Checking In: The Spill Talks Pies and Target Practice With Emily Flake

Checking In With Emily Flake

You never know what you’ll learn when you go (virtually) knocking on a cartoonist’s door. As part of the Spill’s “Checking In With…” series I asked my colleague, Emily Flake, whose ninth anniversary as a New Yorker cartoonist is in September, what she’s been up to lately, and she replied: 

“As always, plugging away at gag cartoons and longer stuff to pitch to The New Yorker. I have a bi-weekly slot with The Nib, so there’s that! I suspended operations on Lulu Eightball about a year ago – I was in the throes of a writing job that was fun and lucrative but took up a lot of time, and something had to give; I’d been doing Lulu since 2001 and figured it was time to step back. I’ve just learned that the paper where Lulu got its start, the Baltimore City Paper, is shutting down, so I’ve been in a bit of a funk over that.

In general I also do illustration work; writing this out reminds me that I’m overdue on some sketches for a project about the process of dying (a laff a minute!). I have a 4 year old, and those things are remarkably time-consuming. I also spend a lot of time falling down internet rabbit holes and mucking around in a swamp of self-doubt and loathing. I did however just get a sulus-vide device for my birthday, so there’s that! Also I make pies.”

Michael Maslin: I’m almost afraid to ask — but what’s a “sulus-vide device” (I could look it up but then I might end up falling into that very same internet rabbit hole).

Emily Flake: Whoa, sorry! I mis-typed “sous-vide” – it’s a thing that creates a hot water bath so you can cook things in it. It’s supposed to be amazing. I will keep you posted on the results as soon as I have any.

Left: A sous vide. Thanks to Emily, I just learned something.

MM:Your “process of dying” project sounds fascinating, especially as your book, Mama Tried  was about the beginning years of the life cycle.  Many cartoonists tend to visit and revisit death on a regular basis (in their work). Do you as well?

EF: Well, the dying project is something I’m doing for someone else – it’s not necessarily *my* thoughts on dying. I’ve done some “death personified” gags for the magazine, because who hasn’t; I think about death almost every day. Not in a particularly morbid way, just in terms of what the eventual end of a thing means for the thing itself. It all became unbearably precious to me once I had a kid (not that you have to have a kid to feel that life is precious, but for me it really raised the stakes). 
left: a drawing by Ms. Flake published in The New Yorker, November 1, 2011
 
MM:  Congrats on joining the Full Page club in the New Yorker  Was that your first?   Are you thinking “full page” when you submit? 
 
EF: Thanks! It was indeed my first full-page, and I liked that feeling. I’ve submitted full-pagers before; I like having a bit more room to explore a thing, and I’ve always enjoyed being able to riff on a joke – I’ve published a few 3 or 4 beat gags, which is my preferred method of joke-crafting.
 
MM: Are you going into the New Yorker’s offices on a regular basis?
 
EF: I am extraordinarily lazy and prefer not to leave a six-block radius if I can avoid it. For what do we have an internet if not to facilitate that kind of sloth? Emma’s [Emma Allen, the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor] not really doing the sit-down immediate review of batches and prefers to get them digitally, so that saves me wearing pants. 
 

MM: You mentioned you make pies. What kind of pies?

EF: You name it. I recently made a blueberry galette that was an absolute knockout. Now that it’s summer, peach pies, berry pies, etc; I also made a caramelized onion galette (the lazy man’s pie!) recently that turned out great. I made a pistachio cream pie a couple summers ago that I think I’ll revisit – cream/pudding pies are great for this kind of weather. I also recently came across a recipe for tahini brownies that I can’t wait to try – I used tahini in chocolate chip cookies recently and holy shit. I’m not much of an innovator in baking – I follow recipes – but I do love to do it.

MM: Pistachio cream! Wowzers. Do you happen to have a photo of a Flake pie?

EF: [I’m sending you photographs of] a bunch of baked goods and also a paper target, because as I was looking through my photos I remembered that I also like to go to the Westside  Range and shoot off a few rounds.

MM: What are you usually shooting at the range: pistols or rifles?

EF: I’ve only shot rifles at the range – you need a serious permit to shoot pistols in NYC (which I think is a good thing! I like to shoot, but I am all for gun control).

MM: Have you been shooting guns a long time, or is this something new?
 
EF: The first time I ever shot was at a friend’s home range upstate, and I shot pistols there; despite an almost incapacitating hangover, I found I had a knack for it (or possibly just beginner’s luck). Last year I went and took a class at the Westside Range, and then I joined as a member so I can shoot whenever I want. I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that my interest in shooting was rekindled mainly by a mixture of the current ghostly political climate and, um, watching too much Walking Dead.

Below: An array of some of Ms. Flake’s pies. One of her paper targets, along with a slice of one of her pies, appears at the top of this post

 

 

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A Note to Ink Spill Visitors

Keen-eyed visitors may notice the first ever appearance of an advertisement on this site.  I’ve resisted advertising these past ten years, but have made an exception for The American Bystander as it’s such a welcome addition to the landscape. 

