If you were just listening to him, you might confuse author Neil Gaiman for Alan Rickman, or Benedict Cumberbatch: all three Brits have very deep, slightly nasal and unquestioning authoritative voices that we associate with professors, wizards and Sherlock Holmes. So even though by trade Mr. Gaiman is more well-known for his writing–epic graphic novels like The Sandman, fantasy staples like American Gods and Stardust and Coraline– when Mr. Gaiman decides its time to start talking, everyone else shuts up.
He even managed to make the crowd at the New York Public Library fall silent for over an hour on Sunday to hear him read A Christmas Carol, from a special copy that Charles Dickens had edited himself for live performances, and which were rediscovered by Molly Oldfield in her recent book The Secret Museum, which she spoke about after Mr. Gaiman took off his top hat. (He also wore a fake Dickensian beard throughout to help get into character, which is real commitment.) Which, considering how many children were in the audience, was a miracle on par with Scrooge’s change of heart.
“It’s a wonderful time to tell stories about the dead,” Mr. Gaiman told The Observer earlier that morning over breakfast. He was referring, obviously, to Christmas. “You’ve got winter. You got the depths of winter. You have the whole peddling around a fireside thing. You have long nights.”
It is a widely accepted dictum that well-behaved women seldom make history. Fortunately, none were in attendance last week for Performance Space 122’s spring gala.
The former public school-turned-East Village bastion of alternative theater has been undergoing some much-needed renovations of late—its physical space is out of commission through 2015—but P.S. 122’s spirit is thriving. Read More
This is very unfortunate: Neil Gaiman, a personal hero of ours, has taken to Twitter, peeved by our tongue-in-cheek recap of his unique commencement speech for The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. (For the record, Neil Gaiman is the tops and we enjoyed his speech very much.)
So please, let us clarify:
You may have heard about that amazing commencement speech that author Neil Gaiman recently gave at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Yeah, the one about exploding cats. It is really about as coherent and logical as you’d expect from a man whose legacy includes a comic book* soap opera about a family of metaphysical manifestations whose names all begin with the letter D. (Or, if you prefer, the guy who wrote Coraline.)
The Sandman and American Gods author used his time at the podium not to give the usual formulaic oxymoron of self-deprecation and inspirational cliches. (Like the time-honored classic, “I couldn’t believe when X University asked me to speak to this year’s graduating class since I’m so unqualified to give advice, but here is what I learned about how following your dreams and working hard can make you rich and famous and a SNL cast member one day.”)
Instead, Mr. Gaiman told the kids how he became a hugely successful fiction writer–by not going to college, lying on his resume, and becoming a journalist for Christ’s sakes– before letting the world in in on a very big secret about how to make it as a freelance artist. It may be the first piece of practical advice we’ve ever heard during a cap and gown ceremony.