Nobody brings the spooky and the sexy the way Dan Brereton can! This image of Storm and Rogue from their punk rock days is a true gem! Those eyes! Those curves! Those amazing eyebrows that go on forever! Okay, I have to admit, I love Dan’s work. There’s just something simultaneously ethereal and hard-edged about his lush paintings. His characters have a strong presence that feels both realistic and animated to me. Rogue looks like she’s ready to fly out of the picture and throw you around (And who would mind, really?).
Comes the Dawn
After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and obtaining a soul
and you learn love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn mean security
and you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes open
with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while,
you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much
so you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
and that you really ARE strong
and you really do have worth
and you learn and learn.
With every goodbye, you learn.
Seems like ever since I attended Goteblud‘s opening, I’ve been a bit obsessed by ‘zines. And thanks to all of the political rulings over Gay Marriage, I’ve been reviewing my feelings about marriage and relationships in general.
Recently my friend Suki Divine lent me her copy of sexyouality: challenging the culture of monogamy. That’s where the above poem came from. No author is attributed to the piece, but the issue is printed in England (1999) by GodhavenInk publications. There’s many essays on sex and relationships, focusing on monogamy and polyamory (as the title references). The essays rely heavily on quotations to back up their theses about sex and culture. I think three quotes in particular are worth sharing.
The first is by Terence McKenna:
“I think the most dangerous parts of the current cultural trance are pretty obvious: male domination, materialism, and the absence of spirit. Monogamy is another one in there. These are cultural styles which, if not overcome, will probably contribute to our ever more rapid acceleration toward, if not extinction, at least a profound brutalisation of life.”
Another by Henry Rollins:
“It’s hilarious to me when someone says that someone belongs to them, like ‘That’s my girl.’ What a crock. No one belongs to anybody. Fuck slavery. Do what you want…Such mental torment over petty, trivial, emotional displays such as jealousy; it’s a form of laziness. You all should loosen up.”
And my favorite by Deborah Anapol:
“Intimate relationships at their best are a path to higher consciousness and greater self knowledge, largely because of the valuable feedback – or mirroring effect – one receives from a beloved. Having more than one partner at a time not only increases the available quantity of feedback, it also makes it harder to blame your partner for the problems you might be creating in the relationship. In other words, multiple partners can actually help you become a more responsible person.”
I don’t know how I personally feel about the whole monogamy versus polyamory debate. I know that this ‘zine opened my mind to new ways of thinking about relationships, but I don’t know if they would be right for me. I suppose I too have been indoctrinated in the classic Snow White “One Day My Prince Will Come” kind of mindset. Seems to me that it’s a lot of work to date one person, let alone a village. I do think jealousy and ownership are messed up ways to relate to your beloved, and maybe it is unreasonable to ask one person to be your everything, and yes, our society has really backwards ways of thinking about sex and sexuality. However, I don’t think polyamory is necessarily a prescription for everyone’s needs. It’s probably best to take the whole monogamy versus polyamory and apply it on a case by case individual basis.
I’ve never liked the ownership aspects of marriage, but I also think making a lifelong commitment to one’s partner is pretty amazing. The whole thing gets more complicated when you start to analyze the rights one gets when the government legitimizes your relationship. I might not like the idea of marriage, but it starts to look pretty good when you start considering legal rights. Anyway, I’m just touching on these ideas in a cursory fashion. I’m not up to the task of really analyzing them any more than that right now.
The last page of sexyouality reprints a poem by Kahlil Gibran which I think is a pretty succinct way of looking at the whole coupling thing:
You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of time.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your being.
Fill each others cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
You can order a copy of sexyouality here.
This is a lovely piece of 80s magick by penciller/inker extraordinaire Terry Austin! I have a warm spot in my heart for punk rock Storm and especially love the more unrefined Rogue fresh from her Brotherhood of Evil Mutants days. However, Rogue looks very glamorous here, probably the most I’ve seen her. She’s so calm she’s almost melting. Kitty looks spectacular and the humor of the dragon biscuit really brings some dimension to her character. There’s a beautiful sense of the time this was drawn. Those random planets and sharp lines, along with the type combined as setpiece really capture 80s design. This is a strong portrait as well as delightful time capsule!
I was floored when Tim Young of Deconstructing Comics emailed me and asked me to be on a guest on his podcast. I don’t even have a comic book yet, I protested. I’m really interested in your artistic process, he insisted. So here we are a couple of weeks later and my first podcast interview is up! We talk about Writers Old Fashioned, Princess Witch Boy, Prism Comics, Heroes Initiative, WonderCon and why I’m not really into Cyclops. Enjoy!
