Monday, July 17, 2017

In 3 Days TCM Celebrate's Seven Years

Mere days away is the TCM 7 Year reading. Looking back, I found a lot of news clippings that promoted past readings. You can see the different styles from the Redeye, Reader, TimeOut, and Columbia Chronicle. There's at least one listing for each venue we hosted at (except for CHIPRC). It was nice to see all the readers names that made it to print.

Thanks to all the writers who published these and other promo on behalf of the reading series.
Notably thanks to the Redeye for always finding a new cookie image to run. Must have been a hard to find all the various cookies they used in these and other listings.

Enjoy this collage and see you Wednesday!


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Seven Years is in Seven Days

Think of the movie the Ring. Seven Days. As In seven days you can join us at the Hungry Brain to celebrate TCM's anniversay. Here's a quick look back for the archives of my bad memories. 

In April 2012, more than 5 years ago, I invited then Milwuakee resident Keith Rosson to read at the series (here was that reading info). I remeber meeting him at the Minneapolis Zine Fest and thinking this guys funny, but why's he drinking one pint of water to ever beer? 

Fast forward, he agrees to take the Amtrak to Chicago to read. I knew he was an old school zinester and that was it. He gets to the bar, basically shit talking it and the reading etc. Maybe this because I am relentless about ribbing him for living in Milwaukee or something about how he ended up there. I used to live in Roscoe Village in walking distance to the Hungry Brain, so I offed him a place to crash. Drunk and not feeling hot, I think I made the regrettable choice to go to Tonys Tex Mex on Damen/Belmont for after hours eats. We get back to the apartment. My then wife who also read is like, fuck this I'm going to bed. My then roomate is like, hey do you want to smoke weed, something he could never get me to do. All we had was red wine in the house. I cap the night off with a puke session in my bathroom. It never failed that when I had visitors from Milwaukee that I also took to Tonys for Tex Mex, I always ended up vomiting. History repeating. 

Long story, Keith was a good sport. I'm proud to have booked him. Glad he's a published author with another book on the way. And stoked that Two Cookie has continued to let me make bad mistakes. 

See you Wednesday.

johnny misfit

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

TCM turns 7 - Party at the Hungry Brain!

I've been doing this for seven years. Oh man, what is wrong with me. Until I figure that out, join me Wednesday, July 19th for a celebratory event. 

To make this the best birthday, we whipped up a celebratory line up and are returning to our old haunt, Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont.

Readers include:
Liz Mason (karaoke jockey, zinester, Quimby’s Bookstore Manager)
Scott Roberts (comics artist, Risograph printer, teacher)
Logan Kruidenier (multi-media artist, stone skipper)
Sean Gandert (author of Lost in Arcadia visiting from Florida)
Eric Bartholomew (Junk Drawer zine creator, estate sale tour guide)
Hosted by Johnny Misfit

The reading is free. Doors open at 8pm, readings at 9pm.

Get there early to grab a seat, a drink, and some cookies.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Two Cookie Season 7 Opener in Review

The seventh year of two cookie began and it couldn't have gone any better. I was reluctant to start another year, hoping that seven wasn't bad luck. This was the first reading in over 9 months. Its hard to take time off and immediately jump back into things. No one wants to go to work after the weekend. Kids aren't jazzed about heading to school after summer break. So would people still come out to the reading after months and so many changes these past few years? As a host, I think about these things a lot. But I felt the need to celebrate that this project I created has been a thing for seven years. When it started, I wanted to showcase great writers I saw in the communities I was part of. Those were people making zines, students in my fiction writing classes, other writers from the literary community, musicians, and maybe a few people that made comics. It was easy to gather them together when you’re providing free cookies. Over the years, the series has hosted first time readers alongside previously publishes writers. There have been a number of book and zine release shows. The reading series has supported the literary and arts community and they've supported right back. That’s what keeps me going. So if this proves to be the start of a bad luck year, bring it on. Its been a great ride and this year is just getting started.

Readers Amy (left) and Alenka (right)
For this first reading of the season, the variety was no different than what makes a TCM. Opening the night was Women Write About Comics contributor Alenka Figa. She hadn't read in public before, AND she never put out a zine. Well, she now can check both off her bucket list. Alenka shared a wonderfully woven narrative about caring for her cat Nova that has a rare feline disorder. At the same time, her grandmother has been receiving personalized care from her aunt. And while talking about the care of others, she reflected on the need for self-care. We can’t be there for others if we aren't there for ourselves. The chapters of her story flowed back and forth from family, to Nova, to herself in a seamless manner that was reflective of her work as a journalist, yet befittingly collected into a zine.

