Monday, December 28, 2015

Two Cookie Holiday Reading Unwrapped

Its surreal to think that one year ago, Two Cookie Minimum (TCM) was holding its last reading at the Hungry Brain. We’ve had a great 2015 to follow. Closing our year, there was one last reading, our December holiday celebration, at Chicago Publishers Resource Center (CHIPRC). This was the third Chicago venue that has hosted the series. Look for more one-off readings there in the future. The entire event was a blast. We had beer donated from Revolution Brewing. Everyone thru the door picked a number for surprise present, things like literary journals, CHIPRC zines, and chachkis like beer cozies and silly putty. And of course there were cookies.
Julia Borcherts!

The real highlight like any TCM is always the lineup. When I form a reading lineup, I hand select performers that I believe are extraordinary in their medium and that I want others to appreciate their work. This lineup exceeded those expectations. I was told by a few series regulars that this was one of the best shows they’ve seen. Its feelings and remarks like this that keeps me holding the series going.

The night started out with a reading from Julia Bortcherts. She read at the very first TCM reading back in July 2010. He story, a work of fiction, centered on a woman’s failing relationship and how she would have to find a job to pay the bills, possibly as a dominatrix. Julia’s background as a journalist allows her to research what makes a good story, which made sense in the story’s attention to detail about the dominatrix dungeon. Julia always captivates the crowd, pausing for laughter and pacing her reading, because she’s such a pro (she was a cofounder and hosted the series Reading Under the Influence about 8 years).

Celia Perez!
Next up was zinester Jim Joyce. He’s a fav at CHIPRC. The first public event at CHIPRC was a reading tour Jim put together. He has a very unique performance style where its not only a reading, but intentionally part stand up. Jim didn’t read tonight though. Instead he screened a Halloween inspired short film, The Night of the Blood Zine, that he co-wrote and directed. Being it was Jim, he gave running commentary during the short, supplementing the already funny DIY nature of the film.

Celia Perez read next, sharing a personal story about Buena Noche growing up in Miami. It was a touching narrative that looked back on her father’s dream of roasting a pig for Christmas diner, and how it unraveled. Like all great zine writers, Celia allows the story to get very personal as her writing invokes nostalgia and love for times long since past.

Dave Reidy followed, reading from his newest novel The Voiceover Artist. He noted that when he read at TCM back in 2013, he read a piece from the book when it was only a draft. This time, he read a different part, the introduction of the main character in the book.  I hope people check out his book (as he is one of my favorite short story writers).

To close the night was one of Chicago’s best comics artists, Gina Wynbrandt. She was joined by her friend J Pulos. Every time I’ve seen her read, it brings down the house. This was no different, a humorous comic about booty calls and the reverie she draws herself a part of. The imagined journey as a bounty hunter takes the character of herself to a gentleman’s club, a beach and a swamp, chalk full of sexual encounters and a ton of naked dudes. Gina might hold a Guinness Book record for drawing the most number of hard dicks in one comic. It was that good of a reading.
Dave Reidy! 

This was one of the great TCM lineups and provided a fun last community gathering of the year. The memories from 2015 and those over the past 5 years will carry the series into the next year. Here’s to wishing it’ll measure up to everything we’ve done in the past.

Have a great new year.

Johnny Misfit  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Two Cookie Minimum Holiday Celebration ends 2015

The Two Cookie Minimum series had a great 2015, celebrating our fifth anniversary and releasing the retrospective Cookie Crumbs zine, plus finding a new spring/summer home at the Comfort Station in Logan Square. To cap things off, Two Cookie will end the year with one final reading on Friday, December 11, 8pm at Chicago Publishers Resource Center 858 N. Ashland Ave.  

The lineup includes Gina Wynbrandt (Best American Comics 2015), Dave Reidy (author of Voiceover Artist on Curbside Splendor), Celia Perez (zinester/librarian), Julia Borcherts (freelance writer with work seen in the Redeye, Chicago Reader), and Jim Joyce (zinester/teacher). Hosted as always by Johnny Misfit. 

