Sunday, August 31, 2014

what I got at SF Zine Fest 2014

Tyranny of the Muse, issue #1, written by Eddie Wright, illustrated by Jesse Balmer
plus Tyranny of the Muse stickers
Tyranny of the Muse website

Police Log Comics: comic strip interpretations of the police log of Carmel, CA, issue #2, by Owen Cook
sample Police Log Comics in color

Tortilla, issues #2 and 3*, by Jaime Crespo
The artist doesn’t seem to have a website of his own currently but here’s his Wikipedia entry: Jaime Crespo

The List by Maia Kobabe
Red Gold Sparks

Childhood, a mini-comics anthology by students at California College of the Arts
class taught by Justin Hall

Jin & Jam, no.1, by Hellen Jo
for more: Hellen Jo

paperdummy, issues #5, #6, #7, and #8, by Peter S. Conrad

Four Mission Mini-Comix: When Naked Hallway Dudes Attack!, The Thrill of Living in a Dying Empire #2, Quincy’s Terrible, Horrible, Worst-Ever Blind Date, and Do You Suffer for Your Art … Or Because of it?
Mission Mini-Comix

postcards by Lia Tin, Lauren Kawahara, Aki Neumann, Emma Judd, Shawn Eisenach, and a postcard-sized piece of original art by NubsArt

a reminder to attend the 5th annual East Bay Alternative Book and Zinefest in Berkeley on December 6.

* actually Kent bought these, but I talked to Mr Crespo about Harvey Pekar and the work Mr Pekar left unpublished at his death - I would contribute to a Kickstarter to see that stuff.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

“migrant and unspecified forms”

[T]he right to look, for unstructured amounts of time, at migrant and unspecified forms, and at the relation between them, without demanding that the forms have a single meaning, and without demanding that whatever significance I ascribe to these forms be defensible, explicable, or based on any evidence but my own sensations.

This is how Wayne Koestenbaum descries one’s “rights” in regard to the experience of viewing abstract art.

source: My 1980s & Other Essays by Wayne Koestenbaum

Monday, August 25, 2014

word of the day: irrefragable

Over the years I [Oliver Sacks] have seen … patients who, in consequence of a right-[brain]hemisphere stroke, have lost all feeling and use of the left side [of the body]. Often they have no awareness that anything has happened, but some people are convinced that their left side belongs to someone else (“my twin brother,” “the man next to me,” even “It’s yours, Doc, who are you kidding?”). … It needs to be emphasized that such patients may be highly intelligent, lucid, and articulate — and that it is solely in reference to their odd distortions of body image that they make their surreal but irrefragable statements. [my bolding]

definition: impossible to refute
per Merriam-Webster

quote source: Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks

Monday, August 18, 2014

“You don’t have to bend the whole world”

I always had hopes of being a big star … As you get older, you aim a little lower … Everybody wants to leave something behind them, some impression, some mark upon the world. Then you think, you left a mark on the world if you just get through it .. You don’t have to bend the whole world. I think it’s better to just enjoy, pay your dues and enjoy it. If you shoot an arrow and it goes real high, hooray for you. [ellipses in original]

That’s Dorian Corey at the end of the documentary Paris Is Burning. Dorian Corey is a professional drag artist. Paris Is Burning focuses on the Drag Ball scene in New York City in the 80s.

source: Paris Is Burning: a queer film classic by Lucas Hilderbrand

Friday, August 08, 2014

Handwriting Rebels

A couple years back Kent & I were doing a tour of Northeastern California. We stopped in at a museum that featured gold mining equipment and Indian baskets and so on. I bought some postcards, as I am wont to do, and chatted a little with the lady behind the front counter. When I said we were from Berkeley, she said she was born in Berkeley!

Somehow we got onto the topic of education - maybe it was the ignorance of kids today, or some such evergreen - and she said she couldn’t believe schools no longer required handwriting, that is, cursive. How could you consider yourself educated if you didn’t know how to do that?

Probably nobody (older) has ever but agreed with this sentiment (not long ago my younger sister posted similarly on Facebook), so I must have surprised the museum lady when I rolled my eyes and said, “I always hated cursive. As soon as it was no longer required I stopped using it. The only time I write with cursive these days is when I apply a signature.”

Sadly, we suddenly lost our common ground!

In his book about the FBI and the Free Speech Movement Subversives, Seth Rosenfeld spends several pages on a biographical sketch of former University of California president Clark Kerr. Kerr remembered his grade school days and one of those confident predictions made by his teacher at the old one-room school:

[T]hough she insisted he learn the prevailing Palmer Method of cursive writing - unless he mastered it, she warned, he would “never amount to anything” - he clung to his block letters.

I doubt Rosenfeld interviewed Miss Elba himself so I’m guessing Mr Kerr provides the quote from memory. It stuck in his memory! He did amount to something, the little rebel.

source: Subversives: the FBI’s war on student radicals and Reagan’s rise to Power by Seth Rosenfeld

Thursday, August 07, 2014

What J. Edgar Hoover liked to see

This one’s not going in the “evidence disproving Hoover was gay” column.

[FBI agents] complied with a dress code enforced as much through fear of Hoover’s personal disapproval as through any written rule. They wore dark, conservative suits, white shirts, ties, and spit-polished shoes, their hair cut short and their faces closely shaved. They were subject to annual physicals and strict weight limits, though some of them complained that Hoover seemed well over the limit. “We were all taking pills to try to repress our appetite, to trim down,” [agent Burney] Threadgill recalled.

Hopped up on pills to look good to a man.

Victims of the male gaze.

source: Subversives: the FBI’s war on student radicals and Reagan’s rise to Power by Seth Rosenfeld

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


Two FBI agents under Jessica Mitford’s house :
One evening in the [nineteen-]fifties, [Burney] Threadgill and another agent named Harold Hoblit were assigned to monitor a meeting at the [Mitford/]Treuhafts’ home [in Berkeley]. They sneaked into the crawl space beneath the house to eavesdrop on Mitford and her visitors, but as the meeting wore on, Threadgill fell asleep, and began to snore loudly. In a panic, Hoblit rousted him and they crept away.

source: Subversives: the FBI’s war on student radicals and Reagan’s rise to Power by Seth Rosenfeld

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Clyde Tolson at J. Edgar Hoover’s funeral

On the whole Seth Rosenfeld’s book about domestic spying and the government’s efforts to undermine dissent is not sympathetic to J. Edgar Hoover and the agency with which he was virtually synonymous. Still I found this passage about Hoover’s elderly (and now widowed) second-in-command Clyde Tolson a poignant portrait in a few words:

The casket was lowered and the flag shrouding it folded and presented to [Clyde] Tolson, who looked weak and confused. He had resigned the day after his companion’s death, and on inheriting nearly all of [J. Edgar Hoover]’s estate lived in Hoover’s house among his antiques until his own death three years later.

If you’re curious to read some thoughts on the relationship between the two men you might check out this slate article, which ends with a snippet from a letter Clyde wrote to Edgar:

“Words are mere man-given symbols for thoughts and feelings, and they are grossly insufficient to express the thoughts in my mind and the feelings in my heart that I have for you,” Hoover wrote to Tolson in 1943. “I hope I will always have you beside me.”

And, no, I haven’t forgotten the FBI’s persecution of homosexuals, an irony (Hoover’s vicious defense of his closet?) that certainly colors any discussion of the Tolson-Hoover relationship.

source: Subversives: the FBI’s war on student radicals and Reagan’s rise to Power by Seth Rosenfeld