Zines push forward
I’ve spent 16 years of indie publishing Giant Robot and it continues in directions unknown but the beginnings are in the roughness of the GR zine – Issues 1 and 2. Oakland Museum of CA put together a zine bazaar featuring the likes of Deth P Sun, Hamburger Eyes and plenty of Bay Area zines. A few of them knew GR which is the reason why the event was happening, but most didn’t seem to care too much. It was a reason to bring their goods and publicize and perhaps earn a buck. Maybe GR is now the bad guy who is the zine that went glossy and is now the subject of a museum exhibition, and the zine punks are fighting the man by earning a buck at the spot and not giving a shit back. Or maybe most have no idea what GR is and that’s ok too. Or maybe, they’re expecting me to say hi first… I’m being cynical.
The tables were filled with zine makers, many who I’ve seen or heard of from past zine fests and the audience came through and voraciously consumed zines. It was a great sight once again. From LA Art Book Fair, LA Zine fest to OMCA Zine Bazaar, the high energy continues. I laid out the GR 1 and 2 reprints, artist’s zines and a few books and met with friends, new “fans” and “old fans”. The latter meaning fans who grew up with GR in other cities which might not have had the cultural variety that I had. They said thank you in various ways and one even said, “thanks for making culture cool.” I signed some SuperAwesome Catalogs, GR 1+2s, and the Big Boss Robot vinyl figure. The zine bazaar was a quick two fine hours. Wish it were three.
Ray Potes – Hamburger Eyes
San Francisco State University – I went to school at SFSU in 1991 for a semester. It was nice to be asked to speak on campus at their art gallery. Of course it’s perfect timing that it happens at the same time as the Oakland Museum of CA exhibition (SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot). Just a few minutes before the 6pm start time, the group was small, but by the time to talk began, the space was filled. Granted it only takes 20+ people to pack the room, it was nice to see students, art fans, and a few “older” faces. The question and answer is always more fun, and the questions went for a while. It’s when I can tell stories I didn’t plan on telling and that makes the talk more random and hopefully interesting to hear. One wanted to know what he needed to do, since he wanted to follow in my footsteps. It was a great honor to be able to try and explain what wisdom I have accrued to a younger person who’s just getting started. Thanks to Jill Shiraki for setting this one up.
Oakland Museum of CA – I paid a visit on Friday for no official business except to meet up with friend Gordon Yamate, Bert Gatchalian, Tiffany Sun, and a few great staffers there. I gave a private tour which was as detailed as I cared to be at the moment. It lasted about an hour and now that I know what to talk about, I’d do it again. Want one? Just hit me up. The stories that you don’t get to read on the walls on the museum, could be among the best parts of the exhibition. I stayed to make some zines and color a page. I need to improve my skills with colored pencils. The exhibition is as exciting on friday as it was on the first day. Yes, I’m proud of it. I’ll be back up there May 30th and will probably do another tour.
Japanese American Museum San Jose – I don’t get to San Jose often, but it was nice to be able to visit a place that seems so close to home. The museum is filled with stories from Concentration Camps. I spoke upstairs in a meeting room that had a round table and chairs surrounding. As it was getting close to beginning, one of the first faces was an old neighborhood and childhood friend, Bill Chuan. He walked in and I practically started laughing. What the fuck? The surprise was funny and for some reason enlightening. I still can’t believe I saw his familiar face just 30 years or so later. Then family members. Practically long-lost came in. Diane, who’s wedding I attended as a young man came in with her sister, Elaine, and their father and my uncle Jim. The weird thing is that Jim has eyes that are cool grey. He looks like my father. It’s a strange feeling when you recognize someone because of their resemblance of someone else. I haven’t seen them perhaps in decades. Also the volunteers, many of whom I actually have met and know were there as well – welcoming me.