Tag Archives: events

SXSWrap

I just returned from the SXSW music festival in Austin once again. It’s still a ridonkulous clusteryouknowwhat of humanity, but the conference has appeared to cool off just a bit in terms of spectacle (even if the actual attendance numbers are still ballooning), and that’s great news for music fans, at least in my opinion. I couldn’t care less about John Legend or Guns N’ Roses opportunistically helicoptering in at the last minute to play a “secret show.” The event originated as a showcase for unsigned and unknown bands to get attention and, although the music business doesn’t work that way anymore, this year seemed to be more about those hard-working under-the-radar acts playing their asses off to make a breakthrough, and not wondering if Lady Gaga was going to appear inside of a giant Doritos machine. And, even if they’re not really that far under the radar, it’s still a great opportunity for discovery.

The band Hinds alone played 17 shows in 5 days. Seventeen. You could have just called it SXSHinds. A lot of bands I saw played 10, 11, 12 shows over the course of those days. You get a sense for what a band is really like when you see them multiple times. Car Seat Headrest‘s shows were completely unpredictable: not just the song choices, but the very tone of the set. The day I saw them they were punchy and aggressive, but my friends reported that at other shows they were the exact opposite. I chose to see TEEN, a Brooklyn band whose new album I love, at the Flood magazine party which Sir the Baptist basically turned into a raucous St. Patrick’s Day karaokefest – in other words, not the ideal setting for a band with thoughtful lyrics and Krautrocky grooves – but then was able to see them later in a more suitable venue. And I was happy to go back and see Beach Slang twice – they already are like The Replacements on Red Bull, but at their last-slot-of-the-night show at Sidewinder they basically tore the venue a new one, in the best way possible.

Small is spectacular. Here’s hoping that the festival will continue to grow that way. Here are some clips from last week.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under SXSW

Life Imitates Art

Never has life – my life – imitated art so perfectly as it did last week.

I drew up this cartoon earlier this year, which was published in last week’s New Yorker:

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 10.55.48 AM

As you can see from my sketchbook entry below, I didn’t get it right on the first try. I don’t really know what I was thinking on my initial doodle – “Would anyone like to give up your seats for an equally crowded flight later on?” It makes some sense but it’s not that funny. My next attempt – “Would anyone like a free voucher in return for helping us count seats?” – is funnier. Like an airplane above Newark airport, I was circling around the idea looking for a place to land. And I finally got there.

IMG_7436

I have no idea why the airlines intentionally overbook flights. I mean, I do, but I don’t. I understand why they might have a policy which would allow for their frequent and well-heeled customers to make last-minute reservations, and then deal with the fallout from there, but it seems like an insane way to do business. A seat is a seat, right? If you’ve ever seen a live taping of a TV show, you know that they sometimes do something similar, in that they give out more tickets than they have seats. However, they solve the problem by making it first come, first serve. And it’s usually free. It’s not “let’s charge people hundreds of dollars on tickets that we can’t accommodate and then try to bribe somebody to change their plans at the last minute.”

Anyway, on the day after the magazine was published, I flew to Los Angeles to speak at the August meeting of the National Cartoonist Society’s LA chapter, among other things. (Jenny Fine snapped a shot of me presenting in front of the graffiti-covered wall at Stories.)

NCS LA August 2015 v2

My return flight home was Saturday at noon. As I was waiting to board, the gate agent repeatedly announced that they were looking for one person to volunteer to give up their seat in return for a $500 voucher. I usually don’t spring for things like that, but the next flight back to NYC was only three hours after, so I figured that was a small price to pay. I didn’t have to be back for anything, and as it was my seat was in the last row, so I didn’t mind giving that one up.

After letting the plane fully board and then approaching the desk to claim my reward, I was then told by the agent to hurry onto the plane. The deal was off. There were half a dozen passengers who hadn’t yet showed up, so I had to board the plane. At least I got a seat upgrade – I was sitting closer to the front of the plane, and some other sucker was in my former seat. But still. I wish I had had a copy of my cartoon with me to show the United gate agent. He would have been possibly the only person who wouldn’t have asked me “Where do you get your ideas?”

1 Comment

Filed under Cartoons, New yorker

SX Redux

I went to SXSW once again this year under strange circumstances – long story short, I was supposed to perform but it fell through but I still ended up going to the music portion (which is what I like anyway). I had a fake press conference:

IMG_6260

and I told Ronald McDonald what I thought of the fact that they weren’t handing out free Egg McMuffins despite the fact that they advertised their huge-ass music and food tent with a picture of an Egg McMuffin:

IMG_6314

and I fed “Southie,” the foam Colombian radio mascot who apparently cannot hold his queso:

IMG_6355

And I took some Instagram band pics (also using the Layrs app, which is pretty great):

IMG_6338

Metz

and I made a little teaser video. And I’m still trying to catch up on my sleep.

Leave a comment

Filed under events, SXSW

Wrecking Brush

The 21st Precinct police building, on East 22nd St in New York City, is a long-defunct building targeted for demolition. But before it gets the wrecking ball, it is the temporary home of a plethora of great wall art, curated by Robert Aloia. Brooklyn Street Art has the story behind the exhibit as well as a good documentation of images, so I won’t merely repost anything that you can see there. But I went to the opening this weekend (it is up for one more week) and here are some shots from that. It was hot, crowded, and claustrophobic, but as they wrote at BSA, there aren’t too many things like this in Manhattan. As Gothamist put it, it was “four floors of dope.”

01

03

click here to see the rest of this post

1 Comment

Filed under events, street art

Prost! Pt. II

By the way, I wasn’t such a huge fan of German beer before I went over to Austria and Germany.

beermatrix

But I am now.

Leave a comment

Filed under events

Art Basel 2013: Miami

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:

loos

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

39 Comments

Filed under Art, events, street art

Bob on TED

My editor, Bob Mankoff, did a talk for TED that’s now making the rounds. This is perhaps an edited version for the internet; Bob has done a lot of work around the psychology of humor and how people read and interpret cartoons which is fascinating. If you’ve never seen one of his lectures, you should.

Bob nicely refers to me (roughly the 4:40 mark) as one of the cartoonists that didn’t “fade away.” I don’t like being pigeonholed, so you bet your ass I’m going to fade away the first chance I get, just to show that I can.

1 Comment

Filed under Cartoons, New yorker, video