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Yummy Chicago coffee from Marla!

…for bringing us this yummy coffee goodness from Chicago!

Although… she drank most of it,

-Shady

…but, like our recent visit with Bill and Sarah, I have no photos to support that.

That said, I do have this image of an old beer can I shot while she was here. And considering the amount of beer we drank while she was in town, this seemed as appropriate an image to mark her visit as any.

Beer = Marla's Visit!

Second visit out of four back-to-backs,

-Shady

…including these two prints by Berlin artist Dirk Verschure

Dirk Verschure!

the painting of our three beasts by our good friend Jason “McFly” Kincaid

Three beasts by Jason "McFly" Kincaid!

…our good friend Marla Campbell’s original portraits of Mr. Fabulous…

Mr. Fabulous by Marla Campbell!

…Meatshake…

Meatshake by Marla Campbell!

…and Heisenberg…

Heisenberg by Marla Campbell!

…this “Being Bill Murray” print by Spain-based illustrator Loren

"Being Bill Murray" by Loren!

…this Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog print by Austin-based artist(s) We Call Ourselves An Institute

Jim and Kermit by We Call Ourselves An Institute!

…this print from Hungarian artist Aman

Aman!

…and finally, this original pen and ink illustration that also created by our good friend Marla Campbell.

Marla Campbell!

Needless to say, our walls are quickly filling up.

Fifty (give or take) more pieces to go,

-Shady

You may remember this, which detailed that move.

Anyway, nine years later, in July 2003, I moved out of Columbus.

Before last month, I had only been back to Columbus twice since 2003: once to give a lecture about Tastes Like Chicken at my alma mater (CCAD), and another time when I was passing through on my way to Pennsylvania.

Oddly enough, that last time was in October 2008, and I was going to Pennsylvania to celebrate the recent marriage of my good friend Jamie and her new husband Dave.

Last month, I returned to Columbus a third time (in 11 years… holy crap) because Jamie and Dave (who are now expecting their first child) threw what would prove to be a memorable (and epic) reunion party.

Old friends, some of whom I’ve known for over two decades, came from all over the country to celebrate food, friendship, and a little bit of fire.

We kicked shit off right at Thurman Cafe. Oh, sweet baby Jesus… I’ve missed you.

A burger from Thurman Cafe. This would be my death row meal.

After a day of prep (to be read: a shitload of drinking to cope with our Thurman-induced food comas), we kicked off October 11th with a stop at Young’s Jersey Dairy, the farm we spent our first pumpkin picking at in October 1994.

There are three people in this photo who were also there on that first outing 21 years ago: John Marshall (first guy on the far left), Bryan Loar (fourth guy from the right), and yours truly (idiot wearing the bright-as-fuck orange pants all the way on the right).

The first stop: Young's Jersey Dairy!

Three-quarters of the original 206 Crew reunited (We miss you, Special K!)…

The 206 Crew: Part I

…who pretty much look like slightly older (and in my case, balder) versions of these three kids from December 1994.

Three-quarters of the 206 Crew.

Later, we were joined by a second-semester 206 Crew member: the Goon!

The 206 Crew: Part II

So many folks showed up! I love each and every one of them dearly.

The whole gang was there. And I love each and every one of them.

We quickly fell into our old hijinks… which, for some reason, usually involve farts.

Old shenanigans.

Before I left, a few of us ventured over to 886 N. Dennison Avenue, which (from 1999 to 2003) was famously known as “The Coop.” The two windows on the left of the second floor look into my old bedroom. This is also the building where Tastes Like Chicken was born.

The Coop: Original

I experienced so many amazing moments in this building…

886: 1999 - 2003

…and I experienced all of them with these two guys: Milan and Brett, my fellow original members of the Coop Crew.

The Coop Crew: Now

The last time we were together was at Brett and Marci’s wedding in September 2005. Before then, one of the last times we were together was in this photo, which was shot on the front steps of the Coop near the end of June 2003, just before we moved to Milwaukee, and Brett moved up to Cleveland.

The Coop Crew: Then

When we were living at the Coop, our good friend Michelle lived right next door at 888 N. Dennison.

Michelle and I returned to reenact our neighborly feud (which never really existed). Thankfully, no one was home at the time; that, or they just wondered why some old strangers were snooping around and taking photos on their back porch. Either way, this photo made it all worth it.

886 vs. 888

Back in the day, Milan had a habit of “tagging” Michelle’s apartment. He would write “WALL” on her walls, or “FISH TANK” on her, you guessed it, fish tank. One day, he wrote “MICHELLE” on the ledge outside her window.

It’s still there.

Michelle's name (thanks to Milan) is still written on the side of the building. In crayon.

We stopped next door and visited (and smoked a filterless Lucky Strike with) our old friend Eddie (who famously gave us this shotgun as a going-away present when we moved out of Columbus)…

Eddie!

…and his sweet wife Rose.

Rose!

Before it all ended, a group of us met for lunch at Katalina’s for Nutella-filled pancake balls and thick-cut bacon.

The Last Supper (or, more accurately, Lunch).

As Jamie drove Michelle and me to the airport, we made our way through downtown one last time. The city looks completely different than it did when I left 11 years ago, but somehow it still feels exactly the same.

Cbus.

