Since 1997, R. Sikoryak has hosted Carousel, a series of comics readings and visual performances by cartoonists and theater artists.
Past shows have been presented in New York City at Dixon Place, the Brooklyn Museum, The Brick Theater, The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, Makor/Steinhard Center of 92Y, MoCCA, the New York Public Library, Parsons the New School for Design, Rubulad Home Base, Soloway, The Society of Illustrators, Union Hall, Union Pool, and NY Comic Con, as well as around the U.S. and Canada at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, the Newark Museum, Asbury Park Comicon, MeCAF: The Maine Comics Arts Festival, MICE: The Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, RE/Mixed Media Festival, the San Diego Comic-Con, the Small Press Expo, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and Montreal’s Blue Met Festival.
Artists have included Todd Alcott, Donna Almendrala, Jonathan Ames, Americans UK, Nine Antico, Andrew Arnold, Ron Barrett, Kate Beaton, Gabrielle Bell, Gregory Benton, Nick Bertozzi, Ruben Bolling, Paul Boocock, Jon Keith Brunelle, Jeffrey Burandt, Robbie Busch, John Canemaker, Megan Montague Cash, Christa Cassano, Howard Chackowicz, Jon Chad, Domitille Collardey, Leela Corman, Kim Deitch, Julie Delporte, Brian Dewan, Aaron Diaz, Liza Donnelly, Maëlle Doliveux, Eric Drysdale, Chris Duffy, Liana Finck, Jess Fink, Emily Flake, Alexis Frederick-Frost, Katie Fricas, Pascal Girard, James Godwin, Myla Goldberg, Sophie Goldstein, Dale Goodson, Sam Gross, Patrick Hambrecht, Charise Mericle Harper, Lisa Hanawalt, Tom Hart, Dean Haspiel, Glenn Head, Danny Hellman, Sam Henderson, Amy Herzog, Lizz Hickey, Maria Hoey, K. Thor Jensen, Carolita Johnson, Cynthia Kaplan, Bill Kartalopoulos, Ben Katchor, Miriam Katin , Kaz, J. Keen, John Kerschbaum, Susan Kim, Julie Klausner, James Kochalka, John Kovaleski, Tim Kreider, Peter Kuper, Michael Kupperman, Seth Kushner, Miss Lasko-Gross, The Late Bloomers, Sara Lautman, M. Sweeney Lawless, Leah Yael Levy, Jeffrey Lewis, Jeff Lewonczyk, Ellen Lindner, Jason Little, Trade Loeffler, Kevin Maher, Gerald Marks, Billy Mavreas, Kevin McCloskey, Mac McGill, Melissa Mendes, Patrice Miller, Dyna Moe, Adriano Moraes, Victor Morales, Brian Musikoff, Mark Newgarden, Anders Nilsen, Neil Numberman, Tao Nyeu, Molly Colleen O’Connell, George O’Connor, Joe Ollmann, Roxanne Palmer, Joe Pedoto, K. A. Polzin & Sean Chiki, John Porcellino, Dave Proch, MK Reed, David Rees, Michael Rex, Jason Roeder, Dave Roman, Crosby & James Romberger , Iris Rose, Flash Rosenberg, Laurie Rosenwald, Johnny Ryan, Sergio García Sánchez, Laurie Sandell, David Sandlin, Ariel Schrag, Arlen Schumer, Anne Shapiro, Ryan Sias, Allison Silverman, Katie Skelly, Doug Skinner, Karen Sneider, Nadja Spiegelman, Ted Stearn, Leslie Stein, James Sturm, Connie Sun, Whit Taylor, Raina Telgemeier, Matthew Thurber, Jim Torok, Ted Travelstead, Andrea Tsurumi, Meghan Turbitt, Marguerite Van Cook, Sasha Velour, Colleen AF Venable, Brian Michael Weaver, Lauren R. Weinstein, Steve Weisman, Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman, David Wells, Julia Wertz, Shannon Wheeler, Adam Whittier, Sophia Wiedeman, Kriota Willberg, Ronald Wimberly, Jess Worby, ZEES, and more.
Special guest voices have been provided by Scott Adsit, Sara Benincasa, Paul Boocock, Adam Conover, Shae D’lyn, Ralph Hamperian, Dave Hill, Lisa Hirschfield, McKenna Kerrigan, Julie Klausner, Catherine Porter, Jackson Publick, Steven Rattazzi, Anne Shapiro, James Urbaniak, and Zero Boy, among many others.
Carousel has also joined forces with The Center for Cartoon Studies, Nickelodeon Magazine, and various comics anthologies (including Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, Hotwire, and Typhon) to produce special theme shows. There have been collaborations on music shows with The Walking Hellos and other bands. Kids shows, co-hosted with Neil Numberman, are part of the mix, too.
The presentations are a hybrid, sometimes reminiscent of a radio show (usually with live narration, often with music and sound effects) combined with wildly creative imagery. From stick figures, to lush illustrations, to the occasional photograph, Carousel embraces all forms of visual storytelling. Some performers have also incorporated live drawing and painting, shadow puppets, video game environments, illustrated scrolls, and dance into the show. While many presentations have a sense of humor, the stories vary greatly in theme; some are autobiographical, some historical or educational, and others are philosophical or fanciful.
To get on the Carousel email list, please contact “rsikoryak(at)mac(dot)com”.
(Photos by Andrea Tsurumi and John Beaman.)