.
NAME: Francisco Geronimo Josè Daniel ”Potato Bug” Hernandez, IV
FAVORITE NICKNAME: Dan Hernandez
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST: Chris Ware, Cathy Guisewite
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA: KAADONG!!!
FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Not Superman.
LIKES: Lying, subterfuge & elaborate costumes
DISLIKES: gettiing caught pulling my latest heist
TURN ONS: C-Span
TURN OFFS: Pornography
WHY DID YOU GET INTO COMICS? Because I like to draw pictures of things farting.
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB? Cartoonist or sychronised dishwasher
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON 16? Someone
will step on my my new kicks and then I’ll have to “Serve” them.
CAKE OR DEATH? Undead Pie
Dan is followed by Brian Patrick Moore, whose eyes really bring out the blue in that Versace gown.
NAME: Brian Moore
FAVORITE NICKNAME: “Bones.” I used to be so terrifyingly skinny you could see my spine through my stomach…then I moved to Milwaukee.
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST: Bill Watterson. (http://progressiveboink.com/archive/calvinhobbes.htm)
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA: “Bampf!” (http://www.motifake.com/image/demotivational-poster/small/0908/bamf-nightcrawler-bamf-demotivational-poster-1249423888.jpg)
FAVORITE SUPER Anti-HERO: The Saint of Killers (http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/s/saintkil.htm)
LIKES: Long nights of good food and drink
DISLIKES: Myself on mornings after long nights of good food and drink.
WHY DID YOU GET INTO PHYSICAL THEATER? I look good in Tyvek. (http://vimeo.com/10490835)
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB? : Doing what I do now. The only difference is at the end of the week there would be a pay check waiting for me…a paycheck and an extra day in the week where all I had to do was sleep.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16? :There will be sweat.
CAKE OR DEATH? : I would say cake but usually, against my my own interest, I choose death.
The next introductions include another illustrator (they’re everywhere!) and a choreographer (there’s just one). Matt Chicorel is the foul-mouthed artist behind our logo.
NAME Matt Chicorel
FAVORITE NICKNAME I sign my shit ‘CHIC’ but I like it when people call me ‘Awesome’, ‘the best’, ‘really cool’, ‘Good’, ‘Fuck Farter Face’, but not ‘Idiot’ even thought I’m probably an idiot.
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST tough one. I guess Tim Sale if I had to pick one.
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA I tried figuring out how to spell that sound that they make on LOST every time they go to a commercial break on a cliffhanger. I don’t know if that’s an onomatopoeia, cause I don’t know how to spell it
FAVORITE SUPERHERO tie: Spidey and Buddy Bradley
LIKES Drunk fun, pop comics, pop music, playing music, pizza, 30 Rock, Sobelman’s, learning stuff, impulse decisions, not having to go to work, progress, facebook
DISLIKES Fighting, going to work, being cold, jerks, forgetting shit
TURN ONS Cute funny girls with good taste in music and stuff. You can be smarter than me, but don’t make me feel dumb if you are please thanks.
TURN OFFS Wearing too much make-up. Don’t pee on me when we’re sleeping together. Oh you were drunk? Okay…fine. Whatev.
CAKE OR DEATH? I guess cake, cause I don’t wanna die. Not yet. Was talking about this just earlier today. Here’s my official death wish (for future reference): “AVENGE ME!” goes on my tombstone. And if there’s anything about God or Jesus or any prayers or whatever at my funeral I will come back from the dead and kill whoever set that up. Sorry if that sounds angry or something but it’s not. I say ‘oh my god’ or ‘goddammit’ all the time! I just don’t believe in him. I believe in dinosaurs and science.
And choreographer Elizabeth Johnson gives away our movie references.
That title sort of sounds like a young adult book I wouldn’t want to read. Nevertheless, let’s see who we’ve got today… First up is nominator of the term “goon” (and if he wears a red shirt to the event, no one’s responsible for the consequences but him) is Chris Warner.
NAME: Chris Warner
FAVORITE NICKNAME: “Mister Warner”
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST: Alan Moore (later changed to ROMAN DIRGE)
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA: “BLAMMO!”
FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Person Man (the greatest man, Person Man)
LIKES: theatre, hats, embarrassing my students
DISLIKES: brussels sprouts, low wireless signal strength
WHY DID YOU GET INTO THEATER : My better half created http://www.etsy.com/shop/taeliac after making too many jewelry and accessory items for one person to physically wear.
