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Behind the Lines: Cartoonists to Descend on Salt Lake, Seagulls Awaiting Instruction
First Published Jun 03 2013 02:33 pm • Last Updated Jun 12 2013 06:50 am

Behind the Lines has been on temporary hiatus, but I am back. Going forward I plan to invite guests to discuss a cartoon from the previous week, but for the next few weeks I go totally nonpartisan and become an unapologetic booster for Salt Lake and Utah.

I am hosting the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, June 27-29, right here in Salt Lake City. I’ll be using BTL to give a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming cartoonist confab.

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In less than a month my peers from all over the nation will gather to renew acquaintances, discuss the state of our profession, and learn what SLC and Utah are all about. Some of the most talented and influential people in American political art will be strolling our streets.

Like many first-time visitors, they come with misconceptions and trepidation about the Beehive State. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to reassure them that, yes, you can get a drink and,no, polygamists don’t wear beards and drive around in buggies packed with wives. Well, not all of them.

There will be panels, discussions, art workshops, receptions, luncheons and a gala unlike anything ever seen this side of the Mississippi.

And you’re invited.

Events which are free and open to the public include lectures and panels at The Leonardo on Thursday and Friday. You can check out the schedule at the AAEC website.

On the evening of Thursday, June 27th come enjoy "Cartoonist Death Match" at The Tavernacle Piano Bar. San Francisco comedian Todd Zuniga retools his "Literary Death Match" for us scribblers. A panel of Salt Lake celebrities will sit in judgment on competing teams of cartoonists. Expect anything.

On Saturday the Salt Lake Library and the AAEC are presenting "Satire and the Sacred: From Mohammed to Mormon Underwear", which features National Book Award winner and First Amendment absolutist, Victor Navasky, and BYU Islamic Studies professor, Daniel Peterson. Yours truly will be moderating.

There will also be children’s art workshops at The Leonardo, the Natural History Museum of Utah, and the Salt Lake Library. Here’s a chance for your children to learn cartooning from some of the masters of the craft. Watch this space for details.


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People who are true devotees of cartooning are welcome to register for the convention, which means added access to activities usually reserved for members.

These include breakfasts, a unique Salt Lake bus tour, a luncheon with special guest speaker at The Leonardo, and the Oliphant Reception at the NHMU Sky Gallery.

Pat Oliphant, whose cartoons occasionally appear in the Tribune, is the ObiWan Kenobi of cartoonists and will be celebrated for a lifetime of great cartoons, some of which helped bring down a president. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Oliphant revolutionized American editorial cartooning in the 60s, and his attendance is a rare honor. Guests will be treated to a demonstration of the master at work in the museum’s Sky Gallery, as well as to food and refreshment.

Registrants are also entitled to attend the "Cartoons and Cocktails" gala, though tickets for this event can be bought separately by the public.

"Cartoons and Cocktails" will be the highlight of the convention and dozens of original cartoons by America’s great cartoonists, including Pulitzer Prize winners, will be on display. Here is your chance to own an original "Doonesbury" from Garry Trudeau, or bid on a cartoonist whose work hangs in George Clooney’s office. These, as well as items donated by local artists and businesses, will be part of a live and a silent auction. The evening includes stand-up comedy and music by The Hot Cub of Zion. The party starts at Little America, Saturday June 29, 6:30 p.m.

I am truly excited to introduce this beautiful city and state to my peers. I’m also looking forward to introducing you to my talented colleagues. See you there!



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