Archive for: April, 2005

Interview with Keith Kin Yan • Photographer

This week, we begin a series of visual interviews, in which an artist or photographer replies to our interview questions with a sketch or photograph. Our first visual interview is with photographer Keith Kin Yan.

Please describe what you imagine strangers see when they see you for the first time.

What do you think your archenemy has in his pockets right now?

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

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

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

Where was the last place you drank to excess?

What aspect of your work are you proudest of?

When was the last time you found yourself looking around and feeling like you couldn’t imagine being anywhere else?

Where do you look when you want to see something that soothes you?

If you were seeking out a large group of people for something important, who would you be looking for and for what?

Keith’s photographs can be viewed at

Interview with Robert Lanham * Author of The Hipster Handbook & Editor of Free Williamsburg

SM: If all the important aspects of your dreams were “marked” to get your attention, what sort of marking would they have?

RL: Esther Williams shows up to do a little aquatic dance number to highlight the important stuff.

SM: How do you calm yourself when you are angry?

RL: I crank Organized Konfusion’s “Bring it on Motherfucker” as loud as humanly possible. If necessary, I bust a cap.

SM: When was the last time you stood in a river?

RL: When I was baptized in Twin Falls, Arkansas by Mel Gibson.

SM: What is an activity that you consider yourself to be very good at?

RL: I’m horrible at pool, but ALWAYS win. You will hit the eight ball in when playing me. I promise. I’m also very good at doing it.

SM: Please indulge us with an anecdote.

RL: I have a bit of a Seinfeld germ thing, but nevertheless got so drunk at a bluegrass festival in Maine, I absentmindedly brought a slice of pizza into a Porta Pottie.

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from adolescence.

RL: My older brother told me Kansas was a really good band. I learned all the words to every song on Point of Know Return. I also learned (albeit much later) that Kansas is a horrible, horrible band.

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

RL: I live in New York and love walking down the street. It makes me happy. That’s why I moved here. There’s no cheaper form of entertainment than people watching. Walking down the street and observing people inspired my latest book, Food Court Druids, Cherohonkees and other Creatures Unique to the Republic.

SM: What do you think your arch-nemesis is doing right now?

RL: I had an arch nemesis in high school, but am currently looking for a replacement. In high school, my nemesis was Kevin Whitehead. I was the fastest runner in school until he came along. He also tried to date Becky Henry when I was already going with her. I suppose if your last name is Whitehead, you’re destined to be a dick.
I’d assume Mr. Whitehead works at Hecht’s or JCPenney’s. Hopefully, he got married and now has an even more horrible last name like Kevin Whitehead-Lipscomb or Kevin White-Whitehead.

SM: If you were driving the devil to a party, what car would you like to take?

RL: I guess I’d get him and Karl to pick me up on Air Force One.

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

RL: Like most people, I enjoy Wiccan poetry. Here’s one I recently penned:

I’m shrouded in goat’s blood
My cloven-hoofed demonlord
Oh blessed art thou, let me feedeth you
Ferret hearts
Lighteth thy eternal candelabra
And rejoice in carnal bliss
I sing to you sweet Hecate
Beloved praise music
John Tesh at Redrocks

Robert’s most recent book, “Food Court Druids, Cherohonkee and other Creatures Unique to the Republic” can be purchased here:

Interview with Deborah Orgel • Artist

SM: Please describe your favorite photograph that has been taken of you.

DO: It’s a black and white picture, taken at a friend’s wedding in September of 2001, that shows me laughing—it’s a moment that shows total abandonment, happiness, and what I look like with a seventy-five dollar haircut.

SM: If you were trapped in a loop of repeating one activity over and over for 24 hours, what would you prefer to be doing?

DO: Reading the Oxford English Dictionary in all its full multi-volume glory.

SM: When was the last time something a stranger did surprised you?

DO: When our sewage line was backed up last week, it was rather disgusting. I called Roto-Rooter, and the guy walked right into the backed up sewage, which was easily over his ankles. Yes, he was wearing boots, but his pants were still trailing in the foul muck.

SM: What pocket sized item have you owned the longest?