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB? : Saving the mushroom kingdom.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16? : Something that would make Hulk Hugan say “Oooh yeeaah brotherrrr”
CAKE OR DEATH? : Is this some sort of “death by chocolate” reference?
Chris is ably followed by illustrator Christopher MacDonald. But that’s it. We’re all out of Chris’s now. We didn’t know there was going to be a run on them.
NAME: Christopher MacDonald
FAVORITE NICKNAME: Topher
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST: Katsuhiro Otomo; Nate Powell
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA: WHROOM
FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Spiderman!!
LIKES: Illustration, food, astronauts, tee shirts
TURN ONS: beards
TURN OFFS: lack of beards
WHY DID YOU GET INTO ART? The voices told me it would be good for us.
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB? Freelance Illustrator/designer/art director working on installation, editorial illustration and comics projects.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16? All sorts of awesomeness!
CAKE OR DEATH? Ummm, liberty?…cake.
We’re working on setting up information through the press for Motionary Comics (April 16th, Gallery Night, Milwaukee, Moct Bar, starting around 5pm and ending around midnight, if you haven’t been keeping up), but this project seems like a hard sell. Still, we’re taking what we can get. So far we’ve got an interview slated at WMSE next Monday morning, a Lake Effect interview slated to record this week and air next Tuesday, and Paul Kosidowski may be giving us a shout out on his Arts on Deck feature (the latter two both on WUWM).
Radio loves us – print, not so much. Ironic, given our medium.
If anyone has more ideas of who to contact and how, send’em our way. Thanks!
Meet Andrea Toussaint. No wait, go back, start over in a Rod Serling voice. Meet Andrea Toussaint. Much better.
NAME : Andrea
FAVORITE NICKNAME : Andy the painter and yes, I spell it with a “y” you got a problem with that?
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST : The man who invented the green sheet from the Sentinel when it was JUST the Sentinel.
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA : I have killed too many brain cells from being around sealer & polyurethane to even know what “Onomatopoeia” means.
FAVORITE SUPERHERO : The Green Lantern, now there is a guy who could punch you in the throat and take care of some business!
LIKES : Chocolate chip cookies, warm fuzzy socks & Blues dancing in Chicago.
DISLIKES : People who don’t use their turn signals, tall people who stand right in front of me & stinky paint.
TURN ONS :
WHY DID YOU GET INTO THEATER : Because when I went to college, I didn’t know what else to do.
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB? : To make a living at my art, make my own schedule AND pay all my bills. Anyone want to be my benefactor?
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16? : I am pretty sure I will accidentally step into a full bucket of paint and have to go home with a squishy shoe. ew.
Andrea declined to answer “cake or death.”
Our next and appropriately lengthy response comes from writer Jackie Steffen-Bublitz.
NAME – Jackie Steffen-Bublitz
FAVORITE NICKNAME – Jack
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST – Ashley Wood, Lar DeSouza, Skottie Young, Mike Mignola, just to keep the list short and sweet…
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA – While it’s not from a comic, I really enjoy the onomatopoeia “skidoosh” that was coined in Kung Fu Panda. It’s typically used to convey an Epic Win from an unlikely victor, but I find that “skidoosh” is a multi-faceted onomatopoeia that can be used in nearly every situation.
“I just finished the dishes. Skidoosh!”
“I’ll have another round of drinks! Skidoosh!”
“I find your taste in movies to be appalling, at best. Skidoosh!”
FAVORITE SUPERHERO – The Tick
LIKES – I like pretty pictures and word bubbles and books and sarcasm, mostly. Imagination and story-telling are pretty awesome, too!
DISLIKES – Working for The Man.
TURN ONS – The smell of old books and balmy weather. Nostalgia’s pretty sexy, too.
TURN OFFS – Selfless heroes.
WHY DID YOU GET INTO COMICS?
I’ve always been influenced by and fascinated with the art of storytelling and communication. Whether its folklore and fairy tales from around the world, comics, body language or little white lies, I love trying to read the messages that people convey to the world around them.
My decision to be a visual artist was made with a hefty amount of frivolity. I liked a boy on the internet and decided to go to college in the same state that he lived in, and that college ended up being the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (since I could “draw good n stuff”). Predictably, that relationship didn’t last very long, but I still gained a huge amount of knowledge and appreciation for the visual arts from MIAD, in addition to a solid network of artistic friends and colleagues. Two years later, I met the love of my life (who is smarter, funnier, and FAR better looking than the boy I moved out here for… karma is awesome), and have been causing shenanigans with him ever since.
