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25 July 2009 @ 10:50 pm
That time of year again...(Plus Backblog part the first)  
Hey all. Just wanted to announce that my choir the Hart House Singers has its concert tomorrow (Sunday 26th of July). As I may have mentioned for the past year I have not only been a singer in the choir, but also the webmaster for the site.

It should be a fun show we are doing a great many folk songs from various places.

The past couple of months have been busy in their own way, although I found plenty of time to procrastinate as well. There are some things I want to mention though so I am going to mention them.

Back on the May 9th and 10th weekend Toronto played host to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF). This is a biennial event that celebrates comic books and the like. I blogged about my attendance of the last one two years ago, conveniently located below my department in Victoria College. This year they were in the Toronto Reference Library a rather impressive looking modern library that I had often meant to visit.

The usual suspects were in the crowd. Here is a a video report on it, one of the makers of this video was Ian Daffern, yet another local comic book creator I've met and talked to. Included in the interviews is Evan Munday a local (Toronto) comics creator, illustrator and by day a mild manner publicist for literary press Coach House books. I bought a copy of the book he had just illustrated, Stripmalling. He was with his collective Sketchkrieg. I chewed the fat with them a bit and bought a few books (Tyrone McCarthy's ultraviolent Tyne and Jason Loo's preview of the next installment of AWOL'd tale of brutal sci-fi espionage). I also got a great book mark featuring this drawing by McCarthy, the others called him Emo Crow, I think this guy needs his own book, but this seems unlikely.

One of the neat things about TCAF is that it includes talks, In this case an entire self-contained academic conference ("Another New Narrative: Comics in Literature, Film, and Art"). I only attended a few talks of this but met an interesting guy Peter Coppin interested in the study of the cognitive processes behind comics and geometric proofs. I actually missed his talk.

There were also a series of panels of a less specialized nature. One that I actually went to was on the presentation of ideas in comics and included famed creator Scott McCloud. I would later get my copy of Understanding Comics autographed by McCloud, I confused him and he misspelled my name. New to me was the crazy genius comic creator Jason Shiga whose various comics include the scientifically informed adventures of a man trapped in a phone booth (Fleep) and an intricate interactive comic (Meanwhile). I got both comics in print form and they are clever and quirky books, but perhaps not for everyone (see links above for the actual comics on the web).

I met several comic creators who I met at the previous TCAF, including Carla Speed McNeil, whose series Finder is hard to describe (cyberpunk with shamanism), biographer of scientists in comics form Jim Ottaviani and Jason Thompson of encyclopedic knowledge of manga and master of minicomics (including the original King of RPGs).

I also met and got a sketch autograph from Chester Brown creator of among other things a stout biography of Canadian historical figure Louis Riel.

One of the most interesting people I met at the festival was Miriam Libicki a Vancouver, British Columbia-based American-Israeli artist. Her comic Jobnik details her life in the Israeli army. Her other work included an academic essay in comic form on autobiographical Jewish comics. She strikes me as having an emotionally raw and somewhat crude style.

I also complained to the creator of Dinosaur comics about the errors on his time travel poster.

TCAF was great fun and I even learned some things. I still have to read several of the books I bought. It was a very expensive weekend for me.

Less fun was the following Wednesday. I went to give blood. Unfortunately, part way through the procedure I felt light headed, I warned the attendant and she managed to stop the procedure just before I fell unconscious. I quickly woke up. This had happened to me several years ago and I had only given blood twice since. After a long rest, I got some help from a friend in my department down the street to walk me back to the department.

I'm not sure I will continue giving blood. I might have eaten too much too soon before donating or it might be some infirmity of my constitution. Most maddening is the lack of any consensus from clinic staff to the phone staff at Canadian Blood service. I would normally remain sanguine about this sort of thing, but really that is exactly the problem. :)
Current Location: Oakville, Ontario
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Paint it Black - The Rolling Stones