Archive for July, 2010

very sad news

July 12th, 2010

I just found out that Harvey Pekar died. There’s this very short “just in” piece in the Huffington Post. (It’s been fleshed out a lot, I just noticed, since I started writing this an hour ago.)

I’m kind of stunned. He was such a sweet person, and I just saw him recently. In April we traveled together to do some presentations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He didn’t seem to be in the greatest shape, and I felt bad for dragging him out on a walk into the crazy casino area at the hotel where we were staying. Now I feel even worse. Here, I made a little movie of him in the garish indoor mall because he just seemed so incongruous there.

Anyhow, I loved Harvey. and I loved his work. I first discovered him when I was in college. American Splendor #2.


It’s the only comic book I bother keeping in one of those archival sleeve things. There was an epic story in it about Harvey and two friends just hanging out one night. It goes on for pages and pages, and the only thing that really happens is that they move a rug from one guy’s house to another guy’s house. The guys are all at loose ends–one’s a Vietnam vet who just got fired from his job, one has been unemployed for years. And then there’s Harvey with his “flunky government job” as a file clerk. They haul the rug—which is waterlogged and smelly from being left in the rain—all the way across town and up to the guy’s apartment. But then he decides it was a mistake, and they have to haul it out again, to his back porch. It’s a perfect story about nothing, and everything, and it started to give me ideas about autobiography. You don’t need to engineer some grand sprawling thematically dense narrative. If you write honestly about everyday life, all that stuff will automatically be there.

That issue of American Splendor also has the brilliant “Harvey Pekar Name Story” in it, illustrated by R. Crumb. It’s about Harvey finding all these other Harvey Pekars in the phone book. It was dramatized quite hauntingly in the movie American Splendor. Here’s an excerpt:
pekar name story


July 8th, 2010

I wish I were blogging about something highminded like today’s anti-DOMA decision in MA. But I really just wanted to show you this interesting photo I took three weeks ago. I had intended to take a photo of the cat, but I inadvertently got Holly and me in it too in an unposed triple portrait. I like Holly’s big halo. The really interesting thing is that even though this was taken on June 15th, I’m wearing a down vest, Holly’s got a fleece jacket on, and the cat is seeking out the heat of the laptop. Tonight it’s a different story. The cat’s splayed on the tile floor trying to cool down. Holly is wearing, I swear to god, a gauze india print dress. All the fans are on.
Photo on 2010-07-08 at 22.23 #2
I’m very annoyed because I just spent half an hour on the phone with the satellite tv people. Holly’s been obsessed with this LeBron James thing for weeks, and tonight was his big announcement but at 9pm the tv wouldn’t work. The technician at Dish Network was having trouble diagnosing my problem because he was so distracted watching LeBron James on tv deciding to go with the Miami Heat. Heat? What kind of a name is that for a team anyway?