There will be a $10 cover which includes:
  • a wrapped holiday present (which could be anything!?!), 
  • free copies of Cookie Crumbs zine, 
  • a drink ticket for beer provided by Revolution Brewing (while supplies last)
  • and of course, cookies

The event will be 21+ to drink. Door proceeds will go to support CHIPRC. 
Flyer image drawn by Jill Summers.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wake me up, September has Ended for TCM

This past Tuesday Sept 8 was the last TCM of the summer. The lineup was solid with a mix of about everything you'd expect at one of our readings: comics, poetry, fiction, a shadow puppet show, zines and of course cookies. The readers all excelled at their craft and the series was grateful they shared their time with all of us. I'd like to recap a bit now about the night and our year at Comfort Station.

The comics reading of Marnie Galloway shows work so polished and crisp, with a playful creative nonfiction story and a smooth and touching delivery in the reading. What a pro. This is her tattooed arm hard at work moving between panels.

In the comic Hard Decora by Kamilha Jones, she wonderfully mixed anime over landscape photos (which she mentioned where snapped around Logan Square, what a coincidence). This was the first time she shared this new work with an audience and we were so glad she did!

Erin Nederbo's short story about carnival season, those pop up neighborhood festivals with kids rides and bad hot dogs, was appropriate for this time of year. Her story captured so well the life of residential South Side Chicago, I always forget she's from northside neighborhood Jeff Park. The fiction was vivid, painting the image of her characters so they could be memorable after we left, something only great fiction can do.

It was awesome to welcome back the sisters Summers, Jill Summers and Susie Kirkwood for a shadow puppet show. The accompanying story read was by author Chris Bower (from his new short story collection that was also illustrated by Susie). Our venue was a great location to have such a show. Its always an amazement for our audience to see how this visual storytelling adds another dimension to the story being read.

It was also special to invite long-time TCM supporter Collin Brennan to read. He plans to move to LA this fall and this was my way offer thanks and goodbye at the same time. His poems played with form: a letter addressed to Tragedy; a poem about love and loss with Chicago at its center; a personal recollection of his father and the frailty of life. We'll miss him, but know he'll be back. Or maybe he'll host his own series in LA?

Another treat, besides the cookies, was to have not one, but two hands working to document the reading through illustration. Our resident artist Alex Nall was joined by last month's fill-in Eric Bartholomew. Both have their own style and eye for capturing the scene. We'll collect their works for next year's Cookie Crumbs zine. Can't wait to see this work!

As I close out the year, I not only wanted to detail and thank this month's readers, but all those who made our 2015 happen. It was so good to have our regulars follow us to our new venue people like our artists Alex and Eric. It was a treat to welcome all the readers and attendees from LUMPS zine who I invited as readers this year, adding new faces and sharing their talents. And its always comforting to know members of the zine, comics, and indie lit community follow us: Violet Fox, Matt Davis, Neil Brideau, Julie Koslowski, Ben Spies, Collin Brennan, Jon Drawdoer, Gina LoBianco, Kerri Gannon, Elizabeth Harper, Todd Herskovitz, Dan Pogo, Ed Blair, Noami Huffman, and others I am forgetting to mention. Most have read at the series and its great to see that support. Thanks for my family support: my sister Sarah for making homemade vegan cookies and my wife Jill for performing, attending and kicking my ass to have good lineups. And thanks to everyone how has been part of the audience. You all are what makes this series thrive. Now into our 5th year, you all help sustains us. So thank you all.

Lastly, TCM was so thankful for the Comfort Station, letting us call their space home this summer. Thanks to Raul from their Comfort Films program who was our lead, introducing the space each month and making sure we had all the tech under control. TCM has been fortunate that every venue we've called home has been so welcoming as well as historic to the city. We look forward to coming back to the Comfort Station for another year next spring. Things look good and I'll share spring 2016 information later this fall when all the scheduling is worked out. Until then, our sponsor CHIPRC will host an end of year reading in December. More to come on that.

Again, thanks for 2015. Be back soon.
Johnny Misfit

TCM Summer Ender (opps don't mind my finger in the way).

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September Ends the TCM Summer Season

Two Cookie Minimum ends its summer Tuesday September 8th as its our last reading at the Comfort Station in Logan Square for the season. Ending summer on a good note, this month’s lineup will showcase various styles of storytelling from visual to poetic.  Readers include:
Marnie Galloway, comics artist and organizer of CAKE.
Kamilha Jones, illustrator at Hard Decora and contributor to LUMPS zine.
Collin Brennan, music journalist, zinester and poet.
Erin Nederbo, co-founder of Encylcopizzeria and host of Reading Under the Influence.
Chris Bower, author of Little Boy Needs Ride will be accompanied by a shadow puppet show from Jill Summers and Susie Kirkwood.
Hosted by Johnny Misfit.

