Thursday, January 16, 2003

Knip's eye view

Cartoonist draws from the South he knows


Seen around town: That would be Doug Marlette, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, playwright, scriptwriter, novelist and, in the words of Enquirer cartoonist Jim Borgman, "A complete Renaissance Man."

He was here last week promoting The Bridge (Perennial; $13.95), his wonderfully snide, semi-autobiographical novel about Pick Cantrell, a New York cartoonist (go figure) going home to Eno, N.C., to make peace with his family. Especially his granny, the dreaded Mama Lucy. The "blue-haired ayatollah," he calls her.

What's cool about it, besides being funny, is that the characters are composites of people Marlette grew up with, so you get all these Southern idiosyncrasies, filtered through the eyes of a small-town Southerner turned big-city Northerner turned small-town Southerner.

Dysfunctional? You bet. And reason enough to corner Marlette with five questions . . .

The difference between Northerners and Southerners:

It still matters to them. The Civil War. The South, after all, was invaded. Northerners say "get over it." But it was invaded.

Getting that call about the Pulitzer is:

Life changing because you now have an eternal comma behind your name.

The difference between me and Pick:

He's more colorful, in your face. I'm more chamber of commerce.

When they make the movie, I want ______ to play me:

Tom Cruise is the front runner (Paramount owns film rights), but I also like Viggo Mortensen or Billy Bob Thornton.

The one truth Southerners never want to hear:

That we lost. No, even more so, that when we open our mouths our IQs drop below room temperature.

Dinner bell: Happy news here for people who eat: Food Chain Cincinnati is back.

Food Chain, recall, is the group founded by Shauna McKenzie to promote diversity. The way it works is people agree to go to dinner, then are randomly assigned to a group of strangers. You get to try new food and meet new - and diverse - people.

Since Food Chain began last summer, more than 100 have signed up, many of them so happy with the results they've formed new dining groups with new friends.

The next session is Jan. 22-25 (pick which day works for you) at East African Restaurant, Manhattan West, Moy Moy's, Mecklenburg Gardens, Simone's, Su Casa, Kaldi's, Ambar India and China Gourmet.

Call McKenzie at 351-3486, or e-mail

Posing: This is what Channel 9 videographer Scott Wegener gets for running around nekkid: A new nickname we can't print. Anatomical, don't you see.

Seems Wegener modeled for nationally known artist Ken Buck and the series of nudes in the shower he was doing.

"He asked me, and I thought why not? He's won a million awards."

Two of three oils in the series are finished. They debuted last week in Lexington, Ky., at the Lexington Art League's annual show.

Where, don't you know, Buck's painting took first place and won $1,000. And that new nickname which Wegener overheard two ladies discussing at the opening.


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