Friday, May 15, 2009

this/that/hodge/podge

A little bit of different things.

Recommended: Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography by Sabrina Jones. This is a well-done biography of Duncan done in comics style. It covers Isadora's mercurial personality well, including her series of lovers, without getting to (pardon the pun) graphic and with the exception of one bared breast, it does a remarkable job keeping this friendly for younger readers. I don't know what the standards are for school libraries, if one drawing of a breast is considered too risque these days, but if a library carries the Gossip Girl series, they should have no problem justifying this purchase. At any rate, I think it should be available to the young women who are devouring manga and maybe taking a dance class. Isadora was a world changer in her force of personality and insistence of doing things her way. She had contemporaries who were doing similar things, perhaps (Loie Fuller and Ruth St. Denis most notably), but in a world where there were vaudeville high-kicks and ballet with not much in between, Isadora created the path that would lead to modern dance. Dance students today should know her and this is a great introduction.

Even more, I want to say that what delights me most is that comics suddenly seem to me the absolute best print medium for doing dancer biography. I've read a couple of biographies (or collections of biographical sketches), and what Jones does here is she not only tells us Isadora's life, but through the drawings, gives us a taste of how she must have moved. From the few pictures that exist of Isadora, I'd say Jones captures her quite well. I'd love to see more dancer biographies done in this fashion. In fact, if any comics artists are out there reading this and want to collaborate with a writer on one, I'm raising my hand. I'd love to do a similar volume on maybe Rudolf Laban or Denishawn (Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn). Just putting it out there.

Speaking of comics, this month's OutSmart magazine has an article by me on gay comics creators in Texas. Read it here.

(It's hard to believe that they did a graphic bio of Isadora. Two of geek interests, coming together in one package---was there ever a chance I would not pick up the Isadora book?)

BIG News: This summer, I'm going to the American Dance Festival to attend the Institute for Dance Criticism. This is an NEA sponsored event and I'll spend three weeks seeing dance, writing about dance, attending workshops about writing about dance . . . basically living dance. It's all very exciting and an great opportunity for me. I guess the few dance pieces I wrote for OutSmart are paying off big dividends this summer.

What else . . . I guess that's all that's on my mind tonight. It had been so long since I last posted, and I did want to put the word out about the Isadora book. There's much on my plate these days and not always juggling as fast as I might, but it's exciting times, full of forward motion. Stay tuned through the summer, for sure . . .

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