There will be free cookies per usual.
Comfort Station  2579 N Milwaukee Ave. Doors 8pm, reading to follow after mingling and cookie eating.  The series is sponsored by Chicago Publishers Resource Center, located in West Town at 858 N. Ashland. CHIPRC’s mission promotes the local publishing community. Donations will be accepted at the door benefiting CHIPRC.

What does this mean for the future of Two Cookie?  We will be seeking some pop-up readings this winter. As for next spring 2016, we'll be looking to be back with monthly dates. Check back in for any info. We appreciate your support through the years! See you next week for this reading.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August Among Us - Two Cookie Reveiw

This month's reading was another great time, one for the books, all that. We had some amazing visuals thanks to Vickie Segovia, some forward thinking comics by Andy Burkholder, a glimpse into one's process thanks to Andy Glass's reading, and welcomed an old friend Mairead Case as she was visiting Chicago. This is the type of reading that defines the series: friendly, informative, and entertaining. If you've been to a Two Cookie, that should be pretty present. If not, you have one more chance this summer to see us at Comfort Station, Tuesday September 8th. Drop by and let us know that our short stint in Logan Square was a good one.

The photos
August New Cookie Crowd!
L to R: Mairead Case, Vickie Perez-Segovia, Andy Burkholder.

P.S. This was one of the first readings in a long time that Two Cookie regular Alex Nall could not attend (visiting Ireland or something, sheesh). Although we do not have his drawings from the night, alas another 2CM regular Eric Bartholomew picked up his sketch pad and filled in. We hope to get these doodles and drawings into a future 2CM zine. But for now, here's Eric's rendering of comic reader Andy Burkholder.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Two Cookie August is On

Two Cookie Minimum celebrated its 5 year anniversary last month. Beginning the sixth year (weird its been that long!), the next reading is Tuesday August 11 at the Comfort Station 2579 N Milwaukee Ave. at 8pm. Not only will there be variety or readers the way a TCM year should start, but we are glad to welcome an old Chicago friend who now lives in Colorado.
Writer/Poet Mairead Case (visiting from Denver, CO),
Comics Artist Andy Glass,
Artist/Writer Victoria Perez-Segovia, and
Comics Artist Andy Burkholder
Hosted by series curator Johnny Misfit.

The series is sponsored by Chicago Publishers Resource Center, located in West Town at 858 N. Ashland. CHIPRC’s mission promotes the local publishing community. Donations will be accepted at the door benefiting CHIPRC.

And yes, there’ll be free cookies!

Don't forget, Two Cookie ends its summer run at the Comfort Station next month. Join us on Tuesday September, 8th for the last summer reading.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Gift Wrapped, TCM 5 Year Reading Recap

This week TCM celebrated its 5th year of doing what it does best, providing a reading space for the self publishing community and giving out free cookies. The event was super special as the readers were all long-time supporters of the series. Leslie Perrine read at the very first Two Cookie in 2010! Jonas and Ben Spies each respectively have read multiple times each over the years. Their presence was exactly what we needed to celebrate.

If that wasn't enough, we released the second issue of Cookie Crumbs,  a zine showcasing the series in 2014. This wouldn't be possible without the assistance and talent of cartoonist/illustrator Alex Nall. Every month last year, Nall documents each reading with doodles, full page comics and caricatures of the readers. Additional content included flyers, Two Cookie 4 year anniversary messages, and some notes from past readers. (The zine is available at Quimby's to purchase, along with issue 1 documenting 2013).

Still not enough? Well, thanks to Sarah W, we helped ourselves to some homemade vegan chocolate chip cookies. Celebration complete.

This group photo is a bit dark, but it represents the celebration. I appreciate all those who came out, that supported us over the years, and to our venues past and present.

Here's to the start of another year!
- Johnny Misfit

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Two Cookie Hits the 5 Year Mark

Two Cookie Minimum has been going strong for 5 years and to celebrate will hold an anniversary reading on Tuesday, July 14.

Through the years, the series has been home to Chicago’s self-publishing community, supporting the work of comics artists and illustrators, independent publishers, students, authors, poets, visual storytellers, and musicians.

