By the way, I wasn’t such a huge fan of German beer before I went over to Austria and Germany.
But I am now.
Where did the last two weeks go?
Oh yeah – now I remember. I was in Austria, along with Matthew Diffee and Paul Noth. We were asked to come host a symposium in Wels with a bunch of other very talented cartoonists from Austria and Germany, and so we did, after one of us was – ahem – detained by the Swiss police over passport issues.
On the way there, we did our Fisticuffs! show in Linz, Austria, as part of the Next Comic Festival at the university.
And although the battle was fierce, we all lived. (Which is true, but we also suffered head wounds from getting kicked by a large cartoon boot).
So we moved on to our symposium in Wels. It was an honor, but also somewhat intimidating, to be “teaching” to people who were pretty accomplished in their own right.
Luckily, there was no awkwardness whatsoever. I think we all appreciated everybody else’s talents and it became a big, goofy hangout session, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, we had the theatre at the Medien Kultur Haus booked click here to finish reading this post
I went to the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, TX last week. My expert analysis is that it was a blast (you can probably go elsewhere for longer and better writing about the event). I saw a ton of great music, some of which I captured on my now-long-defunct-but-still-working Flip camera. A lot of the good moments never made it to video: Lucius at the Paste day party, St. Vincent’s suddenly electric stage show, two guys somehow colliding and then hugging while crowd surfing at Grackle, an out-of-town after-hours party DJed by Matthew Dear blanketed in dry ice, all the shows that I missed. Still, here’s a little collection of nuggets – 17 nuggets, to be exact – of some of the shows I enjoyed the most. If you don’t know these artists, you should.
There’s nothing really scientific about it, except I put the stuff I liked most of all towards the beginning. So that’s something. Enjoy!
By the way, if you want to see some of the silly thumbs up/thumbs down video reviews I did at a previous SXSW that the New Yorker actually let us post online, it’s here, and here and a special bonus here.
I went to Art Basel Miami Beach for the first time last week. It was definitely fun to get an eyeful of the Warhols and Picassos that you’ll probably never see otherwise, because they’re essentially moving from one private collection to another. But, since I’m not really in the market to buy a $20M Jeff Koons, I was less interested in that big convention center hoopla (I did an “intentionally poorly taken iPhone photo” review of that exhibit over at Curator Magazine). Luckily, there are tons of other things going on during Basel, and there’s something for everybody, even in loo options, as evidenced by these:
Also during Basel week there are incredible art fairs showcasing lots of other up-and-coming artists, one-off installations like FAILE & Bast’s vintage video game arcade, memorable parties like this one, and the orgy of street art going on in the Wynwood area.
I’m guessing that Wynwood has the highest concentration of street art in the country – even more than Brooklyn – and click here to continue
I just got back from attending the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, TX once again. My feet are swollen, my ears are ringing, and my stomach just said “go ahead – I dare you to eat another pulled pork taco.” And I want to go back to sleep. But it was all worth it. I got to see long-established artists who I had never seen before (Nick Cave, Kelly Hogan), buzzy up-and-comers who were worth the hype (Rhye, Savages), and I also got to stumble onto previously unheard-of acts that were satisfying (San Cisco, Heliotropes). It’s all about trade-offs. Yeah, I missed a shot to go see Prince and A Tribe Called Quest, but in that time I scurried around to see nine bands at six different venues, and when do you ever get to do that?
For a music fan it’s an embarrassment of riches, really. It’s almost like you don’t even need a guide. You just think of a band you like that put out
a record in the last year or two and voila! there they are, playing two blocks away. You only have to fight your way through all the “Free Hugs”and the sidewalk drummers and DJ Babychino, supposedly “the world’s youngest DJ” and the DJ who additionally sounds like a fancy coffee drink.
Anyhow, with two thousand bands performing it does become a challenge to figure out who you want to see, and it’s even more of a challenge to figure out who you did see. So I made this list to help me remember.
I also took some video, since the Flip camera hasn’t given out on me yet, and put together my own little highlight reel from this year’s experience, below. It’s best viewed eating a pulled pork taco and drinking a Shiner Bock.
The funniest thing I read all year was a description of a piece of art at the Whitney Biennial that I saw this week. I don’t think it was intended that way.
