For years, our Facebook presence has been limited to a Group. The ribbon is now cut for the Lewis Carroll Society of North America’s new Facebook Page. If you’re a Facebook neophyte, all you have to do is click the “like” button. Links to this blog, information about Society events, and other trivialities will then occasionally but unobtrusively appear in your Newsfeed. The image we’ve chosen for our first Cover photo is from Mahendra Singh’s graphic novel version of The Hunting of the Snark (2010). Singh’s blog (with many more illustrations) is here. The LCSNA’s Twitter feed is here. A video of a snoring dormouse is here.
The Bellman from the The Hunting of the Snark (2012)
The stop motion animated version of The Hunting of the Snark, long in the works and coming out June 2012, has finally released a trailer. We learn several new things about the movie, including that there is a female character named Hope (as in “They pursued it with forks and Hope.”) Also, Severus Snape makes a cameo at 41 seconds into the trailer.
The image of the Bellman figure above was taken from the movie’s Facebook page, which has many pictures from the creation of the animation.
Skin Horse Theater Presents: "The Hunting of the Snark" by Lewis Carroll
Fresh air and nonsense is available for all at the New Orleans Museum of Art for the next two Saturdays of this month. The Hunting of the Snark, adapted for children by Skin Horse Theater, is being performed in the Sculpture Garden on March 10 and March 17 at 3pm. Admission is free. These daytime performances will each be followed by an evening performance at the Backyard Ballroom, 3519 St. Claude Avenue, at 10 pm, with a $5 admission fee. Will these late night Snarks be equally child-friendly, we wonder? The Backyard Ballroom doesn’t have a website; to find out more about the performances call (504) 473-6819.
Founded at Bard College in 2008, Skin Horse Theater has a bit of history with Lewis Carroll: their inaugural performance was Curiouser: A Historical Inaccuracy, which entwined the lives of Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell and Sylvia Plath.
Screen Shot of Level 6 from The Hunting of the Snark kids game from Hairy Games
This free kids’ game was added last week at the so-called bestonlinekidsgames.com. We were hoping for an action-packed hunting game on open oceans and strange islands or a shoot-em-up video game in the style of Deer Hunter. (Actually, when you think about it, The Hunting of the Snark has many scenarios that would translate excellently into a video game. Anyone care to join the Beaver hunting the Jubjub in an increasingly narrow valley?) However, this game from Hairy Games seems to be mostly a fork poking at pictures of Snark characters and getting its prongs bent. “The Hunting of the Snark is combination of mazes, jigsaw and hidden objects puzzles games. This game is crated [sic] of famous story of mysterious creature, Snark who lived in a lonely island and the quest of some brave explorers to find it, by Lewis Caroll [sic sic sic].” The game was designed by Long Leaf’s Friends, and the pretty cool art is by B. Rybacki.
Naxos has released composer Maurice Saylor’s “magnum opus” The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits, on CD and where all fine digital music files can be downloaded. You can hear the excellent Cantate Singers toss lines from Carroll’s poem around in a choral whirlwind, accompanied by Saylor’s Snark Pit-Band. The other tracks on the album, music Saylor wrote for silent films and played by The Snark Ensemble, are also really fun. Listen to excerpts ofAmazon’s mp3s (individual tracks for $0.89, or the whole album for $11.68), or buy from iTunes here. The Snark Ensemble pictured below, Maurice Saylor second from right:
There’s a new hidden object game proving popular in all the usual online fora. It’s called… The Hunting of the Snark. The story is a little adapted – obviously – and the party encounter two monsters who may or may not be Snarks. It’s a little confusing but the illustrations and sound effects are pleasantly weird and the whole thing takes about fifteen minutes to play.
The team that made it is called Long Leaf’s Friends and the main designer is a Polish illustrator called Navatika. From her resume: “My name is Navatika. Navatika is a paint-brush containing ninety hair. It contains ninety different points of view and ways of depicting the world, which can be distinguished and appreciated by experienced eye.”
