Cinco de Sandra & the Joy-Schmuck Club

This is me. I like birthdays.

But without going into too much detail: I did not have the best birthday last year. I was nursing a broken heart (from just a week before, no less, which had meant a looong drive back from Mississippi). I didn't treat myself a fancy sushi dinner. I didn't get a good glass of wine with a friend. I walked the grounds of the Hillwood Museum, stopped to sniff every flower I saw, and stayed very very quiet.

That's not gonna be the case this year.

Because this year, my friends, we are having an extravaganza. You are invited. And through no fault of my own, we are calling it...


On May 5, 2012, an all-star lineup of DC and NYC storytellers will come together to blow your mind with live performances of poetry, comix, and stories at the Hillyer Art Space in Dupont Circle. Venues represented include Trip City, ACTIVATEcomix, and Barrelhouse. After that? We'll get the music spinning.

CINCO DE SANDRA’s lineup of performers includes:

Dean Haspiel 
Emmy winner for BORED TO DEATH title sequence, artist of THE ALCOHOLIC w/Jonathan Ames and THE QUITTER w/Harvey Pekar, creator of BILLY DOGMA

Cartoonist of HIT BY PITCH, FROG & OWL

Comics writer, SAM & LILAH, CRAZY PAPERS, others at ACTIVATEcomix

DC-based storyteller, author of YOU’RE NOT PRETTY ENOUGH

Spoken word poet, mothertongue organizer

BARRELHOUSE contributor and co-editor of Flying Guillotine Press

& yes, little 'ol me, quite possibly in Modern Alice mode*

The whole shebang will be hosted by man-about-town Brandon Wetherbee (of YOU, ME, THEM, EVERYBODY) and featuring the sweet sounds of DJ P-Vo (Hometown Sounds DC). 

We will have a merch table. We will have beer and non-beer. We will have a helluva lotta hijinks. We're asking $5 contributions at the door to defray the cost of the space, and to keep an eye on the head count, we're asking that you RSVP here (feel free to invite friends, too!). Beyond that, the only thing we're asking of you is to have an awesome time. 

*Don't tell my mom.

This event is hosted and coordinated by International Arts & Artists, LLC. Anyone familiar with the Hillyer Art Space (9 Hillyer Court NW) knows this is a FABULOUS venue--right off Dupont Circle down the alley from the Phillips Collection, accessible to metro and bus lines. Seriously, if there's one thing you go to in May, make this it. Doors open at 8 PM.

And while I have your attention, this contest should intrigue TRIP CITY fans...


Send your schmuckiest, most happless, awkward, embarrassing and/or clumsy personal story, 800 words or less, by May 7. 

Seth Kushner will pick the top three, which will then be read by a jury comprised of Emmy Award winning cartoonist, Dean Haspiel (Bored To Death, Billy Dogma), Eisner award winning cartoonist Nick Abadzis, (Laika, Hugo Tate), and poet/author Sandra Beasley (Don’t Kill The Birthday Girl, I Was the Jukebox) who will pick the first, second and third place winners. All will be published on, one per month, from least schmucky to most schmucky, between June and August.

The following prizes will be awarded:

1st Place – Signed copy of Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics by Christopher Irving and Seth Kushner

2nd Place – Signed copy of Seth Kushner’s limited edition CulturePOP Photocomix

3rd Place – Signed copy of the TRIP CITY Visitor Guide

Please, amateur schmucks only—no pros!!



Emmy-award-winning artist Dean Haspiel created the Eisner Award nominated "Billy Dogma," and illustrated for HBO's "Bored To Death." Dino has drawn many superhero and semi-autobiographical comic books and graphic novels for major publishers, including collaborations with Jonathan Lethem, Harvey Pekar, Jonathan Ames, Inverna Lockpez, and Tim Hall. Dino won the 6th Anniversary Literary Death Match in NYC with his "brute charisma" and curates cool multimedia at

Sandra Beasley is the author of I Was the Jukebox (winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize), Theories of Falling (winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize), and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a memoir. Her essays have appeared in the Oxford American and Washington Post Magazine. Her poetry has turned up in such venues as The Believer, Slate, and The Best American Poetry 2010. She keeps her heart in a suitcase and her groceries in Washington, DC.

Nick Abadzis is a cartoonist, writer, graphic novelist and editor of international renown who has been honored with various awards including the prestigious Eisner in 2008 for his graphic novel Laika. He recently relocated from London in the UK to New York City where he continues to work both as a storyteller and editorial consultant. His next major project is a revamped and digitally-restored collection of his first ever strip Hugo Tate, originally published in legendary UK music and comics magazine Deadline. This will be published by Blank Slate Books in 2012, and other graphic novels are in the works.

Seth Kushner’s photography has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, L’Uomo Vogue, The New Yorker and others. He was chosen by Photo District News magazine as a three-time winner of their Photo Annual Competition. Seth’s first book, The Brooklynites (with Anthony LaSala) was published by powerHouse Books in 2007. His next book, Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics (with Chris Irving) will be released in May 2012.


...who knows? Get crazy on May 5 and it might just give you a story for May 7...