June 3rd, 2008

Reubens 2008…

by Terri Libenson

Well, despite my fear of planes (four in this case), Mike and I made it to and from the Reubens in one piece.

We had a wonderful time in New Orleans. I’m already learning that the longer people cartoon, the harder they drink. Don’t know if it’s the isolation or the long hours…all I know is that when hundreds of cartoonists gather in one spot, they collectively lower their IQ’s. It’s a rare, wonderful, slightly disturbing sight to behold.

Believe me, I’m no exception. Still, I tried to stay at a respectable sobriety level just so my head wouldn’t hit the floor before things got hopping. Here’s a semi-brief summary of the long weekend, categorized by day:

Thursday, May 22:

Mike and I arrived in what appeared to be Hurricane Katrina, part 2. It was actually a terrible downpour that thankfully subsided for the rest of the weekend. We ate, talked, and fell into the world’s softest bed at exactly 6:02 pm Central Time. We did not get up until 12 hours later. Could it be nature’s way of saying we needed not a vacation, but bed rest?

Friday, May 23:

Mike and I gathered with many other folks in the lobby of the hotel to embark on an NCS-sponsored Habitat for Humanity project. We travelled roughly two hours to the house sites (split up in three groups), where lots of hammering, shingling (is that a word?), and sawing ensued. Mike helped saw siding, while I helped hammer it onto the back of the house. Man, did I feel empowered. After a brief adrenaline rush, I proudly announced to my husband I was ready to dry wall our entire basement. I claim temporary insanity.

Anyway, it was a very touching and rewarding day. I know its cliché, but it felt gratifying to help do our part. It was also a very connecting experience for the people in our group (there was, of course, the running joke about the stability of a house built by cartoonists). Afterwards, the bus driver took us on a tour of the 9th district, where we saw the devastation of Katrina, still very much evident today.

On a different note: Back at the hotel, we attended the NCS Welcome cocktail party…thankfully indoors, as the humidity was starting to make my hair resemble a troll doll’s. I must say, now that I’ve been in the “business” a little longer, it was far easier to meet people and talk shop. Mike and I also had fun catching up with people we’ve gotten to know in the past few years.

Saturday, May 24:

More schmoozing at the NCS brunch. Lots of eating. Mike and I stole some time away in the sweltering morning to tour around the French Quarter. I saw Bourbon Street in a slightly less hazy, more sober view than 20 years ago as a college freshman attending Marti Gras (is it me or is there too much drinking reference in this blog entry?). I ate a really good eggplant po’boy, which filled me up for the rest of the year.

In the afternoon, I attended a Mort Gerberg seminar (he was one of my Habitat hammering partners, by the way) and a Sandra Boynton seminar (also in my habitat group, I found out later…I think she was on the roof). Both sessions excellent and informative. Sandra Boynton was wryly funny…something I would’ve expected.

Mike and I had a great table at the Reubens banquet. We sat with other King Features cartoonists/industry folks and enjoyed the ceremony. We then collapsed back in the ridiculously comfortable bed, knowing that would be the last night of peaceful bliss for at least another year.

Sunday, May 25:

Back to Cleveland, early morning.

All in all, a great time, a fun and gratifying vacation, and validation that most cartoonists lead the same kind of solitary, time-consuming, rewarding, stressful, passionate, fantastic existence!

Some pics from the weekend:

Mike’s impressive panoramic shot of the Mississippi


Cheesy but necessary photo op while touring French Quarter

Some balcony décor



Mirror/tile mosaic floor of tourist shop. Very cool.




At the Welcome cocktail event: Carla Ventresca, Henry Beckett, Terri



At the Reubens Banquet: Terri, King Features comics editor Brendan Burford, Rina Piccolo


Hillary Price, Mort Gerberg, Terri

Another panoramic view: The Banquet Hall

(We didn’t take too many event pictures. You can see more online on other cartoonist blogs/sites. I think I snuck into a few.)




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