New York Artist Showcase: Ryan Dunlavey at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing one of Pete’s college buddies from Syracuse University – Ryan Dunlavey (website) – speak at a Q&A on his artistic comic book work at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. The exhibition runs until February 15, 2009. Dunlavey co-wrote a series of comics with another friend of Pete’s, Fred Van Lente (website), for Evil Twin comics. One series took advantage of Van Lente’s research on philosophers throughout the ages called “Action Philosophers,” while another tackled the actual history of Comic Books itself, “Comic Book Comics.” Dunlavey and Van Lente did an issue of “Tales from The Crypt” together as well.

Ryan Dunlavey (left) and Jim Salicrup

The Q&A featured both Dunlavey and Van Lente, and was hosted by Jim Salicrup, best known for being an editor for Marvel and current Editor-in-Chief at Papercutz. Salicrup (MySpace profile) is also a trustee of MoCCA itself, the small but well organized gallery of original art and memorabilia of comic strip and comic book art and history. I had heard of MoCCA through TimeOut New York listings and had always wanted to go, so this was the perfect reason to go and support a friend and check out the museum in one visit. In this gallery, Dunlavey has a number of original sketches, as well as a wide screen TV featuring a slide show of many of the final inked pages found in his books.

Left to Right: Ryan Dunlavey, Jim Salicrup, Fred Van Lente

Dunlavey’s work, inspired by Van Lente’s writing, is incredibly humorous and features a great pastiche of pop culture icons and reinterperetation of past styles. He is able to recreate a number of familiar artists’ styles – from Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts” to Berkeley Breathed “Bloom County” – and make mad, irreverant twisted stories on the original characters, sometimes mixed with movie or comic book references. One that made me laugh was a reinvention of the “Peanuts” characters as “X-Men” children. In this, Charlie Brown tried to achieve athletic greatness one last time and became Professor Xavier by the end in a sad football kicking accident. Another strip features a cartoon Orlando Bloom from “Lord of the Rings” visiting Opus and friends.

On the other hand, Dunlavey has his own simple comic book drawing style all his own, and is able to capture historical and fictional characters visually with very straightforward but energetic lines. Wonderfully, nothing is too sacred for Dunlavey and Van Lente…they choose to grab the twisted humor of any pop culture reference or historic event/character and run with it. Pete bought #1 of the “Action Philosophers” series and was already giggling at it on the subway ride home.

Page from “Action Philosophers” Volume 1, seen here.

Pete also saw a few other friends from his comic book club-Syracuse University years, so all in all it was a great reunion night and celebration of comic book art and creativity.

To purchase “Action Philosophers” Vol 1, go here. And Volume 2, and Volume 3 are also available through You can also purchase other Evil Twin Comics books from

From the website:
The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art – MoCCA – is pleased to present an exhibition of New York artist Ryan Dunlavey. His illustrations and comic strips have appeared in MAD, Wizard, ToyFare, The Princeton Review, Time Out New York, Royal Flush, and Disney Adventures…Dunlavey is a Brooklyn based cartoonist best known as the artist and co-creator of Action Philosophers. He attended Syracuse University, where he created the comic strip Evil Twin for the Daily Orange student newspaper. After leaving college he continued Evil Twin as a series of self-published mini-comics. In 1995 he relocated to New York City to pursue an illustration career. He was a graphic designer at Wizard Magazine for several years and would later create hundreds of original illustrations for them as a freelancer. In 1998 he illustrated a graphic novel adaptation of Moby Dick for Schoolastic Books and created a second self-published mini comic series – Tommy Atomic – which would eventually become a feature in Royal Flush magazine.

In 2002 he co-created Action Philosophers with his friend Fred Van Lente, which went on to win the Xeric Grant and saw publication of its first issue in 2005. The series ran nine issues, gained considerable critical acclaim and won a 2007 American Library Award. In early 2008, Dunlavey and Van Lente teamed up again to self-publish a second non-fiction humor series – Comic Book Comics – a cartoon history of the American comics industry from 1896 through the present day. The series is currently in progress and scheduled to be completed in 2009.

