Sunday, August 10, 2014

comics train

Spend three quarters of a day travelling to a comics festival!
Have awkward conversations with strangers!
The Café Car's over-priced watered-down coffee is a must!
Learn the lesson of futility, trying to get a good night's sleep in an oversized chair!
-Bonus: You get to sleep IN YOUR CLOTHES!
I'm going to be traveling to SPX via Amtrak's Capitol Limited, and would love some company.

The train leaves Chicago at 6:40 on Thursday evening, and arrives in Rockville, MD at 12:10 the following afternoon. All times subject to Amtrak's ridiculous inability to ever be on time anywhere.  And full disclosure, I'm only taking the train south to the DC area.  I've got a ride back to Chicago.

You might be wondering why on earth one would want to travel by train, and I'll totally admit, it's not for everybody...


I think it's awesome.

The view out the train is a lot of fun, you travel through both post-industrial wastelands (stopping in Cleveland and Pittsburgh), and through beautiful vistas and historical landmarks (like Harper's Ferry)! 

It's a fun quiet trip, in which you can disconnect yourself from your normal life, sit back and relax. You can read, listen to music, or watch a movie on your laptop. You can draw uninterrupted. You can do last-minute comics binding.

I bring a lot of snacks!  They're all vegan, and I can accomodate any other dietary needs you may have. (Though, you should also bring food, accounting for Dinner, Breakfast & inbetween...Amtrak's food is SO EXPENSIVE!)

The train goes all the way to Washington D.C.'s historic Union Station, but it also stops in Rockville, MD, which is just two metro stops from the White Flint station (which itself is one block from the Marriott that houses the Small Press Expo!)

Lastly, I hate flying, and am happy to keep my feet relatively on the ground, than deal with airports & airplanes. 

At the time of publication, a ticket to Rockville, MD from Chicago is $91.  If you wanna join me, get in touch!

Friday, February 15, 2013

chicago zine fest

The Chicago Zine Fest is taking place, March 8 and 9 this year!

I'm pleased as punch to be participating in the fest as an invited guest! I'm going to be hosting Zine Lose or Draw, a fun drawing competition on Friday night 10pm (WAY past MY bed time), at Quimby's Bookstore (like I'm not stuck there often enough)!  There'll be prizes and gifts to be given, hopefully some sort of refreshment will be handed out (no poison allowed).

I'll also be tabling at the Zine Fest, on Saturday, up on the 8th floor of 1104 S Wabash at table 79 (the year I was born)!  I'll have a bunch of my minicomics (which I'll try to sell, but will foolishly give out for free, as I get swept up in the spirit of zine culture), and will also be tabling on behalf of the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (aka CAKE, aka that show I organize now)!  Come find me/CAKE!

This is the first year I am not organizing the fest.  Before all y'all pop-er-azzo's and clam-bake tabloiders get all huffed up on your rumor juice, lemme assure you, my exit from organizing this shindig was  entirely voluntary, planned a year in advance, and for no juicy gossip-inspiring reasons. Simply put, organizing an event like the Zine Fest is really hard work!  It's a more-than-part-time job you're not getting paid for!  Warm fuzzy fealings of a job well done doesn't pay the bills people!  The kids who are organizing this year, Leslie, Johnny, Jen, Heather, Jamie, Jaclyn, and Lynne are all stand up folks who deserve a great deal of thanks and congratulations on all the work they put into the festival.

Way to go!  I can't wait to have a fun weekend of self publishing excitment!  Talk to you soon, suckers!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yock Yok!

So Fereshteh Toosi and I have been dating for almost two years, she's an amazing person and artist who often seems to have limitless energy, and is never satisfied with the work she's putting out.  Above is a picture of her from a performance she created for Defibrillator about a year ago. She's currently working on a years-long project, Garlic and Greens, which is a multifaceted mixed-media art piece that grew out of her tenure at ArcheWorks.  Garlic and Greens investigates food traditions, specifically focusing on African American soul food -and its travel North to Chicago during the Great Migrations- as a means to open up a larger discussion of food traditions.

As an extension of Garlic and Greens, Fereshteh was asked to contribute to the ongoing Regional Relationships art series, curated by Ryan Griffis & Sarah Ross.  Fereshteh and I have wanted to collaborate for a while, and thought this might be a great opportunity, so we rolled up our sleeves, and came up with Yock Yok, an investigation to a regional dish from Fereshteh's home town of Virginia Beach/Newport News/Portsmouth/etc. (a soupier version is commonly found in New Orleans).  

