Archive for: November, 2004

Interview w/ Brian Sendelbach • Artist

SM: Given the global exchange rate, what is still not for sale under any circumstances?

BS: My vinyl copy of Electric Light Orchestra’s “Discovery” album. The one with “Don’t Bring Me Down” on it? “You’ve got me runnin’, goin’ out of my mind”…? “You’ve got me thinkin’ that I’m wastin’ my time”…?

SM: Please give an example of a perceived Synesthesia you’ve experienced. (Synesthesia is a crossing of senses i.e., tasting shapes, seeing smells, etc.)

BS: I can hear colors, especially in crappy pop songs. For example, the music of Bob Seger. All his music is a very dull and ugly shade of brown. Most musicians (even the crappy ones) seem to have a more diverse pallette, but Bob Seger is impressive because he uses the same flat brown in every single one of his songs. How can one guy make such consistently brown music? It’s amazing. (And by “amazing,” I don’t actually mean “amazing.” I actually mean “really boring”.)

SM: When was the last time you had to take an unexpected walk?

BS: A friend came over to watch a TV show the other night, and we decided out of the blue that we wanted some chips. So, before the show started, we walked a couple blocks down to the corner store. For some chips. I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting to just watch the TV show without any chips, and without having to walk anywhere first.

SM: What was your last run-in with a really crazy person?

BS: It was a few months back, when I ran into an old sort-of-girlfriend. She was a bit crazy back when we were hanging out, but she was pretty, so I conveniently ignored the crazy part. But this time, there on the street, looking into her eyes…yee-ikes…

SM: What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at a party thrown by strangers?

BS: I look around for a dog or a cat to pay attention to. If there ar no pets available, then I’ll go for the food. Strangers are usually pretty boring.

SM: When was the last time you got lost?

BS: The summer before last. I got lost in a place called Secret Mountain, near Sedona, Arizona. I was on one of those hiking trails that don’t loop around; instead, the trail just peters out, and you’re supposed to turn back and retrace your steps. In this case, the problem was knowing when the trail actually petered out. There were no signs or anything. The trail just kept on getting less and less discernible. I walked through a burnt section of trees, in which I encountered the ghost of a crow (another story). And there were lizards everywhere, darting around. Finally, I turned back, but I couldn’t find what was left of the trail. I was surrounded by high weeds, and it was really hot, and I was just about out of water. And I was exhausted. I kept on telling myself not to panic.
Eventually, of course, I re-found the trail, and made my way back to the car. Later — much later — I heard that the burnt area I had walked through had supposedly been the site of a UFO crash.

SM: Please indulge us with an anecdote.

BS: The best anecdote I have — and it’s a pretty good one — is an anecdote I can never, ever tell anybody. It’s my greatest story EVER, and in a certain way it’s my life’s high point… my finest achievement. A beautiful work of art. If I told you, you’d probably either really admire me, or really hate me. But mum’s the word, sorry.

SM: Please describe a time in your life (barring politics) when you backed the wrong horse.

BS: I almost always back the wrong horse. It’s pretty much a character flaw. For example, deciding to be a professional artist is backing the wrong horse in a big, big way.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from your childhood.

BS: There was that time at camp. A bunch of us were playing some variation of “tag”, and this really pretty girl named Kelly was chasing me. And then she jumped and –instead of just touching me — tackled me from behind. I went down pretty good, and the whole game stopped. We had been playing on gravel, so my entire arm and part of my face were ripped up and bloody, with tiny stones stuck in the wounds. Kelly felt really bad, and kept apologizing over and over…but I was actually pretty happy about the whole thing. After that, of course, I had a HUGE crush on her. Still do, sort of.

SM: Please recommend some components we could put together to make a trap for catching ghosts.

SM: The best component for trapping ghosts is a human body. You can trap tons of ghosts with one of those. I’m not sure it’s such a good idea, though: Ghosts are pretty unpredictable, and tend to be rather pushy. You get enough of ’em in there, and they might start thinking they can run the whole show. Like prisoners taking control of the prison.
Anyway, since you asked: Before you trap a ghost, you’ve got to attract one. And to attract a ghost, you’ve got to achieve the proper vibrational level. That’s the main thing. And what I mean by “vibrational level” is how fast — or how slow — the molecules in your body are actually vibrating. This is what most ghosts are attracted to, and you can work on this in a variety of ways. When I sleep, I tend to maintain a rather ghost-friendly vibrational level, so I end up attracting a fair amount of ghosts. It’s no big deal, and I’m used to it. But, again, trapping them? Bad idea.

And anyway, aren’t we all — in a larger sense — already “trapped ghosts”?

Interview w/ Mike McGee • Poet

SM: When was the last time you went on an unexpected detour?

MM: April 4, 2002. It was the first time I hung out with the woman who would become my girlfriend later that summer. Her name was Maranda and we were headed to the beach. I hadn’t ever really been on a date before and neither had she and we both thought seeing the beach would be a good idea. We talked and walked for hours, but when we got back on the road we got lost and drove throughout the city for about two hours looking for the freeway, taking what was probably 30 different detours. We never got bored throughout the process of being lost because it became a good excuse to keep talking and getting to know each other.

SM: Who or what would you prefer to introduce you to whatever waits for us in the afterlife?

MM: Don Knotts or a talking bowl of chocolate pudding. I would never believe tapioca.

SM: Which would you rather have, a bag or money or a bag of answers to all of your questions?

MM: Money. I’m more inclined to work for my answers. I’d feel bad not learning answers. I don’t care if I didn’t earn the money.

SM: Please contribute an anecdote to our growing collection.

