I didn’t know the New York City museum entrance fees were optional

 

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Temple of Dendur at Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

I read an article yesterday about the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC charging mandatory entrance fees. I never knew the $25 entrance fee was a suggestion.

I’m in NY often and I’ve been to so many of the museums. I’ve paid full price all the time – at the MET, MOMA, the History Museums and so on. I never knew the entrance fee was a suggestion and the way they corral you in and “force” you to pay, who knew it was a suggestion. When I think of all the money I have spent over the years, it burns me up. Sure, I am in favor of supporting the arts, but I don’t like the feeling of being forced, when I didn’t have to be forced. I challenge anyone to try and enter without paying, see how that goes. Try to get around the velvet ropes at all the museum entrances. Even at the Museum of the City of New York, one of my favorites on 103rd and Fifth, they are standing at a podium, mere feet from the entrance, expecting to be paid.

Now they plan on possibly making it mandatory for out of city residents, but even though I live outside of NYC, I daresay I visit more museums there than locals do. But I guess it doesn’t matter now, all these years I’ve paid full price when I possibly could have gotten in for less or for nothing.

Not too long ago at MOMA, I think, I saw a sign at the entrance that said there was a flat fee for a one day NY Pass for New York attractions, it was $109.00. This is for one day, which is great if you’re planning on racing through the city, but it really makes no sense if you plan on visiting three or four museums. Three museums at $25 each is $75 and four is $100, so the $109 is more than you would pay if you went to each place and paid one at a time.

I found a site that sells the passes – the one day for $109, two days for $189, three days are $199 and so on. But again, unless you plan on racing through the city and fitting in many museum or other tourist locations, it makes no sense.

They’re selling ice in the winter.

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Van Gogh’s Starry Night at Museum of Modern Art, NYC

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A Jackson Pollock at Museum of Modern Art, NYC

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It’s art. At Guggenheim Museum, NYC

 

 

Collecting comics stamps

A friend just posted Wonder Woman postage stamps. They have been out since last fall to commemorate her 75th anniversary. I didn’t know that. I got some today! I don’t snail mail many things, so luckily I can just save them and not use them!

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I am going to start collecting them. You can get some old issues on Amazon, Ebay and auction sites, but the USPS has some for sale like Batman Forever and Charlie Brown and some others like the Sunday Funnies series which includes Calvin and Hobbes, Beetle Bailey and Dennis the Menace.

‘Next Door Neighbors’ comic strip reminds me of ‘70s sitcoms

10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes

The drawing is what first caught my attention when I saw Next Door Neighbors, the comic strip by Pat Sandy published at GoComics. From there, you can’t help but enjoy the writing and the Dewey family. It reminds me so much of All in the Family or Sanford and Son and sitcoms from that era. I had the opportunity to interview Pat.

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Pat Sandy in his studio.

TOM: I notice that the first strips were just a few times a week, what made you start publishing daily (Monday thru Friday)?

PAT: I had a lot of story arc material backing up that on a 3 times a week cadence would have dragged out way too long – so once I got up to 3 times it was a moderate jump to 5. Sometimes I question that decision, though!

TOM: The strips have a 1970s tv sitcom feel to them. Did you realize this? What tv shows are your influences if any?

PAT: Nice – I’ve never heard that before but I love it…I did indeed grow up watching TV in that era though, so something must have rubbed off. I had tons of favorites – Mary Tyler Moore, The Brady Bunch, All In The Family, The Partridge Family, The Odd Couple…what a great era for TV.

TOM: Is “Next Door Neighbors” created digitally? Or do you draw with pen and ink? If digitally, what do you use to create?

PAT: Well, I handle NDN pretty old-school – I rough it up, go to a light table and ink and letter it on bristol board, and scan it into photoshop where I make corrections – no fonts, and no digital drawing. I like tactile. I like having something tangible to hold, but having said that, would I want to try a Cintiq or an iPad Pro? That would be a yes. I’m a bit behind the curve, but I do love having originals.