Like soul food from most cultures, an exact definition, recipe, history or even spelling is impossible to pin down, and Yock's origins seem to come from circumstance and region instead of having been handed down from infallible ancestors.  We decided to embrace the intangible qualities and history of this dish, which seems to be some sort of mash up of vaguely East Asian and vaguely African American cooking traditions, noodles, ketchup, soy sauce, onion, egg, vinegar and magic!  

Yock Yok comes with a CD, minicomic and screen printed tea towel. The CD features an interview with Joy Mariama Smith, who grew up eating Yock on visits to family in Portsmouth. The minicomic focuses on the dishe's lore, taking rumor and accepting it as fact, taking hearsay and embellishing it, and taking facts and falsifying them.  The tea towel opens the idea of mythology even more, and offers a map of the region in which you can find Yock, the Coastal U.S. South. Also shown on the map are cryptozoological densizens of the area, the great Skunk Ape, the Whirling Whimpus, and visitors like the Amihan and Kappa.  Together the pieces cover the entire spectrum from truth to fiction that family food histories also inhabit.

For a far better description of the project, check out this link.
I think there's still time to join Regional Relationship's subscription program to receive a copy, as well as other awesome projects focused on regionalism.

Big thanks to Fereshteh, Sarah & Ryan for including me on this project.  Look for future collaborations between me & Fereshteh.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

gimme some cake! a play in one act.

Hey Neil, what have you been up to?

Oh, Y'know, like this and that.

Oh yeah?  Like what?

I don't know, bustin' heads, feedin' pigeons.  That sorta thing.

Cool.  Cool.

Oh, I'm also organizing CAKE, the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo.  It's taking place June 16th & 17th at 1104 South Wabash (8th floor, jerks!), from 11am and 6pm.

A comics show?!  Ah man, those things cost so much money!  And I don't have any!
[turns, kicks the dirt]



Yeah, you didn't hear? CAKE is FREE and open to the public, and the space is wheelchair accessible!  We're gonna have nearly two hundred guests & exhibitors from all over Chicago, the U.S., and abroad!  It's the first alternative comics fest in Chicago in over 15 years!  We've got a full slate of really great programming, tons of debuts, not to mention a wicked awesome poster drawn by Chicago's favorite comics artist, Laura Park!

You put this together all by yourself?

No way, man.  I'm just a part of a large group of people putting this together.  The other organizers are Ignatz Award winner Edie Fake, Ignatz Award nominee, Jeff Zwirek, Line Work co-editor, Max Morris and zinester extraordinaire, Grace Tran!  We also have an advisory committee made up of members of Chicago's alternative comics community.  And we've gotten a lot of support from Quimby's Bookstore, Columbia College Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, Mortville, the Hideout, Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar, and a bunch of folks who have donated to our IndieGoGo campaign.

I, along with Jeffrey Brown, Lilli Carré, Closed Caption Comics, Paul Hornschemeier, Lucy Knisley, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Corinne Mucha, Laura Park, Pizza Island (RIP), John Porcellino, Nate Powell, and Chicago's own Trubble Club will be special guests.

I'm hungry.
[eats everyone]

Friday, May 4, 2012

free comic book day is tomorrow!

Free Comic Book Day is a really exciting holiday for me (mainly because of the "free" and the "comic book" components of the equation).  Often times it's official, sanctioned free comics that are handed out from larger publishers, but each year it seems more and more smaller publishers are taking it upon themselves to publish free comics.  This year, Tugboat Press has Runner Runner & Sparkplug Comicbooks, Teenage Dinosaur, Revival House & Floating World Comics released Bad Trip.  

Last year, Sam Sharpe, Erik Schneider and I released a minicomic, Handout Comics,

This year, Sam and I coordinated a second issue of Handout Comics (don't worry, Erik is in this one too!).  We had it offset printed by 1984 Printing in Oakland, and had a rubber stamp made by Lakeview Stamp Company for the title.  But the contents is the exciting part!  We got 11 awesome Chicago-based comics artists to contribute to the comic:

Jeremy Tinder!
(who also did the cover!)

They'll be available at the following stores:

& I sent a handful of copies with my friends from 2D Cloud to TCAF this weekend in Toronto!

