You don't want to miss this: Charles Burns returns to his native Seattle this Saturday, October 30 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM for a festive reception commemorating the publication of his amazing new graphic novel X'ed Out.
Start your Saturday night at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery to welcome Charles Burns back home. The evening features a brief slide talk, ambient screening of Burns' scary animated movie "Fear(s) of the Dark," spooky tunes by DJ Russ Fallout, complimentary beverages, and collectible Halloween comix treats. Costumes optional. All ages. Free! 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Georgetown. Phone 206.658.0110.
The package of posters and prints arrived for the Charles BurnsX'ED OUT appearance this Saturday at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Seeing his wonderful work on a larger scale is such a treat. He sent copies of 10 rare pieces spanning the range of his career. Prices start at 25 bucks! Yes. You read that right.
The colorful silkscreen image of Elvis seemed hauntingly familiar. Only $150! Burnin' love, indeed. I couldn't recall the source at first, but perused my comix and zine collection and came across the hilarious "Elvis in Hell" issue of Greed magazine from 1988 with a different colored version on the cover. (Plus a feature on Peter Bagge inside.)
The uncut sheets of "Goon Squad" trading cards with a bonus black and white image on the back are just 50 bucks, but we only have 3 copies.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery curator Larry Reid will appear with musician and producer Steve Fisk on Seattle's KEXP-FM this Saturday evening at 7:30 [90.3 FM in Seattle and streaming worldwide at KEXP.org – Ed.]. The segment will focus on the recent documentary I Am Secretly an Important Man by NY filmmaker Peter Sillen. The movie chronicles the life of esoteric poet Jesse Bernstein, often cited as "the Godfather of grunge." The movie runs at the Northwest Film Forum October 22 - 29. In the film Reid is interviewed during his stint as a curator at Seattle's Experience Music Project museum, where he organized a Bernstein exhibition. He's standing in front of Charles Burns' original cover art for Sub Pop 200, on which Bernstein appears. Fisk produced Bernstein's posthumous Sub Pop release Prison.
While on the subject, we should congratulate Fisk for his production work on Soundgarden's Telephantasm album, which went Platinum last week and is featured on the new "Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock" video game. Kudos also to Fantagraphics friends Ben, Matt, Chris and Kim. Hey, don't you fellas need some new comic books?
My longtime friend Bruce Pavitt has been contemplating purging himself of some material possessions for a few years now. (As an obsessive collector myself, I appreciate the impulse.) We recently concluded that the Charles Burns event on October 30 would provide an ideal opportunity to find new homes for a few of his amazing artifacts. As the founder of Seattle's storied Sub Pop record label, his collection is impressive, to say the least. You might want to shield your eyes to for protection from the brilliance that's below.
Many people are unaware that Bruce Pavitt created Subterranean Pop as a fanzine while an undergraduate at Evergreen State College in 1980. A year later he shortened the name to Sub Pop and released issue number 5 as a cassette and mini-zine so readers could hear the music being discussed. The dozen tracks included Steve Fisk, Pell Mell, Cool Rays (Calvin Johnson’s pre-Beat Happening project), and perhaps most interestingly, “Reagan Speaks for Himself” by Seattle sound artist Doug Kahn. Pavitt recruited Evergreen alum Charles Burns to do the cover. This issue of Sub Pop was the direct predecessor to the celebrated record label.
The original Charles Burns artwork for this cassette zine will be offered in a silent auction during the Burns exhibition with a reserve bid of $1,000. (The original Burns artwork for the Sub Pop 200 LP sold 8 years ago for several times this amount to EMP, the music museum founded by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen.) Bids will be accepted through the run of the Burns exhibition, October 30 through December 6.
Pavitt is also offering his collection of pristine copies of Art Spiegelman’s RAW magazine. These coveted oversize issues included bound-in copies of Maus and other extras, including the aforementioned Doug Kahn recording from Sub Pop 5 as a bound-in sound sheet (almost never found intact in RAW #4.) It’s worth noting that RAW #4 was delayed because the conservative owners of Eva-Tone Soundsheets, the only domestic publisher of flexi-discs, refused to press Kahn’s piece, and Speigelman was forced to press the disc in Holland.
As Pavitt was showing me this sterling stash of RAWs, out fluttered a long-forgotten letter. In it, Spiegelman compliments Pavitt on Sub Pop 5, mentions a Burns story in forthcoming RAW #4 — but fails to mention Burns’ die-cut cover — and informs him of Doug Kahn’s inclusion.
I found it fairly astonishing that these two visionaries were collaborating on this level as far back as 1981. Who would’ve thought that a decade later, Spiegelman would be honored with a Pulitzer Prize for Maus, forever altering the comix idiom, and Pavitt would launch the alternative rock genre, penetrating pop culture globally? I was sort of stunned by this document. And in the midst of all this we find Charles Burns.
