Episode 199 – Michael Tisserand

Virtual Memories Show #199: Michael Tisserand

“I always feel like Herriman’s a a step ahead of me. When I read Krazy Kat I think I know what I’m reading; the next week I read the same strip and I realize I’m reading something different than I thought I was reading.”

For our 199th episode, Michael Tisserand joins the show to talk about his fantastic new book, Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White (Harper). We discuss Krazy Kat, race in America and the phenomenon of racial passing, newsroom culture, conducting research on microfilm in the age of Google, the allure of New Orleans, what it was like to write the biography of an enigma, and a lot more. So don’t be a bald-faced gazooni! Give it a listen! And go buy KRAZY!

“Herriman treated language as something that wasn’t up to shouldering the kind of burdens that we put on it.”

 

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

Michael Tisserand is a New Orleans-based writer whose most recent book is Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White — the first full-length biography of cartoonist George Herriman, the creator of Krazy Kat . His other books include The Kingdom of Zydeco and Sugarcane Academy: How a New Orleans Teacher and His Storm-Struck Students Created a School to Remember. Michael’s work has appeared in the Oxford American, The Nation, The Progressive, and on WBEZ-FM Chicago. The former editor of New Orleans’ Gambit Weekly, Michael’s eleven-part Katrina series “Submerged” was published in alternative newsweeklies across the country. He has appeared on “To the Point” and was a frequent guest on Philip Adams’ “Late Night Live,” and can be seen in the documentaries Dear Mr. Watterson and Zydeco Crossroads. Michael is represented by Gary Morris at the David Black Agency.

When not writing, Michael coaches scholastic chess and organizes the annual New Orleans Chess Fest, and is a founding member of the Laissez Boys Social Aide and Leisure Club, a Mardi Gras parading organization. Michael lives in New Orleans with his wife and children. He happily answers emails at michael@michaeltisserandauthor.com.

Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at the Mr. Tisserand’s home in New Orleans on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of me and Michael by Amy Roth Photo. It’s on my instagram.

Episode 120 – Laboratory of Imagination

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Virtual Memories Show:
Lorenzo Mattotti – Laboratory of Imagination

“In my work, I always try to arrive at a new level of capacity. To do that, you must be ready spiritually. When I arrive at that level, there is a fear. You have to break your knowledge to arrive at that level.”

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Lorenzo Mattotti is one of my favorite artists (and cartoonists and illustrators), so it was a thrill to sit down to record with him during Toronto Comic Arts Festival! We talked about his newest book, Hansel and Gretel, how a trip to Patagonia led to a new phase of his art, and why he decided to become a cartoonist instead of a painter (while making his rep in fashion illustration). Give it a listen!

“I’m always curious to look back at my early work, because sometimes I’m so depressed and so lost that I need to go back and say, ‘Look at this! You were able to do that! Go on!’ And sometimes I look at my work and think it was another person who did that.”

coloricataWe talk about the interaction between his comics, paintings, and commercial illustration work, the thread of transformation myths in his comics, how he’s learned to improvise after mastering a controlled style, why he prefers working with writers over writing stories by himself, what fashion taught him about technique and glamour, his “poor parents'” reaction to his comics, his need to find new artistic challenges, how he does those amazing New Yorker covers, who he’s reading, and more!

“[Pinocchio] became a laboratory of imagination. I see how I can return to it year after year and make new interpretations of it.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes! You might like:

Follow The Virtual Memories Show on iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Lorenzo Mattotti17502664291_0d8121a8c7_z is a highly sought-after illustrator (with frequent appearances in and on The New Yorker) and acclaimed graphic novelist. His books include Fires, Murmur, Works, Pinocchio, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Stigmata, The Raven (with Lou Reed), The Crackle of the Frost, and his newest book, Hansel and Gretel (with Neil Gaiman). In addition to his comics and illustration work, Lorenzo Mattotti is a highly respected multi-disciplinary artist, from reinterpreting reinterpreting the models of the most famous fashion designers for “Vanity” magazine, to designing the title sequences for the film “Eros” by Wong Kar-wai, to directing an animated version of his work in the animation anthology “Fears of the Dark.” He lives in Paris, France with his wife Rina and their two children. His wife owns and runs Galerie Martel.

Credits: This episode’s music is Optical Sound by Human Expression. The conversation was recorded at the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Blue Yeti USB Microphone. Processing was done in Audacity and Logic Pro. Photo of Mr. Mattotti by me.

Unrequired Reading: Junebug

Just in time for July 4th, it’s a collection of my tweeted links and retweets, for those of you too lazy to get on Twitter and follow me @groth18!

First up, the retweets!

RT @MoCCAnyc (MoCCA): Kirby vs Marvel in the NY Times

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RT @KenTremendous (Ken Tremendous): Wow. RT (@parksandrecnbc) The Ron Swanson Mosaic. Be sure to grab our free hi-res poster! #ParksandRec

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RT @tnyCloseRead (Amy Davidson): David Remnick on the Big Man: Bloodbrother: Clarence Clemons, 1942-2011

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RT @kylevanblerk (Kyle Van Blerk): Need. This. Bookcase.

