Ernesto Tomasini (pictured above during an Othon & Tomasini concert) is a consummate performer. A master of flounce and flourish. Imperious in his surety and confidence. A king of his castle and the savage stage.
I, sadly, am none of these things. But I do really like the idea of performance events, where the stories I've written leave their bookshelves and the constraints of the page, and take to the stage to be pushed that little bit deeper into emotional experience. It could be a spoken word event, for example, or a piece of immersive theatre.
THE TALE OF BRIN & BENT AND MINNO MARYLEBONE is such an emotional and poetic piece of writing that I'd always felt it would work well as a performance reading, ever since I'd learned of Neil Gaiman's reading of The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains.
Below are the occasions where I've been able to explore that notion, performing my debut graphic novel live with Othon, and his pitch perfect, beautiful Brin & Bent musical score.
Othon and I performed our second-ever reading of The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone on November 14th, to Othon's magical soundtrack at An Evening with Jonathan Cape Graphic Novels, hosted at the Arnolfini as part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas.
It was great night with some great names. Here's the programme as was:
6pm - 6.45pm Questioning Comics (Simone Lia, Karrie Fransman and Katie Green)
This was a genuinely fascinating set of presentations, with Karrie in particular throwing out some interesting questions. Can a single-frame image be a comic? was one in particular that captured my imagination, and is a question I'm carrying over to another project of mine, the transmedia storytelling project, Conspiracy 17.
7pm -7.45pm Discussing Collaboration (Bryan and Mary Talbot)
The Beau and I had been booked into the same hotel as Bryan and Mary, and we had the pleasure of sharing a post-event nightcap with this wonderful couple in the hotel bar. Bryan confessed to his not being able to stay up drinking as he used to. 'Oh no, not anymore,' he said. 'These days I'm in bed by 1am.'
7.45pm - 8pm Live Drawing (Joff Winterhart and Hannah Berry)
This was very funny! Though I regret not asking Joff to draw a greyhound.
8.15pm - 9pm Graphic Memoir (Alison Bechdel)
A very insightful talk by Alison's about her inspirations and techniques, and how dressing up in costume is all part of the job....
9.15pm - 9.45pm Performance Reading (Ravi Thornton and Othon, with artwork by Andy Hixon)
What can I say. This was amazing.
Comica Festival Event
Othon and I did our first ever live performance reading of The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone to his magical soundtrack at the iconic Charing Cross Road Foyles Bookstore, London, November 2nd, as part of the Comica 2012 Festival.
It was a lovely event, up in Foyles Gallery with judges Rachel Cooke, Dan Franklin and Paul Gravett announcing of the winner of the 6th Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize: Corban Wilkin.
Runner-up Steve Tillotson, along with previous winners Stephen Collins, Isabel Greenberg and Julian Hanshaw were all there chatting about their future projects.
It was also nice to learn that my own entry Day Release, illustrated by the remarkable Leonardo M. Giron (a dream collaborator if ever there was one) was one of those shortlisted.
Othon and I rounded off the evening, and despite all my earlier nerves and the myriad of problems we'd had during sound-check, our performance went really well. Paul Gravett was even kind enough to tell me 'your performance brought me to tears'.
Here's a short clip from the reading, courtesy of Angela Gorman:
It was also a real buzz to see The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone in Foyles' shop window, right there amongst the big hitters (Aline and Robert Crumb, Posy Simmonds, Karrie Fransman...) as well as the stunning billboards that Foyles commissioned for the 107-109 Charing Cross Road hoarding (which is where the bookshop will move to in 2014).
The billboards tell the store's history via graphic art drawn by some of the most exciting illustrative talent around.