Thanks to the nice people of Jungle World – the weekly newspaper that´s been printing my comic strip Bigbeatland for the past eight years – I spent the last week in Portugal. Every year the staff of Jungle World makes a two-week work/vacation in a preferably warmer country. We go to the beach, swim in the ocean and at the same time produce an issue of our paper about the country we stay in. So far I´ve been to Turkey, Majorca and Cyprus with the Jungle gang. This year we had only one week, but it was the most luxurious one so far.
Our house was located 50 kilometers outside of Lisbon and we had rented three cars to take our group of 12 people around. We visited Casa Amarela, a Lisbon squat that is soon going to be demolished and I painted on a wall together with artists of the Lisbon comic art collective Chili Com Carne.
One day I was lucky and went surfing with a small group of our Jungle World staff for the first time. The two hours in the ocean were really exhausting, but I really want to try it again. Two days I went M.I.A and stayed with Marcos Farrajota, editor of the Chile Com Carne publishing company, in his Lisbon appartement. While there, we did this jam-comic together, which is published today in Jungle World.
Thanks to Marcos for his hospitality and thanks to the whole Chili Com Carne gang! Lisbon is awesome!
Holt euch ma´ne Jungle am Kiosk! Deutschlands krazymässigste Zeitung und ihre Redaktion zusammen unterwegs in Portugal! Wir haben viel erlebt! Diese Ausgabe lohnt sich! Echt! Natürlich genau so wie jede Ausgabe der Jungle World auch …
This year my girlfriend Julia and I spent our summer vacation in the US, visiting old friends of Julia in Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. We arrived in Washington, D.C. and, because none of us has a driver´s licence, took a train to Greenwich to meet up with Elisabeth who took us to her parents house. We spent a wonderful week there, going to the beach, sailing, and we even made it to a library sale, that I had read, also had records for sale.
The sale was huge and we arrived late so I had about 45 minutes to go through some 20. 000 books and records but I came away with some nice stuff, though only LP´s and some paperback cartoon books for 25 cents each. No 45´s yet.
A couple of weeks later into our trip I discovered that Elisabeth had recorded a 45 with her band THE SARNOS when she was living in San Fransisco. Somebody else has already posted their music on his blog here.
After this week Liz took us to Brattleboro, Vermont to meet Lisa and Chris.
Brattleboro is a real cool small town where I felt at home right away. Its two main streets have nice cafés, thrift-shops, book-stores, a art-supply store and two really cool record-stores. Lisa and Chris produce Bingo Granola, great tasting organic granola that they sell at the Brattleboro Farmers Market. We spent almost 2 weeks in Brattleboro and really enjoyed our stay.
Chris was one of the founders of WVEW 107.7, Brattleboro community radio and does a Thursday morning show, the Moose Haas show together with John Singer. John also plays in the Zip Code Rapists. On August 6, 2009 I was invited to be the guest on the show. From 8 to 9:30 am I played some of my favourite records that I have posted here over the past 2 years.
I bought a whole bunch of LP´s for 25 Cents each at Experienced Goods, a thrift-store that serves as a fund-raiser for the Brattleboro Hospice, and a lot of 45´s at Turn It Up Records, mostly between 50 cents or a dollar. I finally found a copy of the MAD “Twists” Rock´n´Roll LP there.
But my favourite store was In The Moment Records. I bought a whole lot of fine Rock´n´Roll 45´s there and also some weird stuff that I will probably post in the future.
This one I´ll post right away because it is a advertisement record, a Twist record and it even came with a sleeve. Just the kind I like the best!
After spending a couple of days in Vermont, Lisa drove with us down to Provincetown to meet our friend Nicholas Kahn, one part of the kollaborative duo KAHN & SELESNICK, who was having a gallery show there. This was before the show:
I had my doubts about Provincetown but only a couple of hours later the town had me convinced. On the main street Julia met her old friend painter and cartographer Marc Adams, who was also having an opening at the Schoolhouse gallery the same night. I asked him if he knew of a new fiction book about the life of a cartographer called The Selected Works of T.S. Spivit by Reif Larson and he said that he had just bought it. I then said that I had done the lettering for the German edition of the book, but I was dumbfounded when he told me that the father of Reif Larson was also going to be at the opening. And I did. It´s a small world.