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Next Door Neighbors, courtesy GoComics

TOM: What’s the last thing you took a picture of?

PAT: An instagram photo of my guitar at a gig with my band, The Rhythm Syndicate. We do blues, swing and soul music and we’ve played all over northeast Ohio for about 18 years.

TOM: Which comic strip, other than your own would you like to crawl into and visit for the day?

PAT: Great question! Probably a toss-up between Peanuts or Doonesbury. I’d like to hang out with Mike, Mark and Zonker, circa 1974…an amazing period for that strip. With Peanuts, there was such a comfort in reading it when i was a kid…I’d love to play on Charlie Brown’s team, although I’d be worse than any of them.

TOM: Something or someone you miss most from childhood?

PAT: Both my parents, really. There were always 1000% encouraging. They would have LOVED Next Door Neighbors. As an aside many of the names used in the strip are family names, including ‘Dewey’, which was my grandfather’s nickname.

TOM: What’s something you always wanted to do as a child but never got to do?

PAT: The Soap Box Derby! My brother did it a couple of times, but I never got around to it, as I’m somewhat mechanically challenged. It was a huge event (still is, really) when I was a kid…the highlight of the summer for kids in my neighborhood.

TOM: Your main character Norm Dewey loves his beer. What is your favorite beer/cocktail?

PAT: A perfect Manhattan. I like beer too, so I’ll have to put in a plug for Cleveland’s beer scene, which is fabulous.

TOM: Norm’s house looks beat up, yet he has a new flat screen tv. Why?

PAT: The Deweys aren’t poor – they’re slobs…well, Norm and the kids are…Jan is simply trying to keep the place in order. Norm has no common sense so naturally, while the lawn needs mowed, the house needs painted, and the couch is falling apart, he’s the kind of guy that goes out and gets a flat screen TV…although, anymore, flat screens aren’t very pricey.

TOM: What car does Norm drive?

PAT: Funny you ask – I finally showed the whole car recently in a strip, and I have absolutely no idea what model I drew – I think it’s a fairly beat up mid-late 90’s/early 00’s something-or-other.

Thanks, Pat! Hope to be enjoying Next Door Neighbors for many years to come!

Wallace the Brave is a little taste of classic comics from the past

10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes

I’m a big fan of Will Henry Wilson’s comic strip, “Wallace The Brave” comic strip which is published at GoComics daily. It’s not only clever, but I love the drawing style. It reminds me a lot of Calvin and Hobbes and Cul de Sac. There’s not usually a gag each day, it’s more of a slice of life. I recently interviewed Will about Wallace the Brave.

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Will Henry Wilson in his liquor store/studio.

TOM: You have two comic strips, Wallace The Brave and Ordinary Bill. Ordinary Bill was simple line drawing and black and white, Wallace is a masterpiece of art and color. How did that come about? The change in look, I mean?

WILL: Ha, “masterpiece”… made me laugh. I created Ordinary Bill when I was in college. It was an incredibly limiting strip and my style and ideas were still developing. Throughout the years I was writing Ordinary Bill I felt it was important to keep the original look, even though my style developed. Eventually I ended Ordinary Bill and thought I’d start a new comic that better represented where I was. That’s where Wallace came from.

TOM: How far ahead do you work before a comic is published?

WILL: Legitimate year, maybe more. I even have two years of unpublished Wallace Sunday strips….slacker.

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Wallace the Brave, courtesy GoComics

TOM: Do you draw digitally or the old fashioned way – pen and ink?

WILL: I’m a 32 year old dinosaur, it’s all pen, paper, ink and watercolor. I do color the comics digitally for the web, though…so yeah I’m hip.

TOM: Wallace is a “little maniac,” your words. Is he based on you?

WILL: I don’t believe I was THAT rambunctious as a kid. My mother may disagree.

TOM: There’s a lot of Cul de Sac and Calvin and Hobbes in your work, do you realize that?

