Commentary in Close Quarters

Anyone who is familiar with the modest dimensioned of my congenitally cluttered "studio" workspace knows that it’s not, uh, ideal for staging a video interview.

But that didn’t deter the hardy set of students from Hostos Community College in the Bronx who comprise a media program called the Hostos Design Lab and who descended on North Adams recently to, among other things, do video interviews with local artists (like me) and other nearby craftspeople.

Their project was developed in cooperation with the Bureau for Open Culture, whose I Am Searching for Field Character exhibition is being hosted this summer at Mass MoCA.

The students were trying to conduct their interviews in the interviewees’ actual workspaces, which in my case meant figuring out how to fit their cameras, microphones, and related equipment — not to mention themselves — into a 10’x13′ room already well stocked with filing cabinets, flat files, a drafting table, cases of drawing supplies, and my computer station and the printer, scanner, external hard drives and other digital peripherals that are connected to it with multitudes of hopelessly intertwined cables.

They also had to cope with occasional visits from Lulu the Dalmatian, who dropped by periodically to scope out what was going on. It can be hard for an interview subject to maintain his train of thought when a furry being is burrowing around at calf level looking for attention and mayber a dog-treat.

The plucky students pressed ahead despite the challenges and as best I could tell we all had a congenial time. A student photographer named Elijah Richmond snapped pictures throughout, a few of which I’m including here.

Above: Krisely Franceschini sets up one of the camcorders.
Above left: Rosa Oliveras prepares to capture sound. Above right: Eduardo Mendez wields his light meter.
Above left: Shanyce Lora gears up to be interviewer. Above center: Amara Dioubate helps document the proceedings. Above right: Michael Paguay strategizes.
Above: While the student worker bees prepare for the interview, I expound to supervising professor Catherine Lewis about the prescience of a 1950s feminist icon. (Photos by Elijah Richmond)
The First of the Great Cat Cartoon Books

Above: My neighborhood friend Don helps me learn to ride my first bicycle.

Gonna Be In Northampton, MA, on Thursday, August 25?

So will I — at Modern Myths (34 Bridge Street) from 7-9 PM, when I’ll be discussing The Complete Wendel with participants in the store’s Book Club and others who’re interested in my work. Come by and join the party.

This Week in Politics

Finding someone in the national political sphere who appears to be capable, intelligent, articulate, principled and passionate about economic justice issues isn’t a common occurrence these days. So when Eddie and I learned that Elizabeth Warren, the powerhouse moving force behind the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was going to meet with Berkshire voters in Pittsfield this week about her possible run for the Massachusetts Senate seat currently held by Republican Scott Brown, we made a point of being there to help urge her to go for it!

Not only would Warren be great in the job in my estimation, but I would savor seeing the G.O.P. right-wingers who swore to prevent her confirmation as head of that agency at all costs (especially subcommittee chairman Patrick McHenry, who called her a liar during a Congressional hearing in May) being forced to look her in the eye every day that she crosses paths with them on the steps of the Capitol.

Above: A spacey, froggy thing I drew in the 1970s
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About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
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2 Responses to Commentary in Close Quarters

  1. If you get Elizabeth Warren for your Senator, maybe we will move there.