August 23rd, 2007 | Uncategorized


Evidence of my big Eisner Awards kiss with Ellen Forney has finally surfaced. Velvet Park Magazine just posted an extravagantly lengthy and comprehensive video interview with me that they shot at the San Diego Comic Con. It’s like 15 minutes long. The interview, sadly, not the kiss. But should you grow impatient, the action starts about half an inch from the end of the scrollbar. Ellen told me not to worry, she’d just grab my head and take care of everything. All I had to do was think of England.

If you’re a Neil Gaiman fan, (thanks, Kate McKinnon for mentioning his blog a while back–it is indeed excellent) keep watching after the kiss and you can see him presenting me with the Eisner award for best Reality-Based Work. Later in the ceremony, Jonathan Ross copied Ellen’s idea and gave Neil a big kiss, though Neil doesn’t look very happy about it. (thanks again to Dr. Empirical for that link.)

53 Responses to “kisses”

  1. Suzanonymous says:

    From Wikipedia about “Lie back and think of England”:

    The origins of the phrase are unclear, but it is generally attributed to Alice, Lady Hillingdon (1857-1940), writing in her journal in 1912:

    “I am happy now that George calls on my bedchamber less frequently than of old. As it is, I now endure but two calls a week, and when I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, close my eyes, open my legs and think of England.”

    Gotta love those British. LOL!

    (I can’t fit the video in tonight, so I haven’t seen it, so no comment on it. Except: Yay Ellen. 🙂 )

  2. Simone says:

    Thanks so much for posting this link. A lot of what you said in the velvetpark interview brought back alot of bittersweetness for me. I came out in 1989 when I was 14, and DTWOF’s women were in fact the only other dykes I knew. At least we have the illustrious Madwimmin– er, Amazon Bookstore here, so things could have been much worse for me. 😉 The Well of Loneliness was my first lesbian novel too though, and they *really* should have told me to get something else…

    You probably hear this sort of thing all the time, but I’ve been reading your work since the onset of puberty, and I never had the slightest idea how fricking CUTE you are. CHRIST you’re cute. OK, anyway. Thanks again, and way to infiltrate and all that.

  3. born-again rhetor says:

    What an excellent moment to have captured on film.

  4. lurknolonger says:

    Oh no… I’m of the new generation of completely spoiled lesbians who get to cuddle up and learn from something like Fun Home as opposed to The Well of Lonliness. God I’m glad times have changed at least a little bit. Maybe I’ll read it as a rite of passage/ out of deference to those who came before me.

    The interview was great! I thought we’d never see footage of that kiss- beautiful!

  5. Ydnic says:

    That was so fun to watch–interview, kiss, award, and all. Thank you for letting us in on it!

  6. van says:

    Great piece on you. Cheers!

  7. Ann S. in Madison says:

    That was a great big dose of Alison! Eminently satisfactory; thanks for the link, AB. And congratulations again on the Eisner!!

  8. scarelisa says:

    what an awesome interview and how i love this mix of intelligence, warmth and humour!

  9. Aranea says:

    Aaaawww! Well done, Ellen; that was one well-deserved thank you kiss. 😉
    Thanks for sharing this, Alison.

  10. ghc says:

    I’m totally from the Well of Loneliness generation 🙂 To tell the truth, it was so frigging depressing that I didn’t have the stomach to finish it. I resorted – like you – to rifling through the library catalogue under “Lesbian” and diligently following up every reference at the back of each book! Thank God I discovered the Women’s Movement…

    But I’ve followed DTWOF since coming to Canada in the 90’s, and I appreciate both the sense of community and politics it reflects back to me (it checks my tendency to feel like a 70’s dinosaur in these depoliticised times). And I just LOVE the warm-hearted humour you use to portray our assorted neuroses.

    Nice to “meet” the author finally…and to detect some of the sweet little quirks of the cartoon characters in you 🙂

  11. So UN-pc says:

    Excellent short about the AB (r)evolution. As one who straddles the “Well of Loneliness” generation and the “culturally spoiled” generation, I can say that it only gets better. To have the normalcy of homosexuality being (if sometimes grudgingly) folded into the suburban PTA has enabled me to live a freer life than those who came before me.

