Comic Genius

“Unique” well describes Long Neck, Big Heart, called “a comic-book cabaret” by its creator, Boulder performance artist/cartoonist/musician Timothy Foss. Starring Santa Claus, a four-year-old boy, a giraffe and Foss himself, the, um, performance (multimedia show? monologue? concert? film screening?) sounds like something we’ve never exactly seen before. But we’ll get our chance today, when Long Neck, Big Heart opens at the Boulder International Fringe Festival.

“I’m projecting comic drawings in a sequential ‘animatic’ behind me; I wrote songs that accompany them, and I tell a story,” Foss explains. “The storyline is a blend of my real-life experience: It’s autobiographical, but only about an aspect of myself. I’m using my own comics projected on the wall behind me. It’s something I saw back in Seattle, but I think I’ve taken it to a new level. I recorded voices and sound effects and ambient sounds that make the animatics feel real and present, and then I added songs.”

Though Foss first performed the piece in an early form — to good response — for his master’s thesis at the University of Colorado, he rightfully calls his Fringe debut a world premiere. “It’s been tightened up,” he says. “What I like about bringing things together this way is that it kind of creates its own genre, and audiences are not yet looking to me to have mastered it. I don’t want to be compared just to the best illustrators or the best songwriters or the best actors. I just try to bring all of what I am to the audience.”

See Long Neck at 9 p.m. at Topo Ranch, 1505 Pearl Street in Boulder, or at one of five additional performances taking place through August 28; get tickets, $10 to $12 (two-for-one tonight only, or $2 off with a comic book donation at the door) and more information at
Thu., Aug. 19, 9 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Tue., Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., Aug. 26, 9 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 27, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 28, 9 p.m., 2010

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd