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minor temporary defection

March 13th, 2014 | Other Projects

I’ve been posting stuff direct to Facebook about my marvelous adventures in New Zealand. Somehow it is just easier, sometimes. Anyhow, if you care to follow me there, uh…I’m not sure how it works…can you just click this link, I wonder? And then “like” it?

God.

It’s a “fan” page, not a personal page, and I’m always very confused about it.

Writers Week at the New Zealand Festival

March 9th, 2014 | Other Projects

We’ve been in New Zealand for two days now. It’s too beautiful to bother trying to put into words. My first event was a trip to the small seaside town of Paekakariki in a van with the hilarious mad professor Terry Castle. Here’s the scene outside the town hall where we spoke.

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Terry’s book The Professor is a collection of her brilliant personal/critical essays plus a memoir about her early days in the trenches of academia and lesbiana. We had a fun conversation…

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…then were feted by the lovely locals. This woman brought all her old DTWOF books to be signed.

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This one brought her pink brassiere, which she deftly removed without dislodging her t-shirt.
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At the ensuing community potluck, Terry and I were presented with this astonishing cake.

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Here are Terry and Holly marveling at it.

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Here’s the view from the house of our gracious hosts. How do people bear all this beauty?

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Today there was more book festival activity. I did a conversation onstage with Moira Clunie, who is a friend of the great NZ cartoonist Dylan Horrocks. He has a new book out called Incomplete Works, and I will see a panel he’s on tomorrow morning. I love his work. It’s very smart and the quality of his line is deeply pleasing.

It’s very overwhelming being at events like this. So much going on, so many people. It’s exhausting but also energizing.

And people are so kind! We also had a great potluck dinner in Adelaide, hosted by our new pals Sal and Mary. Here is Sal, the kangaroo whisperer. She took us to a wildlife park where we saw kangaroos, emu, dingoes, koalas, and all manner of strange beasts.

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Here’s I am feeding a kangaroo. A kangaroo for god’s sake!
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Here’s a joey in its mother’s pouch as they both lounge on the grass.
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Well this is all rather disjointed. But it’s the best I can do right now. Tomorrow New Zealand cartoonists and a trip to more botanical gardens. Oh. Here’s my new dorky hat that I got at the Melbourne botanical gardens.
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And here are some other photos I didn’t manage to upload in Australia where the internet was so pricey. Me with the owners of the Hares and Hyenas bookstore.

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And me in a photo these guys gave me that they took in 1997 at Book Expo America of Judith Katz, Nancy Bereano and me at the Firebrand Books booth. This is the pic where Hol says I look like an Amish preacher.

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Melbourne

March 6th, 2014 | Other Projects

Last night I did a talk for the Wheeler Center here in this fancy old theater, The Athenaeum.

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I never know what to expect when I do these things. Maybe 75 people came to my talk at the Adelaide Writer’s Festival cartoonist day event on Tuesday. And I’ve gotten used to large-ish but captive and studious audiences at college events. But last night in Melbourne hundreds and hundreds of people came, many of them lesbians of all ages. It was really cool, like olden days, a very lively raucous crowd.

Afterward in the lobby Joan Nestle came up to me! She lives here now with her Australian partner—I knew that, but had forgotten. She looks fucking fabulous. “I’m 73!” she said. But she looks exactly like she did the last time I saw her, which was in 1997.

I also met the Australian cartoonists Judy Horacek and Kenton Miller.

It was an amazing night. Then this morning I bustled all around town doing 3 radio programs. And visiting the gay bookstore, Hares and Hyenas!

They’ve been around for 22 years. Here I am with the delightful owners.

They gave me this photo they’d taken in 1997 or so at Book Expo America of Judith Katz, Nancy Bereano of Firebrand Books, who pubished my work for many years. And me—Hol said I look like an Amish preacher in this pic.

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God, you know what? This post has been extraordinarily difficult to put together and it is bedtime and I’m exhausted. I can’t upload these photos. Megabytes are apparently like gold ingots here in Australia. Hotel internet costs $30 AUD, and even after forking that over, as soon as you use up 1000MB (by, for example, checking FaceBook) they cut you off the fast connection and slow you to an ignominious crawl unless you’re willing to pay even more! How does anyone get anything done?

For the life of me I cannot upload all these images. you’ll just have to picture them until I get to New Zealand tomorrow…where things might not be any better megabyte-wise.

So you will miss seeing me in the dorkoriffic hat I bought at the botanical gardens to protect me from the relentless sun.

Oz

March 3rd, 2014 | Other Projects

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I can’t believe I’m in Australia. I left frigid snowbound Vermont almost a week ago. Made a quick visit to Savannah GA, where I spoke at the annual Spring Break convention of Sigma Tau Delta, a college English honor society—English Majors Gone Wild.

Then Hol and I flew through Dallas to Brisbane, and from Brisbane to Adelaide. I’d been really dreading the long flight to Australia. I have actually been invited here a couple times before, and always declined because I couldn’t imagine being confined to an airplane seat for 16 or 18 hours. But it turned out to be pretty pleasant. Crossing the International Date Line was confusing, but after two days I’m finally starting to get oriented. It’s summer here, very hot, with a hard relentless sun. It’s strange and magical to be so far from home, on the other side of the planet.