    Not only can I talk about my life with those around me, I can laugh about it, cry about it and share all the facets of it with friends and co-workers, and that is in no small part due to those who made a choice to blaze trails. When I can bring in one of the Dykes To Watch Out For books, show it to a 60-something co-worker who is a grandmother and have her laugh, somebody is doing something right. Thank you.

  12. Aunt Soozie says:

    Hmmm…I’m about the same age as Alison but I skipped right past the Well of Loneliness and read Rubyfruit Jungle. Of course before I totally came out I had read Homosexualities (because it was on sale at a book store on the boardwalk for few dollars) and I loved Our Bodies Ourselves…simply research…that’s what I told myself.

    Great interview. I enjoyed it from start to finish.
    At first I was disappointed that the kiss was so brief. I had to rewind and play it back a couple of times.
    Cause there it is…frozen and timeless right above here.
    I guess the freeze frame made the real time event seem so fleeting…ephemeral…alas…life is like that…

    That’s why it’s important to grab every opportunity to kiss.
    Gotta go…I have things to do.

  13. aerAK says:

    Thanks, Alison, for sharing this. And congratulations!!

    I once had the fortune to see Alison give one of her talks. She visited her old school Simon’s Rock, gave an amazing seminar I’ll never forget and attended a potluck with a bunch of starry-eyed, adoring young women – it must be at least 12 years ago now. It is great to see her presentations are just as funny, clever, and forthright as ever, and she is just as disarming in person as she was before the great success of Fun Home. I congratulate Ellen for doing something I think every one of us wanted to do!!

  14. Dana from CA says:

    I have such admiration for you, your work, your intelligence, your perserverity in just being yourself, however that differs from societal norms. You are a very brave woman in so many ways, and I am proud to “know” you, though I don’t really. It is super exciting to see such good things happening to you in the way of recognition and accolades, as if a good friend is finally reaping the benefits of all that hard work. The most important thing of all to me is that even if there were no awards, no top ten lists, no videos, I know you would still be working, speaking the truth of our lives, and your own.

  15. Alice Greenglass says:

    Alison’s work means so much to me, especially here in the bible belt, where it can get lonely some times.

    Kiss me next!

  16. Anonymous says:

    AB-You are such a stud muffin!

  17. Angrydyke says:

    oohhh I feel like such a fan now. :”/

    yyeeaaayyy alison…

  18. Aunt Soozie says:

    That Jonathan/Neil kiss is great, too…and Neil…so coy.

  19. Feminista says:

    Agree with Aunt Soozie,and would like to see more men being affectionate with each other (as opposed to the usual male dominance games some play).

  20. Ann S. in Madison says:

    I also agree with Anonymous; AB is a muffin of the stud variety.

  21. Silvio Soprani says:

    I just realized (after watching that excellent film from Velvet Park mag–so well done!) that Well of Loneliness was not my first gay novel. It was James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, which, although not about women, was certainly about coming out (or not) AND it was about love. And forever after, my icon of a romantic meal was champagne and oysters…it took me years after reading the book to try either (and to come out.)

    And how wonderful to be able to watch those kisses on stage! The world is now a better place…

  22. kate mckinnon says:

    AB- Neil didn’t really mind being kissed. Glad you like his blog. He comes across on it as very real, somehow. I like the way his photos change on his website, and I’m sure that you know that he was excited to meet you and honored to be the one to hand you your Eisner.

    That was a nice interview.

    Ellen’s cool- I pine for her dancer lamps and she and I share a love of old muscle cars and personal ads.

  23. kate says:

    wow–the kiss was brief!

    isn’t the girl that interviewed you a comedian/actress–i seem to vaguely recall a movie in which she starred? i love the way that you are so thoughtful when answering questions.

  24. Josiah says:

    Yep, Kate — that was Michelle Paradise. You probably saw her in The Ten Rules, a short film she wrote, starred in and produced. I was sufficiently struck by seeing her interview Alison that I did a little research and ended up writing a Wikipedia page for her (see link above). The Ten Rules is on YouTube now.

