Archive for July, 2006

Some local Vermont things…

July 9th, 2006

I’m going to be on VPR on Monday afternoon talking to Neal Charnoff about Fun Home. It’s tentatively scheduled for 4:50, on the local news programming they slot into All Things Considered. I’ll probably miss it. I’m flying back to VT from Chicago on Monday, and my flight theoretically gets in at 4:39. But it’ll be available for download, and I’ll post that here. Just in case you’re not sick to death of hearing about me and my book and my sordid family history yet.

And I’m going to read at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier on Tuesday the 11th at 7pm.

And also at the Peace and Justice Store in Burlington on Friday the 14th. Also at 7pm, I think.

Broad Vocabulary, Milwaukee WI

July 9th, 2006

mudflap readers

Today I read at Broad Vocabulary, a new feminist bookstore that’s owned and run by a stalwart band of young volunteers. I love their mudflap logo. Here’s Molly out front.

molly at broad vocabulary

And here’s me with Molly and Amy, inside.

We had a cozy, convivial sort of reading. Here’s the crowd looking at my powerpoint slides. It was a great bunch of young people, old time DTWOF readers, boys, girls, comics geeks, the whole gamut.
broad crowd

A Room of One’s Own, Madison, WI

July 8th, 2006

Yesterday Ann and I drove from Minneapolis to Madison. Here I am driving her Saturn crossing the hot, flat expanse of Wisconsin.

driving to madison

In Madison, I did a radio interview with Matt Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive. Then I raced over to A Room of One’s Own, the excellent feminist bookstore here, where a hot, throbbing crowd was waiting.

A Room of One's Own

That woman front and center is Rachel, who wore her Mo shirt for the occasion. Someone counted about 130 people. It was an utterly delightful audience. One woman, likely an English professor, compared my writing style to Melville. And being the radical Madisonians that they are, there was some discussion about the ethics of doing readings in the bookstore chains–Bounders, and Bunns and Noodle.
bookstore women

Here are the intrepid booksellers who brought me here. Nancy on the left, (me), Sandi, Hilary, and Sashe.

After the reading I went over to Ann’s house, the woman who’s been driving me around on this junket. We had Chinese food with her girlfriend Michele and their exceedingly charming, talented, and rather adorable neighbors. Here’s Gwen, Anna, and Michele.

gwen, anna, michele

Here’s Rachel and Ann.

rachel, ann

Gwen showed us photos of a crazy taxidermized rodent museum that she recently went to. I think you can see them too on her myspace page. Lemme tell you, Wisconsin is a happening place.

well slap my ass and call me judy

July 7th, 2006

Fun Home is on the NY Times Book Review bestseller list. They only list the top 15 in the magazine. But the “extended list” goes down to number 35. And Fun Home is number 30. The latest version isn’t up yet, but on last week’s it’s number 35. Ann Coulter, alas, tops the chart. But I’m stunned to be on there at all.

The Real Amazon

July 7th, 2006


Tonight I read at Amazon Bookstore in Minneapolis, the oldest independent feminist bookstore in North America. My publisher wasn’t planning to send me to the midwest on my book tour, but this group of four women’s bookstores got together and said they’d pay my airfare if I’d come to Minneapolis, Wisconsin, and Chicago. Isn’t that amazing? Here’s the jar Amazon put out tonight for donations.

tip jar

It’s a remarkable grass-roots effort. Here I am in the car with Ann Seidl who picked me up at the airport. She’s a librarian and filmmaker, who totally volunteered to drive from Madison to Minneapolis and back again, ferrying me to my readings. She’s working on a wild documentary called The Hollywood Librarian.

alison & anne
The reading tonight was pretty great. I used to live in the Twin Cities, so there were a bunch of old friends in the audience. Plus I have a special fondness for Amazon because it was the inspiration for Madwimmin Books, the women’s bookstore in my comic strip. Here’s Barb Weiser, who’s worked at Amazon at least since I lived here in the late eighties. She’s my bookseller idol.

barb at amazon

There was an overflow crowd–not everyone could fit into the space.

overflow crowd

While I was signing books inside, Ann apparently amused herself by convincing people to pose with my book on the sidewalk. Aren’t they handsome, though?


