Comix Trip performs original work at DIY venue

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By Andrea German

Flapjack Chronicle
The group sings in unison.
“The worms crawl in, the worms craw out, the ones that go in are lean and thin, the ones that go out are fat and stout.”
The living room is packed and everyone sits on the floor, attentively listening to Violet Crabtree, a community activist in Arcata. She wears over sized black and white glasses and a white wig that complements her black and white sweater. She is projecting the story “The Fruit of Jonsi” behind her. The lights are off so the light of the projector under her face aids to the mysterious tone of her narration.

The Comix Trip is a performance piece, performance art if you will. It’s about 8 p.m. on a Friday night at a DIY house venue in Arcata, dubbed The Birdhouse. Crabtree writes and draws the comics herself. Her partner, Paul, who goes by Stick Cat, plays guitar and other sound effects as needed. Phil Kumsar and Andrew Anderson play sound effects and instruments as well.

The instruments used for effects include an acoustic guitar, accordion, floor drum, musical saw and a rain stick. There are also items used such as an apple, carrot, empty glass bottle and cooking pot.

When Crabtree unfolds that Jonsi takes a bite of an apple in the story, Anderson takes a crunch of a fruit to emphasize to the audience and the audience laughs joyfully at the gesture.

“None of the instruments are amplified,” stresses Crabtree. This fact seems to aid to the atmosphere of the storytellers’ performance. 

“Microscopic Unicorn” informs the audience about the existence of microscopic unicorns. They graze on peoples’ eyelashes and Crabtree projects their illustrations during the performance.

Most of the comics have an underlying environmental messages, and some supernatural elements in others.  Some even have both.

Crabtree also sells her comics, that she prints herself, for 1-5 dollars at these shows. There is a community based zine that she endorses by holding Comix Trip performances. Many of the zines stemming from  this underground do-it-yourself community in Humboldt and the Comix Trip comics were available at the “merch table” at this show.

The show ends with laughter, claps and cheers — and delicious post-performance $1 brownies.

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