MM: One time, when I was employed at Kinko’s Copies on the graveyard shift, a college student came in late to apply the finishing touches to a school writing project he was working on last minute. I helped him with computer stuff and some printing. The night shift is a great time for sleepy banter between two people who both don’t care to be at Kinko’s at that moment, only I was the one getting paid to be there.
Somehow, probably through me, the topic of spoken word came up and his interest was piqued. I asked him if he had ever attended a Poetry Slam, which I frequented quite often. He said that he hadn’t but that he had a friend who had been to several poetry slams throughout the Bay Area. This friend of his had bought a poet’s CD from one of the shows and played it often for him and their friends. He recommended that I check out a “really funny poet” named Mike McGee. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had heard my stuff before. He might not have believed me in my uniform anyway. Such a rare event is it that one’s art is recommended to themself that I didn’t want to burst any bubbles.

SM: If you were heard to exclaim,” Get away from that!”, what would you likely be referring to?

MM: The TV remote when Family Guy, Bill Hicks, or The Simpsons are on.

SM: Please recommend a four word combination to lift a curse from some golden coins we’ve discovered.

MM: Go away stupid curse.

SM: What’s to be done with the flatterers and frauds of the world?

MM: They should be sent to an island to flatter and fraud each other. We should fill all of their cupboards, drawers and pockets with the sucked out fat of the now pretty. We should berate them with mumblings and gibberish. We should sell them to the meek. We should not allow them entrance to 7/11s and Circle Ks. We should always point and laugh at them, especially in public places. We should forgive them and show them how wrong they’ve been. We should teach them to read and send them to college.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from childhood.

MM: Having been born with Spina Bifida, I was in the hospital quite a bit as a child. At nine years old, I resided at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. for spinal surgery. Most of the children in my ward were cancer patients. They went to the playroom a lot. I never did. There was this one nurse who was a very big, young, black man—from Texas, I believe. Sadly, I can’t remember his name, but I would joke with him and the nurses. They really liked me. I tried hard not to develop friendships with the other kids in the hospital because they were dying and I wasn’t. My nurse-friend got mad at me one day and explained that I needed to help the other kids laugh through their pain. He was right and I’ve never forgotten that. I went to the playroom everyday from that point on. I do what I do today because of that specific moment in my childhood. It changed my life for good.

SM: When was the last time you felt real, undeniable joy?

MM: Nearly everytime I connect with an individual person on an above average level, or with an entire audience of any size. I’m pretty social. I live for it really. I would throw in the time I lost my virginity, which was undeniably awesome, but due to improper timing, the radio station we were listening to decided to play Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville”, making that moment slightly less joyful than it should have been. So, yeah, the social thing is number one in my book.
Damn you, Jimmy Buffet.

Interview w/ Christopher Baldwin • Comic Artist, “Bruno”

SM: If we gave you a sackful of money and a pointy hat made of newspaper, how would you spend the rest of the day?

CB: Well, I want to be all spunky and say that I’d rent a derrigible and drop water balloons on people at Disneyland, shouting, “I’m the king of Romania”. But in reality, I’d probably pay some bills, skiv off from work for the day, and spend it in cafes and walking about aimlessly on the pier.

SM: When was the last time you were frightened of something larger than yourself?

CB: Walking on train tracks well past my bedtime. A train approached, I’m not sure if I heard it or felt it first, and so I stood a little aside in the brush, watching this enormous weighty link of metal cars rush back, black as night. I imagined it falling off the tracks towards me, and despite me jumping down the ravine on the side, it would slide after me.

SM: Please describe your face when you are trying to be serious.

CB: My brow furrows and my eybrow(s) close in on on another. My chin gets tense. I believe my constipated face can also be desribed this same way.

SM: If we were to fashion a miniature porcelain bust of you for a quaint country store that sells knickknacks and curios, how would you prefer to be represented?

CB: A zen smile perhaps? A pen over my ear? A laurel wreath of “Barrel Of Monkeys” around my head, connected arm in arm. A penny on my tongue.

SM: In the middle of the interview, an anecdote is requested.

CB: Recently the 12 bus was pulling up to where I was standing at the bus stop, and just as it did, it was rear-ended, crushing the front third of the driver’s car. She was fine, the only two people on the bus were fine, I looked up from the Baumeister I was reading as I stood there, and I was fine.
I got home an hour late, which contributed to the staying up until 1:00 on Monday (three hours past my usual bedtime) caused by indecision on a Little Dee storyline, which I eventually resolved with surprisingly little pomp.
What was interesting, aside from the shake-up in schedule, was the tiredness. I forget that sometimes, especially with writers block, I just need a good night of lack-of-sleep to mix things up a bit. The next day my brain goes a mile-a-minute, things get resolved (if I use the time wisely) and then 2:00 in the afternoon rolls around, and the rest of the day is useless, and the next night I’d better get some sleep.

SM: If we were sending a treasure chest to the bottom of the ocean, what would you want to put in it?

CB: George Bush. Ahhh…. god bless’m. Our national treasure.

SM: Please recommend a way for us to recognize you in the land of sleep and dreaming.

CB: I’ll be the one being chased. I may be wearing black with a shock of multicolor feathers for my hair.

SM: When was the last time you really noticed someone saying your name?

CB: While in Europe, Terri called me “Christopher” instead of Chris, seducing me with her Polish/British accent.

SM: If you were to draw a picture of yourself sleeping, what would you be sure to include?

CB: The bridesmaids bent around me, like angels, taking away my bottle of alcohol. If I happened to decide to draw myself in bed, it would include “Offended” (my teddybear which is on indefinite loan to me from Anya.) If I was feeling lonely, a dark shadowed horse would loom over the bed.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from childhood.

CB: My dad had some surgery, almost died actually, appendix burst or something. Sometime shortly after, we were walking on a path around a lake, and I asked my dad if I started to slide down the slope towards the water, could I grab onto his arm to keep from falling, to which he explained, no, because his stomach would likely tear open. This made me sad on several levels. I think I’ve worked through the resulting emotional issues, and he’s still healthy and fine.

