Sunday, October 22, 2006

I Got a Rock

My wife and I went to the Charles M. Schulz museum on Saturday for an afternoon of special events. First was a showing of "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" in the museum's swell little theater. As we sat down, we both realized it'd been years since we'd actually watched the show, and the experience of seeing it projected large with a hundred or so other people was unexpectedly entertaining. There's something very cool about watching it with a crowd that laughs and says "Aww" at all the right parts. There were also a lot of very cute children--some costumed for the occasion--and, for some reason, a full TV camera crew skulking about taping everything. We never quite figured that out.

After the screening and a quick snack at The Warm Puppy Cafe at
Mr. Schulz's ice rink next door, we made our way to the event I was most interested in: a panel discussion by four professional cartoonists on their work and the impact of "Peanuts" on their lives. The guests were Keith Knight ("The K Chronicles"), Darrin Bell ("Candorville" and "Rudy Park"), Michael Jantze ("The Norm"), and Paige Braddock ("Jane's World"). I didn't take notes for a detailed report, but I did walk away with two or three new thoughts about the art and craft of cartooning that made it a good day for me.

Keith Knight, Darrin Bell, Paige Braddock, Michael Jantze

I was excited to meet Darrin face-to-face. In addition to his paying job(s), Darrin operates Toontalk, one of the few places where professionals and amateurs can meet on the Web to talk about cartooning. So I wanted to thank him for doing that, he had some nice things to say about Mom's Cancer, and we had a good three-minute conversation before he had to go sign books.

I'd briefly met Keith before, at the Alternative Press Expo (APE) in San Francisco, after exchanging a couple of e-mails with him. I reintroduced myself and met Keith's wife Kerstin, who was terrific. Kerstin had a potentially cancerous health scare a while ago (I'm not divulging anything personal; Keith wrote about it in his comic), which is why I got in touch with him in the first place. Kerstin's tumor was large and serious but benign, she looks great, and while the cartoonists were put to work my wife and I enjoyed several minutes talking with her.

All in all, a couple of hours well spent.


Lynda said...

You were about 5 minutes away from my parents house. lol. When I was growing up, the gift shop had its own little museum. I hope you were able to stop there as well.

I forgot to visit you and tell you today is the anniversary of my sister's death. So, if you have a piece of chocolate cake around, it was her favorite. My mom asked the family to eat a piece in her memory, and I did a post asking the same.

November 2 is a good day otherwise.


BrianFies said...

Lynda, I saw the memorial photo of Laurianne in the newspaper and thought of you. Next time I eat a piece of chocolate cake, I'll think of you both.

Yeah, I remember the museum in the ice arena gift shop. As a teenage boy interested in cartooning, I spent a lot of time absorbing the stuff upstairs. What I valued most was not just seeing "Peanuts" originals, but other originals that other cartoonists had given to Schulz: Walt Kelly, Milton Caniff, lots of greats. When you're serious about cartooning, I think you learn more studying professional work for five minutes than you would on your own or from books in a year. That gallery still has a few displays, trophies and such, but all the originals are gone. A pity.

Thanks for commenting.

Lynda said...

Yeah, the gift shop isn't as nice as it use to be. I use to love going up there and looking at all the cartoons along the way.

My mom, sister and I really liked the old gift shop museum a little better. My husband never experienced it, so he like the museum more. I don't think we went into the little theater because my nephew was only 2 months at the time.

We always looked for Charles Schultz in the corner office, because we were sure it was his. But it was always empty. lol