Archive for July, 2006

Portland = books and roses!

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Arguably the two things Portland is most famous for is Powell’s bookstore and the International Rose Test Garden. So with a free day on my hands before my signing tonight I set out to see both. I’m signing at Powell’s on Hawthorne tonight, not the main downtown branch. It’s not as huge but definitely as cool! I had a nice sleep at the B&B and a relaxing breakfast on the porch. The weather is cool and breezy. I armed myself with several maps and made way via bus to Downtown. It was a pretty painless trip and I managed to find Powell’s without too much difficulty. On the way I stumbled over Reading Frenzy, a very cool zine and comic shop which happened to be (wo)manned by Colleen Coover at the time! Of course I had to get a copy of her book Small Favors and get it signed too. I was happy to see they had Tough Love in stock as well.

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Then I went into Powell’s, of course I ended up buying a book there too though I’ve been trying hard to be good, save $, and save luggage space. I predict I’ll be visiting the post office again on this trip! The store takes up a city block, but was surprisingly easy to navigate. Just amazing! They also had Tough Love in stock. Yes! Then I checked out a few rock n’ roll clothes and thrift shops. No sales tax! But I was good and only bought some punk rock socks. Then I headed to Chinatown to see the Classical Chinese Garden. Pretty and relaxing, but not that big.

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This portion of the trip has been more relaxing since I’m staying at a B&B and wandering alone today. I miss being with friends, but my throat is definitely getting a much needed rest. I had lunch at a vegetarian place in Chinatown, there are tons of veggie places here! I’m not a vegetarian, but I’m loving it anyway. Then I made the trek out to the Rose Test Garden. I had to take the MAX light rail and a shuttle from Downtown but it didn’t take long. It was gorgeous as expected and the smell was sooo good! I wish my camera could pick up the smell of those thousands of roses!

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Bonus picture! Here is a funny octopus on top of a restaurant downtown.

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Things I’ve noticed about Portland: good public transportation, nice weather, gorgeous scenery, very artsy, cheap rent, but fewer convenience stores, groceries, and drug stores than I’m used to. Homeless people are mainly ‘tweakers’ messed up on speed. This is info I got from locals and I saw them Downtown too. They seem to walk about with their shirts partially or totally off and often have tattoos. They talk or yell to themselves a lot. Aside from that it is a great place and it’s no wonder so many people are moving here! Looking forward to the reading tonight!

Late night Yakisoba and Portland punx

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

After Comic Relief Larry took me out to Kinokuniya Plaza (SF’s Little Tokyo) and we had a late dinner at a great okonomiyaki place. I had yakisoba and a California roll. That place really reminds me of Tokyo, they have a lot of great food sculptures in the restaurant windows and I really like those. I got back and packed to prepare for the morning flight to Portland. Larry graciously drove me to the airport early this morning (what a doll!). The flight was short and uneventful (thank goodness!).

The Portland airport is the most new age airport I’ve ever seen! It was all carpeted in soothing green tones and they had a harpist and an acoustic guitar player there adding to the gentle vibe. I liked it! My friend Jen (who was in my first all-girl punk band back when we were 16) and her boyfriend Brian picked me up in a PT Cruiser and we had a blast catching up. I got to see their place and their motorcycles (they are total gearheads and drive trucks for a living!).

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They took me to a cool place called Vita Cafe where I had a Tofurkey Florentine. It’s a very vegan friendly place, there are lots of vegans here for sure! In Portland the houses are all really cute, people decorate the outside in all kinds of funky ways and they all have really good gardens and green spaces. It’s just gorgeous! Jen and Brian drove me all over we saw Downtown and they took me out to the mountains and waterfalls. I took some pics of Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Chanticleer Point. I even saw some Bald Eagles in a nest. This is my first bit of nature on tour and it was a welcome sight! The Pacific Northwest really lives up to all the hype in the natural beauty department.

