Tag Archives: cartoonist

All in the family

Turns out you can’t judge a musical by its poster.

Fun-Home-1

The only thing I knew about the Broadway show Fun Home before I saw it last night was a) the critics loved it and b) the Tony voters did, too.

It scored 12 nominations earlier this week.

I didn’t know the soundtrack or the book upon which it was based. I walked in the theatre about as clueless as a person could get.

So imagine my surprise when the show wasn’t the singing, dancing Partridge Family parody that I had cooked up in my head.

If you too are in the dark (and wish to remain so), stop reading now.

Have they left?  Okay.  So the rest of you know why my mind is a bit blown right now.

The musical’s narrator is a lesbian cartoonist. (Yeah, this show’s no Cinderella.) With the help of her very young self and college-aged self — two incredible young performers — she tells her life story.  With captions.

(‘Cause she’s a cartoonist.)

Fun-Home-2How her father was a part-time teacher and part-time funeral director — FUN HOME was the family nickname for the funeral home — and a closeted gay man who slept with lots of boys and committed suicide while she was away at college.

Yeah.

But that’s not to say there weren’t moments of humor and laughter.  Her first girl-on-girl experience in college inspired “Changing My Major to Joan,” one of my favorite songs in the show. And the kids did do a little Partridge Family at one point, so the graphic designer gets to keep his job.

The cast is all-around amazing. I do wish I had seen the show off-Broadway before they were plopped down into this in-the-round venue. It has led to a lot of ‘singing to the audience’ staging that seems amateurish for a story of such complexity.

It is quite a ride.

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Let’s go exploring

Can you believe it has been eight years since Bill Watterson stopped drawing Calvin & Hobbes?

The comic strip itself was only published for 10 years — from November 18, 1985, to December 31, 1995 — and yet somehow it feels that it was always in newspapers.

It’s that iconic.

A new documentary is now in theaters and OnDemand that examines the Calvin and Hobbes legacy:

dear mr watterson

Director Joel Allen Schroeder examines the comic strip for the phenomena that it was — artwork that was miles ahead of its neighbors on the page, and story lines that tackled issues like environmentalism, education and philosophy.

To build his case, Schroeder interviews everyone but Watterson — fans, his syndication partners, comic experts, and fellow cartoonists.  It’s very much a love fest, as they all agree on the comic strip and its creator’s instrumental role in cartooning history.

They also discuss Watterson’s controversial decision NOT to merchandise Calvin & Hobbes.

I highly recommend the 89 minute film.  It brings back great memories, gives you access to lots of Calvin & Hobbes comics, and will leave you thinking:

“I need to make a bookstore run!”

Butt, Mr. President…

Happy President’s Day!

(Right?)

I grew up and lived most of my life in the South and Midwest, where President’s Day isn’t really celebrated.  I mean — the banks close, and there’s no mail…but businesses stay open, and school kids never reap any benefit from the big day.

Now that I live in the Northeast — where President’s Day gets more attention — I find that I haven’t figured out exactly how to ‘get into it.’

I’m just sad there’s no mail.

In fact, when I think of President’s Day, Kansas City cartoonist Bill Whitehead comes to mind.  We worked together during my days at Hallmark Cards.

No one did a butt joke better than Bill.  One of my favorite cartoons of Bill’s was “The Other Side of Mount Rushmore”…which featured the presidents bending over, their butts prominently displayed.

Hilarious.

Bill still pens a cartoon called “Free Range” that you can enjoy online.  Here’s today’s entry which is, appropriately enough,  President’s Day-themed.

Thanks, Bill.

The noise

I’m not a soccer fan, so my World Cup experience this year was limited to friend’s Facebook status updates — so, so many of them — and random online news reports.

A team won.  (I’m almost certain.)  But the true breakout star of the games was without a doubt…the vuvuzela horn.  The Dr. Suess-inspired design.  That god-awful, annoying buzz.

You didn’t even have to watch a match to hear it.

After a cartoonist jokingly proposed ways to reinvent the horn — a dunce cap, a pipe — two South Africans staged an international design competition to reinvent the much maligned musical instrument.

The event began in July.  Over 150 designs were submitted to a panel of seven judges.  And the winner is….

A pair of earrings.

Okay.  Sure, they’re kinda cute.  I like hoops as much as the next gal.  And the colors are fun.

But are they, like, the most amazing design on the planet?

No.

But here’s why I think they won the vuvuzela redesign competition.

Can the vuvuzela make any noise in this new configuration?  No.  Can you get any sound from those three independent dangling hoops?  Maybe, if there’s a stiff breeze blowing, you might get a clank or two, but I don’t think you’ll ever hear another buzz or moan from those puppies.

And that’s why those earrings beat out entries like the vuvuzela Christmas tree.  It’s pretty, but that sucker could still make noise if someone got a little lickered up at the holiday party.

Am I right?

You know I’m right.  And no one needs to hear that noise.

Ever. Again.