Amy Giacalone read second, sharing a great piece of fiction from a novel in progress. Where do we go when we die? We become ghosts that take the CTA, duh. Or so were the characters in her piece, materialized entities struggling with their afterlife. The story of how they became ghosts was vivid without seeming fantastic. Amy has a way of humanizing her characters to the point where we suspend reality and visualize their situations, back stories, and surroundings. Good fiction immerses the reader into its world, so upon leaving there is a sense of longing for more. 
"This year will be different..." Rebecca Mir Grady

Next was Rebecca Mir Grady, no stranger to reading at TCM. She self-publishes a series books called She is Restless, zines w/ a spine.  The first part of her reading was a discussion about the series which thematically tackles current natural disasters and climate change issues through fold out illustrations and paintings. The second part of her reading was a look at a project in process. Beginning January 1, 2017 , she started a daily journal and is not going back to edit. She shared a glimpse into her life and her partner’s documenting their workout routines, holiday gift giving,  the start of her new job as a nanny, participating in the Women’s March, oh and their engagement! That was really exciting to see on the screen. Stylistically this was more like field notes on the life of Rebecca rather than the type of web comics that daily entries have become. It was refreshing, personal and touching. Thanks Rebecca for sharing!
Celia pre-reading grumpy face

Normally during a reading I’ll take a break. Tonight I figured we were on a roll so no need. I was pretty excited to announce Celia Marquis, the CHIPRC artist in residence for this summer. She’s from Montreal and the reason why I booked this reading at CHIPRC. I wanted people to see her work, meet her and expose the series to a special guest that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to invite. After a typical Johnny Misfit long-winded introduction, Celia inquired about a break. Oops. I knew I should have done this. It didn't detract from her reading, which was a dual presentation of fiction and comics. Her comic Motel La Siesta was inspired by a story her boyfriend told her about his teenage friends. Celia has illustrated a comic version of his story, where a group of boys rent a hotel room to have a party. They smoke, drink, take a dip in the Jacuzzi, invite over girls, fart, basic teenage hotel party behavior. The nuance was that the printed comic, she also included an insert zine of the full story’s text. Celia read from the text, but followed along with the comic. I hadn't seen that before and was super glad to have one person read fiction and project comics. The circle was now complete.  Celia, keep on doing this!

Closing the night was Yewon Kwon reading a comic she put together and printed during her internship w/ Chicago’s only risograph printing house, Perfectly Acceptable Press. The comic was about a group of friends, The International Cult of the Dank Arts of Friendship. Not to give anything away b/c you should really grab a copy, but the story was full of hilarious situations, sex, weed, and online playlists. Her performance was topped off with some audio accompaniment, a feather cape, and a small trip around the crowd on a razor scooter.  It was a perfect ender and a crowd pleaser. Great job Yewon!

A big thanks to all the readers. This was a great beginning to the season. Thanks to my wife for making some good homemade vegan cookies. Thanks to all the supporters who have allowed TCM to be a series for seven years. Check back here for info on the rest of our summer meetings.

Best,
Johnny

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Two Cookie Minimum is Back This Summer Marking its 7th Season!




Chicago reading series stalwart Two Cookie Minimum is back to celebrate its seventh season with cookies and all things self-published. The first of its four zine- and comic-friendly summer readings will take place on Tuesday June 6, at Chicago Publishers Resource Center (858 N. Ashland Ave).

Special guest and CHIPRC Artist in Residence Celia Marquis (illustrator and zinester) will be visiting from Montreal, Canada. Joining her will be Chicagoans, Yewon Kwon (comics artist), Alenka Figa (journalist), Rebecca Mir Grady (comics artist), and Amy Giacalone (writer). Hosted by Johnny Misfit.

All readings are open to the public. The $5 cover benefits CHIPRC. Doors open at 8pm. Get there early to grab a seat. And as always, cookies will be provided.