Owning and operating the successful business that is Lovesick Robot Studios (http://www.lovesickrobot.org)
It’s gonna be petty sweet. People are going to walk in on us working and say “Damn, that’s pretty awesome,” and they’ll be inspired to go forth and do their own Awesome Thing.
CAKE OR DEATH?
What kind of cake are we talking about here? I’m not dying for some lemon cream bullsh, or anything like that. You get me a nice German Chocolate cake or a really fine cheesecake, and we’ll talk.
Today we’ve got one of the several… I call’em wranglers, you could call them “associate producers,” “the go-to people,” or as Chris Warner (in a forthcoming introduction) calls himself, “goons.” But this implies that they wear Red Shirts and are doomed, and that’s simply not true. First up is Brent Bublitz, who will be primarily (maybe solely, maybe not) tackling the online documentation – for those of you not able to make the event itself.
NAME: Brent Bublitz
FAVORITE NICKNAME: Mr Bublitz.
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST: Gaiman
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA: Sproing
FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Chuck Norris
LIKES: technology and information.
DISLIKES: discussing politics or religion.
TURN ONS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUGjUCHSKLM
TURN OFFS: Opinion without fact, Glen Beck tattoos.
WHYD DID YOU GET INTO COMICS AND GRAPHIC DESIGN: Good way to meet chicks. Kinda worked.
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB?: Lighthouse maintenance or something in warehouse 13.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN TO THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16?: Implosion opening a small black hole above the Milwaukee river.
CAKE OR DEATH? I’ll have the chicken.
Today, Brent is accompanied by Illustrator and documentarian Tea Krulos, who, if we are lucky, will be dressed up as his own real life superhero on April 16. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out Tea’s fantastic project here.
NAME: Tea Krulos
FAVORITE NICKNAME: Big Tea Money
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST: Wally Wood
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA: Oof-da!
FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Flaming Carrot
LIKES: The ladies, peanuts, rum, running wild in the street
DISLIKES: I am unflappable
TURN ONS: I follow the immortal words of Sir Mix-A-Lot. Also tattoos, glasses, bad attitudes.
TURN OFFS: Snobbery towards my brotherhood and sisterhood of cartoonists.
WHY DID YOU GET INTO COMICS?: My hand was possessed.
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB?: Going pro as a gonzo journalist/cartoonist.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16?: “Everything that can go right, will.” -Krulos Law
CAKE OR DEATH?: “Cake is uncertain, but death is for sure.” -Traditional Krulos saying
Liza Bielby is our Tyvek Person. What’s a Tyvek person? WHAT’S A TYVEK PERSON???
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST–R. Crumb
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA–Boff!
LIKES–hardwood floors, eggs, adorable jokes
TURN ONS–food, food knowledge, group gardening
WHY DID YOU GET INTO CLOWNING AND PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE? –I wanted to be She-ra, Princess of Power. This was the only way.
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB?–performative international espionage with food perks
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16?–Someone will be drunk in the corner, there will be inappropriate dancing, a sloshed outburst, an unintelligible toast, and someone will make out with a bridesmade
CAKE OR DEATH?–cake. Are you kidding?
And David Beyer Jr. is our non-Adobe product.
NAME: David Beyer Jr.
FAVORITE NICKNAME: I don’t think I have one. I’ve called my brother “Porky” since we were little kids.
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST: Paul Pope
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA: KRAK-A-BOOOM!!
FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Batman
LIKES: Pizza, Coffee, Aqua Teen Hunger Force
DISLIKES: slow internet connections
TURN ONS: pretty girls with a sense of humor
TURN OFFS: angry drunks
WHY DID YOU GET INTO COMICS?: It was a way to tell stories with pictures in a more contemporary and relevant way than narrative painting.
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB? creating something like Peanuts or the Simpsons. One good idea could keep the bills paid for the rest of my life and 3 to 5 subsequent generations.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16? It’ll be a fine example of how really exciting things can happen if creative people can get together in a cool space and let their imaginations run wild.
CAKE OR DEATH? As much as I love metal, I’d have to go with Cake. They put on a great show, and I dig the trumpets.
Colorist Nathan Stuber and Illustrator Michael Cothroll step up to the podium to the sound of thundering applause. First, Nathan Stuber, who is taller and ganglier than Michael Cothroll.
FAVORITE NICKNAME— @**hole
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST— bill watterson
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA– thwack
FAVORITE SUPERHERO– does jesus count?no? ok… the tick
LIKES– watching people fall down
DISLIKES– writing bios
TURN ONS- success
TURN OFFS- sucessful people
WHY DID YOU GET INTO PAINTING AND THEATER? — too lazy to do anything truly productive with my life
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB?– assassian
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16?– carpal tunnel syndrome for all
CAKE OR DEATH?– death… i mean CAKE!! i said CAKE!!
