Hey y’all!! I survived to tell the tale of my trip to Slippery Rock University in Western Pennsylvania. You may recall that a K Chronicles cartoon that ran in the school newspaper caused a ruckus on campus last semester. I was dispatched to address the campus last week as part of their Diversity and Democracy Series.

Slippery Rock is about an hour north of Pittsburgh, so I got to fly into an airport that had a full size reproduction of Franco Harris and his Immaculate Reception. Quite excellent indeed. Had a lovely conversation with the gentleman who took me to where I was staying: The Applebutter Inn.

The Applebutter Inn is this most excellent Bed and Breakfast just outside of campus and is delightfully old school. Apples are everywhere. All the homemade chocolate chip cookies and beer you can consume.  Great stuff.

The next day started early, beginning with meeting some of the student protesters for breakfast. The first thing I said was that I knew they got what I was saying with the strip–and that there had to be something else going on for there to be such a reaction.

The students told me there were 33 REGISTERED HATE GROUPS in the area surrounding the campus.

They talked about a number of racial incidents that have happened on or around campus over the past few years, including someone who said they would start shooting black students on campus (turned out to be some high school moron); some bizarre, made-up article about black students being drunks, along with a racially offensive cartoon that ran in a previous incarnations of the school newspaper.

This was similar to my trip to the University of Arizona in Tucson where the black students told me that white fraternities were having blackface parties the year before one of my strips turned the school upside down (Boycott AZ, by the way).

Anyhoo..the breakfast went well. I met some really great students–(Hey! Someone send me the pic that we took!) And I had plenty o’ stuff to bring up during my talk.

I was then taken to the office of the Rocket newspaper, where I needed to scan a (th)ink I had drawn the night before. I was also looking forward to meeting Josh Rizzo, the student editor who took all the heat for running the strip, and, unlike other places, continued to run the strip even after all the protesting and meetings.

Got to meet Josh and the staff. Asked a few questions. Congratulated him for winning an journalism award, but told him I deserved half of it. Did my comic. Gave some crap to the advisor who didn’t back Josh as much as I thought he should’ve. Headed across campus to do the slideshow.

An editorial on the Rocket website gave the campus crap for not turning out. I thought it was a pretty good. All seats were filled. People laughed. People thought. People asked questions.

Signed some books. Talked to a lot of folks. Did some interviews. Good stuff..

Went to lunch with administrators. Picked up some SRU schwag for the wife and kid. Went to dinner with the newspaper staff.

Attended a meeting run by one of the students I had breakfast with. It’s this groovy cross-cultural, feel-good thingie that was nice. The dude who ran it is gonna do alright. I can see him bringing it to high schools across the country.

Observations:
*When my strip causes a ruckus somewhere, it’s less about the content of the strip, and more about the climate of place where the flare-up happened

*If there are 33 registered hate groups in the area, how many un-registered are there?

*This wouldn’t have happened if the strip only ran online–Why is that?
*The pizza place right near the Applebutter Inn has the kindest Addam’s Family pinball machine I’ve ever played. (I won 3 free games!!)

Overall, another great experience.  I hope the campus can take some of the ideas and discussions we had and move forward.  Thanks to Tom, Gay, Jessamine and everyone else who brought me out.

Read an article about my appearance here.

*AND YES, THAT TIM WISE ESSAY “IF THE TEA PARTY WAS BLACK”  DOES KICK ASS..READ IT HERE.

*SCHULZ MUSEUM WRAP-UP..

Had a great time doing a quickie version of my Cartooning is Serious Business Workshop. A great mix of folks with some really great ideas.  Heard the museum got great feedback, too.  If anyone is interested in bringing me out to do the workshop, or my world famous slideshow about race issues, or  just the funny–email me a keef@kchronicles.com.  I’m cheap!

The greatest thing about the Schulz gig is I got to stay at the Schulz compound in the hills of Santa Rosa.  The guest house had a basketball court, a putting green, and a spectacular view of Marin County. If someone told me as a kid that I’d be crashing at the house of one of my cartoonist idols–wait a sec, I think my Uncle Owen said it to me…

*L.A. TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS..

If you couldn’t find me at the McSweeney’s booth this year, it’s cuz I wasn’t there.  I was in the Hero Complex section sharing a booth with David Malki! and Jose Cabrera, two of the nicest fellas in the SoCal comics community.

We had a great time, but with two new books close to being out but not quite, it was a little frustrating.  I also vowed to be appearing regularly in Los Angeles media the next time this Fest rolls around.

