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LPBC Signature Breakfast Featuring Lynn

Video: LPBC Signature Breakfast Featuring Lynn

This is the video. I will transcribe the Lynn parts and comment after the cut.

https://youtu.be/W94e3R5g0dQ



The is the statement from Lynn’s News and Notes.

The National Cartoonists Society joined the LPBC in Memphis for our May 2016 Signature Breakfast, hosted by AutoZone. Three iconic cartoonists spoke at the event: Steve McGarry of The Minions and The Secret Life of Pets; Jeff Keane of “Family Circus” and Lynn Johnston of “For Better or For Worse.” The discussion centered around the business of cartooning, telling stories through art, finding inspiration, and how art can be used as a catalyst to create change in our community. At the conclusion of the event, the LPBC made a $20,000 contribution to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on behalf of the three speakers and The National Cartoonists Society.

For whatever reason, Lynn or Stephanie fails to say what this is all about. This is from their website:

http://www.thelpbc.com/

The Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club (LPBC) is a privately-funded catalyst for the Mid-South, comprised of a team of partner businesses that are combining forces and funds to host an array of media and more than 150 events each year to enrich and impact the community. The organization has been serving the Mid-South since 2005.

Intro about to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital benefit for the National Cartoonist Society, where all 3 people are credited with being there by the panel runner. I am not sure Lynn was there because she did not show up in the publicity pictures for the event.

Panel runner: Let’s start by just throwing out an easy one: What do you think of Memphis so far?

Jeff Keane: Raining.

Lynn Johnston: We haven’t had a chance to really get out and enjoy this city. We’ve heard so much… I mean it’s a legendary city. And we’re just looking for to it. This is just Day 1.

My comment: It’s just Day 1 of the National Cartoonist Society convention, in case you were wondering.

Steve McGarry talks

Lynn Johnston: Actually what’s wonderful for us is just getting together once a year. Because, as you were saying, we kind of work in our basements. You know, live next to the fridge, you know, we come up for air every so often. So to be together is exciting and last night, it’s exciting for us to watch each other draw as it is for everyone in the room to watch us ‘cause even though it’s a gift and you’re born with it, it’s still pretty magic.

My comment: Lynn brings up this “It was great to watch my fellow cartoonists draw” a few times, which is a statement that neither Jeff nor Steve makes. It makes me very suspicious of Lynn’s attendance, because she seems to be working hard to give the impression she was at the St. Jude’s benefit.

Jeff Keane: It’s one of the few events we have to wear pants for. The rest of the time we don’t.


Lynn Johnston: He has to wear pants.

Steve McGarry and Jeff Keane talk about USO tours and they make the charity side of the NCS sound fairly impressive. They talk about how NCS was successful on USO tours because they took the time to talk to the soldiers as they were drawing pictures for them.

Steve McGarry: As cartoonists we have a connection to all of you. It doesn’t matter who you are in this room, there’s a cartoon you remember in your life. It might have been the daily strip that you followed. It might your favorite animated TV show. It could be a book that you loved as a kid, but everybody in this room, somewhere in your life is a cartoon that resonated with you, and we’re lucky because we can just speak this universal language, you know, with a pen and a piece of paper, we can communicate with you instantly. Because when you think about it cartooning is probably the most accessible art form. It really is. You can find a cartoonist, we can communicate with you with a piece of paper and a pencil within seconds. You know. So it’s um..we’re lucky that we get to do this. We have a connection with all of you, if you stop and think about it for a second.

Lynn Johnston: You see the art is accessible but we’re not, and there’s a performance really that comes out in the newspaper. I did a daily comic strip that ran for about 30 years. It was a family that grew up and after about 30 years people felt as though they knew me but I hadn’t met them. But often you have an opportunity to go on a book tour for example and people who come for autographs in books really they just want to say, “Hello,” because they see every day a little bit of themselves, because we are all the same, you know, We care about our friends, and our families, and our health, and our futures, and our homes, and we all have these small intimate things that we laugh about and we wonder, “Does anybody else share my feelings about first thing in the morning, or you know, I’d like to drop this baby off a cliff right down?” and they gathered and just to say, “Hello, we connect. We’re really a part of you.” There’s a sense of friendship and community as well, so even though we haven’t met every one of you, there’s not one of you here that we couldn’t sit and enjoy a conversation with because we’ve put out there the theatre that’s in our homes and it’s connected with everybody here. So, we come out with a sense that we’ve already made friends, which I think is very rare.