It was such a great weekend. Seriously, it was one of the top-three events of my life, right up there with our wedding on October 30th, 2011, and my surprise birthday party on September 3rd, 2006.

Sure, the food and booze helped, but it was the friends (who are family), the laughter, and the love that made the weekend so amazing.

The bathroom walls in Katalina’s are covered in chalkboard paint; sitting in a tray beside the sink are sticks of chalk, which everyone is encouraged to use.

I did.

Truth.

And I do.

Let’s do it again… soon,

-Shady

R.I.P.

You’ll be missed.

Got a pocket full of loose cards now,

-Shady

PS: That was a gift from Marla.

…my good friend Marla Campbell asked if I’d put Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot (AKA Cousin Larry Appleton and Balki Bartokomous of Perfect Strangers fame) in a header here on The Blarg.

I said sure, and quickly made up the banner you see above.

NOTE: For those of you happening upon this post late, here’s the banner again:

Cousin Larry and Balki forever immortalized on "The Blarg."

But I told Marla I’d do it on one condition: That she create an illustration of Cousin Larry and Balki, and then send me a photo of it when it was done.

A few days later, I got this in an email:

Cousin Larry and Balki forever immortalized by Marla Campbell!

Clearly, Marla is a woman of her word. Check out more of her work here.

Don’t be ridiculous,

-Shady

PS: Any other header requests, dear readers?

After a recent white elephant gift exchange, I (unfortunately) ended up with a box of Anne Geddes stationary.

Now, if you know me, you know that I love Anne Geddes about as much as I love the Dread Pirate Dale Chihuly. (That’s an art nerd joke.)

But rather than turn the stationary into scrap paper, I decided to have some fun. I took ten horrible quotes from ten terrible people in history, and then jotted one down onto each piece of paper. I then mailed it off to an old college friend (hence the “CCAD” at the bottom of each one) with no explanation inside. The only direction I included was: “Find a way to post this.”

Today, I received my eighth note from my good friend Marla Campbell.

So enjoy this eighth installment of what will (hopefully) be a ten-part series:

ANNE GEDDES’ WORDS OF INSPIRATION: MARLA CAMPBELL (2 of 10)

ANNE GEDDES’ WORDS OF INSPIRATION: MARLA CAMPBELL (2 of 10)

Man… that cigar takes the cake.

Two left,

-Shady

…sent us these amazingly dapper drawings of our beasts for our birthdays.

Mr. Fabulous!

Dapper Mr. Fabulous!

Meatshake!

Dapper Meatshake!

Heisenberg!

Dapper Heisenberg!

We love ’em! Thanks again, Marla!

Those are almost as cool as this “autographed” Maury Povich glossy that Erik and Robyn gave us!

Dapper Maury Povich!

We have the best friends in the world,

-Shady

I recently came across some old photos I shot over the last twenty years or so.

Rather than let them sit on a CD for the rest of my life I figured I’d save them to my desktop, dust them off, and share them with you guys one image at a time.

Hope you enjoy them.

"Marla at the Shady Bar"

Marla at the Shady Bar

I shot this image of Marla in July 2000.

She’s sitting at my grandparents’ basement bar at 905 E. Doty Place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sitting on the bar behind her is an old Schlitz bar lamp, and just above her is a vintage PBR lamp. My grandmother moved out that house in 2002, about a year after my Grandpa Shady died, and I have no clue what happened to those lamps. I do know that I would’ve loved to have grabbed them.

Hey, at least I got the steer horns and the tiger head, right?

Anyway, five of us (Jamie Coulson, Milan Zori, Jason Latta, Dave Crosland and myself, to be exact) drove up to Milwaukee that summer from Columbus, Ohio for a Fourth of July getaway. We took in Summerfest, visited with my family, and drank. A lot. A whole shit-ton, in fact.

Marla had been in Florida with her family when we drove up, so she flew in later in the week from Orlando. Marla is perpetually cold, so seeing her in a winter hat in the dead of summer isn’t that odd. In her defense, my grandparents probably had their AC blasting.

During that trip, a massive thunderstorm rolled through, and with it came a tornado warning. In the middle of it, we realized my grandparents only had non-alcoholic beer in their fridge. And so, in pouring down rain and with sirens blaring, we ventured out into the storm to pick up a case of shitty beer. Probably Red Dog.

This photo may (or may not) have been shot on that night, as we rode out the storm from the safety of my grandparents’ basement.

Years later, Marla and I would date. Years after that, we would breakup. And even more years later (to be read: the present day), we would remain great friends.

It’s hard to believe I’ve known Marla (and Milan, actually) for fifteen years now, and I’m grateful that we’ve remained close this long.

The image was shot on 120 negative film with my Mamiya RB67. I shot a bunch of images of my friends during that trip (you’ll probably see some of Jamie wearing a cowboy hat later on), but this might be the only one of Marla sitting at the bar. Or maybe not. Time has a way of blurring those kinds of details.

You can expect to see more images from this trip at some point in the future.

I miss that basement,

-Shady

Stickers!

Not only did we get the Dwellephant “cat with severed arm” stickers we ordered from Main Street Gallery, but our good friend Marla also sent us an Ale Syndicate sticker from the Chicago-based brewers!

They’re already stuck to stuff,

-Shady

Old Poop!