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Then they dropped me off at the B&B I’m staying at which is a great old wooden house from 1910. It also has wifi. Woo-hoo! I passed out for a while then headed out to Powells on Hawthorne where I’m doing my event at tomorrow. The people there are very nice and I’m looking forward to it for sure. Then I went to a restaurant called Vege Thai and had a nice healthy dinner. Across the street was a wacky and cool store called Dollar Scholar. A dollar store, but more interesting than most with very friendly staff. Lots of toys and gags. Now I’m back at the B&B listening to a good radio station that’s playing The Tubes and The Buzzcocks so far. Yeah! Jen and Brian say it’s pretty quiet here at night and it’s Sunday, so no late-night events for me today. I have a feeling I’ll be very rested tomorrow!

Dim Sum, sea lions, crazy puppets, and Comic Relief!

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

I had the most amazing day touring the city with Jennifer and her daughter. We went to Chinatown for dim sum. The Chinatown here is huge! Then we went to the waterside and saw some very lazy sea lions lolling about. You can see the Golden Gate bridge in the foggy background here.

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Then we went to the amazing Musee Mecanique which is a museum full of old coin operated games. Really old! Lots of old fortune tellers and player pianos, puppet shows and love meters. They all worked and we went to town with some quarters! Check out my fortune from one of the machines:
“A tidal wave of new experiences are fast coming your way. Don’t be swept away by them. In time, you will have great joy, but in the meantime, be rather light hearted, and don’t let things get the best of you.” Spooky!
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Then after a short rest we went on to Comic Relief for my next signing. This was more of a party/signing then presentation and I had lots of fun. The owner, Rory was very cool, my pal Larry came out, the Manic D crew was there. Very cool! I also met another library professional and a writer. It seems everybody in the SF area is a famous writer, rock star, drag queen, or librarian. Cool town! Now it’s on to Portland!
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Reading at Modern Times

Friday, July 28th, 2006

The Modern Times reading went great! This was the first time I’ve done the reading “old school” because their TV didn’t have the right inputs for my slides. It ended up fine anyway and the audience actually got a longer reading than the previous ones. We handed out copies of the book for people to follow along. It was the most star-studded event yet with my fave author Alvin Orloff, art stars Jennifer Blowdryer and Moonshine Shorey (Mr. Lower East Side 2005!) and Bucky Sinister in attendance. They are all published by Manic D too so it was a cool community feeling, especially since publisher Jennifer Joseph was there. The local cartoonist crowd showed up as well, represented by Shannon O’Leary (who has an upcoming Manic D book, Pet Noir), Jason Shiga, and Lev. Cool! “Civilian” attendees included a sweet lady from the SF Library system, a teacher, and a guy from the Japanese Society. I really enjoyed speaking with everybody during and after the presentation. Excellent mix of people! Unfortunately the lighting wasn’t so great for pictures but here’s one of me on the podium.

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There was also wine and snacks. Plus yummy chocolate cake!
Afterwards we went to a vegan restaurant called Herbivore where I ate a lentil loaf with beet sauce. Pretty good^_^ Larry stopped by too. It’s great to have the opportunity to eat healthy on the road. An amazing night!

A day on Valencia

Friday, July 28th, 2006

I slept really hard after all of last night’s excitement and when I eventually got out I took the MUNI bus down to Valencia by way of Mission. The cool thing about most of these buses is that they’re electric and use cables. Very eco-friendly. However most of them were crazy crowded, much more-so than the NYC buses I’ve been on. Maybe I was just on during a busy time. I checked out some sweet bookstores on Valencia like Modern Times (where my signing is), Dog-Eared, and Borderlands Books. Borderlands had the most adorable bookstore cat. It’s a sphinx (hairless) cat named Ripley and she was sooo cuddly she sat on my lap and loved being hugged.

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I miss my cat so it was good getting some kitty love in. Then I went and got one of those famously good mission burritos. Delish! The weather is this amazing brisk fall-like feeling. I treated myself to an accupressure massage in one of those Chinese walk-in places. 15 minutes for $15 ^_^ Anyway got to get ready for my signing now!

I’m a covergirl! (again)

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

I’m on the cover of Vancouver’s paper The Westender along with a feature article. Check it out!

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Tough Love was nominated for a Stonewall Book Award!

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Tough Love was nominated for a Stonewall Book Award!

I just found out! The winners will be announced next June. Keep your fingers crossed!

