Art, food, music, friends and of course cucumber punch at Gifford Lane

Once a year, in our little village, we have what’s called the Gifford Lane Art Stroll – it’s about art, but it’s also about food, music and friends – it’s an old fashioned block party and it’s a place where everybody knows everybody else.

I took a Freebee over, it’s a little golf cart that drives people around town, and the driver told me, “The whole town is there!” And that’s the way it’s been for 21 years. It’s one of our favorite events of the year.

Money raised through the art, food and cucumber punch – the best part of the event, goes to two local charities.

My friend Dave and his wife Trina, who started the event so long ago, open their house to visitors. The green cucumber punch is ladled out in the kitchen and people stroll out back to their tropical back yard. It’s old Florida.

A funny thing is that Dave calls out to people as they obliviously walk by, “Thank you for coming! Take all the punch you want!” If I said it, that would be sarcastic, but he means it. And that’s part of the charm of the whole thing.

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Another rejection letter and I’m grateful!

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So it’s time to get off the pot. I need to make a move.

After 15 years, I ended my daily news blog, which chronicled our local town and I am now fully committed to posting daily comics. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the syndicates do not like Hal and High Water.

Just like Benilda threw Hal out, the syndicates seemed to have thrown the Hal comic strip out. I received rejection letters from most of them and yesterday, Andrews McMeel Syndicate sent me a letter explaining their decision, and I’ll take “no” for an answer, as for the rejections, I believe Charles Schulz received 80 of them!

Here is their response:

Thank you for your submission. I have had a chance to review your comic and, unfortunately, we are not in a position to syndicate your feature idea. Although there are some qualities to your work that I do really enjoy, I feel like there isn’t enough to your concept for us to consider running it. There are a number of other syndicates that do an excellent job and you might consider sending your work to them, too.

Best regards,
Andrews McMeel Syndication Editorial

I am happy about this as I find it tedious to draw the same characters and situations day after day. It’s like painting the same painting over and over day after day, my true love is the single panel cartoon. I’ve always been “drawn” to that.

I did explain that to the editors at Andrews McMeel and they must be wondering why I submitted a comic strip. I’m not quite sure myself. I did 30 of the strips and submitted those 30. Maybe one day I’ll post them here so you can see what they were all about.

I’m not sure what they meant by not having enough of a concept as I explained what I would do with the comic for years in the future. But again, I am happy they declined the feature as I would like to do my Tomversation comic panel, rather than a strip, on my own terms.

So here is the news: Starting May the 4th (“May the 4th be with you” day) Tomversation will start publishing daily. So far I have three venues where I will publish online:
At this website: TomFalco.com
Facebook: facebook.com/tomversation.toons
Instagram: instagram.com/tomversation.toons/

If I decide to add another venue, I’ll let you know here.

There are comics on Instagram and Facebook with millions of fans/followers. That is my goal.

Stay tooned.

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Why did the peacocks cross the road?

peacocks

I’ve been giving more interviews these days one one single subject, now that I ended the Coconut Grove Grapevine, than all these past years. I ended a publication I did daily in our town – the Grapevine was our daily news for 15 years. It was time.

Anyway, these interviews aren’t about me or the Grapevine – they are about the roaming peacocks we have in our neighborhood. Recently the City Commission declared that the offending peacocks will be removed humanely and that has put everyone in an uproar.

The peafowl roam the streets, you literally have to stop as you are driving to allow them to cross the street. It’s cute and picturesque, but I guess not if they are a nuisance to your property.

I was interviewed by NPR, WLS in Chicago, just now by some publication in Washington, DC and I think some paper in Chicago, also I see I am quoted in the New York Post and now The New York Daily News contacted me too.

I personally like them, but of course they haven’t been pecking at my car or jumping on my roof. I probably would feel differently if that were the case.

All these interviewers have me as “Tom Falco, editor of the Coconut Grove Grapevine,” and I’d like to now be, “Cartoonist, Tom Falco,” but I guess that doesn’t have as much authority and they think a title like “editor” makes me smarter and gives me more authority. A couple of them emailed me here, to this Tomversation account. When I see a newspaper contacted me, I hope it’s them asking about publishing my comics, but no, it’s those damn peacocks.

Today is Tom Falco Day!

