8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017;
Schneebeck Concert Hall
TACOMA, Wash. – The New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast is bringing to Tacoma her love of the absurd, her passion for pictures and words, and her precise sense of the fine line between humor and gravitas.
The acclaimed humorist and author will appear at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, in Schneebeck Concert Hall at University of Puget Sound. “An Evening With Roz Chast,” including a post-lecture Q&A with the audience, is presented by the Susan Resneck Pierce Lectures in Public Affairs and the Arts. Ticket information is below and early reservations are recommended.
The Brooklyn-born Chast has published hundreds of cartoons in The New Yorker, Scientific American, Harvard Business Review, and other magazines, and has written or illustrated more than a dozen books. Described by Salon as “the first truly subversive New Yorker cartoonist,” and by New Yorker editor David Remnick as “the magazine’s only certifiable genius,” Chast creates cartoons that often reveal the ludicrous in simple domestic scenes or poke fun at the unspoken obsessions that take hold of us all.
NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross once asked Chast what her down-to-earth parents—a schoolteacher and a vice principal who grew up during the Depression—thought about her rather esoteric cartoons. In response Chast related how her father used to carry around a Saturday Review cartoon in his wallet showing a man on a psychiatrist’s couch saying, “I feel inadequate, because I don’t understand the cartoons in The New Yorker.”
It is a gag that many of the magazine’s readers can relate to. Chast, the cartoonist, makes fun in ways that at times seem to shoot into outer space, turn around, and zap back again—sometimes hitting the mark and evoking a wry smile, at other times crashing to earth. However Chast, the person, is upfront and real. She earnestly explained to Terry Gross that her father’s habit of pulling out his mocking cartoon was simply a sign that he was proud of her—even if he had no idea what she was trying to say.
An only child, Chast started drawing cartoons while still young. She later studied at Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in painting “because it seemed more artistic,” she says on her website. But soon after graduating she switched back to cartoons and had her first cartoon accepted by The New Yorker at the age of 24. Many submissions later she was invited to join the staff.
Chast’s books have included Unscientific Americans; Parallel Universes; Mondo Boxo; and Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons by Roz Chast 1978–2006. Her most recent best-selling book is Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, a searing memoir about her efforts to cope alone with her elderly parents in the final years of their lives.
The honors granted to the popular cartoonist are many and include the 2015 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, New York City Literary Honors Award for Humor, and the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award for Best Gag Cartoon, among others. Chast holds honorary doctoral degrees from Dartmouth College, Leslie University, and Pratt Institute, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The lecture by Roz Chast is sponsored by the Susan Resneck Pierce Lectures in Public Affairs and the Arts, University of Puget Sound’s premier lecture series. The series brings intellectuals, public figures, writers, and artists to the university to present challenging ideas that stimulate further exploration and discussion on campus.
Past Pierce lecturers have included The Washington Post political writer E.J. Dionne; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz; Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka; economist Robert Reich; author Carlos Fuentes; psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison; filmmaker Spike Lee; the Hon. Cory Booker, now a U.S. senator; political commentator David Brooks; columnist Thomas Friedman; writer Leonard Pitts, Jr., playwright Edward Albee; race and religion scholar Cornel West; musician Philip Glass; playwright Suzan-Lori Parks; dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp; historian and television host Henry Louis Gates Jr.; Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and novelist Marlon James.
FOR TICKETS: Tickets are available online at tickets.pugetsound.edu, or at Wheelock Information Center, 253.879.3100. Admission is $20 for the general public. Entrance is free for Puget Sound faculty, staff, and students with campus ID, but tickets are required. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.
For directions and a map of the University of Puget Sound campus: pugetsound.edu/directions
For accessibility information please contact email@example.com or 253.879.3931, or visit pugetsound.edu/accessibility.
Press photos of Roz Chast can be downloaded from pugetsound.edu/pressphotos.
Photos on page: From top right: Self portrait in chair, by Roz Chast; Roz Chast, by Bill Hayes; Roz Chast's most recent book.
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