I toured with the Jazzabelles

Saturday 13th February
Listening to ‘Snake Oil’ performed in audition at the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, which has great acoustics. The show is centred around three very talented singers: Ella (Claire McCartney), Prissy (Beccy Henderson) and Vera (Nuala Davies), the Jazzabelles. Their rise to the top of the 1950s Belfast swing scene is hampered by a cashflow problems from their manager, Vince, (excellently portrayed by Stephen Beggs), who’s not all he appears.
The Lisburn rehearsals are a particular treat, great lighting and sound giving clarity to the voices enunciating the details. Some rehearsal nerves on opening in Omagh were dropped by the time we made it to an excited crowd, similarly on the second date, Antrim, the air sizzling with cheeriness.
The Lisburn soundman tweets and ticks across the mikes. On a stage with clusters of collaborative talk on music and props, the drummer checks his cymbals and an actress sits in the armchair from Prissy’s home, studying a mobile. Then, we’re backstage for top and tails of each scene, and I’m facing curtains, imagining a radio play, flashes of backs of legs. Then the last few notes of a song and from wings, Debbie McCormack (stage manager) and I scramble on with sheets and phones or an eight track, or ‘that’ armchair.

And that was my last day as stage-hand on a musical, across Omagh, Antrim and Lisburn; dressing rooms, fridges, biscuits, stunning frocks and formal wear, pretty dress for prettied people. The tour has ended, for now. Unfortunately I was too ill to cover the Downpatrick and Armagh dates, but seamless cover had been arranged. The musical was booked out, thanks to coverage by folk like Culture Northern Ireland (Article: Listen to a Preview Track from Nick Boyle’s New Musical) and Discover Northern Ireland’s Ten Things To Do list. Paddy Brown got me into this, himself a singer, actor, and stage-hand, and Debbie, I also know from self-publishing comics, was a splendid talent to work with. Thanks to all the crew and venues for giving me this excellent opportunity.

 

jazzabelles

Link: Paddy Brown blogs about the promotional image

and HERE he blogs about the tour with a trailer.

Jazzabelles L to R - Nuala, Beccy, ClaireJazzabelles L to R – Nuala, Beccy, Claire, Source: Jazzabelles Facebook page

The Invisible Artist: Youtube with Subtitles

The Invisible Artist: a contemporary history of Belfast’s comic book culture is a 2011 TV documentary written and presented by Andrew Luke and directed by Carl Boyle for Belfast station NVTV. Patrick Brown was interviewed, and also provided much of the research that went into the film. Other interviewees include John Killen of the Linen Hall Library about his exhibition, The Unkindest Cut, of political cartoons about Northern Ireland in the 20th century,Davy FrancisJohn Farrelly, Jim McKevitt, owner of Atomic Collectables, P. J. Holden and Stephen Downey.

Subtitles are exhausting. Your feedback is still appreciated.

Wanna Hear a Joke? [TitanCon Comics]

During TitanCon, I hosted a paired down version of the Magnificent ComicBook Factory with the assistance of Rich Clements and Paddy Brown.

We were up against an all-star Game of Thrones panel in the first slot of the day. I’d no plan, hardly anyone showed up so there was a fair bit of stress and slack. As it happens, that’s a good combination.

First up, the lovely Siobhan McKenna:

BEAKERS by Siobhan McKenna

 

Jon Pot,

FART JOKE by Jon Pot

 

Paddy Brown:RUNNING MESSAGES by Paddy Brown (1) Rich ClementsTHE INTERVIEW by Rich Clements

May CheungTWO FISH by May Cheung WHY DID THE CHICKEN by Andy Luke

 

Weekend Blog

As described in The Code Is This, I’ve spent the last few days bumming around my newly found beauty spot, writing Half Baked Alaska, a ripping adventure-drama-comedy I’m co-authoring with Neill Stringer. The plan is to try for a long run at this one, so the first part will debut on this weblogsite in about a month’s time.

Today I’ve been building http://theblackpanel.blogspot.co.uk and am happy to report the shop now has sixty comicbook titles from Northern Ireland and the Republic, which you can order at the click of a button.

Just in time for me and Paddy Brown to take the stock back to the re-opening of The Black Box’s Bazaar tomorrow (Sunday)

Come, say hi.  Help me decide what goes up here tomorrow.

On Sale Here! Best of Irish Comics – Courageous Mayhem

Courageous Mayhem is a boy’s own adventure style compendium, a veritable who’s who of the Irish comics scene and I’m pleased to host the first website to offer this marvelous comic for sale.

