Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ed Koren | Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts

Back in the late 60's, Vermont established an annual award called the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. Over the years, it's been awarded to some well-known artists such as playwright David Mamet and Director Jay Craven and many who I'm not familiar with but I'm guessing I should. Well, one of the things I like about Vermont is that this year, the award was given to a cartoonist.

On Friday, Ed Koren, the longtime cartoonist for The New Yorker and many other publications, was given the 2007 award. The ceremony was held in the Representative's Hall in the state house which is always a beautiful room to hang in for a while. It was the fourth or fifth time I've been in the room and none of them had anything to do with watching the legislature. It's cool how accessible and open the room is to the public. I'm guessing the similar chambers in Albany and Boston aren't as open to the public.

Filmmaker, John O'Brien, who is best known for his trilogy of films surrounding Fred Tuttle and Tunbridge, gave a speech honoring Ed Koren which was pretty funny at times. His best line was regarding how odd it is that Koren doubles as the captain of the Brookfield Fire Department. "It's strange to see Ed on the scene of an accident or fire. It's not like you ever happen to see Annie Leibovitz working as a crossing guard or anything."

That's US Representative Peter Welch's bald spot to the side of Ed Koren. I missed most of Welch's speech though. Governor Douglas also gave a few remarks after O'Brien and, in his usual fashion, he was as stiff as a three-day-old corpse.

After Koren received the award, he had a slide show of some of his cartoons. It was great for me because there are a bunch of his cartoons that are too esoteric for me. I often have no idea what he's joking about. So, it was nice to have an explanation to go along with the cartoon.

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