Animation Freaks & Comic Geeks Taking over SF!
This week, San Francisco is getting a taste of good old comics and gnarly cartoons brought to you by Keenan Marshall Keller, the guy behind PERMANENT DAMAGE, an inclusive and cool comics festival happening at Silver Sprocket in the Mission, and CARTOON DAMAGE, a one day screening of amazing animation happening at the Balboa Theater.
From a participant’s point of view, a lot of Comics Festivals are not really that cool. They charge a lot of money from the artists (as much as $150 for half table and $250 for a full table, ouch!) and sometimes there’s a ticket fee for the public. Not at PERMANENT DAMAGE! Keenan and Silver Sprocket made it possible to create a small but mighty show that is free for all! Hooray! Featuring great artists from all over the country, such as: Skinner, Kevin Barry, Harry Nordlinger, Matt Crabe, Jose G Angeles, Ivy Rose, Miles MacDiarmid, Mara Ramirez, Killer Acid, Fred Noland, Tom Neely, Josh Pettinger, Cristian Castelo, Steve Lafler, Ed Luce and yours truly!
On top of that he’s curating a screening of the most weird and awesome cartoons from independent artists at the Balboa Theatre on Friday October 23rd, hosted by the one and only Bay Area’s favorite cool weirdo: SKINNER. Featuring lots of new and rare animations from Amy Lockhart and Devin Flynn, Adrian Dexter and Pernille Kjaer, Skinner and Trevor Borrens, Lale Westvindand more!
I chatted with Keenan about the shows.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you got into comics and animation?
Well. I grew up loving comics but I always felt like I couldn’t draw… So, I didn’t draw my first actual comic till I was 30. When, I made my first comic Galactic Breakdown and realized no one would put it out, so I had to… and while getting it ready for print, I became part of (and later, sole Director of) Drippy Bone Books, a micro-publisher of art zines and comics for 10 years, where I published comics by Derek M Ballard, Austin English, Box Brown, Josh Bayer, Pat Aulisio, Victor Cayro and others, as well as my own comics and zines. Those projects brought me into the world of comics and lead to me working with Tom Neely on the IMAGE comic The HUMANS, (which we co-create. I write. He draws.) and now I continue with my new imprint, Future Classics Press and projects like Permanent Damage and Cartoon Damage.
I admire artists that get involved in curating shows, taking time off from their own routine and production to do something for the community. It’s a lot of work and usually it’s cooler when an artist is doing it because they know the other side of it. How did the idea for Cartoon Damage and Permanent Damage come along?
I’m not sure why I started curating.
Mainly I wanted to see things I wasn’t seeing and share work I thought wasn’t getting enough notice… For a time I was a part (1/3rd) of an Echo Park gallery called SHOWCAVE, where I curated and co-curated all types of art shows, musical events and screenings… But I got sick of throwing parties… I continued to occasionally guest curate shows at numerous galleries around L.A., but it’s a lot of work and it takes a lot of time and so I slowly stopped curating.
Then in 2019, my friend Lance bought a bar in Cypress Park L.A. and opened Permanent Records Roadhouse, which was L.A.’s first Bar, Record Store and Venue!
With the space available to me I realized I needed to do a comics show…
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Permanent Damage came straight outta of realizing that I needed a local outlet for my work. That my friends and artists I admire did too. And that there was an audience for the comics I liked in L.A. and I realized there was something I could do about that.
We did the first Permanent Damage and even though it rained, it was a HUGE success! We were planning on doing another in 6 months. a couple months later, the pandemic hit.
And thru the pandemic, I realized, that Permanent Damage was more needed than ever and couldn’t wait to bring it back!
We’ve done 2 events since, Nov of 2021 with our 3rd coming up at Silver Sprocket on September 24th and more to come!! (Dec 4th in L.A. and beyond)
It’s really no different than why I make art. I want to create shit and have it seen and if I can’t find ways to make that so, I WILL MAKE THE WAYS.
There’s a wide range of styles and artists from different places participating, it’s pretty awesome! How do you find new artists? Do you enjoy going to comics festivals?
Usually it’s 100% curated and chosen by me, but for Permanent Damage SF, only 75% of the final roster are artists I knew I wanted to ask in advance. I’m from L.A. and I’m not attuned to the Bay Area scene so I asked Silver Sprocket and Skinner and a few other local artists whom they thought would be a good fit. I went with some of their suggestions and I’m very happy with the results and final lineup. It’s a killer show!
As for enjoying fests, that’s a good question, cause no. I usually don’t too much… There are some that are fun,(HeroesCon/Short Run) but not enough.