Interview w/ Brendon Small •Comedian, Writer/Co-Creator of “Home Movies”

SM: If we gave you a sackful of money and a pointy hat made of newspaper, how would you spend the rest of the day?

BS: Oh that’s easy. First I’d get a money stack organizer. Then I’d get my weener “taken care of”. After that I’d get calf implants in my pecs and vice versa. Then I’d exchange murders with a train stranger and finish the day with stabbing myself in the heart with my pointy hat.

SM: If you were a blues musician living in the Depression-era dust-bowl, what would be some of the titles of your songs?

BS: Oddly enough my senior thesis at music school was an odd collection of crappy pieces one was an instrumental blues tune called “Blue Honkey”. That’s a true story. Aren’t I great?
But here’s a list of depression era blues titles:
Blue Faggot
Double Ended Blues Dildo
I Got Murdered By A Jackoff Master On The Loose Blues
and finally
Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself Blues

SM: Please tell us something you want to know but haven’t found out yet.

BS: I’d like to know what that waiter mumbled to me, smirked, gave me my food and giggled and skipped off. What was he saying?

SM: What is your initial reaction to the sound of a needle dropping onto a record?

BS: “Murdering time.”

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

BS: One time I did this thing, evvvverybody was there and they loved it. I was at the what do you call it place. I couldn’t begin to try to recreate it. Though I’ll tell you I was smashing! People in Canada know that story!!!!!

SM: What was the last circumstance in which you found yourself that required adrenaline?

BS: Performing comedy.

SM: What was the last circumstance in which you found yourself that required intense concentration?

BS: A terrible audition for a fake reality show.

SM: If animals were guitars, what animal would you like to play?

BS: A newt or a squirrel, possibly a german guy. Haven’t made my mind up.

SM: If we were sending a treasure chest to the bottom of the ocean, what would you want to put in it?

BS: Milk and flowers. Simple and easy. Next question?

SM: Please recommend a way for us to recognize you in the land of sleep and dreaming.

BS: I’ll look much like Walter and Perry.

Interview w/ Todd Barry • Comedian

SM: What sort of pirate would you be?

TB: Hmmm. I’ve never given this any thought. I don’t really know much about pirates, or pirate culture. Pirates…hmmm. They’re the people that do the “rrrrr” thing, right? I’d be the pirate who refuses to do the “rrrrr” thing. A contrarian pirate.

SM: Sometimes Buddha is portrayed as a somber and slender fellow intent on meditation, other times as a rotund smiling man bent on indulgence. Why do you suppose that is?

TB: Buddha, much like everyone else has good and bad days. Meditation is a blast, but sometimes you just want to kick bag with a bag of Doritos, a vodka and Red Bull (in a tall glass), listening to that killer Bright Eyes bootleg you borrowed from your friend Tommy!

SM: What were you doing around this time of year a decade ago?


SM: When was the last time a stranger yelled at you, and what did they yell?

TB: I assume you mean any sort of yelling, not necessarily a scolding. Probably something along the lines of “yo comedian!” I really can’t remember any recent yelling. But who knows what the future holds?!!!

SM: What was the most recent circumstance in a dream you had that left you completely baffled?

TB: A trait of mine that I’m particularly proud of is my reluctance to share my dreams with anyone. The only time I make an exception to this is if the dream involved the person I’m talking to.

SM: Do you have an arch-nemesis?

TB: I do, but I ain’t telling. Now everyone reading this is paranoid: “Holy shit! I might be Todd Barry’s arch nemesis!”

SM: What’s in your pockets right now?

TB: Keys to my apartment, my home comedy studio, and my comedy editing suite.

SM: What sort of cowboy would you be?

TB: Cowboys? Hmmm. They’re the one who go “rrrrr,” right?

SM: When was the last time you found yourself on the roof of a building?

TB: People in New York love having roof parties. “Hey everyone, let’s get drunk and stand around on my warped, unbarricaded roof! It will be dark out, so you won’t see the person you’re talking to! But we’ll be on the roof!!!!!”

SM: Regale us, please, with an anecdote.

TB: I once found a dirty syringe in my seat pocket on a flight to Denver. I know that’s not a fully realized anecdote but it’s all I’ve got now.

Todd’s new CD, “Falling Off the Bone” comes out Jan. 25th, on Comedy Central records.

Interview w/ Tim Heidecker

SM: If scarecrows are for scaring crows, what scares the scarecrows?

TH: Why, Lions, Tigers and Bears, of course!

SM: Barring yourself, what’s the best thing to come out of your hometown?

TH: The inspiration for the town in our show. That doesn’t really address your question does it? Well Christine Taylor grew up here and now she’s married to Ben Stiller. That seems like an accomplishment. I was in a production of The Wizard of Oz with her when I was 13. I see this interview grasping a theme.

SM: Why did they kick the devil out of comedy heaven?

TH: Comedy Heaven? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? That sounds like a bunch of hoo-ha. Or a Comedy Central pilot.

SM: What’s the closest thing you know of to a religious experience?

TH: Laughing so hard that you can’t breathe and almost peeing your pants.

SM: Please recommend a phrase with which to win back our girlfriends, after a series of romantic misunderstandings, right before she boards a plane to England to marry that jerk.

TH: I am the last person you should ask for relationship advice.

SM: What was your last good deed?

TH: I took a high school kid to the office here and showed him how a cartoon gets made.

SM: What was your last encounter with a lunatic?

TH: If I told you about that encounter, it would get very uncomfortable around here.

SM: Regale us, please, with an anecdote.

