Comic ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’ artist/writer Alison Bechdel at Wordstock

Alison Bechdel with one of her drawings from ‘Fun Home’

I remember opening up the pages of Just Out as a teen and always plunging straight into the comics. Alison Bechdel’s ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’ strip was my window into the world of gay life while skewering and terribly funny all at the same time.

This year Portland has a chance to meet the perhaps unemployable, but hilarious Bechdel at our annual celebration of all that is writing, Wordstock.

Held this weekend, Wordstock is a festival that works so well in this rainy city that so embraces that settling in of reading. It features readings, panels, poetry slams and a collection of amazing writers both locally and internationally recognized (W.S. Merwin will be in attendance this year as just one example).

And while Bechdel may not be exactly sure of her role in the fest, she is certainly excited to be a part of it. Saturday, Nov. 8, she will appear on OPB’s Live Wire!, the program that is both live and on the radio, billing itself as variety for the ears and Vaudville for the mind.

We’re throwing Alison Bechdel directly into a sea of Portland personality and waiting to see if she sinks or swims. But with a body of work that can range from 20 years of making fun of your own community to writing a New York Times Bestseller (Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic) about growing up as the daughter of a closeted gay father who ran a funeral parlor and may have committed suicide, I’m guessing she’ll pull through with wit, grace and more than a few good times.

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