That’s another reason behind starting this show and beginning to tour with it (We’re hoping to go to Portland and possibly Joshua Tree in the future), because a lot of events aren’t weird enough, or lack the style and quality of creators I’m looking for, and are these huge events that are so big you lose all sense of why you’re there… I just wanna hang out with like minded artists, meet some people interested in comics and have a good time.
As an artist participating on Permanent Damage, I have to say that you and Silver Sprocket were pretty generous by not charging us fees and the event is free for the public. That’s what community support feels like! How did you manage to do this?
Well that was the idea from the start. Keep it FREE for artists.
I keep PD a smaller fest so that I don’t have to get into renting tables and chairs and a space to do it in…
It will ALWAYS be free for the artists to table. No reason to charge artists.
They’re what make the show. It’s like charging a band to play an gig… makes no sense to me.
When a con is $25, or $50 or MORE, that’s a shit ton of comics sales the event is taking away from their audience and the artists…. No reason to try and take money away from the artists cause the show is all for and about them! And since we’re not having any live acts (besides a killer LIVE COMICS READING!) there is no need to have a cover charge! We want people to give their money to the artists…
When Avi and Silver Sprocket reached out to me to do the event at their shop, they were totally down with it being free and they could help with all the needs of the show so it was an easy partnership.
Let’s talk about Cartoon Damage, I heard about it through the great Skinner who is hosting the show at the Balboa Theater. What can we expect to see and why people should go?
It kinda happened really fast and outta nowhere. I’ve always loved animation and cartoons but have never had the patience or skill to try my hand at it personally… But I’m a big fan and in awe of those whom do it well. So, after I booked the Permanent Damage SF show at Silver Sprocket, I started thinking about what else I could do in SF while there? I have a good friend, cartoonist and publisher of the horror anthology Vacuum Decay, Harry Nordlinger, whom works at the Balboa Theater and I thought maybe I could do an event there the same weekend as Permanent Damage SF, similar to the animation segments we have done at past Permanent Damage shows?
So, I started asking some animator friends and online acquaintances, friends of friends and then I asked Skinner to showing his piece and if he knew any weirdo animators whom might be interested and he hooked me up with several creators and all the sudden, I had a 90 minute animation program to show!! An amazing one at that!
The lineup of artists in this is amazing. I’m stoked to share it with everyone!As you mentioned, Skinner is hosting the event but he’s also showing his short, co-created with Trevor Borrens, BACK ISSUES, a brutally annoying comic book store clerk and his endlessly funny rantings!!
We’ve got THOSE SHOES by the amazing Amy Lockhart (HUGE FAN!) and Devin Flynn, which focuses on a mystery at a strip club that is beyond bonkers!! And we have the epic Terra Incognita by Adrian Dexter & Pernille Kjaer. An epic and beautiful tone poem featuring gorgeous landscapes and magical and immortal beings as time and meaning slip by… It is a beautiful film.
Revered Cartoonists: Lale Westvind and Matthew Thurber both offers up 2 amazingly shorts in their distinct styles. And become your breath and meditate to the beautiful music video, Lemon Lime by Mara Ramirez, music by AC Crowley.
Plus we’ve got the convenient store conspiracy freakout that is Deepstates Ep.1 by Molly Wright! Christina Fidler brings her dry, uncomfortable wit and excellent storytelling with, Condolences From A Vulgar Tongue or (boner)
Plus two shorts of absurd weirdness and humor from Pat Kain, featuring the world premiere of Nipple Man co-created with Rudy Schultz. And last but not least! The GREATEST art lesson of ALL TIME, from Lordspew comes, Corn Cob Muscle Drawing Tutorial.
I am blown away by the high level work and diversity of style we’re able to show with Cartoon Damage. This is an IN THEATER only event. So get your ass in the seat!!
Plus we’re doing a DOUBLE FEATURE with an 1 hour+ program of 35mm cartoons and animation from deep within the Balbao Theaters Vault!! Curated by Harry Nordlinger!! So it’s an amazing night of fucked up and beautiful cartoons, all hosted by Bay Area Artist and Madman SKINNER!!! Only $15 for TWO PROGRAMS of kick-ass animation!
Friday Sept 23rd at the historic Balboa Theater!!
Come out and get Damaged with us!!
WORLD PREMIERE of the Animation Festival Freak-Out that is:
CARTOON DAMAGE : Info & Tickets Here.
Silver Sprocket, 1018 Valencia St, San Francisco
Balboa Theater, 3630 Balboa St, San Francisco