Seattle's Experience Music Project is hosting festivities all weekend to launch their ambitious Nirvana exhibition and companion book Taking Punk to the Masses, published by Fantagraphics in association with EMP. The celebration begins with a private reception, followed by a members preview, this Friday evening with celebrity DJs including Fantagraphics friends Steve Fisk, Mark Pickerel, and Charles Peterson. Activities continue all weekend, including a panel on the origins of grunge at 2:30 on Saturday, with panelists including Peterson and former Fantagraphics frontman Tom Price, moderated by curator and the book's author Jacob McMurray.
The EMP exhibition focuses on Nirvana, while the book takes a broader view of Seattle's grunge counterculture, primarily through artifacts and oral histories provided by many of the principals of the movement. It reads like a chronicle of my misspent youth. (I'm quoted on Page 1 along with Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Wayne Kramer of the MC5, and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.) Every page reveals another fascinating step in an evolving punk subculture that would eventually alter the course of popular music worldwide. Who would've guessed at the time? Not me.
It's appropriate that Fantagraphics published this document. Comix played an important role in shaping the attitude and aesthetics of Seattle's grunge movement. I often compare Seattle in the late 80s and early 90s to San Francisco in the mid-60s. Like the hippie movement in the Bay Area, the Northwest had distinctive rock music, poster graphics, and fashion (or anti-fashion) sensibilities. We also had an army of talented and perceptive alternative cartoonists to disseminate the emerging scene, none more influential than Peter Bagge. The book establishes that many Fantagraphics artists, friends and future employees were central to the development of Seattle's domination of the counterculture of the era.
I commissioned this poster by Weirdo and Real Stuff contributor Ashleigh Talbot (formerly Ashleigh Raffloer, AKA Triangle-Slash) for a 1988 show I promoted with the U-Men, a legendary proto-grunge outfit. This bill included famed illustrator Ed Fotheringham's Thrown Ups featuring Mark Arm on drums. Mark and Ed are pictured prominently in Peterson's cover photo for the book. Both Mark and Tom Price of the U-Men would later work for Fantagraphics. Tom is playing guitar with the U-Men on the announcement for Peterson's May 14 show at Fantagraphics Bookstore below.
The Nirvana exhibition at EMP continues through 2014. To supplement the EMP show, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will mount an exhibition of seminal work by accomplished Seattle photographer Charles Peterson opening May 14. He will be joined by Peter Bagge signing copies of Hate Annual #9 (featuring Buddy's return to Seattle) and the Yeah! collection. The show will be followed by a concert by Bagge's band Can You Imagine? featuring Steve Fisk on keyboards. You should just move to Seattle. OK?
Get ready to rock! This Saturday, April 16 marks the annual Record Store Day promotion. Our neighbors at Georgetown Records are celebrating with free vinyl, CD samplers and swag from labels like Sub Pop, Epitaph, Decca, and WEA, among many others. To sweeten the deal, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Galleryis adding a free comic book for every customer of Georgetown Records. Get out and support your local independent record store this Saturday and throughout the year.
The Easter bunny arrived early at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Between now and Sunday, April 24 we’re offering a free copy of Usagi Yojimbo Color Special with each purchase of a Stan Sakai title. A real treat for comix fans of any age.
There’s a misperception that Usagi Yojimbo is only for young readers. I confess I’ve fallen victim to this notion myself. Then I picked up the stunning Usagi Yojimbo Special Edition. I found myself thoroughly enthralled by Sakai’s seamless storylines and flawless artwork. For those unfamiliar with this sublime saga, Usagi Yojimbo is set in 17th century feudal Japan and follows the adventures of a Samurai warrior rabbit. MAD cartoonist Sergio Aragones describes it as “…a mixture of fairy tale, adventure, romance, sword and sorcery, and humor, and all without breaking the rules of good storytelling.” I highly recommend the new slipcase Special Edition that collects the first seven Usagi Yojimbo books and includes exquisite extras like a cover gallery and a revealing interview conducted by editor Kim Thompson.
Drop by the store before Easter Sunday and treat yourself to a comic book. We’re open every day, 11:30 to 8:00 PM. Sundays until 5:00 PM. Sweet!
While perusing the finery at the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall and imbibing in locally-brewed beer during this Saturday's Georgetown Art Attack, be sure to drop by Georgetown Records and Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. In addition to finding the world's greatest comix, the neighboring record store hosts a live ambient performance by Seattle experimental musician Rob Angus. I fondly recall Angus and his collaborator Jeff Grienke holding their own while opening for the Skeleton Crew — featuring legendary avant garde guitarist Fred Frith and cellist Tom Cora — in 1984 at my Graven Image gallery. In our current environment of forgettable and regrettable pop music, it's refreshing to find a provocative composer continuing to buck the trends.