Staying cool in San Francisco!

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

So I landed in Oakland after an uneventful flight and was immediately struck by how cool it is! Thank you weather gods! Now I can finally wear the jackets I packed. Manic D publisher Jennifer Joseph picked me up and took me to an adorable sushi place called We Be Sushi. Coincidentally, my fave writer Alvin Orloff (author of I Married An Earthling and Gutter Boys) happened to walk by and we got to say a quick hi. San Francisco is so cool! After settling in a bit at Jennifer’s I set off with cool comix chick Shannon O’Leary for some food at a place called Chow and we had some good dessert too at Sweet Inspiration.

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Then it was off to Cafe Dunord where Luis (rockstar drummer of Pansy Division, The Avengers, The Plus Ones, and more) had invited me to see Mink Stole perform! He got me on the list (it’s nice to be a visiting celeb ^_^) and the show was great fun! Local drag queen Peaches Christ opened, then Kristian Hoffman (probably best known for writing Klaus Nomi’s songs and also for Lydia Lunch), then Mink Stole. The venue was great and the performances were highly entertaining. I got some pictures too! It was all very fitting for my first night in SF. Also, I got to hang out with my pal Larry^_^
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Meltdown and Comics Universe

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

I’m writing this on the flight to San Francisco. I can see the desert below. Looks hot!
I hope that it’ll be much cooler weather in SF than in LA. So yesterday I started out the day getting picked up by Tim Fish and his friend Rich. We had breakfast across the street from Meltdown then headed there for set-up. Meltdown is a lovely store and they got a pretty good crowd of walk-ins since it was Wednesday (new comic day). Surprisingly, in addition to the locals who came by, a few people from New York came in to say hi, including a girl who lives in my building. She just happened to be in town and picked up a copy of Tough Love. She’s also an author and it was cool to catch up with her. Tim had a bunch of fans come in who already had copies of his books to sign and also stocked up on his latest. For lunch I ordered noodles from Toi (the rock n’ roll Thai restaurant). Yum! They should totally open a branch in NYC.

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Then directly after the Meltdown signing I parted ways with Tim (who I had a blast doing events with) and was picked up by comic writer extraordinaire Jesse McCann to head up to Comics Unlimited (his wife Nancy’s store) in Westminster.
Comics Unlimited totally rolled out the red carpet for me! The store had a great Tough Love display window and they really shocked me by unveiling a Tough Love cake! It was pretty AND delicious!

cucake.jpgcu1.jpgcudisplay.jpgI signed books for some people who were at San Diego Con and heard me on the Gays in Comics panel as well as see my old friend Sherman, which was great too. I did the presentation and it was met with a very positive response. All in all a great event! Then Nancy and Jesse (and his son also named Jesse ^_^) graciously took Mayumi and I out to dinner at a cool restaurant called the Lazy Dog Café. I’m really going to miss Mayumi and Chrys. Without them my LA stay would have been so much more difficult do. Major kudos go to them. Also, Rich who so kindly chauffeured me around with Tim whenever Mayumi wasn’t available. You, my friends, are angels!
Now I’m Northward bound!

More LA fabulousness!

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

This morning Mayumi took me to Canter’s deli where we were delighted to get some danishes (I even won some because my receipt had a star on it!). Then we headed off to the Bongo Comics office. Home to Matt Groening’s comic creations. Editor Terry Delegeane was so welcoming and we had a wonderful time meeting everybody involved with creating the great Simpsons comics. Definitely a trip highlight. Then we checked out the Giant Robot stores where I picked up a zine called Henry & Glenn Forever. Very funny stuff. We then had a delicious Japanese bento lunch at Yashima and headed off to see a movie. It was too hot to do anything outdoorsy. We saw The Devil Wears Prada. Pretty cute, nothing I’d recommend, but fun.

Then we got back to West Hollywood to set up for the reading at A Different Light. We had a good turnout (all seats filled!) and lots of fun meeting the fans.

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Then we went to dinner at a kabob place called Skewers. Now it’s back to bed to get ready for tomorrow. I have two signings! One at Meltdown at Noon and one at Comics Unlimited at 6. Whew!