-Lynda Barry, 11-5-09
Last week, as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival, Matt Groening and Lynda Barry gave a talk at UIC. Luckily, I moved my schedule around and got to go and WOO-HOO, it was great! The place was crawlin' with all kindsa people: stank-nasty art kids, nice, tidy fellas, and academic-types wearing sweater vests.
After the Humanities Festival representative gave a sort of sad introduction (he reminded me of an old man version of Brand from The Big Lebowski), Matt and Lynda mentioned a few anecdotes about their time together at Evergreen State University in the 1970s:
-Before they met, Matt had heard about "the girl who'd written a letter to Joseph Heller" -who turned out to be Lynda- and wanted to know more. She'd written "Ingrid Bergman" above her return address, and the letter itself consisted of praise for Catch-22 and a marriage proposal. Heller responded saying he would marry her, but he just didn't want to live in a dorm room.
-Lynda mentioned that all one had to do to get into Evergreen was make a peace sign out of lentils on construction paper.
-One day when really, broke, Lynda was having a bit of a freak-out in the cafeteria. All of the sudden, one of the art teachers hurriedly approached her, asking, "you're a model, right?" Apparently their model hadn't been able to come into class and they needed someone to draw, lickity-split. Having remembered that the school models got paid a whopping four bucks, Lynda agreed. When she showed up, they told her it was a nude modeling session, so she took off her clothes and started posing. Since the only naked lady "art" she'd seen was in Playboy, Lynda started posing like a trashy, modern day pin-up. The teacher told her to tone it down a little bit.
-Matt was the Editor of the school paper and wrote an ad saying he'd publish anything. Lynda started giving him comics and the rest is history.
One of the best parts of the talk was when they read some Will and Abe strips. Matt turns his kids' conversations into comics and they're really, really funny, so check 'em out if you get the chance. Matt also showed some of his favorite clips from The Simpsons and Lynda read the introduction she wrote for a book about comics.
Lynda tended to dominate the conversation, which was okay for the most part because she's so damn funny, but things got a little awkward when she mentioned that Matt had proposed to her at one point and she'd turned him down on the spot. I couldn't tell if he was pissed at her for mentioning it or not, but he played it off well by saying that they both couldn't really stand each other.
The day after the talk I went to the Flaxman and checked out the first three discs of the third season of The Simpsons. It was funny, but I don't know if I'll ever be a major, hardcore, die-hard fan. I like it, but it 'tain't m' favorite. The reason why I wanted to go to the talk in the first place was because of one of Lynda's books, 100 Demons. It's beautiful, as are all her books. Go to your library and check them out.
I'm sorry if this post is shittily written. I had to whip it out real quick and don't have time to do a thorough proofread. I'll make corrections later, but for now, try to ignore any mistakes you might find.