Worth 1000 words: Last night’s Cartoons & Cocktails at the National Press Club

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Oct 23, 2009 Worth 1000 words: Last night’s Cartoons & Cocktails at the National Press Club


Image from Library of Congress’s website.

Last night, at the National Press Club, I attended Cartoons and Cocktails, an auction and reception that each year raises funds for Cartoonists Rights Network International and Young D.C. Thanks to Ted Rallwhom I met at the 2007 underground Small Press Expo — for informing me by twitter about this annual event that has been ongoing in my own backyard for two decades

A problem about these fancy receptions is the disconnect between the fanciness of the gathering sand the seriousness of the causes. Fortunately, I felt very positive vibes about creativity and free expression from many artists, attendees and organizers. The National Press Club is an interesting place that has a flurry of panel discussions, debates , press conferences and receptions each week, on top of their members-only bar and restaurant, on top of the daily national conferences and events in D.C. and the general area running from the Paper Clip Manufacturer’s Association’s annual extravaganza to the GOP’s Steak Chowdown to the ACLU’s convention. I lived in Washington, D.C., for fifteen years before moving to the nearby Maryland burbs, and worked downtown for a total of four years. During the many back-to-back days that I do not step foot in downtown D.C., it feels little different from being a thousand miles away, which is not always a bad thing.

I met some very interesting people at the event, from consumers of political cartoons to artists to organizers. I spoke with Robert Russell, director of CRNI. I also met cartoonist Steve Breen from San Diego. Breen’s elementary school-age sons also were doodling as he did the same. If children are forced to attend a reception, this would be one of the better ones.

I also spoke with Frank Bond, Newseum’s producer and a former reporter and news anchor with CBS’s local television affiliate. He told me about an Asian-produced documentary about the American Indians’ plight during the American Civil War, covered this week on the BBC. I cannot find information about it online or elsewhere. If you know about the documentary, please let me know the details.

Bond grew up in Baltimore while segregation still raged. He mentioned the economic — rather than justice/colorblind — motivations of many to end segregation, when seeing how much more money would be pumped into the economy by welcoming minorities and their money. However, economic motivations alone will not end racism.

I missed Ted Rall, who twittered that he had tickets but would not be able to attend. I recommend checking out his work online, in print, in print, and in his books. Jon Katz

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