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PART EIGHT: AUSTIN, TEXAS
We left Houston early, and made the not-too-distant drive into Austin. I was excited to see Austin, as I'd only been there once before-- on a whirlwind trip where we only stayed a few hours. This time I would get to really see the city, as well as some of my old and dear friends.
King-Cat signing at Austin Books and Comics, which was, without a doubt, one of the best comic shops I have ever set foot in. Amazing selection, clean, well organized, super staff... plus: a 10-foot-tall fiberglass sculpture of the Hulk! Perfect!
At the signing I saw my old friend, Lainie the Oyster, for the first time in 15 years! Lainie was the gal who turned me on to the Zine World™ circa 1987. I had been selling a few copies of my art and poetry mag, Cehsoikoe, at this weird local indie/punk/import record shop called The Turntable. Lainie bought a copy there, and wrote to me, sending her own Lime Green Bulldozers zine along too. I went to go visit her one day, and she showed me a copy of Factsheet Five-- and my world was blown wide-open. Prior to that, I'd had no idea that the zine network existed. I threw myself into it, and have never looked back...
After the signing, we got some Texas-style Barbecue, and then wandered around the town. Here's the famous Daniel Johnston mural that some damn fools wanted to paint over.
House that Janis Joplin lived in in the sixties.
Mural, outside Domy Books Austin.
That night I had a slideshow presentation and reception at the great Domy Books, run by my old pal Russell Etchen. I first met Russell in the mid-nineties when he was a meer teenage whippersnapper, making goofy comics with his Houston pals, and buying stuff from my Spit and a Half distro. Now he helps run the two Domy shops (in Houston and Austin), and is an integral part of the Texas underground art and publishing scene. In many ways, on this trip, I was coming to the sense that this whole beautiful world I'm involved in is based on heart-felt comraderie and a kind of ever-expanding cycle of inspiration Here in Austin, there was Lainie, who had introduced me to the amazing network that had sprung up around self-publishing, and that inspiration led me to start my distro in 1992-- which in turn inspired Russell and his friends to do what they wanted to do. Now Russell is out there supporting and encouraging countless cool artists and writers himself-- and that's just a tiny part of the bigger picture...
Bathroom Art Gallery at Domy Austin, under blacklight.
These wonderful sketches of the Domy event are by Austin Kleon.
(Click to enlarge)
"Slugs and snails are after me": Lainie's front yard, the next morning.
Lainie's awesome cats, who I not only forgot their real names, but I even forgot the dumb nicknames I gave them too. As my Dad was wont to say, "It's shit getting old..."
The day after the signings we went back to Domy to hang out with Russell, and Dan interviewed him for the movie. Then we went down to the Congress Avenue Bridge, to see the famous bats come out at dusk.
Park area where people congregate to watch the bats.
Those little squidges are some of the 1.5 million bats that come out from under the bridge every night, from mid-March through November! Absolutely beautiful...
John P. loves him some bats.
More hard-to-see squidge-bats.
(I truthfully don't know what all those weird circles in the air are, but I'd like to imagine they're bats!)
View from under the bridge.
Downtown, from up top the bridge.
That night we stayed with Dan's friend Heather-Nicole, and got up early the next morning. We stopped by Lainie's to say goodbye, and then headed north, towards Waco, Dallas, and points beyond. But that's for next time...
Chippy Chipmunk, with Lainie the Oyster.
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NEXT: The final leg -- Waco, Dallas, OKC, Tulsa, and beyond!