And here is the second page, a day earlier than usual, but just in time fro Christmas. No matter what your faith or beliefs, I hope you have a safe and happy celebration of the winter holidays and peace for you and yours. Take a moment, if you can, to appreciate what you have, because it is precious and fleeting, and try to look at those in need as an opportunity to make the world a better place. Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah and all the other holidays you can think of!
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Sunday, December 18, 2016
I like this story for a lot of reasons, but most especially because it encapsulates the spirit of what I am trying to capture in this blog. Call me George Bailey, but I want to believe that people want to help one another, given the chance. Too often, it's not how much effort is required, just the "how to."
WXYZ in Detroit has a video of Micki Grossman and Serene Zeni at http://www.wxyz.com/entertainment/around-town/mitzvah-day-on-christmas-day-jewish-and-muslim-volunteers-help-people-in-need. If you are in the Detroit area, you can get in touch via the JCC at http://jewishdetroit.org/event/mitzvah-day-2016/. However you spend your holiday season, be safe and happy, and full of hope.
Monday, December 12, 2016
In researching this story, I found examples of many different biker clubs acting "against the public perception." I'll probably do another story or two on these groups, meanwhile, the Punishers have a facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/punisherslemcworldwide if you want to learn more about them.
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Here is, yet again, another example of not judging a book by its cover, or a biker by the skull on his leather jacket. There is a biker bar in Leesburg, Virginia, that my wife and I used to kid each other about, with our friends.
"You go in- no, YOU go in!" we'd say, looking at the line of bikes in front. Now the next time I find myself on Main Street, I'll stop in and have a beer, yelling "Anyone here from the Punishers?!"
Monday, November 28, 2016
"Courage" is an appropriate title for the suit bearing Jacob and Kat's artwork. I work with children all the time, and I am always aware of how brave they are. I hope this story brings you all some Hope, Courage and Unity in the times ahead, especially if you are dealing with serious illness.
Photo credit: The picture of "Courage" is used with permission by the SAP and was taken by Robert Markowitz for NASA.
Send me some feedback - feel free to comment, or give me a lead on a story of your own or that you might be aware of. I know I need all the inspiration I can get these days.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
I chose to tell this story from a slightly different perspective, because I think the human factor is what I'm trying to capture in these narratives. I hope you'll approve when you see the next page.
There are several sources I used for this story, including releases from MD Anderson Cancer Treatment Centers and an article for CNN HEALTH written by . You can read more about this story and see a video of the suit's unveiling at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEUrPrDUMK0
The second half of this story next Monday. meanwhile, I'm still looking for your input and suggestions!
Sunday, November 13, 2016
I should also mention, when telling this story, of how proud Central Washington's coach Gary Frederick was to have his team members perform such an outstanding example. This story was reported several times on local and national news, and Ellen Degeneres had the three players on her show to honor their accomplishment. There's more than one way to win a ball game.
I'm still looking for stories like this one - if you think you have a good example of people helping one another, please share it with me!
Sunday, November 6, 2016
Since the series is still big news to many people, I thought this story would be a good one to post while we all endure the last few days of the election. There's also a powerful message about sportsmanship and respect, which a lot of people will hopefully benefit from come the 9th. Don't forget to vote!
Monday, October 31, 2016
So I'm a little late - sorry! I usually try to have the current page done by Friday, but I chose to wait to include comments from Saturday's Blood Drive.
All-in-all, the usual success, and Carolyn and Troy deserve a pat on the back for all their hard work. There are always a few hiccups - this year a walk-in donor showed up and was turned away because it was too close to ending, and she was O-negative, a rare blood type. I offered to draw it for her (I had a paper cup and a straw) but she declined. All going to show how helpful it is to pre-register.
An artist note: The quotes above do not all go with the people I drew (some do, some don't) because I don't get permission to quote any of the donors. If you have a comment, please share here!
Next week, a new story. Speaking of new stories, I'm always looking - please send me your ideas by email or in the comments section!
Sunday, October 23, 2016
In the spirit of Halloween, I present this story of a cartoonist who, in her words, says the best part about this program is "we get to save lives by doing what we love."
(Full Disclosure - I have been participating in the "Cartoonists Draw Blood" project since its inception.) Besides being a good cause, it's a joy to help in such a worthwhile program just by contributing a few hours and a pint of BLOOOOOD.
Speaking of witch, I will be at Speaker's Church Saturday on Saturday, October 29th along with Carolyn, Bill Brown, and a shambling horde of cartoonists. If you show up, let me know that you've seen this post so I can interview for next week's page!
Direct blood donor sign-up link for 2016: http://www.redcrossblood.org/give/drive/driveSearchList.jsp?zipSponsor=Cartoonistdrawblood
Press Release: http://www.redcross.org/news/press-release/local/washington-dc/Cartoonists-Draw-Blood-event
Last year's photos: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Curls-Studio-50763422380/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10153644273257381
Sunday, October 16, 2016
I could add several pages of accomplishments to this list, including several Nobel Prize nominations for peace. I encourage you to look at some of the following links to learn more about the people of the Oasis of Peace; I know I will pay more attention to them and their work as a model for all the world.
I decided to add extra color because the "rainbow arch" was the first thing that caught my eye went I was looking for stories. It seems like a small piece of the big picture, but as a kid I would have loved having this in my neighborhood, and as you'll learn if you read more, it's the children that will build the future of this community.
