Self-aware. Self conscious. Self induced.

Who We Are and How We’re Doing what We’re Doing

Here’s the deal. Motionary Comics gets up and running this Friday. The gig starts at 6pm at Moct bar. If I may make a considered suggestion regarding your plans for the week?

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.

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