Wednesday, December 29, 2010
It's always surprising when I meet someone who's managed to avoid seeing "It's a Wonderful Life," simply because it's so ubiquitous this time of year. And I've never minded that saturation because it's actually an incredibly well made film. And that's thanks in no small part to Jimmy Stewart.
While I didn't see "It's a Wonderful Life" this year, there usually isn't more than a month or two gap between me seeing one Jimmy Stewart film or another. From his work with Hitchcock, to "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (another Frank Capra great), to "Harvey," his films, his manner, and even the way a suit hangs on him have all been pretty massive influences on me and my work.
So when I was searching online for the audio version of "It's a Wonderful Life" this year (thanks to my wife for alerting me to the broadcast), I was delighted to stumble across the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pennsylvania. I was not delighted to see that the economy has hit the museum just as hard as everywhere else.
Speaking as someone who came from a small town in Ohio obsessed with Ulysses S. Grant (who lived there as a boy), I can attest that small museums and curiosities like this are one of the things that make small towns great. Seeing these dusty displays, thinking of the process the curators went through including this or that knickknack, all of these stories within stories are worth far more than any donation asked at the door.
If you've been as affected by Jimmy Stewart's work as I have, or if you're just a fan of small town museums in general, please donate to the museum. Even $10 can go a long way for a small operation like this.
After all, the old Building & Loan made a comeback with just one Momma dollar and one Poppa dollar.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
When Chicago offers up flesh-stripping winds and sub-decency temperatures, you really need a reason to force yourself out the door. On January 7th, the good people of the Museum of Contemporary Art are endeavoring to do just that, by opening a show of four Chicago cartoonists titled New Chicago Comics.
I'm honored to be included in the show alongside Lilli Carré, Jeffrey Brown, and Anders Nilsen. The show will be up for the remainder of January, but the opening (happening concurrently with the always raucous party environment of First Fridays at the museum) is on the 7th... so strap on your stiletto snow shoes and pleather parkas and come see some bleached walls adorned with mopey doodlings.
Here are all the specifics:
January 8 – 30, 2011
Exhibition preview in conjunction with First Fridays
January 7, 6–10 pm
21 and over only—strictly enforced!
$18 general admission, $13 advance tickets, $10 MCA members
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
220 E. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Monday, December 20, 2010
Being a proud, card carrying member of Jason Polan's esteemed Taco Bell Drawing Club, I was glad to see a recent article on him in an in-flight magazine, and now a video about him courtesy WNYC (home of the always interesting Radiolab (look for a drawing of Radiolab host Jad Abumrad in the video).
(If you're looking for a last minute gift for someone, you can always count on Jason's "The Every Piece of Art in the Museum of Modern Art Book" to elicit a "holy shit" from the recipient. Pick one up and blow a mind today.)
Thursday, December 16, 2010
This week at the Forlorn Funnies Shirt Shop: the last shirt of the year! (I'll be on a shirt-posting hiatus for the next few weeks while I work on a couple deadlines, starting back up the second week of January). Just in time for the holidays (and inspired by the fact that my sisters and I have a tradition of watching a certain science fiction trilogy over said holidays)...celebrate non-existent science fiction fandom with every confused glance you get for Skirmish Nova Theta.
We all know the story: In the year 9000, an evil Galactic Council holds the fate of countless solar systems in its cold grip. One man with a ray gun will stop them and save the 675 trillion creatures at risk... which is startling, given the immensity of the Council’s resources and its usual eye for quality control.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
My sister Mary sent me this instructional video on better travel decorum. My favorite comment on the video: "yeah cat press the shit out of that bell." Thank you, Mary. And thank you, internet.
Incidentally: in one or two clicks from this adorable cat video, you can potentially arrive at something called "Baby Ronald McDonald." DO NOT watch that video if you ever want to stop screaming and bleeding from the eyes.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Speaking of cubism, I contributed this year's cover for Newcity's annual Best of Chicago issue, which shows some animals, specifically a certain animal favored in the Chicago winter, dissecting a public art piece from Mr. Picasso. Further perversions of the great sculpture are used as section heads through the issue, but I'll save those for people brave enough to suffer the arctic temperatures and pick up a copy downtown. To the frozen, the spoils.
(Bonus points for anyone naming either of the paintings I was looking at (blatantly ripping off) when putting this together.)
This week at the Forlorn Funnies Shirt Shop: (a day late for no good reason, but in plenty of time to express your mental state during the holidays, this shirt revisits the non-fixed perspective fellows from the tour poster I drew with my pal Jay Ryan. Tattoo yourself with one of these and save your loved ones the effort of asking "how are you?"
Who doesn't love short notice? Tomorrow night, I'll be at Second City's de Maat Theater for a special, farewell incarnation of The Late Show with hosts Joe Kwaczala and C.J. Toledano. We'll all be pulling out the stops to celebrate C.J.'s move to Los Angeles (where he'll be working an enviable job on Conan O'Brien's new show). I'll be reading a piece thus far entitled "Advice Column Responses to My Inner Monologues at Various Ages." I can only guarantee that this will include footy pajamas, urine, fake urine, lion tamers, ironic t-shirts, horrible first dates, attempted thievery, and batman coloring books. I can promise nothing more.
If you're in the Chicago area and looking for something to do on a Saturday night, stop by. You can buy tickets in advance here.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
This week at the Forlorn Funnies Shirt Shop: how much power can one torso handle? That is the question your chest will ask you brain if you accidentally fall into this, the electric-guitar-note-bending completion of the trilogy begun by Yachts! and carried on by Ascots!
Can you have a trilogy of shirts? Of course you can! Now crush a mammoth tusk with your forehead for asking silly questions.