Hopper, Woodstock, & LaBelle

… purveyors of riffs on the arts. The principal riffee: panel 1 of the Peanuts cartoon of 8/29/93 (yes, 1993):

(#1) Hat tip to Jeff Bowles on Facebook on 6/28, where readers noted that though panel 1 was on one theme and panels 2-10 on another, they were both about art

Panel 1 is the big riff, cartoonist Charles Schulz’s reworking of that parody magnet, Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks, featuring Snoopy’s best buddy, the little yellow bird Woodstock, as the late-night diners, the nighthawks.

And then from the title of the painting, my little riff, an association from Nighthawks to Nightbirds, bringing in the title of a Patti LaBelle song (and the album it comes from).

Finally, the main part of #1 is a story of artistic creation — with Snoopy as the artist, Woodstock as the subject, and Woodstock’s chick as the audience for Snoopy’s portrait.

Nighthawks as a parody magnet. Attracting parodies in the fashion of Wood’s American Gothic, Munch’s The Scream, the Mona Lisa, and of course The Last Supper. The original:


Postings on this blog about parodies of it:

from 9/9/12, in “Nighthawks”, a collection of parodies

from 12/26/13, in “Santa art”, an Ed Wheeler parody

from 5/30/15, in “Earworms, snowmen, and parodies”, a Bob Eckstein parody

from 12/29/18, in “Nighthawks in search of an artist”, a Bill Whitehead parody

from 1/2/19, in “Nighthawks on New Year’s”, an Owen Smith parody

from 4/17/19, in “The last Peepshow”, with Peeps parody dioramas of The Scream, Nighthawks

from 7/3/20, in “Nighthawks in a time of coronavirus”, still more parodies

Nightbirds. From Wikipedia:

Nightbirds is an album by the all-female singing group Labelle [headed by Patti LaBelle], released in 1974 on the Epic label. The album features the group’s biggest hit, the number-one song “Lady Marmalade”

You can listen to the track here.

The beginning of the song:

Nightbird fly by the light of the moon,
Makes no difference if it’s only a dream.
Released, relive, just for the day,
It’s the nightbird’s way.

6 Responses to “Hopper, Woodstock, & LaBelle”

  1. John Baker Says:

    I feel like I am missing some thing about the original cartoon. Can you explain what is going on in panels five through 10 and why this is funny or poignant?

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    Compare panels 5 and 10. Snoopy does a first portrait of the chick, which lacks a mouth/beak, and the chick is saddened by it. Woodstock takes it back to Snoopy, explaining in his chicken-scratch tweets what is wrong with it. Snoopy repairs the portrait by adding a smile, and then the chick is happy too. So, sweet and poignant, and a tribute to Snoopy and Woodstock’s friendship.

    Or so I read it.

  3. John Baker Says:

    Thanks, Arnold. Now that I look more closely, I see that Woodstock himself is also smiling in panel 10, though not in the other panels.

  4. Gary Says:

    Glad you explained it. I noticed the difference in the portrait but didn’t understand what it was supposed to tell me. (I wasn’t even sure if the portrait was of Woodstock or of his chick)

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