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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

WINTER 2011 TOUR DIARY Part Three

Woke up early for the show (Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival), and had my first cup of coffee since 2005.  Delerium, including headaches and unstoppable visions of comic books, ensued.

The Teeming Masses congregate outside the Fest.

The view inside.

Dr. Jeckyll
(Photo by Phoebe Gloeckner)

Mr. Hyde
(Photo by Phoebe Gloeckner)

Spit and a Half table. (Photo by Phoebe)

The Brooklyn Fest was an amazing success. The only thing is it was so busy I had basically no time to ever leave my table. I managed to scramble out the last half-hour and see people briefly, but a lot of folks had already left or were sold out of stuff by then. And there were tons of artists that I didn't even know were there until I came home and read people's recaps online.

The day after the fest, my host Julia Wertz and I met up with Sarah Glidden and Zak Sally for a walk across the bridge into Manhattan.

Such is life in the Hundred Acre Wood.

Amused.

A stop at the Brooklyn Reliquary (Neon sign salesman's sampler case).  (Photo by Sarah)

Breakfast at that place on Union.  Not Shown: James McShane.

Sampling the "Gummi Fried Egg" from a junk food shop in Chinatown.  I'm trying to decide whether to puke or ask for more.  (Photo by Sarah.)  It tasted like a combination of coconut and artificial buttery flavor.

Getting my head squished in Zuccotti Park.  Occupy!
(Photo by Julia Wertz)


* * *

Scenes from the Brooklyn Bridge:




(Statue of Liberty)

Sarah, Zak, and Julia.



Anyhow, we walked about nine miles that Sunday.  I drove Zak to the airport and came back to Julia's place to decorate the cat, which she enjoyed:



NEXT: GREENPOINT

(Cat photo by Julia Wertz)

Friday, December 23, 2011

WINTER 2011 TOUR DIARY Part Two

I woke up early Monday morning and headed down to Columbus, where I have a couple good friends, and I always have a fine time.  It was raining, one of those not-heavy but steady rains that lingers for days.  After a brief wrong turn at Canton I found myself back in good old Columbus.

Columbus and I have a long history together, from attending SPACE there most every year, to the parties at the Laughing Ogre, to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library (where I first met Dylan Williams, paging through old White Boy newspaper pages wearing white cotton gloves), to Used Kids Records, and more.  Columbus is always one of my favorite destinations.

Monday I ran errands, dropping off copies of the new King-Cat at Used Kids, Wholly Craft, and Laughing Ogre, and visiting (as usual) the Wexner Center Bookstore, the best museum bookstore I've ever been in.  I picked up a nice artbook documenting the graffiti, posters, and artwork of the May '68 Paris uprising, plus a collection of the seminal Destroy All Monsters zine from the seventies.  And later I found a copy of Amy and Jordan at Half Price Books.  So a good book day.

Tuesday I had an appointment with Matt at the Wexner Center to show him some Spit and a Half stuff, which he happily picked up for the store.  It never is less than a total thrill to me to get good comics into someone's hands.

Ginger Vitus, my Columbus housemate.

Wednesday morning I was back out on the road, making the short, three-hour trip to Pittsburgh.  I was excited to have enough time to stop in Wheeling, WV on the way.  I've always been in too much of a hurry to do so before, or coming through late at night.  And Wheeling looks so run down and beautiful from the interstate.

County Courthouse in Zanesville, OH.

Before that, though, I impulsively got off the highway at Zanesville.  The only thing I remember about Zaneville is driving through it when I was on the road with my band Smile, in 1991.  And back then I was probably hungover.  So I thought I'd go check it out.

Zaneville was run down and beautiful, and home to the masterful "Y-Bridge":

Photo of Zaneville Y-Bridge by Maurice J. Fox, from Wikipedia.
(Click to enlarge)

I headed back on down the road and was in Wheeling in no time.  Wow, Wheeling was run down and beautiful, but mostly run down.  It was kind of sad.  I drove around for a bit, but didn't take any pictures.

Then I was in Pittsburgh, which is, apparently, my new home away from home. Having never been there before March of this year, this was my third visit since then.  I love Pittsburgh.  I travel around a lot and see a lot of nice places, but Pittsburgh is one of the few places I could actually see myself living in.

I headed over to Copacetic, one of the great American comic shops.  Bill (the owner) and I shot the breeze for a long time as I wandered around looking at stuff.  I picked up a copy of Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths, a manga I'd been eyeing for some time.  The cartoonist (and my PGH host) Jim Rugg showed up and we went out to dinner, then back to his place to chatter endlessly about comics, Cleveland, the Situationists (a looming trend), Kirby (the artist, and the cat), and so on.  Living in physical isolation from other cartoonists, it's so nice to be able to talk shop when out on the road.

Next morning we went to the Carnegie Art Museum and spent much of the day there.  Afterwards, we stopped in at Phantom of the Attic, another great PGH comics shop, then headed back to Copacetic to meet Bill for dinner.

After dinner, Jim and I wandered around PGH a bit more, ending up at the Big Idea, one of the nicest infoshops I've ever been in.  I dropped off a bunch of King-Cats and eyed their shelves.  I picked up a copy of the new Crimethinc book, Work, and Ken Knabb's Situationist International Anthology.  Then back home to blabber more about comics.

On the way back to Jim's, he took me on a detour up Mount Washington, to the best views of the city.  No kidding.  Pittsburgh shure is pretty.

From Mt. Washington, to the west.

Downtown Pittsburgh.

To the east.

And the next morning I was back on the road, heading to Brooklyn.








And when I got to Brooklyn, this is what I found:



NEXT: Brooklyn Part One


Thursday, December 22, 2011

WINTER 2011 TOUR DIARY Part One


So, Old Uncle John hit the road again the weekend after Thanksgiving.  I had made plans to attend the acclaimed Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival on December 3rd, and then when I was in Pittsburgh a few months ago, I heard about this comic con in Cleveland, called Ghengis Con, and arranged to attend that one too.

Cleveland has always been a mystery to me.  It's a big city, right?  There must be zine-friendly shops/people, a comics scene, but in 20 years of zine-making I'd never been able to figure it out.  At PIX in Pittsburgh I'd met Kevin Czap, and he clued me in a bit.  So I figured Ghengis Con would be a good way to find out more about Cleveland and its comics world.

The show was held in the lovely Beachland Ballroom.  It was small but fun show, lots of good people.

The Spit and a Half spread.



Afterwards I wandered around the corner to an empty parking lot to talk to Stephanie, and I found this van, completely wrapped in plastic.  Whoa.

Stairway to Nowhere.


The next morning Kevin Czap and I wandered around out by Lake Erie.

Nice owl graffito at the lakefront.


Me too.

Spoken like a true American­™.

After hanging out at the lake and discussing the Situationists, we went to a nice comic shop where I found some Gladstone Shock Suspenstories for half-cover, and then Mac's Backs, one of Cleveland's longstanding indie bookshops, where I picked up a nice looking book called What Was the Hipster?  Lately I've been very interested in looking at the commodification of the underground, and this book looked like a thoughtful discussion of the phenomenon.

Finally, at the last minute, we ended up at the Cleveland Art Museum, a few minutes before closing.  The guards did their best to dissuade us from entering, but we managed to sneak through long enough to see a nice Lee Krassner and a BEAUTIFUL pre-neo-plastic Mondrian called Chrysanthemum (1906).


Then more jabbering about comics and politics, and to bed.  For in the morning Lovely Columbus awaited.

View from the Czap Citadel of Domination.

* * *

NEXT: Columbus, Pittsburgh