Non-Sequitur # 57: A Chance For Folks To Meet

The Simple Things You Say Are All Complicated!

Yeah, so like I had a lot of stuff on my mind, then I forgot a lot of it,  then I thought of some other things to write about, then I got lazy, so um…let’s just jump in here…

I walked  to the grocery store early this morning and when I turned down one particular street, I saw  workers towing tons of cars. It was very weird then I remembered that they changed the route of the Gay Pride Parade this year and the starting point was actually in my neighborhood. I looked around and noticed all sorts of little signs on the trees that had messages about parking restrictions. I thought yeah, lots of people are gonna come out of these apartments in a couple hours and be PISSED.

A couple hours later I went to a different grocery store to buy beer. Masses of people had started to gather for the pride parade and then I thought, “Hey, this is the corner where those young dudes sometimes try to sell weed. I bet they won’t be out here today.”  Sure enough, as I passed their favorite awning, I walked by a dude on his cell phone pleading with one of his buddies, “But…Dude! Yer missin’ out on all this money! An’ I’m mad at so-and-so cuz I cain’t even get him on the phone!” I kinda wondered if his buddies didn’t want to come out because they were homophobic or if they were just more than likely concerned about increased police presence.

Sort of related to the above, yesterday, I passed the liquor store and there were a few guys  having a heated discussion out front. It was two wino looking guys  and one slightly younger dude in a shirt and tie. The tie guy was saying, “God’s not gonna go to Phelps ( I can only assume they were talking about the Father Phelps who goes around protesting gays at the funerals of dead soldiers) and say, ‘Ok, what was he doing…and what was he  doing…and what was he doing’…God’s gonna come and say, ‘What were YOU doing?” One of the wino guys replied, “But would YOU have sex with another man? Would YOU suck a dick?” I kinda thought…homie, if yer gonna get into a religious argument, ya gotta do better than, “But would you suck a dick?”  Understand, I’m not  making a case one way of the other for homosexuality, BUT…I’m not going to grow my beard out right now, that doesn’t automatically mean I think that people who do are morally suspect.

Yesterday, I walked to the local comic book store. On one particular corner ( at a strip mall nowhere near the comic book store by the way)  I saw a dude dressed like a superhero just sort of standing there. His suit was white with gold accents and he had sort of a Thor looking head piece with wings on the side. Thing is, I’d seen him a few weeks ago at the corner near my house ( his name was Spear Guardian or something, I can’t remember exactly). At that time, I thought he must be going to some party or event or just cosplaying for fun or something. Now I wonder if he’s trying to become the Phoenix Jones of the north side or whatever. All I can say is do yer thing, bud…but be careful. There’s lots of wannabe drug dealers with drooping pants around here, but there’s also real criminals too, so watch yer back.

Um, what else? …Oh!

Last weekend I went downtown to an indie comics convention. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. It was right before the Puerto Rican Day Parade ( Yes, another parade. It’s Chicago. From here on in there’s not going to be one weekend without either a parade or neighborhood fest, just deal with it). The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo was at Columbia College downtownhttp://www.cakechicago.com/. I got down there a little early, so I killed time at a Harold’s Chicken on Wabash St. I gotta say, that Harold’s is way better than the one by my house. It was bigger and extremely well light. The small fries I ordered would have been a large at almost any other eating establishment.

I didn’t check out any of the comics for sale at the convention cuz I’d already spent my comics budget for the week and I was mainly interested in seeing one  panel about women and atuobio comics. I thought they’d have an unique perspective on the medium. The artists had pretty interesting things to say about visual style and how much of real life they choose to put into their strips. I was a little surprised when one of the women made a random Jack Kirby  reference, but what REALLY surprised me was all the 80’s punk rock music that was playing over the loudspeakers before the panel started. Here’s what stood out that I can remember…

7  Seconds – Clenched Fists Black Eyes

Black Flag –You Bet We’ve Got Something Personal Against You

Fear-I Love Living In The City

Misfits –40 Eyes

Fugazi- I don’t know which song, but I know it was Fugazi

Ramones- Blitzkrieg Bop

I totally remember that stuff from my teenage years. Hearing it in this venue made me feel both young again and very old at the same time. Fuggin’ mortality…

Also, last weekend there a street fest right here in my neighborhood. It was Chicago Pizza Fest or something. Even though it was within walking distance, I didn’t participate. The food they had there was exactly the same stuff I can get any day of the week only cheaper. They had live music of course. The headliners were 80’s new wave pop stars Berlin   and a local group called Too White Crew.  The bands might have gotten  me out there, then I remembered I only like one song by Berlin. An’ no…not Take Your Breath Away, but Masquerade.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azr2ooLlfzQ The other group was Too White Crew, they’re a local group that  does hip-hop/pop cover from the 90’s.  I didn’t make the effort to stay. Then it turned out I needn’t bothered anyway cuz Too White Crew  were so loud that I could hear them from my apartment with the window up. Luckily, I guess, I like TLC and have nostalgic feelings for Bev  Biv Devoe, otherwise I might have been pissed.