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RT @simonpegg (Simon Pegg): Memorable ink from the US book tour: 1 and 2

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RT @kylevanblerk (Kyle van Blerk): animalsbeingdicks.com That is all. Have a good weekend.

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RT @MarylandMudflap (Scotty L.): Etch-a-Sketch was really onto something. I wish I could shake the shit out of everything in my life when I need a fresh start.

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RT @scottmccloud (Scott McCloud): OMG OMG OMG http://llamafont.com

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RT @normmacdonald (Norm Macdonald): I’d have to be pretty hammered to see “Thor”.

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RT @DwightGarner (Dwight Garner): Daniel Okrent (I think) said it in Esquire (I think) in the 80s: “John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman” = best LP ever recorded. I’m a believer.

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Anyone know where #ProfessorZoom got his doctorate? #justwondering

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Cover story: #magouflage

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Nazis tend not to design great synagogues? I prefer #BattlestarJudaica! #FrankLloydWrong 26 Jun

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Is #Cars a vehicle (ha-ha) for Intelligent Design?

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Blind drunk: #notreally

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Neat #PhilipRoth interview: #idontreadcontempofictioneither

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If I ever have to move again, I have no idea what I’ll do with all the books. #unpackingtheshelves

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Long-ass @BobMould conversation on wrestling, Catholicism, breakups and more: #seealittlelight

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@SimonDoonan: wildly pro-Jew. #yay!

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I am SO glad I didn’t watch the last six episodes of @TheKilling_AMC: http://bit.ly/mEhcSL #stillsevenhoursiwillnevergetback

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I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to think of #WeAllKilledRosieLarsen. Still, glad I didn’t watch the last 7 episodes of @TheKilling_AMC

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First, only time #AnnaNicoleSmith will be compared to #BleakHouse.

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#SalmanRushdie offers up seven wonders (those Goya paintings the Prado are creepy as all get-out)

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The Girl with the Caffeine Addiction? #TMCM

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NYT sez: Life could be better if we blow off property rights, the environment, consumer safety, etc.: #highspeedrail

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Introvert Myth #11: they don’t get Twitter.

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Time-Traveling Male Sea Monkeys Make Bad Mates

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Great moments in terrible casting, via @fuggirls (No #JessicaAlba as geneticist and/or blonde in #FantasticFour?)

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Accidental Chinese hipsters: #umm

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Bust 2.0? “If you squint just right, our business is actually booming!”

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Do we expect too much of books? #iknowido #ralphwaldoemerson

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(Un)happy Bloomsday.

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Krypto’s got quite a pedigree: #superdog #legionofsuperpets

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Rockin’ the GTH turban: #sikhandyoushallfind

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Mandelbrot, P.I.?

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No Mexican in Paris? WTF? I can’t even call this #firstworldproblems

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Why I never took up smoking: #cheapjew

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The Enhancer: “Yeah, but have you ever Disneyed . . . HIGH?” #weed

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#Masa loses one star for F-U (by @samsifton)

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Haberdashed!

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“Not only is it okay to hate #LeBron, but it’s a fucking character flaw on your part if you do not.” #nbafinals

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Anybody know what this is? #snakeonahike #herpetology

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My hometown: a toxic mess that CAN’T be cleaned up, after multiple Superfund attempts: #ringwoodnj #eatlead

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#JoeJackson & #TheRoots do #SteppinOut on @latenightjimmy

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Apparently, I need to alternate my annual Toronto trip with some Montreal action.

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i found my thrill on N***** Hill? #plaqueremoval

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Never trust your parents, especially when you’re home for the holidays: #drugdeal

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#Seth’s lovely eulogy for his father: #nosethdoesnothaveatwitteraccount

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Every mall should have a bomb shelter: #shoptillthebombdrops

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Puyehue makes an ash of itself: #underthevolcano #alsooverthevolcano

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I’ll get to these right after I finish #ADancetotheMusicofTime. #johnswartzelder #simpsons

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Sunfart: #justsunfart

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Greatest pwnage ever? #nadal #federer #toughcall

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To prize integrity is to fear disintegration” (via @asymmetricinfo)

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Escapistism.

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It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: Greatest. Cast. Ever.

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@comicsreporter on his hoped-for DC relaunches. #bwahhaha

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Kirby. Gods. Watercolor. #nuffsaid

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@michaelbierut on comedic design (sorta): #talkingfunny

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We will be like birds.

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#GeneHackman: “He tried”

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#UmbertoEco on reading and not reading: http://bit.ly/jFXAQZ

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#Francesa = #Jeter?

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“You cook?” “I’m French.” #MelanieLaurent #aurevoirshoshana!

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No one said, “I wish I kept up on Twitter more”? #regretsofthedying