As we were preparing for the art show, I thought it'd be fun to chat with the organizers of Short Run -- that would be, Martine Workman , Kelly Froh, Jenny Gialenes, Eroyn Franklin -- about the inaugural event:
So, how did the idea of Short Run come together?
Martine: I've been going to comics events since 2004, even though I don't really make comics. I always wanted to attend an event that welcomed all sorts of makers and small publishers of comics, writing, poetry, zines, and artist books. Last year Eroyn saw my work and contacted me out of the blue since we were both publishing our own books in Seattle. Our friendship grew out of conversations about self publishing, art, craftsmanship, and wanting to create a community for ourselves. Around this time, Profanity Hill was up and running for a bit, and it was exciting and surprising to see so much local work being made. After talking to my pal Jenny, who works in literary event promotion and moonlights as a zinester, it seemed possible to bring the self publishers of our region together by organizing a small press fest! She came up with the name -- which I love! -- and agreed to help coordinate the event. Kelly, a true blue mini-comix maker and fantastic organizer, joined us soon after and rounded out the group. We've had a lot of fun and I feel really lucky we work so well together as a team.
Jenny: The first night Martine and I spoke about Short Run, we were talking about the need for this kind of event - I had just come back from SF Zine Fest and felt like I found my mission in life. There was this sense of community there that I had only seen small glimpses of in Seattle.
What do you see as the main focus of Short Run?
Eroyn: Short Run hopes to extend Seattle's exposure to the small press world that exists within and around it. We want to expand the audience for small press work and let artists engage directly with the people who like what they do. Short Run will build on the small press community that we do have and foster communication between artists who work in different mediums and styles. As a group we don't commit to any particular medium or aesthetic -- we are not a comic-con or a craft fair or a zine festival but we encompass aspects of all of these because we think they can all be engaging.
How do you define what is "small press" to you?
Kelly: Small press, in regards to what you will see at Short Run, are hand-made, self-published, “short run” art books, comics, zines, and literary works. You’re going to see a lot of work that has been photocopied, screen-printed, side-stitched, glued, covered in gold leaf, stencil-cut, and folded in ways you can’t conceive of! Many of the artists and writers have had one or more of their books “professionally” published, or hope to some day, but Short Run’s heart is the home made.
Even though Fantagraphics won't have a table, several of our artists will be in attendance... like Megan Kelso! How did you get Megan involved?
Kelly: We are totally excited that Michael Dowers will be at Short Run! We don’t think mini-comix ever went away, but the people creating them scattered and many new comic artists were not aware of any kind of “scene”. Seattle does not have a Fallout Comix anymore, or a Confounded Books, or even a Pilot Books. Besides a few dusty spin racks, there is no physical hub for selling and sharing mini-comics. There are lone creators and drawing groups all over Seattle that meet on different nights in difference places, and mini-comics are being made.
Eroyn: The capability to self publish is more attainable than ever and people are definitely taking advantage of new technologies and affordable printing to produce great work.
Eroyn: Along with these stores and a few independent distros like Jason T. Miles’ Profanity Hill, we hope to help foster underground press in Seattle.
And, finally, what sort of future do you guys envision for Short Run? Do you hope to keep it small and local? Or will it eventually be the Seattle-version of an APE or Stumptown?
Jenny: I would like to see Short Run grow into itself organically. Big is not necessarily better - unless there is a solid community there providing the support. It's the difference between a stadium concert and going to see a local band at your favorite club - both have equal measure, they are just two very different experiences.
Kelly: It was our experiences at these larger festivals that helped us to decide what we did and didn’t want to be. We want to always be free to the public, and we want to always have low cost tables. Being local was really important to us as well, and one aim of Short Run was to draw out first-time tablers and try to reach people who had maybe shied away from other larger conventions. Looking over our exhibitor list, you will see that we have a lot of exhibitors from Portland. We can learn a lot from the comics community that they have built but Seattle has its own history of alternative cartoonists, and we need to grow from there. Short Run not only has a few of these “legends” of small press in attendance, but we have a ton of more obscure artists and writers, not only from comics, but from zines, animation, and the literary world. It’s a great showcase of artists and writers and we are really excited to share Short Run with Seattle!
He will be joined on stage by Dave Marsh, a rock critic, historian, anti-censorship activist, talk show host and "Louie Louie" expert who has written more than 20 book about rock and popular music.
Buy the book or a $10 Strand Gift Card in order to attend this event. Both options admit two people. The event starts at 7:00 PM in the Rare Book Room on the 3rd Floor of The Strand [ 828 Broadway at 12th Street ].
"Kevin Avery has done something heroic here. Avery has rescued the work and the passion, the life and the meaning of the great Paul Nelson. Nelson was a deep and beautiful writer, mysterious and painstaking and brilliant. Thanks to Avery and Everything Is an Afterthought, Paul Nelson's work finally has a home." - Cameron Crowe
What happened to legendary music critic Paul Nelson?
In the '60s, Paul Nelson pioneered rock & roll criticism with a first-person style of writing that would later be popularized by the likes of Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer as "New Journalism." As co-founding editor of The Little Sandy Review and managing editor of Sing Out!, he'd already established himself, to use his friend Bob Dylan's words, as "a folk-music scholar"; but when Dylan went electric in 1965, Nelson went with him.
During a five-year detour at Mercury Records in the early 1970s, Nelson signed the New York Dolls to their first recording contract, then settled back down to writing criticism at Rolling Stone as the last in a great tradition of record-review editors that included Jon Landau, Dave Marsh, and Greil Marcus. Famously championing the early careers of artists like Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, and Warren Zevon, Nelson not only wrote about them but often befriended them. Never one to be pigeonholed, he was also one of punk rock's first stateside mainstream proponents, embracing The Sex Pistols and The Ramones.
