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Jim Shaw at Mass MoCA

To walk around “Entertaining Doubts,” Jim Shaw’s sprawling new show at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, is to step into the mind of the artist and wander, sometimes without a guide. That may be the best way to uncover its mysteries, actually: taking in what you see with the idea of doing some investigation once you find yourself back […]

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Paul de Jong

Cellist Paul de Jong is best known for his work as one half of The Books (Amazon, iTunes), a duo renowned for their one of a kind song output that incorporated sampling in its compositions, particularly spoken word. They parted ways four years ago after a decade-long career. While former collaborator Nick Zammuto has released two albums under his own name, […]

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Leonard Nimoy

The news of Leonard Nimoy’s death saddened me. I got to meet him once at a reception at Mass MoCA for the opening of his show there, Secret Selves. I have never seen an opening there so packed. I had spoken to him on the phone for just short of an hour for an article on the show and his […]

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Rhiannon Giddens

This is the other part of an interview I presented earlier, which had Giddens talking specifically about racism in old music, how to approach that in the present, and how she feels about the race dialogue in its current form. This section of the interview focuses much more on her work with Carolina Chocolate Drops (Amazon, iTunes), her work as […]

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Adrian Tomine

It was announced by Drawn And Quarterly that the Canadian publisher had acquired Adrian Tomine’s next book, Killing And Dying, next fall. It seemed like a good time to present this interview I conducted with Tomine a little over a year ago when he was in town for an appearance at Williams College. His collection of New York art had come […]

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Jules Feiffer

It was a few years ago that I spoke with the  legendary Jules Feiffer in regard to the 50th anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth, which he illustrated from Norton Juster’s story. His new book, Kill My Mother, has just been released. I’m sure I’ll review that, but I thought its release was a good opportunity for me to make available […]

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Dom Flemons

I had the pleasure of interviewing multi-instrumentalist Dom Flemons a couple years back, and in honor of his upcoming solo debut, I wanted to present it here in its entirety. Flemons is a former and founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which he left late 2013 to pursue a solo career. His new album Prospect Hill (Amazon, iTunes) was just […]

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Elizabeth Kolbert

I had the really good fortune to speak with New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert about her recent book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (Amazon, iBooks, Powell’s). Kolbert is well-known for her writings about climate change, and this book she ups the ante, linking that with mass extinction and drawing the line of causation in human history, and as part […]

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Roger Shimomura: Extra Bits

I spoke to painter Roger Shimomura for this post, but here is a little extra dialogue we had about his use of popular cartoon characters in his work. Roger is a hardcore appropriator, but a very talented one who uses his borrowed characters for some pretty direct political commentary, and yet manages to make the whole thing fun despite the […]

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Roger Shimomura

The paintings of Roger Shimomura are fun, cartoonish and delightfully over-the-top, but what lurks behind them is a serious history of racism in America, and an examination of how naturalized cultures are expected to bow to the dominant one, with no compromises. One painting by Shimomura features the artist decked out in a judo outfit, punching Superman, the ultimate white American. It’s […]

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Rebecca Guay

A new book, conceived by Amherst- based illustrator Rebecca Guay, tackles stories of angels in a way that mixes Bible stories with “The Canterbury Tales” by way of some of the hottest writers in their field. Guay’s book “A Flight of Angels,” from Vertigo, features collaborations with Holly Black, Bill Willingham, Alisa Kwitney, Louise Hawes and Todd Mitchell. She will […]

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Kid Koala

Canadian disc jockey Kid Koala — real name Eric San, from Vancouver — is known for an eclectic and often whimsical style of spinning and scratching that employs not just the beats typical of his profession, but also a variety of older musical styles. Koala routinely makes use of jazz and big band, as well as some novelty and television […]

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Denis Kitchen

Denis Kitchen is finally get some recognition as a cartoonist, thanks to the release of two art books, including “The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen” and “Denis Kitchen’s Chipboard Sketchbook.” These may celebrate his lesser-known cartoonist side, but his importance in the world of comics goes far beyond his artwork — it’s just that he loves drawing. Kitchen is a literary and […]

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Gary Hallgren

The question “are you a man or are you a mouse?” has special significance to the career of illustrator and former underground cartoonist Gary Hallgren. He’s one of the men who took on the mouse — Mickey Mouse, that is. The underground comic book studio which Hallgren was part of in the ‘60s and ‘70s ran afoul of Walt Disney Studios […]

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The Stanford Graphic Novel Project

Since 2008, the Stanford Graphic Novel Project—part of the creative writing program at Stanford University—has produced a book-length graphic novel per session, a total of three full-length titles created by a staff of writers, artists and production workers who are actually students enrolled in the class to learn the craft of creating serious nonfiction comics. The Stanford Graphic Novel Project […]

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Bill Ayers

It was in the 2008 presidential election that  Bill Ayers achieved notoriety as a would-be spoiler —  the terrorist Barack Obama was supposedly palling around with was Ayers. This eye-brow raising recognition stretches back to his days in the activist group, The Weather Underground, which saw Ayers ad his cohorts conducting a bombing campaign in protest of the Viet Nam […]

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Joe Staton

Joe Staton has enjoyed a 30-plus year career in comic books and it’s about to be summed up by a show in Pittsfield presented by the Storefront Artists Project and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York City. The show in Pittsfield will concentrate on his Scooby Doo work and various versions of Batman that Staton has […]

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Jessica Abel

In creator Jessica Abel comics have found a tireless advocate in the medium’s shift to mainstream acceptability through the medium of graphic novels. Abel’s most recent work, “La Perdida,” won her major acclaim for its realistic portrayal of a clueless American expatriate in Mexico City — prior to that, Abel garnered attention for her comic “Artbabe” and her graphic short […]

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