First things first. I want to take a second to wish everyone out there a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Being of Irish decent, I’m required by law to make mention of it. I don’t wanna disrespect my heritage, or anything. Of course, with that whole drinkin’ and fightin’ thing hard-wired into my genetic makeup, I don’t have to go too far out of my way to do that.

With that said, I am finally back from New York and it feels good to be in the saddle again. Like they say, it’s good to get away, but it’s good to come back. I was getting a little burnt out drawing my characters, so it was good to get a break. But when I got home, I was itching to start up again!

New York was fun, but nothing like I thought it would be. I think because we’re all so saturated with media and movies that originate in The Big Apple, we think we have a sense of how things are. And if you’re like me and watch movies like Taxi Driver or Annie Hall, New York can look like a pretty scary place.

Much to my relief, New York was NOT the crime-infested hell hole I once believed it to be. Neighborhoods are very close nit and there is always something to look at. I felt very safe and comfortable walking around on the streets. I guess that’s because YOU’RE NEVER ALONE!

When they say it’s “The City That Never Sleeps”, they aren’t kidding. There are people milling about CONSTANTLY. You’re always bumping into people and getting spun into a tizzy whenever you try to make way. New York is the kind of city where if you aren’t moving, you’ll get run over.

Of course we (my wife Cami and I) made it to all the tourist destinations. We saw The Statue of Liberty, which is not as large as you think it is. We weren’t allowed to go up inside it (pending war, and whatnot), so basically we spent $10 just to ride a ferry and get a closer look. Ellis Island was also on the itinerary, but it sucked – just an empty building.

We also went to The Empire State Building, which was pretty cool. I’m a big fan of that 1930’s, art-deco style so I was right at home in that place. The outdoor observation deck is a trip. I’ve never stood atop a structure that tall with open access to the elements. Again, Hollywood is the great deceiver because it’s not as wide open as Sleepless in Seattle would make you believe. There’s probably just enough room to stand three in a row behind you.

Other highlights included going to The Today Show and freezing to death like morons in Rockefeller Plaza waiting for a glimpse of Matt Lauer and Katie Couric. Katie is WAY more wrinkled in real life, by the way. I guess we were on TV for a nanosecond when they do those panning shots of the crowd. We told our parents when they would be there, so they taped the program. We still haven’t seen it yet. We were there on Monday the 11th, in case anyone was curious.

Other highlights were the NBC Studio tour where I got to see the infamous Studio 8H – the home of Saturday Night Live. Times Square was a rush and we also saw two Broadway productions – The Producers and Say Good Night, Gracie. The latter starring Frank Gorshin as George Burns performing a one man play about the late entertainer’s life. If you recall, Gorshin played The Riddler on the old Batman TV series.

I don’t know how, but by some quark of fate, we got seats front row center for Frank’s play. These theaters are pretty small, so that’s a little too close for my taste. It was especially too close when Frank as George Burns straddles a chair and talks to the audience. And here I sit, a perfect crotch-height, EXTREMELY uncomfortable with the whole affair.

Of course, I DID get a chance to see a movie while I was in town. I finally got off my duff and we went to see Chicago at the old Zeigfield Theater in Midtown. This was the place where they used to perform The Zeigfield Follies back in the 1920’s – everything from show tunes, to comedians in black face, to flappers, this place was host to it. What better venue to see a movie set shortly after that era like Chicago?

Watching the movie, I was vaguely impressed with the technicality of the whole thing. All the numbers hit their marks and the movie on the whole is very entertaining. But leaving the theater, all that was left in my head was the annoying, brassy music and the wah-wah vocal style of the songs.

Here’s my thing about Chicago: It doesn’t SAY anything. It’s just a big piece of American cheese, flash and glitter. It’s all production value and little else. And THIS is the front-runner for the Best Picture Oscar? Please.

If I were to give out the Oscar today, I’d give it to Gangs of New York. Epic in scale, acting in spaded (Leonardo DiCaprio excluded) – it had something to say about how things were versus what they’ve become. It was tactile. You could sense it, almost smell it. Far more rewarding to a cinematic eye than Chicago. Hell, give it to Lord of the Rings before you give it to Chicago!

It’s kind of a catch twenty-two, but any award you give to Chicago will ring false to me – like they’re compensating for overlooking Moulin Rouge last year. But at the same time, any award you give to Martin Scorsese will seem like a gold-watch for all his prior works. As good as Gangs is, it’s hard to top something like Goodfellas.

I guess we’ll have to wait until this Sunday to see how things turn out.

↓ Transcript

Here's your award for Best Make-Up!

Um... Thanks.

And here's your statue for being the Most Bootylicious!

How's that Best Cinematography award treating you, Truman?