  25. regis says:

    so, i just reread “fun home” this weekend. and i continue to think it is just remarkable. i’ve been reading your stuff since the mid 80’s, and reading comics in general since the very early 80’s, and i just described “fun home” to someone as being impressive in artistic achievement, with such an intimate and personal story.

    so, congrats on the eisner. it’s well-deserved.

  26. Samia from Bangladesh says:


    Belated birthday wishes to you. I started writing an email where I chronicled how you entered my life and how deeply your art and your writings have affected me and made my existence less bewildering, but it became overwhelming to put so many emotions into words.

    Hence the email sits in my draft bin, and this short note saying your birthday is a special day not just for you, but for me too. Hope you had a nice day and I wish that the year ahead has more vacations, kisses and good times in store for you.

  27. Tera says:

    this was great to watch! although the kiss was waaaaaaay too short

  28. kate says:

    thanks josiah–i should have remembered that–my friend, michelle wolff, plays a dumb jock in it (but she’s really not). michelle paradise, as i recall, was very funny.

  29. klm says:

    Great interview, AB! Doesn’t it irritate you when people CONTINUOUSLY mispronounce your last name, though? Or does it happen so often that you don’t really notice it? It bugged the shit out of me in the film. I’m going to start saying “rectAL” to people and see how they like it.

  30. Liza from pine street art works says:

    I LOVED The Ten Rules. I first saw it on a dvd of Lesbian shorts. I hope x’s and o’s is as good.

    Hey, maybe they need some Lesbian made art for the sets. Hmm. Some framed AB originals, perhaps. Or any number of things I have available at the gallery.

    Remember how amazing Catherine Opie’s work looks in the opening of The L Word? The extreme closeup portraits against the yellow backdrop. Love those. Wish I had one, but I don’t.

  31. Duncan says:

    I loved the kiss too, and only wished it was longer. (You and Ellen, not Neil and Jonathan.) I’m glad someone recorded it and put it on the web.

    I had to struggle a bit to remember the first gay novel I read. It was John Rechy’s “Numbers,” and I read it in about 1968, when I’d have been a junior in high school. I found “Numbers” to be less of a downer than one would expect, given Rechy’s reputation, which I didn’t really know at the time. The premise of the book is that the protagonist, Rechy’s usual hustler alter-ego, decides to have sex in Griffith Park with a different man every day for an extended period, maybe a month. He discovers how empty such impersonal sex is — though as Woody Allen might have said, as empty experiences go it’s the best I’ve found — but is unable to connect mutually with another super-hawt guy, and ends up wretched. But the book made it clear that this is the protagonist’s hangup, and there’s a long term male couple (based on Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy) as a counterexample. Plus, the sex scenes were disturbingly arousing to a repressed 17-year-old like moi. I read Gore Vidal’s “The City and the Pillar” a couple of years later, but wasn’t affected by it much. What made the biggest impression on me were nonfiction like Martin Hoffman’s “The Gay World” and, especially, Jill Johnston’s “Lois Lane Is a Lesbian” columns in the Village Voice in 1971. And the first gay fiction that I really liked and reacted to was June Arnold’s “The Cook and the Carpenter”, Rita Mae Brown’s “Rubyfruit Jungle”, and Isabel Miller’s “Patience and Sarah.” I bought just about everything published by Daughters Inc. for several years. My reading list was a lot like Alison’s as it appears in her coming-out story, in fact — I read most of those books a decade before she did, but then I’m a decade older.

    I must have read “The Well of Loneliness” around 1973 or 1974, and a few years later some dyke friends recommended Hall’s “The Unlit Lamp”, which is much less downbeat than “Well.” And I’d recommend her comic novel “A Saturday Life” to anyone who identifies Hall with gloom and doom; she wrote “The Well of Loneliness” to make straights feel sorry for Sapphists. Sorta like “Brokeback Mountain.” Maybe someday people will figure out that this ploy doesn’t work very well.

