Washingtonians braved the cold rain on Friday night to journey to the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown and enjoy an evening for cocktails, art, wit, and live music as they celebrated the art of Pulitzer-Prize-winning Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles.
The 5th Annual Political Cartoons Exhibit hosted by Art Soiree was billed as a “Retrospective of Twelve Years as Washington Post’s Editorial Cartoonist.” Original samples of Toles’ satirical cartoons were available for purchase, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Cartoonist Rights Network International, a non-profit organization chartered to defend the rights of threatened political cartoonists worldwide.
“It’s gratifying and pleasing to see my work displayed in a gallery-like setting like this,” Toles said. “Working at my board can be solitary, so it’s great to see my work being appreciated in public.”
The evening also featured not only the artist himself and his art, but also a rockin’ performance by Suspicious Package, the DC-based “journo band” of which Toles is a member. Suspicious Package may be, in the words of the Post’s Going Out Guide, “DC’s only band made up of journalists and wonks.” Its members include Tom Toles on vocals and drums, senior government officials Christina Sevilla on vocals and keyboard and Bryan Greene on vocals and guitar, National Security Journalism Initiative Director of Education and Outreach Josh Meyer on vocals and guitar, and former Time/Bloomberg journalist Tim Burger on bass. Their first set on Friday night ranged from the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black” to a rocked-out version of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.” Toles played drums throughout and provided the vocals for the band’s versions of Gary Numan’s new-wave staple “Cars” and Billy Idol’s famous guitar-heavy “White Wedding.”
The event was a mix of brilliant artistic wit, congeniality, and highly-danceable rock-and-roll, set in the elegance of the Ritz-Carlton… all in all, a rare treat.