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So I Went to the Festival of the Arts

This past week I went to the inaugural EPCOT Festival of the Arts. I had a great time at it, and I really hope that Disney does this again.

It was very much a first year event. I think it was a more popular than they expected. Several of the desserts sold out each day. I almost didn’t get my Pop’t Art! And, I never did manage to get the almond cake. Also, the Festival of the Arts print of the event sold out. It was a little frustrating as an attendee, but I’m glad to see it was doing so well.

The art at the event wasn’t what I was expecting either. Though, to be honest, I didn’t really do a lot of research. “EPCOT is having an art and food event” is enough to get me there without a lot of further reflection. The art was very much of the Wonderground/Art of Disney stripe, which was great. I was expecting a little more generic art, rather than Disney art. Kind of like that one “wine and cats” lady who sets up at Food and Wine. So seeing the more stylized Disney stuff, and the artists, was delightful.

I rather liked the Disney art, and I’d like to see a lot of more of the Wonderground artists next year. And, I’m hoping next year has a little more Scrooge art, too, once DuckTales hits the air. Hint hint.

I did find the areas hard to navigate, but that’s because as opposed to geography, everything was art based. I think there’s a natural free association between countries than between art and countries. So, I know that the Japan stand is in front of Japan, and I can make some connection Brazil and Morocco to understand that the Brazilian food (and their delicious cheese bread) is between Morocco and France. Maybe it’s that the World Showcase countries act as guideposts.

For Festival of the Arts, the food stands are themed by art. So the The Painter’s Palate pavilion, the E=A^2 pavilion. It’s on theme, but it doesn’t help you know what’s at that pavilion or what food is there. I don’t know a way around that.

The other minor complaint was that the food selections were very dessert heavy. Don’t get me wrong: I love dessert. But, for the wander-and-graze approach, I found less entree/protein choices to balance out the oh so tasty desserts. As such, there was more wandering to an entree I liked and then doubling back to dessert. Which is how I missed the almond cake.

The most fun dessert were the puzzles. Three to four pieces of chocolate that you assembled and then got to paint in frosting. And HUGE thanks to Brianne, who not only made sure that I got my Figment puzzle and paint brush when they had run out, but got the paintbrush in my choice of colors, and brought out extra colors of frosting for me. This was essential, because they didn’t have purple or orange frosting, and how do you paint Figment without those colors? He’d be off-model!

I didn’t spend too much time checking out the music. There were Disney Broadways stars, and I’m sure it would have been fun to see, but that wasn’t what drew me there. Maybe next time. Because I’ve got a feeling there will be a next time.

Food I had, shared or sampled:

  • Trio of Savory Doughnuts
  • Pop’t Art Handmade Cookie with Hazelnut Filling
  • White Chocolate Figment Puzzle
  • White Chocolate Art Painting with Chocolate Easel
  • Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • BLY with Crispy Pork Belly, Tomato Jam and Soft Poached Egg
  • Cobb Salad withSmoked Duck Breast, Avocado Mousse, Nueska’s Applewood-smoked Bacon and Bleu Cheese
  • Sous Vide Venison with Butternut Squash Purée, Pomegranate Reduction, Pickled Turnip and Jupiter Berry Powder
  • Choriqueso Taco served with Chihuahua Cheese, Red and Green Peppers over a Corn Tortilla , garnished with Poblano Peppers and Micro Cilantro (my favorite)
  • Roasted Pork Roulade with Marble Potatoes and Baby Carrots with a Red Wine Sauce Featuring Melissa’s Produce
  • Wild Mushroom Risotto, Aged Parmesean, Truffle Sahvings and Zinfandel Reduction
  • Triple Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Crunch, Dark Chocolate Sauce and Gold Leaf from Master Pastry Chef
  • 3 Daughters Queens Court Strawberry Blonde Nitro

Fifteen Years Ago

Today’s a big day for me. No, not the voting thing. Though, yeah, that’s important.

But fifteen years ago today, I left my job at the Markell Company, an ad agency that had been home for years, and jumped into the world of full freelance. I’d never really wanted that, but in January of 2001, a switch in my brain flipped and I realized that it was time to go.

