Saturday, August 31, 2019

Drawing Life with George Booth Kickstarter Reward Soft Deadline

I fancied myself quite the patron of the arts back in April when I supported the Kickstarter project to fund Drawing Life with George Booth. The film, currently in the late stages of production, is a documentary by Nathan Fitch with animation by Emily Collins, who is also a producer. George Booth is of course a national treasure who has been contributing cartoons to the New Yorker for fifty years. I joined thirty-two others in giving a pledge of $150. This level of giving comes with a reward of an animation drawing, presumably by Ms. Collins after George Booth. The reward had a predicted delivery date of August 2019 so, ever the optimist, I set aside today's blog post to celebrate the occasion. To date, though, I don't think the filmmakers even have asked for my shipping address. Ah well....

The latest Kickstarter update from Mr. Fitch dated August 2 assures supporters the filmmakers are hard at work on all aspects of the project. He ends with:

And that's where we stand.

Note:  This Kickstarter project for Drawing Life with George Booth may be found here.

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George Booth

Animation Drawings

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Jack Willett's Copy of Vaguement Compétitif by Jean-Jacques Sempé

Jack Willett must have been a friend or business associate of Buitoni executive Aldo Osti, as he was on the Ostis' Christmas card list. Osti also presented him with a copy of Vaguement Compétitif [Vaguely Competitive] personalized by cartoonist Jean-Jacques Sempé in 1985, the year of publication. Sempé included a drawing of a very competitive—that is, confident—businessman on a chessboard, which mirrors the dust cover drawing of a vaguely competitive—that is, anxious—office worker occupying the same pawn square. The book is offered for sale by a UK bookseller for the price of 275 GBP which may or may not prove competitive.

Bookseller Adrian Harrington Ltd. did not include an image of the dust jacket with the listing. Instead we can rehash a photograph from the blog archives of a copy that once belonged to pianist John Philips:
Jean-Jacques Sempé
Vaguement Compétitif, Denoël, 1985

Jean-Jacques Sempé
AbeBooks Listing Retrieved August 28, 2019

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Jean-Jacques Sempé

Signed Books with Drawings Too

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #38

I wrote five entries this week for the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #38. The drawing is by Joe Dator.
"And he hasn't had a drop to drink."
"Really, you had to invite HIM?"
"This is positively our last Fleet Week party."
"But I thought he was YOUR friend."
"He's not what I meant by interesting people."

September 4, 2019 Update:  The Winner

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Snoopy and the Red Baron Signed by Charles M. Schulz

"Curse you, Red Baron!"

I've always wanted to shake my fist and shout that. If you still have a thing for Snoopy, as I do, you might want to take a look at this signed copy of Snoopy and the Red Baron (1966) by Charles M. Schulz. The $1,800 price includes free shipping. Sopwith Camel not included .

Charles M. Schulz
AbeBooks Listing Retrieved August 26, 2019

"Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" (1966)
The Royal Guardsmen

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Charles M. Schulz

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Monday, August 26, 2019

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #674

I can feel a change coming on with my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #674 for the issue of August 26, 2019. The drawing is by Harry Bliss.
"See what could happen if you don't obey your master?"

September 2, 2019 Update:  The Finalists

September 9, 2019 Update:
  I voted with Montclair. 

September 16, 2019 Update:  Winning Caption

Note:  Last week cartoonist Victoria Roberts let down her hair. Comb through Contest #673.

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Harry Bliss


The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest

The Moment Magazine Cartoon Caption Contest

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest

All the Above Cartoon Caption Contests and More

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Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Photo of Peter Arno at the Piano

A vintage photograph on eBay shows cartoonist Peter Arno playing the piano at a private home in Harrison, New York. This photo appeared in Michael Maslin's 2016 biography of Arno and dates to the 1950s. The eBay seller, whose father snapped the photo, believes this framed picture to be the only print in existence. It has been available on eBay for the past six weeks during which time its price has been reduced considerably. 

Peter Arno
eBay Listing Retrieved July 14, 2019

Peter Arno
eBay Item Description Retrieved July 14, 2019

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Peter Arno



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Saturday, August 24, 2019

A George Grosz Limited Edition of O. Henry Stories

German caricaturist and satirist George Grosz might not have been the obvious candidate to illustrate a 1935 edition of the short stories of American author O. Henry, but the Limited Editions Club must have been thrilled to get the services of an artist of his stature. Grosz, who had immigrated to the United States in 1933 under less than ideal circumstances, was probably equally happy to get the work. The book, The Voice of the City and Other Stories, appears to be a very interesting limited edition.

George Grosz
AbeBooks Listing Retrieved August 24, 2019

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George Grosz

O. Henry

Limited Editions

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Rome 2019: The Circus Maximus

The Circus Maximus was an ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium that held more than 150,000 people and possibly up to 250,000 if Pliny is to be believed. This would represent seating for about one quarter the population of Rome. This was my first visit.
Aqua Claudia (Aqueduct of Claudius) at the Palatine Hill

The Circus Maximus, July 9, 2019

The Monument to Giuseppe Mazzini

The Circus Maximus' chariot-racing track is now a public park

"Ben-Hur" 2016 Trailer

Postcards, including one that is an example of the worldwide flagrant imitation of Milton Glaser's iconic I Love New York logo from 1977

The basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin

The Temple of Hercules Victor in the Forum Boarium
The Fountain of the Tritons in the Piazza Bocca della Verità with the back of the Temple of Portunus behind it on the left

The Temple of Portunus 
The Temple of Portunus

The Arch of Janus

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Robert Day: When in Rome...

The Temple of Venus and Roma was the largest temple ever built in Rome. It was dedicated by the Emperor Hadrian in the year 135. Today ten exterior columns that originally were part of a row of surrounding double pillars stand on the temple's massive elevated base. I photographed the columns last month as an afterthought, hastily looking back as our tour darted from the Colosseum to the Forum. 

Columns of the Temple of Venus and Roma point toward the Colosseum, July 8, 2019.

Seventy-five years ago the New Yorker published a cartoon by Robert Day that was set just about here. World War II was still raging, but Mussolini had been ousted as the Italian Prime Minister in July of 1943 and the Armistice of Cassibili was signed in September of that year. With Italy subsequently fighting on the side of the Allies, Americans in the summer of 1944 must have known they were winning the war.

The return of tourism to Europe was still a ways off, but New Yorker readers must have been comforted by the lighthearted antics of the serviceman shown here carrying on for the camera. With its trivial subject matter in the setting of ancient ruins, this is not a great gag by any means but it may be something more important than that: a reassurance that in a world torn asunder by the pain of war some lucky few might soon be able once again to experience a few glorious, carefree moments.
Robert Day
The New Yorker, August 26, 1944, page 21

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Robert Day

World War II


The Colosseum


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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Rome 2019: Incident at the Colosseum

On our way to the Circus Maximus in Rome, we became aware of some unusually loud activity at the Colosseum. It appeared as if a man was threatening to jump from the second level of  the ancient amphitheater. Police and firefighters were on hand to try to coax him down. We later learned through Italian news media that this was apparently a public protest rather than a suicide attempt.

My videos:

We decided to move on, but the incident continued for more than an hour judging from La Repubblica's YouTube video. The protest reportedly ended without mishap when the man was coaxed back inside. The monument remained open to visitors throughout.

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The Colosseum


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