Like there’s no Tom Tomorrow

Yes, I’m a 55-year-old man who still loves reading comic strips. And I’m not ashamed of that at all. (Mainly because I don’t read the crappy strips like Marmaduke. I have more discerning tastes.)

If you think comics are for kids, I suggest you read the book Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud.

This Modern World, a weekly political comic strip by Tom Tomorrow (a.k.a. Dan Perkins), is consistently funny and thought-provoking — a tough combo to pull off.

I used to read This Modern World in the local alternative weekly until budget cuts caused the paper to drop it. Now I subscribe to Sparky’s List, Tom Tomorrow’s subscription-based weekly email that includes the weekly strip as well as some notes about the work and other musings on life. It’s $10 for six months – a bargain at twice the price. If you don’t care to spare the ten spot, you can check out each week’s strip Mondays on the Daily Kos or Tuesdays on The Nib.

Make fun of me all you want for reading the funny papers. I don’t care, I’m still gonna read ’em. You may think it’s a waste of time, but I sure don’t.

Ladies’ man

It’s been several weeks since Carl Reiner passed away, but I recently read a brief blurb in Parade Magazine (of all places!) by comedian Judy Gold that highlighted something I’d never really considered before: the fact that he wrote a part in The Dick Van Dyke Show for a female writer on the fictional TV show within the show.

Just one more reason to love — and respect — this titan of comedy.

(The full Judy Gold feature is here. She has a new book out called Yes I Can Say That and also makes several other reading recos.)

Here’s to late bloomers

I don’t watch much TV (even during lockdown), but I’ve enjoyed the heck out of Schitt’s Creek, which recently wrapped up its sixth and final season. It’s a comedy about a family that goes from fabulously rich to terribly poor overnight, and is forced to leave their pampered lifestyle behind and move to a rundown hotel in a tiny town that the patriarch of the family bought as a joke.

(Netflix promo photo)

The mom and dad are played by Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy. ‘Nuff said. They’ve been cracking me up since their SCTV days, and of course they were great in the Christopher Guest mockumentaries (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind).

Separately, they are great character actors… together, they are pure comedy gold!

The actors who portray the family (O’Hara, Levy, his real-life son Daniel and Annie Murphy) all were nominated for Emmys this year.

The show was a slow burn, and Catherine O’Hara thinks that contributed to its success:

We got to build the show and develop the characters without worrying about expectations, from anyone. We got to make the show the best we could make it. CBC did a great job of building an audience in Canada and then Pop TV picked it up and it wasn’t a big audience but it was a nice, loyal audience, and then Netflix brought it out to the rest of the world. There’s so many projects that get a ton of attention right at the beginning, maybe before they’re even quite ready for it, and then it’s kind of downhill attention-wise from there. We’re so lucky to do the show we wanted and, apparently, leaving people wanting more.

From this Hollywood Reporter article

Catherine O’Hara’s character, Moira Rose, has developed quite the fan following. This excellent Yahoo article describes her as the “the self-dramatizing, language-massaging, ultimately touching mother.”

Moira is hilarious (her ‘wall of wigs’ alone is worth the price of admission) but there’s plenty of heart underneath all the character’s histrionics.

O’Hara, who is 66, is also talks about her own late-career recognition, and I think it’s sound advice for anyone in the 50+ age bracket:

I’m happy to be a late bloomer, I always have been in my life and I’m grateful for it. You have to have a bit of patience in life or just don’t have any big expectations, just carry along and do the best you can and maybe someone will notice, maybe they won’t but if you enjoy the work itself, then that’s enough of a gift.

From the same Hollywood reporter article

Do your best. Be patient. Don’t worry about what others think of you. Enjoy the journey. I’ll drink to that!

All that glitters…

Are you familiar with the Nextdoor platform? It’s like a localized version of Facebook. In other words, you’ll find less posts about conspiracy theories, and more about lost cats. Here’s the official description:

Much like Facebook, it doesn’t take much time for even the most innocuous discussion to disintegrate into a flurry of name-calling, trolling, shaming and bullying. So I tend to avoid it for the most part (much like Facebook).

That said, I really want to party with this person:

Glitter in bulk – now there’s a new one. Perhaps this person is an in-demand party planner, and they’re looking to reduce costs with volume purchases. Or s/he could be the proprietor of a “gentleman’s club”… or perhaps just the world’s biggest Mariah Carey fan.

Or maybe, just maybe, this person is workshopping a Rip Taylor tribute act, and already purchased enough confetti at the Confetti R Us superstore, and now needs to mix in some glitter for a bit more pizzazz. A guy can dream, can’t he?

I think we can all agree that a Rip Taylor tribute act is something the world desperately needs right now.

I sure hope that Nextdoor neighbor finds their glitter… and turns it into comedy gold.

I’m down. 89 down to be exact.

The weekly community newspaper in our area is thin on hard news and heavy with press releases from the volunteer PR people for the local schools and Rotary Clubs.

But I still subscribe, because each week they reprint the New York Times Sunday Crossword puzzle. As a hardcore cruciverbalist, I love trying to crack the code each week. There’s something very satisfying about filling in all those blanks.

And a few weeks ago, I finally was recognized for my dedication:

OK, sure, the clue is bogus. But a guy can dream, can’t he? Here’s the unedited version:

Hey, at least Damian Marley got top billing over his brothers Ziggy and Stephen!

And it’s still a thrill to see my name in the NYT crossword. When I was a kid, I didn’t really like my name that much because it was so unusual, and difficult for others to spell. But after meeting a million Johns and Bobs and Mikes, I started to warm up to it. It was different and weird… just like me!

Now here’s “that other Damian” with some tunes for you.

Love in the Time of Cholera. Art in the Time of COVID.

(My work) is not an answer, it’s a question. I think the world is coming to a place that raises a lot of questions: technology that can dehumanize us, the constant stimulation of information, of news, of everything. We have never been exposed to so much. That brings us to a place where the pace of things is so fast we don’t have time to step back and slow down and see what’s happening. I try to make it a very personalized experience. It has a meaning for me and it’s the reason I do it. But for you or someone who sees it, it’s what the art is saying to you. That’s the real meaning of the artwork, which I don’t own. The viewer owns it.

Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto, known as Vhils, in this Cincinnati Business Courier article.

Vhils first large-scale solo exhibition in the U.S. was supposed to be happening right now at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, but the center is closed due to the pandemic.

“You have to work on it every day or else you start to lose it pretty quickly.”

18-year-old Cincinnati artist Owen Gunderman, known as Tenzing.

Owen Gunderman (a.k.a. Tenzing) was supposed to have his first solo exhibition this weekend at a Cincinnati gallery. His upcoming high school graduation won’t be as festive either. And his dad (a friend of mine) has been working countless hours during the pandemic, as a senior director of emergency services (and interventional cardiac and radiologic services too!) at an area hospital.

Please check out the Cincinnati Magazine profile of Owen and his vlog below.

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