It’s festival season

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Ocean Drive, South Beach

Art season has started in Miami. For the next few months there are lots of festivals and art shows. I attended two this weekend. Two old ones, they have both been around for years.

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A scene on Ocean Drive, South Beach.

Today I was in South Beach for the Art Deco Festival and yesterday we went to the Beaux Arts Festival in Coral Gables. That festival is close to home, it’s on the University of Miami campus. I’ve been going to both festivals since I’m a kid. Yes, they’ve been around that long. It’s also Regatta season for the next six months, but I don’t really deal with that. I live on the water, but I’m not much of a boater.

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Vintage cars lined Ocean Drive for Art Deco.

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I know a lot of the artists from over the years and from the neighborhood. They tend to go from festival to festival and so do I, so I guess I’ll see a lot of them this coming winter.

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Eating my way through.

My favorite thing is to eat my way through the festivals. I love festival food and other great food and drinks. One of the festivals in February has an English tea room and for all three days of that festival I have tea and scones with friends. Whoever is around, I drag over with me and everyone enjoys that – English tea with scones with jelly and clotted cream! I go for three days because the festival is right in my neighborhood and it’s easy to just stay put for the weekend rather than deal with the traffic in and out of town. I’ll post pictures of that next month.

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How can you pass up this paella?

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Beaux Arts on the UM Campus

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Can a comic strip have seasons?

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Drawing Hal.

I’m working on my comic strip Hal and High Water, and hopefully will start publishing daily, but I have an idea that I’ve been considering. And that’s taking breaks, sort of having seasons, with breaks in between.

I know, I didn’t even start yet and I’m talking about taking a break! But listen, seriously. What I mean is, cartoonists work 365 days a year, they never stop, they never get vacations and if they do they have to build up that time by working extra hard to get a backlog of comics so that they can take time off. But what if the comic ran for a month or two or three and then there was a break, sort of like a tv show. The comic runs, ends with a cliffhanger, takes a month off, and then comes back for a new “season.”

A webcomic can do that very easily not so much a newspaper comic. But why not?

What if a newspaper comic ran for three months, then took time off and in that time another comic ran? What if three or four comics took up one space in the newspaper – sort of like the old days with tv, when a show would take the summer off and there would be a summer replacement. Years ago, that was the norm on tv and these last few years it’s been like that where there are not many reruns, other shows take up the time slot and there are usually three tv seasons now in a year.

So a newspaper comic would run a few months, maybe three months or six months, then take a break and in that three or six months another comic would run, then perhaps another comic or the original comic would come back, but they would run on some sort of schedule.

I’m thinking of doing that with Hal and High Water as a webcomic – running it for a period of time and then taking a short period of time off. Hopefully the readers will be there upon its return, but a good cliffhanger may be needed for that – sort of like a “Who shot JR?” cliffhanger.

I had written once about switching up my own comics over the year – run a panel cartoon for a few months, then a comic strip, then something else, but that would defeat the purpose of having time off. It would allow me to publish my different ideas and features over time, but it would not give me time off.

So I’m toying with the idea of taking breaks during the year – yes, even before I started publishing.

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Living in the Roaring ’20s

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Let’s bring back the newsies caps, but not the smoking.

Some of us were talking and we have a feeling that a lot of the 1920s will come back in the 2020s. I’m talking about maybe fashions and sayings and things like that. Maybe even  reprisal of silent films as a goof. It may all start as a goof.

I have so many of those newsboy/newsies caps, but I never wear them. Possibly some guys may start wearing them as a goof and they’ll catch on and become the fashion. Maybe sayings will come back like, “horse feathers,” and “Don’t take any wooden nickels,” and “four-flusher.” You can see a full list here.

Other fashion statements of the 1920s were beaded dresses, argyle socks, Cloche hats, art deco and flapper styles. Maybe guys will slick back their hair and wear straw hats.

Podcasts are sort of like old time radio, aren’t they? And maybe sepia toned photos could be a common thing on Instagram. And what about cars, people might drive more restored cars around as a common thing – Model T’s, Model A’s, The Hobnocker, Bugatti, etc.

Pez was invented in the 1920s and so was Pineapple upside down cake and Kool-Aid and sliced bread! Water skiing was invented and the dial telephone,  and the jukebox and sunglasses! And of course newspapers were at an all time high in circulation, every city had their fair share. And it was the Gatsby and the Charleston dance era. Who knows, even if just one or two things came back for a bit, it would be interesting.

I never liked when the years changed or the decades passed. I don’t know why, I guess I didn’t like the passage of time. But for some reason, I’m all into the 2020s. I’m looking forward to them.

Maintaining an institution

The Miami Herald, my daily newspapers, is dropping the Saturday edition this spring, they will only print six days a week.

