Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook
I’m greatly enjoying the epic podcast The Secret History of Hollywood. Actually, it’s less of a podcast and more of an audiobook. You should check it out. I’m just starting part three of the latest series, “Bullets and Blood.” In parts one and two, Cagney emerges as one of the few people in Hollywood with two feet on the ground and a good heart. Some of the best anecdotes in the podcast are of his tussles with the mercenary head of the Warner Brothers Studio, Jack L. Warner, who was vexed by a rare star who needed the studio less than the studio needed him.
If some crazy dark side of his personality emerges in part three, please don’t spoil it for me!
About a year and a half ago my cousin’s multitalented husband was in town as part of the crew for a show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. I dropped by to say hello, and found myself captivated by the opening act, Julien Baker. As everyone knows, I am a stone cold robot, but on the rare occasions when I want to remind myself what it’s like to love, lose, and have a pulse, I crank up folk rock belted by women half my age, usually starting with this.
I sketched this while watching a terrific documentary on Netflix, Floyd Norman: An Animated Life. Floyd was an animator and writer on basically every cartoon I ever saw as a kid, from Sleeping Beauty, to 101 Dalmations, to Scooby Doo, to the Smurfs, to Toy Story.
Disclaimer: I was not a kid when Toy Story was released. Floyd is now 81, and looks younger than me, and I wish I was joking.
I’m neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I don’t like to talk about politics, because, frankly, I do not know enough to form any strong arguments. (Note: This does not generally stop people who love to talk about politics.)
All I know is that for the past eight years, having this man at the helm caused me absolutely zero anxiety. The incoming administration? Well I’m sleeping a lot less these days. And drawing politicians. That’s how you know we’ve entered bizarro times.
As an illustration of what we’re losing, have a look at the clip below of Obama addressing the U.S. military last month. It’s a quick historical recap, tied to the sort of patriotic, apolitical message that could have been said by any President, and appreciated by conservatives and liberals alike.
The scary thing is that Obama’s comforting words were prompted by dangerously ignorant statements made by the President-Elect. I’m OK with the usual 8-year presidential pendulum swing between Republicans and Democrats, but this guy is a different beast. The Republican Congress really needs to do some soul-searching and ask, “am I on Team America, or Team Thin-Skinned Reality Show Carny?”
A few weeks ago I signed up for an online course called Make A Comic Book. It’s sort of a cheaper, less personal version of the SVA course I took almost 4 years ago (jeez, I’m progressing glacially with this whole “pursuing my craft” thing). It’s been a little disappointing, because the the instructor has given no personal feedback, and in fact instructs very little, aside from 5-minute videos and a syllabus of online tutorials that are freely available. Everything is peer-reviewed, which helps, but I’d find feedback from a professional much more enlightening. And from what I can tell (based on the material I’ve been asked to peer-review), there’s only a handful of people taking this session, so I think they could afford to be more hands-on.
That said, I knew going into it that the most important aspect of the course would be shelling out money in order to motivate myself to finish something! So, here goes…something.