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Harvey and Robbie at ART+STORY
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Harvey and Robbie

As I said in my last post, I’m a long-time fan of Harvey Pekar, and obviously that’s what brought me out to the event last night, but I was glad to learn a bit more about artist Robbie Conal ( audio.gif), as well. I’d seen his posters pasted onto traffic-signal control boxes on street-corners of San Francisco, Seattle (I think) and Los Angeles (in that order). You’ve probably seen them, too. Those giant portraits of politicians, drawn in a fleshy, decaying, pock-marked, grotesque, and needless to say, unflattering light.

Here’s a snapshot I took just before things got going and Louise Steinman (center) asked everyone to stop taking pictures.

Harvey and Robbie
Harvey came out to the stage first and sat there alone for a while, silently observing the audience with a subtle facial expression I could not read (although he did look happy). When things got going, his voice was almost non-existant, but it improved over the course of things. Nerves, I guess. I’m going to try to avoid summing-up what was discussed, because letting myself go will result in far more than I’m sure any of you would care to read and would no doubt become a bit trivial. I will just say that it was pretty casual, though well moderated by Louise. We heard Harvey and Robbie give some background information on themselves, their childhoods, how they got started doing what they are now known for, et cetera. Some parallels were drawn between the two of them, including having communist parents and being dubbed “folk legends” among other things. Harvey said some pretty funny stuff. He has a real unique personality and is a tough nut to crack, even with all the autobiographical work he’s done.
Now, for some reason I thought they might be podcasting this conversation, but they only seem to podcast selected ALOUD events, and thus far nothing’s shown up for this one. You can subscribe to the ALOUD podcast here, though, and if anything changes, I’ll make an update to this post or elsewhere on the blog.
Harvey and Robbie
After the “conversation” portion of the event, a line was formed for book signing and such. Jamie got in line right away, and so I was only the second person in line. I tried to bend Harvey’s ear, but it wasn’t easy with the long line behind me, the slight din of voices and the barracade-like desk he was stationed behind. Still, I went ahead: “Hey, Harvey. I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. When I was 13, etc. … So now I’m a storyboard artist and bla, bla, bla…” Harvey sat silently, looked at me a few times as I spoke, smiled slightly, perhaps, and tried to sign my books. I gave him my card. He put it in his pocket. It felt so rushed, but hey, it’s all a plus in my book.
IMG_4531.JPG

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4 Responses to “Harvey and Robbie”


  1. 1 Lee-Roy

    I have to add one more item to include in the pre-pekar, non-superhero comic experience category (see previous post and comments). Harvey’s the one who mentioned it during the conversation and I couldn’t believe it had slipped my mind. MAD MAGAZINE! I’d read it, of course. Read a lot of it. Now I truly hope that covers it. Pekar and Crumb still managed to blow the lid off of all that stuff… in their ways.

  2. 2 Randy Wood

    I’m looking forward to the Lee-Roy illustrated American Spendor.

  3. 3 Lee-Roy

    Haha! Thanks Randy! And thanks for being so diligent with the comments. You rock, sir.

  4. 4 Jamie

    I’m looking forward to the Lee-Roy AND Randy Wood illustrated American Splendor. Someone should do a spoof American Splenda.

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