WILL: Absolutely! I crafted Ordinary Bill to resemble the line work of Calvin and Hobbes and my original Submission to syndicates for Wallace the Brave had a heavy Cul de Sac influence. I’ve been drawing Wallace for a couple years and I think I’m just now developing a look that is distinctly me.

TOM: Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall?

WILL: Nothing beats summer in Rhode Island.

TOM: Friends or Seinfeld?

WILL: Honestly, neither. Arrested Development.

TOM: Other than cartooning, what talent would you like to have?

WILL: I’d love to be able to juggle. Not just balls, but chainsaws and torches.

TOM: What living person do you most admire?

WILL: Grandma Betty. You don’t know her, but she rocks.

TOM: What is your motto?

WILL: “Hold my beer”

Thanks, Will!

MTV – what’s old is new again?

The new head of Viacom, which owns MTV, wants MTV to get back to music and reality shows. He says, New Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said, “Music and live is going to be an element of our strategy.”

I remember when MTV first started, it was August 1, 1981, it was just music, all music videos, all the time. We had it on in our house all day and night, it was like having the radio on. I don’t know when it got into other types of programming or why. It’s sort of like the Travel Channel, which I love, but that channel is not much about travel.

When MTV was new, we didn’t have cable at our house yet and a friend was telling me about it. I couldn’t grasp the concept of just having music on the tv non-stop. I guess with all new things, until you see it, you can’t grasp the idea.

This Billy Squire video above, “Rock Me Tonight,” was shown what seemed like non-stop in 1984. I don’t know why, but I liked it at the time, now it seems silly, but it brings back so many memories seeing it. I also remember the first video shown right after midnight on 1984 was “Jump,” by Van Halen. I also remember calling up MTV on Friday nights for the Friday Night Video Wars, where they had two videos going up against each other and you would vote on one. I remember Duran Duran’s “The Reflex” as being number 1 for nine or 10 weeks in a row. Funny the things you remember.

The first 30 videos that showed on MTV can be seen here. Do you know the first video that was ever played on MTV without looking? That’s a common trivia question. It was the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

And remember the original VJ’s – Martha Quinn, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter and JJ Jackson? I saw Mark Goodman and Martha Quinn on tv recently, they still look good.

Graphic design in the ‘old days’

A few friends shared this video on Facebook. It shows what graphic design was like before Adobe Illustrator was around. I remember the press down letters, but this wasn’t that long ago, was it? They make it sound like ancient history.

I remember using the letters for a bag company I worked for, I think I told the story before, I used to do the graphics for a paper bag company. At times I didn’t have the typeface I needed on our Compugraphic or Varityper machines so I would purchase the type on sheets and press them onto the graphic I was working on.

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Compugraphic and Varityper, I haven’t thought of those names for years. They were huge machines where type came out sort of on reverse film, black on white. Then we waxed the back using a “waxer.” There was a machine with a roller, called a “waxer,” and it waxed the back of the film and it then was placed down where needed. And of course xacto knives and razor blades were in our hands at every moment. I preferred razor blades to xacto knives.

It was all “pasted-up” to make a complete page, image, advertisement . . .

It was all to get the work “camera-ready.” Yes, the stuff was all then shot with cameras and plates and negatives were made from that. Now camera ready means Kendall Jenner posing for Instagram.

I remember I could look at any typeface and know the name of it and the point size it was, just by eyeing it.

I remember in the 1980s when one of my bosses told me that “pagination” was coming in the future. This is where the whole page would come out as one piece. At that time we did the headlines as one piece, the text in columns as another, the photos  were stripped in later in the camera room and there were so many steps to getting just one newspaper page done. I remember thinking that he was kidding, how could it all come out as one piece?

I also remember asking my brother Chris one time if it would be possible to typeset on computers and have different typefaces for different jobs. He said it was probably possible but something would have to be programmed into the computer to get that effect as it wasn’t something that was done at the time. I remember standing in his kitchen in the 1980s having that conversation with him like it was yesterday.

Am I dating myself?