Above, Lilandra Nermani learns that she’ll need more than a force field bubble to interview Black Bolt for her Royal Sh’iar Podcast.
OMG you have to see the new Star Trek movie! Seriously! I can’t talk about it right now without giving everything away, but I loved it. Five stars. ’Nuff said. So, since I can’t really compose myself to write a proper review, please enjoy some photos from tonight’s evening of amazingness at the Balboa Theatre. An Extra special “Thank You” to our friends at the Balboa Theatre, our funny book patrons at the Isotope & their Incredible pointy-eared Mothers and a Big Shout Out to Chuck from Costumes on Haight! Live Long & Prosper, JJ Abrams! The sequel cannot get here soon enough!
You can see more photos from the evening here as well.
And now for a retrospective, commemorating my favorite character from Star Trek, Lieutenant Uhura, as portrayed by the glorious Nichelle Nichols.
Poise. Grace. Beauty.
Presence. Sharpness. Fierceness.
Nails and hair to die for. And those abs. *Sigh* I haven’t even mentioned her earrings.
It was only a matter to time before Kirk courted Uhura. Their interaction made television history.
Hold on to those memories, darling. Hold on to them tightly.
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Angie Suki Divine, STORM & Yabette serve it up Triple Goddess style in front of the older Swankety Swank location before they leave for a Supper Club performance on January 31, 2009. This is one of the only pictures of STORM & Yabette from that evening because before their performance, cameras and video cameras ceased to work. There are no technological recordings of their spell. If you click on this photo, be sure to look at it in its original super-gigantic size. Only then will you truly appreciate the level of craft that went into these designs!
Angie Suki Divine brandishes a pirate ensemble fashioned by her own hand, STORM embodies a Yabette original that they co-designed, and Yabette is adorned in a piece she created specifically for the performance! Photo by Alex.
Come on down to 289 Divisadero (at Haight) for handmade clothing, dolls and art (and orchids!) by local San Francisco artists and meet the amazing Yabette in person!
When I told Ed Luce that I would attend the opening for Goteblüd, I had know idea that it was going to take place within the abandoned husk of my old school. Isuppose I just didn’t read the address, but if I had read it I would’ve instantly recongnized it as the former locale of New College of California. I mean, I don’t think I repressed the address so deep that I wouldn’t know it at a glance. I used to address envelopes for the Experimental Performance Institute as a work study student while I earned my MA/MFA in Writing & Consciousness. After I graduated, I worked as an Admissions Counselor. I was more than familiar with that address. Hell, that address was why I moved to San Francisco. It’s what got me to where I am today.
But it died. And it wasn’t pretty. And it wasn’t just, sacred or sustainable, which were the principles for which it was created. The Administration was as crooked as a lightning strike and it poisoned the heart of the higher learning. My education at New College was the most phenomenal thing that has ever happened to me. I learned more about myself (and my community and the world) in two years than I thought possible. I studied under some of the best minds that this world has in it. Poets, artists, philosophers, healers, activists, actors, writers, environmentalists, counselors, green lawyers, performers, clowns, singers, lecturers, teachers, students; Everyday my way of thinking was challenged and expanded. Culturally inherited stereotypes were consistently shattered, imploded and deconstructed. A place like that could only exist in San Francisco.
But it went bankrupt. Morally first and then later, financially.
I was really happy to work for New College after I graduated. I wanted to give back to the entity that had given me a community of creators in which I found the strength of spirit and the precision of craft to write memoir. I spoke at Open Houses. I campaigned for experimental education and a post-modern multi-cultural de-centered authority structures. I was a cheerleader, channeling my inner Lisa Simpson.
It lasted 9 months. It was a messy, painful breakdown and then breakup. New College of California still owes me $7,000 in back pay. There was some hearing with the Labor Board and then the Tax Board took it over and New College just recently filed for bankruptcy, or so I heard. But hey, I at least got my degree! My year was the last one that did. Everyone after that has a bunch of credits that don’t count for squat at another institution of higher learning. But didn’t ya’ll go there knowing that it wasn’t about that degree? It was never going to get you a job in the first place. You had to have known that. New College was always about the education and not the degree. It was the journey, not the outcome. Honor your process.