Special thanks to Evil Twin Comics for their support of New York Artist Showcase: Ryan Dunlavey.
Additional supprt from the Will and Ann Eisner Foundation and the members of MoCCA.”

Big Night Out Composer Showcase – Hector Coris

January 29, 2009
Sierra performs for Hector Coris’ Big Night Out Composer Showcase, singing “Lowering My Standards.” For information on Hector Coris, visit


This month’s Big Night Out Composer Showcase evening, January 29th, 2009, will feature the music of brilliant lyricist Hector Coris, as well as the solo singing work of me, Sierra! Big Night Out is a simple, straightforward open-mic now held each Thursday every two weeks. 9-11pm, $10 cover/1 item minimum, but AEA, MAC & EMC members get in 1/2 price on the cover. Every so often, they put aside the second half to dedicate a showcase for one up and coming composer. Other featured singers will be Raissa Katona Bennett, Summer Broyhill, Patrick Garrigan, Rudy Scala, Eadie Scott, Doug Shapiro, Jennifer Wren, and Hector Coris himself.

See you there!

New blog posts!!! Finally! And I’ve added a Table of Contents!

Caroling, the holidays, auditioning, and the fact that I went to more parties and shows and showcases than ever before meant…less blogging. So I finally took some time (as I am now in the middle of getting rid of a head cold & a major cough) to do write ups on some events of the last few months. And lots and lots of pictures and video! I’ve post-dated the entries themselves, but here’s a nifty link-loaded Table of Contents for your use today:

  1. November 17, 2008 Climate Change Exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History
  2. November 21, 2008 “What’s the Point?” by Hector Coris
  3. December 14, 2008 Arts and Artists at St. Paul’s presents “Holiday Songbook”
  4. December 15, 2008 NY Theater Barn presents “Holiday Stuffing” at The Duplex
  5. December 17, 2008 Big Night Out presents The 2008 Holiday Extravaganza
  6. December 21, 2008 “Merry Solstice” Night at the Algonquin (Hotel) Salon
  7. January 11, 2009 “Whatever Happened to My Part? (Diva’s Lament)” at the Algonquin Salon
  8. January 14, 2009 Big Night Out Opening Night at Dillon’s


Day 2 and 3 of the Washington, DC Trip!!!

Day 2 (January 19th, 2009) video log of our day can be found here:

For some reason, it was yanked from YouTube by YouTube’s policies, maybe because there’s a snippet of Renee Fleming singing in the background on the Jumbotron while Pete & I were by the Reflecting Pool of the Lincoln Memorial. HBO is stingy that way…although we were on PUBLIC land. Sigh…but you can at least see it at the above link.

and then…

DAY 3!!! January 20th, 2009! The Inauguration Celebration of President Barack Obama!!!!

Pete & I woke up at 8 am, got out and onto the Metro by 9 am, and with an only minor delay on the red line (apparently, a woman fell onto the track but was OK), we made it onto the Mall and to a reasonably historic waiting place by 10:30. We had vowed to each other that we’d take any delay or “crappy” viewing place in stride, and that the important thing was that we were there and adding our voice and physical mass to the supportive audience. So, we made our way literally right in front of the Washington Monument, about 10 feet in front of the roped-off circular string of flags, facing the Capitol Building. My 5’2″ frame couldn’t see anything, but with Pete’s camcorder and monopod setup (via the viewfinder) we were able to see the jumbotrons and a fair (albeit zoomed in) view of the Capitol Building waaaaaay off in the distance. We at least were able to hear the swearing-in. After we screamed our heads off, we went down to a Starbucks to warm up and have coffee/chai tea…it was crowded, but at least we chose to wait and not swarm the Metro train just yet. About 1pm we headed back to my aunt & uncle’s house in Bethesda, where we blogged, cut video, and uploaded pics. We also watched the parade from their large screen TV, sitting with our laptops alongside my teenage cousins on the couch with their laptops. And I even signed up my uncle to twitter…tee hee…

I must say the second biggest joy to be had in Washington, DC, besides the swearing-in ceremony was getting to know Jay the Pal, Pete’s new muppet friend. Seeing him interact with Washington, DC at the museums, on the Mall, and with other people was marvelous 🙂 He found his voice there, which is certainly a great thing to say.