    It does seem to me that there’s no real reason, and no excuse, for relying entirely on “The Well of Loneliness” as a portrait of Lesbian life anymore, certainly not since the mid-1970s. Sometimes I think that people seek out depressing stuff, consciously or unconsciously, just to scare themselves back into the closet for a while. But who knows? I scared myself back into the closet with David Reuben’s notorious “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex” around 1970. Then Gore Vidal demolished that book with a wickedly funny review in The New York Review a few months later.

  32. Jain says:

    You don’t have a link to the Vidal review handy, do you? Sounds like fun.

  33. Suzanonymous says:

    Samia from Bangladesh, Alison’s birthday is in a couple weeks. I noticed her age recently changed on the YouTube page. Maybe that is what mixed you up. She’d been 45 for over year there. 😀

    Nice interview, what I could see of it. The video conked out at about 8 minutes in. I’m on too slow a connection to try it again. Oh well. I’ll live.

  34. Danyell says:

    That’s so great! I’ve never heard your voice before, but I feel like I know you better because of it (wow, how geeky is that?)!

    You’re very cute, funny and endearing when you speak. Just what I thought! I don’t have time to watch the whole video right now, but I think it’s amazing and inspiring that you’ve been doing the strip for 24 years and been able to making a living doing what you love! As an artist, I could only wish I could be that fortunate.

    Btw, kissing Ellen Forney…amazing! She’s so great too!

  35. Virginia Burton says:

    This is off the subject, but I just got the latest issue of “Funny Times” and was surprised (and a little disappointed) to see that it has the archived episode, not the latest new one. Was that a mistake? I count on “Funny Times” to keep a beloved relative up-to-date whilst she’s in Iraq and can’t (dares not) log onto the website. When Alison cut back to once a month for new strips, I assumed that it would always be the new strip that appeared in the paper.

    Katie, could you fill me in on this?

  36. ksbel6 says:

    I noticed the Funny Times also. That is where I read the episodes for years, and didn’t know until I found the website that they were running behind because they only print one per month. I could never quite figure out if they skipped the other one, or how they picked which one to print. I wish they would just print them both. Any chance we will get that?

    Way to go on the award AB…you are amazingly talented and deserve every award you get.

  37. Duncan says:

    Jain, it had never occurred to me to look for a link to Vidal’s “Doc Reuben” review. I’m an old fashioned print boy, and that piece was reprinted in a couple of Vidal’s essay collections, which I have on my groaning bookshelves. It looks like it’s in Cleis Press’s collection of his writings on sex, too. According to Google the entire review can be found at the New York Review of Books site, but only if you’re an e-subscriber. But here are some excerpts:

    Including this nice bit:

    For someone like Dr. Reuben…two men who do live together must, somehow, be wretched. “Mercifully for both of them, the life expectancy of their relationship together is brief.” Prove? I wrote for the tenth time in the margin.

    … It just occurred to me as I read it that in 1970, Vidal had been living happily with Howard Austen for 20 years.

  38. Hannah says:

    Ok…were you thinking of England? *grin*

  39. Katie says:

    Hi Virginia and ksbel6,

    I’m not sure why Funny Times didn’t run the new strip, but I”ll be sure to check on it the next time I get a chance.

  40. Ann S. in Madison says:

    Warning! Shameless, off-topic, self-promotion

    Check out where my documentary, The Hollywood Librarian: A Look at Librarians through Film, is showing from Sept 29 to Oct 6 (Banned Books Week) here! I hope many of you lovely Bechdelians (Alicitizens?) can see the film at your local library. AB was kind enough to screen the flick and her blurb is up at my home page,

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled comments, already in progress.

  41. JoeBeason says:

    My very first GLBT-themed book was “Rubyfruit Jungle”, which I purchased when I was a young teen at my Roman Catholic parish’s rummage sale, back in the early 80s. (I wonder if one of the nuns dropped it in the box…) It blew my baby gay mind, and Rita Mae Brown became a big help in my coming out process.

  42. ksbel6 says:

    I read Rubyfruit Jungle first also. That seems so long ago now. Actually, my first connection with any GLBT media was with the Indigo Girls. They used to sing at The Blue Note in Columbia, MO…that was about 20 years ago!