I am standing in what was once the meeting room in which I used to tutor students in writing. The walls have been painted in rich browns and one wall is ceiling to floor carpeting that incorporates kitty shelves and cubby holes. It’s a cat’s paradise! Across from the kitty wall there a Slash ‘zines in a giant grid, individually wrapped in plastic. The yellowed paper curls around the edges as splashes of printing ink morph into rock and punk stars from a time when drugs and fashion were the coolest.
Those Slash covers are an art piece unto themself. They are stars to reach for, but perhaps too far away to own. However, built into the kitty wall are shelves of vintage ‘zines organized by lotsa different categories. I saw some really cool feminist and gay girl ‘zines and I bought a couple of amazing comics, too! I passed on a Peter Bagge comics, but I was really impressed to find it there.
And it’s not just ‘zines at Goteblüd! You can buy issues and original art from Ed Luce’s amazing comic Wuvable Oaf! I am seriously contemplating how I can get another job to buy some of that art! His economy of line is amazing! No wonder Jill Thompson called Ed’s art the best cartooning she had ever seen (And she did, I was there, I know).
From the decay there has arisen a new creation. I am so glad that Goteblüd has manifested inside those old bones. Goddess knows that place has needed new blood pumped into it for a long time. Tonight I walked from Swankety Swank, down Divisadero, through the homo-homogenized Castro, under the orange light of the full moon. The visions of the futures from the day’s X-Men Tarot readings gave way to memories of the past. My last two clients were students of Writing & Consciousness (They graduated the year before I did). I had not seen them since the school collapsed and I showed them the flier for Goteblüd. One of them said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that was the address for New College?”
On my walk to Goteblüd, the moon filled me with its burnt light. I understood that I had to release the feelings I had about New College. I needed to let it all go. It was a great moment when i finally arrived at 789 Valencia St. and saw Mark in the street. We hugged, and I thought, yes, it is the old New College building. I smiled and breathed in. There was a sense of satisfaction in my step because I knew that I was walking into the presence of creation. Life springing forth from the fertile carcass of the best two years of my life. I was confident in the work produced by my friend Ed Luce and let my love for his art transform my experiences of that building.
I walked into Goteblüd and let go of New College. I the midst of a joyful celebration, I found liberation.
Your mileage, as they say, might vary. This won’t be your experience. However, if you aren’t reading Wuvable Oaf, then you are doing yourself a disservice. And if you don’t get a copy, I’m not sure for how much longer we can be friends.
Seriously, it is one of my favorite comics. Go to Goteblüd and check out Ed’s art and rummage through some vintage ‘zines, dear reader! And if you are of a notion to become an amazing writer AND an exceptional human being, then consider getting a masters degree in Writing & Consciousness. The program that I graduated from still thrives, having been umbrelled by this entity. Ain’t life grand?
Yesterday I worked at Isotope for Free Comic Book Day! It was a busy day full of people passionate about comics! Our featured comics creator, Basie S. was on hand for most of the day drawing for his adoring fans. He was kind enough to draw me Storm (of course) and after I showed him an issue of Madman, he drew Mike Allred’s creation for me! After Basie S. left, it was somehow decided that I would sit at the drawing board and take requests for drawings (I’m pretty sure it was James’s idea). Please keep in mind I had never drawn these characters before, but it was really fun to try to capture them on paper. It was also cool to learn about which characters people are really into. It all started with a request for the Juggernaut and then snowballed from there.
Apologies to Adrian Tomine, but Reese wanted me to draw this picture of two men at the urinal. This one was really challenging, because the whole image relies on the discomfort on the younger guy’s face.
I drew Jesse Custer from Preacher for Kirsten Baldock. This one was really fun to draw, probably because he’s so damn sexy.
Isotope regular Ben Nathan requested a posse of cigar smoking characters that included Hellboy, Nick Fury, Fear Agent & the Thing. That’s supposed to be Jack Kirby floating above them all. I had no idea Fear Agent was so handsome. He is definitely my favorite from this image.
The last sketch of the evening went to Ken Kneisel, perhaps the most dedicated Emma Frost fan that I know. We originally thought we’d like to see Storm and Emma shopping for corsets together. But then we remembered this funny drawing John Byrne did of Ms. Marvel and Storm and we reworked it for our girls. The title refers to the cover of Uncanny X-Men #152 where Emma switches bodies with Storm. I gave Storm the kind of hair I’d like to see her with all of the time (Much like Dave Cockrum and John Byrne did back in the day). Thanks to everyone who came out to Free Comic Book Day! I had a blast!
Help your friends and lovers find their inner superhero!