Friday, April 30, 2010

comics o' th' decade. episode: li'l pico de gallo

Ever wonder how adolescence could have been more awkward an alienating? How about if you grew a mouth in your chest or a tail? Or what if your skin molted?

Black Hole (Charles Burns)

As unsettling as your own experience with puberty may have been, your dark teenage heart could only hope to match the blackness depicted in this series. Burns makes the worst fears of high school real, replacing acne with truly grotesque deformation, estrangement with actual banishment. Sex and the deepest anxieties about its dangers—desease, social rejection—are everywhere in this book. Yonic imagery is inescapable.

All this unease is illustrated magnificently by Burns's deep and foreboding blacks. This book is creepy for sure, but it also cuts into the innermost circle of our neuroses and shows how universal they are. And there's comfort in knowing you weren't or aren't alone.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

comics of la décade: episode li'l biblioteca

Kabuki (David Mack)

I bought my first issue of Kabuki (Metamorphosis #5) sometime during my senior year of high school. It was completely novel and I was enthralled even though I really had no idea what the hell was going on. I must of stared at those pages for hours trying to decipher the action. Some character named Kabuki was trying to escape from orderlies, preppy ninjas, and some kind of order of secret agents. These weren't your standard muscle-bound, spandex-wearing, Kirbyesque fisticuffs.

Kabuki wades through various genres—spy, superhero, cyberpunk, sci-fi, martial arts—using them as tools to expand on larger themes of identity and family, and the relationship between action and thought. Mack illustrates abstract ideas by placing his characters in abstract scenery—trapped in a blank limbo, floating in textures of water color and acrylic paint, running in Escher-esque algorithmic landscapes.

And just as he melds genres, Mack incorporates a wide variety of art media—pen and ink, watercolor, collage, pencil, oil, acrylic, photography, and sculpture. He uses a different medium and different styles within mediums depending on what's happening within the narrative. Action sequences may take on a more traditional comic book feel; while scenes focusing on the character's past and familial relationships might take on a looser, splotchy water color feel; and philosophical discussions between characters might take on a child-like expressive feel.

My point, really, regardless of all the highfalutin' bluster above, is that Kabuki is one of the most beautiful works of art I've ever seen. And the story is hugely ambitious, entertaining, and thought-provoking.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday, April 04, 2010

via tribunali

this spot is one link in a seattle mini-chain. neapolitan style is their game—wood-burning oven, buffalo mozz, "pomodoro", and all.

via tribunali, a story in pictures:

readers of seattle weekly like this place (it may help that there are multiple locations, allowing for more readers to have a convenient location to sample).

there are roughly two dozen pizzas on the menu. it made for a lot of hemming and hawing. we had nearly a half-a-dozen visits from our waiter before we were able to divulge our preferences. to be fair, i copped-out and settled on the margherita (non-d.o.c. version), leaving the really hard choosing up to ian & jenn.

the results were pretty standard neapolitan. über-thin crust, a sauce made of what seemed to be naked, canned tomatoes; fior di latte; and a dabbing of basil.

the charring speaks for itself, but the edge was described by ian as spongy and i concur. pretty good flavor tough. tasted like fresh baked bread, so they were doing something right.

the highlight for me was the cherry tomato, arugula, grana, and prociutto pie. the arugula was infantile and did not have the bitterness or peppery kick sometimes associated with older leaves. the prociutto was cut remarkably thin and kid of melted in my mouth. the cherry tomatoes played the sweet card and supplemented the saltiness of the prociutto and grana nicely.

maybe the best thing about this place is the neighborhood. when we tried parking in front of someone's house we mistook an inquisitive look from the homeowner for the hairy eyeball. turns out the guy was just checking out the oregon plates on the car. he was a chatty native american fellow who'd lived in portland for a while. he knows a couple of the people who own shops in the revitalized area down the street, which is where our pizzeria of note lies.

that block of shops is like a super concentrated greenpoint, brooklyn. hipster-punk central. lots of bikes, skinny jeans, and at least one tricked out woman sporting an 18" pink mohawk with leopard spots buzzed into the sides of her head. around the corner from via tribunali is the fantagraphics bookstore, a record shop featuring soul music, a cycle shop, a couple of bars, a café, a button-maker rental shop, a letterpress office, and a mo-ped shop. this is all surrounded by a neighborhood filled with auto-repair garages, and a giant boeing complex. the falafel truck was down the block.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

serious pie

i forgot my camera, so this review gets an automatic fail. the pizza, thankfully, does not.

the lowdown

serious pie does wood-fired, thin crust, oval pizzas. their dinning space is compact, with communal, bar-height tables. service was efficient and friendly.

two pizzas sampled:
1—buffalo mozz & san marzano tomato (fresh basil and dried oregano, not listed on the menu did actually appear on the pie)
2—black peppercorn cheeese, pancetta, asparagus (special of the day)

both pies had nice splotches of char on their cornmeal (or semolina?) encrusted bottoms. the edge of the ovals seemed to be coated in a salty, garlicky swab of oil, which gave the crust a little extra pop and zing.

The margherita, was nicely balanced between the light spring of the tomato's sweetness and the fattiness of the cheese and coated crusted.

The special pie's asparagus was chopped into tiny rounds and really played well with the thin strips of pancetta. the black pepper cheese was, frankly, a stroke of genius, adding just a hint of bitterness and spice to keep the tastebuds on their toes. i thank my friend ian for having the gumption or order this pizza.

additionally, lord chancellor thomas kemper's root beer is available.

the upshot

not necessarily what i think of when i imagine pizza, but a delicious change of pace. i haven't met another pizza exactly like it.