Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fabrice Neaud


Thanks to Bernard Alapetite I've finally learned the identity of the artist whose work I've seen and admired frequently, without knowing much about it. According to Wikipedia, Fabrice Neaud is a forty-to year old artist/philosopher who uses the "bande dessinée" style as a narrative tool.

He is a co-founder of the Ego comme X association. In 1994, the first number of the Ego comme X magazine was released. In it, Fabrice Neaud published his first works. It was the beginning of his Journal (which is a diary in comics), an ambitious autobiographical project. The first volume of the Journal was released in 1996. It got a prize Alph'art (best work by a young artist) in Angoulême in 1997. Wikipedia


But what particularly caught my attention was his collaboration with Thierry Robberecht on Alex et la vie d'après, a story by about a young man coping with a recent sero-positive diagnosis. It is a 55 page, public service, fully illustrated comic-book edited by Ex Aequo, Bruxelles, 2008 which can be downloaded here. And, although only available in French, is so beautifully detailed and passionately felt that it can be easily understood by anyone. It is also an excellent introduction to Neaud's very cinematic style of rendering and beautiful use of black and white in dramatic compositional variation.


The four volumes (so far) of his Journal and most of his other works are available here and there is a fairly comprehensive English fan site here if you would like to know more.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Light snow!"


Light Snow, -6ºC (feels like -14º)

Wind: 26 km/h, direction E

Pressure: 982.1 mb, steady

Humidity: 91%, Dew point: -7ºC

Visibility: 3.0 km, UV-index: N/A, N/A

Another loss...


for honesty, intelligence, and American Common Sense.

"His writings have changed the consciousness of a generation, and helped open new paths to understanding and its crucial meaning for our lives," Noam Chomsky, the left-wing activist and MIT professor, once wrote of Dr. Zinn. "When action has been called for, one could always be confident that he would be on the front lines, an example and trustworthy guide."
Boston Globe

Who will tell our story now?

Howard Zinn, historian and author of
A People's History of the United States,
has died of a heart attack. He was 87.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Birger Jarl Jubilee


This year Sweden is celebrating the 800th anniversary of the birth of Birger Jarl, the man attributed to uniting the kingdom of Sweden and founding its capital Stockholm. Little is known about his life and medieval times, but three regions of Sweden connected to his story are taking the opportunity during this jubilee year to find out more.

Born Birger Magnusson (c. 1210 – 21 October 1266), he was a Swedish statesman, a member of the House of Bjelbo, who played a pivotal role in the consolidation of Sweden while a jarl from 1248 until his death. In addition, he is traditionally attributed to have founded the Swedish capital, Stockholm, around 1250, and several historical structures there are still named after him — including the street Birger Jarlsgatan (on Norrmalm); the tower Birger Jarls Torn and the square Birger Jarls Torg (both on Riddarholmen).

Sverige Radio and Wikipedia; also here for interesting pictures (story in Swedish) of the reconstruction of Birger Jarl's face from his recently discovered skull.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday


Evelyn Lear, born January 8, 1926 as Evelyn Shulman in Brooklyn, New York and completed her musical education at Hunter College, New York University and the Juilliard School of Music studying voice, piano, French horn and composition. She was married to the famous American bass-baritone Thomas Stewart and they lived in Santa Fe, NM, taking part in many SFO productions memorable in my youth. Alas, Mr. Stewart died on the 24th of September, 2006, and I imagine Ms. Lear has returned to New York where I hope she has Many Happy Returns!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Det kyliga vädret


A new Winter record for the season was set overnight on Wednesday as temperatures plunged to - 40.8 celsius in the far north of Sweden in Hemavan in Lappland. Freezing temperatures have hit the whole of Sweden with central areas experiencing between - 30 and - 40 celsius in recent days but milder weather is on the way next week, although the temperatures will still be below zero. - 40 celsius is also the same degrees in farenheit, -40! Not since the the mid 1980's has Sweden experienced such cold temperatures. The reason for the big chill is the winds blowing in from Siberia.

Sverige Radio

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Mage of Terlingua


If you don't know about John Wells, you really ought to visit his web-page and watch his progress. John is a 50 year-old man, living alone (aside from friendly steer and frequent visitors) in the desert of Terlingua Ranch, Texas, and building, entirely by himself, The Southwest Texas Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living Field Laboratory, or The Field Lab. I subscribe to the Atom Feed in order to get his daily updates - usually brief, entirely charming, ever-optimistic, witty and pragmatic.

Here's a man, just ten years younger than me (sic, ±) who's doing something the rest of us only talk about: self-employed, using all his skills to make something that will outlast him and could be tremendously useful for the future. But more than that, it's obvious from the tone of his writing that he's doing exactly what he wants to be doing. He's a happy man who has the focus and training to be putting together something that works. He shares his enjoyment in making each piece just exactly right and keeping his body fit by climbing scaffolding and assembling it himself. It must feel good!

John doesn't talk a lot about himself and I confess I haven't combed his 2+ years of entries for biographical information. It seems to me he has mentioned a former life in New York City. But he appears to be living entirely in the moment and his blog is, from the beginning, in the form of a journal, recoding the events, sights, and inspirations of each day with just enough peripheral comment to provide context. I'm sure he'd laugh at my saying it, but for the reader there's something almost spiritual in its simple purity. He observes natural, atmospheric and meteorological phenomena alongside progress reports and tells tales of his visits to the local town and the characters who live there.

Even if you don't subscribe, The Field Lab is worth an occasional visit to watch the progress, feel the warmth of Texas winter, and stay in touch with a very interesting man.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010



Hugo will probably be spending a lot of time inside, wrapped in a blanket, for the foreseeable future!