Self-aware. Self conscious. Self induced.

Posts tagged “Motionary Comics

Things That Are and Are Not Happening

High time to do a quick update on what’s happening.



Motionary Comics – now with VOD (just press play)


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.

Motionary Comics 2.0 from Kurt Hartwig on Vimeo.

Post Mortem

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.

Morning set up

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.

End of the evening

All photos (c) Kelly Crandall, 2011.

A Brief History of Villainy

Kickin' it.

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.

Those guys.

You can watch the smack-down begin here.

What You Need to Know and When You Need to Know It

Here’s some press that’s informative about us:

Tomorrow night we’ll be streaming at:

Twitter feed: @kurthartwig

There might be more, but those are some stable links for now.

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 (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.

Motionary Comics: The Returnening

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.