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A lot was going on last night in NYC. Chris Ware was speaking at the Jewish Museum, but we opted to go downtown to Dixon Place for R. Sikoryak’s Carousel. We hadn’t been to one in many a moon, but they are always worthwhile, and this was no exception.

Dixon Place is an old school experimental theater/performance space; it’s one of the places that makes New York New York, as the many talented actors, writers, dancers, puppeteers and even cartoonists have used it over the years to pursue work out of the mainstream. The event drew a good crowd that filled the seats that were all scavenged from thrift stores and old restaurants. In fact, as the show began we realized we were sitting between — now hold on to your hats — MICHAEL KUPPERMAN AND JACKSON PUBLICK! Holy shit! Two of the funniest people on earth, how lucky can you get.

Kupperman revealed that our review of TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE as “the funniest thing since Monty Python” has proven scarily prescient! It seems he is now writing for a British sketch comedy show produced by the some of the same folks who made FATHER TED and THE IT CROWD. Good God, it does not get any more bona fide than that.

As for Publick…well, we wanted to ask him if there would be a VENTURE BROS. Season 3 but…it didn’t seem polite.

The slideshow portion of the evening kicked off with host Sikoryak reading some of his “GITA” strips — an adaptation of the Hindu holy book starring the Peanuts gang. This runs in a Canadian yoga magazine, and you must see it to understand. Snoopy plays Krishna and Charlie Brown plays Arjuna. Snoopy lectures on such things as meditation and transendance: “One attains peace in whose mind all desires enter without creating any disturbance, as river waters enter the full ocean without creating a disturbance. One who desires material objects is never peaceful.” Wild!

Next up Leela Corman and go-to-gal/voice over mistress Karen Sneider performed some of Corman’s recent strips. A heretofore sadly unknown to us cartoonist by the name of Brian Michael Weaver performed some very funny squash and stretchy stuff, like a darkly funny strip about a man and his young son who discover a race of musical people in a cave.

Weaver mentioned that he is working on a pair of graphic novels for publishers Henry Holt about a private eye that also happens to be a fly, and he’s somewhat aligned with the Rabid Rabbit group — you can see one of his comics in the above link, or his website here. A little too much flash in the last one, but Weaver is someone to watch.

Painter Jim Torok showed some of his minimalist but hilarious “Lo-tech Animations.” A fellow we don’t know named David Wells showed pictures from around the New York area accompanied by musings on broken lamps and renewable energy — that one was kind of hard to explain, but had some striking moments. Robbie Busch showed some gorgeous new comics about a mischievous imp–problems with toilets were a feature of this story, echoing last nights Grace reading series. All-around cartooner/comedian/Britney Spears body double Julie Klausner had a longish piece about Patti Lupone, Julie Andrews and Liza Minelli being caught on fire.

The evening wrapped up with Todd Alcott reading a portion of his graphic novel “Feeder Birds” with Nina Hellman and James Urbaniak helping on the voices. Alcott is best known as a writer, but he’s illustrating the graphic novel himself–imagine the Sopranos transported to a world of goldfinches, cardinals and wrens. There were double crosses, bad deals and poisoned suet galore. Afterwards, everyone was urging Alcott to put it up as a webcomic at some point, so hopefully we can enable that.

Alcott, Busch, Sikoryak, Urbaniak and several folks in the audience were all part of a live variety show back in the day called “YIKES” which we attended on many occasions. Indeed, walking into Dixon Place, we suddenly felt transported back to 1997 — we fully expected Portishead to break out over the loud speaker at any moment. The room was a converted loft, piles of lumber, unused spotlights, power tools and other random stuff were lying everywhere, not because anything was under construction but just because. It reminded us of times before multi media, and a time in New York when all of our friends were younger and poorer, and yet a dancer, a cartoonist and a struggling actor could afford to live in a loft on 12th and Broadway — something unthinkable now or ever again. When we first met the Yikes crew, no one had a cel phones, maybe 10% of the people we knew were on the Internet, and social networking meant going to a diner after we saw a movie. Now? We read each other’s blogs to stay in touch.

UPDATE: Todd posted some images one of which I’ve stolen.

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