Wednesday, October 19, 2011

LITQUAKE 2011: Christopher Moore in Collision: Whales, Comedy, and The Impressionists

Sorry to be posting about this event ten days after it took place.  What can I say?  I'm a delicate flower.  I was having health woes last week.  The other thing is, the quality of the video below is so dreadful, part of me wonders if it's even worth the effort--but already people are already finding this blog doing Google searches looking for the video.  I situated myself as best I could in the cavernous space to be close to the chairs set up in the center of the room.  You know how much time they spent in those chairs?  None.  Instead, both Chris and Flip thought it would be a great idea to take the mike and move as far away across the space from where I was a possible.  I try, people.  [Note: And now that I've looked at the footage on a screen larger than two inches, it's not quite as bad as I though.]

So, what was this wacky event, you ask?  This is how it was billed:
Christopher Moore in Collision: Whales, Comedy, and The Impressionists

October 10, 2011, 6:00 PM
Z Space
450 Florida St., San Francisco
With Christopher Moore and Flip Nicklin

About ten years ago, New York Times bestselling comic novelist Christopher Moore decided to find out if there was more to write about whales, other than that they were "big and wet." And that's when he encountered National Geographic photographer Flip Nicklin. Then things got weird. The result was Moore's 2004 novel Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, which featured a marine biologist named Clay Demodocus inspired by Nicklin, as well as a whale with the words "BITE ME" written on its fluke.

Now bosom buddies for over a decade, Moore and Nicklin get together at Z Space to showcase Nicklin's new book Among Giants: A Life with Whales, and give Moore fans a taste of Sacré Bleu, his 2012 novel set in France and featuring Vincent Van Gogh's murder as a jumping-off point. Moore will talk about art history, with a slide show of comics created from fine art. Nicklin will provide a slide show of his astonishing photographs of whales. What do they have in common? Nicklin's photos have been described as "painting with light." And the Impressionists' artistic quest was to "capture the moment" by "capturing the light." Otherwise, it will just be a good time and a lot of fooling around between two old friends.
The funny thing is that this strange juxtuposition brings together two very big parts of my own life.  Once upon a time, I was the editor of Discover Diving, a magazine for scuba divers.  I dealt with underwater photographers all day, every day--including Flip's dad, Chuck, himself a renowned underwater photographer and pioneer in the field.  Now, instead of photo spreads of undersea critters, I keep my editorial skills honed by dabbling with novelists.  In fact, I've been doing some proof-reading for Christopher Moore for years, starting with the novel--you guessed it--Fluke.  It all comes full circle.

As it happens, I have read Chris's forthcoming novel, Sacré Bleu.  It's wonderful!  And one of these days I'll get around to writing a review.  Without question, my favorite thing about the book was the tremendous information he included about the art and the artisits.  Frankly, I didn't even need the plot.  I could have read about these people and their work all day long.  It was fascinating; and I've been resisting jumping on a plane to Paris since putting the novel down.  Here's your chance to hear about some of that straight from the author's mouth.  It's an awesome art history lecture with that special Christopher Moore spin.  He won't be doing this on book tour, so here it is, for better or worse, semi-preserved here for you.  Enjoy!

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