Happy Birthday, Gene George!
(photo by Liezl Estipona)
I grew up with three sisters - never had a brother. In Phoenix, I had a good group of friends, not only folks I went to school with or worked with, but the people I met through the music, comedy, and art scenes. I got to form relationships with people who toured through Arizona. When I moved to California, I was arriving to a number of wonderful individuals, but the sum of which I could count on one hand. I was lucky that my first working experiences were with good people that I still keep in touch with, despite how our careers have moved us in different directions.
I started posting on a comedy scene board, which I also referred to when I was looking for things to do, having just arrived to Los Angeles. My free time and energy is pretty devoted now to producing the podcast, my writing, and my involvement in the zine community, but I used to frequent the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Hollywood quite often. On many occasions, I snagged highly sought tickets for a show called Comedy Death Ray, a weekly showcase where you could see the best comedians doing new work for all of $5 (it eventually morphed into what you might know as “Comedy Bang Bang,” which started as a podcast spinoff of the standup night, and then became an IFC television show.
One night, I had obtained tickets to CDR, but I had other obligations which prevented me from attending. I logged into the comedy message board and offered the tickets up. That led to me meeting Gene George for the first time outside UCB. I had got to know him and his sense of humor through the board, so it was neat to finally meet him in person. It led to us starting to attend some UCB shows together.
If you listen to our podcast, you’ve probably heard that story a few times, and you know how these hangouts led to our creative collaboration, and how that has resulted in the chat show you have hopefully loved and enjoyed for the last three and a half years. With all our talk about creative works and surviving in L.A., our riffs on whatever obsession I’m fixated on or annoyance that has Gene grumbling, and enthusiasm for the artists we love and bring onto the show, there’s very little room in any given episode for sentiment or sincere personal statements - we are not Oprah Winfrey (we would like her money, though, if anyone is looking to invest in “Shakeytown TV”). And it’s no secret that as Gene’s family has expanded and his career away from the podcast has progressed, his appearances on the show have become more rare, to the point I think he’s going to demand special Sir Alec Guinness cameo billing status. Shakeytown Radio has become more of a DIY “California’s Gold,” with me as your punk rock Huell Howser (am I flattering myself? or not giving Huell enough credit for having been pretty punk rock himself?), live on the scene of all the great events that L.A. has to offer.
So what I haven’t got to share on mic, I’d like to write here now…
It’s harder making new friends when you’re an adult. It can be really hard when you move to a new place to get comfortable and find your new group of friends. When it comes to Gene, I didn’t only get a creative partner, a buddy to pal around with, but I finally got a brother. When you tune into the podcast, you hear us laughing, you hear us asking our guests questions. You don’t hear the late nights where I’ve poured my heart out to Gene, all my fears and insecurities, and he’s put things into perspective for me. You’ve heard our schtick, with Gene venting or me making dumb puns for him to sigh at. You haven’t heard all the ways he has encouraged me for the good things I want to do, or the understanding and nonjudgmental insight he has given when I feel like I’m faltering.
Gene is a great dad and a great husband (with those awesome kids and wife, he better be, right?), a booster for the creative community in Los Angeles, a sharp dude who can teach you all sorts of things about a wild variety of topics, and a kind soul with a lot of love in his heart.
I am grateful for everything that has happened in the last few years, how this city has become my home. If Gene and I hadn’t met, I don’t know where I would be right now. We took a chance on this enterprise, and it has yielded so many rewards. But aside from all that, I am just happy that Gene is somebody in my life.
Happy 44th, Gene… here is to 88 years more! (Assuming that some “Mad Max” scenario doesn’t disrupt things at some point between now and 2091.)
Yumi Sakugawa is a comic book artist and illustrator, launching her book “I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You” at Skylight Books in Los Feliz on Thursday, December 6th. Adam Bernales is a photographer, owner of Seite Books (a bookstore in East L.A.), and organizer of the Eastside Zine Market, which takes place at Hazard Park Armory on Sunday, December 8th. Yumi and Adam join BFH to discuss zines, childhood reading adventures, the bookstore industry, cooperative subcultures, deep platonic love, and nerding out over printing supplies.
Shakeytown Radio: Eleanor Whitney (1 hr, 13 min)
Eleanor Whitney is the zinester behind Indulgence, a co-founder and former organizer of Portland Zine Symposium, the blogger behind killerfemme.com, and the author of Grow: How to Take Your Do It Yourself Project and Passion to the Next Level and Quit Your Job.
BFH chats with Eleanor about her childhood in Portland, Maine, her introduction into the counterculture of the Pacific Northwest and her zine activities in Portland, Oregon, her journey into academia and the professional world in New York City, her adventures as a musician and touring author across the United States, and balancing the excitement of creativity and entrepreneurship with the realities of financial and economical concerns.
photo by Stefano Giovannini
Featuring the music of Corita.
Shakeytown Radio at IE Zine Quest! (41 mins)
BFH, Daisy Noemi & Rhea (whisperkid, L.A. Zine Fest) report live from Augie’s Coffee in the Redlands for IE Zine Quest! Interviews with Sarah Bitely (“Pimpkillah”), the Rocket Punch Pirates, Daniel and Vanessa from “Influentza," Sarah and Lowell from "Freeways Collide,” Ariel Zitny, Tori Holder, Yumi Sakugawa, and the organizer of IE Zine Quest, Raymond Duran.
Yesterday I tabled at IE Zinefest and it went quite awesomely. I got to sell and trade some of my work, which means I now have a totebag full of amazing zines by lovely people that I get to read. In addition to that, i also read at the zine reading the kind folks at Zineworks put on, and relearned public speaking isn’t really what I’m best at. It was still a lot of fun and I got to hear everyone else’s readings which made the embarrassment more than worth it. I’ll have all the zines I had with me yesterday up for sale online sometime soon, for those of you who missed out (because you still deserve a little something, don’t you?). Photo credit: Brodie Foster Hubbard, who managed to get a picture of my table and me in between bouts of the wind ripping my banner down, and also interviewed me for Shakeytown Radio in a forthcoming podcast. All in all it was a fantastic day and thanks o everyone who helped put it on and all the lovely people who stopped by to say hello and snag some zines!
Tori carries her demons well… find out how on our upcoming episode, recorded live from the event!
Shakeytown Radio: Raymond Duran (1 hr, 13 mins)
Raymond Duran is on the podcast this week to chat about his roles with IE Zine Quest, a zine fest celebrating the Inland Empire that also includes visitors from L.A. (like FAIR DIG and Daisy Noemi!), and the comic book store A Shop Called Quest.
Ray and BFH discuss how Anthropologie and their sweet, sweet candles brought them together, being old men at underground shows, the potential of the DC Comics movie franchises, the joys of being a collector, and all the vendors you can expect to see on Saturday, November 2 at Augie’s Coffeehouse in Redlands CA for IE Zine Quest!
IEZQ is this Saturday! See you there?
featuring the music of Death Wolf (fka Devils Whorehouse)
This year we’re sleeping like Cthulu, but here is one of our classic Halloween episodes.
At Stories in Echo Park (1716 West Sunset Blvd)! Reading starts at 7:30pm on the back patio, Monday night Oct. 21st! Be there or miss out!
With readings from:
Brodie Foster Hubbard
And MORE! TBA
Come see BFH read! Also, you know and love Eryca from our most recent episode, we have a fantastic visitor all the way from Chicago, and take our word for it, Kelli is superb. Plus, other great readers to be announced.