Holiday Road

IT’S A LONG drive to Chicago from up here in Brooklyn. Especially if you don’t realize the GPS is on Scenic. Still, everyone got there in time to get the keys to Andrew’s place. You may be wondering who the hell Andrew is. He’s the guy whose apartment we infiltrated for the weekend. It’s an amazing spot, totally rentable and is something of a bohemian ideal (see below). We’re not telling you this as an ad for Andrew’s Place, but because we beat the ladies of D&Q to the punch reserving it. Then it turned out Andrew worked at a restaurant near the Center on Halsted and had served pretty much all of indie comics all weekend, but, strangely, not us. We ran into him (and immediately after, the D&Q folks) on our way to the show on Sunday by complete coincidence, prompting Andrew to say, “You comics people have taken over the whole city.” That’s about as good proof as you’re likely to get that a comics show is a huge success, which the Chicago Alternative (K)omics Expo sure as hell was.



The sun-filled, air cooled show space (a big, skylit gym named for Billie Jean King) and the building (complete with a Whole Foods, for all you poor bastards with dietary restrictions or for people who are just plain picky) are gorgeous. There were even three theaters in the Center for panels and stuff, with killer A/V, plus that balcony for smoking and eating and a green room and actual cake and coffee and Chris Ware and posters for the big Dan Clowes exhibit on every bus and it’s a free show – what more do you people want?

It’s a pretty gay show, too. Yes homo. The Center on Halsted is Chicago’s big LGBTQ Community Center. Us here at Secret Acres are a couple of New York queers (like you didn’t know), and they kind of make us look like bums in comparison. It’s shocking, really. This is New York, as in Stonewall, where gay was invented. Yeah, TCAF has a ton of queer events and programming and a big, gay guy at the helm, but this felt gay-er. There was gay line dancing in the sky, for the love of the Benji. This was a good backdrop to drop our latest, Sequential Vacation 2, which, for you folks that have yet to read it, is pretty gay, so don’t worry too much about reading gay into it. It’s okay. Sequential Vacation 2 went over very well, as one would expect.



For us, the fun started after getting lost Saturday morning, driving up and down the wrong street in torrential rain and getting to show late. There were folks taking bets on whether or not we were going to get there at all. Seeing Gabby Schulz for the first time in an entire year was kind of like a Wham! reunion tour for us. Our very own Edie Fake was running shit and for real running, constantly. We barely got to throw pizza at him. Our haul was supersolid, including picking up two comics from Marian Runk and one from these guys, which will be appearing in our Emporium momentarily. We got to chat with our hero, Josh Simmons and grabbed a couple of copies of Habit from him. Tom K had seventeen new books and we got this one and that one. The rest of the time, it was like Christmas. People just brought stuff over to us. Beautiful things. Silk-screened things. Riso’d things. Things.



Sometime after being bamboolzed by dazzling, light-up Kamikaze shots at the first after party at the gay bar across the street (and drinking with local favorite, Grant Reynolds, and our table neighbor, Rob Kirby) Gabby pointed out that we didn’t sell anything the whole day. This was a slight exaggeration. It didn’t keep up from enjoying Fried Chicken Pad Thai and Hot Cheese Wontons with all our feet dangling in a pit, faking sitting on the floor of a Thai place that we walked miles to find, and discussing the possibility of opening a Tofaffles shop with Ms. Runk. It certainly didn’t keep up from us getting a PBR (of COURSE) off Lale Westvind while watching Mickey Z lose another squatty loft deathmatch, this time to Witch Hat in a battle of the bands while Zak Sally looked on, wearing a very sensible dress, though we prefer Zak wearing a dog. It’s also didn’t keep up from selling like gangbusters on Sunday. What were you waiting for on Saturday, CAKE people? Maybe us, because we were late. To make it up to you, here is a picture of the lips of Sar Shahar, as requested for she who shall remain nameless:



Sar, obviously, fits our gang like a glove. We could not be more pleased with him, his comics or his lips. Thankfully, Sar does not follow Gabby on Twitter, so for all he knows, Gabby is just a nice guy. Speaking of Gabby, we promised news on Sick, and, well, it’s looking like a TCAF debut. Sorry, everyone. Since we’re already apologizing, we ought to spill the beans and tell you that Theo Ellsworth‘s the Understanding Monster Book Two won’t be making it to SPX, either. That leaves Brendan Leach flying solo with Ironbound, and we’re ecstatic to say that we will for sure have that big, fat book and record rocking the block in September. Meanwhile, Sar got his first ever review of Sequential Vacation 2 over here. Eamon Espey, whom people in the Windy City seem to truly adore, got a little more love from French GQ for the French edition of his Wormdye. Some big ups are in order for our Koyamamate and pal, Nate Bulmer, whose ladyfriend is finally making an honest man of him tomorrow as part of the Year of the Comics Marriage. Somebody please rundown all the comics weddings in 2013 for us.

Alrighty. We’re gonna go sleep and check out some nuptials. Maybe we’ll see you at Pat’s place? Anyhow, we’ll be back here in time for Autoptic, we swear.

Your Pals,

Barry and Leon


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