TH: I’m trapped. all my good anecdotes would involve a) hurting someone’s feelings b) making me look like a fool or c) making me look like an alcoholic. I will recommend a good book full of antecdoes: Dylan’s chronicles. Real good. I’ll regale you with anecdotes when I’m 60 and not giving a fuck so much. If its relevant at the time. I imagine your website will have gathered a number of hits by then. I bet it will be regarded as one heck of a popular site, depending on whether or not, it’s your decision to continue posting new content. 50 years is a long time to continue to bring content to a site that has the potential to change on a daily basis, so I would reconsider your format, depending on whether or not you intend to stick out this project for that amount of time, based on, I assume the number of visitors or hits, you get on a daily or monthly basis, but I bet you have a method for determining whether or not that’s in your best interest.
Then of course there was the time I got my first cell phone. My first phone was a Sony. The year was 2000 and i was one of the first to get a phone. It was really big, but had a fine roundish shape to it. It suited me well for about a year. The phone company I was with let me know that I could upgrade my phone and i then did so. that phone did not last as long, but I remember my third phone. A classic black motorola, slim, functional, full of surprises! But even that phone wore out it’s welcome when the color screen caught my eye. I had to have one! Spare no expense! She’s with me to this day, it has some glitches though. I’m in the market.

SM: What was your last encounter with a stranger that you wish had been longer?

TH: I met a cutie at a free yoga class the other day. i don’t know how to reach her though. I guess I’ll have to take more classes.

SM: T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis and Wiliam Blake have invited you aboard their Space/Time machine. What sort of fanciful adventures do you have?

TH: I’d travel to the center of time, 1848!

Tim and Eric
Tom Goes to the Mayor

Interview w/ David Rees • Comic Artist, “Get Your War On” “My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable”

SM: When was the last time you had on a set of headphones?

DR: Election night 2004.

SM: What was the last circumstance in which you found yourself that you could not comprehend entirely?

DR: Election night 2004. I was surprised Florida went to Bush.

SM: Barring yourself, what’s the best thing to come out of your hometown?

DR: The summer after my freshman year in college, the Chapel Hill music scene was blowing up and you could go to “Local band night” at the Cat’s Cradle for like, two dollars, and see all the hot new bands, such as:
1. Polvo
2. Superchunk
3. Metal Flake Mother (Randy Ward, R.I.P.)
4. Archers of Loaf
5. Jarvis (only hard-core Chapel Hill rockers will remember this name)
6. Flat Duo Jets
7. Bicycle Face (If you recognize the name of this band, I know you used to work at Pepper’s Pizza.)
8. Zen Frisbee
9. That band the crazy girl was in who used to date Steve from Polvo.
10. Erectus Monotone
11. Finger (I lost my “Rotting in a Cage” 7-inch. If someone reading this
interview can hook me up, I will send you ten dollars and an autographed
copy of “Get Your War On II.”)
12. Vanilla Trainwreck
13. Scuppernong (BOOYAH!!! If you think I’m a poser about the Chapel Hill music scene, please come over to my house and look at my Scuppernong 7-inch and then tell me if I’m a poser!!!)

That same summer I sang in the Hilltop Harmonizers, a barbershop chorus at the United Methodist Church on Franklin Street. After Tuesday rehearsals I would stroll down to the Cat’s Cradle and meet my friends and listen to bands. Then we would head to Time Out Chicken and eat fried chicken and biscuits.

That summer was the best thing to come out of my hometown.

SM: What’s the closest thing you know of to a religious experience?

DR: Hearing God tell me who to vote for, duh.

SM: Regale us, please, with an anecdote.

DR: A few months ago I was making coffee and realized I was out of milk, so I ran to the corner bodega to buy a gallon. I noticed my socks didn’t match! Then George W. Bush refused to hold Donald Rumsfeld accountable for torture at Abu Ghraib and America’s moral authority was further eroded. Or… was it?

SM: Please describe an activity at which you are not very good, but that you hope to eventually be good at.

DR: Jogging.

SM: Please describe an area of expertise you are willing to feign knowing something about to strangers.

DR: What their mothers said last night.

SM: What do you like to do when you can’t sleep at night?

DR: I like to think about my future and shudder with dread.

SM: When was the last really good party you attended, and what did you do all night/day?

DR: My wife and I just were just complaining about how we never get invited to parties anymore. Honestly I can’t remember the last time I went to a really fun party. My housemates and I used to throw raging parties in Boston but that feels like a million years ago.

SM: When was the last time you looked up and took a long look at the sky?

DR: In Lawrence, Kansas a few weeks ago on a book tour. There’s a lot of unobstructed sky out there, and the clouds are bigger than most of the blue states.

Get Your War On

Interview w/ Taylor Mali • Poet

SM: When was the last time you took a big risk?

TM: The last time I took a really big risk was today. I am writing you from a hotel bar in Dublin. It’s risky for Americans to be anywhere these days. I walk down the street and try not to act American (which means not smiling while punching people in the face).

SM: Please tell us a non-career or life-threatening secret about yourself.

TM: A secret about myself? Unlike my friend, who believes that if you find a penny and pick it up, all day long you’ll have a penny. I truly believe that picking up a heads-up penny will bring you good luck. I look for them actively. And I probably find one a day on average. From what I gather, however, Euro pennies have no “heads” so I haven’t picked up any while here. Tossed a U. S. penny off the side of the halfpenny bridge yesterday while making a wish. Will that bring me double good luck? Or a ticket for littering?

SM: What’s the luckiest thing that’s ever happened to you?

TM: The luckiest thing that’s ever happened to me was being born to a man and woman who loved each other. They loved me, too, and they told me so daily.

SM: Please describe your smile to someone who’s never seen it.

