This past Saturday, I had my first book opening (combined with a reading) at Mission Comics, and it was a bigger joy and success than I could have imagined. I was selling and presenting my new book, We Belong: Stories and Portraits from the Lexington Club, which was my most ambitious art project to date. It has eighty pages of portraits, stories, anecdotes, and memories I made into comics while sitting at the now-closed iconic lesbian bar in San Francisco.
I was also presenting a recreation of the Lex bathroom that I made with fellow artist Anja Bircher. Here we are inside it:
And, the magnificent Kat Yoas read her spoken word piece about being a Lexington Club bartender, while I showed illustrations on a projector next to her.
A good number of people showed up, filling the space at Mission: Comics. People laughed at the funny parts of my presentation and seemed moved at the parts that were more somber. Reading in front of a lot of people made me nervous before it was happening, but once I started I realized that the crowd was very friendly and I relaxed. Afterwards I signed some books and enjoyed watching people take selfies in the bathrom (which is still up for sale, by the way!).
My favorite part of the reading was when we got to this part, a poem I wrote called "Goodnight Lex." We went through it panel by panel and I asked everyone to read it with me. It was moving, if I say so myself!
I also had a great time watching people goof around in the recreated bathroom, taking selfies and writing on the walls, just as Anja and I had intended...
I'd like to give a huge thanks to everyone who worked with me to make this happen -- my mom for organizing several family members to fly out to see it, my dad for working the tech/ slide issues, Anja for taking the lead on the bathroom, Kat for being a fabulous reader, Leef Smith for the amazing space at Mission: Comics and Art, the Lexington Club Archival Project for filming, and Daniel Hirsch from Missian Loc@l wrote a story before the reading that was picked up by SF Gate. And, everyone who came to see me present and/or bought my book! I am so touched.