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Art School Days in the Whorehouse

Here’s a memory about art school, from our storied cartoonist, Randy Enos.

As my second (soon to be my last) year in art school approached, I decided to live with a homogeneous group of art students instead of the un-homogeneous group I had been with in my first year. So, four of us found an apartment on Dartmouth Street above Back Bay Station in Boston. It was not a long walk down Huntington Avenue to our school, The Boston Museum School of Fine Arts.

The furnished apartment consisted of one long room culminating in a big wall window looking down on the street from the second floor. Entering our $75 a month apartment there was a little cooking alcove, consisting of an old stove and tiny refrigerator to the left, and a tiny bathroom with claw-foot tub to the right; there was also a long room with four beds perpendicular to the wall down the right side. There was a small amount of room left for sitting before the grand window which formed the back wall.

The apartment building was above Dave Finn’s Irish Bar which had a garishly large green shamrock in the window. The bar and building were owned and operated by our landlord, Dave Finkelstein. Every night the bawdy sounds of music, drinking, fighting and other general ribaldry wafted up to our grand window and managed to deprive us of any quiet or sleep until the bar shut down around midnight.

Across the street was a charming little art store called Hatfield’s Color Shop and to its left a cigar and cigarette store featuring cigarettes from all around the world. My favorites were the strong pungent ones from Turkey. Every morning on my way to school, I would purchase my breakfast which consisted of one of their fat, five-cent cigars augmented by a 5th Avenue candy bar bought at the drugstore next door. That was the breakfast I munched on every morning, finishing off my fat smelly cigar in drawing class where we would draw from a nude model until noon.

In the entrance-way to our apartment building was a small hotel desk (because, in fact, it was sort of a hotel) manned by a little crippled poet named Bob. Facing Bob and his desk was a small rickety elevator which took us to our room. On our second floor there were a few other tenants (I don’t remember ever seeing any of them). On the third floor were rooms for transients and I think, there was a fourth floor, also for transients. There was one of our fellow art students on the third floor among the transients, named Arthur Foley who was also a jazz drummer. Because I talk a lot Arthur dubbed me “Lip-Jazz”, a nickname that stuck with me that whole second year.  The transients were exclusively bar and street hookers and their sailors (there were an awful lot of sailors around at that time).

I didn’t eat or sleep much in those days and I really took a liking to Bob with his poetry and intelligent conversation so I hung around his desk often into the wee hours of the morning. We watched the endless parade of hookers with their drunken sailors file in every night. Sometimes the girls would ditch them only moments later, seeking greener pastures and leaving the abandoned sailor boys alone in the room until, finally, they’d stagger back down to Bob and me and ask if we saw the girl they had come in with. It was usually, ”She said she was just going to get some cigarettes.”

Life was frugal for us in those days. About our only form of relaxation was hiding Jack’s thick glasses from him in the morning and watching him stagger around blind as a bat cursing us and our ancestors. Ronnie was an avid rock climber who actually slept with a beautiful, recently purchased and gleaming “rock-climbing axe.” And there was Steve Chop, our “cook,” who we all mercilessly kidded about wanting to have a career in advertising art.

We shared our interesting apartment with about a million cockroaches who would line the rim of our bathtub and watch us take baths. The flooring of our palace consisted of large black and white tiles. When we would open our door to enter, the whole room seemed to move as the cockroaches dove toward the black squares.

One particular night, I pushed the “starving and drinking” routine a little too far. Around 2 or 3 in the morning, as I stood talking to Bob at the desk, I started to feel slightly woozy. I told him I’d better get to bed. I remember opening the elevator door and entering. The next thing I remember is waking up to loud pounding. A frightened Bob face looked through the little elevator window at me laying on the floor of the elevator. He said I had hit every wall in there before collapsing. Ah, the halcyon days of the art school life.

One morning we looked out of our glorious window down to the street and we saw one of our teachers. He had come on the train into Back Bay Station and was proceeding up the street toward Huntington Avenue to walk to school. We were excited to see him. We banged on the window and shouted out our morning greetings to him. He completely ignored us. He looked straight ahead and kept walking. We knew he had heard us; we weren’t that high up away from the street.

Later we arrived at school and confronted him about it.

He said, “I heard you guys but I’m not going to wave to you up there in that whorehouse above the bar!”

