Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Eight-Hour Evening

In a crowded gallery at Chop Suey, a bunch of us gathered to hear zinesters from the U.K. and Portland (as part of the Zines on Toast Tour) read and talk about their experiences at everything from breaking other's people's ankles at a GWAR shows to riding a Greyhound bus to vegan mass catering.

"First there's the benefit of being faceless. Then there's the fact that the reader only learns what the writer chooses to tell them. I am more than the sum of my writing."

It was really kind of interesting listening to 'zine writer Alex read a piece from one of her 'zines about the presumptions people make when they read her zines.

They're the same presumptions people make when they read your blog, and while I really do try to put myself out there, there's an awful lot of me that I hold back. Stuff I think would convey better in person than through the ether.

As it is, I've had commenters presume things about me that are miles from the truth, proving that I don't always clearly represent who I really am. But that's not in the blogging rules, either.

One German-Korean 'zine writer shared her love of how literal the German language was by reading definitions of words that amused her. Hiccups = swallowing up. Nipples = breast warts. Genitals = shame area. Moustache = upper lip beard. Her 'zine is called MorganMuffel, or "grumpy in the morning." She said, "English needs a word for that, too."

There were tales of trying to attack Tony Blair (epic fail), and a new cyclist's story of trying to fit in with the Lycra crowd and falling off her bike repeatedly. And there were confessions. "I changed my name to Alex Wrekk, but my real name is Sunshine. Yes, my parents were hippies."

Zeus Gallery Cafe was mobbed when the three of us got there around 8:30 and our friend was waiting for us in the little lounge-like room. Stretched out languidly on the low, leather couches, she said, "I love this room. I want to bring a guy here and make out. Can you make me a curtain?"

The doorless opening to the room was apparently the only deterrent to making the small space a den of inequity. Yes, I could make her a curtain.

It took several bottles of wine before we got around to ordering and the fact that no one could keep up with which bottle we were drinking at any given moment became a series of jokes a la "Who's on first?" After a while owner Ted just shook his head and made fun of one among us who was having the hardest time remembering (the only male).

My dinner was Hanover tomato, white bean, water cress and Mozzarella salad in roasted tomato vinaigrette, seared foie gras with toasted brioche and seasonal fruit preps, followed by chocolate lava cake with ice cream.

There was a nearby couple holding hands across the table and staring intently into each other's eyes and having low, meaningful conversation, oblivious to the increasing noise of our four-top. Very romantic and I was very envious.

Ipanema Cafe was celebrating its 12th birthday and owner Kendra had promised that any of her friends who didn't show up would be pantsed, which is a little tough to do to someone like me who only wears skirts and dresses. On the other hand, maybe she'd resort to underpantsing me and I didn't want that to happen, so I attended.

Just kidding. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I knew so many people there, like the abstract noise musician ("Why weren't you at the Eels show?"), the boutique owner in the black buckled dress ("Of course you'd be here!"), WRIR DJs ("Given how oblivious they are, our future is fucked."), comic book store employee ("Aren't we supposed to be secretly dating?"), trombone players plural ("Remember when you asked how my apartment was so neat? That's all Larry."), pizza maker ("I'm still working on my technique."), actor ("You saw that performance?"), the photographer whose work I own ("I could come by and sign that for you.") and people who recognized me from I know not where.

As hot as it was on the patio where I spent my first hour meeting and greeting, it was even hotter inside the restaurant. Ice was melting in glasses within minutes and everyone had a sheen of sweat as we squeezed past each other to the dance floor and the bathroom.

I ran into a musician friend, overdressed for the temperature in long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Teasing him about his clothing choice, he said he'd just come from working at his restaurant job, which led to a discussion of it. "Ohhhh, so that's what Mac meant when said he couldn't come in to the restaurant because he'd treated a friend badly. Now I get it." Now we all do.

Music was provided by stellar DJs Sara and Greg as well as DJ Troy for a mix of pop, soul, and r & b, causing sweaty dancers to finally fill the floor around 1 a.m.

Time well spent. Happy anniversary, Ipanema and here's to many more.


  1. Hey! I presume things about you that are miles from the truth.

  2. Do tell. And how do you know they're miles from the truth anyway?

  3. nah, the truth is that i believe anything that fits into my brain, whether it belongs there or not.

  4. Well that could get you into trouble.