Clippings

Dogmatika has posted a ‘review’ of the November 16th Belfast event.

Meanwhile, I have only received two reports – so many thanks to Melora98, who went to the Naperville, Illinois signing, and and JediTigger, who went to the signing in Charlotte, North Carolina.

If anyone else has sent me information over the past few months about events (or wants to forward them now), please resend to rim101ATyahoo.

Thanks in advance!


The Improbable lists the touring stops for Wolves in the Walls as follows:

  • March 23rd – April 8th 2006: Tramway, Glasgow
  • April 10th – 29th: Lyric Hammersmith, London
  • May 2nd – 6th: Perth Theatre
  • May 9th – 10th: MacRobert Centre, Stirling
  • May 12th – 13th: Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy
  • May 18th – 20th: Ayr Gaiety
  • And I’m just waiting to see how long it will take for some clever person to turn this and this into LiveJournal userpics. Or AOL Buddy Icons.


    From the November 7th, 2005 Variety:

    Nearly 200 years in the making, the National Theater of Scotland came one step closer on Nov. 1 with the launch of an inaugural 2006 program that will reach across Scotland and as far as the U.S. Backed by a two-year budget of £7.4 million ($13 million) in public funds, the NTS is the only national body to be formed since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

    The first-year lineup announced in Glasgow by helmer Vicky Featherstone includes an adaptation of cult U.K. TV hit Tutti Frutti by John Byrne (husband of thesp Tilda Swinton); a “site-suggestive” show called Roam staged beyond the check-in desks at Edinburgh Intl. Airport by Grid Iron theater company; and The Wolves in the Walls, a family musical co-produced by England’s Improbable that will tour to six U.S. cities in spring 2007.

    “Our raison d’etre was to give a national and international platform to outstanding Scottish talent, and that is exactly what this program will deliver,” says NTS chairman Richard Findlay, formerly group chief executive of Scottish Radio Holdings.

    The NTS is unique among national theaters for operating with neither a company nor a building. Instead, it is a commissioning body driven by a small artistic team working with existing drama producers to create, develop and exploit work all over Scotland. The model allows the org flexibility to back small-scale tours as well as high-profile foreign tours and prestige productions in the Edinburgh Intl. Festival.

    “The model means that the money will be spent on productions rather than leaking roofs and ice cream audits,” says Findlay. “It will open the door for Scotland to present theater at an international level.”

    It is the fulfillment of a dream that has been around since 1822, when a visit by King George IV to the Edinburgh Theater Royal (long since gone) gave rise to an ambition to create Scotland’s first national theater. Playwright James Bridie harbored similar ambitions for the Glasgow Citizens’ Theater in the 1940s, as did director Bill Bryden for the Edinburgh Royal Lyceum in the 1970s.

    “The fact that I’m standing here on this historic day for Scotland is testament to the dedication and vision of the people who campaigned for years to have a national theater of our own,” says Featherstone, 38, exhelmer of London-based new writing company Paines Plough. “It’s also testament to the artists who want to create the world-class theater that the NTS will be about.”

    Among the org’s artistic associates is Gotham-based Scot Alan Gumming. Casting details have yet to be announced, but names such as Gumming, Brian Cox and Ewan McGregor could be tempted home.

    Featherstone herself will co-direct The Wolves in the Walls with Improbable’s Julian Crouch, one of the team behind tuner Shockheaded Peter.

    Billed as a “musical pandemonium,” the new show is based on the 2004 children’s graphic horror novel by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. With music by Nick Powell of Glasgow’s Suspect Culture and a Scottish cast including lain Johnstone of children’s company Wee Stories, the production will tour Scotland from March 2006 before heading Stateside in 2007.

    As a symbolic indication that this is no ordinary national theater, the opening night on Feb. 25 will involve nine site-specific perfs taking place around Scotland, from the Isle of Lewis in the north to Dumfries and Galloway in the south. Billed as a “once-in-a-lifetime event,” the free performances, all called Home, will vary in audience capacity according to the nine leading directors.

