Last Thursday, the 92Y Tribeca was the location for Fisticuffs!, the epic improv battle where cartoonists draw cartoons supposedly based on audience ideas, but which really are based on the things that are already contained in their warped heads. Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke provided the witty soundtrack to the night. It was a success, especially if you consider humor regarding infant libidos a success. Among other happenings, Paul Noth showed the few cartoons that he hadn’t spilled food on, Zach Kanin read a twisted version of his wedding vows, and the band actually turned in a nifty drawing of Baby Bjorn-sporting sumos.
Who won the fracas? I’m not at liberty to say, but there were lots of losers: silence, sincerity, good taste, gurus on desert islands, Southerners, and Philip Glass (don’t ask – out of context it makes no sense). Thanks to Maya Wainhaus who uploaded a bunch of pictures to the 92Y Flickr. We’re hoping to do it again early in the new year, and we hope to see you there! (until then, follow us on twitter: @fisticuffs_show)
Filed under Cartoons, events
What better way to celebrate the confirmation of our SXSW panel on words & images than with caption shop talk?
There are some cartoon tropes that lend themselves to endless variations: the grim reaper, the desert island, the guru on the mountain, the government of the United States. And then there are things that are in themselves so absurd that they are difficult to add humor to: again, the government of the United States. But another example of this is wine. The language of wine tasting is inherently ridiculous. When you talk about wine you’re allowed to give it all kinds of flavors and characteristics that aren’t really there: trees, nuts, leaves, flesh, backbones, noses, legs, a short temper. It’s almost theological. The language associated with tasting wine is similar. I still have no idea what a “long finish” is besides the amount of time it takes the next day to get rid of a really bad wine headache.
And so, every time I try to think of a good wine cartoon, I end up in the same rut. You can twist wine language in all kinds of ways: it’s got a crooked nose, it’s got a full body but don’t call it fat, it’s got a 7:30 train to Seacaucus – but it always struck me that none of it is as funny as what real wine experts say. It seems so ripe for parody, but in reality the best way to parody it is to just leave it alone. It is probably the same approach that should be taken with cartoons about Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.
It’s why I was so pleased that the good editors at the New Yorker published this cartoon this week, after helping me tweak the caption a little bit. It’s one of the only wine ideas of mine that ever made it out of the notebook and onto scratchboard (besides this silly one). It seemed like a good twist on the whole thing. While financial language isn’t absurd, it does have it’s own set of semi-intelligible jargon, and it’s a logical idea that your stereotypical Wall Street types who are experienced drinkers would also be interested in the financials of a wine brand. There are lots of ways that you could write the caption, but to my mind it had to sound both like opaque wine language and like they were describing a specific company. It had to blur the analytical and the experiential. And also it had to sound completely natural.
So, mission accomplished. And now, back to doing cartoons about vodka, which is a heck of a lot easier.
I like to cook. I like cooking because it often leads to eating, which I am also very fond of. But I’m not the kind of person who likes to follow specific recipes, mostly because recipes try and make you follow exact measurements in order to make something, and I’m more of an improvisation guy. To me, surprise is half the fun of eating. For instance, instead of making stuffed peppers you can make a stuffed sesame seed instead, which saves on ingredients. I don’t like it when people ask “what kind of wine will go with what’s in that bowl?” because I don’t even remember what’s in the bowl because I was watching TV. But it will all work out okay, especially if you brought a lot of wine.
When I do cook from recipes, I look for recipes that use unscientific measurements like splashes and dashes, and not ounces or megabytes or other things that require a Ph.D to figure out. But I do try to stay away from certain types of measurements. If you’re more of a “taste and see” guy like me, here’s a little guide: