Hunter and I went to the Regretsy (regretsy.com) book signing at Powell’s today, which was totally awesome. April Winchell aka Helen Killer was very pleasant and intelligent and well-spoken (oh shocking, I know).
I love this woman. Not only has she found herself a brilliant comedic niche to fill (and filled it beautifully), but she’s got a goddamned heart of gold. I must have started visiting the site within a week of it’s first post, though I didn’t start commenting until much, much later. But I visited it regularly, cackling with delight at the teddybears with human genitalia, terribly ill-conceived jewelry, horribly made clothes, and bizarre art. However, when I first noticed that she was not keeping the money that this inevitably made, but rather doing charity work- well my heart was won over for good. It was the knitted boobs that really did it- hand-knitted breasts for women who’d had mastectomies. Rather than buying a big gelatenous 1200 fake plastic breast, being given- GIVEN- a handmade knitted boob in a fabulous array of colors and patterns, with or without peircings—- oh. I just about peed myself.
(For an example of knitted boobs, check out http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall05/PATTbits.html)
I don’t feel any special need to donate to big cancer charities, even though my mother, grandfatehr, great aunt, and great uncle have all been hacked down by it. I just don’t think that cancer charities do that much good- If I had money to throw at a charitable cause, I might donate it directly to a lab, not buy a pink ribbon- since those charities end up using most of the money they raise to promote awareness, which does nothing to cure cancer at all. However- knitted boobs? Now THAT is useful. Practical, artistic and totally bitchin. – April manages to take snark and turn it into something useful- possibly for the first time on the intertron. She keeps 0% of the proceeds of the site and instead picks a worthy cause (and they are always magnificently worthy- a seller who was robbed of all her posessions, a crafter whose husband is going through chemo and she needs a new sewing machine so she can stay at home with him more, etc)
Now I’m checking the damn site every day, even on days I know there won’t be any new posts.
I’m a true Regretsy-junkie.
She slammed Voodoo Doughnuts for being unsportsmanlike and not being willing to host an after-party/faux-wedding, which of course was totally justified. I think popular locales in this city get so much lip-service that they get all egocentric and think they’re above actually providing a service. Movie Madness, Jackpot Records, Apizza Scholls, Voodoo Doughnuts, Buffalo Exhange, The Montage, etc etc are all guilty of this “too hip to serve” mentality.
They’re just too fucking cool to bother with actually being polite, or doing their jobs.
I should know, when I worked at Movie Madness nigh on 12 years ago, it was exactly the same- I was nice to people, but my coworkers seemed to want to cultivate this “I’m just too underground and awesome to answer your pedantic questions” attitude. If someone came in and asked if we had a “Steven Spielberg” section, there would be snickering in abundance. I certainly was not excepted from induging in the “you think Quentin Tarrentino is an underground director haha you’re so lame” mockery, but I forgive myself because I was 17, and 17 year olds are assholes pretty much across the board. It’s hormonal, and can’t really be helped.
It seems like these places get a “pass” because they DO have a great product- Voodoo Doughnuts really DO make great doughnuts, so if you’re too snarky about their snarkiness, one feels almost traitorous. Maybe, like the famous soup nazi, they’ll hear about your treachery and stop giving you maple-bacon doughnuts! Or maybe people will think that by calling them out on being dicks, you’re somehow alligning yourself with Krispy Kreme. Who knows why people let them get away with it, but get away with it they do.
It was highly satisfying to see someone call them out on this shitty behavior.
We may not be crab-hammering puritanical dickbags, but we certainly are occasionally hipster scum.
ANYHOO, great fun was had by all. Big ass crowd, great reading, and was, predictably, really amusing. She read from the book but also diverged into stories and quips that were not recorded, which was delightful. I probably looked really foolish but I asked two questions in a room full of people who couldn’t seem to think of anything to ask her at all. This kind of thing has always been a point of irritation for me- you have this person here who you have come here to meet, and who has come to meet you, and you’ve certainly thought of a shit-ton of things to ask her, but now that it comes to it, you’re too damn shy to raise your hand. Pthh.
I really could have just sat down and jabbered at the poor woman for hours, but of course once I got to her in line I was a stuttering, stumbling, red faced, twitchy, itchy mess.
I did get a good spot in line for the signing and managed to get up to see her pretty fast. I gave her a ’45 of “Fat Bob the Singing Plumber” as a gift to add to her notorious collection of terrible/ awesome music. She gave me an embroidered pantyliner (!!fucking awesome!!!) bookmark, and totally knew who I was. When I told her my name, she remembered my last name- I said “Esmeralda”, she said “Rupp?” which means I probably talk too damn much on the site.
I do snark an awful lot.
Anyway, it made me feel like my stomach was about to fall out of my ass onto the floor, and I wanted to say a bunch of shit which just came out as a sort of garbled mess. Oh well. I’ve never been startruck before, but not I totally know what it’s like. When I met Billy Corgan I was cool as a cucumber, when I met Woody Harrelson I just shoved the poor man out of my way, and when I snuck backstage at the Misfits I stole their beer and didn’t even talk to them. But I meet April WInchell and I’m a gooey slab of idiocy. Hardcore.