Grand Ballroom of Doom
The 'Grand Ballroom of Doom' is a comic strip by Philadelphia artist Jacob C Hammes, featuring leftist jokes that comment on social and economic tensions in America.

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Introduction

The Grand Ballroom of Doom is a comic strip by Philadelphia artist Jacob C Hammes. Often single panel and featuring no recurring characters, the black and white hand-drawn images depict absurd situations where people, animals, and inanimate objects express self-awareness of their being trapped in ideological networks, depicting social and economic tensions in American culture with a mundane or conversely frenetic absurdity. Many of these drawings are based on jokes featured in “101 Jokes about the Working Class,” a 2020 self-published book by Hammes featuring (mostly) Leftist jokes about labor, power structures, and our rapidly deteriorating social fabric.


Five panel comic of folks shouting to one another in a bland room


Bio

Jacob C Hammes is an Interdisciplinary artist, arts organizer, and educator based in Philadelphia. Working primarily in sculpture, drawing, and sound, Hammes’ work explores themes of late capitalist anxieties and how we constitute ourselves as individuals within a backdrop of time/labor precarity. Recently he has moved into comedy and joke writing with his 2020 book entitled “101 Jokes About the Working Class,” a collection of (mostly) Leftist jokes and illustrations, and ‘The Grand Ballroom of Doom” a biweekly comic strip depicting the brutality of late stage capitalism as absurdist comedy.

Hammes holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Tyler School of Art. He is the director and curator of Pilot+Projects, an artist-run exhibition space in Philadelphia, and teaches at Tyler School of Art and University of the Arts. Hammes has shown at at spaces such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Woodmere Art Museum, The Grunwald Gallery at Indiana University, The Hills Aesthetic Center, Temple Contemporary, The Hyde Park Art Center, the Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Auckland, Information Space, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.


Transcription

[Panel 1]: A balding man with a disgruntled expression and furrowed brow stands with his arms crossed.
Angry person 1: I don’t care what you say, the semicolon is important and should be a key on the home row!

[Panel 2]: A second man, who sports slicked hair and prim round eyeglasses, points a swollen forefinger towards another person (out of view) and shouts with a wide open mouth…
Angry person 2: I think the first two numbers after ten should have unique names but after that USE A LOGICAL NAMING SYSTEM!!

[Panel 3]: The first angry man returns, this time angrier, with veins popping out of his face beneath his deeply knitted brows, and his mouth is now snarled. He points downwards as he speaks through his teeth…
Angry person 1: I think we should pluralize the article of clothing you wear on your LOWER BODY! AND NEVER USE THE SINGULAR FORM!

[Panel 4]: A third angry person with curly shoulder length hair and petite bangs speaks up. She shouts from the top of her lungs, past her terrifyingly sharp set of teeth.
Angry person 3: IF YOU SPLIT INFINITIVES SO HELP ME GOD I WILL STAB YOUR FACE!!

[Panel 5]: The comic now zooms out to reveal its setting. Plastic chairs placed in a circle in a plain room: it’s a support group. The group facilitator sits in the center of the panel, his back visible. The rest of the angry people sit listening to the final speaker.
Angry person 4: I think the ELECTION WAS RIGGED BY DEEP STATE ILLUMINATI PEDOPHILES!
Support group facilitator: Sir, this is “Irrational Yelling about Language… Irrational Yelling about the Election meets Tuesday.”

Tags

artist, comic, comics artist, educator, grand ballroom of doom, illustration, illustrator, Jacob C Hammes, philadelphia, sculptor

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