Comedians Spotlight: Sarah Millican and Jen Brister

Visual arts (i.e. paintings, drawings) are not the only arts. And definitely not the only arts that we enjoy in our household. After we started going out, I introduced my wife to the idea of British and Irish comedians, and we started enjoying live performances as well. Among those, there’s two that I think pair up very well together, and do for a good sARTSurday post: Sarah Millican and Jen Brister.

I knew of Sarah because of QI and Museum of Curiosity — she was the Curator before, and I really had a good laugh with her, and I ended up listening to the audiobook version of her autobiography, How to be Champion, which she’s actually reading on her YouTube Channel during this lockdown period. We like her, particularly because she’s “one of us” — to reuse the words from one of her shows, a “cheery childless”: not having kids and not interested to have any If you’re among us, you probably would enjoy her shows a lot.

I didn’t know about Jen — until we went to see a live recording of Museum of Curiosity at Broadcasting House, and she was a guest. She was smashing! We laughed a ton, she kept the whole recording running and fun, and we really wanted to see her live again. We had a chance at the recording of Sarah’s show Elephant in the Room just a few weeks later. And it was also a very funny evening.

And when her Edinburgh show Under Privilege came to London on Valentine’s Week — we knew what we had to do. The show was great fun, and as I expected it does make you quite a bit uncomfortable as a straight white cis man — but guess what? That’s a big chunk of the point! And Jen was a great guest selling and signing books in person by the bar. The show is meant to come back to Soho Theatre (in the heart of London’s comedy) this following June, hopefully, fingers crossed and all. If you happen to be from here, or happen to be in town, consider grabbing a ticket.

So what do you do to enjoy some of these comedians in your locked-down home? Here’s the good thing: Soho Theatre On Demand is the video-on-demand service by Soho Theatre. Jen’s set is in there, as are a number of other quality comedians. The Theatre is also under a lot of pressure due to the Covid-19 crisis, so providing them with a bit of income by streaming their best offerings help them as well.

Sarah’s shows are available even more widely. Chatterbox and Thoroughly Modern Millican are available for free on her YouTube channel. Control Enthusiast and Outsider Live are available on both Google Play Movies and Amazon Prime Video — and I would expect other platforms such as Apple TV, but I wouldn’t know about that one, sorry. Audible and Google Play Books have the BBC Radio 4 series Sarah Millican’s Support Group, which is also golden, and we both enjoyed it very much.

I already linked to Sarah’s biography, so let me not forget Jen’s The Other Mother. My wife has been reading it, so I have not had a chance to do that myself (for once, we have a physical copy rather than the Kindle version), but she’s definitely enjoying the read.

Artist Spotlight: Jenika Ioffreda

Micia is us: at home, around the world, at a concert.

This week’s focus is on an artist that is special to me and my wife both — Jenika is a friend, and comes all the way from Italy. I first met her back in Dublin, at what at the time was the MCM Comic Con, and we kept bumping into each other at various cons, both in Dublin and London over the years.

Her work is focused on Micia — the black cat you can see above, following effectively our family life: at home, around the world, and at metal concerts, but it’s not just cutesy prints, it’s also a character from her very own comic book story.

Micia has been for months the first thing we see when we wake up, as the frames are directly across our bed, and it makes us smile.

Since this year’s convention scene is likely going to be significantly scaled down, make sure to stop by if you see her, and keep yourself posted by liking her page.

Also you can see more great frames from Frame Company — we loved the colour (Candy purple), and they executed great for the custom mounts to keep the related pictures side-by-side.

Artist Spotlight: Sezzadactyl

A sampler of different art by Sezzadactyl

The times are bleak, with a fourth of the World’s population under lockdown or quarantine. I don’t particularly like dark times, and so I would rather bring some fresh air and happiness to people instead. For this reason, I decided to add a third weekly post on my blog, not to rants, or technical content, but rather as a way to show off more artists that deserve appreciation, and probably the support of those who can share, given that conventions are being cancelled left and right.

Sezzadactyl was at the top of my list. Her art is awesome, we stumbled across her booth at the MCM Comic Con London last year, but we were in a hurry at first (I had a photoshoot booked), and we just promised to come back. Unfortunately we forgot to write down the booth we were at, so it took us a while to find her again, but we were very happy to have a chance to get some prints of hers.

And we didn’t stop there. My wife got me as presents her 2018 and 2019 art books, for my birthday and Christmas. I was (and am) so happy, because I really couldn’t choose which prints to get!

As you can tell from the Instagram feed, she covers a wide range of subjects, from Pokémon (which admittedly was the first thing that caught our eyes) to Studio Ghibli characters, to video games, to dragons and pets.

Her Etsy store is currently on hiatus, but I do recommend, if you like her work, to get a notification for when it’ll reopen. As you can see we already have quite a few pieces, but we’ll look forward to get more in the future!

By the way, I want to give a shout out to Frame Company, where we bought the frames and mounts you see in the picture above. We have so far ordered more than a dozen frames from them, and they don’t just have a great selection to match any art style, but they do custom mounts, including multi-opening ones (you’ll see more of them in the future).