We spend a wonderful time in Provincetown and at the beach in Truro. After a couple of days Nicholas took us with him to Brooklyn.
Nicholas and Sarah and their cats put up with us for more than a week in their Brooklyn apartment during the insanely hot New York City Dog Days but we still managed to cram a lot of activities into every day.
Took lots of trains to Manhattan and back to Brooklyn. One day this amazing group came onto the train:
Went to high-brow Barbara Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea to see the retrospective of legendary MAD cartoonist Basil Wolverton. I tried to capture a couple of those famous images how they were presented:
Nicholas introduced us to Brooklyn based cartoonist Josh Neufeld, whose new book A.D. New Orleans after The Deluge just came out. It was very inspiring to meet a fellow cartoonist, especially one whose work seems to be so close to mine. Josh already wrote about our wonderful encounter here. . You do indeed have a place to stay in Berlin anytime, Josh. We hope to see you soon.
And then eventually I got around to do some record shopping. I bought a bunch of new 45´s of local Brooklyn groups at Academy Records and also a bunch of cheap old stuff. And then I found The Thing.
The middle of the summer was probably the worst time to check out THE THING, a legendary thrift store located in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn on 1001 Manhattan Ave. Here are two short videos that we made there:
Julia left me for half an hour and then returned to see how I was doing. When I saw her I gasped: Thank god, you´ve come to release me!
It was too much, especially with the heat and the busy days that we had had in NYC. There are more than 100.000 records in that basement. I bought only about a dozen 45´s.
Now, THANK YOU SO MUCH to all our friends who let us stay at their places, fed us and drove us around. You are the GREATEST! Please come to Berlin soon and let us take care of YOU!
The weeks have passed and I haven`t gotten around to write about my trip to Mallorca together with the staff of JUNGLE WORLD. Last Thursday the issue came out, that we all worked on while on the island and it turned out great. If you can read German I recommend you to get it.
JUNGLE WORLD is a weekly newspaper that is sold on newsstands across Germany, Austria, Switzerland and for the first time at selected places in Mallorca. Every year the staff goes to another country to produce a paper. Three years ago I went with them to Istanbul the first time.
This time we spent 12 days at a finca in Buger, a small village in the middle in the middle of the island. I had a great time but there were some stressful moments for everyone. Being with a group in one house most of the time it felt like taking part in the TV show BIG BROTHER sometimes. But I enjoyed even that because of it was a real challenge. In my real life I stay at home all the time like the typical cartoonist and that`s how I like it. Being with a group 24 hours a day for 12 days is very tiring.
Besides that we all went out to get our stories. I met with the Mallorca punk band MOSTROS at their practice space and had a real good time. Later I wrote a little piece about them and the Palma Punk scene in the paper.
Four of us from the paper went to the local office of the Spanish anarchist union CNT. It`s located very closely to the Mallorcan Parliament, in a old appartement building. We interviewed their “Secretary of Staff” and spend a very nice time with the comrades.
Another highlight of the trip was meeting the local comic artist MAX and four of his collegues: TOMEU SEGUÌ, GABI BELTRÀN, ALEX FITO and CANIZALES. Minou and I put together a two page spread of their comics and drawings and I interviewed MAX for JUNGLE WORLD and we spent a very nice time in the cafè of the museum that was currently hosting a exhibition by GILBERT SHELTON.
This is a video that I pieced together of MOSTROS at their practice space:
As promised here are some more records from my trip to Croatia. Most of them I bought in a little thrift-store in Split. There is a lot of great beat and punk from Yugoslavia but I only spent 3 days in Split, so this only what I found in that short time. I`m not an expert on Yugoslav rock but I knew a couple of band names and picked up everything that looked slightly like rock or pop music.
Luckily Miro, the nice fellow who led me to the thrift-store, offered to give me some of his old 45s that he didn`t need any more. So on the following day we met in a cafe and he gave me about 20 more records.
This record belonged to him and I`m happy that he was willing to part with it. I`m not a big fan of progressive rock but I really like this Yugoslav brand of it: kind of pop-ish and funky. My favorite song is “Bube”. Thanks a lot Miro!
Cleaning records in the hot Croatian sun. They dried up in no time..