  43. Pam I says:

    It was Kate Millett’s Flying. Fitted my then-heterosexual shifting self too, as she has two concurrent relationships, one of each type.

  44. Danyell says:

    Alison, I just finished watching the video and I just had to say how much I respond to your analogy of pushing on the door to be let in, and then someone opens it and you suddenly fall into acceptance and then don’t even know what to do with yourself. Like how you want something so bad and then when you get it, not only do you not know what to do with it, you don’t even know what to want anymore.

    And I totally agree that on the one hand it’s great that comics and graphic novels and the like are being see now as “legitimate” art and on the other hand, it sucks. Speaking as a fine artist (who is still no legitimized, mind you) from an art history perspective, it’s so easy to be both accepted and marginalized simultaneously. A lot of art is brought into the mainstream because it’s “new” and “edgey” and “kitsch” and “quaint” and “outsider”. Then rich people buy it up like crazy to be hip and before you know it something else is hip and artists end up standing on the street, stripped naked (metaphorically) wondering why their dealer never calls anymore. Jean Micheal Basquiat is a pretty good (and sad) example of this. Not that I anticipate that happening to you, because no matter what the mainstream thinks, you have the blessing of a legion of fans who will love whatever you do, because they loved you first. But my point is that in the arts, its hard to gain success because you don’t know exactly how much of it is good to have…

    I hope that came out right…

  45. Anonymous says:

    LibrariANN~Will Hollywood Librarian be available on DVD for those of us not on the list of locales?


    On another note, Rubyfruit jungle came second to hearing the Indigo Girls for the first time.

  46. pd says:

    I leafed thru a copy of “Ruby Fruit Jungle” years ago in a bookstore and thought the writing was awful. A lesbian acquaintance was of the same opinion. But I thought RMB’s recent “Sneaky Pie Brown” mysteries have been quite enjoyable. Maybe it’s just the well written animal parts….

  47. riotllama says:

    mine was the short story “the obelisk” by E.M. Forster. still one of my favourites. My dyke big sister gave me a copy of rubyfruit jungle was I was 17(?) Years later I later passed it on to a younger friend of mine with the instruction that she also had to pass the book on to someone who had never read it before. Hopefully that copy is still making the rounds. Thanks Del, wherever you are.

  48. Josiah says:

    Hey, folks: if you check out the front page of Wikipedia in the next six hours or so, you’ll see a snippet about Michelle Paradise, who interviewed Alison in the video linked above. It’s in the “Did you know…” section of the Wikipedia front page, which has interesting snippets drawn from the newest Wikipedia articles — and the article I wrote on Michelle Paradise last weekend made it to the front page!

    I’d give links, but I’ve found that that sometimes delays the posting, and “Did you know…” changes approximately every six hours. I’ll post again with a links later.

  49. Josiah says:

    Links as promised: the Wikipedia front page (like you needed that); the Michelle Paradise article; and a permanent link to the current version of the “Did you know…” section, in case you see this after the section has been updated and Michelle Paradise is gone.

    Yeah, I know that it’s only tangentially related to Alison, but when did that stop any of us before?

  50. Aunt Soozie says:

    I also loved The Ten Rules. Too funny and painfully familiar!
    I can’t wait to go to YouTube and watch it again.

  51. judybusy says:

    Hey Ann S.: Thanks for letting us know about your film! I just sent out an email to get a big group to go to the screening in St. Paul. It looks wonderful, and I can’t wait to learn more about a place that I use every week, and the wonderful people who make it happen!

  52. leighisflying says:

    For Ellen Forney fans:

    “Beloved local artist and Stranger contributor Ellen Forney is this month’s writer-in-residence for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and today’s P-I features an original Forney graphic essay. Congrats, Ellen!”

  53. --MC says:

    Divil a “graphic essay” they gave Ellen — she had two full pages of the PI on Thursday, conveniently located in the centerfold of the Life and Arts section so that you can take her pages and hang them on the wall if you want —
    Can’t seem to find it online, but here are some video interviews with her.