    Other productions announced for 2006 include a revival of Chris Hannan’s 1985 drama Elizabeth Gordon Quinn; a large-scale staging of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible; a translation of Schiller’s Mary Stuart by David Harrower; and Gregory Burke’s Black Watch, based on verbatim interviews with soldiers from one of Scotland’s oldest regiments.
    Mark Fisher


    So apparently we poor New Yorkers will have to wait a bit longer for the New Victory to have a Stardust/Wolves in the Walls season. We’ll just have to amuse ourselves with Dave McKean theatrical posters in the subway stations.

    (Before anyone takes me to heart, I am mostly wishing out loud here. About the New Vic anyway. Besides, I shouldn’t be too greedy – St. Ann’s is supposed get Coraline, which is destined to be have its music written in Brooklyn for some reason. And the McKean poster was really in the Times Square subway station last I checked).


    In a recent interview at Animated News, Coraline film director Henry Selick had the following to say about the film:

    Coraline, which I’ve adapted from Neil Gaiman’s novel (meaning I wrote a screenplay based on the book) is in preproduction right now.

    It’s the story of a not-happy-enough girl, smart and brave but very bored, who discovers a better version of her life through a secret door in the old house she and her parents have just moved into. She meets her “other” mother and father – improved versions of the real ones except they have black button eyes. This other version of her life seems like a kid’s paradise with great food, magical shows, living gardens, etc. But there’s a big price to pay if Coraline wants to stay there.

    We currently have started storyboarding and art directing the film and have signed Dakota Fanning to do the lead voice. They Might Be Giants are doing a handful of original songs for us. It’s not clear if it will be CG or Stop-Motion or a
    combo
    of the two at this point. It’s a great project and, working on it here at LAIKA reminds me of early days at Skellington Productions where Nightmare Before Christmas was made.


    Speaking of Coraline, BWI, one of my favorite librarian reference websites, recently noted that, besides selling 130,000 copies in hardcover and winning the Hugo it has won the following awards:

  • ALA Best Books for Young Adults: 2003
  • ALA Notable Children’s Books: 2003
  • ALA Popular Paperbacks: 2005
  • Georgia: Children’s Book Award Nominees: 2005
  • Louisiana: Young Readers’ Choice Award Winners: 2005
  • New Jersey: Garden State Children’s Book Award Nominees: 2005
  • Oklahoma: Sequoyah Award Nominees: 2005
  • Pacific Northwest Young Reader’s Award Nominees: 2005
  • Tennessee: Volunteer State Book Award Nominees: 2005
  • Vermont: Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book: 2004
  • The Guardian’s technology blog Jack Schofield noted that American Gods was included in the “Top 20 Geek Novels” written in English since 1932; Survey Monkey has the list of nominees, but does not indicate whether the survey is closed or not.


    Publishers Weekly covered the November 12th release events for Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren’t as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, A Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn’t Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out….


    From the November 6th Toronto Star:

    In his introduction to [Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and…] this hodgepodge of welcome oddities for children, Lemony Snicket lampoons various familiar types of children’s stories he identifies as “tedious” – a word, he says, “which here means ‘something you may have to read in school.'”

    Snicket’s targets include wizard stories, magical-land adventures, tales of junior soccer glory, excessively bleak realism, fact-dense historical fiction and stories about inanimate objects come to life (specifically, a talking paperweight).

    While by no means comprehensive, this list of enduring pigeonholes does encompass a rather large portion of the children’s books out there.

    Truth is, much of what passes for children’s “literature” is actually ultra-conventional to the point of being stale. Too many writers for children work with imaginations tethered to familiar categories, scarcely using the unlimited creative licence that has been their special prerogative since Alice first strayed down her rabbit hole.

    The people at McSweeney’s, on the other hand, have made a mission of stretching the boundaries of conventional narrative, often into the realm of the plain weird.

    More importantly, the little literary quarterly that grew has also injected a salutary spirit of play into belles-lettres. (The quarterly’s San Francisco headquarters even allegedly features a storefront selling such pirate supplies as peg legs, eye patches and sabres.)

