Thursday, July 14, 2016

How we spent our 6 Year birthday!


That's such an unbelievable statement for me to consider. Since the summer of 2010, the series has been welcoming writers and self publishers out for monthly readings. This month's reading was a bit special for obvious reasons. As a gift, not only did the lineup include many supporters who've read at past events (including yours truly as host), but with the release of Cookie Crumbs 3 zine.

Issue 3 included the first year of the series at Comfort Station. The zine includes drawings and comics from Alex Nall and Eric Bartholomew from the 2015 readings. A few past readers also sent in some of their thoughts on our new home. Layout by Anna Jo Beck. Printed at CHIPRC on a Risograph GR2750.

As for the readers, the night began with myself, Johnny Misfit reading from my zine Field Manual for the Human Body. For that project, I worked with good friend Dean Johnson who illustrated various images of the human anatomy to fit the text. For this occasion, Dean colored in his artwork which really made the difference. Enough about me.

Second up was long-time TCM supporter, comedian Tom Simmons. I met Tom at the readings when we were at the Hungry Brain. The first time I was introduced to him, I asked what he did and if he'd like to read sometime. I found out he was a writer and comedian and that was all it took. For this anniversary show, Tom read 3 pieces. The first were Yelp reviews for an assisted suicide hotel. The next two were open letters from pizza chain mascots: A random bro from Toppers and then Papa John. Each was funnier than the first. Sides were split and eyes watered. He could have easily ended the night and everyone could have left. But alas the night wasn't over yet.

The third reading was by Alex Nall. He's be one of the top supporters of the reading series, coming out consistently for 3 years now. Not only has he documented the monthly readings through comics and illustrations, but he's read at it often. And usually his readings are a bit more than simply sharing comics. This time he shared a narrative from his Teaching Comics, introducing his reading with a parody of the PBS children's show Mr. Rogers.  He did everything from a costume change to a special delivery from a mailman (played by zinester Eric Bartholomew). He read his Teaching Comics paired with comics from his students and an audio speech from Mr Rogers. The theme of community, support and caring were appropriate topics to share at an anniversary show.

Closing the night was Dave Roche. He's been a supporter of the zine community for decades and has ended many of a TCM reading (he was the last reader we had at our farewell show at the Hungry Brain in 2014). Being a seasoned Two Cookie reader, Dave shared an old letter he wrote to his friend and zinester Kieth Rosson who published it in Avow zine. It was a story of Dave giving away cupcakes in Wicker Park and the ensuing people he met.  Dave's always brought humor to TCM, and this time he literally did; bringing a handful of joke books, from which he shared some with us. There was a book of jokes about the USSR, Hillbillys, and Pickles. In true Roche form, he shared his opinions about each joke. He also downloaded an app of crowd noises which he fired off when the jokes were clunky (think of a rim shot followed by audience clapping). It was the way the night was meant to end.

Now we can look forward to what the sixth year brings. For 2016 there are two more summer readings at the Comfort Station in August and September. There may be a winter reading at CHIPRC to close out the year.

To all the audience members, venue staff, journalists that wrote about us, cookie eaters, and most importantly the readers, I wanted to extend a huge THANKS for letting the series last this long. Without that support, there couldn't be a Two Cookie Minimum.

Johnny Misfit

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Two Cookie Minimum Hits The Six Year Mark

On Tuesday, July 12, Two Cookie Minimum begins its sixth year. Things have definitely changed since the first reading back in 2010. But this month, I’m not looking to dwell on the past, simply reciting the accomplishments that have gotten the series this far. Sure its been doing great things over the past six years. There have been give or take 55 shows, a few hundred readers and performers, and thousands, nay millions of cookies consumed (forgive my math). The longevity of the series has been a testament of the self-publishing community, one that has exploded since our inception. Two Cookie couldn’t survive without your support. So how will this month stack up?

Here are the six things you can count on this month at Two Cookie Minimum.
  1. A live performanative reading from comics artist and teacher Alex Nall
  2. Side-splitting humor from writer and improv specialist Thomas Simmons
  3. Honest storytelling from zinester and CPS teacher Dave Roche
  4. A reading of not-so-practical health tips from host Johnny Misfit
  5. The release of the third issue of Cookie Crumbs, a 2015 year-in-review zine of the series with comics and art by Alex Nall and Eric Bartholowmew, notes from past readers, and layout skills by Anna Jo Beck
  6. Millions of free cookies! (you may recall my math skills from earlier)
The readings begin at 8pm. Donations will be accepted at the door to help support the reading into the next year. Everyone can grab free cookies and zines. I hope you can join us as this should be a fun one.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

June was All Comics and One Good Time

The year has been great for TCM. Each month the shows keep getting better. This was true for June, an All Comics reading that occurred 2 days after the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo. There was a  full crowd comprised of many other comics creators and self publishers. The readers all brought their A game. There were costumes, puppetry, collaborations and character voices. Here's what you missed.