It’s been a weird, wonderful ride. I’ve done a ton of work, travelled more than I ever thought I would, met a lot of great people, made some wonderful friends and every day I get to get up and do the thing that I know is the reason I am on this earth.

I’ve done things I never thought I would. As of today, I’ve written two animated TV shows (Ultimate Spider-Man and none-of-your-buisness yet), three short films (with Jon Monson-Foon) and I created three comic series: Love and Capes, Long Distanceand Raider (as well as a 24-Hour Comic Day book, Haunted). I did caricatures for a national commercial. I work on the My Little Pony comic (and a new issue comes out this month!). And that’s just what I’ve done so far. I’ve got another new series coming out next year and hopefully much more.

I proudly call myself a cartoonist.

It hasn’t all been smooth. There have been a few rocky times to be sure. But that’s okay, it’s a wave. Good times, bad times, you prepare for them and keep going. Nothing’s knocked me down for the count yet and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure nothing ever does.

I wouldn’t do anything else. I don’t know that I could.

To everyone who’s come along with me on this ride, thank you! Here’s to another fifteen years, and beyond!


My #NYCC 2016 Schedule

I’ll be at New York Comic Con this week. I’ll be at C12 in Artist Alley the whole show, excepting…

3:00-4:00pm: Signing at the IDW booth

12:30-1:30pm: I’m doing a teaching workshop  Family HQ – 1E16

Also, my “Captain Kirk and His Ladies” piece will be auctioned at the NYCC charity auction. The original and a giclee print (24×6, full color) are a package. This is the only place you can get the green wrap shirt Kirk.

I’ll have two giclee prints with gold shirt Kirk for $75 at my table. And then a more in the smaller 18×5 size, the same as my Doctors Who print at the table for $15.

Also at the table I’ll have Love and Capes, Long Distance, My Little Pony and more, including original art, sketchcards and more. I’ll be sketching all weekend long, and being a mildly amusing conversationalist, too!

My One-Act Play

So, almost a year ago, I entered a one-act play competition at the Fine Arts Association here in town. (Spoiler: I didn’t win.) It had to be a ten-page script, set in one location that you could do on a tight budget. With those things in mind, and probably some others, I went up to Panera, my preferred writing spot, and knocked out a play. Over lunch.

Is it the greatest thing in the world? I’m sure it’s not. But looking back, it’s still fun. I really want to write something Sorkin-esque, and this certainly does pay some homages there. I love sparkling dialogue. Since it won’t be produced, I think it’s about time it gets out to the world at large. So, if you want to read it, download it here.

And while it didn’t win, the script and my story of writing it as I ate a Turkey Cranberry Flatbread did lead to my association with Brian Ward and Team Slushpile for the 48-Hour Film Competitions. So I definitely won something out of it!

Space City Wrap-Up

I did the Space City Comic-Con this past weekend in lovely Houston, Texas. You may have heard about the show on the internets.

Here was my experience. All of the show volunteers and workers that I had occasion to interact with were amazing. In particular, Cheryl did an amazing job and made sure I was taken care of as best she could. That’s important, because there are always problems, but what’s more important is what’s done about those problems when they arise.

There were certainly communication issues from the start. I had to remind them to give me my hotel information, for instance. And the shuttle situation from the hotel to the show was glitchy at best. But, I managed most of those and the biggest problem I had was the Act of God storm that wiped out power and water to my hotel on Friday night. Thankfully, it was made right before I had to head to the show.

With the abrupt change in management, I imagine there will be other glitches, but I also think the show that comes out of this will be much better than the one before.

Most importantly, I had a great time. I’m fortunate that I have so many friends in Texas and they make the effort to come see me and make me feel welcome. I’ve got a decent fanbase and more than a few regular customers thanks to Fiesta Equestria and Comicpalooza (which, because of it’s later date this year I can’t do), so I couldn’t love going there more. That was all fantastic.

A couple random highlights:

I got to watch Game of Thrones with my friends and Lancel Lannister himself, Eugene Simon. That was a treat and a half.

And the show arranged a VIP tour of Johnson Space Center, which is just amazing. We got to see everything except the buoyancy pool (which is still on my list) and have a wonderful experience. Sadly, no one took me up on my “Artist in Space” idea. I mean, why should teachers get all the fun?