By the E, Pat Myers
While the Style Conversational’s use as a discussion forum has been essentially supplanted by the Facebook group Style Invitational Devotees — which, face it, is easier and more reliable to use — I’ve treasured this page as a place on The Post’s own virtual real estate where I can expand on the extremely limited space in the print paper that I have to comment on the week’s winning and Losing entries, along with the new contest.
For this weekend’s Invite, however, I got lots of space to blab: Week 950 and especially the results of Week 945 stretch languidly across a “double truck,” or two-page spread, in the center of the Sunday Style section, rather than scrunching up as usual on the back page along with a record review. In print there are big displays of Alethea and Kevin Dopart’s winner plus the three runners-up and one honorable mention — along with a paragraph or more to describe the photos, and a big long lead-in. And online, the photo gallery gave me space to say a bit about each of the honorable mentions — and even one entry that violated one of the major contest rules but was cool to look at.
So I don’t need to elaborate here very much on the new contest or the results — which appear this week on two separate URLs (Week 950 and the Week 945 results). I will, however, share the entry that was rejected by higher-up editors at 6 p.m. yesterday. Shh.
The edible-art contest didn’t get a ton of entries — nothing approaching the 1,000-plus that The Post typically receives for its Peeps diorama contest every spring. I even got fewer than for the Invite’s previous visual contests. Maybe it was that Week 945 came out on Veterans Day, a federal holiday when many readers weren’t able to read the Invite as usual on Uncle Sam’s dime. And while we gave two weeks for readers to work on entries, late November is a hectic time in many households. Also, it’s possible that the food artists among The Post’s readership didn’t hear about the contest; it wasn’t mentioned in the food section. Or perhaps the idea of saying something pointedly witty with organic material was just too daunting for the Non-Losers.
For whatever reason, most of the week’s entries came from the few Invitational regulars who chose to spend Thanksgiving week concocting some delightfully offbeat visual depictions of 21st-century history. And it proved to be a family affair as well — several of this week’s inking entries (and some non-inking ones) were collaborations between parents and offspring, both adult children and child children. Jeff Contompasis, who worked with 11-year-old Saralinda, noted that during the construction of their “Occupy Wall(nut) Street” diorama, “some of the protesters did not make it and were unfortunately consumed by one of the two artists.” Next time, Saralinda clearly has to exert more control over Dad.
The winners were a consensus decision between Sunday Style Editor Lynn Medford and me; I showed her the photos of about 20 finalists, and we sat down together and chose the winner, runners-up and honorable mentions. Lynn thought the results were a hoot, and is eager to have another diorama contest, maybe early next fall, and with materials other than food. We have an idea; others are welcome.
This week’s winner AND second-place finisher, Kevin Dopart, will presumably give both the Inker and the second-place mug or T-shirt to his daughter Alethea, along with her Fir Stink for her first ink, given that Kevin has Inkers, mugs and shirts up the wazoo, and probably a few other crannies as well. Kevin reports that their work was a true collaboration: “The ‘candidates’ one was primarily her idea, as she had the concepts and pun-names for most of the debaters when she told me about it (my contribution was “Prawn Paul” and the “hard to swallow” title). Alethea did much of the set and costume design (using fruit rollups and tortilla pieces was her inspiration); I did most of the engineering/construction (nailing those candidates, for example). We did the lighting and photography together.”
And it was Kevin and Alethea who also came up with the week’s Scarlet Letter entry — which was pulled from the gallery of online mentions just yesterday evening. In a week where Amanda Yanovitch’s depiction of Anthony Weiner as a sexting leek (not the obvious hot dog) got nary a shrug, this entry was certainly the most edgy, probably because of its title:
“Statutory Grapes: A Warren Jeffs Wedding.”
SPEAKING OF SPICY GET-TOGETHERS ... LOSE AT 11
I’m looking forward to seeing a relatively small but lively group of Losers at 11 a.m. Sunday at Kilroy’s brunch buffet, just off the Braddock Road Beltway exit in Springfield, Va. If you’d like to add your name to those of Mae Scanlan, Pat Myers, Jeff Contompasis, Barry Koch, Nan Reiner, Pie Snelson, Jason Russo and Kathye Hamilton, there’s still time to RSVP to Elden Carnahan at bitly.com/loserbrunch.
And if you haven’t let Dion Black know that you’ll be coming to the Loser Holiday-of-Your-Choice Party on Saturday evening, Jan. 14, at Dion’s house in Washington, go ahead and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can neither confirm nor deny rumors that song parodies are being worked up for the occasion. Oh, what the heck. I’ll confirm.
And if I don’t talk to you before then, I hope you all enjoy a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, a Divine Diwali, a Festive Festivus, or whatever else makes you happy besides ink.