Invincible Summer

by NJG

Saturday, March 17, 2012

On the radio, in Chicago, and on a playing card!

Last week I was sick as a D-O-G & in Chicago for the Chicago Zine Fest, where I debuted a new, raspy rendition of Sk8er Boi at Karaoke.
Here are some photos from my trip:

I had the weirdest breakfast at a placed called Flying Saucer in Chicago. It was called a sweet potato kale & tofu hash, which technically I guess it was, but let me tell you the weird part- the ingredients were each going it solo, not blending with each-other. It was tiny pieces of half-done sweet potato, half-cooked unspiced kale, and strangest of all, strips of plain Age tofu. Age tofu is that spongey tofu you get from the asian market or in a Vietnamese restaurant. You know what I'm talking about. Anyway, all of those things, but each on its own and each bland in its own way. Very weird breakfast.
The best part of my breakfast? Spiced apples! It felt very old fashioned to get a side of warm, soft, cinnamon-y apples alongside my savories.
I tell you what, I did not speak up or send this breakfast back from whence it came. I was so Cold-begotten by this point in the trip that I felt bad enough sitting in public as a walking Contagion. I didn't want to then croak out some polite but awkward directives to the kitchen, so I used some ketchup and let it lay. I even took it home, fully intending on heating everything up with a few spices or a dash of Braggs.

I'd also like to note that the service was really great.
The waiter was attentive and completely competent and efficient. My coffee cup never wanted for more, as he zipped through and topped it off every few minutes. I love people who are good at their jobs. Any job. Love it. Also, the orange juice was nice. Oh- and we got a vegan brownie that was delightful.

As I was sick this week, I ordered mostly the weirdest things whilst in Chicago. Primarily, plain vegetable soup from every Asian restaurant we visited. Thai, Chinese, Sushi Fusion, all of them.
Here is my table, which was kindly by a window. You may notice I am not in the photo. This is because I am SO independent that I couldn't even ask anyone to take my photo, I had to do it myself. I am also so independent that I didn't think to ask anyone to come and staff my booth so I could walk around the Zine Fest. In fact, I stayed anchored to my table the entire day, straying only to get coffee, do a workshop, and visit a food cart. Speaking of...

Something special about the Chicago Zine Fest (besides everything happening inside the building) was a food cart they coordinated with to pull up out front & sell vegan lunch to everybody. It was not any food cart, it was a SOUL VEG food truck!

Soul Vegetarian is outrageous. OUTRAGEOUS! It is delicious and healthy and I was happy to spend my meager fortune on some macaroni & cheese & wings. They are famous for creating fake chicken wings atop a sugar cane "bone". When you're done eating your wing, you can chew on the bone and it is delicious. Very dog-like, this bone chewing. Okay.
This is the part that you don't care about, but I'm on a roll- I was excited to find that my table neighbor from the Kentucky anarchist table strongly disliked the coconut water she'd purchased from Soul Veg, and gave it to me! Small victories. I had two giant coconut waters, which was a highlight to my trip and yes I'm writing this in lieu of telling you about great zines, performances and human beings or anything related to comics.
Two Coconut waters! Wow! Thanks, table neighbor!

Other things that happened: I ran into Dave Roche, whom I toured with in 2005 when the first Invincible Summer book came out. He has a fantastic travel zine about visiting Australia & Malaysia.

I reunited with my dear friend Cristy Road,

and I got my photo taken in front of "Steak & Egger" with Marissa Falco, who I heard received high honors at the Zinester Olympics the night before.

I accepted the Long Armed Stapler Award in the place of Dylan Williams and Sparkplug Comics. I was honored to do so.

Dylan was a champion of independent comics, and while his passing has left a huge hole in our hearts, his publishing company Sparkplug is kept alive in the capable hands of Emily Nilsson, Virginia Paine, and Tom Neely.
Which is nice.

Dylan taught with me at the Independent Publishing Resource Center, where I have worked, volunteered & taught for the past twelve years. The IPRC is moving, and Blue from Stumptown Underground held a nice going away party on the last night we still had the space. I'm going to miss climbing the stairs of 917 SW Oak, the smell of Thai food that permeates the space, and the ritual of touching the door before the door handle so I don't get shocked from the carpeted halls of the second floor. Hmm.