DO: I have a round, squeeze-toy from when I was a wee little one. It has baby faces, duckies, flowers, and rocking horses rising from its surface. I often pull it off of its bookshelf home to squeeze it and hear that squeaky whistling sound.

SM: Please indulge us with an anecdote.

DO: I was bartending and shift-managing at a Washington, D.C. bar (not far from the Capitol) one summer night a few years ago, when the (dishonorable) former D.C. mayor of “the bitch set me up” fame came in and walked up to the bar. He wanted to cash a check for one hundred dollars. I told him I couldn’t do it, when he reminded me who he is and insisted that it wouldn’t be a problem. He waited until I called my manager at home, who gave me the permission to cash the personal check—presumably to avoid offending him, as the former mayor had been recently elected to the D.C. Council. I was feeling a little crabby so I only cashed it for fifty. This encounter brings forth so many questions:

Why did he need to cash a check? Why not use the ATM right across the street? Would the check bounce? What does he need the hundred dollars for so badly that he’ll come into the bar and ask us to cash a check? In my time there, he hadn’t been in before with such a request and never came back for a repeat performance. Hmmmm….

SM: When was the last time you engaged in an act of pure spontaneity?

DO: A few minutes ago. I wrote an email and sent it without consulting the etiquette gods as to whether the content was appropriate. Alas, it is gone.

SM; Please describe an impressionable moment from adolescence.

DO: My father and I were sitting outside of a supermarket waiting for my mother to get “just one thing” when I noticed a sign on a store that read UNISEX Hair Salon. I asked my dad what this word UNISEX meant on that sign and he said, “It means haircuts for both sexes.” I understood this to mean that the only people who would get their hair cut at this salon must be people who were both male and female. I stared out the window at the customers who left this place wondering just what, exactly, was under their clothes.

SM: If we told you to draw God as a cat with a thousand eyes, how would you illustrate a portrait of him or her?

DO: I’d show ol’ godly cat passed out next to a bottle of Thousand Eyes Pale Ale. Sometimes the job has to be too much, I think, to be everywhere and everything at once.

SM: What song would you like to hear first thing tomorrow?

DO: Portland, Oregon by Loretta Lynn and Jack White. It’s my current favorite.

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

deadlines are bedbugs
pestering as I doze
wish they’d just scram already

Interview with Martin Cendreda • Illustrator/Creator of “Dang!” & “Zurik Robot”

SM: When was the last time you felt yourself close to understanding something that has puzzled you for a long time?

MC: First grade. When I learned how to draw perspective. It wasn’t true perspective, more like a 6 year old’s cruddy approximation of it. But still, it was a momentous occasion. Everything else, I’m nowhere close to understanding.

SM: What do you feel you are entitled to?

MC: Not much. Actually, I’m entitled to not be killed by shitty drivers.

SM: Please describe an article of clothing you’ve developed an emotional attachment to.

MC: A frayed black and yellow flannel shirt that my grandfather gave me when I went away to college. It made me stylish for a short time during the whole grunge debacle. I still wear it today.

SM: How would you recommend we fight encroaching darkness?

MC: Polite discourse. Failing that, mutual assured destruction.

SM: Please indulge us with an anecdote.

MC: I’m no good at anectoding. Sorry. However, one time when I was sick with the flu, I accidentally hawked a thick green loogie on a jogger’s leg. Is this an anecdote?

SM: When was the last time you kept something you found on the street?

MC: I can’t remember, I pick stuff off the street all the time. The coolest thing was a on old fisher price music box I dug out of someone’s trash.

SM: If you were heard to exclaim,”Please hold on a minute, I know what I’m doing.”, what would you likely be talking about?

MC: Having sex.

SM: When you wake up in a strange environment, what’s the first thing you usually want to know?

MC: Am I dead?

SM: What would you say to the first person who witnessed you appear out of thin air right next to them with no recollection of how you got there?

MC: Anyone for tennis?

SM: Please describe an impressionable moment from adolescence.

MC: One time in gym class, we were playing warball (aka dodgeball). I was a skinny nerd so naturally I hid towards the back, while everyone else around was throwing balls and getting hit. Eventually, there was just two people left: me on one side, a fat kid named Saul on the other. I was sure that I was gonna get creamed. He picked up a ball, took two steps, and hurled the ball at me. I caught it. And we won.

