“Yesterday I had a book presentation at the library by graphic novelist and musician David Lester who has just published the book “The Listener”. It is really a very impressive book that I would recommend your organization have a look at. Also I would like to recommend David and his performance partner Jean Smith who gave an incredibly dynamic, introspective and involving presentation that involves a slide show, music, monologues and a sense of humour. His presentation would be absolutely perfect for teens especially.” – Cameron Ray, Youth Services Specialist, North York Central Branch (Toronto Public Library, 2011)

“David and Jean appeared in my Creative Writing 202 course, a survey class with 90 students, at UBC in May. Their presentation highlighted their multidisciplinary approach and included a PowerPoint presentation of David’s graphic novel set to music by David and Jean, a presentation of David’s graphic design work, and set of Mecca Normal songs. (Although they performed music, their equipment needs were relatively straightforward and simple.) Their discussion of this range of work jibed well with the multi-genre format of the class, and the students were engaged by David and Jean’s intelligence and humour, the insights they offered into their practices, their dedication to their creative endeavours, and their uncompromising, fiercely independent outlook. Because David and Jean work in so many fields, I believe they are well-suited to a variety of courses, from fiction and songwriting courses to classes that deal with DIY culture. It was one of the highlights of the term to have them in my class, and I cannot speak more glowingly of their professional attitude and ability as guest speakers.” – Kevin Chong, Adjunct Professor, Creative Writing Program (University of British Columbia, 2011)

“I heard nothing but raves about your presentation, especially from my companion, Valdine. She thought it was the best thing she saw/heard.” – Gary Cristall, organizer, World Peace Forum Teach-In (Vancouver, B.C., 2011)

“Thanks as well for your inspiring presentation on Friday. I learned a lot, and was engaged. I especially like the way, toward the beginning, that you straddled theatre and presentation. As a teacher, it is always a privilege to observe and be taught for a change. But I (and I imagine others) were wanting an opportunity, toward the middle, to interact with you, because the ideas were very engaging. Anyway, I hope you’ll be doing more work with teachers.” – Patrik Parkes, editor, Global Educator Magazine (Surrey, B.C., 2011)

“North York Central Library’s customers were wowed by a brilliant performance by David Lester and musician/singer Jean Smith as the two concluded a cross-Canada tour to promote David’s graphic novel The Listener. David and Jean gave an amazing performance depicting many of the characters from the novel, which is a historical view of Hitler and his rise to power. Powerful, inventive and insightful are just a few of the terms this duo deserve for how they gave their presentation. David takes book talking to another level by having the audience participate at different times in the presentation, setting it all to music and offering a slideshow of different illustrations from the novel.” – Toronto Public Library Newsletter (2011)

“I watched the video from the University of British Columbia where you and Jean talk about the book and you were very articulate and interesting. I particularly liked the connections you made between the Lippe election and Canadian elections, where over 60% of people vote against a political party, but they win anyway!!! It’s a good question, if people would behave any differently today.”– a teacher (Toronto, ON, 2011)

“I was that the launch party for David Lester’s “The Listener” at Type Books last Friday, and it turned out to be pretty damn weird. I should have realized that it was not going to be a typical Question and Answer launch when Lester pulled out his guitar and started to play his book out in song form.” – Flark Control, art blog (Toronto, ON, 2011)

“In performance, David Lester and Jean Smith truly brought the Listener to life. They miss no opportunity to bring their message about the importance of art and activism with abundance and generosity. Jean Smith is a great storyteller and performer; tough, charismatic and hilarious. During the musical portion of the event, Smith shared stories of online dating, lovers tried and lost and grocery shopping. She and Lester have a great interplay on stage. Lester’s motions as guitarist are broad and with sweeping movement that match the energy of Smith’s physical delivery and sound-wise contributes to an overarching warmth. A memorable performance, they played “Malachi,” “Attraction is Ephemeral” and “I Walk Alone”, where Smith eventually leaves the mic and sings a cappella while walking through the audience. Wonderful. The event altogether left this respondent breathless.” – Deanna Radford, Suoni Per Il Popolo blog (Montreal, PQ, 2011)


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