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Wonder Woman (or at Least Her Artist) Visits Cartoon Art Museum

Cartoon enthusiasts, graphic novelists and folks from all over the Bay Area braved the rain to meet Wonder Woman – or at least the first woman to draw her – at the Cartoon Art Museum Saturday and Sunday. The occasion was a pop-up Women’s Comic Marketplace, and Trina Robbins, the first female illustrator of the feminist icon, was on hand along with 20 or so exhibitors whose work reflected the rich variety of styles and subject matter in women’s comics today.

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Trina Robbins, the first woman to draw Wonder Woman, with some examples of her cartoon art. (Photo credit: Jessica Christianson)
Trina Robbins, the first woman to draw Wonder Woman, with some examples of her cartoon art. (Photo credit: Jessica Christianson)

By Janis Mara
Bay City News Service

Cartoon enthusiasts, graphic novelists and folks from all over the Bay Area braved the rain to meet Wonder Woman – or at least the first woman to draw her – at the Cartoon Art Museum Saturday and Sunday.

The occasion was a pop-up Women’s Comic Marketplace, and Trina Robbins, the first female illustrator of the feminist icon, was on hand along with 20 or so exhibitors whose work reflected the rich variety of styles and subject matter in women’s comics today.

“We love comic books. We are vibing out,” said Valaree Garcia of San Francisco, who attended the event with her partner Sunday. “Every single booth is amazing, every woman is telling her story her own way.”

Exhibitor Avy Jetter of Oakland displayed her indie comic “Nuthin’ Good Ever Happens at 4 a.m.” which offers an Equal Opportunity look at the world of zombies, with an all-black cast of undead.

Around the corner at another table was cartoonist Jules Rivera, a surfer who detailed her dive into the largely male world of surfing in one of her first zines.

“I was already an aqua creature. I grew up in Orlando and had always lived on the beach,” Rivera said. When she moved to California, becoming a surfer came easily.

Rivera took over the decades-old Washington Post cartoon strip “Mark Trail” in 2020. The conservation-minded but rather conventional male character quickly got a makeover.

Rivera said, “I made him hot. They always intended him to be hot, they just went about it the wrong way.” In her zine, “Thirst Trapped in a Cave,” Rivera depicts Trail in a series of seductive poses she describes as “pinups.”

While many of the exhibitors create material intended for adults, Jen de Oliveira, a Livermore resident, is the co-creator of Sunday Haha, a free weekly comics newsletter for kids.

Children were much in evidence at the event, grouped around a table in the back industriously coloring and drawing, gathered in front of a big screen in another room watching (what else?) cartoons, sprawled on the floor reading (what else?) comic books.

At 4 p.m., the event adjourned to the library for tea with Robbins and Marrs.

Sitting at a round table sipping tea and eating gingersnaps, the two shared stories of their lives in the comics field.

Marrs, a Berkeley resident, created the comic book series, “The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge, Girl Blimp,” which was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2017, the highest honor bestowed in the comic book world.

In 1972, Robbins, a San Francisco resident, wrote and drew a short story called “Sandy Comes Out,” starring the first lesbian comic-book character outside of pornography. Shifting gears, she began drawing for DC Comics in the 1980s, and since then has authored several books and continues to write and draw comics.

“Lee Marrs and Trina Robbins talking about feminism, and the younger artists writing graphic novels about their lives – you don’t have to create a universe. You don’t have to make up a planet” the way traditional cartoonists have done, said Ron Evans, chair of the museum’s board of trustees, who was on hand for the event.

“It’s what you experience, and it’s much more relatable,” Evans said. Reading about common experiences in graphic novels and cartoons can make people, especially young people, feel less alone.

“In school you’re taught to write about what you know, and that’s what they’re doing. It’s cathartic, and who knows? Maybe it will help other people.”

Copyright © 2023 Bay City News, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Republication, rebroadcast or redistribution without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited. Bay City News is a 24/7 news service covering the greater Bay Area.

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Art

The Presidio to Unveil SUPERBLOOMS, an Art Installation on July14

Tosha Stimage stood on the new Presidio Tunnel Tops and took a breath. She inhaled the salty air, and her eyes wandered over the sparkling waters of the San Francisco Bay, and the Golden Gate Bridge, shrouded in mist. She delicately explored the nearby plants, their touch and their smell bringing a sense of connection to nature, she said, that resonated deep within her. Tosha, a multimedia artist and floral designer, has translated those sensations into her new work, SUPERBLOOMS — a colorful ground mural installation on view to Presidio National Park Site visitors starting in mid-June.

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Left to right, Tosha Stimage and Favianna Rodriguez. Photo by Felipe Romero, Presidio Trust
Left to right, Tosha Stimage and Favianna Rodriguez. Photo by Felipe Romero, Presidio Trust

By Tosha Stimage

Tosha Stimage stood on the new Presidio Tunnel Tops and took a breath. She inhaled the salty air, and her eyes wandered over the sparkling waters of the San Francisco Bay, and the Golden Gate Bridge, shrouded in mist. She delicately explored the nearby plants, their touch and their smell bringing a sense of connection to nature, she said, that resonated deep within her.

Tosha, a multimedia artist and floral designer, has translated those sensations into her new work, SUPERBLOOMS — a colorful ground mural installation on view to Presidio National Park Site visitors starting in mid-June. Shapes referencing the delicate tendrils of the Chilean strawberry, the pink Checkerbloom and the fiery California poppy all express the resilience and beauty of these native plant treasures.