Randy Enos

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Read more more of Randy’s cartooning memories:

The Card Trick that Caused a Divorce

The Mysterious Mr. Quist

Monty Python Comes to Town

Riding the Rails

The Pyramid of Success

The Day I Chased the Bus

The Other Ol’ Blue Eyes

8th Grade and Harold von Schmidt

Rembrandt of the Skies

The Funniest Man I’ve Ever Known

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part One”

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part Two”

Famous Artists Visit the Famous Artists School

Randy Remembers Tomi Ungerer

Randy’s Overnight Parade

The Bullpen

Famous Artists Schools

Dik Browne: Hot Golfer

Randy and the National Lampoon

Randy’s Only Great Idea

A Brief Visit to Outer Space

Enos, Love and Westport

Randy Remembers the National Cartoonists Society

Blog Columns

“Gotcha” Questions for Scott Walker

I get lots of e-mails with the same message, like this one from little Johnny in Nashville, who writes, “Dear Mr. Cagle, Please explain your cartoon to me. My paper is due tomorrow.”

I hate having to explain myself. So does Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker.

Walker doesn’t like “gotcha” questions from the media. When a reporter asks a politician a question, and knows that an honest answer would be an answer that many people won’t like hearing, that is a “gotcha” question. Walker has been clumsy while learning to avoid “gotcha” questions.

I drew a cartoon showing a reporter interviewing Walker.

Reporter asks, “Gays?”

Walker says, “I don’t wanna answer that.” Walker thinks, “Homos are so nasty.”

Reporter then asks, “Evolution?”

Walker says, “I won’t answer.” Walker thinks, “This liberal ape doesn’t know that evolution is only a ‘theory’.”

Reporter asks, “Do you think Obama is a Christian?”

Walker says, “I never asked him.” Walker thinks, “I never asked that liberal, Muslim, Kenyan atheist.”

Journalists must be accurate and report the exact words a politician says. My job is better. As an editorial cartoonist, I have the freedom to put any words into the mouths of politicians that I want; I can even choose to put any thoughts into their brains.

Republican candidates must pander to the basest of their conservative base, especially in the presidential primaries. My worry is that politicians really believe the blather that they spew. I would like to hear honest answers to the “gotcha” questions.

The problem with avoiding “gotcha” questions is that I’m left with the impression that Walker really believes the knuckle-dragging nonsense that I write into his thought bubbles.

An even bigger problem is that cartoons are not so funny when they are explained.

Sorry, Johnny.


Putin, Obama, Talking Butts and More!

Here are my new cartoons!  The big news the past couple of weeks has been the run up to war, and the run down from the rup up to war with Syria. Obama pitched the idea as hard as he could to a war-weary nation.

136862 600 Putin, Obama, Talking Butts and More! cartoons

When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

137026 600 Putin, Obama, Talking Butts and More! cartoons

Putin saw an opportunity to jump in with a plan to get Syria to give up their chemical weapons, putting a damper on Obama’s bombing plans.

137234 600 Putin, Obama, Talking Butts and More! cartoons

I see that I have fallen behind on posting these.  I’ll try to do better … so, there was a lot of Putin this week.  Putin is fun, he’s easy to draw and he’s a funny character with his shirtless macho swagger that reminds me of Miley Cyrus’ twerking.

137408 600 Putin, Obama, Talking Butts and More! cartoons

A lot of pundits were talking about how Putin and Russia had “put America into a box.” which reminded me of Marcel Marceau.

137468 600 Putin, Obama, Talking Butts and More! cartoons

Putin looks pretty French in this cartoon, huh?  Here’s Putin and Assad as the “Alien” from the “Alien” movies.

137307 600 Putin, Obama, Talking Butts and More! cartoons

I notice whenever the cartoons are about foreign news, our traffic goes down.  We need more Miley Cyrus.  Here’s my most recent cartoon, about the budget showdown in Congress, that hasn’t been getting as much news as it would if other things weren’t always happening.

137579 600 Putin, Obama, Talking Butts and More! cartoons

This one is a little surreal, a little disturbing, and a little stinky.  The last one is an oldie that I drew fifteen years ago when I was a local cartoonist in Hawaii, and there was a controversy about how gifted kids were treated in schools – as conscripted labor because they “didn’t need to study with the others.” This is something I recall with my gifted daughter, Susie, who was often put to work tutoring other students, by her lazy public school teachers.
137066 600 Putin, Obama, Talking Butts and More! cartoons

That’s it for this week.  Now I’m back to life in Nashville.  For a guy who doesn’t go to church, doesn’t like football, doesn’t care about music and shouldn’t eat too much bacon – remind me, why am I in Nashville again?







School for Gifted Children

137066 600 School for Gifted Children cartoons


Student Loan Cartoons

As the recession drags on, more and more students are finding themselves in the middle of a rock and a hard place, leaving college with large amounts of student loan debt and entering into an economy that’s having a hard time creating jobs.

What do cartoonists think of this pickle? Check out our Student Loan cartoon slideshow to find out.

Brian Fairrington / Cagle Cartoons (click to view slideshow)