Badass books, vintage vinyl, and live music! Don't miss it. See you this weekend.
Comix fans will delight at the 20% discount coupon at Fantagraphics Bookstore running in the current issue of Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger. You'll find a stack of the papers right inside the door of the store.
The coupon applies to all the fabulous new and backlist books from Fantagraphics as well as those of our comix-publishing colleagues. We just received a shipment of classic comic strip volumes from IDW including Bloom County, Polly & Her Pals, Barney Google, Terry and the Pirates, Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, Rip Kirby, and L'il Abner. We have ample supplies of titles from Top Shelf, Drawn & Quarterly, First Second and others, not to mention terrific new tee shirts by Jim Blanchard, Basil Wolverton, and Jim Woodring. You'll even get an additional 20% off the books in our bulging half price room!
Drop by soon for bargain books and more at Fantagraphics Bookstore. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
The Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack encourages adventurous Northwest art mavens to encounter the colorful creativity of one of our region's most seductive urban environments. On the second Saturday of each month, Georgetown's resident artists and surrounding businesses welcome the public to explore this enchanting industrial arts corridor.
Among the highlights of the April 9 installment: An improvisational music performance by accomplished experimental sound artist Rob Angus at Georgetown Records; "Assemblages: Form and Fragments" by collage artist Ken Torres at All City Coffee; the Nautilus presents "Wasteland," a collaborative show by Corey Urlacher and Kat Houseman including live music and belly dancing; abstract paintings by Katrina Wolfe at Calamity Jane's; scenic photographs of Japan by Richard Walker at Vecta Photo with proceeds from sales benefiting the International Red Cross for relief efforts in Japan; resident artists Michael Hoppe, Mark Tedin, Julie Baroh, and Kyle Abernathy at Krab Jab Studios; the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall celebrates spring with assorted jackrabbit shenanigans, colorful treats and "Symbols of Synthesis" by featured artist Rose Jarvey in the Lula B canned ham trailer; a continuing exhibition of famed French cartoonist Jacques Tardi at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery; the Stables hosts a group show of Seattle artists curated by Twilight Artist Collective including Curtis Ashby (CASH), Jenna Colby, Twozdai Hulse, Xavier Lopez, ninjagrl, Rick Simpson and Linus Von Moos; and the casual cacophony that characterizes the creative Georgetown community.
* Other People's Publications ** Yeah, You Know Me.
One of the things I like about this writing this column is getting the chance to spotlight some great titles that Fantagraphics didn't publish ourselves. But, I'm especially thrilled when I get to present books that are self-published, like this week's spotlighted comic, Thunder in the Building #2!
Admittedly, I wasn't familiar with local artist Margaret Ashford-Trotter until we started carrying her latest comic, that she published herself with funds from the Xeric Foundation.
Her drawing style reminds me a little of Adrian Tomine, and the storyline was certainly gripping, revolving around a romantic break-up and the terrible secret that becomes revealed in the aftermath... See? You're intrigued, right? It's an impressive early effort from a talented local artist, and I'm already looking forward to seeing what Ashford-Trotter publishes next!
Thunder in the Building #2, and many other local self-published comics, are currently in stock at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located 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 soon!
Larry Reid greets the crowd at Better Tardi Than Never
Merci beaucoup! Thank you to everyone who attended the opening of our latest exhibit on Jacques Tardi, "Better Tardi Than Never: How France's Greatest Living Cartoonist Took a Mere 32 Years to Break Through to American Audiences." It was especially wonderful to see our friends from the Alliance Française de Seattle.
Not only did we present the world debut of Tardi's fifth book, the epic "icepunk" tale The Arctic Marauder, but we were fortunate to have Fantagraphics co-publisher, editor, and Tardi translator Kim Thompson on hand for the always-informative and often-hilarious presentation "You Don't Know Jacques. Tardi: 20 Books in 20 Minutes." And you can know Jacques yourself, by watching the entire 45-minute talk below (or on the YouTube page)!
And while supplies last, you can get yourself your very own build-it-yourself Tardi diorama free with a purchase of $100 or more at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Kim put this one together himself that Saturday afternoon!
According to game developer Eli Curtz of Olympia, the custom playfield program will interface with a Stern or late model Williams driver board. We can hardly wait to play the thing. In the meantime, you can get a glance of this work in progress at Fantagraphics Bookstore. Come down to the store and get some amazing comix, then stay and play at one of Georgetown's many amusing pinball emporiums. Hope to see you all soon.
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