My comment: Lynn connected with Steve McGarry talking about connection, but she did not quite make the connection that he was talking about connecting with people in the charity side of the NCS. Lynn goes to connecting with people in book-signing instead. Again, my “not at the charity event” alarm goes off.


Steve McGarry talks why they picked Memphis and after talking up Elvis and the Memphis recording industry, Jeff Keane says, “And you’re English?”

Steve McGarry: No, not really, I’m from Memphis. This is just shtick that I do. I like to think I’m James Bond. {imitates Sean Connery} Ah, surely not.

Lynn Johnston: Unless he’s in his underwear. You see the other side of him.

My comment: Lynn is paying attention enough to remember Jeff and Steve’s underwear joke. Go figure.

Steve McGarry: Well, you don’t know what James Bond looks like in his underwear. I could be.

Lynn Johnston: Right.

Steve McGarry: I spoke too soon. (and then he says some other stuff about how wonderful Memphis is}.


Panel runner: So let’s make it more personal. Talk about how you got into the business, what was your first job, just how did you become a cartoonist?

Steve McGarry: Me? All right, I’ll go. I’m probably…

Jeff Keane: This is one of the unseen faces of listening to you.

Lynn Johnston: I was five. I got paid for my first cartoon at the age of five.

Jeff Keane: I just opened my eyes and my dad said, “Do something funny.”


My comment: This part is really funny, because Jeff Keane actually one-ups Lynn who made the claim of getting paid at age 5. He doesn’t bite on the story or ask her to elaborate.

Steve McGarry: Jeff does this strip, The Family Circus, which he inherited from his dad. I don’t know if you realize but Jeff was the model for little Jeffy in the cartoon strip and he grew up to be big Jeffy and he draws the cartoon strip now.

Jeff Keane: Although you can tell how long ago that was by looking at me.

Lynn Johnston: Can I tell the big one? Jeff was the really the model for the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.

Jeff Keane: Before he changes.


My comment: This line from Jeff confuses me. I can’t tell if he is making a joke at his expense or if he is acknowledging he has heard Lynn’s story before. Later on he acts like he has not heard the story before.

Lynn Johnston:
No, I was in his brother’s studio as he was designing the character and all these different beasts, and photographs of lions and tigers and you know things with horns and he kept saying, “I just can’t figure out how I am going to design something that looks kind of rough and sinister, but has a gentle, is ugly but is handsome, and then he said, “I just started to think of my brother.” So, have a look at the Beast when you see Beauty and the Beast.

Jeff Keane: I never knew that. I need to call Glen.


My comment: Here Jeff sounds like he has not heard this story before. In this interview with Glen Keane, he does not tell that story, but instead said he modeled the Beast from gorillas and buffaloes. I found another interview with Glen Keane where he claimed to have modeled the Little Mermaid off his wife, so this story is not entirely impossible. Nevertheless, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast does not really look like Jeff Keane and it seems unlikely Jeff would not have heard this story considering how famous the movie was.


http://www.aimeemajor.com/anim/dkeane.html

Steve McGarry talks about his background and how, unlike his American counterparts, his model was not Charles Schulz, but Andy Capp. When he mentions Schulz, you can see Lynn’s “Sparky” light go on, and you can tell the very next thing she says is going to be about Sparky.

Panel runner: Give us one, I mean obviously you done some pretty amazing things as the result of your art, but give us one thing that stands out to you as a fun experience, either a project you’ve worked on or somewhere you got to go or someone you met through your art.

