Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stanley Award Winners!

Jozef and I attended the Australian Cartoonists' Association Conference, as well as the 25th annual Stanley Awards dinner during the weekend of 13-14 November 2009. We had presented a 30-minute talk two years ago at the Wollongong conference, but this was our first time attending as delegates.

We had a fabulous time. The cartoonist contingent was warm, funny and exceptionally clever. We even got dressed up for dinner – Jozef in a black jacket, a nice snazzy crushed white shirt and black patent and gold Dolce and Gabbana sneakers (no jeans or hoodie in sight). I wored black satin pants with a crushed black blouse with pink and blue embellishments and my new black suede 1950s-style pumps, which were surprisingly comfortable despite the heel height. Dinner consisted of mixed canapĂ©s – Vietnamese rice paper rolls, salmon gravlax, panko bread-crumbed chicken drummettes and Japanese gyozas (all served with their individual sauces). The main was a choice of beef or pumpkin risotto, and the dessert was a berry meringue tart. The table centrepieces had Ferrero Rocher and Lindor Balls secreted away inside them, but I have an uncanny knack of sniffing out hidden chocolate so we found them even before dinner had commenced. Needless to say we got a huge sugar shot on the night.

The company was terrific and our raucous laughs could be heard every few minutes. The actual dinner was held at one of the rooms in the Darling Harbour Convention Centre, which had a wonderful view of the harbour and a Sydney-scape full of night lights.

But the most important part was the actual Awards themselves and we were lucky to have been seated at the table with freelance political cartoonist, Adelaide-based Peter Broelman who picked up two official awards on the night – Cartoonist of the Year and Editorial/Political Cartoonist of the Year. Broelman acknowledged the global financial crisis, the swine flu outbreak, and the asylum seekers in his speech.

Other Stanley Award winners include – Gary Clark (comic strip Swamp), Matt Golding (single gag cartoons), Anton Emdin (illustrations), David Follett (media graphic artist) and John Spooner (caricatures).

During the actual conference, Jozef and I sat near a cultured elderly man with a white mop of hair. We offered up our seats to who we thought was his wife, but she declined. Later on we found out that this gentleman was no other than Mr Squiggle creator and former Bulletin cartoonist 88-year old Norman Hetherington, who was awarded the Jim Russell Award for outstanding contribution to Australian cartooning. Mr Hetherington was met with a standing ovation during his speech.

We also had an opportunity to have a chat with MAD Magazine caricaturist Tom Richmond. I told him a story of my travels through the USA during the late 70s when I was a kid. My family had gone on an overseas trip for six months and we had finished our US leg in New York City. I was buying gifts for all my school class mates and I bought up ten MAD books for the boys. Needless to say, my love affair with MAD began at that moment – I loved the books so much I kept them and indeed still have them. There's nothing like the film parodies or Spy vs Spy to keep you laughing. When Jozef and I had the good fortune to be given a tour of the DC offices after the 2007 New York ComicCon, the bit I loved seeing the most and which brought back the nicest memories was the MAD offices.

During the Stanley Award presentation, our FaceBook friend and now real-life friend Jules Faber announced the first inductees into the Hall of Fame. These honourees were Ginger Meggs creator, Jim Bancks, Stan Cross, Will Dyson, Percy Leason, Norman Lindsay and Pulitzer Prize winning Australian political cartoonist Pat Oliphant.

It was a fabulous night and we thank Jules Faber for helping make it happen.

For more information about the Australian Cartoonists' Association check out their website.

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