Here's a photo from our last night in the space, including the elusive CLUTCH, aka Greg , whom I am standing back to back with in an Amazing Race Team Photo style.

The IPRC has been searching for a larger space for years (like seven?) and found a very grand & massive one in inner Southeast. Come check it out when they reopen.

I was on OPB the other week. Right before I got sick.
I was on Think Out Loud with Sarah Mirk and a lovely lady from the Oregon Historical Society, talking about historical comics.
Here is the link to listen to our talk:Think Out Loud .
I got a free mug out of the deal.

Oh Jeez- here are two more things.

The Bad Roommate Zine is out now. You can get it through my Etsy page, and if you live in Portland and put in the code PORTLANDPRICE at checkout, you can get free shipping because you are going to pick it up somewhere in Portland of my choosing.
This first batch has some typos, for which I apologize.

AND!!!! I have been turned into a playing card by comic genius Liz Prince!
She got to choose a musician for a deck of Feminist Playing Cards that is being created, and she chose me, which was such a nice thing for her to do.
You may not remember this far back, dear reader, but I have been in a couple of bands. I have not played music lately, as I have been gills deep in my book, but I am HONORED to have been chosen for this deck.
If you'd like to support the project and see who else is in there, check out the kickstarter page.

Okay, I think that's it for real.
I will see you soon at CAKE in Chicago, and at Stumptown Comics Festin the meantime.

Take Care!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Working For Yourself: A visual tour

My perception is that people think working for yourself is like this:

When actually, it's a bit more like this:

Here I am checking my email.

Saying yes to last minute projects,

and basking in the freedom from a normal 9-5 job.

This has been a public service announcement, paid for by the council of people who never leave the house because they're on a deadline.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Busy Busy. Vanport, Portlandia, Etc.


Here are some previews from the comic I did about Vanport for the Dill Pickle Club of Portland, Oregon.

You can pick up your copy a few ways.
From Dill Pickle Club (It's currently part of a box set, but email them for details on individual copies), from Powells tonight at the big release party of their historical comics anthology, or from me in person at next weekend's Chicago Zine Fest!

1.5. I also want you to know I'll be on OPB's Think Out Loud on Monday, March 5th at 9:20 a.m. to talk about the comic. Tune in, please!

2. Secondly, PORTLANDIA***!!!

I could not choose one single winner for the Portlandia blog's "Most Portland Thing Ever" contest, so... I chose five. And even that was difficult! Can I tell you the best late entry I got?
It's this:
My friend Beta said one day she saw a group of hippies sitting outside of the Alberta Co-Op sharing a single tub of Goat Kefir, passing it around and eating it WITH A STICK.
One Long Stick!
I couldn't believe it. IF ONLY I had not already ground my hand tendons into little nubs drawing these other five, I'd have snuck it in. Maybe some day.

In the meantime, I'd love to share the links with you to the five winners and their accompanying stories. If you like the pictures you MUST click on the links to see the original story. It's worth it!

Rugged Urban Breastfeeding *

The Coffeeshop Pony

Kickball vs. Nude Yoga

Getting Shamed for Feeding the Ducks **

Rogue Ren-Faire guys at night.

A little commentary:

* I know, I know, breastfeeding is right on. I GET IT. I imagine if I had a child I'd be breastfeeding it right now instead of blogging, but I also imagine I would have a sense of humor about dashing across NW 23rd with said child suckling whilst old enough to read. And probably would draw a comic of myself doing so.

** The duck situation at Laurelhurst Park was real and pretty dark (the pond was a big mess that had to be manually cleaned out by humans & wasn't great for any of the animals, some of whom may have been put to sleep???), but nothing says "Portland" to me like public shaming, especially when someone's doing something pretty friendly and otherwise benign.

*** Never forget that I worked at the Feminist Bookstore depicted on the show (please imagine me behind that very counter special ordering The Ethical Slut for college students), and also, I support the right of artists to continue adorning things with birds, even if everyone now thinks it's passe because someone on t.v. said it out loud. Also, thirdly, Jeb is an extra in an episode of Portlandia from season 1. It's the episode where the mayor is missing.