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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A SLICE OF CAKE*


So, the beautiful city of Chicago recently held its first alternative comics festival in a long time, CAKE.  I had high hopes for CAKE and it didn't disappoint.

For some reason Chicago has never had a sustainable alt-comics fest.  I think, and hope, that has changed now.  The CAKE organizers really worked hard at making this a great show.  They took their time and did things right, and it showed.  For a first year show, CAKE was a great success.

I was proud not only to have a show like this in my hometown, but I was amazed at the number of brilliant cartoonists and publishers who made the trek from all over the country, and from Canada, to attend.  CAKE was a winner, and no doubt will only improve as it moves forward.  If you didn't make it out this time...  next year?


The Spit and a Half table.

Leslie and Zak.

St. Louis dis.

Just kidding!  Here's Mardou and Ted May, comics power couple.


Whoa!  I was super excited to see old friend Carrie McNinch for the first time in like 12 years.  Check out Carrie's full-length, full-color comic in the new Three #3, edited by cartoonist and publisher extraordinaire Robert Kirby (to her right)!

Marc Bell and Anders Nilsen get down and dirty.

Anders' micro-edition accordion book.

"Dirt Do-og!"


Saturday evening there was a gallery opening down the street featuring loads of great comic art.  You can't tell from this picture, but it was 1000° in there.

Photo by Jessica Campbell.

Wabash Street.

And look, my BFF Patrick Porter showed up on an Amtrak layover.

Crowd out in front of gallery/sauna.

Ol' Grandpa John enjoys a gourmet beverage and a nice rocking chair.
Photo by Julia Wertz.

That night we played Spin the Walter at Laura Park's house.
(L-R: Domitille Collardey, Julia Wertz, Tom Kaczynski, Zak Sally, Walter Wallet, Lisa Hanawalt, Laura Park.)

Don't give me that look.

These psychos from Minneapolis insisted on doing push-ups all the time.  We were all very, very impressed.


Next morning a delightful breakfast with Zak, Tom K., and CAKE organizer Grace Tran.

Yam Books' Rina Ayuyang and John P. get all surly on yo ass.

View from behind the Secret Acres table.  Like I said, the most beautiful city in the world.

*Sorry

Thursday, June 14, 2012

THE HOUSE I LIVE IN

Even the American flag is depressed.


On Tuesday, June 5th, Election Day in Wisconsin, I stood on the Portland Avenue bridge in Beloit, with the swallows, ducks, and one Great Blue Heron, and held up a sign imploring citizens to Vote for Tom Barrett, the Democratic opponent to Governor Scott Walker, who was up for recall.

Why did I do this?  Because I believe liars should be ashamed of themselves.  Because I believe women, gay people, and minorities should have the same rights as me.  Because I believe that voter-suppression is Unamerican.  Because I believe the environment should be protected.  Because I believe religious hypocrisy is repulsive.  And because I believe Greed is a poison, and we could all do with less poison in our lives.

So I did it because I wanted to speak up in some small way about what America means to me.  To me it means tolerance, and respect, and working together with all kinds of different people for a greater good.  I guess maybe that's naive in this day and age, but that's what I believe.

Most people who noticed me honked their horns in approval, or waved, or gave the thumb's up.  Some Walker supporters shouted at me, flipped me off, or gave me the thumb's down.  Many just silently shook their heads at me, or mouthed the words "No."  I tried to not take it personally.  I reminded myself that if people had the right to voice their approval, others had the right to disagree.

At one point in the run-up to the election, it occurred to me that, truth be said, it might really only do little lasting good if Barrett won.  After all, he would still have about 50% of the electorate who despised him simply because he was a Democrat.  And the state, and our country, would still be bitterly divided, with no real solution in sight.  Standing there that day I realized that it's not only necessary to stand up and fight back against the Republicans and their Corporate Overlords, but to reach out to my neighbors as well.  To try to bridge this destructive gap the GOP has so ably aggravated and exploited.  But how do you do that?

When I was canvassing for the Democrats I talked to one woman who basically said she'd worked twenty-five years at a hard job, paying $250 a month for insurance all that time, and saving for retirement, until her  401K was obliterated in the economic collapse.  She told me she took sweet delight in public sector union members losing their collective bargaining rights.  She wanted people who had better benefits, and a pension, to feel what it was like to suffer-- like she had suffered herself.

Divide and conquer.

How do you fight back against unlimited corporate greed?  Unlimited wealth that pays for lies and deception to ring in people's heads every time they turn around?  We're in a new world now, in America, and I just don't know where it's going to end up.  What do these people ultimately want from us?  A return to feudalism?  When will enough be enough for them?

I want to be hopeful for the American Experiment.  But I also know that all good things must come to an end.