Episode 149 – Keith Knight

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Virtual Memories Show #149: Keith Knight

“The talk about race in America hinges on how comfortable white people are with it. Because once white people are too uncomfortable, they’ll either say you’re pulling the race card, or just say, ‘Enough.'”

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We kick off 2016 with gentleman cartoonist Keith Knight! Keith & I met up at a cafe in Chapel Hill to talk about comics, race, fixing the Star Wars prequels, his career as a Michael Jackson impersonator, the literature course that made him a political artist, his campus lecture tour on race relations, the importance of crowdfunding, the reasons he continues with a daily comic strip (and two more strips), why you never see black people on Antiques Roadshow, the songs that will turn any party out (excluding tracks by MJ and Prince), the case for Off The Wall over Thriller, whether it’s an honor or a disgrace to be the first non-white guest on this podcast in two years, and more! Give it a listen! (the conversation starts at the 7:30 mark)

“The comics industry needs to catch up to its audience, because the creative side is not as diverse is not as diverse as their readers.”

BONUS: I launch a Patreon for the Virtual Memories Show! You get to hear me talk about all the neat stuff I’m planning for the show if we get enough support from listeners like you!

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Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes! You might like:

Follow The Virtual Memories Show on iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Keith Knight is many things to many people–rapper, social activist, father and educator among them. He’s also one of the funniest and most highly regarded cartoonists in America, and the creator of three popular comic strips: the Knight Life, (th)ink, and the K Chronicles. For nearly two decades, this multi-award-winning artist has brought the funny back to the funny pages with a uniquely personal style that’s a cross between Calvin & Hobbes, MAD, and underground comix. Keith Knight is part of a generation of African-American artists who were raised on hip-hop, and infuse their work with urgency, edge, humor, satire, politics and race. His art has appeared in various publications worldwide, including the Washington Post, Daily KOS, San Francisco Chronicle, Salon.com, Ebony, ESPN the Magazine, L.A. Weekly, MAD Magazine, and the Funny Times. His comic musings on race have garnered accolades and stirred controversies, prompting CNN to tap him to grade America on its progress concerning issues of race. Follow him on Twitter and support his work on Patreon.

Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission of the artist. The conversation was recorded at Caffe Driade in Chapel Hill on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Blue Yeti USB Microphone. Processing was done in Audacity and Logic Pro. “Yellow scarf” photos of Mr. Knight by me, no credit for the photo of him with a marker..

Podcast: Cartoon Character

Virtual Memories – season 3 episode 6
Matt Wuerker – Cartoon Character

“Political cartoonists have it easy: we turn on the TV or computer and Sarah Palin has said some inane thing . . . and the cartoons can write themselves. In the world of cartooning, we’re the lazy bastards.”

Matt Wuerker, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, joins The Virtual Memories Show to talk about his career (including his fascinating non-comics work and his prescient move to the online world with POLITICO), the experience of winning “the Academy Award for cartoonists”, his artistic and political influences, what it takes to get on the NRA’s Enemies List, the opportunities for editorial cartoonists in a post-print world, how his parents felt about his decision to become a cartoonist, whether he had it easier during the Bush/Cheney era or the Tea Party era, and why he thinks the golden age of cartooning is still ahead of us!

“One of the great cosmic quandaries for cartoonists is that what’s bad for the world is great for cartooning.”

Matt Wuerker on The Virtual Memories Show

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out our archives for more great talks!

Follow The Virtual Memories Show on iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Matt Wuerker has been POLITICO’s editorial cartoonist and illustrator since its launch in 2007. In 2012, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, POLITICO’s first Pulitzer win. In 2009, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning. Over the past 25 years, his work has appeared in publications ranging from The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times to Smithsonian and the Nation, among many others. Along the way, he’s also pursued other artistic tangents that have included claymation, outdoor murals, teaching cartooning in prison (as a visitor, not as an inmate), book illustration and animating music videos. Matt thinks Saul Steinberg is a cartoon god and the Peter Principle explains pretty much everything, and he also thinks the maxim “If you’re not confused, you’re just not thinking clearly” is one of the wisest things ever said. Matt lives in Washington, D.C., in close proximity to the National Zoo and the Swiss Embassy. Depending how bad things get, he hopes to find asylum in one or the other.

Credits: This episode’s music is Nobody’s Home by Ulrich Schnauss. The conversation was recorded at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, D.C., on a pair of AT2020 mics, feeding into a Zoom H4n recorder. I recorded the other material on a Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone into Audacity. All editing and processing was done in Garage Band.

What It Is: 6/29/09

What I’m reading: Plutarch’s life of Aemilius Paulus, and a little of The Hunter, a Richard Stark (Donald Westlake) book. But I’m in the home-stretch for my Top Companies ish, so I’ve just been reading a lot of SEC filings, analyst reports and various pharma-bloggers.

What I’m listening to: A whole ton of Michael Jackson music.

What I’m watching: A whole ton of Michael Jackson videos. And the Yankees beating up the Mets.

What I’m drinking: Blue Point Blueberry Ale.

What Rufus is up to: Going on his first greyhound hike in about 8 weeks and having a great time catching up with his pals.

Where I’m going: On a weeklong vacation (to nowhere) once this issue is done.

What I’m happy about: The Top Companies issue is just about done. It’s gonna be a hard couple of days to finish it, but I can visualize the end of it.

What I’m sad about: That Dad’s gout has stuck around, making his life pretty miserable.

What I’m worried about: Getting in trouble because I failed to mail back my jury duty notice. See, I misread the form and thought I was only supposed to mail it in if I was trying to get a deferral. Oops. On the upside, my juror number is above the cut-off point, so I won’t have to go serve on Tuesday.

What I’m pondering: Whether Ron Rosenbaum knows anyone under the age of 40.

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