October 19, 2009

Sendak-Mania 3 - "I Was There" audio part 2

I was able, over the weekend, to find and digitize the second part of the old audio recording of the mostly Q&A session with Maurice Sendak, from 1983 -

Maurice Sendak at Harvard, 1983 (hour 2).

Again, the file size is big, about 27mb. The sound quality is not great, though not too bad considering this is coming from a 26 year old cassette tape. I actually had to perform surgery on the tape to be able to transfer it. The tape itself was fine, but the tape-case had warped over time, so it wouldn't play. I had to remove the tape and put it into a different case. Very delicate operation, that is.

As I said about part 1, I hadn't remembered him being so funny. The last time I listened to this part of the talk was at least 5 or 6 years ago, and I've heard a number of more recent talks and interviews since then. It's nice to hear him in his prime, when he laughed more at life, but was able to balance it with the intelligence, depth and passion he's known for. I consider the bit about the 'all powerful female mystery' to be pure Sendak - slightly shocking, but insightful and hilarious as well, all the while leaving you with an indelible image.

Like the first part, I broke it down into selected highlights.
you can see below the fold...

all times are approximate -

0:00 - 6:00
Continuing on about The Juniper Tree.
Would you ever illustrate an adult book?
Would you design for Broadway shows as opposed to Opera?
Experience of working in Opera.

6:00 - 12:50
Do kids write you letters?
The Toronto 'Outside Over There' letters
A note from Danny
What is the background for In the Night Kitchen?

12:50 - 24:00
What is the origin of Higglety Pigglety Pop?
What about Pierre?
Where did Pierre come from?

15:00 - 17:20
What responses are there to your books in other countries?
What do think about the translations?

17:20 - 19:30
How do you feel about being famous?
You said you were timid in the past - where were you timid in some of your other books?

19:30 - 24:15
How do you approach set design?
How do you adapt illustration ot set design?
What is your work process for set design?

24:15 - 31:45
Is the story true of an autistic child speaking their first words after exposure to Wild Things?
What was your technique for Zlateh the Goat?
How have you been influenced by comics?
Relates his early job working in comic strips.
Are you still interested in comic strips?
Relates his thoughts on Little Nemo.
and how comic book artists are pigeonholed like children's book artists.

31:45 - 34:00
What kind of things do you think you can do on the stage that you cannot do in children's books?
How much do you think of the audience when you work?

34:00 - 38:30
Do you have contact with other children's book authors and illustrators?
Talks about William Steig, Tomi Ungerer and Dr. Seuss.
Relates his theories on the psychology of Dr. Seuss.

38:30 - 41:30
So do you really just make the work for yourself?
Were you influenced by EC comics?
What about your animated films?
Tells of The animated Really Rosie.
Will you do it again?

41:30 - 49:45
Re: Outside Over There, is there a sexual undertone to it?
What are the things you said you wish you could express, but can't?
Talks about the 'all powerful female mystery'.
How does Outside Over There relate to the set designs for The Magic Flute?
Do you think people will see those things you put into your work?

49:45 - 52:30
Do you feel a need for being socially responsible?
What about social committments?
Did you consciously choose children as models?

52:30 - 54:46
You seem so at ease answering questions - do you do this often?
Do you do a circuit? Or much public speaking?
No, and on that note, I'll stop speaking.

Posted by Tom at October 19, 2009 10:09 PM