TM: My smile is big like a navigator. Like Antarctica, but filled with sun. I look like a politician, so when I smile, I look like a really friendly politician smiling. My eyes are part of my smile. So is my breath. So are you.

SM: If you had to reintroduce an amnesiac to the world, where’s the first place you would take them?

TM: If I had to reintroduce an amnesiac to the world, I’d take her swimming in the ocean first. When we got out of the water, I’d say, “See? That’s like where you came from. Now we’re going to eat sushi and talk about birth.”

SM: If you took a fifteen minute walk in heaven, what would you bring with you?

TM: Sunglasses. Really dark ones. Like the kind welders wear. And sunscreen of course. And a little talking picture frame (I buy them at radio shack) so I could record God saying something cool. Or if she didn’t do such gaudy tricks, at least I could record my own thoughts while being in heaven.

SM: If a statue were made of you, where would you like it, and in what pose would you set it?

TM: Put it somewhere in Greenwich Village, like outside The Bowery Poetry Club. And make it of me reciting “What Teachers Make” at the moment when I say, “You see, I have this policy.” I always put my tented fingertips together. Make the statue out of brass so that the parts people touched would become shiny.

SM: When was the last time you looked over your shoulder at something important?

TM: I can’t remember. Things that are important I like to keep right in front of me. If that means I have to turn and face them, so be it. There’s a fire in Dublin somewhere. This hotel is right next to the station.

SM: What could you give us to put in a treasure chest to send to the bottom of the sea?

TM: If you’d asked me a week ago, I would have said my old wedding ring. It’s gold, and it says “Tiffany & Co. 750” on the inside. I didn’t know what to do with it. See my wife and I were getting divorced, and like all the love poems I wrote her, the ring was somehow awkward now. But then she died in September 2004. And so I’m not a divorcé after all. I’m a widower. A 39-year-old widower. And the ring, I still, it was, I just didn’t know. So I put it up for auction on eBay along with all the other wedding rings. I would have given you that.

SM: How would you recommend we recognize you in the land of sleep and dreaming?

TM: Come up to me and say, “Apollo says hello.” And if I look at you like you’re crazy, say “That’s what you told me to say if I ever saw you in the land of sleep and dreaming.”

Interview w/ Glen Duncan • Author, “Weathercock” “I, Lucifer”

SM: Please tell us about the last time you risked your life.

GD: Two days ago, by getting in the car to drive into central London. Nothing to tell. I survived.

SM: If you had to draw a shipwreck, what would you make sure to include in the picture?

GD: The skeletons of an octogenerian couple locked in an unmistakably erotic embrace.

SM: What was the first thing you thought when you woke up this morning?

GD: Is there any way I can rationalize not getting out of bed?

SM: When was the last time you were caught in an extreme weather phenomenon? (i.e. tornado, hurricane, blizzard, etc.)

GD: 1982. I was lying in the middle of Salisbury Plain in what’s optimistically called a ‘survival’ bag at the heart of the worst electrical storm in human history. The experience did away with any delusions I had about having done away with Roman Catholicism.

SM: Please indulge us with an anecdote.

GD: One day in the 1970s, I asked my six-year-old nephew, who was getting on my nerves: ‘Are you autistic?’ He said: ‘No, I’m Steve Austin.’ I’m not sure why, but that made a big impression on me.

SM: What is a topic you are willing to lie to strangers about?

GD: Anything, if the circumstances are right.

SM: What was the last circumstance you found yourself in that left you with a sense of mystery?

GD: A few days ago, for no apparent reason, I lost my balance whilst walking along the street. No pain, no tripping-up, nothing except sudden and complete disorientation. I’ve just turned 39, so presumably this is the shape of things to come.

SM: When was the last time you got yourself lost?

GD: I never go anywhere without a map. I never get lost. Nothing exciting ever happens to me.

SM: What do you find to be your most valuable possession (physical or abstract)?

GD: Physically, my penis. Abstractly, my imagination. Together the two frequently make sad and beautiful music.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from your childhood.

GD: Being caught with my tongue in the butt crack of an eleven-year-old girl neighbour in the front room of my house by my mother when I was five.

Glen Duncan

Interview w/ Adrian Tomine • Comic Artist, “Optic Nerve”

SM: What would we know if we didn’t know trouble?

AT: I don’t know…boredom? These are hard questions. Can’t we talk about my “influences” or something? Or how about “how I got started”?

SM: What is the first thing you want to know on arriving in a strange city?

AT: Am I staying in a hotel, or am I sleeping on the floor of the comic shop owner’s filthy apartment?

SM: What is your first conscious impression on a silent windless grove of trees?

AT: I feel like I’m trapped in that “I Heart Huckabees” movie.

SM: My automobile’s driver’s side window is broken, and now cats and hobos come and go as they please. What phrase would you recommend I announce myself with to scatter them in the morning?

AT: Enh…just get the window fixed.

SM: In the middle of the interview, an anecdote is requested.

AT: I just walked out the front door of my girlfriend’s apartment building, and I almost literally ran into Jennifer Connelly.

SM: What’s the closest thing you know of to casting a spell?

AT: Writing vindictive, thinly-veiled “fiction.”

SM: What is one thing you are sure of?

AT: Dr. Ph. Martin’s “Tech” ink is by far the best.

SM: If the animals could speak, to what creature would you listen most?

AT: Stuffed animals.

SM: If you were the devil with an invitation to a party in heaven, what would you wear and how would you act?

AT: Are these Tori Amos lyrics?

SM: Please make a prediction for yourself as to what you’ll be up to in ten years.

AT: I’ll probably be a rich sell-out.

Interview w/ Renee French • Artist

SM: When was the last time you looked over your shoulder at something important?

RF: Yesterday I looked over my shoulder at a crow who was clearly upset with somebody. He wasn’t talking to me.

