If you had arrived in the foyer of the Mercure Hotel in central Sydney on Saturday 12th November, 2011, you would have encountered a rare sight: cartoonists, illustrators and comic book creators dressed up to the nines; suits, ties, clean underwear, and even a hand-panted tie and gold winged sneakers! Usually known for being casual we donned the dapper duds and drank, danced, dined, duelled and presumably other things beginning with "D" till dark and dawn. Yes, it was the 27th Annual Stanley Awards by the world's oldest cartooning club, the Australian Cartoonists Association (ACA), and a fun one it was!
Beat poet Jules Faber and comic creator and animator Matt Taylor gaze lovingly at each other while Peter Berner and Jonesy chat about fame and fortune, presumably
After pre-dinner drinks, the night kicked off with Reg Mombassa's duo "Dog Trumpet" playing a few tunes to set the mood. Reg is a deft hand with the slide guitar, and as I had found out at the conference, a really good bloke, too.
Founding Mental as Anything members Pete O'Doherty and Reg Mombassa in Dog Trumpet
Our MC was Brendan "Jonesy" Jones (half of the "Jonesy and Amanda" radio team) and he did a cracker job of hosting the evening, even admitting he had a thing for Roger Fletcher's Staria when he was a teenager!
During dinner we were also treated to a satirical presentation by Rodney Marks, performing as 'Ewan Dye'.
Christie Follett, Ash Kinchin and Eva Frengstad. These girls got up to mischief...
Jonesy holds the Ralph Steadman for the auction and dreams of Staria's "sexy but functional" costume.
Every year there is a silent and regular art auction, and I this time I picked up a sweet, signed Ralph Steadman print! Money raised was being donated to the Westmead Children's Hospital and I was pleased to meet an exceptional young bloke named Conner Maclean who dedicates his time to raising money for the hospital. Here's a video that explains his situation a bit better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyz-xJ5oeSE . Connor is a little older now, and a great guy. He planned to sing, but unfortunately his throat wasn't quite up to it on the night.
Jules Faber and Mark McHugh with Connor Maclean and his mum, Cheryl. We all drew cartoons in Connor's autograph book, and I think he had a great time.
A great part of the evening was the presentation to Marie Fletcher, and then to Roger, a hand-bound book of original Torkan homage art from 35 artists on the occasion of Torkan's 35th anniversary. Once the art is online I will link to it, as there were some great cartoons in there. In the meantime you'll have to suffer my first ink and watercolour piece ever (be kind)...
Also throughout the night we paid homage to Ginger Meggs' 90th Birthday by drawing the famous Aussie redhead for the Cartoon of the Night competition. You can read all about the history of this classic strip here: http://jasonchatfield.tumblr.com/post/12787755115.
Jason Chatfield has fun with his character.
The Awards presentations kicked off swiftly, and I've included the full list below (which I've nicked from the ACA blog):
FINALISTS AND WINNERS
… … … … …
Sponsored by WACOM
Anton Emdin -WINNER
COMIC STRIP CARTOONIST
Sponsored by The Herald Sun
Tony Lopes -WINNER
Glen Le Lievre
Sponsored by The Sydney Morning Herald
David Pope -WINNER
Sponsored by The Australian
David Rowe -WINNER
COMIC BOOK ARTIST
Sponsored by MEAA
David Follett -WINNER
SINGLE GAG CARTOONIST
Sponsored by CAL
Andrew Weldon -WINNER
Glen Le Lievre
CARTOONIST OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by the Herald Sun
Anton Emdin -WINNER
Oh, and we mustn't forget a very important award - the Jim Russell Award for contribution to Australian cartooning, received by the tireless and effervescent Rolf Heimann! Rolf has been breaking boundaries between Australia and the world, and truly deserves this great honour.
Congratulations to all nominees and winners. Andrew Weldon and David Pope couldn't be there, but recorded their acceptance speeches. Check out David's... very funny: http://youtu.be/AxXXgUyQ6dU
David Follett is clearly excited to have won a Best Comic Book Stanley for his brilliant work in Uncle Silas: Genetis.
You may have noticed my name on the list, and I am extremely honoured to have been awarded the gong for Best Illustrator and also the big one: Cartoonist of the Year!
Ash lost her mind when my name was called!
I cannot stress what a surprise and honour this was to receive. I did not in my wildest dreams think that I would win it. I've had quite an amazing year, and this really is the icing on the cake. Somehow I think I will always remember 2011!
Ok, the Oscars music is starting to play, and I can see a large hook protruding from the wings...
So, with the formal part of the evening out of the way, it was time to cut loose, and the Stanley Steamers made sure that happened right. The Steamers are a band made up of ACA cartoonists - who woulda thought that scribblers could shred, but they did - and how! The band comprises of Peter de Haan (vocals, guitar, mandolin), Alan Rose (vocals, harmonica), Roger Fletcher (guitar), Jason Chatfield (vocals, guitar), Sophie Miller (vocals, keys), Bill James (bass) Shane O'Neil and Buddy Ross (drums).
The Stanley Steamers in action!
The dance floor jumped and jived, while those non-dancers amongst us (yes, I'm hanging - but rocking - my head in shame) tapped our feet and tried to drink the bar dry.
I have no idea what they're pointing to. Any ideas? Mark McHugh, Glen LeLievre, Pete Rigby, Luke Watson.
Dave and Christie Follett
The party moved on to the bar and balcony... and then eventually to room 1431 where way too many people squeezed in for a killer after-party thanks to Pete Rigby and his amazing shoes...
Hermes delivered us the message that the after party was good to go!
Caricaturists extraordinaire: Judy Nadin and Steve Panozzo
Goofing with Geoff Richo and Roger Fletcher
Elton John made a brief appearance
Yes, it's getting late, and perhaps a few lemonades were drunk
Gary Clark (Swamp) sings a showtune.
...The room got pretty packed and loud, and at around 3am it wasn't much of a surprise when the hotel security turned up and we were flung into the street...
Chris Barr greets security at the door.
Luckily, the Broadway Hotel was just a couple of trips and totters to the left, and the cartoonists carried on celebrating another great year of Stanleys fun!
The official Boston Reubens Australian team is assembled again.
I'd like to thank all the Stanleys Team member for putting on a brilliant weekend. There is a mountain of work and stress that goes into it that we lowly attendees don't see. So hats off to:
Jules Faber, Peter Broelman, Mick Horne, Kerry-Ann Brown, Lindsay Foyle, Grant Brown, Phil Faigen, Roger Fletcher, Dee Horne, Hywel Kemsley, Peter de haan, Stephen Axelsen, Luke Watson, Peter Rigby and Jason Chatfield!
Photo credits: A big thanks to Jason Chatfield, Geoff Richo, David Blumenstein and Mark McHugh for allowing me to use their images. All photos are © their respective owners.