Cover Courageous Mayhem

btnbuynow_s

 

PRINT VERSION (P&P INCLUDED) 8 EURO / £6.75 UK

btnbuynow_s DIGITAL DOWNLOAD  3 EURO / £2.53 UK

BUY EXPANDED DELUXE EDITION AND SEE PREVIEW AT BLURB.COM

My new strip ‘Underwater Billiards’ sits in the eighty-four pages alongside the critically acclaimed Paddy Lynch (Big Jim), Alan Nolan (And The Blood Flowed Green), Phil Barrett (Where’s Larry?) and Patrick Brown (The Cattle Raid of Cooley). There are the adept mystics of comicking like John Robbins (The Well Below), designer Archie Templar (The Pants Of), and editor/publisher Gar Shanley, author of Fugger, one of Ireland’s best comedy blogs.

Like any good adventure comic, Courageous has true facts and wild fantasies above and below the waves, in the streets and the fields. There’s bicycles, bombs, biplanes and bikes and The Bible. You can see the full-listing of contents at the Irish Comics Wikia page.

Order now though, your country is depending on you!

NB: AFTER PURCHASING DIGITAL YOU WILL BE REDIRECTED TO A PAGE WITH A SINGLE LINK WERE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE PDF. GOOD LUCK!

CM_montage_page

Workshop / Bacon Sammich of Doom

TitanCon, Belfast’s premier Game of Thrones festival starts tomorrow, with a drink andbook readings at McHughs. As noted, I’ll be trying out an idea I’ve been working towards for a while, The One Day Magnicent ComicBook Factory. (link courtesy of Hilary Lawler, ICN)

The Facebook group for The Magnificent Factory is here. Please don’t tick the yes box if you’ve no intention of going to the con. We recognise the neediness of people like that, but it doesn’t mean they get fresh custard.

There’s also a new edition of the rewarding 2d podcast up. Last weeks featured an interview with my wing-man, Factory assistant, and Irish comics nexus, Paddy Brown. This time, you can hear an interview with me, as Ciaran Flanagan and I talk about the most important issue facing the country right now: Will I and Ger Hankey be working on IDW’s Transformers comic?

Now, What do you get when ten plus comixers from different backgrounds put together a silent story about a fight past deliriums and pop obsessions to prevent oneself from dying?

All words and pictures copyright their respective creators. Thanks to the ADF people for accommodating.

BACON SAMMICH OF DOOM creators at the Arts and Disability FOrum

The Magnificent One Day Comic Book Factory at TitanCon

A little known fact of making comics is that the creator prevaricates. Just then I went out to see if my wheelie bin has been returned, to avoid writing this. Many creative works are generated from a spur-of-the-moment thought or set of actions. Focussing on one idea, is where it’s at. I’ll admit to time excess on a project, but my best works are undoubtedly the ones I just did quickly.

I’m good at this. Here’s what I think we should do.

I’ll tell you how to make comics in fifteen minutes. And for another fifteen, I’ll talk about creator’s rights and self-publishing. Then you spend an hour on making a page of your own. If you want to pair up, you can run your work to two pages. We’ll work in biro as it’s speedy and less messy. Paddy Brown, or PJ Holden will be around to offer support. No ‘To Be Continued’, no pin-ups; sequenced visual/textual story – is the way. When the clock stops, it’s over.  You’ll sign a form saying I’ve a one-time right to reprint your work and as you saunter around the convention. I’ll be doing just that. Within two hours, a limited edition anthology comic featuring your creativeness, for free. How’s that for hey presto?

What a lot of fun.

 The Magnificent Factory makes it’s debut this year at TitanCon, Europa Hotel, Belfast, 22nd September.  You can read more about it on their website, and join the Facebook group for TitanCon and one for The Factory.

You can help me anticipate the publication by pre-registering as an author at this facebook link or that email. Please don’t if you won’t. We’ll be making an 11am start at Castle Black.
Numbers are inevitably limted, though there will be an in-session registration.

To clarify:  All artwork will be returned within two hours. Print runs may vary depending on size of event and budget. If event organisers decide the book is for sale, it shall be to cover print costs, with profits donated to charity, and time-frame limited to the event itself. (For TitanCon, we’ll be donating proceeds to Action Cancer)

If you’re further afield, The Magnificent Comic Book Factory will be visiting Galway in February 2013.

ps The workshop hosted by myself and Downey as part of Bounce! was an incredible busting success. Watch this space, stephendowneygallery.com and the ADF.ie for more news.