So check them out, pick 'em up, they're 100% FREE! Happy Free Comic Book Day! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

mocca occa occa occa

Do you love alternative comics?
Do you live in New York City?
Do you have the weekend free?
(alternately, do you remember me from college and want to tell me off to my face?)
I'll be at the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art Fest this weekend!
I'll be tabling with SAM SHARPE & LIZ PRINCE, and tabling next to KENAN RUBENSTEIN & JOSH SHALEK!
The website has a full exhibitor list, along with the table assignments (I'm at table i-7), hours and show costs.
Come by, say hi.  I happily accept vegan baked goods for exchange for just about anything.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

who am i kidding who am i foolin' when they say "what's up neil brideau" and i say "coolin'?"

Lemme tell you I've been a busy Brideau.

Since the last post in Mar...DECEMBER?  Ah jeeze.


Since the last post in December, the Chicago Zine Fest has come and gone.  Organizing it was a lot of hard work, and sleepless nights, but I think it all worked out in the end.  We had over 200 zinesters exhibit, and over 1,000 attendees check out the fest. I had a real blast organizing the fest with my co-organizers.  The weekend (and the months leading up to it) are such a blur now, that it's difficult for me to really reflect on the experience.
CZF T-Shirt Design by Lilli Carré

Organizing a successful event the size of the zine fest takes a commitment beyond even a part time job (which is what I used to compare it to), I basically abandoned any other projects I was working on, and eliminated most of my social life (which was pretty small to begin with).  Because of the work load, and having a lot of other projects I want to get to, I decided early on to not be an organizer for the 2013 Chicago Zine Fest.  But I'm sure the fest will be better than ever in 2013 in the capable hands of the remaining organizers, Leslie, Jen, Heather & Johnny, and whoever they end up adding to the mix.  And I'm excited to finally experience the fest from the outside, attend the events, volunteer & possibly exhibit.

What projects am I so eager to put my mitts on?  Well, I'm so glad you asked...

As ridiculous as this might sound, I'm...actually...organizing another small press show.


I said, I'm actually organizing another small press show.  I know, I just said I was burnt out on organizing, but this show is also going to be awesome!  It's CAKE!  The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo! It will take place June 16 & 17, at 1104 S Wabash here in Chicago.  The exhibitor list will be released in the next couple of days, and it is off the chain.  More info on that in future blog posts I wont have time to write.
CAKE Banner by Laura Park (check out the allium motif!)

In comics news, I'm working on the Plot #2, currently in the lettering stage but other projects (like the ones mentioned before and after the Plot) are getting in the way.  I really wanted to have this done by MoCCA (which takes place in New York City on April 28 & 29, where I will be sharing a table with Sam Sharpe and Liz Prince!)
BUT, unless I get fired and don't have to work anymore, I probably will not be able to ink the issue's 40 pages in 24 days.  I don't know why I wrote the word "probably." Instead I am going to try to have oh boy, COMICS! #2 done ready for MoCCA, hopefully without it getting stolen this time.

I am working on other comics projects:
Handout Comics #2 is a comic Sam Sharpe and I have compiled for Free Comic Book Day (May 5th).  It will feature brand new comics by 11 Chicago-based comics artists, and it will be absolutely, positively, 100% free, and available at the better (based on the completely biased opinion of me and Sam) comic book shops in Chicagoland.  Each of the artists will also be given a bunch of copies, so you can hassle them for a copy.  I'll post the list of the artsits once the comic actually goes to the printer (which if the planets align will be tomorrow).

Ro-Cor comics is a project Sam got me involved in.  It's kind of a convoluted process, which I'll explain later (seriously, guys, you should NOT write blog posts at 2:30 in the morning).   I'm excited to be a part of this project, which is inspired by the creative process of Roger Corman.  If all goes according to plan, it'll debut at SPX.  BUT WAIT!  THERE'S MORE!  and by more I mean another anthology I'm going to be a part of that should debut at SPX:

If you have bionic macro-optic eyeballs, check out that list of contributors!  Oh I guess you can also CLICK on the image (if you don't have bionic macro-optic eyeballs), and it'll get bigger or something.  I don't understand these computer boxes, am I right, Detective Dan Stark?

Sorry, I got distracted.  How did I get in this line up? Guys!  Berke Brethead is contributing?! Renee French?!  Ayun Halliday?! Brian Ralph?!  Come on, guys.  Here's a thumbnail from my story, which is completely written, just needs to be drawn:

I'm sure I'm forgetting some other news, or other projects I'm working on.  I've used every image that was sitting on my desktop, so I guess not. I gotta post more frequently, and more lucidly.

Chocolate chip cookies!