Dale Messick and Brenda Starr featured at Society of Illustrators gallery

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The Art of Dale Messick – the Brenda Starr cartoonist, will be on display at the Society of Illustrators in NY from January 3 to March 23, 2019.

I won’t be in NY during this period, but would have loved to see the work up close. As a kid, I would read all of the comics in the NY Daily News, including Brenda Starr. I used to like the way it was drawn as well as the stories.

The Society of Illustrators is a small gallery/museum at 128 East 63rd Street, a great place but easy to miss.

The first time I went, I was meeting my cousin there, it was raining and I knew the general area, but couldn’t find the museum. I stood under a red awning to get out of the rain and was looking around the area, wondering, “Where is this place?” only to turn around and realize the awning I was standing under was the awning to the Society of Illustrators entrance!

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Celebrating the King Mango Strut

We have a parade in our little village each year called the King Mango Strut. The last Sunday of each year the town comes out and we parody everything that’s gone on during the year – local things, politics, etc. I write the daily news for our town called the Coconut Grove Grapevine, and nine years ago, the Grapevine was one of the things parodied as the “Gripevine” – since people always felt we were constantly griping about things, here’s a little of that here.

Anyway, here is some of this past Sunday’s 37th annual King Mango Strut.

A trip through New England with Weekends With Yankee

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Richard Wiese and Amy Traverso, the hosts.

I wrote about Annabel Langbein as having one of my favorite Saturday morning tv shows but I have another, it’s Weekends With Yankee, a half hour show that takes you through the back roads of New England. Yankee is a magazine and Weekends With Yankee is the tv show.

I usually hit the gym early on weekends – 7 am or so and I grab breakfast on the way home and settle in for these comfortable Saturday morning shows.

I think in another life I lived in New England, because I’m always drawn to it; I feel the same about Arizona and New Mexico, so maybe in a second other life, I lived there.

I’m always considering moving to Southern Connecticut. I like it’s location between New York City and Boston, and I like the small villages along the water on the Long Island Sound.

Anyway, back to Weekends With Yankee; what’s great about the show is there are three or four segments where they go all over New England. One segment may be a visit to a lighthouse, another might be a visit to a small bread factory in a small Vermont town, another might be lobster diving in Maine. You just want to be there as you watch.

It’s homey and informational and I want to be immersed in it all.

Thanksgiving week in NYC

I’m back in NYC for Thanksgiving week. I noticed that one of my best friends, Santi, is in town from Miami, I saw his posts on Instagram, not sure why he didn’t notify me but we’ll hang out and have fun. This video above is last night’s ice skating at Bryant Park, it’s a little long, but I had hoped the music could be heard because the skating is so in sync with the music – Barry White singing, “Can’t Get Enough of You.” It was so loud, filling up the park, but for some reason, it is not very loud here.

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A few Octobers ago, Santi and I ended up here together, too. His wife was coming but she got sick and there was a Nor’easter or hurricane or something on the way, so she never made it. Luckily neither did the hurricane.

So Santi and I and some of his friends had a ball. We were all over the city every hour of the day.He showed me so many things I had not seen or known before, and I thought I knew every inch of the city. I saw the Lady in Gold at the Neue Galerie, which I had never seen before, the painting or the gallery. I remember him getting into an argument with some tourists who were from a country who as supposedly communist at the time, he just started yelling at them in the museum when he heard they were from whatever country it was.

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Since it was October, four of us went to this Oktoberfest at a German restaurant in the east 80s, I believe. We drank a lot of beer and ordered this pile of meat. It was a huge platter full of everything you can imagine – pork chops, steak, knockwurst, whatever, tons of meat! And I try not to eat much meat in my daily life, so it was something for all of us to get through the pile of that meat.

It was a fun week, he had stayed at a friend’s in Greenwich Village so we spent a lot of time down there. I’m hoping for a repeat of all that this time. We’ll see. I may drag him to one of my favorite museums today – the Museum of the City of New York, which is in Spanish Harlem, a quirky neighborhood I think he would love. 