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So this happened – February 14 is now Tom Falco Day in the City of Miami.  I received a proclamation that says so. It may be just today, but I am claiming it in perpetuity so every February 14 is Tom Falco Day! That’s me at left with one of our City Commissioners Ken Russell.

For 15 years I published the news and was an activist in our little village and I decided to end the publication this month. So many of my friends and townspeople came out, such memories. It was bittersweet. It was so nice to see so many faces.

I am still living here, I’ll be around town, I just won’t be publishing the news every day, which is a big responsibility off my shoulders. I feel like it’s the last day of school. Forever!

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The Porsche show

Went to a Porsche show in the City of South Miami today. A friend called and asked me to meet him there. As you know from my last post, I’m not really into cars, but it was a beautiful day and nice to walk around and hang out.

I didn’t stay long because when I texted my friend that I had arrived he texted back that he was at a local restaurant/bar with a couple of friends he ran into. I didn’t know them by their names (he mentioned the names in the text), so I wasn’t up to meeting new people. As I get older, the introverted side of me comes out more. It’s either that or I’m just not into making small talk. It’s not that I’m shy, I think I just don’t want to be bothered.

So I took a few pictures and came home.

It was quite an obstacle course getting out and getting home, the Miami Marathon was still going on from earlier in the morning and traffic was re-routed all different directions. You want to go north and they send you south.

The good people of the world are washing my car

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I have a bad habit – I don’t wash my car. Not sure why, but it’s filthy for months on end. The car wash I used to go to closed, and the guy that used to come to my home stopped coming. But still, my dirty car has always been a thing.

Recently I came downstairs and the car was washed! It was sparkling! My car isn’t new, but when it’s washed it looks like the day I bought it. I’m thinking the maintenance man for our condo building did it because before Christmas he walked me over to my car one day and asked me why it was so filthy. He wrote his name on the dirty trunk hood.

It reminds me of about 17 years ago when I first moved into the building. One of my neighbors, I can’t think of his name now, he moved out about 16 years ago, used to wash my car for me. Only I didn’t know it!

He parked right next to me. The day I moved in he was washing his car, he seemed to love to wash his car, I guess it was a form of relaxation for him.

One day, maybe a year later, he asked me, “How do you like your car? Did you notice how clean it is?” And I said, “Yes, looks good.” And he says, “Well, I washed it!”

“You did?” I asked, and I remember his exact words, “Yes. It was so filthy I couldn’t take it anymore!”

I was a bit dumbfounded and thanked him. He then told me that he had been washing it for the past year every time he washed his car which was once a week at least. He asked, “Didn’t you notice?” I said, “Yes, but I thought the rain did it!” You know, when it rained and I drove in the rain, I thought that cleaned the car!

I don’t think he cared for that response and I don’t think he washed my car again after that. So last week when I saw the car washed it reminded me of that time. I haven’t seen our maintenance man, but I want to thank him and tip him if it was him and perhaps have him do it on a regular basis.

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Shameless

shameless

The Shameless cast today.

So this is sort of freaky. I started watching Shameless, the tv show in the 10th season. I did the same thing with Ray Donovan in the 6th season. I’m all caught up with Ray now, I ended up watching all of it from season 1 after my cousin read me the riot act. He couldn’t understand how I was happy watching the show in its 6th season without knowing what happened in the five seasons preceding that.

With Shameless, I watched all of season 10 without watching the previous nine seasons and when season 10 ended, I started watching from the start on Showtime on demand.  And that’s the freaky part. The kids are the same kids but only 10 years younger. I barely recognize them!

Liam, who is about 11 or 12 now is a baby in season 1. All the other kids are 10 years younger, it’s like a time warp. One kid who is 20 now, Carl, is 10 then, Ian who is 21 now is 11. It’s so freaky!

I got right into it from the first episode, but I also got right into it from the first episode of season 10. Anyway, I’m now watching it all and hoping to watch all 9 seasons, and maybe season 10 again, before season 11, the final season, comes on this summer.

I keep binge watching it, I can’t stop. I love it. It’s up there with Breaking Bad. By the way, I never watched Breaking Bad when it was on for its regular run, after it ended I caught a marathon and fell in love with that. I started watching from the first episode ironically, it just popped on the tv one time, season 1, episode 1 and I watched it from there.

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Three of the cast – then and now.

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