January 18, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

Davy Crockett Lives

Seeing the news of the loss of Fess Parker reminded me of the great nights watching the Disney Davy Crockett show on our Philco console.  Fess as Davy, like a lot of the cowboy heroes in movies and TV, stood for moral values.  These included caring for one another (Davy opposed the Indian Removal Act) as well as thinking before you act (“make sure you’re right and then go ahead”).  Such a liberal mensch.  His values are still here (although hard to find).  One place is in the history books where the great progressive tradition of social justice can be learned, from Jefferson to Lincoln to Roosevelt to King.  Except in Texas where the school board is blue penciling-history for a story concocted by the Extreme Right celebrating Jeff Davis and Phyllis Schlafly!  In Davy’s adopted home state, the one he died for at the Alamo. Davy would be a gunnin’ for those varmints for sure.  First I think he would grin ’em out of countenance.

About 20 years ago I got to draw the animated Davy for Rabbit Ears Productions which was voiced by Nicholas Cage with music by David Bromberg.  I wanted a new Davy and redesigned him for the fun of it.. But Fess Parker is the Davy  Crockett for all times.  Being brave and decent all the way. He’d be a-scratchin’ for Health Care reform this week.  Because to care about America means caring about Americans.  And he was pro-America every time.

Click for Davy:


Sing, Dennis

Today the Health Reform Bill gets a big shot in the arm: Dennis Kucinich, the highly principled progressive voice is flipping and coming out for the bill.  The Dems big problem has been people like him, who understand that Single-Payer, Medicare-for-all, is the only real way to fix the health care mess in the US would not support the bill as it has evolved.  It is a messy thing that has way too much compromise with the prevailing power structure.  But it will insure 30 million people and end awful things that happen to all of us, like denial of care for “pre-existing conditions”. Kucinich clears the way for realpolitik to get what’s possible now, leaving more progress for the next round.  That’s kind of progressive.

The  Right sees this happening and are losing it big time.  Frustrated at losing this debate, the Right has decided to attack this little boy, Marcelas Owens, showing their true colors.  Another “Have you, at long last, no decency at all” moment. It’s  good to see them hanging out in there public like this: hating America.  The truth is a good thing.

From Media Matters:

Right-wing media target Marcelas and family; portray them as “liberal activists”

Beck: “Where was grandma” when Marcelas’ mother was sick? On the March 15 edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck attacked Marcelas’ grandmother — who appeared with Marcelas at the health care event — for her work with the organization Washington Community Action Network. Beck said the group was “all about economic, racial, gender, and social justice for all” — “pesky phrases” Beck then tied to “the Soviet Union” and the “democratic socialist republic in China.” Beck said of Marcelas’ appearance on Capitol Hill: “The trip was paid for by Health Care for America Now — that’s the George Soros-funded, Barack Obama-approved group fighting for health care. Since all of these groups are so concerned and so involved now, may I ask, where were you when Marcelas’ mother was vomiting blood?” Beck continued: “Wasn’t this the perfect opportunity to help provide a decent quality of life for all — at least, for one? You had somebody in your own ranks that knew — her mother knew. Dare I ask: Where was grandma?”

Limbaugh tells Marcelas: “Your mom would have still died, because Obamacare doesn’t kick in until 2014.” On the March 12 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh aired a clip of Marcelas’ remarks at the health care event and said, “Now, this is unseemly, exploitative, an 11-year-old kid being forced to tell this story all over just to benefit the Democrat Party and Barack Obama.” Limbaugh later said, referring to Marcelas, “Your mom would have still died, because Obamacare doesn’t kick in until 2014.”

Illustration Next, Next Week

One week from tonight is the discussion, Illustration Next, at SVA. The evening will be devoted to an exploration of places illustration is and may be going, as led by three fairly recent SVA grads.  Many colleagues will be on hand as well to talk about their experiences.  I have some 150 images from about 50 artists. Marshall Arisman will give us a backgrounder and intro.  His and Steve Heller’s book, Marketing Illustration, was a major inspiration for this talk. As  a teacher I can’t think of a more important topic to spend time with. It’s one thing to discuss with students how art is made stronger and clearer.  It’s quite another to help them through the minefield that is this new era.  So here we begin the conversation.  Everything is on the table. This and a similar talk at SCAD in April have inspired others at schools across the country.  Julie Lieberman, Anita Kunz and I are working on setting up a single website to hold all the videos as an ongoing resource for students everywhere.



209 E.23 St. 3rd floor

Admission is free BUT

The hall will be full, so I’d say come before 6:30

Alex Juhasz

Working in animation, responsible for collaborations resulting in the Emmy-winning opening credits for The United States of Tara.  Also United Airlines Super Bowl ads, etc.

Mickey Duzyj

International magazine illustration, gallery art, product design (book jackets, skateboards). His “Fall Classic” show investigates the nature of boxing and Mike Tyson in particular. Recently “covered” the Times Magazine’s Anxiety piece.

James Blagden


Who’s Afraid of Liz and Dick?

Even staunch conservatives lately have been calling Liz Cheney out for going too far (calling the DOJ, the Department of Jihad, for having the poor judgment to provide legal defense to Gitmo prisoners. So much easier to just drown them).  Ken Starr and Lindsay Graham have been trying to distance themselves from the Cheneys, explaining that legal representation is an essential part of the US criminal justice system.  I remember Liz and Dick in that brilliant film version of  “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”.  They played a twisted, foul-mouthed couple in a spectacular insult marathon.  You can’t look  . . . and you can’t look away.

Oscar Night

Happy to congratulate the winners.  Er, let me check this again.