Friday, March 18, 2011


The grammy-award winning, bluegrass-banjo-player and composer, Steve Martin performed three shows this week at Joe's Pub with the Steep Canyon Rangers in honor of their newly released album, Rare Bird Alert.

I could write here about the fine musical chops of the collaboration, how Mr. Martin brings all of his comedy training to bear in his role as the evening's host, mixing charming self-deprecation with a comically inflated ego, channeling the spirit of Jack Benny and his violin but twisting it to fit an imaginary version of Steve Martin, a rich, comfortable dilettante with talent.

I could go on about how the band serves as both gifted accompanists and comic foils serving Mr. Martin's music with the respect and joy it deserves while, with tongue-in-cheek winks, performing the roles of annoyed hired hands.

I could do all of that, yes. For he is a great man and his show is a great show.

But, whatever.

Instead--and this is both deeply personal and perhaps inappropriate--I take the opportunity here to point out that Steve Martin is the pen and ink artist's nightmare, a pasty white man with white hair in an off white suit holding a banjo (the only instrument that combines a perfect circle, a white drum skin and a long straight neck--a trifecta of freehand challenges).

Mr. Martin is a master of many skills, several of which come to bear in his current act, including his restless inability to be pinned down.

Just saying.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Cabinet of Wonders

(Eugene Mirman and his theremin.)

I've had the good fortune to perform some live drawing a few times with John Wesley Harding and Eugene Mirman's Cabinet of Wonders, late of La Poisson Rouge and more recently appearing at City Winery. The show is a combination of Wes and Eugene's music and comedy respectively (and sometimes combined) with an array of remarkable musicians and writers. The level of talent and celebrity that appears at a typical Cabinet show is a testament to Wes's ability to gather greatness around him and let the players play. That said, this last weekend's show was exceptional even by the exceptional standards Wes and Eugene have established. Josh Ritter, Tift Merritt, Kristin Hersh, Andrew Bird, David Wax Museum, Paul Muldoon and Jonathan Coe performed individually, together and with Wes's backing band, The English UK. (Updated video: David Wax Museum w/ Andrew Bird from the show.)

You can read about the show here and here and you can watch an iPhone video of Josh's Cabinet performance of Galahad here (and, of course, the animated video I made for Galahad here).

I got to hang out during sound-check and backstage before the show and managed to catch a few drawings. If I can't be at SXSW this year, this was a nice way to socialize and enjoy a bunch of great music all in one place . . .

(Josh Ritter at sound-check.)

(Robert Lloyd, in the green-room.)

(Andrew Bird at Sound-check.)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Drag Lines

I've spent the last couple of weeks, sitting in on rehearsals and previews of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which opens on Broadway on March 20th. I can't share those drawings yet, but this is a page from my sketchbook, drawn on the train as I rode back and forth from Brooklyn to Midtown . . .