The night's performers Include: Comics artist and illustrator Leslie Perrine, Zine publisher and writer Ben Spies, and Independent author and zine publisher Jonas. Hosted by Johnny Misfit.

To give a bit back to the Two Cookie audience, other having free cookies available at every reading, this anniversary will feature the second issue of the self-published zine Cookie Crumbs. The first issue featured the work of resident Two Cookie artist, Chicago cartoonist Alex Nall, who included sketchbook drawings depicting the readings. The new issue will supplement Nall’s artwork with essays from past performers and readers, commentary from host Johnny Misfit, and various photos and flyers from the past year.

The reading begins at 8pm at the Comfort Station, 2579 N Milwaukee Ave. Donations will be accepted at the door benefiting CHIPRC. Two Cookie continues on the second Tuesday of every month at the Comfort Station through September. And it wouldn’t be a party without free cookies. The event is all ages.

A bit of history:
Two Cookie Minimum held its first reading in 2010 at Lakeview’s Fritz Pastry. It held residency at Roscoe Village staple The Hungry Brain until that establishment closed its doors in the winter of 2014. Its current home is the historic Chicago Park District space The Comfort Station in Logan Square. These five years have seen more than 45 shows featuring over 200 readers, boasting a few out of town guests to boot. Recognized in press outlets Chicago Literati, Gapers Block and Newcity, the series has carved out a niche for itself.

Two Cookie’s ties to the independent literary community are clear from past readings that have supported Chicago Zine Fest, Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, Columbia College’s Fiction Writing department, and numerous literary presses. Their many themed readings showcased all female artists, local comics and illustrators, Chicago’s Polish community, and students from academic programs. The series is now supported by Chicago Publishers Resource Center (CHIPRC), a literary nonprofit, that helps its patrons share their work through the reading series.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Everyone gets thier cookies

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.” - Justice Anthony M. Kennedy

Friday, June 12, 2015

New Cookie June Reading

Two Cookie just keeps getting better at the Comfort Station. The reading this week featured some great stories and performances while being surrounded the the CS monthly artwork which included various rocks and geological specimens regionally from IL.  Thanks to everyone who attended this standing room only crowd. And the saving grace was there was air conditioning, nothing less from a placed called the comfort station.

The first reader was Todd Herskovitz who read at TCM back in the Hungry Brain days. He had a fun piece about nature, man's involvement in it, and how we are essentially all living parts of life on Earth. He was reading from a laptop facing a window, so I got a funny shot of him from outside the station.

Next up was Cathy Hannah who read her comic The Unemployment Line. It mixed forays into job hunts with short breaks for profiles of her favorite fine artists. Cathy took some extra time to clean up her comics for an all ages crowd, replacing all curse words with BLOOP! It read really well and killed. Cathy leads the Chicago Woman's Comic Collective which meets at CHIPRC, check out their next event on June 17.

Next we all welcomed Annabel Lang who walked up with a plastic grocery bag (more on that in a moment). Annabel was part of the Wasted Pages Poetry workshop at CHIRC this spring. One note, all her readings were memorized and performed from rote. She recited a few poems before mentioning she was going to be performing a two woman show Mannabel this month. The next piece she read was a selection from that show. She then reached into that grocery bag and began throwing out ziplock baggies of popcorn. It was all part of the act and one the crowd didn't seem to mind. 

Lastly we had art and prose from Jon Drawdoer. He read a list of things running through his head one weekend night from applying face cream to trying on new socks. The mundane is very
relatable and was a cause for the many laughs echoing around the room. His art was very abstract, depicting what thought patterns or brain activity might look like. It was an engaging mix for sure. 

Until next month, when TCM celebrates its 5th year anniversary, you'll have to wait for more. Sorry the photos are so bad, I'm not adept at using my cell phone camera, and am fine with never being able to. You'll have to come out a reading for better quality. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

June showers us with Cookies, Comics and more

Flyer by Jon Drawdoer
Two Cookie Minimum is back in the swing of things and welcomes summer with a great lineup for their June reading.  The series has settled into its new home at the Comfort Station in Logan Square, 2579 N Milwaukee Ave.
The next reading, Tuesday June 9th at 8pm, will feature
Writer/performer Annabel Lang
Comics Artist Cathy Hannah
Author Todd Herskovitz and
Comics Artist Jon Drawdoer
Hosted by series curator Johnny Misfit.

