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 Book Festival, the Brooklyn Museum, The Brick Theater, The City Reliquary, The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, The Humanistic Medicine Program at NYU Langone, Makor/Steinhard Center of 92Y, MoCCA, the New York Public Library, Parsons the New School for Design, Pen America World Voices Festival, 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, The Center for Cartoon Studies, The Comics and Medicine Conference, MeCAF: The Maine Comics Arts Festival, Miami Book Fair, 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. There’s also been an online series called “Carousel: Quarantined.”
Artists have included Nick Abadzis, Todd Alcott, Julia Alekseyeva, Jon Allen, Donna Almendrala, Jonathan Ames, Americans UK, Sarah Andersen, Natalie Andrewson, Michael Anthony, Nine Antico, Andrew Arnold, Iasmin Omar Ata, Aaron Augenblick, Pénélope Bagieu, Kyle Baker, Isabella Bannerman, Ron Barrett, Josh Bayer, Cara Bean, Kate Beaton, Suzy Becker, Gabrielle Bell, Gregory Benton, Nick Bertozzi, Ruben Bolling, Paul Boocock, Megan Brennan, Molly Brooks, Jeffrey Brown, Jon Keith Brunelle, Jeffrey Burandt, Robbie Busch, Hilary Campbell, Jennifer Camper, John Canemaker, Megan Montague Cash, Christa Cassano, Chris Cater, Howard Chackowicz, Jon Chad, Nidhi Chanani, Devin Clark, Kevin Colden, Domitille Collardey, Leela Corman, Jerry Craft, Jordan Crane, Jef Czekaj, MK Czerwiec, Christopher Darling, Joe Dator, Eleanor Davis, Mike Dawson, Decur, Michael DeForge, Kim Deitch, Sharon De La Cruz, Julie Delporte, Abby Denson, Brian Dewan, Aaron Diaz, Liza Donnelly, Maëlle Doliveux, Eric Drysdale, Chris Duffy, Bob Eckstein, Tom Eaton, Kat Fajardo, Angela Fanche, Glynnis Fawkes, Samuel Ferri, Carolyn Figel, Liana Finck, Jess Fink, Emily Flake, Shary Flenniken, Ellen Forney, Alexis Frederick-Frost, Katie Fricas, Felipe Galindo Feggo, Nicole J. Georges, Julia Gfrörer, Joel Christian Gill, Pascal Girard, James Godwin, Myla Goldberg, Sophie Goldstein, Dale Goodson, Sam Gross, Marcellus Hall, Patrick Hambrecht, Tim Hamilton, Lisa Hanawalt, Charise Mericle Harper, Teva Harrison, Tom Hart, Dean Haspiel, Jennifer Hayden, Glenn Head, David Heatley, Danny Hellman, Sam Henderson, Amy Herzog, Lizz Hickey, Maria Hoey, Jascha Hoffman, Yinfan Huang, Mira Jacob, Abby Jame, Jordan Jeffries, John Jennings, K. Thor Jensen, Carolita Johnson, Arielle Jovellanos & Emily Borromeo, R. Kikuo Johnson, Sabrina Jones, Jeremy Jusay, Cynthia Kaplan, Bill Kartalopoulos, Ben Katchor, Miriam Katin, Keren Katz, Kaz, J. Keen, Mikki Kendall, John Kerschbaum, Susan Kim, Paul Kirchner, Julie Klausner, James Kochalka, Asterios Kokkinos, Joy Kolitsky, John Kovaleski, Tim Kreider, Peter Kuper, Michael Kupperman, Amy Kurzweil, Seth Kushner, Kate Lacour, Roger Langridge, Miss Lasko-Gross, The Late Bloomers, Nichola Latzgo, Sara Lautman, M. Sweeney Lawless, Paul Levitz, Leah Yael Levy, Jeffrey Lewis, Jeff Lewonczyk, Lisa Lim, Ellen Lindner, Jason Little, Trade Loeffler, Mattie Lubchansky, Deb Lucke, Ligang Luo, Matt Madden, Mita Mahato, Kevin Maher, Jane Mai, Lydia Mamalis, Stephanie Mannheim, Gerald Marks, Jeanne Martinet, Billy Mavreas, Kevin McCloskey, Mac McGill, Tony Medina, John Mejias, Melissa Mendes, Patrice Miller, Rebecca Mock, Dyna Moe, Adriano Moraes, Victor Morales, Marissa Moss, Brian Musikoff, Michael Natter, Hunter Nelson, Josh Neufeld, Mark Newgarden, Hazel Newlevant, Jeremy Nguyen, Anders Nilsen, Aubrey Nolan, Neil Numberman, Tao Nyeu, Molly Colleen O’Connell, George O’Connor, Nicholas Offerman, Joe Ollmann, Molly Ostertag, Roxanne Palmer, Gianna Paniagua, Joe Pedoto, Sanika Phawde, Elizabeth Pich, Summer Pierre, Josh Pilch, K. A. Polzin & Sean Chiki, Mimi Pond, John Porcellino, A. T. Pratt, Dave Proch, Carlo Quispe, MK Reed, Amy Reeder, David Rees, Michael Rex, Jason Roeder, Dave Roman, Crosby & James Romberger , Iris Rose, Flash Rosenberg, Laurie Rosenwald, Feifei Ruan, Johnny Ryan, Kevin Sacco, Sergio García Sánchez, Laurie Sandell, David Sandlin, Diana Schoenbrun, Ariel Schrag, Arlen Schumer, Anne Shapiro, Jason Shiga, Ryan Sias, Allison Silverman, Adrian C. Sinnott, Katie Skelly, Doug Skinner, Robyn Smith, James Otis Smith, Karen Sneider, Bishakh Som, Jeremy Sorese, Nadja Spiegelman, Ted Stearn, Leslie Stein, James Sturm, Connie Sun, Mariko Tamaki, Whit Taylor, Raina Telgemeier, Matthew Thurber, Tom Tomorrow, Jim Torok, Ted Travelstead, Elizabeth Trembley, Andrea Tsurumi, Meghan Turbitt, Carol Tyler, Ngozi Ukazu, Marguerite Van Cook, Victor Varnado, Sasha Velour, Colleen AF Venable, Tillie Walden, Sofia Warren, Brian Michael Weaver, Lauren R. Weinstein, Steve Weisman, Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman, David Wells, Katie Wendt, Julia Wertz, Lale Westvind, Shannon Wheeler, Adam Whittier, Sophia Wiedeman, Kriota Willberg, Ian Williams, Ronald Wimberly, Jess Worby, Yao Xiao, Bianca Xunise, Sophie Yanow, Lior Zaltzman, ZEES, and more.
Special guest voices and/or music have been provided by Scott Adsit, Sara Benincasa, Pete Boisvert, Paul Boocock, Emily Borromeo, Hope Cartelli, Rebecca Comtois, Adam Conover, Shae D’lyn, Ralph Hamperian, Dave Hill, Lisa Hirschfield, Jascha Hoffman, Cynthia Kaplan, McKenna Kerrigan, Julie Klausner, Dave Lloyd, Catherine Porter, Jackson Publick, Steven Rattazzi, Anne Shapiro, James Urbaniak, Thalia Zedek, and Zero Boy, among many others.
Carousel has also joined forces with Augenblick Studios, The Center for Cartoon Studies, Nickelodeon Magazine, and various comics anthologies (including the Society of Illustrators‘ Comic and Cartoon Art Annual, 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 Brian Michael Weaver (aka 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, musicians, shadow puppets, video game environments, illustrated scrolls, drag, 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.)