Thursday, November 08, 2007

Lynda Barry Monster Love,
and a Shout Out to Louie -- Here I Yam!

Lynda Barry has been visiting The Center for Cartoon Studies this week, giving a two-day workshop (Tuesday and Wednesday) for everyone and generally lighting up the place with her amazing grace and generosity of spirit. It's been incredible, I can feel the heart of the place throbbing: CCS has monster love for Lynda -- and from her back atcha.

Last night, CCS had a farewell reception for Lynda at the Main Street Museum in White River Junction and it was sweet. Non-stop music (from Blair Sterrett, Cat Garza and Gabby 'Ken Dahl' Schulz), conversation, company and good vibes. A grand evening capping a radiant two days for the students.

Lynda, hanging with long-hair creative-types (poet/filmmaker Alan Blangy, Lynda Barry and musician Roger Junk) back in 1977; she was doing it again last night, though the hair's shorter on most of the stylish 21st Century CCSers
  • (Source: here's the link to the Alan Blangy film Shirts, where I found this photo online.)

  • The energy in the place -- the music, the food, but most off all the powerful, open love between all the students and Lynda and everyone there -- was astounding, you felt it as soon as you walked in the door. In the hive, the buzz was profound. Blair played accordian, the saw, and more; Cat and Gabby followed with great guitar, banjo, harmonica, their playing solid and soulful (it's gonna be tough when Gabby moves to NYC later this year). Everyone was into it, the museum was alive with it all.

    I did the fanboy thing and asked Lynda to sign my first-ever experience with her work, her book Girls & Boys (1981). She graced the title page with a sketch and a grandoise testimony to CCS love, which led us into conversation on being the same age (I'm just a couple months older than Lynda), how great being a former geek hitting our 50s is, the horrors of the Bush era, and (gasp!) Monster Love.

    Listen, Lynda looooooves monsters ("...monsters saved my life, Steve..."), and began to recite The Wolfman verse ("The path you walk is thorny..."). She went back to it a couple of times, and the monster love flowed like wine. We bonded further over memories of seeing the Hammer Film The Gorgon when we were sprouts, which prompted Lynda to cover her eyes every time the Gorgon appeared onscreen. She had to go back and see it again and force herself to keep her eyes open ("...and the snakes were so stupid-looking on her head, you know?"). Ah, 1960s monster love. Lynda has it. Who'da thunk it?

    Now I'm triply glad I left a stack of Tyrants, a Taboo and a Swamp Thing -- all signed with sketches -- for Lynda at the Coolidge, where she was staying. I didn't know if she'd get into my weird shit, but it's definitely appropo. Monster love, shared in ink. I hope she enjoys 'em on the long trip home to Wisconsin.

    Come back soon, Lynda, CCS and this generation of cartoonists needs you and loves ya!

    A whole lot else has been shaking at CCS -- like the fucking ceiling! Good thing we're a stoic bunch.
  • Alumni (and Xeric Award winner!) Colleen Frakes posted pics on the I Know Joe Kimpel site, and that's all I'll say. Glad we were all out of the classroom! Yow!

  • ____________________________

    Oh, man, why'd I do it?

    I was sketching this past weekend and started doodling drawings of a few of the folks I went to high school with. I don't know why. I hated high school, though I had some good amigos there (hey to Jill Chase, Alan Finn, James 'Snake' Harvey and Clark Amadon, whereever you are). Some came out cherry, some were amorphous blobs of scratchy lines -- funny how some faces stay with you and others evaporate.

    Anyhoot, in this moment of semi-pathetic weakness and without my Harwood Union High School yearbook anywhere in reach (still packed and in the sea of boxes in the basement, which is still under construction) for further reference, I decided (foolishly) to check out that site (no, I won't post the link). I'd been ignoring those banner ads since Marge first convinced me to tap email back in the 1990s -- hmmm, maybe I could find photos there? Why not check it out?

    So, there's a 'free membership' -- hmmmm, OK, let me see what that opens up to me. Ah, shit, nothing. It's, like, they get your name, then it's $$ to access anything else. And not little dollars -- like, annual fees and shit. Fuck that.

    Now, there's a message waiting for me at from Louie Kingsbury, who lived in the Patterson Trailer Park right next to my home in Duxbury and who I was in school with since, like, 2nd grade.

    But can I open Louis's message to me? Not unless I 'upgrade' for $60 annually! What a fucking racket!

    So, here's a shout out to Louie, if he can find/read this:

    Louie, you out there? Can ya find this blog? My email is, write to me! And it's free! You're worth $60 and more, but I'll be damned if I'm going to stick my other hand into the tarbaby any further!

    Tomorrow: Mike Dobbs's new book! Common Ground Update! More!

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