Arts and CultureSan Francisco

“All My Friends Are Dead” Party & Interview

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Oh no!

Here’s the deal. My friends Avery Monsen and Jory John wrote a genius little book called “All My Friends Are Dead.” I bought it years ago, back when it was a zine and these dudes were the funniest guys I knew. Now it’s a book (their second  published by Chronicle Books) and they are still the funniest guys I know.

On Saturday, August 14th, they’re hosting an all-day extravaganza at the Curiosity Shoppe in the Mission. They have planned an absurd and intriguing program for the 7-hour event, including cereal-eating, starting and speed-reading contests, guided meditation, snack time, nap time, tea time, and so much more! To give you a preview of how utterly entertained you are bound to be, I interviewed the duo for your reading pleasure.

What is your occupation?

Jory is a journalist and Avery is an actor. Both are almost completely destitute! Think of this when you’re on the fence about buying our book. In a very real sense, our next extra value meal depends on your generosity.

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Best money-saving tip?

Avery’s really compulsive about watching and returning his Netflix immediately. The benefits are twofold: A) you get the best value for each DVD, and B) you slowly alienate and lose all your friends! Jory’s quite spectacular at staying home for months at a time. He watches old David Letterman clips on YouTube, which are totally free. The benefits are similar to Avery’s.

Avery Monsen glamour shot. Good dentist!

What do you refuse to spend money on?

If you had asked us this a year ago, we would have said “dentistry.” WE CANNOT EMPHASIZE ENOUGH HOW WRONG WE WERE. In all seriousness, between the two of us, we’ve had three crowns, six fillings, and one root canal in the last year, which is like a medieval form of torture. Weirdly enough, dentistry has become all that we spend money on. Please buy our book and help us pay back our crowns, which don’t even fit very well and sort of look like real teeth and which we can’t stop rubbing with our tongue.

What’s your favorite free activity?

Constant mouth pain? Does that count? Also, staring at the ocean and thinking about life, choices we’ve made, and our unrelenting mouth pain. Also, walks in the woods where we try to take our mind off the dual-temple headaches being caused by the decay spreading through our skulls.

Jory John glamour shot, hiding his pearly whites??

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?

A million dollar baby. Just kidding. Three $300,000 babies, so they could make a little baby-pyramid whose sum would be worth one million dollars. (This interview is going really well.)

Why did you write this book?

We wanted to write about sexy teenage vampires, but some asshole beat us to it. Good one, us! No, the real story is: we’ve had this idea since 2003. We made it into shirts, and then little handmade zines that we sold at Little Otsu. It was only a matter of time before we sold out and took it to a publisher. We were hoping a bunch of people would buy it and then we could cash in and spend the rest of our lives as recluses, wishing we hadn’t peaked so early. So far, so good!

sad funny

Who should read this book and why?

Everyone! Except the elderly. We’ve found the joke doesn’t play well with the over-80 crowd. You don’t think our grandmothers are going to read this interview, do you?

If there was a soundtrack to this book, what songs would go on it?

Well, the obvious choice is “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, but we’ve never been guys to go with our first ideas. So, for the sake of argument, let’s say “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel.

The real deal

If there was a soundtrack to your life, what songs would go on it?

The complete catalogue of Randy Newman, featuring the song That’ll Do, from Babe: Pig in the City, as sung by pop icon Peter Gabriel.

What should someone do if all of their friends are dead?

In all seriousness, since publishing this book, we’ve gotten emails from some people who are actually going through really hard times, losing family members and friends. It’s been really touching. To those people, we just say, “Things are hard right now. And that’s fine. But every day, the pain will get a little less and life will get a little easier and the best thing to do right now would be to buy six or seven copies of our book.”

The Ripoff

What should someone do if Forever 21 steals all their ideas?

Yeah, it’s tricky. We don’t want to say “steal,” necessarily. Let’s just say we’ve been selling this shirt since ’03, and now Forever 21 has a shirt with a similar-looking dinosaur saying “All my friends are gone.” A similar thing happened with Hot Topic a few years ago, where it was the same phrase and same type of dinosaur. And with a company in Australia called Pulp Kitchen. And with a guy on eBay. And with another couple of guys in Portland. And with a band in Europe. We’re just two guys and we’re not particularly interested in trying to sue anyone. We just hope people will know who made the original … and we have the copyright records to prove it.

Avery in the "I feel MEH about New York" tee

All my friends moved to New York and now I have a vendetta against that city, so I’m pretty much the target audience for this book and your “I Feel Relatively Neutral About New York” t-shirts. How do you feel about New York?

You’ll have to wait and read about it in our next book. (Wink, wink.) But to give you a sneak preview, that place is a total fucking hassle. Also, have you been there in February? What a drag! Who did your weather, New-York-in-February? Mr. Freeze from Batman?! (On the other hand, it would be great if New York would adopt us in our ill-conceived One City/One Book campaign.)

What’s next for you and Jory?

We’ll be launching www.BrokeAssAveryAndJory.com pretty soon. We look forward to your Cease and Desist letter.

All-Day “All My Friends Are Dead” Extravaganza
Saturday, August 14th, 12-m-7pm
The Curiosity Shoppe
855 Valencia St. @ 19th St.
FREE

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Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe's youth was split between California and Kauai, frolicking on a macadamia nut farm in the tropics and landing finally in the Bay Area. Raised by super-Jew hippies, and the youngest of three sisters, Chloe learned early the virtues of thrift, economy, and green living. To the chagrin of her parents (who hoped, of course, for a Jewish doctor or lawyer), Chloe has put her degree from UC Berkeley to great use by becoming a folk singer. As "Chloe Makes Music" she plays shows throughout SF and beyond, donning vintage frocks, selling handmade merch, and pinching pennies as she sings for her supper. Calling Berkeley home for the last six years, you can think of Chloe as the website's East Bay Correspondent, opening your eyes to the hippie-filled, tree-hugging, organic-loving, vegan-eating, but way-overlooked and awesome assets of Berkeley, Oakland, and beyond.