Season Seven will include 4 readings this summer. June will open and September will close at CHIPRC. The other readings in July and August will be at venues TBA. Our July reading will mark our actual seventh anniversary so look for info on that. The full summer reading schedule will be posted on this blog.

Monday, August 15, 2016

August was a Literary Blast!


The August 9th reading was full of literary craftsmen and craftswomen who shared some great fiction. There was also a bit of music thrown in for good measure. Like we do at TCM, none of this was planned, it simply happened. Makes for an interesting night all the time. So here's how this one played out.

Leading off the night was Vincent Francone. He read two pieces of fiction that both had a slight comical tone. The first story centered around a failed relationship that nicely employed the image of a Loveseat (which doubled as the piece's title). Why did the narrator's ex leave him only the loveseat when she left? We find out a bit more about the two and as it stands, the loveseat is the only positive that's left of what they once shared. Vince then read a bit of satire in which he bemoaned his alderman to the point of wanting to kill him. He got longtime TCM supporter Julia Bortcherts to come up and join him (as seen above). It was a great start to the night for sure.

Second up was Kathy O'Neill. Her credentials included working for Good Morning America, NPR, and ABC news among others. She also works at the American Irish Heritage Center in Chicago. Her work mixed her journalistic background incorporating her Irish heritage in a piece of creative nonfiction about living in Boston for the summer between college semesters. Her voice was clear throughout the piece. The summer journey she took, living with dropouts from clown college and drinking at Irish pubs, was told with enough distance to make it all the funnier. It was a a lot of fun without trying to be. I could see this being turned into a script or maybe a radio serial. We'll see.

Kathy brought with a friend, Mark Piekarz to play a little something after her reading. When asking him what he would perform, he noticed the old piano in the Comfort Station and asked, "Does that work?" Indeed it did.  At our old home at Hungry Brain, there was a piano and sad to say no one at a TCM ever played on it. Mark got down and sang us a lilting melody on this calm summer night. I was glad to see the piano get used at a TCM.



The last two readers I knew were both great storytellers (which is why they were invited to read on the same night). Darwyn Jones is as charismatic and funny as he is dramatic and heartfelt. His stories at least. Not sure about his real life, but he did come dressed in a classy shirt and tie, so there's that about him.

He read a work of creative nonfiction about growing up and the small things that stick with us through the years. The focus of his work was a universal theme anyone could relate to from their childhood: deciding which candy to buy.  He took us to that time when children could be in control of this one choice that made them feel important. Employing objects, gestures, sounds, and smells, he took us back to that candy counter in Iowa, looking at him as a young kid, in a jacket too big for him, with a dollar in hand and candy on his mind. If you ever see his name on a reading lineup, go. You won't be disappointed.





Ending the night was Jill How, the co-founder of the live lit series Story Studio. That basically means she's got experience telling stories in front of strangers. She shared a personal narrative, barely looking at her notes for cues, rattling off a story about high school memories that only could be appreciated with age and distance. The story was about how she wanted to get the attention of a fellow band member by doing a parody of a pop culture song as her report on Hawthorne's the Scarlet Letter. The song, Alanis Morissette's Ironic. She recorded it on a cassette, as this was done in the 90s, but that tape no longer exists. So to drive it home, Jill pulled out her Ukulele and strummed along as she sang her version. Like I said earlier, tonight was a musical show. Glad she shared this embarrassing part of her high school past. Even if she didn't win over the guy, she won us all over for sure. This was how we ended the night,  because who can really follow a woman playing a alternative rock on a Uke?

This was August's Two Cookie. A great lineup on a cool summer night. We'll be back this summer to close things down for the season. Look back from more info on the last readings we'll do in 2016. Enjoy the rest of your summer until then.  

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Always Allows Two Cookies - August Reading Info!


Coming off our 6 year anniversary last month, now into August we’re back to form with a lineup of talented storytellers you don’t want to miss. On Tuesday, August 9, Two Cookie Minimum welcomes Jill Howe (co-founder of Story Sessions), writer Darwyn Jones, author Vincent Francone, and journalist Kathy O'Neill with musical accompaniment of Mark Piekarz.

Readings are scheduled monthly on the second Tuesday each month at 8pm at the Comfort Station 2579 N Milwaukee Ave. The readings are open to the public.  The series is sponsored by Chicago Publishers Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides programming the local publishing community. Donations will be accepted at the door to support future readings