So here’s the clip of “The Moment” as experienced by us, and a bit of a leadup:

“ThePete” and “Siskita (me)” and Jay the Pal on the podcast!

Hucklebug, Episode 131: Happy Last Day of the Bush Presidency, RIP Patrick McGoohan and Ricardo Montalban, shout-outs, movies (Bet: Rocco and His Brothers, In Bruges, The Naked Spur, Out of Sight; Stennie: Wall-E, Trouble in Paradise, Shut Up & Sing, Ghost Town, Shaun of the Dead), lowlights & highlights, fuck-offs & you-rules, special guests ThePete and Siskita, live from Bethesda, MD on Inauguration Eve!

Direct link to mp3 here.

Sierra not in New York…she’s in DC for the Inauguration!

Pete & I took advantage of a lull in our schedules and made it down to Washington, DC, to brave the ebullient crowds — and celebrate what is probably the most significant changing of the guards in my generation’s lifetime. My set is here. It includes pix of us in the Mall, at the Smithsonian Castle/Air&Space/AmericanHistory/NationalPortraitGallery Museums, and an all about town attitude. Pete & I even have pictures of our new friend Jay the Pal, a muppet Christmas present via This weekend is all about celebration, learning, and fun. Tomorrow is the BIG DAY of the INAUGURATION; we have no expectations but to get to the Mall and see what’s up, or maybe catch a glimpse of the parade going by. Pete will (and has already) updated his blog with video and pictures of our schenanigans so far; in a few days, there will no doubt be even more video & audio to come.

Speaking of audio: after Wednesday night, go check out the podcast of the – Pete (ThePete) and I (Siskita) are guests, and we detail some of our adventures in Washington so far.

Big Night Out Opening Night at Dillon’s

I was at the pleasure of Jennifer Wren & Bill Zeffiro’s gracious and talented hosting for the Opening Night celebration of Big Night Out at their new performance space at The Reprise Room at Dillon’s on West 54th Street.

We had a terrific evening of song and humor. Jennifer is an ebullient, effervescent hostess, full of spunk and bubbly humor. I sang “Thanks a Lot But No Thanks” from the movie “It’s Always Fair Weather.” Others came in with old classics, new compositions, and even songs that took me back to 2001 – a young man brought “The Role of a Lifetime” from “bare” to the stage. Bill Zeffiro deftly handled the song choices and performed several solos of his own, and a few duets with Jennifer. All in all, a very fun evening. And the drinks and food at the Reprise Room are quite nice – we ate much Garlic Naan bread and enjoyed ourselves.

Video of my song “Thanks a Lot But No Thanks” will be placed HERE soon!

Big Night Out is a simple, straightforward open-mic now held each Thursday every two weeks. 9-11pm, $10 cover/1 item minimum, but AEA, MAC & EMC members get in 1/2 price on the cover. Every so often, they put aside the second half to dedicate a showcase for one up and coming composer. For example, the NEXT evening of Big Night Out, January 29th, will feature the compositional brilliance of Hector Coris for the last hour of the evening. And I will be performing that evening! Other featured singers will be Raissa Katona Bennett, Summer Broyhill, Patrick Garrigan, Rudy Scala, Eadie Scott, Doug Shapiro, Jennifer Wren, and Hector Coris himself.

See you there!

“Diva’s Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part)” at the Algonquin Salon January 11, 2009

Oh man, I had such fun at the Algonquin Salon on the 11th. The theme was “Drop that Name,” meaning any song that had someone’s name in the title, or mentioned. I chose a character that sometimes has a name (“Nimue”) but often does not (“The Lady of the Lake”) and sang the song “Diva’s Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part?),” a DIVA song if there EVER was one from the Monty Python musical “Spamalot.” If there was a role written for me, this is it!

As is the nature of the Algonquin Salon, music does not have to be memorized – so I brought up the lyrics on my iPhone and “scrolled” along as I sang. It was so much fun…Mark Janas was absolutely brilliant on the piano, and the crowd had fun as well.

Video made by