Archive for sara benincasa

sketchbook: agorafabulous

Posted in sketchbook with tags , , , on May 23, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

I picked up Sara Benincasa’s Agorafabulous: Dispatches from my Bedroom from the library a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed the book. A memoir detailing Benincasa’s struggles with depression and agoraphobia, Agorafabulous is often funny and occasionally moving. As someone who dealt with depression in my teenage years, Sara’s observations come from a candid, compelling place.

Some of the later chapters read like short stories unto themselves; as a teacher, I was particularly enchanted by the author’s rough appraisal of working with… well, I guess I’ll say “inner city” students although I don’t believe Sara was working near a major metropolitan area.

I picked up the book as I’ve been a fan of Benincasa’s Sex and Other Human Activities podcast, wherein Sara and her co-host Marcus Parks answer questions about… well, pretty much anything, despite the specificity of the show’s name. On one of their earlier shows, Benincasa tells a story about a disastrous one night stand which made my wife and I howl with laughter on a drive somewhere or another. As a response to that, I drew this picture in my sketchbook, depicting one of the scenes described in that woeful tale:

I drew the thing and Ellen liked it enough to encourage me to send it over to Ms. Benincasa… which I did. She liked it enough to mention it on her podcast, which was a very nice thing and thoroughly impressed Ellen, so thanks for that Sara.

At any rate, the book is great, the story I drew this little sketchbook illustration for is included, and you should go out and read it.

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odds and ends

Posted in odds and ends, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

At the end of today: Spring Break! An entire week off! We’ve had most of our days off between New Year’s and today taken away due to snow days, so an extended break is not only welcome… it’s necessary.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to post comics next week- I have a backlog of strips, but I usually don’t post during my off time. I believe the solution is a week of posting extra comics. I have a couple strips drawn about Ellen and the kids that I may use the next couple of days to post those.

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A couple of funny podcasts I’ve been enjoying lately:

Sex and Other Human Activities – Comedian Sara Benincasa and producer Marcus Parks discuss… well, they discuss sex and other human activities. The title does really does the job. I so enjoyed Episode #4, I drew some fan art for Sara and Marcus… which might be the first time I’ve done that since I drew Mondo Gecko for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures. You can find that here, if you’re so inclined. The podcast is not exactly work safe, but from the confines of your iPod during a commute? Very funny stream-of-consciousness stuff.

How Did This Get Made? – I’ve only listened to one episode of How Did This Get Made? but if one is any indication, I love it. Comedians Paul Scheer, June Diane Rapheal and Jason Mantzoukas get together with a special guest and pick apart hugely stupid Hollywood flops. My only problem with the show is that I don’t get out to the movies very often these days… and when I do get the opportunity to see a flick in theaters I’m even less likely to have a chance to see something that I know is a dumb flick (Predators notwithstanding). I have subjected myself to Battlefield Earth however, and their frustrated confusion over the plot, the logic, and John Travolta’s weird accent is a delight.

The Great Gildersleeve Replay – I am sure this one does not count as a “podcast” as it’s simply a rebroadcasting of a classic radio show… but I am constantly surprised at how much I like The Great Gildersleeve. Essentially the first “single parent” sit-com ever made, Gildersleeve is a spin-off of radio classic Fibber McGee and Molly, in which the titular pompous windbag becomes the caregiver to his orphaned niece and nephew.

Gildersleeve has all the earmarks of radio comedy- broadly drawn characters, goofy misunderstandings, stock plots and so on… but something about the show just clicks for me. I just love Harold Peary’s voice as Gildy- he imbeds so much character into his voice with all of his hemming and moaning. It’s not the typical podcast, but check it out.

…and hey, most of The Great Gildersleeve was co-written by John Whedon… grandfather to Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Serenity mastermind Joss Whedon. If you’re looking for some kind of instant geek cred or a fun trivia fact… there it is!

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Longtime readers of Friday Odds & Ends know that I love documenting my son Elliot’s recent literary obsessions. One of the fun things about having kids is getting the opportunity to watch them figure out their interests. Elliot’s very into dancing, which is strange to me as I’m about as graceful as a boulder. He’s also genuinely fascinated by the macabre. I suspect most kids are into ghouls and ghosts, but Elliot takes it to a crazy level.

I, of course, decided to feed this fire by reading him In a Dark Dark Room and other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz.

Whenever I mention this book to someone, they inevitably remember ONE story from this book. I am, of course, talking about The Green Ribbon. The Green Ribbon is about a girl named Jenny who always wears a green ribbon around her neck. The creepy twist to the story comes at the end, when it is revealed that the ribbon served more than a fashionable purpose for the woman.

It’s a fine spooky story, but reading it now, I have to wonder: Did Schwartz realize just how unsettling The Green Ribbon was, especially when laid against the rest of the stories in the book, which are mostly of the “BOO, gotcha!” variety. The Green Ribbon (all 50 words of it) is built around the mystery of the ribbon and Jenny’s relationship with a boy named Alfred. Alfred and Jenny fall in love and get married… but Jenny keeps the secret of the ribbon from Alfred for years… and only reveals it on her deathbed. There’s SO many creepy connotations! The idea that the person you may never really know the person that you love best in the world… the idea that that person can keep an essential part of themselves so hidden from you for a lifetime… those are grown-up fears, packed into this slim “I Can Read!” volume.

I am positive that Elliot’s not thinking about any of that. He’s just loving the head falling off.