Hot on the heels of Gene Deitch's The Cat on a Hot Thin Groove comes another collection of jazzy midcentury music illustrations, The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora. Lovingly compiled and authored by Flora doyens Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon, and designed by Laura Lindgren, this softcover coffee-table book will be swingin' and be-boppin' its way to you this Summer. Take it away, Irwin:
"It features all of Flora's known album and EP covers (including back cover illustrations) from 1947 to 1961 for Columbia, RCA Victor, and their affiliated labels, along with music-themed fine art works, illustrations, and sketches. The book was completed last week and will head shortly to the printer. (Despite what it says at Amazon, the publication date will be sometime in August, not June 30. We dawdled a bit.)"
Our first book, The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora (2004), featured Flora's known album covers. (No complete discography existed.) Since that book's publication, more vintage covers have been found, as well as the artist's rough drafts and rejected designs. The Mischievous Art... went through two editions, but is now out of print, highly sought and available only at high prices through rare-book sellers. So we decided to compile a complete collection of Flora record covers (including recent discoveries) and unpublished sketches in one volume, augmented by music images not included in previous volumes. The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora will be the definitive anthology of the maestro's visual compositions, reflecting jazz, classical, and Latin music. Regarding his jam-packed canvases Flora once said he "couldn't stand a static space." There's nothing static about the images in The High Fidelity Art: they wail, dance, bounce, and swing from the chandeliers. They hit notes that shatter glass. This is art to which you can tap your toes and snap your fingers. Flora had a knack for grooving with a paintbrush.
The book will feature a 1998 interview with Flora which I conducted at his home on Bell Island, in Rowayton CT, just a few months before he passed away from stomach cancer. The interview has not been previously published.
The book is scheduled to reach market in June 2013. Barbara Economon and I will provide the contents, and Laura Lindgren will expertly design it-the same team as the first three Flora anthologies.
Make it your New Year's Resolution to go out to more comics events! The Fantagraphics Flog can help!
Thursday, January 5th
• Portland, OR: Floating World Comics proudly presents an art exhibit and a signing with Tony Millionaire! He'll be autographing his latest collection 500 Portraits, along with his other titles, from 6:00 to 10:00 PM. Heck, we've watched the man sign body parts before, so don't be shy! (more info)
Saturday, January 7th
• Seattle, WA: And it was at Tony's last signing at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery that we watched him sign someone's arm, who then headed down the street to get it permanently tattooed! We hope that person, and all Seattleites, will join us from 6:00 to 9:00 PM for another fun-filled signing, this time for 500 Portraits. We'll be launching an exhibit of work from that collection, plus our Store Curator Larry Reid will debut the short live-action film "Everybody Loves Drinky Crow." (more info)
We found out about this event too late to notify you about it in advance, but Drew Friedman had a book release extravaganza for his new book Sideshow Freaks from Blast Books at The Drama Book Shop in NYC last week where he was interviewed on stage by Irwin Chusid, with special guest appearances by Todd Robbins, Larry Storch, and James Taylor (not the singer) and an introduction by the one and only Joe Franklin! The whole thing was captured on video in 6 parts — part 1 is embedded above and here are part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6. It can only be described, as Drew does, as "A once in a lifetime get-together!"
If you've ever fantasized about owning one of our illustrious editors, now's your chance!
Irwin Chusid, the fine editor of our Jim Flora art books, is available for a paid-in-full pledge of $365 or more to WFMU's 2010 Marathon! Click here to stake your claim on this fantastic music historian and self-described "landmark preservationist." Not quite sure what your ownership will entail aside from some pretty sweet bragging rights.