SM: Barring a funeral, when was the last time you found yourself in a cemetery?

RF: We were at a Japanese Cemetery in Hawaii admiring a huge yellow spider (arachnophobic) and not paying attention to the eight hundred mosquitoes that were all over us. We were covered in bites at dinner that night.

SM: What was your last encounter with a stranger that left you wishing it had been longer?

RF: A girl at the mall had a tea cup Chihuahua.

SM: When was the last time you gave in to spontaneity?

RF: Three days ago I was in Vegas, leaving a casino, looking for my friends who were sitting at Starbucks, and I saw a vendor selling your-name-on-a-grain-of-rice pendants. I got one that says “woolyman.” It took the lady 5 minutes to make it. She used a rapidograph with a teeeeeeeeny nib.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

RF: In the early 90s I was working on the cover of Grit Bath #3, a pen & ink drawing of twin girls, one with a bag over her head, both of them screaming. It was early evening, and I was freaking out, and I called Jim Woodring, and he was nice enough to talk me down and give me some good advice, even though he was in the middle of a dinner party. He went back to his dinner and I went back to drawing but my nib was buggered and it was stuck in the holder. I used my teeth to try to pull it out but it was so tight that it slipped out from between my teeth. My arm pulled away and snapped back, and I stabbed myself in the face with the nib. It punctured the skin over my mouth on the left side injecting ink under the skin. It was bleeding and I tried to get the ink out, but it was too far in.
It’s still there.

SM: Which moment do you prefer, the last one before sleeping or the first one on waking up, and why?

RF: That’s easy. The one before sleeping. Lots of creaking ships and giant waves in my head before I go to sleep, and nothing but white noise and crabbiness when I wake up.

SM: If you were drawing a picture of something barely hidden beneath a pile of leaves, what would you be sure to include?

RF: Skin folds I think. Maybe a naked wing nub or something.

SM:Please give an example of a perceived Synesthesia you’ve experienced. (Synesthesia is a crossing of senses i.e., tasting shapes, seeing smells, etc.)

RF: My crotch hurts when I hear batter being mixed with a wooden spoon in a plastic bowl. Does that count?

SM: If the trees kept everyone’s secrets, what sort of tree would you tell your secrets to, and why?

RF: There was a big ass tree that my brother and I called Mr. Tree when we were little. We fed it rocks. So, a big ass tree I guess.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from your childhood.

RF: I was in 7th grade and we’d just heard some of the teachers say, “An old golfer never dies, he just loses his balls,” and I’d drawn an old golfer who’d lost his balls. I was getting ready to pass the drawing secretly to my friend Amy and a voice said, “MISS FRENCH, what is that?” I panicked and shoved it into my desk and said, “Nothing, Mrs. Jordan.” Mrs. Jordan came to my desk and reached her hand in to find the paper but I grabbed it first and backed up against the wall with it. She put her hand out and I dropped it on the floor and got down on my knees to grab it.
She stepped on my hand with her high heel and said, “Let go of it MISS FRENCH.” I held onto it as long as I could, but she pushed harder with her heel. She drew blood, man.
I let go and she took the drawing out of the classroom and when she came back she ordered me to the principal’s office.
Never hide what you don’t want people to see.

Interview w/ Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz • Poet

SM: When was the last time you were down on your luck?

CA: How about right now? I spent about nine hours last night watching the election results, hoping for a E.T. like resurrection of Kerry, and after falling asleep on the couch, I woke up to see the that only change was Ohio going from being a red state back to being a blank state. Then after watching Kerry’s sad sack concession speech this afternoon, I took a walk and noticed that all of New York City is beginning to look like an outtake of “Dawn of the Dead” — people with strange vacant looks in their dark circled-eyes stumbling around confused and wishing they had blood.
Plus, I’ve got to get an endoscopy tomorrow. The only thing left is for me now is to witness a puppy being run over. If I could be any creature, I think I’d Grumpy Bear.

SM: Given the current global exchange rates, what is something you know of that is still not for sale under any circumstances?

CA: My boyfriend Shappy’s enormous collection of 70s pop culture memoribilia. Believe me, I’ve tried to explain to him about how you can sell things like Hamburglar collectible glassware and vintage KISS birthday napkins, as opposed to only buying them, but there apparently I’m wrong.

SM: What do you find to be your most valuable possession (physical or abstract)?

CA: My inability to distinguish whether I love something for kitsch value or honestly truly love it (see next question for more).

SM: What do you seek out to remedy melancholy?

CA: Dachshunds. Those ridiculous little german dogs never cease to brighten my mood. First off, they look absolutely ridiculous. They are the VW Bugs of dogs — you can’t help but smile at them and wonder who thought that up. But what’s great about dachshunds is that their ridiculousness has purpose. They were bred to crawl into holes and kill badgers, hence the long bodies, short legs and tenaciously adorable personalities. So not only do dachshunds provide me with an intitial hilarious thrill at the site of them, but they also serve to remind me that the various ridiculous things in my life — whether circumstantial or self-created — probably have a bigger purpose than I can foresee at the moment. But mostly, they just look ridiculous. I mean really really ridiculous and awesome.

SM: Please enliven our evening/morning/afternoon with an anecdote.