A small but interesting note is that the name of the village IS "Oasis of Peace". Sometimes it is referred to as Nev Shalom Wahat Al-Salam, and sometimes the order is reversed (Wahat Al-Salam Nev Shalom) because these are the Hebrew and Arabic versions of the name (it does make a difference which you choose when Google-ing.)
http://wasns.org/ (main site)
http://wasns.org/video-interview-with-nadine-nashef (Video interview with Tali and Nadine)
http://www.oasisofpeace.org/ (American friends of Oasis of Peace)
Monday, October 10, 2016
To be continued...
There's more to tell about this story, and I hope to include interviews with representatives of NSWAS and its support groups. Meanwhile, I have a favor to ask.
Do you know of s story that my small but growing readership might appreciate hearing about? It does not have to be a BIG story... it can be as simple as two neighbors helping each other, or two rival school teams lending each other a hand. I know you know stories like these. Please help me share them!
Monday, October 3, 2016
Today is the first day of Rosh Hashanah. As I mentioned before, I teach at a Hebrew Sunday School and the rabbi and I are pals (he's a good guy, for a Red Sox fan.) Last night at the evening services the President of the Temple initiated a new tradition which she borrowed from her Catholic relatives (yes, she's part of an Interfaith family too) called "the sign of Peace."
During a mass, there is a pause where everyone stops and shakes hands or hugs the people around them. Jayne asked everyone in the sanctuary to do the same. I can't think of a better sign for the start of this new story from the middle east.
P.S. - afterward, the Rabbi commented that he liked Catholics too, especially because they were started by a rabbinical colleague.
Monday, September 26, 2016
I can only imagine what it was like for the two groups to meet for the first time, but even though 1985 doesn't seem that long ago, and Boy George and Culture Club were all over the airwaves, it must have been a serious adjustment for both groups.
I'd never heard Bronski Beat before, and checked them out (the Internet is a wonderful thing.) This was one of their hits which must have been performed at the Pits and Perverts Ball. Check it out for your 80s flashback (or a sample of what your parents listened to - all 80s music sounded like this as far as I can remember.)
To me the most significant aspect of this story is that the strike ended (the miners lost) and yet they still showed up for the Gay Pride parade, just to support the people who helped them. This was not quid pro quo, this was true friendship.
Next week I'll show you the "Oasis of Peace."
Monday, September 19, 2016
I plan to update once a week, and keep each story to two pages. If I get enough of a following I'll change that to twice a week. Some stories will need more that two, and I'll play that by ear (or fingers) as I go along.
I learned about the LGSM from the movie "Pride" (2014 BBC Films, Directed by Matthew Warchus and written by Stephen Beresford.) Here's a link to the trailer: Pride trailer.
Once I started researching the subject, I found that the movie was very accurate in its portrayal of the historical events, down to the paint job on the vans. Several of the original LGSM members met with the cast during filming, and participated as extras in some of the crowd scenes.
Friday, September 16, 2016
So what to do, what to do... I tried a couple of times, even came close once, to finding a regular gig as a political cartoonist. I was already a member of the AAEC (American Association of Editorial Cartoonists) and I put things on the web site fairly regularly. Here's a sample of the animated ones: http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/browse.cfm/?animation=true
At the same time I began to go to adult classes with the Rabbi at temple, mostly for another project I was working on. I spent a lot of time considering religion and its aspects. Then, with all this churning in my head, I saw the movie "Pride" on the cable.
I really connected to this picture, not because I was Welsh or gay (neither) or because the acting was particularly good (although I'm a big Bill Nighy fan) but because it showed what could happen when people who normally don't associate or even like one another can do when they get over themselves and connect with each other.
So I came up with this idea. As always, it seems like a good notion right now, and I've identified several stories to draw about. Brian Fies, who wrote the amazingly good "The Last Mechanical Monster" used this technique of posting stories via a blog, and it seems an idea worth borrowing. Thanks Brian- I promise I'll return it one day! If you have any thoughts, suggestions or feedback, just respond down there - no, down more - lower...lower... yeah, click there. Thanks!
Thursday, September 15, 2016
So it all started when my friend Matt Sullivan decided to start a newspaper. An extremely intelligent and educated man, he has also a tendency to be... "impulsive." As his good friend, I felt obligated to comment on this new idea.
"Why don't you just give me a check every month?" I suggested. "I'll cash it, keep half, and throw the rest in the Potomac River. You'll accomplish just as much."
As he usually does, Matt gave this the thought it deserved and one-upped it. He asked me to start doing a political cartoon. All of a sudden Matt's project seemed like a good idea. I rolled up my sleeves, grabbed some paper and drew my first cartoons. They stunk.
Matt ran them anyway, and I started to churn out my doodles on a regular basis. Matt stopped being my friend and became my editor, so we would yell and insult each other, just like real political cartoonists do. Finally after five years, I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it.
"This is your last cartoon" said Matt. "We're closing down."
The Rock Creek Free Press, "A Fiercely Independent Newspaper" was successful and self sustaining, but Matt was tired of all the effort that went into production and distribution. Fine for him, but what about MY needs? After my attempts to get him to keep the paper open so I could continue drawing proved futile. I took to hanging out on streetcorners, mocking public figures in crudely rendered marker on the blank pages of the Apartment Hunters Guide. I also sold some cartoons (five, to be exact) to TIME.com, then THEY decided to stop publishing cartoons.
Faced with my newfound skill being reduced to an interesting hobby, I began to consider other options. I had explored the technique of developing "graphic narratives" to report on non-fictional stories using sequential art. In all these cases, I was reviewing positive, fun or even silly events as my subjects (http://joesutliff.com/BOL2-14-16.html) but that didn't seem to fit what I wanted to accomplish. (to be continued...)