    That combination of playfulness and high literary purpose would seem to be the perfect tonic to perk up children’s literature.

    Arch printing and packaging is one McSweeney’s hallmark (the latest quarterly is a bundle of mail bound by a rubber band), and this book’s jacket folds into a mail-in envelope for a contest inviting readers to finish a story begun by Lemony Snicket. The promised grand prize includes a Venus flytrap and “a large sack of dirt from Winnipeg.”

    Inside, stories with the pioneering spirit include a quirky little satire by Jon Scieska (author of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and other favourites) composed entirely of advertising slogans, and Kelly Link’s “Monster,” a summer camp story in which the bullies – finally – get their heads ripped off.

    Graphic novelist James Kochalka uses a collage technique combining photographs with cartooning ( la Dave Pilkey’s classic Kat Kong and Dogzilla) to turn his cat into a super hero. And Neil Gaiman (Coraline, Sandman) and Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything Is Illuminated) revive old, forgotten forms – the tale and tall tale, respectively.

    But the most ambitious (i.e., weirdest) contribution is a fable by noted satirist George Saunders. (McSweeney’s has just reissued his previous book for children, The Incredibly Persistent Gappers of Frip, gorgeously illustrated by another celebrated contributor here, Lane Smith.) When a brush with fire makes Lars Farf “excessively fearful” for his wife and children, he responds by banishing from his home all possible hazards, including friction (known to cause fire) and drooling dogs (flood risk).

    From there his safety precautions become increasingly extreme until they ultimately backfire, thus illustrating the age-old moral that If You Love Somebody, You Have To Let Said Person Out Of His/ Her Personal Protection Pod.

    There will always be a place in children’s literature for pure whimsy, of course, and Nick Hornby’s “Small Country” is one of the collection’s most enjoyable larks. In Champina, a country so small you could walk across it “while holding your breath,” a bookish, running-averse boy is forced into the lineup of the national soccer team after his dad breaks a leg watching TV. (There are exactly 11 men of soccer-playing age in Champina.)

    The boy is “rubbish at soccer,” as he tries to warn everybody, but winds up a national hero when he uses a chess player’s strategy to lead his team to a best-ever 16-nil loss against San Marino.

    Also illustrating this classic theme of intelligence trumping brawn is Richard Kennedy’s witty, delightful cowboy story “Contests at Cowlick,” originally published in 1975.

    But the most charming piece is another archival curiosity, “Grimble,” by one Clement Freud. According to the notes on contributors, the BBC was flooded with almost 25,000 letters when the story was first broadcast in 1968. It concerns the resourceful Grimble, a boy of “about ten” (his parents were vague about birthdays), left to fend for himself when his mother and father up and go traveling in Peru. Scintillating with dry wit, following its own surreal logic, and delightfully anti-climactic, this utterly original story reminds us just how fun and freewheeling children’s writing can be.

    Resurrecting lost literary treasures is something McSweeney’s has done before, but not its most important public service. In addition to catering to the fashion needs of pirates, McSweeney’s San Francisco office (at 826 Valencia) also runs extensive writing tutorials for inner city kids. Proceeds from this book go to support a similar non-profit centre in Brooklyn, “located behind a swinging bookshelf at the back of a superhero supply store.”

    So this collection is a noble enterprise on many levels – though, like everything from McSweeney’s, parts of it may be a little odd for some tastes. It’s that very aesthetic of quirky innovation, however, that is McSweeney’s noblest quality, and why so many heavyweight writers and illustrators line up to contribute here.

    “There are many kinds of stories in this book,” Snicket promises in his introduction. “Some you might like and some you might not, (but) none of them are tedious.”
    –Kevin Bolger


    From the November 11th Times of London:

    “Last week I went to Hollywood and watched Angelina Jolie, typecast again, as Grendel’s mother,” said the graphic novelist Neil Gaiman, speaking in London about his adaptation of Beowulf for the screen. “She seemed nervous because Grendel and his mother speak Old English. We had an Old English professor on the set. Well, more of a Young American, actually.”