AND I  managed to miss 826la’s 5th anniversary party on Saturday, with guests such as Judd Apatow, Natalie Portman, and a performance by Aziz Ansari. *SIGH*

*THE KNIGHT LIFE TURNS TWO NEXT WEEK..

My syndicated daily comic, the Knight Life, will be two years old next week.  Just ahead of the Incredible Cuteness of Being (the boy).  We’re celebrating with the release of the first collection of dailies, Chivalry Ain’t Dead, put out by Grand Central Publishing. An enhanced edition will be available  exclusively to folks who donate to this site. And please keep a lookout for book release party dates.

I’m always curious to find out what characters and storylines resonate with the readers, so please let me know at the Knight Life website.

So what’s it like cranking out 9 comics a week?  A Knight-mare. A lot of writing.  A lot of drawing.  A lot of time.  But the act of seeking that next idea, gag or storyline is a really neat process.  I spend a lot of time in my little cafe, doodling and reading newspapers–and chatting with the regulars (really, I’m not loafing off!) . I just wish it left time for more marketing of the strips.

*LETTERS/EMAILS OF THE WEEK

re: Pro Wrestling/K Chronicles

I first saw it with my grandfather in the early 1960′s,
he used to laugh at it, but never told me it was fake.
Of course lifting a 250 lb man over your head is not fake, but anyway:
I didn’t realize just how fake it was until I went to pro-wrestling
at Lodi, NJ, high school; they had it in the gym, between 100 and 200
people, so everyone was close to the action.  Bob Backlund was the
featured wrestler.  He pretended to punch some big fat guy and
not only did I see a lot of space between his hand and the fat guys
stomach, but the fat-guys fat did not move,
and the fat guy was very late pretending to have been punched.
Pro-wrestling was never the same for me again,
I stopped watching for years.

I saw a match on TV long ago between Mil Mascaras and Ted Adams;
pure ‘scientific’ wrestling, holds, break the hold, reverse, counter-
holds, etc.  NO punches or foul play.
They got FOUR standing ovations during the match.
It never caught on.

So a guy walks into a comics shop…

He asks for any stuff by Keith Knight. He is told that all of the books and calendars
have sold out.

But the guy knew that when he walked in, because a few days previously his friend had
gone in and asked about Mr. Knight’s work.

So why did he ask for material that he knew was sold out? So that the comic book shop on
Sunset would stock more of his stuff, and perhaps give him another show. Perhaps one
featuring ALL the artists that have been unceremoniously dropped from Salon.

One can dream.

But he did find the poetry booklets, and did purchase those.

So, which would you prefer- the man keep hounding the shop until they Meltdown and
restock, or purchase directly from you?

(i say all of the above!!-kk)

Mr. Knight,

I’d like to start by saying that my top two favorite comic strips (that are
still being written) are The K Chronicles & Doonesbury. Both you & Mr.
Trudeau are by far the best of the topical comics out there. Thank you so
much for your great work.

Secondly, I’d like to let you know how sorry I am that your strip is no
longer appearing on Salon.com. I’ve written Salon to inquire as to why, but
the only response I’ve gotten is that “The K Chronicles will no longer run
on Salon.com.” I hope that the reason for this is a mutual one for both you
& Salon.com. I hope it’s not some unilateral action by Salon.com because of
the content of one of your strips.

Finally, I was just wondering when you’ll be lecturing in/around the
Seattle area next? Since I moved here in 2006, I think you’ve had two
appearances here, but I missed both of them. I’d love to hear you speak &
meet you in person. By the way, what’s the name of your sister’s coffee shop
in West Seattle? I’d love to stop by there & try the cuisine.

Thanks for your strip & for taking the time to read this message. I wish
you much success in the future for your career & for your family.

A grateful fan,
B.
Seattle, WA :)

(b.:thanks for the kind words about my work.  definitely salon’s loss as far as me leaving the site. i hope to be back in seattle for a signing of the upcoming knight life collection.  maybe late summer. sadly, my evil twin sister’s tea gallery became a victim of this wicked economy.  but she’s still selling tea online! http://myteagallery.com.-kk)

Hello,

My girlfriend and I were wondering how to say the title of (Th)ink. I
think
that it should be “Think ink.” Is using the parentheses a typographical
editing mark? If so what does it mean?
Thanks for your time,
J.
(it’s fascinating how many ways the name of the strip has been interpreted.   It’s “ink” with a non-silent “th”–”think!!”-kk)

Now in heavy rotation on KEEF radio:  Janelle Monae: \”Tightrope\”
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