Friday, July 30, 2010


Last Friday, Julie and I sat in on a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) event panel of four authors to discuss the topic "What's the worst that could happen?". Rounding out the panel were two more Chicagoland authors, the excellent Stephanie Kuehnert and James Kennedy. We fielded questions like, "what if you had a reading/signing and no one came?" or "what if your editor quit or left the co. mid-way through a book?". Stuff like that.

The panel discuss was held in cool indie bookshop, 57th Street Books, put on by their fab resident book buyer and book connoisseur, Angela Sherrill, and mediated by Illinois Chapter SCBWI-er Kate Hannigan. (Readers of this blog may/may not remember I was invited down there last fall for a very cool children's book fair.)

Julie and I wondered on our drive down, "what if no one showed up to this event?". Wouldn't that've been ironic? Luckily a sizeable crowd turned up and a lively discussion ensued.

Angela used her powers and influence and somehow got this mentioned at Publisher's Weekly! Thanks to Angela and Kate for getting Julie and me on board. Twas a nice evening.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Harvey Pekar

For the past couple of days, I keep remembering off and on that Harvey Pekar is no longer with us. I never met him, or even saw him in person. However, the openness of his books, the humor, the sincerity, raw reality and the sometimes bleakness, you really feel like you get to know him.

The world of comics and the world in general will be a little less interesting without him and updates of American Splendor in it. Here's just a handful of people and places around the web who are remembering "our man" and his work.

Allison Bechdel

Jeff Smith

Anthony Bourdain

Tom Spurgeon

The New York Times


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I got this.

I want you to know I appreciate you for periodically returning to this space to see if I've blogged. I want you to know that I have been busy and this is why I have not blogged. I want to show you some proof so that you do not think I'm lame. (I mean, if the "proof" is lame, well, there's just not a lot I can do about that.) But a couple of excerpts from days and nights past:

I'll be back.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Top Ten (June 2010)

My favorite things from last month, in no particular order.

1. GOLDEN LEGACY: ORIGINAL ART FROM 65 YEARS OF GOLDEN BOOKS. Checked out this traveling exhibit at a local museum. Absolutely freaking cool. Original artwork from Golden Books classic creators like Garth Williams, Mary Blair, Martin Provensen and Gustaf Tenggren. Afterwards, Romy had some kicking play time in the kid-friendly, Golden-inspired activities space set up by the museum. Wow.

2. ZEITOUN. In keeping with my New Orleans and post-Katrina New Orleans fascination, Julie picked up this newish Dave Eggers nonfiction for my second Father's Day. Very, very well told account of Syrian born, New Orleans contractor Abdulrahman Zeitoun. Beyond Zeitoun's epic storm and flood survival, it's a scary (perhaps cautionary) tale of some outrageous immigrant discrimination.

3. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID. These words, "diary of a wimpy kid" have been buzzing around my ears for some time now. Finally, I know why. Incredibly funny. Incredibly well-written. I was pleasantly surprised to see that these books showcase some clean and superstylish cartooning and outstanding graphic design. Jeff Kinney, I am officially recruited.

4. WIPEOUT. Despite Julie's "over it" attitude, I can never get enough of an everyman taking solid hits and falls on the most insane obstacle course in the country. As a kid, I LOVED Nickelodeon's "Double Dare". Anybody else? Genius!

5. THE BIRD NEST. A mama robin set up a nest atop a hanging flower basket on our front porch. I could've tossed the nest and been done with it, but it was such a beautiful nest and it went up so freakin fast. I have been obsessed with watching this whole show go down. Eggs, baby birds, now adolescents. The whole thing only took a few weeks! Only two babes seem to be left in the nest now. They grow up so fast.

6. AT-AT DAY AFTERNOON. Creator of this viral vid, Patrick Boivin, says, "When I was a kid, there are two things I wanted badly and never got... A real dog and a Kenner AT-AT Walker." Love this. I never got my AT-AT either!

7. FUNNY PEOPLE. I don't care what the critics said, I liked this movie. Sandler's George Simmons kinda reminds me of an old burned out Dylan. If Dylan made crappy comedies. There's some unlikeable souls in this flick for sure (tho Seth Rogen's Ira Wright was a sweet loveable loser for me), but I'm guessing it's pretty true to life. Extreme success has a way of creating an unlikeable soul. "How would you know?" you may ask. Fair enough.

8. SOUTHER SALAZAR'S TIME LAPSE ASSEMBLAGE OF "ALEJANDRO AND THE IDEA MACHINE". I'm sorry, but Souther Salazar and this vid (and music!) are out-of-control cool.

9. TOY STORY 3. This is the best movie I have seen (will see?) this year.

10. RICHARD THOMPSON AT COMICS REPORTER. I'm pretty sure that Richard Thompson is the sweetest, coolest, smartest, funniest, humblest, most talented syndicated cartoonist working today. Man he is good. And in this interview with Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter (my favorite comics news source!) you get it all. Here's an excerpt about why he chose pre-schoolers as characters for his masterpiece, CUL DE SAC.

My daughters were in pre-school. I remember one day in particular. My daughter was four maybe, and my younger daughter was one. My wife was taking me to the train station, I was going up to New York for a weekend. This is back ten years ago or something like that. The kids were running around loose, it was kind of a frantic day for everyone. I was there for like 15 minutes and there was one mom dropping off her daughter. She was like a single mom with her daughter and she could not handle her daughter too well. They had this hamster ball thing, where the hamster could roll in this ball. The kid was chasing it around. The mother picked it up and said, "Oh my God, it's alive!" and dropped it. [laughter] It was like, "I gotta go to work, get me out of here!" I looked around and there was all this action and nothing was meshing at all.