CA: Have you ever just had one of those boring afternoons where you just decide to google something just for the hell of it? Mostly, these experiences fall into the looking-up-the-ex-boyfriend catergory, but every once in while, you just spontaneous sort reading information on… something. While, one day, my ‘something’ — fairly inexplicably — was serial killers. I have no idea what the catalyst, but boy howdy, can reading about serial killers become addictive. Those followed two solid days of serial killer reading sessions– utterly unbeknownst to my work, of course. Well, the following week, I meet up with a more established writer friend/mentor who was pitching a TV show to a cable network, and wanted to know if I wanted in on writing the show with him — a first for me! “What’s the show about?” I ask him. “It’s about a women who used to track down serial killers.” And of course, I was in complete shock. “Ohmigosh, I was just reading all about serial killers recently.” “Really?” he replied, “That’s great!” And soon I was happily recounting some of the more gruesome stories — including this story of this novice serial killer who forgot about rigor mortis in his plan of burying a young man in his floor boards. So once the guy stiffened up in flat position, the killer thought just leaning him against the wall for a while would make him eventually curve. Not a chance. Meanwhile, this crazy serial killer is walking around with an upright corpse leaned up against his apartment wall for three days before he started to think of a plan B. My writer pal loved this! So I kept telling him even more crazy stories, and I think, I crossed the threshold of “wow, that’s interesting!” to “whoa,why are you so interested in this stuff anyway?” I suddenly felt incredibly self conscious about how much I just monologued off on this guy about ritual rape and killing, and decided to just wrap it up and quick. The guy never followed up with more serial killer questions, and we just continue — perhaps a little awkwardly — on with the rest of the show ideas. Anyway, who knows what is going to happen with the show, but for the time being, I’m more concerned that this guy thinks I’m serial killer. So now, whenever I talk to him, I try to soften up his vision of me with battery of goofy jokes. But I’m beginning to think it’s only making me look like MORE of serial killer. I mean, John Wayne Gacy was a clown in his offtime too, right?

SM: How do you feel most days, just walking down the street?

CA: Pretty good. If there is a dachshund walking around, very good.

SM: What was your last good deed?

CA: To cheer up my boyfriend, who was also depressed about the Kerry loss and also likes dachshunds, I sent him this instantly cheering picture of a morbidly obese but the nonethess merry doxie.

SM: What should people know about you?

CA: My website — — does a good job of explaining me, and I don’t mean my bio page. I mean that the fact that through my website you can read my mom’s weekly conservative political column, buy the book I wrote about working for the porn industry, read about my day’s exploits in my comic diary form and see the photos and bios of my geek street gang, the Nerd Thugz, among other things, shows what a crazy nerdy mother-loving lady I is.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
God who?
Oh, that’s right, I don’t exist in your modern world.

Interview w/ Matthew Francis • Author/Poet

SM: What do you do to remedy melancholy?

MF: Go for long walks in the country. Cook a meal. Read. For really serious cases, I play chess, but this is not recommended except in emergencies.

SM: If you were to pack your bags today for your destination after shuffling off the mortal coil, what would go in your suitcase?

MF: I always understood that you can’t take anything with you. It would depend on the destination. If up, I’d take a telescope. If down, some kind of flame-retardant suit, as I imagine asbestosis is not a problem after death.

SM: Please recommend a way to escape the confines of this oak barrel, normally intended to hold rum, but now sealed and speeding us toward the bottom of he sea, having been tossed overboard by our arch-nemesis.

MF: A fine time to ask me – my recommendation would have been not to get into the barrel in the first place. But now all I can suggest is the bung-hole.

SM: Besides yourself, what’s the best thing to come out of the neighborhood you grew up in?

MF: I grew up in a leafy area near Woking, suburbs of London. The best thing to come out of Woking is H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds, which is set there. It also has what used to be the largest mosque in Britain, with a gold dome that looms improbably out of the trees when you arrive by train. And the London Necropolis Railway used to carry Victorian corpses to be buried nearby, but of course those went into the area rather than coming out of it.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

MF: The first time I went to America I was a student. I got a cab at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and asked the driver to take me to a cheap hotel. He took me to a motel on the outskirts of Baltimore. In those days, we didn’t have many motels in Britain, and I’d only seen them in the movies, like Psycho. The cabin that served as a reception area was not encouraging: the receptionist was behind a pane of what looked like bulletproof glass. As I was checking in, a man came up and spoke to me. He was about six foot two, wore a white three-piece suit and had a heavily scarred face. He spoke the way people do when they’ve had their vocal chords removed, a sort of burbling growl from which I could only make out two phrases: ‘sleep wid you’ and ‘I’ll give you half’. I didn’t understand his offer (I still don’t), but I turned it down in my best polite English manner, and that seemed to satisfy him. Then I went to my cabin, where I discovered the lock on the door was broken, so I pulled all the furniture in front of the door, checked the phone book to see how to call the police and went to bed. About 2 in the morning I was woken by the sound of breaking glass and screaming voices. The man in the next cabin had been locked out by his wife and was trying to get in again. They both seemed pretty angry about it. I pulled the pillow over my head and went back to sleep. Some time later, I was woken again: more breaking glass, more screaming and swearing. They have guns in this country, I thought, and I don’t know anyone for 3000 miles. I didn’t do any more sleeping that night: by five in the morning I was up and dressed and calling for a taxi to take me to the Greyhound station. After that, things got a bit better.

SM: What is your first reaction to the sight of your name on a piece of paper?

MF: I check to see that it’s spelled correctly (two Ts, IS, not ES), and the right way round. Then I look at the context to see that it really is me, rather than the other Matthew Francis, the theatre director and playwright who has dogged me all my life. Come to think of it, perhaps he’s the one you intended to interview.

SM: When was the last time you fell asleep in a public setting?

MF: I once fell asleep on a wall in Greece and woke up on the ground beside it (uninjured). At that age I was going to a lot of the sort of parties where everyone went to sleep chastely on the carpet at about three in the morning, apart from the contingent who would drive to Stonehenge to see the sun come up. I must have slept in public since, but only on public transport, which hardly counts.

SM: When was the last time you danced like you meant it?

MF: 1997, British Columbia. The band was playing salsa, the only person in the room who knew me was my wife, and I was wearing my Zimbabwean hat which causes complete unselfconsciousness in anyone who wears it.

