His website describes Craig Carothers as a renaissance man who is a singer, songwriter, producer, recording engineer, background singer, booking agent, graphic designer, photographer, Tex Mex connoisseur, left wing inactivist, and a collector of exquisitely obsolete gadgets. And during our talk, he added another label: “a novelist of sorts,” since his work is “trying to incorporate other people’s stories and … [create] songs to try to get to a particular kind of a point.”
We also discussed how long it can take to write a song and how Carothers whiles away time during long drives between gigs.
It’s been a long journey for cartoons and comics, which started in newspapers and broadsheets and on low-grade comics paper (some of which is slowly collapsing in boxes in my house). But comics and cartoons are big business now: witness the MCU and to a lesser and darker extent, the DC Universe.
But no matter what your comics or cartoon interests are, you can find like minded people at this years Cartoon Crossroad Columbus (CxC) from September 27 to October 1.
I spoke with CxC’s co programming chair Ben Towle, who described Columbus as a hub for cartoon and comics interests. From the CxC to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at Ohio State University to Columbus College of Art and Design’s comics and narrative practice program, Columbus has many ways to learn about, celebrate, and engage with comics.
Guests at CxC this year include Raina Telgemeier, who Ben describes as “if you are a parent and you have kids who are or have been eight to ten years old, I can guarantee you they know who Raina Telgemeier.” Daniel Clowes will also give a talk about his work, which ranges from Ghost World to Art School Confidential to Wilson to this year’s Monica.
So get out of the house before winter arrives and see some creativity in action.
Ohio writer John Scalzi will be honored at a reception on September 21, 2023, as part of the 2023 Ohioana Awards at the Ohio Statehouse. Ohioana Book awards have been bestowed on many famous Ohio authors, from James Thurber to Toni Morrison.
Listen in for our discussion of his most recent book, The Kaiju Preservation Society”, his well-known blog Whatever (including his recent take on House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan’s preposterous letter to Georgia Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis), and Scalzi’s music CD called “Eternal.”
I recall hearing “greed… is good” spouted by Micheal Douglas’s sleazy character, Gordon Gekko (a lizard, get it?), in the ’80s movie Wall Street, but it seems that it’s gotten much worse since then. See The Wolf of Wall Street, possibly another movie to inspire youth to be disregard decency in pursuit of ever more excess. Sounds like a recently deposed presidential failure, no?
You may have heard of Darrell Scott through the repeated use of his song “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” on the TV show Justified, but his back catalog is full of equally compelling Americana and country music.
Scott sings movingly of the coalminers’ plight after their mineral rights were snatched up cheap. Justified frequently “put [the song] in such a dramatic and closing place within the show” that viewers took noticed and learned more about an artist whose songs have also been covered by Garth Brooks, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, The Chicks, Keb’ Mo, and Faith Hill, among many others.
But as famous as he’s become through the years, being a songwriter brings a certain amount of anonymity. “That’s the illusion in the music industry. We all pretend that the person singing the song is the one who wrote it. And that’s fine,” Scott says wryly, “As long as the royalties come through.”
Each Ohio Poet Laureate gets to choose a personal project. The current poet laureate, Kari Gunter-Seymour, chose to focus on addiction. “I feel so strongly about the way addiction is being treated in this country, almost ignored,” Gunter-Seymour says. Addiction is, in many ways a peculiarly Ohio issue, since “Ohio has come in second many times for overdose deaths.”
Her passion is evident in not only her poetry project with Ohio prisoners overcoming addiction but also in her views on the true culprits: “Big Pharma needs to stand up and take its beating for what it has done to the population of our country.”
Aside from working with addiction and recovery, Gunter-Seymour has strong ties to the Women of Appalachia project, which involves the 420 counties in Appalachia:
Our work is informing folks all over the country and across the pond that Appalachians in general, and in particular, women are not barefoot, we have teeth, we are not underfed, we’re not over fed, we’re not under-groomed. Most of us are well educated. And if we’re not educated in school academic settings, we’re highly educated in horticulture and animal husbandry, and those other things that those who are caretakers of the land learn, and they get passed down from generation to generation.
Former Ohioan and author Prince Shakur published his debut memoir When They Tell You to Be Good in October 2022. It received both the Library Journal and Okayplayer Best Memoir of 2022. In it, he delves into his childhood and growing up as gay and black in the midwest.
In our interview, we discussed his memoir, upbringing, family trauma and his experiences with state run violence, the aftereffects of which he sees as always close to him, as close as the images on his cell phone. He will appear at the 2023 Ohioana Book Festival on Saturday, April 22, 2023.
Former two-term Ohio governor and author Richard Celeste has released his memoir, In the Heart of It All: An Unvarnished Account of My Life in Public Service. He describes his life from his early years near Cleveland, Ohio, to Yale, to a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford, and points beyond, including the Ohio State House and governor’s mansion. He will appear at the 2023 Ohioana Book Festival on Saturday, April 22.
Running a lightly funded campaign his first time angling for governor, Celeste employed guerrilla tactics such as having his name announced over airport public address systems so as to gain name recognition. He also “dropped political literature in the precincts of every political writer for one of the Ohio major newspapers on the same day, and … on the doorstep of Governor Gilligan, as well.”
I met Becky Cloonan at the 2022 Columbus Galaxy Con, where we discussed her comic book writing, the influence of comics on the movies made from them, and the sweet freedom that comes from self publishing. Listen in to find out why she loves comics.
“I’m great at multitasking,” some people say. But does leading a harried existence of constant interruptions, shifting our attention when the boss calls, or when a client needs “just a minute of your time,” or when the spouse or kids need you right now have a cost? All of these interruptions shift our focus, tear us away from what we’re doing. Individually, changing focus seems minor, just another part of modern life, but researcher Dr. Gloria Mark says interruptions add up and they’re stripping away our ability to have sustained focus. Dr. Mark, prolifically published psychologist and University of California’s Chancellor Professor of Informatics, has recently published Attention Span. Among her research findings is that the average attention on any screen was two minutes, 30 seconds in 2004. It was 75 seconds in 2012. In the last five to six years, it’s 47 seconds.
Are you still with me?
Listen in to hear more about her findings and what kinds of hope she sees for our ability to focus.