Um, ok…as I finished typing that last paragraph, my internet went out. I figured, “Alright, I’ll go out and get some beer and come back to it.” Outside right now the streets are swarming  with young people. I guess because of events related to Pride Day. On the way back to my house , I saw two girls and one guy who I’m going to assume was gay walking towards me. It seemed they had just exchanged words with a couple of thug looking guys behind them. The guy was saying, “I thought I heard him call me  a bitch! I was gonna blah, blah, blah!”  I walked by the thugs, the bigger of the two I sorta recognize from the neighborhood. His partner, however, I noticed had his pants sagging in the stereotypical “gangsta” way. They were literally just past his ass. I’m thinking like, “You wanna make fun of a guy for being gay. but you have your underwear showing. Do you even know where that ‘fashion’ started?” OH, THE FUCKING IRONY.

Comedian #1: When Before Watchmen was announced I said I wasn’t going to buy this one. I was at the comic store and bought it anyway.I was disappointed. Fuck me.

Enuff negativity! Let’s remember sweet, sweet music! Martha and the Vandellas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdvITn5cAVc

 

Non-Sequitur #30: Not That There’s Anything Wrong With It

Dracula vs Dr. Strange by the great Gene Colan

So, finally I get a weekend where I’m not busy with important stuff or hung over or both. I think to myself, “Hey, maybe I should finally drag my lazy ass over to the theatre and check out that X-Men:First Class movie, it’s gotten some decent reviews!” I pick up the newspaper and look through the movie section and of course it’s no longer playing. Guess it my own fault for procrastinating.

I could have gone to Taste of Chicago which is an annual festival of food and music in town. A great variety of restaurants have booths and it’s possible to sample all kinds of tasty delights the city has to offer. Thing is, it’s always crowded and the food is expensive. I’ve gone in the past just to experience the music. In the recent years, I’ve seen folks from Stevie Wonder to Cheap Trick  to Macy Gray perform, but this year’s list seems kinda “meh”. Then I thought, “I should go anyway and take pictures for the blog!”  Then I remembered my camera is not working properly ( which is why I couldn’t share the C2E2 pictures I took). So, yeah…

I didn’t want to sit in the house, so…I went to Target and bought some pants.

On the way home, I saw a statuesque beauty trying to hail a cab. At least six feet tall and with her fancy hair do she might have been 6′ 4”. Tight jeans, black top, reddish brown hair…she could have been an Amazonian palace guard.

Then I walked past her and realized that “she” was a man. Oh, well…I guess she was still a pretty man.

I got about a block and a half away and looked back and saw that she was still trying to hail a cab. I found this usual because in that particular area, it’s not hard at all to get a cab in the middle of the day. I saw cabbies out. Were they all otherwise engaged or did they notice what I noticed? Did the cabs not want to pick up my new friend because she may have been “trans” or was I inventing things in my head be

The Legend Gene Colan

cause I remember what it was like to be followed around in department stores when I was younger because I was African American?

When I got back home I saw someone had put a rainbow flag in the window of the building management’s office. That’s when I realized it’s Pride Day or something. To tell you the truth, I was a little surprised by the flag in the office window. Yeah, I know there’s a couple of gay people in the building, but there’s also some pretty conservative folks as well. I was just surprised that management was willing to make such an obvious political statement.That’s all.

Anyway, the sun was still shining and it was still much too nice a day to stay inside. I could have gone to the beach and read one of the many books that folks have given me over the the last couple of years that I still  haven’t found time to read ( I got a couple of Dean Koontz, a Katherine Neville, an Ed McBain, and a bunch more). Then I thought about how I’m getting more and more out of shape and how I need to be more active. I decided to take a walk and stretch my legs and just take in the beautiful day.