    From Claire E. White’s
    The Author’s Dilemma: To Blog or Not to Blog:

    …The best example of the power of an author blog is Neil Gaiman’s journal. Neil started his blog in 2001 to give readers a backstage peek into the post-publication process of the New York Times bestselling novel American Gods… Neil’s Journal was really ahead of its time in many ways. Although it was supposed to have a finite life, it appears to be heading towards immortality…So his blog continues, for now.

    Over the years, his blog has evolved into something rather different from when it began. He now discusses everything from the joys of fatherhood, the trials and tribulations of author tours, interesting websites he’s discovered, the status of his feature film projects and many other interesting things. He initially had a submission form for questions, the most frequent of which were to become a brief FAQ. But so many people wrote in with unusual comments and questions that he began answering selected emails in his blog posts. As an author to whom the concept of writer’s block is an alien concept, it is unlikely that he’ll ever run out of interesting things to say in his blog, which is fortunate, given the extremely unhappy reaction his fans had even to the suggestion of his stopping. He also has message boards on the site.

    The full article can be found on the Internet Writing Journal.


    Posted by Lauren Perry at Comicon.com on November 4th:

    Associate Marvel Editor Nick Lowe hosted a panel today at Wizard World Texas to discuss upcoming plans for the House of Ideas. See what’s on Marvel’s slate for the coming months.

    These are just random notes from the panel. This reporter tried to get things word for word, but that rascally Marvel editor talked really fast and it was tough to get some things exactly as they were said…

    …QUESTION: What can you tell us about Neil Gaiman and the
    Eternals?

    ANSWER: We won’t announce the artists yet or the publishing
    schedules, but it’s a super cool idea. Plus we will be reprinting Jack Kirby’s Eternal books, so pick them up in the interim until more news comes out about Gaiman’s Eternals. Right now, we are planning on having it be seven issue with the first and last issue being double sized…


    Posted by Matt Brady on Newsarama on November 14th:

    Sunday, a select group of comic retailers made their way home from the Great White North as DC’s RRP meeting wrapped up in Montreal. The weekend held a handful of presentations from DC’s various imprints and divisions, and while mostly focusing on information for retailers, many editorial announcements regarding upcoming projects were made.

    While many of the announcements and talking points re-iterated news from this summer’s convention season, a few new tidbits and announcements were thrown in for spice…

    Absolute Sandman starts in 2006; there was no announcement of price or extras yet, but DC will be recoloring the early issues of the Sandman series to match the higher production values of the later issues, as well as touching up the lettering in some issues where reversed lettering dropped out a bit. This is part of a plan to do every Sandman story in the Absolute format. Concurrent with the publication of Absolute Sandman, DC will not be keeping the current hardcovers edition collections of the series in print.


    From the November 3rd Time Out(London):

    …As for [Dave] McKean, whose MirrorMask is a visually stunning assault on the senses (click here to read our Locarno and Edinburgh reviews of the film), the first-timer admitted it was harder to make a film with his co-collaborator Neil Gaiman than it was to write a book.

    ‘We’ve never argued, and if we ever even slightly disagreed about something, we had a rule that if it was about the words then Neil would have final cut, and if it was the pictures, I would. But with the film I couldn’t let Neil go off and write what he wanted because I had to make sure we could do it.’

    In spite of the film’s relatively small $4 million budget however, McKean realised much of what Gaiman wrote, and the result is the beautiful, disturbing and visually breathtaking account of a young girl’s jounrey through a dark yet strangely familiar fantasy world.

    It looks like the odd argument hasn’t put the director off filmmaking either, with McKean spilling the beans about what he would like to do next.

    ‘It’s an expansion of a book that Neil and I did a while ago called Signal to Noise, he explained. ‘I always liked the book but I didn’t think we really tackled the subject. I’ve written the script and it’s much, much broader and bigger than the original. It will have some strange, extravagant and bizarre sequences in it, but it will be a more adult drama.’
    –Chris Tilly