The series is sponsored by Chicago Publishers Resource Center, at 858 N. Ashland. CHIPRC supports the local publishing community. Donations will be accepted at the door benefiting CHIPRC.

And yes, there’ll be free cookies! The readings are all ages.
Reminder, new location and time. Two Cookie is on the second Tuesday of every month, 8pm at the Comfort Station through  September.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Alex Nall does it again: The first full Two Cookie Comic Strip

Cartoonist Alex Nall has been a regular at Two Cookie for the past few years. We welcomed him when he moved to Chicago and gave him room to grow be it reading on stage or supporting his drawings of our readers each month. He writes for Chicago Literati and they have published his first Two Cookie comic strip.

Alex will be working on a commemorative comic, a follow up to his release last year of Cookie Crumbs, which will be full of his drawings and stories. Look for it at our July Two Cookie 5 year anniversary. 

Two Cookie Minimum Returns!
Its true, there is no drinking at the Comfort Station. Also, my mustache does not have a name.
Two Cookie Minimum Returns! 2
Two Cookie Minimum Returns! 4
 Its true, I did wear a Bulls shirt and I did have fun. Thanks Alex.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New Cookie Minimum

The first Two Cookie Minimum at the Comfort Station is in the books. Upon entering our new space, one could be taken aback by the history of the space as well as the artwork that included patches of sod all over the floor. A plate of cookies and many smiling faces provided the old Two Cookie familiarity.

The reading on Tuesday, May 12th was the first reading in five and a half months. That is a long time and there was concern that people would have forgotten about the series or interest would wain. But we have some great fans and apparently offer a good time for attendees and readers alike. The first reading of our summer stint at Comfort Station was a packed house.
We had many returning regulars, new readers and guests, plus some foot traffic from the neighborhood. This was more than could be expected and Two Cookie is very thankful for the support.

We had 4 great readers of varying styles and topics, the typical lineup you'd get at a Two Cookie. There was a personal essay from Gina Marie LoBianco about getting prepared for her wedding, some creative nonfiction from Andrew Edwards about dressing up like Mario for a Nintendo promotion, person illustrations about family and ghosts from Laura Grothaus and a fiction story in 8 parts by Jillian Schumann.

Our resident cartoonist and documenteur Alex Nall had his notebook out easily capturing all the nuances and readers as he has done for the past 2 years. His work will find a home at Chicago Literati (we'll post those as soon as they are up).

This reading was a perfect gauge for what to expect this summer at Two Cookie. Stop by each month for a packed crowd (make sure to get there early for a seat).  Get turned on to some new authors, graphic artists, performers and self-publishers. Enjoy the history of Comfort Station and its patch of outdoor space in the middle of Logan Square. And as always, cookies cookies and more cookies.

Gina LoBianco and Laura Grathaus at May's Two Cookie

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chicago Literati Loves Us!

Thanks to the folks over at Chicago Literati, online lit mag and friends of Two Cookie. They graciously posted a welcome back article on our triumph return. Fanfare, confetti and cookies.
Read the article here.

Then feel free to join the Facebook event for our May 12th reading. Spread the word, tell your friends, holler back. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Two Cookie Minimum Returns!

After a winter slumber, Two Cookie Minimum is back with a new location, new date and new sponsor.

Two Cookie will begin a summer engagement on Tuesday May 12th in the heart of Logan Square at the Comfort Station located at 2579 N Milwaukee Ave. at 8pm. The series moves to a new date, the second Tuesday of every month. Two Cookie will be at the Comfort Station each month from May through September.

For the first installment, Two Cookie welcomes writer Gina Marie LoBianco, comics artist Laura Grothaus, writer Andrew Edwards, and writer and co-creator of LUMPS zine Jillian Schumann. Hosted by the insufferable Johnny Misfit.

The reading will be sponsored by Chicago Publishers Resource Center, located in West Town at 858 N. Ashland. CHIPRC’s missions is to promote the local publishing community, so it is a great fit for Two Cookie. Donations will be accepted at the door benefiting CHIPRC.

Of course, there will still be free cookies for all. We didn’t forget that. The readings are all ages.

Friday, March 27, 2015

What's the Delay?

News is on the horizon. Check back soon.
Thanks to all the loyal Cookie Monsters.

Tom Hiddleston Teaches Cookie Monster About Delayed Gratification
Also, I mean Loki and the Cookie Monster, awesome.