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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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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MOMA Mia

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Went to one of my favorite places the other day – MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. They recently completed a $450 million renovation. I keep telling people it was $40 million, but it was $450 million. I of course, couldn’t see the whole thing, but I did make sure I saw Starry Night, my favorite. I searched and searched and it took me awhile, but I found it. Right there, all blue and beautiful like always.

The guards are quite scary, they look you up and down as if you are going to do something, they just pop out of nowhere and inspect you with their beady eyes. To be fair. there are many tourists during holiday weeks and probably more people are attending the museum than at quieter times of the year.

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Stop and smell the art

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It rained on Sunday, so I went to the MET Museum in New York, I mean I would have gone anyway, but usually I go the day after Thanksgiving as a tradition. And this time I did something different. I didn’t take pictures, or many pictures. I did post a few on Facebook, but then after a bit I put my phone/camera down and enjoyed the experience, which is something we don’t do these days.

No matter where we are, we are looking through the camera and not enjoying the actual experience. At the museum, at concerts, at a party at a ball game at a parade – everywhere, we are not enjoying the experience, we are missing it by trying to get the best photos.

There was a time at museums and concerts, where you were not permitted to take photos. Now they are permitted to do that, I guess they can’t control it anymore; and at concerts, videos are allowed, but for some reason they don’t like that at museums. They’ll allow snap shots but not videos. I got yelled at this past summer for taking videos at the MET.

Anyway, I put my camera away and enjoyed the experience and it was quite enjoyable. I was tempted to take the camera out when I saw others buried in their phones among the most magnificent art in the world – the Masters and ancient Egyptian and Chinese antiquities. I’m not sure what was so important on their phones, but Egypt and Matisse and Van Gogh and the rest were not as interesting, I guess.

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‘Ziggy’ installation at Flatiron District

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I’m in NYC this week for Thanksgiving. I managed to get 30 Hal and High Water comic strips done before I left Miami. I submitted all 30 to the four major syndicates. Now I can enjoy NY.

This is a new installation at the Flatiron District, it’s right below the Flatiron Building which was hard to show in pictures because it’s all dark and scaffolded, they’re doing some sort of work on it.

But that intersection where 5th Avenue and Broadway meets is all lit up like this.

It’s the winner of the sixth annual “Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition,” called “Ziggy,” created by New York-based architecture, art, and design studio Hou de Sousa. You can walk through it and interact. And since the Flatiron building is dark these days, it gives tourists something to focus on in that area.

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