Broke-Ass of the Week

Broke-Ass of the Week – Julia Wertz from Fart Party

Updated: Jun 24, 2009 12:47
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Every week we feature a different person from the community shedding a little light on their life of brokeitude.  Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something about the human spirit'probably not.

Wanna be a Broke-Ass of the Week?  Holler at us here and we’ll send you the questionnaire.

Julia and I have a lot in common.  We both started off by doing zines in San Francisco.  We’ve both lived in Brooklyn (she still does) but consider SF to be home.  And we both have have dirtier mouths than a sailor with Tourette’s.  The big difference between our work is that I write poop jokes disguised as travel writing, and she draws poop jokes disguised as cartoons.

Seriously though, I’ve been into Julia’s stuff since I first came across it a few years ago.  It’s honest, uninhibited, and most of all, hilarious.  She gives her readers insight into what life is really like when you’re a young artist, who’s not only awesome, but broke-as shit too.  You should check out the new comics she puts up weekly at and if you like those, you should totally support by buying some books or zines here.  But first, let’s hear what she has to say:

Name: Julia Wertz (although I sometimes write under the alias Penelope Boner)

Age: 26 on paper, about 16 on the outside, 6 on the inside

Occupation: Cartoonist, freelancer, asshat maker

What neighborhood do you live in?: Greenpoint in Brooklyn, NY. It’s a Polish neighborhood and always smells vaguely of sauerkraut. I live near a sewage plant and when the wind blows south it smells like shit. It’s also the site of the worst oil spill in the US. I fucking love Greenpoint.

Best money saving tip: Buying movie tickets from the kiosk and getting a child or senior ticket for $4 less.  They usually never notice and if they do, play dumb and they’ll usually let you go. I only got caught once and all I had to do was go get a refund and pay for an adult ticket.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: Shoes. I don’t understand the obsession with shoes. Just get a good pair for walking and call it a year or two. I don’t like spending money on clothes either but my only pair of pants just got a hole in the crotch so I guess I’m going to have to break down and buy a new pair soon.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?: My laptop and my bed. All the rest of my furniture is found stuff from the streets of NY and SF but I would never take bedding off the street. (or clothes since NY has bedbugs)

How’d that feel?: Unsatisfying. It’s not like I can wear my bed or laptop out to a party or anything.  But I do sort of live in my bed (I work, eat, write, draw in bed often) so it was worth the money.

Favorite cheap eat: Falafel! In SF they do it all wrong like a burrito and charge $8. In NY they do it with pita bread and charge around $3. Also finding a good, cheap Chinese take out place is great in that a serving of lo mien is usually about 3 meals and fried noodles are 30cents a bunch. Cheap pizza in NY is essential too, and again, SF just has shit pizza. But the best cheap eats in SF is Indian food, no contest. SF beats the hell out of NY in that area. SF beats NY in cheap, delicious burritos though. I can’t figure out why NY can’t make a decent burrito. It’s one of the east coasts greatest mysteries.

Favorite dive bar: In Brooklyn I’d go with duckduck (I bartended there before they fired my bum ass for a completely legit reason) or Boulevard Tavern and any of the free pizza bars. I’m a sucker for free food, especially pizza. I live right around the corner from what’s known as the “heavy metal bar” which is cheap as shit during happy hour ($3 whiskey sodas, every 4th drink free) but once it fills up and they turn on the juke box, the grandma in me goes running back home.

In SF I used to love the Brown Jug in the Tenderloin. There would always be some drunk bum yelling at the pool players or singing along to the radio. Other favorite dives were Molotovs, the Attic, the Phone Booth, I could go on and on…I like SF bars much more than most NY bars, they’re not as rowdy. I like to be able to have conversations without spitting in someone’s ear.

Favorite free thing to do: In NY there are tons of free movies and concerts of all kinds to attend in the summer, and free readings in bars and bookstores. In SF I like to hang out at Baker or Ocean Beach or bum around Golden Gate park or drink beer in Dolores Park.  Walking up to Twin Peaks is always fun too. I’m a big fan of people watching, which is the best free activity ever. Especially when there’s booze involved.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: A cute one bedroom apartment in SF. I might not want to move in right away because I’m not done with Brooklyn, but eventually I want to go back and find a permanent place to live. I love Brooklyn (I hate Manhattan) but San Francisco is my home.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: Absolutely. I find great pleasure in the things I do out of financial restraints like sneaking into movies, walking instead of taking the subway or attending free events and sneaking in cheap wine. If I had money I’d still do those things, but they’re more fun when you do it because you have no choice.

Do you own my book?: Yep, and I couldn’t agree more with your review of Mars bar in Manhattan. That place is like an open sewer crawling with AIDS. I don’t understand the allure of drinking in a dumpster just because everyone says it’s cool.

Best hangover cure?: Just keep on drinkin’

Are you a hipster?: That question is so 2006 that I can’t even read it.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.


  1. […] Ass Stuart’s website features weekly interviews with a “broke ass of the week” and this week it’s me in all my poverty stricken glory, waxing wise on frugal living and […]

  2. May 14, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Broke Ass of the Week? Nice!
    I linked here from Fart Party and I’ve been officially inspired to quit my job and lvve peaceful life of music and broke-itude!

  3. Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
    May 14, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Awesome J! Glad you dig what we’re doing.

  4. […] Party’s Julia Wertz was recently featured as a “Broke Ass of the Week.”  She shares insider tips about how to live cheaply in […]

  5. […] [Profile] Julia Wertz Link: Broke-Ass Stuart […]

  6. […] HQ.  Her books and zines are fantastic and both Monica and I check often.  If you remember a bit back Julia was Broke-Ass of the Week.  In fact it’s been our second most read post, just behind […]