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.

9 Responses to “Melbourne”

  1. Kate L says:

    Blimey! I wanted to see if your hat resembled the Aussie cowboy-type hat with the brim that snaps up on one side some friends bought me. Blimey!!!

  2. Andrew B says:

    Alison, you cannot mention a picture of you looking like an Amish preacher and then not show it to us. I’m pretty sure that’s in the Constitution, or if not then the Bill of Rights. Either way, we’re looking forward to it…

    Re the hotel internet, I have NO idea if this is really a practical suggestion, but let me throw it out there. If you have a GSM iPhone (ATT, T-Mobile), presumably you could get an Australian SIM card and then use your iPhone to create a wifi hot spot. Especially now that you’re about to leave the country it probably isn’t worth the effort, but it’s at least something that you could in principle do. FWIW.

    Or could you get the use of a connection from one of the places where you’ve been speaking? I doubt very much that internet is always that expensive in Australia. It’s probably just the hotel.

    Anyhow, we see elsewhere that you’re meeting your doppelgängers and feeding kangaroos, so at least you’re having fun. Keep that up.

  3. Kate L says:

    Here is an interactive map showing average internet connectivity speeds for the countries of the world. Scroll down for the map. Just the thing for the busy world traveler! :)

  4. hairball_of_hope says:

    @AndrewB (#2)

    More ideas for affordable phone and internet abroad…

    One of my friends purchased a cheap noname dual-SIM GSM phone before heading overseas (dual-SIM phones are quite common outside North America). Her own SIM went in one slot, the other was used for local SIMs. In each country, she purchased a local SIM card for inexpensive access. Tack on Andrew’s suggestion to turn on the phone hotspot, and you’ll be free from the overpriced hotel internet tyranny.

    Now for something somewhat related…

    Those of us with iPhones and a jones for all things bacon can now be awakened by the aroma of bacon, courtesy of Oscar Meyer.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_25290035/iphone-alarm-clock-lets-you-wake-up-smell

    According to the article, the bacon gizmo and “Wake Up and Smell the Bacon” app will be free until April 4. The gizmo plugs into the iPhone, and the app allows the user to set an alarm which will trigger bacon-aroma-rama.

    Quoting from the article:


    In a brazen attempt to “bring home the bacon,” meat producer Oscar Mayer has come up with an iPhone app that doubles as an alarm clock and gives off the sound and scent of sizzling slices of pig loin and belly.

    Yes, that would be your bacon-wakin’ wake-up call.

    According to news reports, bacon lovers can set the alarm within the app, plug an attachment into the iPhone’s headphone jack, then lie back and get a good night’s sleep — until, that is, the sizzling starts and the aroma of bacon wafts from the attachment and across their pillows.

    [... snip ...]

    The bacon-scented alarm app and device come from — are you ready for this? — the Oscar Mayer Institute for the Advancement of Bacon. Oscar Mayer did not immediately respond to questions about how the app produces the bacon smell.

    I know it sounds like one of ThinkGeek’s April Fools Day pranks, but it appears to be legit.

    (… goes back to prowling the Internet for “Wake Up and Smell the Chocolate” …)

    [In a similar vein, I've always been fond of:
    "Dr Pepper -- It's not just for breakfast any more." --Mentor]

  5. Mentor says:

    [FYI:
    "Recording of Off-Broadway Musical Fun Home Places #2 on Billboard Cast Album Chart"

    Click [HERE] –Mentor]

  6. Kate L says:

    Those kids are a hit!

  7. How fantastic to get to see Joan Nestle — well, and the huge, raucous crowd.

  8. ToscasKiss says:

    Since it’s the only town in Australia that I’ve spent any amount of time in, and I kind of love it, I’m sorry that Adelaide didn’t put out for you as it should have. It’s sister city to Austin, TX, but it’s a lot more staid, for sure. Anyway, what a great trip you’ve had.

    Meantime, some of us who couldn’t go to NYC have finally gotten to get our hands and ears on the OCR of FUN HOME–it is SO WONDERFUL! And on my favorite record label (though I’m a little pissed at them for not including the booklet, lyrics, liner notes, etc., with the mp3 version, which I had to choose over the physical cd, ’cause I couldn’t wait the time it takes to send it, to hear it). Right now, I think my favorite song is “Al For Short,” but that’s about my 5th or 6th favorite since getting this the day it was released. Thanks so much for all your incredible work, and thank heavens for Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron too.

  9. Jen says:

    Thanks for sharing your trip updates with us. It all sounds amazing, and the only thing I could have wanted to see more than the joey and mama kangaroo would have been a picture of you and Joan Nestle. How wonderful to know she is doing well.