Big Fat Book Club

Lately I’ve only been able to read in what little free time I have between putting down the Wacom and passing out (either from plain-old sleepiness or with an assist from drinking) at night. Although I’m perpetually behind on my reading, there’s some great new stuff that’s been keeping me up WAY past my bedtime, and probably contributing to my increasing crankiness of late.

First up is Boston Phoenix writer and fellow Jamaica Plainer Chris Faraone’s 99 Nights with the 99 Percent: Dispatches from the First Three Months of the Occupy Revolution. It chronicles his impressive coverage of last fall’s Occupy movement. Starting with Occupy Boston’s takeover of Dewey Square, he crisscrossed the country reporting on Occupations as quickly as they sprung up. He was one of the few journalists who actually attended general assemblies and dug deep into the heart of the movement, unlike most in the media who either reported on drum-circle goofballs, or lamented that Occupy didn’t have any demands. (SURPRISE: If you talked to them, they did!) Here’s hoping the movement emerges from its winter hibernation, and when it does, Chris’s reports will be the first I’ll read.

Next is one of the alt-weekly cartoonists who inspired me to pursue this shitty career, Derf, whose latest book is My Friend Dahmer. A longer version of his earlier comic of the same name, it’s a graphic novel about Derf’s teen years spent with the serial killer. It’s funny and poignant, but not in a Lifetime movie kind of way. Obviously Dahmer was a huge fucking weirdo, but Derf draws a portrait of the kind of fuck-up we all knew (or were) in high school. It is my great shame that I have an unsigned copy of the original My Friend Dahmer comic. I met Derf once in Columbus, Ohio at SPACE, in 2003 or 2004, but forgot to schlep my copy out to the midwest for him to sign. He will not remember this meeting, as I knew my comics were super-shitty at that point in my career, so I just acted like a fan when I bought my signed The City collection.

Lastly but not leastly, David Rees, of Get Your War On fame, will release a primer on his latest passion project, Artisanal Pencil Sharpening next month. I went digital a couple years ago, but this thoughtful treatise has me rethinking that decision. One cannot “sharpen” a stylus, and therefore the cartoons I draw with it will never be as sharp as those drawn with a skillfully sharpened pencil. I’ve yet to see a live demonstration, but hopefully us rubes in Boston will be treated to one in good time.

Your Guide to Townie Bars

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Hey, here’s a cartoon I did for the Phoenix. Look at it, if you don’t mind my aggressively-local sense of humor.

I’m an expert at this subject, but I will only share the location of my favorite townie bars with trusted individuals. All dives in my neighborhood are under constant threat of turning into hipster bars, so their locations have to be protected.

Gentrified Funny Pages

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Five months after Whole Foods announced they were moving into my neighborhood, our lovable landlady sold our building and the new landlord informed us he’s raising our apartment’s rent by $500 a month when the lease is up. We decided to move down two floors, lose a room, and still pay $200 more in rent. It was either that, or spend another summer apartment hunting and paying the bulk of any savings we found towards movers and realtors.

Anyway, a lot of ink has been shed about gentrification in Jamaica Plain, and even though it directly affects me, I’m tired of writing about it. Except to make fun of the wealthy and their giant sacks of income inequality.

Next Week: Cooking Out Tips

Spring Space Savahs

Apparently this person is afraid pollen levels are so high they’ll clog up the dozens of other open spots on this street. I disagree with this behavior in the winter, but in the spring it’s outright sociopathic.

The city of Boston is supposed to pick up this garbage 48 hours after a snowstorm, so maybe they’re just running a little behind. By about 1,656 hours.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put on my old man pants and shake my fist at some other things that make me angry.

Old Cartoon Comes to Life, in My Backyard

The Gentrifying Blob – May 2007

It was announced last week that the affordable, multicultural, Hi-Lo grocery store up the street from me will soon become a Whole Foods. Boo. But on the bright side, if they get a beer & wine license, I may be able to brown bag some good beers while doing my laundry across the street. At least until the laundromat gets bought out and becomes an organic dog sweater boutique.

Live From JP!

The fire sped up and complicated the move we had planned for August 1st, which is why the lights have been out here at BFW for the past few weeks. We’re finally settled in at our new digs in Jamaica Plain, and I’m cranking out work and shipping merch that was ordered during the move. Check back tomorrow for a brand new cartoon!

I’m going to miss Davis Square and its abundance of burritos, but JP has been my second home for nearly three years, and in my opinion, it’s Boston’s best neighborhood, in spite of its flammability.

Clothing Drive

My girlfriend’s roommate and my friend Eli had the misfortune of that awful fire destroying all of his belongings, save for his cat Bandit, a soggy photo album, and this artfully charred t-shirt. He didn’t have renter’s insurance, so he’s literally left with only the shirt on his back.

If you’ve got something in his size you can spare, particularly business attire, let me know and I’ll send you the shipping details. His sizes are:

Pants – 36×30
Suit – 42R
Shirts – XL
Dress Shirts – 17 34/35
Shoes 10 – 10 1/2 (depending on the brand)

If you’re in or near JP or Davis Square, I can probably manage to pick stuff up and save you some shipping.

Thanks so much! I’ll be sure to get back to goofing on teabaggers and Al Gore’s wang shortly!

UPDATE: FOUND Cat, Jamaica Plain

Have you seen me?

UPDATE Wednesday, July 14th: We went back to the place today to try and salvage a few more things and Nico was there ALIVE! She was probably hiding in a box-spring yesterday. The vet gave her a clean bill of health and her appetite is huge. Thanks to everyone who sent in tips and well-wishes.

There was a huge, four-alarm fire at my girlfriend’s apartment today. All of the tenants are fine, and three four cats were reunited with their owners.

Unfortunately, one cat died and another is still missing. If you live in Jamaica Plain near South Street and Boynton, keep an eye out for Nico. Her best bud Olive got out with minor burns, so we’re hoping Nico’s out there on the not-so-mean streets of JP.

Shoot me an email if you’ve seen her!