Virtual Memories Show 272:
Irvin Ungar

“My rabbinic training taught me: care about who you are and who your people are, and use the best of that tradition to make the world a better place. Szyk was an artist who articulated all those values.”

Arthur Szyk was once one of the most popular artists in America, but after his untimely death his art vanished from public discourse. How did Szyk achieve and lose such renown? Irvin Ungar has spent the last 25 years championing Szyk’s work, most recently publishing the National Jewish Book Award-winning Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art. We talk about his introduction to Szyk, the impact of Szyk’s work in his native Poland, the UK and the US, the way Szyk’s work in so many forms — illuminated manuscripts, Persian miniatures, political cartooning, and more — may have contributed to his posthumous decline, and why Syzk’s Haggadah is like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. We also get into Irv’s dayenu moments promoting Szyk’s legacy, the curious story of how Irv entered the rabbinate as an alternative to serving in Vietnam, left to become an antiquarian bookseller, and how his rabbinic training let him recognize Arthur Szyk as an upstanding man. Give it a listen! And go buy Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art!

(Check out some of Szyk’s art at szyk.com)

“Szyk wanted to use his art to move history from one period to another, from the 13th century to the 20th, through the use of illumination.”

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

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Irvin Ungar, a former pulpit rabbit and antiquarian bookseller, has devoted the past quarter-century to scholarship relating to illustrator Arthur Szyk. He has curated numerous Szyk exhibitions worldwide, including those at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Deutsches Historiches Museum in Berlin, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Library of Congress, and the New York Historical Society. He is the author of the National Jewish Book award winning Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art, publisher of the limited edition of The Szyk Haggadah, and producer of the documentary film Soldier in Art: Arthur Szyk.

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 a rental apartment on the Upper West Side 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. Photos of Mr. Ungar by me. It’s on my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 270:
Ilana C. Myer

“The writing has a plan, and it does whatever it wants with me.”

Fresh from her book tour, Ilana C. Myer joins the show to talk about her new novel, Fire Dance (Tor). We get into the jump she made for her second book, the process of crossing Celtic poets with troubadours and Mediterranean aesthetics and mythology as part of her world-building, the challenge of seducing the reader, why she writes fantasy instead of history, and her fixation on “books with magic in them” as a kid. We also get into how she balances life in Israel and the US, her process of self-discovery and her religious epiphany in a college astronomy class, the challenge of shutting out social media voices while keeping up a strong Twitter presence, and more! Give it a listen! And go buy Fire Dance (and Ilana’s first novel Last Song Before Night)!

“Without our history, without our traditions, who are we? I refuse to be someone who doesn’t have an identity.”

“You can’t predict how people will respond to the work. To retain my sanity and creative integrity, I had to not pay attention to the responses, even the positive ones.”

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

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Ilana C. Myer has worked as a journalist in Jerusalem and a cultural critic for various publications. As Ilana Teitelbaum she has written book reviews and critical essays for The Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, and the Huffington Post. Last Song Before Night was her first novel, followed by Fire Dance. She lives in New York.

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 Ilana’s home 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 Ms. Myer by Ezra Butler, so it’s not on my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 269:
Michael Kupperman

“My old work was about the absence of meaning; it’s just trying to be funny.”

Michael Kupperman rejoins the show to talk about his new book, All The Answers (Gallery 13)! We talk about his father Joel Kupperman’s experience on the Quiz Kids radio and TV shows and how it led to a multigenerational chain of trauma, the shifting of gears from absurdist humor to heartfelt family memoir, the airing of family secrets, the five-plus years of work this book required, and more. We also get into how Mike learned to be a father on the fly, the way his PR push for the book has turned into an ongoing therapy session, why his comedy performance may have been a time-delayed act of paternal rebellion, why it’s important for him to reach a non-comics audience, the change to a mainstream house after working with comics publishers, and his assessment of his career and his perceived lack of respect (that would be the aforementioned therapy session). Give it a listen! And go buy All The Answers!

“When you start thinking about your own family dynamics, there’s a kind of inertia involved, but when you push past that, you start to have some startling realizations.”

“My father desperately wanted me and my sibling to be normal, whatever that is, but he didn’t recognize how deeply abnormal we are.”

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

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Michael Kupperman’s comic drawings and strips have appeared in dozens of publications including The New Yorker, Fortune, The New York Times, Nickelodeon Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, Esquire, Heavy Metal, and McSweeney’s; comic books for DC, Marvel, and others; and been collected in multiple books, including five of his own. They’ve also been animated for Saturday Night Live, Adult Swim, and Comedy Central. Conan O’Brien described him as “probably one of the greatest comedy brains on the planet.” All The Answers is his first serious book. Michael lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Muire, and son, Ulysses.

