My drawing of prima ballerina, Julie Kent has been posted at VanityFair.com with a wonderful article by Elise Taylor in honor of Kent's final performance and retirement from American Ballet Theatre tonight. The drawing features every ballet Kent danced during her long career at ABT. You can see the finished drawing and the piece here. Below are some process photos, including my pencil drawing which used Roy Round's iconic photograph as a reference. Once the pencil drawing was finished and placed on the lightbox, it was straight to ink with the list of her 100 ballets slowly being crossed of one by one until the work was done . . .
Here are my drawings from Symphony Space's Wall To Wall Johnny Cash Show last Saturday. I went the distance, doing live backdrops for each of the three sections, a set with Balthrop, Alabama and a few portraits along the way. It was a great day....
Out front of the Belasco Theater last night, after the final performance of John Cameron Mitchell’s run as Hedwig in the Broadway revival of Hedwig And The Angry Inch.
Inside the theater, an intimate party of invited guests enjoyed (more than a few) celebratory drinks together in the green room under the stage. But on the street outside, fans of Mitchell and Hedwig crowded together, singing the entire musical score (co-written by Mitchell and Stephen Trask) under the marquis. Some of them had managed to get tickets and had seen the performance, but the majority of them made the pilgrimage simply because being there and participating in a Hedwig sing-along means something important to them.
I left the party early and stood across the street, watching and listening to the crowd perform acappella the score, in order—including the fictional theme from Hurt Locker, The Musical which is an inside joke from the revival.
“What’s happening? “ a passer by asked a lady to my left who watched and sang alone from across the street. “John Cameron Mitchell is done with his run in the show,” she explained. The man nodded and replied, “so, he is leaving office?”
Soon after, the performer and writer Mike Albo (who co-wrote the fictional Hurt Locker’s program for the revival and is an old friend of Mitchell’s) walked by me on his way out of the downstairs party. I told him how the crowd had performed the entire score and he shook his head in wonder. He’s been on the Hedwig trip from the very beginning . “It’s amazing,” he said with some disbelief before heading off in to the night.
Later this week, Darren Criss begins his run in Hedwig And The Angry Inch which continues performances at the Belasco Theater.
Last Thursday, I got to join in again with Catie Lazarus's Employee Of The Month Show. Guests this month included Justin Sayre, Cindy Chupack, Betty Halbreich and Olympia Dukakis. Here's the live drawing from the night--skillfully rendered while avoiding the flying foils during a duel between Catie and Olympia Dukakis. Just one of the many hazards of the job, I guess . . .
BTW, The New York Times did a great profile on Catie abut a week ago. You can read it here.
My studio-mate, Bernie DeChant, is pretty compulsive about his print process when it comes to his photographs. He spends a lot of time doing test prints and proofs, making sure everything looks just North of perfection. In practice, this means a lot of partial images and unsuccessful prints get thrown out or discarded. And sometimes--every once in a while--I pick one up and draw on it . . .
Alden and I were talking about trees the other day. He has a lot to say about pretty much everything, although being pre-linguistic at his tender age, I can't really pretend to know his take on a given subject. I do know his passion knows no bounds.
Anyway, I was telling him about the now virtually gone subtlety of weather and wishing that he could have seen a spring and winter like the ones I used to know when I was a kid. I was wishing he could have met my mom and seen the weeping willow at the top of the hill by my grandmother's house. I was remembering the past in a bittersweet way, wishing it wasn't gone so he'd know what I knew and why I knew it.
And he smiled because everything is new to him, especially his memories. . .
Georgette and Queen Esther, in performance last night at the Greenwich Music School's Uncharted series. A great night of country classics new and old. . .
Binky Griptite, last night at Greenwich House, playing the blues for the Uncharted Series. Griptite turned the venerated music school into a roadside blues bar--people even gathered on the sidewalk outside to listen. The place was so packed I actually had to sit on the stage to get this drawing. There are worse places to be than at the feet of Binky Griptite when he's playing guitar...
Around midnight last night, I walked through a sprinkling of snow in Times Square, over to the F train at Rockefeller Center. The train pulled in just as I got to the platform and I got a seat by the door, pulled out the drawings I had just finished and looked them over. Then I lifted my head, glanced at this guy and started drawing. By the time I looked up to check a detail, he was gone, so I can't really say if it's a good likeness...
Here's my drawing--and two great photos of me drawing it--live on stage at the Greenwich House Music School last Thursday night. I'll be drawing live before every show on Thursday nights through the end of the Uncharted Season!
The photos are by Peter Parrella!
If you don't know where you're going, every way is up...
Last night at the Greenwich House School of Music's Uncharted Series (where I am doing a residency through April), guitar legend Marc Ribot and Haitian songstress Emeline Michel paid tribute to Haitian classical guitar icon (and Ribot's mentor) Frantz Casseus in a gorgeous night of music. The evening had the feel of a school recital in the very best sense, not just because it took place in a music school, but because Ribot's concentration was intense--his playing just slightly out of his comfort zone--and the audience was filled with family, friends and supportive listeners. It was the Uncharted Series at its best, a real dedication and commitment to the challenging pursuit of a musical ideal, slightly out of reach but completely within the grasp of masters.