If you live in New Orleans, you'll be able to see a sneak peak of Revacuation in this week's issue of Gambit. The rest of you should just go to Amazon and place your order there!.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
NEW ORLEANS – REVACUATION (Press Street; ISBN 978-0-977681-1-0; $15.00), the new graphic novel from New Orleans-based Press Street, is the most imaginative rendering of the year following Katrina yet. A combination of fantasy and social commentary, the book follows anthropomorphic animals and blockhead government employees as they try to create a new New Orleans.
“After we evacuated, when it was obvious we wouldn’t be going home for a while, I started REVACUATION as a visual journal, an imaginative response to what was happening,” says artist Brad Benischek, who lives in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans with his wife and two sons.
REVACUATION twists through the post-Katrina landscape, pausing to investigate the newspaper headlines, the onslaught of outrage, the heated mayoral race, and the day-to-day troubles of the “people” of New Orleans—but in the world of Revacuation, the people are birds, rabbits, cats and dogs.
“When I started, I didn’t have a conscious plan. I just started drawing these animal characters enduring our circumstances. We were all in flight from the storm, so maybe recreating our story as birds made sense.” REVACUATION began as sketches in a notebook Benischek carried with him as he migrated with his family during the evacuation. “New Orleans is diverse, and each neighborhood has its own issues now, but in those early days, everyone was connected by some sort of loss and fear,” says Benischek.
The published version of REVACUATION retains the original notebook’s sense of improvisation. While seemingly surreal, many of details strike close to home: nest insurance covers only light wind and breezes; friends abandon the city to relocate to Functionburg; the government sends giant helping hands; the radio broadcasts the Daily Calamity Report and beaurocrats are represented by scarecrows.
Benischek’s work has appeared in numerous publications including Gambit, New Orleans Review and Constance, on t-shirts, telephone poles, and in galleries and art spaces across the south. His new book marks the second title for Press Street, an arts-based non-profit publisher. Press Street will host the release party for REVACUATION on the first day of the 2007 hurricane season.
The book will be available June 1st, marking the start of hurricane season. A publication party will be held that night at Gnome, 1301 Decatur Street, from 6:00 – 9:00pm.