Interview with Nick Gurewitch • Artist/Creator of “The Perry Bible Fellowship”

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

NG: Yesterday.

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

NG: Trains. Though I have yet to come out of my hometown.

SM: What was your last good deed?

NG: Babysitting for free.

SM: What was your last encounter with a lunatic?

NG: Ex-girlfriend / current-friend / loving hate-buddy Sarah. Over the phone. I’m sure she’d say the same for me.

SM: Regale us, please, with an anecdote.

NG: One time I hit a deer while riding a bicycle.

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

NG: Expressing my feelings to someone I don’t want to talk to. Archery. Walking confidently in the dark. These are all the same thing.

SM: What is your first reaction to a roomful of strangers?

NG: Excitement usually. Though sometimes I additionally feel regret and shame if they’re in a room I’ve accidentally walked in on.

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

NG: Perhaps this morning. On the verge of being awake, I got that scary feeling that all the dreams I had been having might in fact be real.

SM; Please tell us a story about a low paying job you’ve held, and if you’ve never held a low paying job, please tell us a story about any job you’ve held.

NG: I worked on a farm 7 days a week many summers ago. I worked every day from 6 AM to late afternoon. Corn. Tomatoes. I picked these two things. Tomatoes were my specialty. One of the overseers was very fond of my work ethic, and I was happy to please him. One day however, I asked him if I could leave work early to tend to something I felt was more important (a movie perhaps). He said: “Nick…we need you. Don’t leave.” This troubled me, as I had already arranged to leave early this day. With my friend as a reluctant advisor, I weighed the pros and cons of defying such a strong-willed, powerful man. With a heavy heart, I used my converse shoes to sneak off the farm with great stealth, and met my ride at the entrance of the farm. Before work the next morning, I was dreading having to face him. I had heard reports that he muttered the word “sonovaBITCH” upon hearing about my AWOL status. After a while, on this very rainy morning, it had been announced that he was arrested the night prior for some deed pertaining to a shotgun and his wife. I never saw him again.

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

NG: Picking tomatoes (You’ve got to grab them near the stem. And don’t yank softly. Snap hard. Wear gloves if you got em).

The Perry Bible Fellowship

Interview with Tom Wilson

SM: When was the last time you found yourself in an unexpectedly sinister circumstance?

TW: Being a champion of what is right and good, I never find myself in an unexpectedly sinister circumstance. But I have dealt with realtors and insurance salesmen.

SM: If you were to illustrate yourself meeting another version of yourself that was raised on the other side of the world, what would you be sure to include?

TW: An unusually large head, on a body that simply can’t decide between mesomorph and endomorph.

SM: Please describe your current relationship with new technology.

TW: ctrl-alt-del.

Well, it’s good for buying obscure books online, and finding new yoyo tricks. Other than that, I don’t use it much.

SM: What item in your home are you most pleased to show new visitors?

TW: Whatever painting I’ve just completed.

SM: In the middle of the interview, we request an anecdote.

TW: Many, many years ago, I was at a “Hollywood party,” attended by some of the actors from the movie “E.T.” I mistook the very small young lady who squeezed into the tiny “E.T.” costume for a barstool and sat on her head.

SM: Please describe what you imagine strangers see when they see you for the first time.

TW: Raw, physical power, tempered by a kind and compassionate countenance.

SM: What do you most people want from you, and what would you rather them have?

TW: They want me to put them in a headlock, knock them on the head, and say “Hello?! Anybody home?!”
I would rather they have actual interpersonal contact, not a performance through a thick filter of pop objectification.

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

TW: I am the one flying, with a cape, throwing toys and candy to happy children.

SM: When you are feeling low, where do you look for empathy, understanding or assistance?

TW: Well, whenever I’m really feeling down in the dumps, I turn on the T.V. and listen to what the politicians have to say. You know, they have a lot of good ideas to really fix things, and their empathy, and understanding, and assistance makes me feel a lot better. Yay politicians!

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

Pixel screen,
and the tapping, tapping
private me in public view. Hmm.

Tom’s Art can be viewed at