POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – He is best known for his trademark cartoon style: sparsely drawn, neurotic characters against blank backgrounds, agonizing over news events and personal problems. But Jules Feiffer is also a renowned playwright, screenwriter, and author.
On Thursday, November 1 at 5:30 pm in the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film’s Martel Theater, Feiffer will speak on “Humor and Truth: The Art of Serious Funny.” This event is free and open to the public.
Feiffer’s award-winning comic strip has been influencing and entertaining readers for decades. His internationally syndicated cartoon ran for 42 years in The Village Voice, weaving the social, political, and personal into a perceptive, challenging, often hilarious mix. Feiffer was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1986.
His sensibility permeates a wide range of creative work: from his Obie Award-winning play Little Murders (a prophetic vision of random urban violence), to his screenplay for Carnal Knowledge (a controversial examination of the sex wars), to his Oscar-winning anti-military short subject animation, Munro. Other works include: the plays Knock Knock (a Tony award nominee) and Grown-Ups (nominated for a Pulitzer Prize); the novels Harry the Rat with Women and Ackroyd; and the screenplays Popeye and I Want to Go Home, winner of the best screenplay award at the Venice Film Festival.
Two of his plays, Grown-Ups and Hold Me!, have been adapted for television. Feiffer himself has been the subject of many broadcast interviews and documentaries, including the PBS biography, Feiffer’s America.
Feiffer’s cartoons have been collected into 19 books, and have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Playboy, and The Nation. He was commissioned by The New York Times to create its first op-ed page comic strip, which ran monthly until 2000, when Feiffer decided to start off the new millennium by giving up cartooning. In his mid-sixties, taking inspiration from his three daughters spanning three generations, he has reinvented himself as a children’s book author. His first book, The Man in the Ceiling, was selected by Publisher’s Weekly and the New York Public Library, as one of the year’s best children’s books. Two other award-winning books, Bark George, and I Lost My Bear, are being adapted into animated cartoons. Presently, Feiffer is at work creating a full-length animated feature for Sony Pictures.
He has been honored by exhibitions at the Library of Congress, to which he has donated many of his works, and by the New-York Historical Society with Julz Rulz, a major retrospective. His new play, A Bad Friend (2003), has been commissioned by Lincoln Center.
Feiffer is an adjunct professor at Southampton College on Long Island. Previously, he taught at the Yale School of Drama and Northwestern University. He has been a Senior Fellow at Columbia University’s National Arts Journalism Program. Feiffer is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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