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Ladies mile

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Saw this old photo online somewhere. Love it. I can stare it it and just see so much going on. Look at the dog. Look at the lady getting onto the carriage. Is she posing for the photo? Was this just a nature shot? I’m guessing this is 6th Avenue because of the elevated train to the right and the buildings look like so many of them that are still there up and down 6th Avenue in the teens and 20 (streets).

This photo is Ladies Mile in NYC in the year 1897. Ladies Mile was a shopping district in the late 1800s. It went from roughly 15th Street to 24th Street and from Park Avenue South to west of 6th Avenue. A large part of Broadway, also comprised Ladies Mile.

So many of the buildings are still there today. When I’m walking around New York City, I can’t help but feel their presence. They are kept in such great shape, especially the old department stores. Many are separated into a few different stores, but the old buildings look as if they were just built. Some have golden cupolas on the roof and they all seem to have those great Beaux Arts and Queen Anne style arches and layers.

As I walk through the city, and not just in the Ladies Mile area, building seem to jump out to me and speak to me. What I do is google the address and all sorts of wonderful history pops up. I get the history of the building, when it was built, what it was originally used for and so on. There were so many department stores back in the day and not just department stores, smaller buildings pop up as being rooming houses for men, or an old fire houses or old livery stables. It’s quite interesting.

In October, this year, I think it was, I had an old photo of buildings on Union Square from the late 1800s. It was on my phone. I was holding the phone up and trying to match the view to see if I could find the exact buildings. As I was holding the phone up, it looked as if I was taking pictures, but I was just looking at the image to compare it to the current street. I had the phone up to one guy’s face and I got embarrassed.

I showed him the photo and told him what I was doing and he started laughing. I think he thought I was taking pictures of him.

I never did match the buildings. I did match the exact location, just not the buildings.

Thanks to the Durrells and Anthony Bourdain, I have wanderlust

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The Durrells – in Corfu

I’m feeling wanderlust. I was watching the Durrells in Corfu the other night and I really would love to live like them. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a PBS show, it’s a true story about a mother and her four children who move from England to Greece in the 1930s after the father passes away. The kids are about 11 to 22 years of age.

The surroundings and town are so beautiful. They live in a big old house at the water’s edge, surrounded by the sea and beautiful mountains and they are ensconced with the locals who become their friends.

Each of the kids has his own thing going on from the youngest one loving and collecting animals to the oldest being a writer who is trying to be a world traveler. It’s excellent.

Right after the Durrell’s I turned to Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and it was about West Texas, which according to this episode is completely different than I thought. The people are very accepting, they love their Mexican neighbors across the river, they speak Spanish, out of respect, as one man put it, they eat Spanish food and there is a large Mexican influence, they know that their land was once Mexican land, and oh yea –  they don’t want a border wall. This is one of the best episodes I’ve ever seen. It may be posted here on the Parts Unknown website by now, worth a look.

I am at the point in my life where I feel like selling all my possessions and just traveling and cartooning along the way, incorporating the locations in my work. When I think of the southwest, I think of George Herriman who had a very big connection to that area, as you can see in Krazy Kat.

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Tiny Doors Atlanta

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Tiny door in a tree trunk. Photos courtesy Tiny Doors Atlanta

I saw this story on tv about Tiny Doors Atlanta. It’s an art project where artist Karen Anderson creates and installs tiny doors throughout the city. It’s free art in public spaces, free tiny art.

People love them and interact with them. The doors are 7 inches tall and they are placed in strategic places throughout Atlanta. They’re placed anywhere, as part of trees, walls, houses, just about anywhere.

The interesting part is that only one of the doors opens at this time. The goal is to create a sense of wonderment and imagination, but the doors don’t open.

All the door locations are in public areas and free to visit. One of my favorites is built into a tree trunk.

I’ve been a promoter of the little free library project for awhile and now love the tiny door concept.

The website is here: https://tinydoorsatl.com/
The Instagram page with over 100,000 followers is here: https://www.instagram.com/tinydoorsatl/

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