Just now I saw the night sky for the first time. There’s a lot of light pollution so I couldn’t be sure, but I think I saw the Southern Cross. And then across the sky I saw a very familiar yet slightly odd looking bunch of stars…Orion, upside down!

I’ve been at the Adelaide Writer’s Festival where I’ve met a lot of wonderful people. Lovely Australian dykes and cartoonists. Today I did a talk with the puckish and super charming Rabih Alameddine, whose work I am ashamed to say I only recently discovered.

Tomorrow we’re going to go see koalas. Koalas?! As I say, I can’t believe it.

Then, Melbourne. And on to Wellington, for Writers Week at the New Zealand Festival.

If you missed the musical…

February 19th, 2014 | Other Projects

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…you can still experience a lot of its magic on this amazing cast album. Plus there are extensive liner notes with great photos, a synopsis by Lisa Kron, and of course her amazing lyrics.

You can order it online here from PS Classics, but it should also be available on Feb. 25th wherever people get CDs. iTunes too I think but of course then you won’t get the physical package with the liner notes.

Here are some photos I took at the recording studio on the day they made the album last December. They’re not great photos but whatever, I was trying to shoot through the glass of the booth. Here you can see Joel Perez who plays Roy, Beth Malone who plays Alison, and Noah Hinsdale who plays my little brother John.

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Here I am with the formidable Michael Cerveris who plays my father.
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This is a not great shot of the most brilliant and melodious Judy Kuhn, who plays my mother. Interestingly, her posture in this candid hand-wringing shot is not unlike my mother’s. And that’s Roberta Colindrez on the right, who plays my college girlfriend Joan. (And also Tako on GIRLS!)
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And here is the Great Kron.
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And the Great Tesori, consulting with Chris Fenwick, the music director.
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Ring of Keys!

February 11th, 2014 | Other Projects

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Here’s a preview of the Fun Home cast album.

Beth Malone as Alison speaks at the beginning, then the amazing Sydney Lucas as Small Alison sings “Ring of Keys.” In the below pic from the recording session, Sydney is third from the right.

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If you want the album you can pre-order it here. It’ll be released on February 25. You can also hear clips of other songs from the play if you click that link!

Leaving France

February 3rd, 2014 | Other Projects

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I’m leaving France and heading home. Not because of the massive anti-gay protests that happened here yesterday, just because it’s time to go. There have been these big demonstrations lately where people carry pink and baby blue banners and equate gay marriage with “familyphobia.” Their slogan is “Manif Pour Tous,” which I think is short for “manifesto for all.” (Though “all” seems a little disingenuous.) Libération’s headline about it today reads, “la grande manip,” which seems to be a pun, as in manipulation. It feels like a great triumph to understand a pun in French, though of course I could be mistaken about the whole thing.

The Angoulême comics festival was amazing. I spent many hours signing books and drawing pictures in them, and met lots of people. Here is a reader from Luxembourg who wanted to take this picture because we were dressed alike. Unfortunately I was not wearing my blue checked shirt that day.

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And here is the amazing Israeli cartoonist Rutu Modan, who I got to have dinner with one night. She won a big prize at the festival for her new book The Property, which I have not read yet but it looks really great.

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Also I got to sign for a while next to the genial (in its original, genius-related sense, not in its meaningless “awesome” sense) Joost Swaarte. He drew astonishing things for people. And he wore two pairs of glasses-his regular ones over his reading glasses. Like Holly does! Okay. Gotta come home now.

My life has become un Train a Grand Vitesse

January 30th, 2014 | Other Projects

(I.e., a very fast train.) I’ve been doing nonstop interviews and booksignings all week in Paris and this morning I just took the train to Angoulême, the big European comics festival.

My hotel in Paris was at 21 Rue Jacob…that address sounded familiar to me but I couldn’t remember why until Christine, one of the owners of Violette & Co., the women’s bookstore, said that Natalie Barney lived at 20 Rue Jacob. Here’s her house! It used to have a plaque but now it doesn’t. Djuna Barnes apparently used to stay across the street at my hotel.

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Also across the street from Natalie’s place is a shop that sells autographs and letters and stuff, and they have a letter from Natalie Barney in the window. I did not inquire about the price.

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On Monday I met with a journalist to do an interview at Shakespeare and Co., where this chat blanc watched the proceedings with complete disinterest.

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Here I am with Christine at Violette & Co.

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A lot of people came to my talk there, and were very patient as my French editor and sheep dog Jean-Luc translated for me. Here is a little gaggle of rowdy French women who wanted me to pose with them for a picture.

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I visited the Musée D’Orsay, but sadly missed both these exhibits.

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Masculine, L’Homme Nu was over, and the Gustave Doré one was still being installed. See the clock at the top of the building? You can look out through it. That was pretty genial. Which I think is French for “awesome.”

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Wednesday night I spoke at a bookstore called Les Arpenteurs where a très charmante young woman named Melanie facilitated a conversation with the audience. I met Béatrice Faveur there, who published this French translation of one of my Dykes books many years ago.

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Here’s Jean-Luc surrounded by lesbians.
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The woman with her arms crossed is Anne Cremieux, an academic who has written some stuff about my work. And she also made this cool movie with Gretchen Phillips in it that I posted here a long time ago.

Okay. I have one half of a brain cell left. Bon nuit!