The letter was penned on the back of a proof of Spiegelman’s art for the German edition of DEAD MEN ALL HAVE THE SAME SKIN, which I’d never seen. I find it somehow unsettling to see German language on Spiegelman’s work from this era, given the content of the contemporaneous MAUS.
All 8 near mint copies of the RAW, the Pavitt-Spiegelman document, RAW one shots by Sue Coe and Burns' BIG BABY: Curse of the Molemen, and related ephemera will also be offered at silent auction with a reserve bid of $1,000 through December 6. They will be on display at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery for the run of Charles Burns X’ED OUT exhibition October 30 – December 6.
(Click image to enlarge.)
For more information or to register bids on the framed Charles Burns original Sub Pop 5 illustration or the RAW magazine lot, call Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery curator Larry Reid at 206.658.0110 during business hours.
Charles Burns was among a trio of gifted cartoonists to emerge from The Evergreen State College in the mid-1970s. Together, Burns and fellow Evergreen alumni Matt Groening and Lynda Barry altered the course of contemporary comix and left an indelible mark on regional culture. Burns makes a rare return visit to his native Seattle on Saturday, October 30 to celebrate the publication of his amazing new graphic novel X'ED OUT with a slide talk, art exhibition, and book signing at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. His idiosyncratic horror-story sensibility is perfect for the Halloween-eve occasion.
Burns began his career as a fine artist in Seattle while publishing illustrations and his "Big Baby" cartoon in The Rocket magazine, developing his signature stark-contrast rendering style. Burns also composed covers for Bruce Pavitt's seminal Sub Pop cassette fanzine, the forerunner to the celebrated record label. On a visit to New York, Burns came to the attention of cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who subsequently published his work in the influential anthology RAW. The rest, as they say, is history. Spiegelman published the collected BIG BABY on his RAW imprint, and Seattle-based publisher Fantagraphics Books produced his influential BLACK HOLE serial, as well as graphic albums SKIN DEEP and EL BORBAH (in addition to reprinting BIG BABY.)
X'ED OUT continues the artist's examination of the furtive insecurities of adolescence becoming manifested in bizarre and horrific consequences. In a departure from Burns' prior work, the current graphic novel is presented in full color.
The reception at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale Street, will feature a brief slide talk and book signing. An exhibition of recent fine art prints will be complemented by Burns' original drawings and related Sub Pop ephemera courtesy of label co-founder Bruce Pavitt.
Please join us to celebrate the lasting legacy of Charles Burns on Seattle's civic culture and the debut of his graphic novel X'ED OUT on Saturday, October 30 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Spooky Halloween costumes are welcome but not required. All ages, free admission.
CHARLES BURNS: X'ED OUT Slide Talk, Print Exhibition and Book Signing Saturday, October 30, 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Don't miss the festivities at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery this Saturday, October 9 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM as two extraordinary artists appear to celebrate the publication of exquisite new books.
Dave Cooper's BENT features twisted pictures that are simultaneously sensuous and grotesque. The event will feature an exhibition of alluring drawings offered at insanely affordable prices. His recent shows at Jonathan Levine in New York and Billy Shire Fine Arts in L. A. attracted celebrity art patrons. Here's your chance to join them. Also on hand will be Johnny Ryan touring behind the latest installment of his amazing PRISON PIT serial. There will be a display of colorful silkscreen prints by the mastermind behind ANGRY YOUTH COMIX.
This event coincides with the lively Georgetown Art Attack featuring challenging visual and performing art exhibitions throughout the historic industrial arts corridor. Please join us for complimentary beverages with these compelling contemporary artists.
And mark your calendars now for Saturday, October 30 when we welcome the incomparable Charles Burns back home to Seattle.
Fans of Seattle's grunge era remember poet Jesse Bernstein as the erudite voice of that movement. His larger-than-life persona and charismatic presence made him a frequent subject of cartoonists documenting the period. Bernstein's brilliance was accompanied by depression, substance abuse, and an untimely death by suicide in 1991 that tragically foreshadowed events that would plague many artists in the grunge milieu.
A new documentary film celebrating Jesse Bernstein's legacy premieres Wednesday, October 6 at the Moore Theater in Seattle. I Am Secretly an Important Man features archival footage of the poet/performance artist at his peak and interviews with friends of Fantagraphics including musician Steve Fisk, Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt, and Fantagraphics Bookstore curator Larry Reid. Look for the film at festivals and art houses around the country in the next few months. It shares many of the qualities that made Crumb such a compelling documentary. (Click here for more info & screening tickets.)
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