Lynn Johnston: Well, I have to say meeting Charles Schulz for me was the top. I was sitting in my studio. I just.. I had my contract for a couple of years. I had worked up this little storyline. I was struggling, because they call that little chunk of the paper real estate, so you have to be worth that piece of real estate every single day of your life and you know, if you imagine taking out an advertisement in your local paper how much that would cost you every single day. So, it’s a pretty terrible …uh… challenge to try and fill that to the best of your ability and it takes 3 years really before people care enough to want to read more because it takes less than two seconds really if you think about panel, panel, panel, gone to the next panel. For people to read that every single day and eventually it smacks them in the head and they say, “Oh maybe I’ll read that again.” So, he called me at home and he said, “Just wanted to tell you that I like what you do” and I said, “Who?” and he said, “Charles Schulz” and I said, “Who?” and he said, “I do Peanuts.” Apologetically but for me that would that was the mark of acceptance that how often do you get your hero to say that you’re doing well, so that to me was the biggest and best sense that I had managed to earn that piece of real estate.


My comment: Lynn really rambles here. She talks about meeting Charles Schulz, but then tells her usual story about getting a phone call from Schulz and not the meeting. Then she ties that phone call into what is becoming her standard story about real estate.


Steve McGarry talks about meeting the Manchester United players.

Jeff Keane: This is my highlight. (and some more talking)

Panel runner: Talk about where you draw your inspiration because I mean obviously you got two that come from more of a family side, but talk about where inspiration comes for you personally.


Jeff Keane talks about taking his Family Circus type storylines and trying to modernize the dialogue.

Lynn Johnston: We ask each other all the time, “Where do you get your ideas?” I mean and we love to watch each other draw because it’s like a signature. You know you draw your signature a thousand times but somebody else would have a real rough time copying your signature. So we like to watch each other because it’s always magic. You say, “Where do the ideas come from?” You really don’t know. But you get into a zone. It’s sort of like, if you imagined your neighbor goes out of town or you go out of town or you really don’t like your neighbor very much and you’re always concerned about the relationship with your neighbor, when you come back from being out of town they’ve built a fence on your side of the property and they’ve got a mean dog and they’ve moved in some buddies. And now you’ve got to deal with a situation where you know, somebody could sue somebody and there could be some fighting and don’t you lie away at night thinking all night long about how am I going to approach him and what would I say and if I said this, he would say that, and then I know that guy that he’s hired and that guy might have to deal with my lawyer and don’t you work out conversations? Or let’s say you’re in love with somebody and you would really like to spend locked in a car for a night with that person. Don’t you think and then they would say and then I would say and then they would say and then I would say. It’s that imagined conversation that goes back and forth and then don’t you find sometimes when you’re in the middle of a great conversation with friends, somebody will make a line and you just shoot back with a one-liner and you say, “Wow! Where did that come from?” That was so funny and you laugh and it just gives you such joy. And none of us knows where that comes from. It comes from memories and experience and being on record all the time and poems you had to learn as a kid, and cartoons you read somewhere, or trips you’ve been on. So, you’re always on record, but we have to come up with that stuff. So you put days aside where you talk to yourself like you’re attacking your neighbor for putting the fence on your side and it’s um… We’re very strange people. We live in a fantasy world and a real one, but we can control the fantasy world. We get really upset when we can’t control the real one.

My comment: Lynn is all over the map with this answer. She doesn’t know where she gets her ideas and then she tells a long story about how she gets her ideas. I am surprised she didn’t go with the Schenectady answer. She uses the phrase “on record” a few times here and I am not sure what she thinks that means.


Steve McGarry talks about drawing Minions and about how the Spongebob Squarepants artist was like a rock star and how 6 nuns mugged Jeff because they loved the Family Circus.