Michael Cothroll elbows his way to the microphone. Nathan Stuber doubles over in agony, already dreaming of revenge.
NAME: Michael Cothroll
FAVORITE NICKNAME: Coth
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST: Bill Watterson
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATOPOEIA: Zzzzzzzz
FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
WHY DID YOU GET INTO WRITING COMICS? It was always an easy way to up my grade point average while growing up. / Manic Obsession.
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB? Getting paid handsomely to do whatever I want.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN TO THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16? It’s gonna bring the “THUNDER.”
CAKE OR DEATH? What are trying to get at Kurt? Cake of course. Cup cakes. Many cup cakes.
Tune in next time for our next round of contestants, in which the artists really bring it on, WWF style!
That’s right. I said World Wildlife Fund.
We at Bad Soviet Habits ask the hard-hitting questions, and we wanted to know just what kind of (April) fools would take part in something as unseemly as MOTIONARY COMICS. So we went straight the horse’s mouth and we asked.
Jonathan West and Dorothea West. Answers from the father are on the left. Answers from the daughter are on the right, and we hope that if social services come to visit, it’s not as a result of our incisive questionnaire. But not because we doubt that SEVEN YEAR OLDS SAY “WTF.” WHAT KIND OF PARENT ARE YOU, MAN? Now, where did I put the number for social services. What? Is this thing on? I feel like I’ve got Joe Biden’s microphone here.
FAVORITE NICKNAME: JT/Thea
FAVORITE COMIC ARTIST: Art Spiegelman/Charles Schulz
FAVORITE COMIC STRIP ONOMATAPOEIA: I’m not answering this eggheaded question/I’m only seven, WTF
FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Spiderman when he has Kristen Dunst in his life/Spiderman because my friend Luke wears his Spiderman costume everywhere he goes
LIKES: Cheese and swearing/Swimming and things that are pink
DISLIKES: Cowards/Having to stop reading at night
WHY DID YOU GET INTO THIS PROJECT: Kurt Hartwig asked me and I’m fairly certain he has information about me that could ruin my family/I’m trying to save my father’s reputation
WHAT’S YOUR PIPE-DREAM JOB?: Obituary writer and Actor/Ballerine, but could change tomorrow—I’m seven
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH THIS PROJECT ON APRIL 16?: I will somehow be covered in paint by a group of people who have probably dreamed about messing with me for years/It will be fun, because everything is fun when you are seven
CAKE OR DEATH?: Sheet cake/Mommy, what’s for dessert, and you had better not say “Death.”
We’ve had our early meet-ups, and as many of who can meet each other have met one another. Now we’re into the details – shopping lists, the last round-ups of volunteers (anyone want to dress up in a Tyvek suit? I still need one more body…), trying to get the pieces in place to keep this event moving as smoothly as possible.
If you haven’t read the previous post, here’s the short form: we’re going to create a mural-sized comic, 90″ tall (that’s 7’6″) and roughly 60′ long between the hours of 5pm and midnight (give or take). We’ll be posting images and maybe even video to this blog throughout the evening, so if you can’t make the event, you can still see us trying to wrangle chaos into multicolored narrative, panel by panel.
We’ve got three colorists, six illustrators, and one writer in place. I know, you’re saying that doesn’t add up to 25, and I can’t dispute your math. While they’re going to be the primary storytellers, we’ve got four people doing documentation, a choreographer and five volunteers whose painted silhouettes will create the primary canvas for the illustrators – who will in turn be influenced by the colorists – and back again. Not to mention the team of wranglers who are going to help make all of this work proceed apace.
It’s going to be fast, it’s going to take a loose hand, and we might work up a bit of a sweat.
Hope to see you there (or here, in the ether).
I’m sitting in my living room and looking at the primed crown molding in three rooms, the primed built-in cabinets, and base shoe that needs to be re-installed.
Today is March 29, and as of Wednesday night, I’m supposed to be off-book for THE HEART OF A DOG. Next week we shift up from 2 nights of rehearsal a week to three in anticipation of our May 6 opening at Moct.
Three weeks before that, on April 16, we’re mounting MOTIONARY COMICS at the same bar.
This morning I looked at my calendar and realized that The Hinterlands are running their clowning workshop (SIGN UP! SIGN UP!) on the 17th, a day on which I will be in no shape to participate. This is a drag, because this is a great opportunity.
