Instead of opening this post with commentary on the second impeachment, we've decided to share this delightful street sign, spotted in the Bayou St. John neighborhood of New Orleans.The photo arrived via text message from my friend Tom McDermott, a masterful piano player and composer who lives near the sign. He's also a prolific limerick writer, and a fine caricature artist.
In the Year Before COVID, Tom McD paid a visit to Pittsburgh, and thrilled a small group of fortunate locals with a joyful house concert. That's him, sandwiched between your humble cartoonist, and my wildly talented bandmate Tom Roberts. Yes, I know two piano maestros named Tom.
I'm looking forward to a time when we're again able to gather to enjoy food, music, and each other's company. I'm preparing for that day by working hard in the studio to get a bit further ahead of publication.
Here's a look back at our most recent cartoon output.
We kicked off the week with a punning and vaguely political gag.
I was pleased with the strip layout for this one.
My Bizarro Studios partner, Dan Piraro, recently recommended that I watch My Octopus Teacher, a documentary on Netflix, correctly predicting that it would blow my mind. Dan's also recommended it to readers via social media, and I heartily second him. Go watch it as soon as possible.
The art the teacher displays in this gag is loosely based on Roy Lichtenstein's 1964 painting, Nurse. I'm generally a fan of twentieth century pop art, although Lichtenstein engenders mixed feelings. He became wealthy by appropriating the imagery of living, underpaid comic artists, who never profited from his use of their art, transformative though it may (or may not) have been. Is making a large format painting of another artist's image significantly different from writing a symphonic arrangement of a songwriter's pop tune, which would involve payment for licensing? I don't know for certain, but it'd be worth discussing over drinks, when discussing things over drinks is possible.
While laying out the text, it occurred to me that "Lichtenstein, Warhol, Rauschenberg and Grooms"1 sounded like a lost Tom Lehrer song. I was probably half-remembering his composition about Russian mathematician Nikolai Lobachevsky.
Late last year, at age 92, Tom Lehrer put all of his musical compositions into the public domain, making them free for anyone to reuse and perform in any way they like. Instead of taking other artists' work without permission like Lichtenstein, Lehrer released his own creative output into the wild, in order to give it new life.
The fact that Lehrer is the third pianist named Tom mentioned in today's post is weirdly coincidental. I'm now imagining Roberts, McDermott, and Lehrer forming a trio called "ZZ Tom."
Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services, in their endless hunger for content, have added films and TV series from all over the world. We've enjoyed quite a few series produced in Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Korea, and elsewhere. We've also discovered that the trope referenced in this comic is alive and well outside of North America.
This celestial visitor was heard to describe us as "puny, prickly Earthlings."
Tarzan of the Cats may seem meek compared to his cousin who was raised by apes, but at least he uses a litterbox.
All hail Linen.
Thanks, as always, for visiting us here at the ol' blog. Don't forget to check in at Dan's weekly blog, too. He always has something interesting to say along with sharing his latest magnificent Sunday Bizarro page.
For those curious to hear Tom McDermott's music, here's a clip of him performing Professor Longhair's classic "Tipitina."
Tom is a self-employed musician navigating this time of limited (or nonexistent) opportunities to perform, so CD sales are more important than ever. If you're interested in some great music for your home, check out Tom's recordings, all of which are available from Louisiana Music Factory.
One of my favorites is his 2019 album Tom McDermott Meets Scott Joplin. Tom writes, "This isn't an album for purists, but I hope the impurists out there will wallow in its freshness." I couldn't have said it better.
I also love his book of limericks and drawings, Five Lines, No Waiting.
1) I've since realized that I must have been reminded of "Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean, a novelty song from the Watergate era. The dark corners of my brain are crammed with useless material.