April 2011

What happens when two acclaimed children’s book authors with close ties to comics team up?

Mo Willems (www.mowillems.com) won six Emmys for writing Sesame Street and created Sheep in the City for Cartoon Network, where he also served as head writer for Codename: Kids Next Door before moving to such bestselling picture books as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and Knuffle Bunny, for which he’s received three Caldecott Honors.

Jon J Muth started on such groundbreaking comics as Moonshadow from Epic (later reprinted by Vertigo) and The Mystery Play with Grant Morrison before becoming an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator of such books as Zen Shorts and The Three Questions.

Now, the two have teamed up for City Dog, Country Frog, a funny and touching children’s book about an unlikely friendship and the passage of time. To celebrate this collaboration, we got the two creators on the phone for what turned into a raucous and thoughtful discussion of what led to their working together.

Read the full interview here!

If you’ve ever dreamed of pulling into a theater parking lot with BMX bikers doing half-pipe flips and a man preparing to be set on fire; ActionFest, Asheville’s annual “Film Festival with a Body Count” might be the cinematic event you’ve been waiting for. On a recent sunny weekend, I attended the second annual festival and took in a few films coming soon to Triangle theaters and/or video; over three days, I’ll witness everything from a pipe wrench to the skull to a hobo with a shotgun.

Read the recap (and reviews) here!

Durham’s J.J. Johnson has earned excellent reviews for her young adult novel This Girl is Different (Peachtree, $16.95), and will do a hometown reading and signing at the Regulator Bookshop tonight at 7 p.m. We got Johnson on the phone recently to discuss her book and the challenges of writing for teenagers.
Read the full interview here!

Our two-part interview with Scud: The Disposable Assassin creator Rob Schrab on his new collection But I Can’t Do Anything Else!: The Art of Rob Schrab concludes today. In this part, Schrab talks about his recent work directing TV, and what it would take for him to do a new comic book series.

Read the full interview here!

In this special two-part interview, the creator of SCUD: THE DISPOSABLE ASSASSIN talked with us about his recent projects, his new retrospective book, and more! And of course there’s plenty of art – and some killer robots to boot.

Read the full interview here!

Archipelago Theatre co-founder Ellen Hemphill’s solo performance piece Stealing Home at Manbites Dog is a sultry and at times poignant cabaret reflecting on love, lust and lost chances. Though there are a number of theatrical touches, ranging from costume changes to symbolic props to video projection, the piece works best when Hemphill—and her voice—are front and center.

Read the full review here!

Those heading downtown to the Raleigh Convention Center for the East Coast Game Conference on April 13 and 14 might learn the secrets behind creating the next hit video game that lets players solve a puzzle, learn a skill, or find new ways to dismember an enemy

A look at an offbeat take on HAMLET. 

Read the review here!

Reprinted from the Independent WeeklyDanny McBride and David Gordon Green’s parody of 1980s fantasy flicks such as Clash of the Titans and Willow unfortunately suffers from the misapprehension that simply having characters randomly make jokes about sex, profanity and marijuana in the midst of swordplay is funny in and of itself. Co-writer McBride stars as the layabout brother to James Franco’s epic hero who gets roped into rescuing Franco’s fiancée, Zooey Deschanel, from warlock Justin Theroux, but no one really has a fully formed character to play (though Natalie Portman tries her darnedest as an ass-kicking warrior woman). McBride’s near-samurai-like wielding of the F-word on HBO’s Eastbound and Down (which Green sometimes directs) falls flat here in a sea of lame set pieces about the likes of pedophiliac muppets and Minotaur privates that lack the darkness and emotional gravitas of his best work. Ironically, the location shooting and set design suggests that director Green would fare well with a straight cinematic fantasy, but this number is likely only to be enjoyed by hardcore Dungeons & Dragons fans who’ve been smoking a little too much Pineapple Express.


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