But in 1982, he walked away from it all — Rolling Stone, his friends, and rock & roll. By the time he died in his New York City apartment in 2006 at the age of seventy — a week passing before anybody discovered his body — almost everything he'd written had been relegated to back issues of old music magazines.
How could a man whose writing had been so highly regarded have fallen so quickly from our collective memory?
With Paul Nelson's posthumous blessing, Kevin Avery spent four years researching and writing Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson, which compiles Nelson's best works (some of it previously unpublished) while also providing a vivid account of his private and public lives. Avery interviewed almost 100 of Paul Nelson's friends, family, and colleagues, including several of the artists about whom he'd written.
Kevin Avery Tour Dates for Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson
Wednesday, November 9th at 7:00 PM Kevin Avery will be joined on stage by Dave Marsh, a rock critic, historian, anti-censorship activist, talk show host and "Louie Louie" expert who has written more than 20 books about rock and popular music. This event will be held in the Rare Book Room on the 3rd Floor of the Strand.
Sunday, November 13th at 4:00 PM Kevin Avery discuss the life and writings of Paul Nelson in conversation with local author (Moon, All Hopped Up And Ready To Go: Music From The Streets of New York) Tony Fletcher.
We're excited to announce that Dutch artist and designer Femke Hiemstra is returning to Seattle for a show at Roq La Rue, opening this Friday, November 11th!
The show is entitled "The Timid Cabbage," and features a series of brand new drawings, including an illustration of a poem by Seattle's own Charles Krafft! She will also be joined by artist Ryan Heshka.
The reception runs from 6:00 - 9:00 PM, so drop by Roq La Rue [ 2312 2nd Avenue, Seattle ] and say hi to Femke for us!
There's no sophomore slump for the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, co-organized by our own Lilli Carré! Although only in its second year, it's got another impressive line-up of experimental animation of all sorts: classic films, new works, and rare masterpieces, including a piece by another Fantagraphics artist, Nicolas Mahler.
Chicagoans can SEE the Eyeworks Festival for themselves this Saturday, November 5th and Sunday November 6th, at the DePaul University [ CDM Theater, 247 S. State Street, lower level ].
* Other People's Publications ** Yeah, You Know Me.
It's been a long time since our last edition of "Down With OPP," so for those of us who've forgotten (me), it's a column where we take a look at books from other publishers that you can find at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle!
And, of course, what could inspire me to revive the column faster than a new title from the great Lynda Barry!!! I was beyond the moon to get to the store yesterday and see we had Blabber Blabber Blabber: Volume 1 of Everything (Drawn & Quarterly) in stock!
And here's Lynda's take on a ZAP Comix cover, wowie! The book begins with Lynda talking about her introduction to comics, which I loved reading since she was one of MY introductions. I fell in love with her work from the back pages of the alt-weeklies, and, um... may have collaged some of them into my zines in the '90s. (Sorry, Lynda...)
ANYWAY! The book then goes on to collect her very first Ernie Pook's Comeeks from the late '70s/early '80s, to a strip called Two Sisters that I had not even heard of before! It also includes some mail art and comics that Matt Groening sent her in the late '70s, including some collaborations with Gary Panter, eee!
It ends with a reprint of Girls + Boys and Big Ideas, as seen in the 2010 Bumbershoot Counterculture Comix exhibit, curated by Fantagraphics' own Larry Reid!
Larry and Lynda go way back in the Seattle underground comix scene, so swing by the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery and ask him all about the good 'ol days! Blabber Blabber Blabber: Volume One of Everything, and a coupla other Barry titles, are currently in stock at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110. See you there!
It's part of "Real Characters," McNally Jackson's monthly storytelling series, featuring some of New York's funniest comedians and writers. Kupperman will also be joined by Elna Baker, mad scientist Nick Vatterott, George Gordon, Matt Mercier, and my second favorite next to Kupperman, Ted Travelstead.
The stories start at 7 PM! McNally Jackson is located at 52 Prince Street in New York City. Costumes are encouraged, and there will be free booze and candy! Trick or treat, indeed!
UPDATE 11/9: Unfortunately, Jordan Crane has to cancel his Toronto appearance, but will hopefully reschedule soon... Stay tuned!
We're excited to announce that long-time comics icon Jordan Crane will be making his first-ever appearance in Toronto on Thursday, December 1st! This is not to be missed!
The awesome crew at The Beguiling bookstore will be hosting Jordan at Clinton's Tavern [ 693 Bloor Street ] for a presentation and discussion of his long history in comics and design. The event kicks off at 8 PM, with Jordan being interviewed on stage, and a Q&A and signing will follow. If you forget your copies of Uptight, there will be books to purchase at the Tavern!
And, earlier that day at 5 PM, you can bring your little ones to Little Island Comics for a signing of his new children's book Keep Our Secrets, written and illustrated by Jordan!
And did we mention? Both events are FREE! Who knows how long it will be before Jordan returns to Toronto? Don't miss out -- go meet him while you can!
And you can catch what sounds like an amazing panel with Al Jaffee, Jack Davis, and the "Usual Gang of Idiots" on November 12th at 5:00 PM at the Trustees Theater [ 216 E. Broughton St., Savannah, Georgia ].
It's free, open to the public, and you'd be MAD to miss it!
Register and Login to receive full member benefits, including members-only special offers, commenting privileges on Flog! The Fantagraphics Blog, newsletters and special announcements via email, and stuff we haven't even thought of yet. Membership is free and spam-free, so Sign Up Today!