Monday, April 7, 2008

Daniel Johnston!!!

Friday night a friend and I traveled a short distance to see and hear the GREAT songwriter and musician Daniel Johnston! It was more of a book signing than anything, but there was the rare pleasure of Daniel singing and playing the piano! He then stood up and played his guitar for a few songs. In the usual Daniel fashion he sang a couple then said thank you and goodbye, only to be reminded he had a few more minutes of his allotted 25 minutes...he then went on and played more. We then all lined up to get our copies of his book signed. A fine book at that! A very cute Japanese girl handed Dan a scarf to sign, and I was compelled to ask him "what is the weirdest thing you've ever been asked to sign..." He paused for a bit, and as usual with no eye contact, replied " a girl wanted me to sign her breast once..." "Did you?, I asked..."No I couldn't do that!" He replied. I then shook his hand. I've been a fan for a long time, and this was the first time seeing and meeting him. If you are not familiar with Dan's work you should...check out his myspace page to hear some great stuff!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bye Bob...

Yet again,
I heard that a old friend had died. Long ago out of touch, but never out of mind. January 28, 2008 was when he passed after a long illness. Bob and I were neighbors, he lived down the street from me in Oakland, at the time of him putting together the New Comics Anthology. He liked a piece I had done, which he called after the old "
Wisconsin Death Trip"...I was happy 'cause I was right next to Julie Doucet...we were all "young punks"...a fine book, to which I did get paid (sorry Eddie). We organized a brilliant little signing also at the now defunct Telegraph Ave Cody's. Loads of fun. I was also invited to join in the good times working on War News, to which, to me had to have been close to what the Algonquin Round table was like. This is a small excerpt that will give you an idea of what we were up to from an SF Weekly article ...It was a shit load of fun...until it wasn't...

"...A few days later a motley menagerie of noisy Irish, old hippies, and others converged on the Examiner building. They protested that Hinckle had been fired for writing a column critical of the Gulf War that compared President Bush to Tojo, a column that the Examiner was too chicken to run. The atmosphere was that of a drunken circus. A 10-foot-tall replica of George Bush's head stared at passers-by from the bed of a truck. Flasks were passed to warm up the chilly morning. Strippers wobbled on their high heels, carrying picket signs with slogans like: "Stop Harassing the Visually Impaired."

Jim Mitchell seized the opportunity to expand from the porn business and launch his own newspaper, to combat the disinformation America was receiving about the Gulf War.
It was called War News, and Mitchell appointed Hinckle as its figurehead editor/publisher, whose primary duties were riding around in a car from bar to bar with his dog, while everyone else did the work.

A nightclub in North Beach was opened as an office.
Hinckle commuted back and forth from New York, calling in favors and rounding up contributors, including Barbara Ehrenreich, whose Time magazine piece had been killed, as well as Daniel Ellsberg, Michael Moore, Paul Krassner, Art Spiegelman, Ron Turner, Bob Callahan, Peter Bagge, Jim Woodring, Trina Robbins, S. Clay Wilson, (ME! Bruce Hilvitz), (just to name a few) even a fax from Hunter Thompson. R. Crumb designed a logo. T-shirts were printed up.

Callahan was amazed at the array of talented shit-disturbers they had attracted for this one last tweak of the establishment. "It was like 'The Over the Hill Gang' gets one more ride on the range."

Hinckle was back in his element, ear glued to the phone. This wasn't some bullshit Sunday magazine -- it mattered. And like most of Warren Hinckle's gut instincts, at heart he was absolutely right. Hinckle didn't get a chance to kill War News, though. Jim Mitchell did by shooting to death his brother, Artie. (Thanks to a Hinckle-led publicity campaign, Jim Mitchell got only six years.)

Anyway, I remember hanging out with Bob and his friends, smoking good pot and watching good boxing matches, especially if the boxers were Irish, of course... and bullshitting up a storm. He always seemed to want more from a magazine, book anything of the printed matter world. That's why I liked him so much, we both shared that vision and both wanted to work doubly hard to get to that point. The field of Comix will miss him as it should. He contributed a lot to it and will not be forgotten for it and all else he had done. Later Bob!