How do you like front cover for the new paperback edition of Rethinking Maps: New Frontiers in Cartographic Theory? (Routledge, $44.95, greatly reduced from the $150.00 hardcover edition.) It pays homage to Henry Holiday’s famous “Ocean-Chart” illustration for Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (1876), pictured below. (We might add a second question, Doesn’t it ruin the concept of the “perfect and absolute blank” to put something in it?) The collection of essays, edited by Martin Dodge, Rob Kitchen, and Chris Perkins, features such groundbreaking articles as “Cartographic representation and the construction of lived worlds: understanding cartographic practice as embodied knowledge” by Amy D. Propen.
He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.
“What’s the good of Mercator’s North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?”
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
“They are merely conventional signs!
“Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we’ve got our brave Captain to thank:
(So the crew would protest) “that he’s bought us the best —
A perfect and absolute blank!”
Mike Batt’s The Hunting of the Snark is finally getting a U.S. release on July 12th on his own label Dramatico. The original 1980’s concept album featured Art Garfunkel, Roger Daltrey, George Harrison, Stephane Grappelli, Sir John Gielgud, John Hurt, Captain Sensible, Deniece Williams, Julian Lennon, Sir Cliff Richard and a kitchen sink. Mike Batt was interviewed last week by American Songwriter’s Evan Schlanksy, about his take on “Snark” and the history of the piece:
Give us an overview of The Hunting Of The Snark album.
I made this album in the early eighties, – purely on a whim, and having fallen in love with Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem. I wrote all new lyrics (and utilized his poem as narration between the songs). It’s a mad story of 10 characters who all go off looking for the SNARK, whatever it is, – and it is whatever you want it to be. Some might see it as money, some as religion, some as love, some as just a beast of flesh and blood. That’s what the album and subsequent stage show explore – the different points of view many people can take about the same thing. I made the album using the London Symphony Orchestra, and a great cast of stars, from Art Garfunkel to Roger Daltrey, Deniece Williams and even a cameo from George Harrison. It was a fantastic experience.
Why put it out now?
It’s never been out in the States – and in fact never had a full release in the UK either, way back, because of a dispute with the record company. I’ve now reacquired it and am issuing it on my own label, Dramatico. I think it is among my best work as a writer, arranger and orchestrator – and it would be a pity for it never to have seen the light of day.
Any favorite memories or interesting stories from the theatrical performance?
We played some fun concerts of it in Australia, – and also in the UK. Costumed concerts with the whole orchestra dressed up in nautical outfits, and the cast working in front of them, oratorio style. Then it progressed to the West End, like a full “Broadway” production. We had a 50 piece orchestra live on stage every night – so consequently we couldn’t afford to keep it on for long (7 weeks) but it was a hugely rewarding experience. We did things like plant dancers in the orchestra and so suddenly the cello section would start doing backflips, – we even had someone “fish” a viola player out of the orchestra from a bridge, above, using a fishing rod (and a flying harness!). It was totally insane.
Tell us how you went about putting the album together from a songwriting perspective.
I literally scored it straight onto full orchestral manuscript, starting with an empty page and working from front to end. It was before the days of Finale and Sibelius, so the good old 2B pencil and eraser were my tools. I had 3 months in which to write it, having given myself that deadline in order to perform it at an LSO concert I had been invited to conduct. I allowed myself a lot of freedom, but didn’t steal any lyrics from Lewis Carroll. I do, as I said earlier – quote him verbatim, as verse between the songs. I wanted to write something that was intriguing, originaland commercial. I think the fact that I was brought up on The Beatles has something to do with both my choice of subject matter and the whimsical quality of the songs.
Among all the projects you’ve worked on, what are some of your personal favorites? Which ones do people say moved them the most?
The play actually seems very intriguing, maybe it just wasn’t that reviewer’s clean cup of tea. The Trial of the Mariner is “an interactive, multimedia performance looking at the future of our oceans” inspired by both The Hunting of the Snark and S.T. Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” “The year is 2111, and a group of desperate sailors embark on a voyage on the Ship of Fools. Lost at sea and mad with cabin fever, they arrive at the Plastic Continent of the Pacific Ocean Gyre, where the unhinged Mariner’s adventures come to life.” There’s still three more performances, closing on the 21st.
Here’s a nice YouTube video of Max Ernst’s illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Wunderhorn (“Miracle Horn,”) 1970, and “Die Jagd nach dem Schnark” (“The Hunting of the Snark,”) 1969. The music is “Oiseaux Exotiques” by Olivier Messiaen.