Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dave Sim's blogandmail - "Live" from Salt Lake City #1 (10/26/06)


(LIVE being a relative term and largely dependant on Jeff Tundis not
having gotten himself arrested at the Frank Zappa's Son's

Sorry, Mr. And Mrs. Yahoo and all our ships at sea about being delayed
by roughly 24 hours in my LIVE reporting from the Pioneer State – if
this was a television network I'd have been fired by now -- but we
pretty much hit the ground running right from the airport. LET'S GO
TO PRESS! As I had suspected, no one came out to the airport in either
Toronto or Salt Lake (nice to have some ammunition to use against those
folks who keep insisting that I'm famous) except Mimi who told me
that Craig Holyoke (who interviewed me for the same newspaper, the
Deseret News back in 1994) had finally gotten the OK from his editors to
do a feature piece on me and was waiting at the City Library to do the
first of several interviews over the course of the next couple of days.
Craig's a great guy and it was nice to get caught up with him.

He's hoping to come out to the rehearsal for The Last Day reading
that starts at 4 pm tomorrow. I'm staying at Alan and Mimi's
palatial digs in the hills above Salt Lake City and typing this
downstairs in Alan's office which is right next door to the Bill
Willingham Suite where I stayed last night. The motif is early Sandman
with Night Flight posters from early Gaiman/Dringenberg signings, framed
original artwork (two page spread from Sandman # 4, Sandman #3, amazing
page from the legendary issue 8, print of the Endless with silver and
gold ink enhancements by Dringenberg. I had forgotten how intimidatingly
good Mike's work was and the original art only makes that more
apparent) colour piece by Jill Thompson, Rick Veitch double page splash
from Swamp Thing's Alan Moore scripted "My Blue Heaven"
including layout and colour guide (and a signed Rare Bit promo poster
from APE `95 – HEY! I was at that one TOO!). Mimi is upstairs
working on the Power Point presentation. But let me interrupt myself
here with a story I did want to get to as soon as possible:

Dave Kostis at Now & Then Books phoned and left a message with Gerhard
at the office on Tuesday while I was running around getting as many
last-minute things done as possible before the trip that Now & Then
Books is closing its doors. I wasn't able to get him on the phone
that evening, there was just the store's answering machine so I hope
it isn't true but I have an awful feeling that this really might be
it. He along with a lot of downtown Kitchener merchants have been
struggling in recent years and this summer was particularly bad.
It's particularly sad because this month marks the thirty-fifth
anniversary of the store's opening in 1971. So far as we know, the
longest run of any comic book store (pre-dating the Direct Market itself
by several years) still in continuous operation. Ger and I had given
Dave several loans to help float the store over the last couple of years
and I know John Balge with whom I worked on Comic Art News & Reviews
kicked in as well. There's not much I can do from two time zones
away (which is why I had been really hoping someone might have come out
to Pearson Airport with a laptop so that I could have at least started
circulating the word yesterday). At this point all I can do is encourage
anyone who thinks they can help in whatever way – either by
donations or buying some store stock or maybe offering to buy a part
ownership or full ownership or even just phoning to offer some words of
encouragement and to let Dave know that his prodigious efforts to keep
Harry Kremer's legacy alive for these last four and a half years are
not unappreciated – to give a call and leave a message at
519-744-5571. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had asked Dave's
permission to use his office to be interviewed by Matthew Ingram of
Cameron Heights
Collegiate for their high school newspaper and it was very gratifying to
sit for the first time in Harry's old command central chair
surrounded by all of the store's photographic and illustration
memories including the framed full front page of the entertainment
section of the K-W Record of Harry and then-partner Bill Johnson back in
1971. If worst comes to worst we'll certainly be working closely
with Dave to preserve as much of the material as he thinks appropriate
as part of the Cerebus Archive. There are a lot of folks out there with
memories of the store that go way back, so please get in touch with Dave
if you've got a spare minute or two over the next couple of days.

Anyway, back here in Salt Lake City, as I say, we hit the ground
running. Mimi dropped me off at the Library Square store -- which is
amazing – and I did my sunset prayer a little late in the back room
and then went over to the coffee shop in the Library proper (which is
AMAZING and has just been declared America's Number One Library:
Congratulations, City Library!) where Craig and Mimi were waiting.

Craig really threw me for a loop when he dove right in on the Dave Sim
the Evil Misogynist thing. He had been up until 3:30 am that morning
once he had the go-ahead for the article reading everything he could
find on the Internet about me. "People talk about you on the
Internet the way they talk about axe murderers." He threw me for a
loop because this is very much the "elephant in the room" when
it comes the news reporters. I had done a one-hour phone interview with
a very nice young lady for In magazine who hadn't mentioned it. I
mean, I find it weird. If you Google Dave Sim, so far as I know, the
first thing that comes up is Misogynist and yet no one even mentions it.
Of course I remembered Craig as a real no-
nonsense cut-to-the-chase news guy from my last visit but this is really
the first time that any journalist has even mentioned it. Usually if
they mention it at all it comes very late in the proceedings where
they're obviously already stopped taking notes. So I actually got to
explain the difference between misogyny and being opposed to feminism,
how wrong and completely undemocratic I think the UN program to set
aside legislature seats for women is as is happening in Iraq and
Afghanistan. "I have no problem with any woman running for any
office as long as she's competing in a democratic fashion. We'd
be about twenty years
behind where we are as a society if Margaret Thatcher hadn't run for
office and won. But subverting democracy just to get more women elected
is as wrong as lowering standards for firemen, police offers and the
military just to get more fire-persons and police persons and army
persons." And Craig's writing all of this down on the over-sized
file cards he still uses this many years later on. Over the course of an
interview – we adjourned to the still excellent Market Street Grill
(my post-Ramadan stomach is the size of a grapefruit but the two
appetizers were excellent) – he's shuffling his cards like a
poker hand, filling the blanks and asking follow-ups. By the time we
were done and got back here to the house it was after 11 pm and we just
got started on doing a final once-over on the Power Point presentation
which we ultimately decided to overhaul completely and the rehearsal is
mere hours away.

Went upstairs to ask Mimi the name of the restaurant and she called
downtown to Alan who is busy devouring the chocolate donuts that Lucas
had bought for me. Someone's just been in the store who had come all
the way from L.A. to see the exhibit but won't be able to stay until
tomorrow for the reading so Alan wondered if I would be able to see him
before he has to head back. Hell, yes. At least until we actually get
famous, we might as well invite everyone along for the ride who's
interested. Ger and I already left word with Matt and Paula and Jason
that they're welcome to hang out with us when they get here and I
said the same thing about our newly arrived friend from L.A. Ger's
flight gets in about sunset so we're all going to head out to the
airport and hopefully get some of our promised and delayed LIVE coverage
happening here.

Keep It Turned on to THE BLOG & MAIL LIVE!

The Only Internet Broadcast that Gives a S–t that Dave Sim is in
Salt Lake City
all Yahoos & Lurkers welcome to drop by The City Library Auditorium to
meet Dave and the Exhibit Area to meet Gerhard in Salt Lake City
starting at Noon tomorrow Friday 27 October. The READING (God willing)
starts at 4 pm.