Saturday, May 19, 2007

a night out with art

last night I attended a 'performance' by art spiegelman and michael kimmelman at the cleveland public theater. at the start of the evening mr. spiegelman stated that we should consider the event as a 'performance" and he would be playing the part of the 'neurotic yet talented artist' - as such he could carry on his neurotic (and apparently unbreakable) habit and smoke cigarettes on stage. what a treat we were at a performance; golly, I just thought I was going to a lecture. okay, snide remarks aside about spiegelman's smoking problem it was a stimulating evening. the discussion between spiegelman and nytimes art critic kimmelman wove and wandered as they shared their views on art and where and how comics and cartoons fit in to this lofty world. during the q&a part of the evening spiegelman was asked about what the difference is between comics and 'graphic novels' - I loved his response, he said he considered the 'graphic novel' to be a marketing term with the intention to bring a certain upscale status to the comic. personally when considering the art form, he prefers the term/spelling 'comix' as it conveys that the comic is by definition the commingling of language and image - a co mix!

in 2003 my bookgroup selected spiegelman's maus books as one of the books for our year of reading. that year the us invasion of iraq dominated many of our thoughts and we selected war as the theme for the year. it was a difficult year of reading, without exception the women in my bookgroup can all be considered 'women of peace.' despite the depressing and discouraging nature of many of the books we delved into, the maus books were one of the highlights of the year. yes, the tale was depressing and despairing, but those emotions were balanced by the enormous power spiegelman displayed in telling his family's story during wwII as jews in poland trying desperately to evade the nazis. his family's tale was enhanced by his 'commingling' of image and text.

spiegelman continues to share his family's stories with the stories of our times. a few years ago he created In the Shadow of No Towers this time he directs his unique visual and storytelling gifts to explore the after effects of 9-11. the book considers both the impact on his family, who were living in the shadow of the towers before they fell, and the effect 9-11 has had on our nation. I look forward to his next book Breakdowns: The portrait of an artist as a young @#%! (or something like that). I agree with the the ny times magazine which stated that "Art Spiegelman... to the comics world is a Michelangelo and a Medici both, an influential artist who is also an impresario and an enabler of others."

if you haven't figured it out kimmelman is on the left, spiegelman on the right.

the spiegelman-kimmelman performance was just one of the wonderful events sponsored by cleveland public library - if you haven't figured it out yet, I am a huge booster of the cpl - to me it is one of the best things about living on the north coast! by far it is the best library system I have every experienced and I've been a library hound since childhood!


Unknown said...

i like the changes you've made! looking good!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

thanks pj! and merci buckets to julien for helping me out with tweaking the margins so I can put in larger pictures. now I just need to work on improving the resolution so the images are sharper.

Michael said...

I'm a librarian for the Cleveland Public Library, is there any way I could borrow one of your great photos of this event to post to our department blog? (

If you would be so kind as to let me know at - Thanks!