B-Boy Limping

Happy Ending at Joe’s Pub, 9/2/09

Guys, I think I need to be friends with more graphic novelists. Because, for reals, THEY R FUN. Wednesday’s graphic novel-themed Happy Ending Music and Reading series at Joe’s Pub was probably the best one I’ve been to so far, and that’s saying something because every one of them have been above par.

What made Wednesday’s so good? I’d say a few things: 1) the visual and narrative element, 2) the fact that host/curator Amanda Stern had a few friends in the lineup and 3) that these guys didn’t give a shit and just went for it.

First up, Laurie Sandell, Glamour mag contributing editor:


She read from her graphic memoir about her sociopath father, The Imposter’s Daughter. While at times it seemed tough enough to confront the personal subject matter in front of a crowd, Sandell exposed herself one step further when, for her public risk, she read from her “incredibly pretentious” early admissions college essay to Tufts. Let’s just say… she got rejected from the college. And rightly so.

You can catch Laurie on September 22nd at KGB Bar. (And here’s her recap of the night. More pics there.)

Next up was Chip Kidd.


Oh, Chip Kidd.

Chip Kidd, if you don’t know, is one of if not the most celebrated book cover designer in the industry. He designed this and this and this among countless others and constantly has to fight off the question “So, can you judge a book by it’s cover?” But for those who are so inclined to judge, Kidd’s covers are witty, visually arresting, and strive to reflect what’s between them, both in content and tone.

Also, Chip Kidd is also a huge fan of Batman. Last year he published Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan, a collection of manga adaptations of the American Batman comic which were produced for one year in Japan about 40 years ago.

Kidd read from Bat-Manga! complete with sound effects and voices for all the characters in all his enigmatic, nerdy, and Tarantino-esque glory.

This is a panel from the comic:


Kidd’s public risk was an a capella version of Radiohead’s “Let Down” from OK Computer. Here’s Thom Yorke singing it. And oh god, I wish I had audio of Chip Kidd doing the same. I do have a pic (just fill in the audio in your head):


Last up for the writers was Brian Selznick, the author and illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which won the Caldecott medal in 2008.


On the left is Brian reading from Hugo Cabret and on the right is Brian doing his public risk.

Okay, his public risk.

So, when Brian walked out on stage dressed to the nines, I was instructed by my date to look at his shoes. They were amazing: beacons of silver, shiny as the stars in the sky. This guy has some style, I thought. Then later I found out why his feet glowed. Brian’s public risk was to re-create a musical number from a play he did in his East Brunswick high school called “My Name is Alice.” Brian played the Mad Hatter. What you see in the picture of the right is Brian stripping down to a resemblance of the outfit he wore at that performance in 1984, which included pink tights, sequined-boxers and yes, the awesome silver shoes. This was right before he performed the most glorious musical number and right before he did the “walk of shame” off the stage and asked “So… should I take my pants with me?”

And there you have it, the graphic novelists of Wednesday’s Happy Ending Music and Reading series. They should all be my friends. Unfortunately my camera died before I could get pics of the musical guest, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Amy Correia as she led us all in a sing-along of “Rhinestone Cowboy.” But trust me: that won’t happen next time.

The next one of these takes place on 9/13 at the Brooklyn Book Festival, the theme comedy and the guests Rakesh Satyal, Jonathan Ames & David Cross. Musical guest: Jonathan Coulton.

Be there.

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