SM: How do you normally feel when you’re just walking down the street?

MF: Happy. It could be that I like walking or that I like streets, or that I am generally happy when I have nothing more pressing to do, or all three.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choice.

For haiku I charge
by the syllable: add five,
carry one, let’s see…

Interview w/ Jennifer Daydreamer • Artist

SM: If you were to paint a roomful of ghosts, what would you make sure to include in the portrait?

JD: Blue ghosts. I would paint real ghosts. The ghosts would be milling about, and I would paint them transparent pinks and blues and greens and browns, to give them a little bit of color. And they would throw paint buckets on themselves, with ease, like taking a shower.

SM: What’s your first reaction to a piece of paper with your name written on it?

JD: It depends. If its cursive, or if its type. If its type, I am like “Oh, no, its a bill.” Or something professional and lawlike, like from a job, and its not good news or a waste of trees. If its cursive, and my Daydreamer name, then its great news-like more art jobs, friend mail, something nice.

SM: At the present moment, what would you like your last words to be?

JD: Hello.

SM: If your were queen of the bottom of the sea, what would you do and what would you see?

JD: I just think of other female cartoonists when you say that, like Leela Corman or Andrice Arp. They have paintings and art like that. Also, I am thinking of these ladies today, as today is the big Scheherazde book party in New York, and I am not there. boo-hoo. I live in Seattle. Its a new graphic novel featuring female cartoonists from around the world.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

JD: Ok. Two minutes ago, I was waiting to cross the street, to get to this internet cafe. This couple in a SUV were stopped at the light. A nice lady and her dog were waiting at the light too, and the dog pooped on the sidewalk, near the light post. The woman in the car shouted out “Hey, your dog pooped!” And the other lady obliged, and got out her plastic bag, and cleaned it up in front of them. They exchanged pleasantries. The light was very long. So they said alot. The woman with the dog said “Thank you for telling me, he is so stinky!” And the couple finally drove off.
Personally, I would never tell someone to clean up their dog shit, unless it was on my lawn.

SM: What is something you know to be an indisputable fact?

JD: I know I don’t know a lot.

SM: What’s the closest thing to a supernatural experience you’ve encountered?

JD: I went to a shaman, and talked to spirits. And I have had some out-of-body experiences. I really like supernatural things. The supernatural is suppose to be natural, some say. I like it. I wish I had more.

SM: When was the last time you were down on your luck?

JD: Last two years. A lot of money stress, and a car accident, lost two jobs from lay-offs, my partner lost his job. We are on the swing up, though. I am pretty happy right now.

SM: What should people know about you?

JD: That I care passionatley about expressing art, I wish I didnt have to work a day job so much, I wish I wasn’t getting older, I wish I had more time. I am enjoying the current book I am working on now, I have a good feeling about that and the future.

SM: Please recommend a four or five word phrase to utter upon being stabbed by a rival in a fencing duel on the grounds of his estate.

JD: This is such a boy question. Uh, “Thanks for the pain relief?”

Interview w/ Bwana Spoons • Artist

SM: Please recommend a phrase to mutter under one’s breath, moments after running out of bullets, crouched behind a rock, hearing the approaching footsteps of a rival.

BS: “Dark By Five” in parrot voice, and then “Dead By Dawn” in the voice of the guys that own the hardware store in the green part of Brooklyn. This also works for every grey Portland winter day.

SM: How would we recognize you in the land of sleep and dreaming?

BS: I’m the guy trying to fly, but my toes are skimming along the surface, sometimes I can get a good 10 feet of air. I just can’t maintain. I’m wearing red trunks and have a hairy chest instead of a hairy back. Think old school circus.

SM: What do you think would be a good opening line for a romance novel?

BS: I smote the with thine own lips, and wish upon my loins to be-eth in your midgarden.

SM: What is the first thing you want to know on arriving in a strange city?

BS: Left. Right. Forward. Backward. Then after that. Where is the pool?

SM: Please tell us a brief anecdote to enliven our evening/afternoon/morning.

BS: So tomorrow I am visiting monkeys at a primate rescue center. But last night, still technically this morning since it’s 6:23a.m., I had this dream that one of the triplets of Belville was taking care of these two very old Cheetahs, with lots of grey hair. One was really happy to see me, but every-time I would get close she would try to bite me. Too old and too slow. So I am going to give both cheetahs a bath in the back of the station wagon. Why, I don’t know. But the when I turn on the hose, the end, which is around a blind corner, sprays Stephen Colbert right across the front of his new polo shirt. His collar is turned up, and he is pissed. We wrestle and I get the upperhand because I have a cheetah sponge, and he doesn’t want to get more dirty on account that he is in a high powered lawn meeting.

SM: Please invent an imaginary friend and an imaginary enemy, set them to dueling, and let us know who wins.

BS: Smogman vs Captain Panties, not to be confused with Panties man. Captain Panties is my friend and he always loses. Smogman is quick and has the more powerful smells.

SM: What aspect of your work are you proudest of?

BS: I guess when I get a good sugar buzz and the creative juices are a flowing, and I come up with something either very inspired or I make a funny joke (Which almost always turns out to only be funny to me), I feel proud at that moment to be me. And then the sugar is gone, and the idea is doofy and I am back to earth.

SM: When was the last time you drank to excess?

BS: I think the eighth grade. I rarely drink. Now, I can eat ice cream and cookies to a suffering excess on a by daily basis.

SM: What was your last good deed?

BS: I helped a lady move a couch into her shop off the street. She thought it was a good deed, casue she said that people just don’t do that sort of thing anymore. Tomorrow I bring bananas and grapes to the monkeys.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

Smogman always wins
Lonesome champ
Cry pollute rain on all… burns