I made it all the way to Clark and Addison and was a little hungry, so I decided to reward myself with some Taco Bell. Yes, yes…I know. One step forward and two steps back. I fully expect to go to hell for some of the health choices I’ve been making over  the last year or so. I haven’t been to this particular Taco Bell in a few months. I think the last time was when I saw the movie Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I actually recognized the woman  who took my order. She had a  tattoo and an odd gap between her teeth ( like myself). Maybe about 35-ish? But a hard 35. She was enthusiastic and friendly and seemed serious about her job even though it’s a fast food joint. I totally want to marry her.  In my mind though I imagine she’s already got a man. He’s twice my size and can kick my ass without breaking a sweat. Anyway…

After I left Taco Bell, I realized that I hadn’t bought new comics in a couple of weeks and I wasn’t that far from a store called Chicago Comics. So, I decided to walk a little further. I don’t get to go to Chicago Comics that often, but when I do it’s always fun to just look around. Of course, they’ve got the latest mainstream titles, but they’ve also got an interesting section of alternative and indie titles as well as DIY comics by local artists. Plus they’ve got an interesting selection books and magazines. For what it’s worth, I bought a copy of Fritz the Cat on VHS from this store back in the mid-90’s. I only bought a few comics though, because over the last couple of days I ordered a bunch of stuff online and really couldn’t afford to spend too much. Around this time, I felt my stomach turning over from the Taco Bell food I ate and knew maybe I should head home.

It's summer! I don't care what you say, pretty girls in flip flops are sexy!

Ok, by this time I’m by Clark and Belmont right where the Dunkin Donuts is. Back in my day this specific Dunkin Donuts was nick-named “Punkin Donuts”  because of all the punk rock and alternative type folks who used to hang out there. On this particular day, there was a DJ playing some dance music. The street was blocked off and completely packed. I don’t know if Belmont was the official starting place for the parade or whatever, but it definitely felt like it was. No cars and tons of men, women, young folks and families filling the streets. There was no way I was going to make it back to my place on foot, so I was trying to reach the El Train.

I made it to the platform. The train going my direction came and it was filled to capacity with young people getting off at Belmont. Most of them got off  so I was able to easily find a seat. Directly in front of me was a woman who had her head down with her fingers on the bridge of her nose, like she was stressed out. I almost said something to her, but I thought maybe I should mind my own business. She probably was just a little overwhelmed from being squished with all those other passengers. At least I hope that’s what it was.

So, I made it back to my neighborhood and went to a mom and pop store and bought some alcohol..er, no! I mean, uh… this day taught me about uh, the beauty of summer! I had had an epiphany about the brotherhood of man and the glory of civil rights! Um, youth and justice prevails over all and uh…the moral is ah…hell! What really happened was I took a nice long walk, enjoyed the sunshine, saw some nice people and came home.

Then I fought with my cassette player. It’ll play may Scotch mix tapes form ’88  fine, but I have to fight with it over my HR mix tapes from ’90. Whatever…

This is a very interesting analysis of Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz’s Electra:Assassin. http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v3_1/tobe/  

Hey, here’s a fun comic book website I stumbled on. Mars Will Send No More! http://marswillsendnomore.wordpress.com/

Also, check out this young lady’s You Tube channel. It’s classical piano covers of rock songs and many of them are hard rock/metal songs. In my fantasies when I direct my horror/action movie, this version of Metallica’s song will be the theme. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWW38l0RhFI

I guess I read a comic book when I came home…

Alpha Flight #1: Story by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente and the art is by Dale Eaglesham and Andrew Hennessy. Um, you know what?  This isn’t terribly different than the way I’ll write this comic if Marvel called me up and offered it to me. The only thing is, I’d include more characters from the You Gotta Be Kiddin’ Me arc from the early 2000’s. The original team reforms and fights Attuma. Canada declares martial law and there’s a twist/cliffhanger. I’m interested enough to want to get the next issue.

Secret Avengers #14: It’s a Fear Itself  tie-in, but so what. It’s very good issue by Nick Spencer and Scot Eaton. It basically concerns normal soldiers fighting Sin’s ( the Red Skull’s daughter) mechs as they attack New York and the parallels between Valkyrie and  the soldier’s battles and heartbreaks. Nice art and Nick is able to do what some writers seem to neglect, that is  tell a story that works as a one and done yet at the same time ties in to a larger arc or cross-over.

Also, Patti LaBelle. I don’t have anything deep to say here, just Patti LaBelle…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRDTBNVWKOw