Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"My Dad's Job" purchased by Nickelodeon

I've been having a run of good luck with film rights in the last little while. The latest news is that Nickelodeon Films has purchased the rights to My Dad's Job, a picture book written by ace New York City bookseller Peter Glassman for which I did the illustrations. Nickelodeon optioned it at the time it was published in 2003 and for some reason decided to seal the deal this fall.

Here's one of the interiors. You might want to click on it to get the bigger version:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Three At Sea... on TV

We all know that once books go out into the world, all kinds of random things can happen to them... most of them horrible, but once in a while you get something so awesomely peculiar that, in trying to describe it, the words degenerate into the kind of mumbly protolanguage last heard on Earth at the time of the australopithecines.

Things like, oh I don't know... Brooke Shields offering a copy of your book to her TV kid in the course of an episode of her show Lipstick Jungle:

Yes, that foreshortened hardcover is, in fact, Three At Sea, a picture book I did all the way back in 1994. Don't believe me? Watch the episode on the NBC website... the moment occurs around minute 32:50.

They actually wanted to use another book of mine, Benjamin McFadden and the Robot Babysitter, but the - I'm not making this up - set-dressing rights were not available because they were covered by the film option contract I already signed on that book with the nice people over at Disney. So I offered them this one instead.


"Women Beware Women"

Love! Murder! Jealousy! Revenge! A fancy Renaissance floor I helped paint! It's Red Bull Theater's production of Thomas Middleton's Women Beware Women! The New York Times had this to say yesterday:
This exuberant, vividly acted production should cement the company’s reputation as a troupe that lovers of classic theater should put on the must-watch list. The cast of “Women Beware Women” is a marvelous combination of veteran stage performers and talented newcomers... who are obviously savoring the chance to romp in the little-tended thickets of Middleton’s thorny dramaturgy.
Backstage adds:
Red Bull, which provides the valuable service of exploring seldom-seen classics, has upped the ante with this presentation, with pleasingly superior production values on show. There's live music on David Barber's expansive set, with Clint Ramos' witty costumes illustrating the play's modern edge.
Variety, after praising the 'adroit, opulent staging' (by which I'm sure they mean to say they loved my floor) chimes in:
Women Beware Women is proof not just that classic theater is alive, but that it can still be surprising after hundreds of years.

Come see what everyone's talking about! Tickets at the Red Bull website or TDF. It's running through January 18 at the Theater at St. Clement's (46th bet. 9th and 10th) but come sooner rather than later if you possibly can... we want to get that word-of-mouth going.

UPDATE: Lighting and Sound magazine has given us what will, sadly, not be the most widely-read review of the show, but it has the magic words:
It's all elegantly staged on David Barber's silver two-level setting, which contains plenty of corners for hidden conversations and secret assignations. Such baroque details as a set of painted clouds, a black swagged proscenium curtain, and a gorgeously painted deck contribute an overall sense of decadent chic.
That's my floor they're talking about!!!!

Oh, yeah, and Time Out New York said:
It would be easy to get lost in the surface dazzle of Jesse Berger’s whip-smart production: David Barber’s clever set, with its divine deus ex machina; and especially Clint Ramos’s astonishingly luxurious costumes, the most beautifully conceived and executed of any I have seen this year. But the performances pull you back into the play’s strange reality. Nearly the whole cast is excellent, led by Kathryn Meisle as the sexy, conniving Livia.
This is Livia at work:

She's trouble.

UPDATE II: Another fine review from New York Theatre:
So here's another understatement for you: Red Bull Theater is pretty capable. In fact, they are one of the finest purveyors of classical theatre in New York City. For five years now, they have consistently delivered exciting productions of obscure gems from the English Renaissance, always making bold and innovative choices while never turning "accessibility" into a dirty word...

The production is unsurprisingly top-notch. The cast is first rate (and is a true ensemble, which makes it most difficult to single anyone out for praise or criticism), and the design is impeccable. The stage is gorgeously bedecked with three separate levels, all of which are used to great advantage throughout the show. A particularly appropriate detail hangs above the stage. There is a foreboding canopy of clouds from the start of the play, but dead center in the sky is a cloud made out of mattress material. It hovers above the scenes like a baleful god of lust, and is an effectively subtle reminder that, were it not for Bianca's infidelity at the beginning of the action, none of the mess that follows would have happened. And, in a wonderful touch of visual wit, this cloud is broken towards the end by none other than the goddess of marriage.
Go see it. Now.

UPDATE III: Show has been extended through January 18. The Village Voice has also weighed in with the love.

Capital Mysteries #11: The Secret at Jefferson's Mansion

The final art for my current project, The Secret at Jefferson's Mansion, the new title in the Capital Mysteries series, is about half-done right now; I'll have some samples to post after the holidays. And yes, I know the Capital Mysteries page on my website is in serious need of updating...

Jefferson's Mansion sketches and research

One of the things I enjoy about illustrating the Capital Mysteries series is the fact that all of the stories involve real places in and around Washington, DC.

Did somebody say 'research' !?!?

The new book is set in Monticello, Jefferson's plantation, which made this part of the work a big day in the park: not only are there zillions of photos out there of the house and grounds, but Monticello's website is fantastic. There's even a 3-D tour of the house and rooms, which let me do different sketches of the same room from different points of view.