A New Times Art Critic Reconnects with Underground Comic Icon Joyce Farmer, the Person Who First Inspired Her to Be One

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Joyce's interviewer in Santa Monica, Richard Metzger, is founder and former creative director of The Disinformation Company, a publishing house and its website, and was the host of Disinformation, a British talk show. His latest foray into subcultural matters is his website, dangerousminds.net. He chauffeurs us to a taping room at Mahalo.com, located in a strip mall on Colorado Avenue. I sit four feet outside the room, looking up at a gigantic monitor displaying the interview. Before they begin talking, I overhear Joyce asking Metzger whether or not she could swear on camera; Metzger gives her a thumbs-up.

During the interview, Joyce charms Metzger with a story about the first time she met R. Crumb in San Francisco, a tête-à-tête during which he, without warning, jumped on her back for a piggyback ride, straight out of Zap Comix.

It's then I realize, with particular clarity, that I would never have been introduced to the world of art or the art of speaking one's mind fearlessly about art, had I not befriended Joyce Farmer back in first-year Latin class. Joyce is one of those people who always will be a constant in my universe, remaining essentially unchanged, despite everything life, or I, might pitch at her.

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Kathleen Vanesian