SUPERBLOOMS is the third installation of the Ancestral Futurism Public Art Mentorship program, a project led by Oakland-based artist and environmental justice activist, Favianna Rodriguez. It invites emerging and mid-career BIPOC artists to develop temporary installations at the Presidio Tunnel Tops.

“The model of indigenous/community-led, environmentally informed practices in our public spaces is one example of how we might create more equity and inclusion in our world,” Tosha said. “Art can express the inseparable connection that requires us to consider not only ourselves but our fellow person and planet.”

There’s more to enjoy this summer at the Presidio Tunnel Tops, which opened in July 2022, and has since welcomed some 3 million visitors since. There are outdoor spots for family gatherings, the Outpost playground, views like no other, Presidio Pop Up food trucks, and plenty of free events.

Come to the free SUPERBLOOMS art launch party to enjoy hands-on artmaking, DJ music, plant starters, and more. Sunday, July 14, 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm at Presidio Tunnel Tops, 210 Lincoln Blvd. presidio.gov

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Mayor Breed, Actor Morris Chestnut Attend S.F.’s Indie Night Film Festival

On June 1, the acclaimed Los Angeles-based Indie Night Film Festival arrived at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco. San Francisco native Dave Brown, Founder and CEO of the Indie Night Film Festival, has a vision for the film industry that is squarely focused on promoting the many talented producers, actors, and designers contributing to this billion-dollar industry. The festival has been running for 12 years and it’s only up from here, he says.

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(Left to Right) Dave Brown, CEO, Indie Night Festival, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and actor Morris Chestnut. Photo by Y’Anad Burrell
(Left to Right) Dave Brown, CEO, Indie Night Festival, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and actor Morris Chestnut. Photo by Y’Anad Burrell

By Y’Anad Burrell

On June 1, the acclaimed Los Angeles-based Indie Night Film Festival arrived at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco.

San Francisco native Dave Brown, Founder and CEO of the Indie Night Film Festival, has a vision for the film industry that is squarely focused on promoting the many talented producers, actors, and designers contributing to this billion-dollar industry.  The festival has been running for 12 years and it’s only up from here, he says.

A weekly celebration of cinematic artistry designed to elevate emerging talent while providing a platform for networking and collaboration, entrepreneur Dave Brown created Indie Night to bridge gaps within the filmmaking community by fostering connections between like-minded individuals worldwide. The Indie Film Festival currently has over 450 film submissions worldwide, and its cinematic vault only continues to grow.

The festival showcased over 10 short films and trailers, and featured Faces of the “City: Fighting for the Soul of America,” produced by veteran actor Tisha Campbell.  This film is about the vibrancy and legacy of San Francisco. The festival also previewed “When It Reigns,” a trailer by Oakland’s burgeoning filmmaker Jamaica René.

Indie films have not just challenged traditional cinematic norms; they’ve shattered them. These films offer unique storytelling perspectives and push creative boundaries in truly inspiring ways. With their smaller budgets and independent spirit, they often tackle unconventional subjects and portray diverse characters, providing a refreshing alternative to mainstream cinema. As a result, indie films have resonated with audiences seeking an escape from formulaic blockbusters and are increasingly celebrated for their authenticity and originality.

Organizers say the mission of Indie Night is to elevate the craft of independent artists and creators. It also provides a venue for them to showcase their work, network, and exchange information with new and established creatives. It creates a community that values and supports independent art.

For more about the Indie Night Film Festival, visit www.indienightfilmfestival.com.

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El Cerrito Calls for Artists to Transform Its Utility Boxes

The City of El Cerrito’s Arts & Culture Commission is seeking individual artists, teams of artists or community groups to apply for its “2024 Utility Box Public Art Program.” The project is a beautification initiative designed to add to the vibrancy of the San Pablo Avenue corridor by having community artists transform unsightly utility boxes into attractive works of art, according to the City.

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An artist stands by their work that transformed the utility box from drab to fab. Photo courtesy of the City of El Cerrito.
An artist stands by their work that transformed the utility box from drab to fab. Photo courtesy of the City of El Cerrito.

By Kathy Chouteau

The Richmond Standard

Do you have an idea for beautifying urban public spaces with your art? If so, this initiative might be perfect for you.

The City of El Cerrito’s Arts & Culture Commission is seeking individual artists, teams of artists or community groups to apply for its “2024 Utility Box Public Art Program.” The project is a beautification initiative designed to add to the vibrancy of the San Pablo Avenue corridor by having community artists transform unsightly utility boxes into attractive works of art, according to the City.

This program’s theme is “Artwork that Celebrates El Cerrito’s Natural Beauty and Environment,” and any artist/team/community group residing in Contra Costa County can apply. The boxes, including one main utility box and a smaller traffic signal box adjacent to each other, are located at Ashbury and Fairmount Avenues, next to Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito.

A $2,500 stipend is offered for each utility box completed and the application is due Friday, June 14, at 4 p.m. Work on the boxes begins Aug. 5, with work to be completed by Sept. 6.

To date, eight utility boxes have been painted by local artists as part of the initiative throughout 2021 to 2023. Artists including Adaleyd DeLeon, Kristen Kong, Shanna Strauss, Martial Yapo, Jesse White and Ricardo Cerezo have been selected by the city to beautify utility boxes with their art since the program’s inception.

Questions? Contact Will Provost at 510-215-4318 or wprovost@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us. Applications can be submitted online https://el-cerrito.org/1522/Utility-Box-Public-Art-Program

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