A few years back, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans dropped a few printed editions during the week, but I think they publish six days a week now. And today I saw a story on tv about the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock’s daily newspaper going digital. It’s been published for 200 years or so and the current publisher Walter Hussma wants to keep it in business. Their new plan – give every paid subscriber an iPad so that they can read the paper online! His goal is just to pay the bills and to keep the institution going, not to make a killing in profits.

“It’s a lot more interactive. We have slide shows. We have video. You know, when the Arkansas River flooded a few weeks ago, we had ten videos on the front page,” said Hussma

When they first talked about going digital, someone asked, “But what if people don’t have an iPad?” So the newspaper invested $12 million in iPads and now every subscriber receives a free one!

These videos explain it all.

Jojo was limping all day; we were worried

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Jojo checking out the neighborhood.

So I went to my parents house yesterday for our usual family pizza night, I usually get there early to avoid traffic; I arrived about three hours before most of the others.

As I entered the house, I noticed their dog Jojo was acting weird, he was sort of walking on three legs. One of his front legs was extended out, as if he was avoiding walking on it.

I asked my father, “What happened to him? Did he run into a car again?” A few months ago, Jojo darted out of the house and ran right into a speeding car, luckily he wasn’t hit by the car, but he hit the car. My brother and nephew rushed him to the vet, but he was ok, he just had a hard time getting around for a bit, you know, like he couldn’t jump up on the couch and bed and things like that, but in a few weeks, he was as good as new.

So when I saw his leg extended, I assumed the same had happened. My father told me that he hadn’t run out of the house, he thought he might have hurt himself when jumping off the bed. And that was the explanation. For the rest of the day, he walked sort of limping, on three legs. It started in the morning and extended into the evening.

He had a hard time getting up on the couch, but he did jump up and down and when I held his leg in my hands, he didn’t flinch. I tried to look for a thorn or something in his paw but I didn’t see anything. So this limping went on and he really wasn’t himself, he was very lethargic the whole time. He almost had a pleading look in his eyes, as if to say, “Please help me!” He didn’t seem like he was in pain and I wondered if we should take him to the vet or hospital or something.

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Looking at me like I’m an idiot. This is an old picture, so he must always think I’m an idiot.

When people came to the door, he just remained on the couch, he didn’t run or bark and jump up and down at the door as usual. A bit later I took him for a walk and he seemed better outside. I didn’t force him, I asked him if he wanted to go out and he did. But he never whimpered in pain, he just had a hard time walking.

Anyway, a few hours later the rest of the family started showing up. My sister-in-law Laura took one look at him and called us all “idiots” or something to that effect. She solved Jojo’s leg problem in a second.

He had put his foot/leg through his collar. Picture it – his leg was through his collar around his neck – that is why his leg was extended. I am laughing out loud as I type this. I can’t stop laughing.

When she took his leg out of the collar, he was back to his old self – his old annoying self. All of a sudden he was jumping, running non-stop barking – just going crazy as his usual self.

For the rest of the night we all laughed and felt like morons. Poor Jojo. And stupid me – I literally put the leash on him to walk him and I took the leash off, and I didn’t notice the foot/leg through the collar.

I can still see him in my head hopping around on three feet with his one leg/arm/foot extended in the air. Even when he was lying on the couch next to me, he had his one leg extended, maybe trying to tell me something and I just thought he was babying the injured leg, which ended up not being injured at all. I can still see him looking at me, which I thought was in pain, but he had his leg extended and that look was saying, “Can you please release my leg?”

I’m still wondering how he managed to get his leg through the collar.

Another December, another Miami Art Week

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Another Art Basel/Art Miami behind us, well almost, Sunday is the last day of the yearly event. It’s a thing called Miami Art Week where art is all over the city and tourists pour out of the woodwork.

The big thing this year was the $120,000 banana. Surely a publicity gimmick, but supposedly some artists sold a banana that was duct taped to the wall for that amount. It was the talk of the city, at our usual Friday night family night, everyone knew about it. I looked for it at the shows, but it got eaten by the time we arrived!

The one interesting and sad thing is that a couple of the Art Shows – Art Miami and Context are on the former site of The Miami Herald. The Herald moved out to western Miami-Dade County a few years ago and the site is now empty. So they put down pavement platforms and huge tents, larger than football fields, and the art shows go on once a year.

The view out back is spectacular because as was the case years ago, newspapers and factories and such were on the water for easy access by water and they occupied prime land. Now that land is open and spectacular and the Herald is on the other side of the airport somewhere. Long Island City, Queens and Brooklyn New York are like this, the old waterfront which was occupied by factories and such are now open to parks, restaurants and expensive condos. Society is reclaiming the waterfront, which was a dark, spooky place for so many years.

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