Sage Coffey made her reading debut with us, marking the first time she'd read in public. It didn't show as she owed it. Sage introduced the reading asking the crowd to join in and help chant along with each panel. This was supplemented by a slew of snake puppets and capped off with an explosion of paper confetti. Great job to kick of the night. Plus she drew the show flyer which was a well loved hit.

Sean Mac read second, sharing with a comic about the Castlevania videogame series. He gave each character a funny voice, such as a fitting high pitch screech for the villain Dracula.
His reading brought many laughs and of course applause.

Two Cookie vet Rachel Foss read third sharing her brand of personal comics dealing with relationship, love and loss. The last two comics she shared were collaborations between writer Melinda Macentire. Rachel shared Melidna's text, short stories about dating, which were followed by her comics inspired by the text. The two will unveil their collaboration at this year's Milwaukee Arts Fest, so check out that this month if you can.

 Closing out the night were the duo of Mike Freiheit and Isabella Rotman each reading a part from their split comics Good Cat/Bad Dog. While one read, the other acted out the animal muse: Mike was a dog, and Izzy was a cat. The comic was a commentary on how humans to communicate with animals in a different way than we do to others. It was a pretty high energy reading from both artists.

Everyone then hung around outside after the reading, talking or saying goodbye to end the CAKE weekend. It was exactly the atmosphere that TCM breeds. Glad so many keep supporting the reading series. Its a testament to what the community is and who makes it up. That's probably why next month in July TCM is able to celebrate it's 6th year anniversary. Stay tuned for that lineup and hope you can make it out. Until then, have a good one.
                                    -Johnny Misift (host and curator of Two Cookie Minimum)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

June is All Comics at TCM

It's time to get out and enjoy the summer before it rains all over us.  We hope you can join us on Tuesday June 14 for the June Two Cookie Minimum. This month’s reading will be a visual smorgasbord of  comics presented by Sage Coffey, Mike Freiheit with Isabella Rotman, and Sean Mac. Its the week after CAKE so if you're feel comics withdraws, get help with us! If not, get on the comics horse. Everyone wins really.

The best is, it all goes down in the heart of Logan Square at the Comfort Station 2579 N Milwaukee Ave. at 8pm. Its the perfect time and venue to enjoy the summer sunset, cool breeze blowing blowing in, and a night of readings and free cookies (we’re pretty flexible on the cookie minimum). The readings are open to the public. Donations accepted help support the reading series sponsor Chicago Publishers Resource Center.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Q: May We Share Some Two Cookie Min Pix W/ You

Oh course the answer to our post's subject is YES!

Pop Up Tarot presented by VH1duh
The May TCM reading was chalk full of firsts for us and probably for some of our readers too. What we mean is easier conveyed into a list. This was the First time we had:
- All readers used visuals and tech
- A husband and wife read on the same night
- An entire reading was done in Spanish
- Live Tarot Readings
- Use of a Slide Projector
- A reader wear a cow hoody equipped with udder

Here's how those firsts broke down.
Shieka Lugtu opened the night with a performative reading mixing illustration, comics, animation,
creative non-fiction, memorized text and the aforementioned cow hoody.
Raul from Comfort Station gets Sheika's tech ready for the reading.
Mike Centeno followed reading his comic Canned which detailed how a character dealt with being fired from their job. Many spot on accents were used in the reading of his work.

Anna Jo Beck was next. Her slides were advanced by husband Mike Centeno. She read from two new zines that were based on her practice of learning to speak Spanish. Anna's second reading paired illustrations with humorous Spanish captions.

For Anna, Learning Spanish is difficult, but reading is easy when husband Mike advances slides.
Closing out the reading was a good TCM friend and zinester Jim Joyce. He partnered with Rachael Zalutsky and her friend Joe for some live Tarot readings. Jim manned a slide projector flipping through updated illustrations of the Tarot deck (which included Dee Dee Ramone, Studs Turkel and Ira Glass). Rachel then read various audience members their fortune while Joe strummed some background accompaniment (and at times a little ditty to go along with the fortune). The three person reading had the audience attentive, laughing and hopeful they wouldn't be picked to have their fortune read.

Jim hunches below this slide projector
Two Cookie prides itself on the variety of readers and performances that share their work each month. This event was one for the TCM history books. We might never see this many paths cross at one reading again. But who knows. Here's to next month.

Johnny Misfit
(Host and curator)

What You Missed at the First Two Cookie of 2016

LtoR: Michelle Marcellus, Megan Kirby, Jeff Zwirek, Sung Yim.
April 12 was the first Two Cookie of 2016. Instead of a long rambling summation, I thought this photo collage would help explain how the reading went. Can't wait to see what this season brings!