Death and toilets.
We woke early, secured the leftover doughnuts and headed west. The rusty shades of the New Mexico desert eventually gave way to greener hills and a man walking his pet sheep along the side of the highway. Within a couple hours, we were hit with an unexpected heavy snowstorm that blanketed tumbleweeds in a thick layer of white. Bryan held the wheel through treacherously snowy mountain passes, and we eventually emerged into a less coated area just as one of my favorite tourist traps appeared in view.
If you ever find yourself in the Utah mountains, I can’t recommend the “Hole n’ the Rock” highly enough. I’d hate to give away its secrets, so I’ll just say the taxidermied donkey, Bigfoot exhibit and sculpted Franklin Roosevelt head are only the tip of the iceberg. This roadside monument is a testament to all great things, and it has clean restrooms.
The Albuquerque-Seattle roadway is an idiotic haul; roughly 1600 miles. We crossed five states in one day like true champs. Towards the end, we pulled off to fuel up at a Flying J truckstop. Before leaving a restroom stall, Bryan leaned forward to flush. He’d used a plastic fork to finish a baklava shake back in Salt Lake City, and had shoved the utensil in his breast pocket. As the toilet’s waters whirlpooled down with severe, whooshing, trucker-caliber force, the fork tumbled from Bryan’s shirt into the porcelain bowl. He mistook it for his cell phone, and leaned in to catch it just as the powerful water snapped the fork in half, somehow catapulting a considerable amount of water into his face. Toilet water. Truck stop style. He returned to the van and sat in quiet shame for several minutes before he told me his story.
We reached Seattle the following afternoon and gave high fives to everyone at Fantagraphics, the book’s publisher. We did a rousing interview/discussion called a “Diaflog” for their website. Our longtime pal Jason Miles took us comics shopping and we bought him our favorite pizza in the world. The place is called “Stacia’s” and they have 73 toppings (our favorite combo is steak, tuna and ricotta with alfredo sauce). The next morning, we joined Elicia at The Enematic Cinematic for a 45 minute podcast thing specifically on the subject of SURF II, the greatest new wave zombie beach comedy of the ‘80s.
From there, we reunited with our fellow obsessives at Scarecrow Video, the greatest (and largest) video store in the entire universe. They’d set up a pizza party for our book signing and many true warriors and old friends were on hand. Scarecrow was integral to Destroy All Movies!!! in countless ways, most notably that it was the primary source of our research rentals. Between me, Bryan and Scarecrow employee Spenser Hoyt, we likely watched about 14,000 movies from that store alone. They are the first name on the book’s Thanks page and everyone in the world should rent there or mail them a five dollar bill daily.
At 8:30, we kicked off a punk movie quadruple feature at the Grand Illusion Cinema, Seattle’s longest running independent movie theater. Bryan and I used to work there so we’re completely biased, but despite its tiny size, The Grand Illusion is the very very best. An audience of pals and strangers joined us for back-to-back 35mm screenings of VALLEY GIRL, GET CRAZY, CLASS OF 1984 and URGH! We stumbled out at 4:30 AM and drove back to the home of DAM!!! designer Jacob Covey.
The next afternoon was our final Seattle adventure, a signing/hangout at the Fantagraphics Bookstore in Georgetown. Everyone had fun, store manager Larry Reid made theater-style popcorn and we said goodbye to the cold, rainy city so we could drive one hour to another one.
I wish you’d let me know you were coming through Utah. I could have bought you lunch and we could have talked about the project. Glad you like Hole In the Wall. It is a treasure trove, for sure.