Monday, November 9, 2009

Events this Week: Monsters & Tattoos

Above: Director Guillermo Del Toro has a close encounter of the devic kind in 'Pan's Labyrinth'.

Two events that might be of interest to comics aficionados this week: the first is 'An Evening with Guillermo Del Toro', to be held this Wednesday the 11th of November at the Paramount Theatre in Wellington.

Guillermo Del Toro has generously donated his time for this Q&A evening as a fundraiser for Wellington producer Bonnie Slater and director Sam Kelly’s first feature film, 'One for the Road'. Described as New Zealand’s first musical drama, it follows the fortunes of a struggling, small town band.

"We're thrilled to have Guillermo's support," Slater says. "He has not done any event of this kind in New Zealand and it’s a coup to have attracted him to headline our fundraiser and help promote our cause. "I would have asked Guillermo to help make the film, but I know he's overworked with projects abroad and, of course, that little low-budget film he's shooting here soon called The Hobbit!"

"I've been pretty busy with various projects," Del Toro acknowledges, "but talent lies in your choices. And I believe in Bonnie so I’m happy to help her where I can."

Born and raised in Mexico, Guillermo Del Toro is one of film's most active imaginations, best known for creating some of the most visually arresting fantasy films of the decade. He adapted Mike Mignola's 'Hellboy' comic series for the screen and was nominated for an Academy Award for 'Pan's Labyrinth'. And unlike most Hollywood flights of fancy, Del Toro's dark fantasy worlds are usually grounded by the realities and horrors of the human condition.

It's no coincidence his films are populated by some of the most unique creatures to grace the screen, as monsters have always been something of an obsession of his. "(I'm) in love with monsters. My fascination with them is almost anthropological... I study them, I dissect them in many of my movies: I want to know how they work, what the inside of them looks like, (and) what their sociology is."

Monsters are just one of his many obsessions, along with insects, clockwork, archeology, pulp magazines and of coarse...comics! And he's no tourist; based in Los Angeles, he owns two homes: one for his family, and one to house his various sprawling collections, including his comic-books. You can even hear him give a stirring Jack Kirby appreciation on the director's commentary for 'Hellboy'.

So if you're in Wellington this Wednesday with a spare $45 for a ticket, this is bound to be an interesting and engaging evening! The event will be hosted by director Jonathan King ('Under the Mountain', 'Black Sheep'), with special guests Richard Taylor (of Weta Workshop) and Robert Sarkies ('Scarfies', 'Out of the Blue'). For tickets you can contact the Paramount PH: 04 3844080. For more information check out the Wellington Events page here.

The second event of interest takes place later this week in Auckland, The Tattooed Heart presents: 'Love Hurts!', an exhibition in tribute of tattoo art.

It features artwork by: Adam Craft, Liesje, Tom McMillan, Hamish McLougham, Misery, Deus, Kelly Thompson, Sarah Larnach, Ben Stenbeck, Karl Wills, Chris Sheehan, Steph Lusted, Seth Wood and Sarah Florence.

And as regular readers of this blog know: any opportunity to see artwork by cartoonists Ben Stenbeck ('Hellboy' and 'Witchfinder') and Karl Wills ('Jessica of the Schoolyard') is a treat. The exhibition runs from the 12-26th of November at the Tattooed Heart, 202 K' Road.

Oh, and to round out the week, the monthly Auckland Comic Book Club is meeting this Friday from 6pm in the Whare Wananga, 2nd Floor of the Central Library. This month will be an informal chat about comics, Armageddon and any other sequential story telling concerns.

-AK! (still busy working on that Dylan Horrocks article!)

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