The piece of art in question was Cameron Crawford’s Sick Sic Six Sic ((Not)Moving): Seagullsssssssssssssssssssssssssss:
You could describe it as maybe a minimalist volleyball net, made of thread and plastic and framed by unfinished wood, but titled like a prog rock song from the 1970s. Are we still giving things titles like this? Is he channeling Fiona Apple? Did his keyboard get stuck? The blurb accompanying the work did not answer these questions. Luckily the description is online at the Whitney’s web site:
Oh. Let me see if I’ve got the stages right: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Using Homophones, Exhibiting at the Whitney Biennial. Homophones are nonsensical and fun, but an art museum can’t say they’re nonsensical and fun, so they say they “skirt the edge of comprehension.”
More significantly, this annotation weakens the piece, because it lets you know that the work needs “explaining” in order to be understood. It tells you that it’s supposed to be a performance, not a sculpture. It’s a response to death. The writing does the work that the art should have done. Come on – let the thing fail on its own terms!
This is a genius spin. next year I’m submitting an “invisible painting in an invisible frame” – that way it will always be relevant to any theme!
Another hilarious move! I wish, though, that the artist would have fully committed to the gag, a la Dali or Duchamp, and not let the work be displayed or reviewed until always six years in the future. Then it would seem more like a real idea and a lot less like a bullshit one, right?
There you go! “By imposing this ridiculous date and title, Crawford is suggesting that the work possibly has no good ideas in it. We agreed, which is why we included it in this exhibit. Now it at least appears to have some kind of meaning.”
Tuesday I went to “Krautwerk 1-8: Kraftwerk Covered” at Littlefield in Brooklyn. The show was a “screw you” to the failed MOMA ticketing system that left most fans (this one included) suffering under the spinning pinwheels of internet death, but, because it was put together by the Onion’s Joe Garden and Marianne Ways, it was also a Kraftwerk cover show that didn’t take itself too seriously. Naturally, it was MCed by somebody’s computer speech function, and featured a diverse lineup of talent. I’m really glad I went. Rolling Stone gave it a good writeup, but here is my little teaser video. Can you do a teaser for something that already happened? I think I just did.
Celebrities have it all backwards. They want their faces to be instantly recognizable icons, plastered all over every billboard and TV screen. It works for a while, of course. But then your fame peaks, you start taking yourself really seriously, you go all crazy and join a cult and start dancing on Oprah’s couch, and before you know it you’re the punch line to an entire South Park episode. There is a better way: you feature the back of your head instead, only for a split second. This is the way I have chosen.
Okay, I didn’t really choose it. The editors at The Good Wife decided to insert me into their Season Three premiere this way. The scene that I was fake-graphic recording in was mostly eliminated from the final cut, but my second-best asset (I’m counting right shoulder blade first, back of head second) was allowed to remain in the scene. The drawing I did for Eli’s brainstorming meeting also made a brief appearance (below). I was disappointed at first, but you know what? I have a hunch that that’s why people are raving about the show: subliminal advertising works, and so does subliminal acting. Yes, Julianna Margulies is pretty, and Chris Noth is hunky, and Alan Cumming’s Eli is enjoyably pompous, but I’m pretty sure that it’s the subconscious everyman appeal of my nondescript neck that is what’s entering into our TV-watching nation’s subconscious and making the show irresistible. The folks at The Good Wife know what they’re doing, and now you know their secret (you’re welcome).
And what’s good for the show is good for me. Because of the brevity of my appearance, I’ve still got a healthy 14 minutes and 59 seconds of fame left. And that’s not including Vanity Fair‘s reportedly featuring the back of my head on the cover of their October issue.
I would write a description of our night showing rejected cartoons from the New Yorker at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco from this past Tuesday night, but Dan McSweeney has already done the job. Follow the link to Dan’s blog. Thanks to all who came out that night, and thanks to the museum’s Michael Capozzola for putting it together.
In addition to cartooning and designing heavy metal logos, my ‘other’ day job is graphic recording, which is the practice of live mural-sized note-taking, usually at business meetings. People talk, and we draw what they’re talking about. And now, through the magic of TV, this practice is coming to … TV! Or, at least, I think it is.
Last week I was at CBS’ television studios in Greenpoint, filming a graphic recording sequence for the upcoming season of The Good Wife. It was the same thing as we do in real life – people talk, and I drew what they were talking about. The only difference was that this time it was actors, so I was either really drawing a fake conversation, or I was fake drawing a real conversation, or I was fake drawing a fake conversation which was actually improvised according to a real script. I’m not really sure. But when the director looked at the clips, it was determined that I wasn’t really acting, which is a relief – otherwise, I would have been paid millions of dollars. Click here to read full post