I will be picking my battles, however.
There’s an unsavory – but relatively accurate – phrasing going around in the world of “content creation” these days: process is product. Usually what people mean by that is that you need to sell the process of creation so that by the time your product is finished, you’ve developed enough of an audience that everyone shows up and pays good money to see what you’ve done.
We’re not really following that business model.
First of all, what we’re doing only lasts one night, and secondly there’s no charge.
Here’s the short form: there are some 25 of us or so who are going to create a mural-sized comic strip in real time. I haven’t done the measurements, but I’m guessing that it’ll run about 8′ tall and 60′ long. We’ll start a little before Gallery Night really kicks off and end whenever we finish – I’m aiming for midnight.
Here’s the long form: late morning on the 16th, three of us are getting together at Moct to get all of the pieces in place: running tarp, running the muslin, and taping off the cells that the artists will have to use. They don’t get to know any of shapes in advance, how the comic might look. (If you’re not familiar with Winsor McCay‘s Little Nemo in Slumberland, that’ll give you some good ideas of early comics.)
Around 5pm, we start with the silhouettes. Choreographer Elizabeth Johnson starts the event with a shape-driven story. She will be adjusting the bodies of several of our intrepid volunteers: Richard Newman, Liza Bielby, and Brian Moore (all of the Hinterlands), Sunset Playhouse Managing Director, blogger, and man-about-town Jonathan West, his inimitable daughter Dorothea, and one more to-be-determined brave soul. What’s brave about them is that as Elizabeth poses their bodies, they will be painted by the talents of our colorists – scenic painters Carri Dahl, Andrea Toussaint, and Nathan Stuber. Our volunteers step away from the wall, leaving white silhouettes against a multi-colored background.
By the way, they’ll be wearing Tyvek suits so’s to protect their gentle selves.
We’ve got maybe two hours to get this first bit done, and after that things start to pick up.
Our Illustrators step up to the plate: Tea Krulos, David Beyer Jr., Dan Hernandez, Michael Cothroll, Matt Chicorel, and Christopher MacDonald. They fill in the white silhouettes to create the characters in our story.
Pass three, the colorists return to give depth and color to the characters. Pass four, the illustrators give dimension and shape to the background. Pass five, everyone gets one last chance to fill in any details they just can’t live without.
In the meantime, writer Jackie Steffen has to come up with the text, reacting to the images that are up on the wall.
I’ll be working with wranglers Chris Warner, Brent Bublitz, and Kat Danielsen to push things along, facilitate what needs facilitating, and in general try desperately to keep things moving.
Photographer Michelle Sherkow will be doing ongoing still photographer of the general craziness, documenting from specific angles for a layout wall for latecomers (so that you can see what you’ve been missing, should you arrive late), as well as doing the cool work that she likes. And filmmakers Lauren Burke, Jay Bauman, and Mike Stoklasa (the latter two from the well-heeled Red Letter Media) will be following the process and checking out what everyone thinks of the growing work.
It almost sounds implausible. How can you miss this?
It’s a big season.
Every three months, Milwaukee, Wisconsin hosts Gallery Night, in which a whole bunch of galleries, bars, and other excuses for arts venues open their doors, walls, and floors to artists of all scopes. This April 16, Bad Soviet Habits is producing Motionary Comics, in which approximately 24 artists will create a mural-sized comic strip in real time over the course of the evening. We have a common story beginning and we have a common location, but beyond that, it’s a bit of improvisation, with every artist having to react and respond to what everyone else is doing. Think of it as visual jazz. Mark your calendars and come on down to the Moct Bar anytime after 5pm.
A mere three weeks later, playing for three Thursdays in May (the 6th, 13th, and 20th), is the premiere of a new adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov‘s classic Soviet satire, The Heart of a Dog. We’ve done some updating for the 21st century set, so while the story is relatively faithful, the themes are not. Although we did try our best to keep the pointed humor. The writer-performers are Andy North and Kurt Hartwig, and the reason we’re only performing three times is that we’re taking off for the Prague Fringe Festival the following week, and playing nine show in a row before coming back to the States on June 8. We’ll have two months off, then it’s back to rehearsal to gear up for the Minnesota Fringe Festival. If things go well, we’ll do another short run in Milwaukee.
Fall is the time to start working on new projects, and Bad Soviet Habits are no different. In this case, it’s a puppet-and-actor version of Euripedes’ Medea, slated for performance in May 2011. To say that there’s a lot to do on this is an understatement.
In the meantime, check out The Heart of a Dog on Kickstarter and help us get to Prague!