Lynn Johnston: Can I just tell a fast story? What we do is we connect with your imaginary world. ‘Cause some people draw imaginary worlds, some people love to see those imaginary worlds and live in them and that’s why superheroes are so popular. We all wish we could be a superhero for just one second, I would nail that guy. And one time Jim Davis who does Garfield was signing books in bookstore with Darth Vader. Star Wars had just come out with this big coffee table book and there was this mass of group of people with all little families and kids and 9-year-old boys and goofy kids with their toys lined up for Jim Davis. There were weird people lined up for Darth Vader, who’s behind his desk going {imitates Darth Vader heavy breathing} “Name please” signing books and somebody in the lineup took out a knife and ran up to Darth Vader to stab him, right? And the guy had to stand up and take off all his clothes and say, “I’m just a guy. I’m just a guy in this outfit.” So, it’s surprising how seriously people take their fantasy. And we’re part and periphery of that. We do pretty gentle fantasies, some of us do. Except I’ve seen some pretty wild fantasy from some of these guys. But the fantasy…

Jeff Keane: Really?


My comment: Jeff Keane sounds very close to throwing the flag on this one as a complete nonsense story, which it obviously is. First of all, you have the idea that the line for Darth Vader would not be made of the 9-year-old boys and goofy kids with their toys. Second, Lynn doesn’t seem to get that she has just told a story of attempted murder being done in front of small children.

Panel runner: We do have Phelps security here, so we’re good.

Lynn Johnston: Oh yeah.


Steve McGarry talks about New Yorker cartoonist Arnie Roth being asked to draw Spider-Man and Garfield by young kids.

Panel runner: Talk about how art does create change. You alluded to the personal connection. Jeff was talking about going over there and you have to ask questions to get to know the troops to be able to draw them and build that relationship. You know and Lynn you were talking about the personalization that you’re connecting and to your point Steve like everyone has a cartoon they associate with. But talk about how you personally see art create change.


My comment: The only person who rambles as much as Lynn is this unnamed panel runner.

Lynn Johnston: I think the political cartoonists have done more than any columnist, any character that you would see who would be representing both countries on television. That cartoonists are. They say what people should say and can’t, but they say it in such a way that it is palatable, but it hits home. And I think many a cartoons are considered dangerous and I think that’s why some have been killed.


My comment: A short, concise and actually excellent point made by Lynn. Don’t worry. It won’t last.

Steve McGarry talks about how there are brave cartoonists in the world.

Lynn Johnston: One of the most I guess compelling cartoons I ever saw won an international award in Bulgaria and it was a man on his hands and knees and he was raising his hands in joy that he was freed from the chains that had bound his hands together. They chopped off his hands. The chains were down but his hands were just stumps. So the government had cut off his hands and freed him but he was still a victim and he was still a prisoner. So that image alone you couldn’t write a composition that would give you that amount of knowledge and understanding and deep connection to the country at that time.

My comment: So the man is happy his hands were chopped off so he could be free, but he was still a prisoner. Lynn can’t keep her description of this one straight. I had no luck finding this political cartoon based on this description and neither Steve McGarry nor Jeff Keane pops up to say, “Oh yeah. That was the great Bulgarian cartoonist, whatisface.” Steve McGarry is so taken aback from Lynn’s description he can barely follow it up.


Panel runner: Tell us. You’ve got a room full of change makers here. Community leaders. What advice would you give them because obviously some of us are creative, some of us aren’t. Some of us are searching for inspiration and our muse, but what advice would you give us on how can become more creative with our businesses, become more creative with really crafting our legacy and just making a difference. How can we tap into that based on your expertise? How can we be more creative? How can we leverage our artistic talents better? What advice would you give us?

Lynn Johnston: Support the arts. Support the arts. Support the arts. Dance. Theatre. Music. Support the arts.

My comment: They clap for Lynn here, but she doesn’t seem to get the point of the question. Fortunately Jeff Keane and Steve McGarry do.

Jeff Keane talks about all his family was in the arts, but not just in drawing. Do all the things you like to do, no matter what art that is. Encourages sales people to listen to other perspectives so that you can get to your customer in other ways.

Steve McGarry said next time you are putting together your next campaign that art is a fast and easy way to resonate to help you convey your message.

And then they hand them the giant check for St. Jude's and that’s it.
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