Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Five Favorites for 2015

Looking back on 2015, as years have gone, it was a better year than some. Watching my friends growing old was startling, at times. Still, it beats burying them. For me, the year that is about to end has been busier than any in a good while. That's chiefly because of my work to do with the Bijou Film Center.

Mostly because of The Bijou, I've met a lot of people and made some new friends over the year. That's been quite a departure from recent years. At 68, with so many of my memories fading into the mists, I've found the challenge that new friends have presented to be invigorating. And I discovered that stretching to navigate those challenges could be fun, even comforting. Maybe I didn't know if I could still stretch.

On top of that, it's been a pleasant surprise to learn firsthand – in some cases learning from new friends – how much Richmond has evolved, culturally, since my old days managing the Biograph, publishing Slant, etc. For that reason, as much as anything else, it's no stretch for me to be optimistic about The Bijou's chances to become more than an imaginary cinema.

As an artist/writer who likes to see his signature and byline in print, fortunately I've had plenty of years when I sold more work. But I've also endured the gloom of years in which I was less productive and sold less. Of the pieces I created in 2015, not counting stuff associated with The Bijou, here are my five favorites:

"Cream Pies for Bullies: The Importance of Satire" (my suggested title was "Avoiding Dead Wrong") was published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Jan. 25. My illustration accompanied the text. 
In such a world without maybes, should we now be denouncing the murderers of cartoonists in Paris? Or should we be denouncing the insulting work of irresponsible provocateurs who bent the wrong people out of shape?
Click here to read it.

"Brand Wringing" (my suggested title was "To Havoc, or Not To...") was published by Style Weekly on April 14.

This one is about Will Wade, VCU's basketball coach, and the pressure on him to extend "Havoc" as a slogan/motto/brand for the Rams style of play. Click here to read it.

"Maybe We Should Wrap Those Monuments" (my suggested title was "About Those Monuments") was published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Jun. 27.

In light of simmering controversies in other parts of the country, to do with Confederate memorials and flags, etc., this one is about Richmond's Confederate heroes monuments on Monument Ave -- propaganda in bronze. Click here to read it.

"The Bluster Meister" (my title was used) was published by Style Weekly on July 21. My illustration accompanied the text.  
Like a movie monster created by a mad scientist, the candidate that Donald Trump has become was created semi-unwittingly by mischievous ultra-conservative Republicans who’ve relished annoying Democrats to distraction for the last six and a half years. Naturally, when the monster came alive, its creators marveled at their work and assumed they could control the creature when the time came for it.
Click here to read it. 

"Bernie's Bandwagon" (my title "Bernie's Bandwagon" was used in the paper edition, but not online) was published by Style Weekly on Sept. 29. My illustration accompanied the text.

This one looks at the presidential race with summer in the rear-view mirror. Mostly it's about Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, with a little bit of Donald Trump thrown in. Had to put a dash of Trump in there so people would read it. By autumn the Bluster Meister had grown into a monster that was dominating nearly every news story about the race. Click here to read it.

From my drawing table and keyboard to you, dear viewer/reader -- Happy New Year!

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