Fun Home touring the Midwest

July 6th, 2006

If you live in the Twin Cities, Madison, Milwaukee, or Chicago, come see me this weekend. Or tell anyone you know in those cities to come. Here’s where I’ll be reading:
Thursday, July 6

  • Amazon Bookstore – 4755 Chicago Ave. So. Minn, MN (612-821-9630) 7pm

Friday, July 7

  • A Room of One’s Own – 307 W. Johnson St. Madison, WI (608-257-7888) 6pm

Saturday, July 8

  • Broad Vocabulary – 2241 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Milwaukee, WI (414-744-8384) 2pm
  • Chicago
    Sunday, July 9

    • Women & Children First – 5233 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL (773-769-9299) 4:30pm

    Moving right along…

    July 6th, 2006

    Man, I’m totally crazed. I know it might seem like lately I’ve just been sitting around musing on the ethical implications of success, but I’ve actually been hard at work. Doing my comic strip, for one thing, plus an ongoing barrage of Fun Home interviews. And tomorrow morning I set out on another leg of my book tour, this time to the Twin Cities, Wisconsin, and Chicago.

    My email has reached a state of advanced entropy. There’s stuff from three weeks ago I haven’t even had a chance to open yet, let alone answer. But I promise I’ll buckle down to that after I get back from the Midwest.

    For now, here’s the latest Dykes episode, a week early, as evidence of my industry. A slight disclaimer: because I’ve been so busy, I had to abandon any attempt to squeeze current events into the strip. Normally I spend a lot of time trying to figure out connections between what’s going on in the world and what’s going on with my characters. But I just couldn’t keep up with the news properly this month. So you’re spared any mention of military atrocities, constitutional amendments, and limitless executive power.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    On recognition

    July 4th, 2006

    Uh…I feel like my last post might sound kind of ungrateful, like I somehow had a problem with the NPR piece. That’s SO not the case. In fact, I’m insanely, ecstatically happy about every droplet of mainstream recognition that Fun Home, and incidentally DTWOF, have received. But at the same time, I’m disturbed about just how happy it makes me. Over the years, I convinced myself it was something I didn’t need or want. So perhaps my ambivalence is seeping out as whininess.

    It seems to me there are two major pitfalls one faces upon escaping the ghetto. One is to leave and never look back, to consider it your own individual achievement and willfully ignore the power structures that hold everything in place. Two is to refuse to leave, to cling in a nostalgic way to your own marginalization. I think I’m in danger of the latter, and will try to stop it immediately.

    There has to be some kind of middle way, of acknowledging the whole cultural sausagemaking process (what kind of stories cross over from ghettoized subcultures, what kind don’t, who gets let in, how much of it is about the inherent quality of the work, stuff like that) while taking advantage of the new opportunities it brings.

    Hey, as I was writing this post, I heard a crackling in the yard and went to see what it was.

    moose in my yard

    A young moose! The yearling males get sent off on their own when the mothers have new babies, so often at this time of year you can see them wandering around bewildered in the big wide world. Kind of like me. Here it is next to my Subaru, for scale.

    moose to scale


    July 4th, 2006

    I started this as a comment to the NPR post, in response to some of the topics people raised there. But then it got really long so I’m making it into a post of its own.

    1. Yes, Liane Hansen mispronounced my name, to the great annoyance of my mother. (It’s BECK-dull) I didn’t notice during the interview. I think they pasted it in later.

    2. Yes, they edited the bejeezus out of what I said! I had lots of cliffhanging pauses and rambling digressions which they snipped right out, to my great relief. I wish I could do that in real life.

    3. Yes, it was very cool to hear Liane say “Dykes To Watch Out For” right there on the radio. But it’s peculiar to me how all of sudden, DTWOF is being perceived as some kind of established cultural fixture. Liane Hansen said that I’ve “received quite a bit of critical acclaim” for my Dykes cartoons. Huh. No one sent me that memo. It’s true I’ve gotten my fair share of acclaim in the LGBT universe. But I don’t think that’s what she meant, or what other reviewers who’ve alluded to my “success” have meant. There’s a strange revisionist mechanism at work, I think, the culture attempting to right itself by saying, “we didn’t notice you before but now that you’ve attained a measure of respectability, we’re going to pretend that we did.”

    What do you think?

    Maybe I should just shut up and enjoy it while it lasts.

    Fun Home is out of stock

    July 2nd, 2006

    But it’s gone back to press. I guess this is kind of a good thing, because it means people have been snapping the book up. But it’s also kind of a bad thing, because now other people won’t be able to get it for a while. You can probably still find it in lots of stores, but if not, more are coming July 9th.