I spent far too much time haunting the streets of Chicago today, going to book stores, coffee shops, and a kick ass breakfast place (Sally's Waffles on Harlem Street where my coffee cup never went empty). I got down to North Avenue around 1PM where I had five hours to kill before I should have shown up at Quimby's Books. I couldn't resist popping in a little early to scour the shelves. Seeing the incredibly diverse and bizarre stuff stocked there really made me proud to have had Cashiers du Cinemart there for so many years and to be doing my Impossibly Funky schtick. Coming in and seeing Impossibly Funky on the coveted front table made me a little verklempt.
Tonight's gig turned into something of a farce. Maybe it was last night's snowfall but the turn-out was bloody dismal. Of everyone in the audience, only four people weren't facebook friends. Three folks I went to college with, two I grew up with (overlap of one with the previous group), one of them I worked with, and one I knew from the film festival scene. No records for attendance were broken.
I went ahead and did my routine anyway, pretending with a wink to the six/seven familiar faces that I didn't know them. I told a bit about the history of the zine, showed off some old issues, talked about my inspiration, and launched into an even tighter version of "Theater Daze" than usual (before each reading I take a hacksaw to it). I did some Q&A, talking about how awful Skyline is (can you tell I haven't been to the movies in a while?) and how Penetration Angst needs to be seen by more people, just so I'm not alone in my suffering.
This was the first time I arrived at a gig where the bookstore had already bought books through my publisher. I have to hand it to Quimby proprieter Liz Mason. She had twenty books there, waiting to be sold. Not wanting to leave her in the lurch I asked her to just keep those that she thought Quimby's could sell in the future and that I'd buy that the rest at cost, making for a rather expensive evening. When you put things in terms of numbers, I sold two books at Terror in the Aisles, Quimby's sold two books tonight, and I bought ten books back. I don't think that the government could do a worse job managing my money.
But, like I said before, I wouldn't have done any different. I had a blast seeing my old friends and making new ones. It was a highly successful and enjoyable failure.