This is his second appearance on The Virtual Memories Show. Check out his first one, recorded at TCAF 2013.

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 Mike’s home 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 Mr. Kupperman by me. It’s on my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 268:
Roz Chast LIVE!

“Living on the Upper West Side in my 20s was the first time in my life when I thought my life was not going to be a complete cratering shitshow disaster.”

Live from MoCCA 2018, Roz Chast rejoins the show to talk about her 40-year+ career as the “different-different-different” cartoonist at The New Yorker, what her workday is like, why she avoids topical and political cartooning, the joy of drawing on an iPad and the fun of Instagram, and more! We get into her new book, Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York (Bloomsbury USA), and her issues with the suburbs, like learning to drive at 38 and being scared of having a basement. We also discuss the transition to a new cartoon editor at The New Yorker who’s the same age as her kids, the recent shift in gender representation, and the gags she couldn’t have made before she lost her parents. Plus: audience Q& A! Give it a listen! And go buy Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York and Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir!

“When I watched James Bond movies as a kid, I didn’t fantasize about being Pussy Galore. Reading Tom Sawyer, I didn’t wait for more segments on Aunt Polly so I could identify.”

“George Trow said that structure is what keeps readers from getting tired, and I think that’s true.”

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

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Roz Chast grew up in Brooklyn. Her cartoons began appearing in The New Yorker in 1978, where she has since published more than one thousand. She wrote and illustrated the #1 New York Times bestseller, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir, a National Book Critics Circle Award and Kirkus Prize winner and finalist for the National Book Award, as well as What I Hate: From A to Z, and her cartoon collections The Party, After You Left, and Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978-2006. Her new book is Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York.

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 ink48 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 Roz by her mom or dad back in 1966, I figure. It’s not on my instagram.

Virtual Memories Show 267:
JJ Sedelmaier

“Parody is a wonderful realm to work in, because you get to do a technique but you get to use it as a device beyond what it was developed for. You can speak two languages at the same time.”

Director/Producer JJ Sedelmaier has been in and around animation for nearly 40 years. We sat down to talk about the false choice of art and commerce, how the advertising and animation businesses have changed over the years he’s been working in them, using animation for good instead of evil, how working in a Greek restaurant as a teen prepared him to run his own animation studio, the insane process of animating the first season of Beavis & Butthead, the joy of working with his favorite artists and cartoonists, not worrying about his road-not-traveled, stepping away from SNL’s TV Funhouse after 3 years (during which time he co-created Ace & Gary, the Ambiguously Gay Duo), the time he met Steve Ditko, how Mark Newgarden & Paul Karasik have taught him to appreciate Nancy, the trap of tapping into nostalgia (and the missed opportunity of that Geico ad with He-Man), his responses to my totally unfair “X or Y” questions (incl. “Herriman or McCay?” and “Kurtzman or Eisner?”), and plenty more! Give it a listen!

“As much as I loved working on a scene when I was an animator, the flexibility to work on different things on different levels and timelines, and to pull it off, means more to me.”

“It’s wild when my idols come up to me and say they know my work.”

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

Lots of ways to follow The Virtual Memories Show! iTunes, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

J.J. Sedelmaier is the President/Director of J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc., a animation and design studio that he established with his wife Patrice in 1990. It has created and produced some of the most influential broadcast productions in the past quarter century. MTV’s Beavis and Butthead, NBC/Saturday Night Live’s Saturday TV Funhouse cartoon series (including The Ambiguously Gay Duo), Cartoon Network/Adult Swim’s Harvey Birdman, Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen, all had their beginnings at JJSP! In addition to TV network cartoon series, the White Plains, NY studio has produced over 500 animated commercial films and won over 700 prestigious awards with screenings in over 100 festivals in 25 different countries. Sedelmaier is an experienced educator (NYU), curator of exhibits on animation and design, and an architectural preservationist with two structures on the National Register Of Historic Preservation. He is a regular editor/author for Print Magazine’s Imprint design blog.

He is also a regular presenter at comic cons throughout the U.S. and a subject of numerous interviews on TV and radio. J.J.’s interests are wide and varied, If you Google him, you’ll become very confused . . . he likes that.

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 offices of JJ Sedelmaier Productions 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. Photos of JJ by me. They’re on my instagram.