April 18, 2014
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

Hail Caesar

What made Sid Caesar brilliant? I would say, in a word, explosive reaction to a world constantly wreaking frustration upon mankind. His art was that of endured anger, taken to the breaking point and then beyond. His getting to that point is made simultaneously palpable and hilarious by his amazing ability to exaggerate and caricature.

For all my friends who remember him and those for whom Sid will be new, I offer my picks.  In Sid lies the essence what it is like to cope in the age of anxiety, which, alas, proceeds apace.

Enjoy.

Sid and Nanette Fabray pantomime Beethoven’s 5th, finding a narrative and even a punchline. One take, live on network TV.

The immortal This is Your Life parody. This has outlived the memory of the actual (awful) show. I’m sure clips of this are on all the news broadcasts tonight. Here the whole thing is in all its glory.

Then there is the business meeting sketch. It’s all about the food.

The German General (sorry for the quality. Still great.)

The Recital. My life.

There’s more on Youtube and on Netflix. Thank goodness for them. And the work of Sid and the idea of humor this personal, real and deeply funny.

Here’s to Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman. Not only a great actor but also citizen concerned about social justice and human rights. A great loss. Here’s my painting of him in The Master for the Village Voice. RIP PSH.

The Master Final updated 2014700

Kerry Unbound

Kerry Unbound sm for pf

The Middle East has to take creative moves for peace . . . and survival. The National Journal this week explores the new Kerry. Thomas Friedman today lays out the case for Kerry bringing Bibi and Abbas along. Not bloody likely, but, as Chomsky said, never discount “occult forces” in history. There will those, and this might just be one.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/opinion/friedman-why-kerry-is-scary.html

Roll My Breeches to My Knees

RIP Pete. He believed in us. And was the best of us.

It Ain’t Over ‘Till the Fat Man Sings

“Bridgegate” isn’t just about a mistake that some bureaucrat made in New Jersey. It’s about Chris Christie’s using the city of Ft. Lee and surrounding towns as hostages in a political game. It’s a kind of political terrorism.  And don’t think people were unhurt. Many were. As their stories  come out, so too will be those of the people surrounding the Big Boss. And like all Big Bosses he will have to come clean. If he had from the beginning, this, and he, wouldn’t smell so bad. Here’s my take for The Nation, coming out today. First the sketches:

Bulldog

Godfather

O the Humanity

Sopranos

Guillotine

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty and the Great Grey Bridge was the winner. After a number of email exchanges with the great art director Robert Best, all compositional issues were resolved.

On your newsstand soon.

Thanks to Robert, Roane Carey and Katrina vanden Heuvel for being typically wonderful.

Drive safely!

Christie Nation Cover with layout700