|John Cafiero on the Friar's Club|
|Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under Drew Friedman||20 Mar 2008 2:29 PM|
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Category >> Drew Friedman
"THE FUN NEVER STOPS!" WITH DREW FRIEDMAN AT FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKSTORE & GALLERY IN SEATTLE, OPENING MARCH 27.
Drew Friedman is among the most notorious illustrators and cartoonists in America. According to Entertainment Weekly, “He holds a marvelously warped lens up to crusty politicians and debauched celebrities. A good-natured misanthrope with an obsessive style and a sardonic tongue, Drew Friedman is one of the country’s sharper political artists.” Friedman will appear in Seattle for the first time at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery for a book signing and exhibition of his original artwork on Thursday, March 27 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.
“The Fun Never Stops!” exhibition features 17 portraits meticulously rendered in Friedman’s singular style. Included are political figures such as “McCain as Popeye,” “John Kerry’s Inauguration,” and “Really Rich Rudy” as well as pop culture icons like Frank Sinatra, Woody Allen, and Alfred E. Newman. In addition, Fantagraphics Books produced a limited edition silkscreen print featuring George W. Bush as Slim Pickens in the apocalyptic finale to “Dr. Strangelove.” Friedman’s portraits are alternately savage satires or reverential renderings – and frequently both, as in his series of “Old Jewish Comedians,” recently published in two volumes by Fantagraphics Books.
Friedman’s illustrious career has included comics work published in Art Spiegelman’s RAW, R. Crumb’s Weirdo and MAD Magazine, and frequent illustrations in National Lampoon, The New York Times, The New York Observer, among countless other publications. He was the recipient of the 2001 Reuben Award for newspaper illustration. Friedman’s work has been collected by Seattle’s Fantagraphics Books in The Fun Never Stops!: An Anthology of Comic Art 1991 - 2006, Old Jewish Comedians, More Old Jewish Comedians, and Warts and All.
“The Fun Never Stops!” begins with a reception for the artist on Thursday, March 27 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. Admission is free to the public of all ages. The exhibition continues though May 6, 2008. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at the corner of Airport Way S.) in Seattle’s historic Georgetown industrial arts district. Open daily 11:30 until 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: 206.658.0110.
DREW FRIEDMAN: THE FUN NEVER STOPS!
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
Open Daily 11:30 – 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM
You may or may not be aware that last week Fantagraphics co-sponsored a "bookwarming" party for Drew Friedman at NYC's exclusive Friars Club, on the occasion of the release of More Old Jewish Comedians from Fanta. I say you might not be because it was a private affair by invitation only, so it wasn't publicized in advance, although you may have seen some of the "postgame" coverage. Despite it being a private affair, by all accounts it was one of the most successful events the Club has ever thrown, with an estimated 400 people cramming into the Milton Berle Room and joining a cavalcade of comedy legends in honoring Drew, including Mickey Freeman, Freddie Roman, Jerry Stiller, Gilbert Gottfried, Jeffrey Ross, Joe Franklin, Larry Storch and others.
We should be getting a slew of pics that we'll upload soon into a Flickr set, but in the meantime, don't miss these great write-ups (with photos):
ABOVE PHOTO: (Left to right) Gilbert Gottfried, Jerry Stiller and Larry Storch, at the Friars Club. Photo by Brian Heater from our pals at The Daily Crosshatch.
Above: Photo of Drew Friedman, in his studio. © 2008 David Burd.
Drew Friedman is, along with Daniel Clowes and Chester Brown, one of the primary reasons I am working in comics today and didn't abandon my juvenile love for the medium long after most boys have discovered girls and sports. So when we decided to start conducting some exclusive author interviews for Flog!, it didn't take me long to decide I really wanted to spotlight Drew, especially as we are on the cusp of releasing his new book, MORE OLD JEWISH COMEDIANS. It's astounding to me that throughout much of the 1990s and earlier part of this decade, there was a new generation of comics fans who weren't so familiar with Drew's work as those of us who came of age in 1980s and early 1990s, as Drew somewhat slipped out of the comics field to focus on other pursuits. But he was a powerful influence on me in my formative years, between his work for Topps, Raw Magazine and National Lampoon. His two early Fantagraphics collections, WARTS AND ALL and ANY SIMILARITIES TO PERSONS LIVING OR DEAD IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL were two of the very earliest Fantagraphics collections I ever purchased, and remain two of my favorites. The latter is where I first discovered his strip "The Andy Griffith Show," which was easily the greatest comic strip I'd ever read at the time. I remember getting an argument with my then-girlfriend over whether the strip was brilliant satire or blatantly racist -- it was no surprise we didn't last. In his excellent introduction to THE FUN NEVER STOPS!, Clowes describes this strip as "more 'real' and truthful than any biographical comic or self-revelatory memoir... the connection I felt is like nothing I have experienced since." I couldn't agree more. Same goes for Clowes' statement that "a Friedman caricature looks more like its subject than any photograph possibly could."
Thankfully, you don't have to take our word for it: the last two years have seen the release of not one, or two, but three new Friedman books, introducing his masterful cartooning and riotous satire to a new generation of comics fans, and thankfully Drew was gracious enough to answer some questions for Flog! readers.
This comprehensive collection of portraiture of Jewish comedians is a sequel to 2006's wildly popular Old Jewish Comedians, which earned Friedman raves from Jerry Lewis, Howard Stern, The Believer, Entertainment Weekly and many more, and earned Friedman his own roast at New York's legendary Friar's Club. This all-new collection includes the famous (Woody Allen, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Soupy Sales, etc.), the not-so-famous (Jerry Stiller, Zeppo & Gummo Marx, Larry Storch, Zero Mostel, etc.) and the largely unknown (Molly Picon, Herbie Faye, Jan Milton, etc.). The Reuben Award-winning Friedman, one of the great caricaturists of his age, presents a thorough visual history of the 20th Century's greatest Borscht-Belt comedians through 28 full-page portraits; every crease, mustache hair, and liver spot looks utterly real. As Booklist put it (after the first OJC), "If only we were all funny enough to get Friedman to draw us!" A BLAB! Storybook.
36-page full-color 10" x 10" hardcover $16.99