Tom Toro: The Ink Spill Interview

New Yorker cartoonist, Tom Toro and I’ve been emailing now and then over the seven years he’s been contributing cartoons to the magazine, but it wasn’t until a month ago, when he came east from Kansas for Jack Ziegler’s memorial, that we finally met in person and were able to chat for awhile. The idea for an interview had been batted around by us earlier in the year; I like to think it began in earnest right there and then in a restaurant on Manhattan’s upper east side. With Dock Street Press’s release of Tom’s first book, Tiny Hands, a collection of the political work he did for The New Yorker’s Daily Cartoon slot, it seemed like the perfect time to turn our conversation into something more organized. Following the interview I asked Tom to select and comment on five favorites of his own work — you’ll see those at the end of this post.
Read more

New York Times Article of Interest: Emma Allen; Radio: Liza Donnelly on “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”; The Tilley Watch: New New Yorker Cartoonists

New York Times Article of Interest: Emma Allen

From The New York Times, July 2, 2017, “At The New Yorker, the Cartoonists Draw, But the Vision is Hers” —  Ms. Allen,  two months into her new position as the magazine’s cartoon editor. 

 

 

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Radio: Liza Donnelly on “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”

Ms. Donnelly as a panelist on Episode #20: Family Matters, discussing “parenting, cousins, genealogy and more.” Hear it here.

Link here to visit Liza Donnelly’s website

 (Photo: Lucy Sutton)

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Three New New Yorker Cartoonists

…if the Spill‘s record keeping is correct (and someone please correct me if it’s wrong) there are three new cartoonists in The New Yorker’s  double issue, July 10 & 17: Maggie Larson, Jason Chatfield, and Sharon Levy

Fave Photo of the Day; An Obscure Hoff

Of many wonderful photos from Jack Ziegler‘s memorial this past Saturday,  this one really caught my eye. Taken by the New Yorker‘s former television critic, Nancy Franklin, we see, from the left, the New Yorker‘s newly appointed cartoon editor, Emma Allen, then Anne Hall Elser, and Lee Lorenz, the magazine’s art editor from 1973 through 1993, and then cartoon editor from 1993 through 1997. We have Mr. Lorenz to thank for bringing Mr. Ziegler’s work into the magazine.  Ms. Elser was Mr. Lorenz’s invaluable assistant in the art department for his 24 years in that position.

At some point during Saturday’s event,  Danny Shanahan introduced Ms. Allen to Mr. Lorenz.  I’m hoping a photo will surface.

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An Obscure Hoff

Scott Burns, of Armadillo & Dicker Books out in California has sent in this scan of a hitherto (for me) unseen Syd Hoff piece. Here’s Mr. Burns’ description:

The Jigger. Fall, 1951, Vol 3. No. 4. Philadelphia: The Drake Press. 3”x6” stapled wrappers, 24 pp. Appears to be a trade magazine for distribution to bartenders and others in the liquor industry. Recipes, thirteen cartoons plus cover by Syd Hoff, TV announcements, party hints.
 
 
Note:  The Spill posts pieces such as this purely for historical reasons, i.e., there is no commercial attachment to this bookseller or any other.

Alan Dunn (& Charles E. Martin) & The Guggenheim

From The Guggenheim’s website, June 6, 2017, “This New Yorker Cartoon Documented the Guggenheim’s 1959 Opening”read all about it here (Alan Dunn’s spread ran in the issue of November 28, 1959)

If you need more New Yorker cartoonists weighing in on the Guggenheim  there’s always this collection from 2005 —  The New Yorker Visits the Guggenheim.  According to the publisher: “This book brings together five decades worth of cartoons and cover illustrations that feature the iconic museum, along with period photographs that reveal the artists’ inspirations.”

The Guggenheim has been on the cover of The New Yorker a number of times, including this beauty from Charles E. Martin (CEM) in January of 1970.

 

 

Here’s Alan Dunn’s entry on the A-Z:

Alan Dunn (self portrait above from Meet the Artist) Born in Belmar, New Jersey, August 11, 1900, died in New York City, 1975. New Yorker work: 1926 – 1974 Key collections: Rejections (Knopf, 1931), Who’s Paying For This Cab? (Simon & Schuster, 1945), A Portfolio of Social Cartoons ( Simon & Schuster, 1968). One of the most published New Yorker cartoonists (1,906 cartoons) , Mr. Dunn was married to Mary Petty — together they lived and worked at 12 East 88th Street, where, according to the NYTs, Alan worked “seated in a small chair at a card table, drawing in charcoal and grease pencil.”

And here’s Charles E. Martin’s A-Z entry:

Charles E. Martin ( CEM) (photo left above from Think Small, a cartoon collection produced by Volkswagon. Photo right, courtesy of Roxie Munro) Born in Chelsie, Mass., 1910, died June 18, 1995, Portland, Maine. New Yorker work: 1938 – 1987.