The Raw Power of
Erika Lopez

   Meet Erika Lopez. This take-no-crap author/cartoonist/artist is 
responsible for such books as Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All-Girl Road 
Novel Thing, They Call Me Mad Dog: A Story for Bitter, Lonely People, and 
Hoochie Mama: The Other White Meat. Quirky, saucy, hilarious, and 
uber-talented are just a few adjectives that describe Lopez. She is 
self-publishing her fourth and final book, and seems like someone who 
constantly has things going on, a veritable whirlwind of projects, so we 
think it's pretty cool she took time to answer our questions.

   1) What exactly went wrong with Simon and Schuster?
Bad business, bad publisher man, bad publicists. They might as well have tossed the book out the window. 
And I'm not the only one: it's happening to writers all over the place. Publishing a book's now become a 
vanity endeavor. Like the notoriously bad deals of the music industry, now you're expected to cover your 
own book tour and publicity--all for only about 10% of the royalties, which you may not see for a long time. 
How can you afford to write a whole book in your free time, then front that kind of money? As long as folks 
are tripping over themselves to see their name in print, it'll keep on happening, and probably get worse.

That's why I want to try and be small and do my own funky living. Fuck being famous. It's only creepy. 
Like what's it all about anyway? What's so great about that? 

2) Your past work could be classified as "autobiographical fiction." How much of 
Postcards from the Welfare Line: The Rise and Fall of Erika Lopez is autobiographical, 
and how much is fiction?

Unfortunately for me, it's all true. It was so embarrassing and painful, I had to force myself to stare at it and all that welfare represented 
to me and make fun of it so I could laugh at it and not be so ashamed. I worked so hard, missed so many things so I could work for myself 
all these years, I couldn't believe I landed back on my ass. I look at people down-and-out, so much differently than I did before, because 
I had it all: a fabulous background, good education, smarts...and still, I was totally unprepared and fucked.

3) I commend you on your decision to self-publish. Do you think if more 
authors banded together and tried the D. I. Y.  approach, that there would 
be a more thriving independent book scene?

I think together in a separate kind of way would work beautifully. Like maybe together in name only, sharing contacts/rolodexes. 
When people totally shack up, all sorts of disasters can happen, over a disagreement about mission statements and all that. I 
think artists are solo, but need others. Especially to promote one's work and get out there. It's best not to have to reinvent the wheel. 

If artists got together for too long, then it would become an establishment to rebel against. That's a historical fact with painters, 
and even now with Sundance filmmakers. And book writers? I don't really know too many. We're in our houses so much...

But more importantly, I've realized that if you cut out all the middlemen, things don't HAVE to cost so much. If you sleep on floors 
and trade favors...you can at least make enough to make your work and pay the rent. Hopefully. 

And you get to look at unemployment and welfare as transitional grants because it's hard. Damn hard.

4) You incorporate a lot of your cartoons into your books. What did you initially find yourself interested in, writing or drawing?

Cartooning, which incorporates both. I've found that I miss cartooning and drawing, after so much emphasis on communicating 
with words. That gets tiring as it's so close to just being on the phone for hours, trying to make yourself clear... and it's amazing to 
get lost in a drawing over a period of days again. I don't have to craft words at all. It's about moving a line here or there or adding 
a star above her hair. 

5) What is your favorite thing about San Francisco? What is your least favorite thing about San Francisco?

My favorite things are the weather and seeing sexy older women without thick ankles and sensible shoes. Nice to imagine a 
non-matronlike future, even though I'm probably more matronlike right now at 34. And my least favorite thing is how all of us 
intolerant fucks from the east coast are coming here and ruining the laid-back San Francisco vibe by conspicuously consuming 
and trying to pass laws and rules to make it all "safe" and the same as the place we left because we hated.

6) You mentioned George Clinton and the power of his funk in Hoochie Mama: The Other White Meat.  
What other musicians/bands do you find yourself reacting to or being inspired by?

Changes with the books. Sometimes it was Metallica during a revenge scene, or Carmen Amaya's passionate flamenco 
singing during something else... I don't remember what else. 

7) How can people get a copy of your self-published book?

They can order it from me.  I'm thinking I'll just print up enough for those who've taken the risk to pre-order it and not be 
bothered with lugging around a bunch of books when I go on tour next year. My apartment's small, and besides I like limited 
editions in the world of always more more more. 

If you want one, send a check for $18 to Lopez's Last/Final Book; PO Box 410011/SF, CA 94141

8) Is this really the last thing you are writing, or are you just taking a break? 
What do you plan to pursue now, if the former is true?

No, I'm pretty much done with the book thing. I'm a creative person and can go with whatever opens itself up to me. I don't think 
anything should be too difficult. I'll turn away to something else if it is, and books got that way. They opened themselves up to me, 
I had my fun and freedom, and now they're telling me it's over. Already other things are opening up to do more theatrical things, and 
that's perfect because I'm dying to get out of the house and work with other folks. So I will stop thinking of things as books 
and move on to another adventure...!

9) Throughout your books and the emails you send on your mailing list, you manage to balance serious political opinions 
and accurate social commentary with unadorned speech and a fantastic sense of humor. How do you do it?

I don't know, but I do know that that kind of thing plays better in writing than it does in person. I've pissed off so many people for not 
keeping my pie hole shut... it's not fun. It's cute in a bio and makes you sound oh-so "rebellious" but life isn't best lived on paper. Who 
cares what complete strangers think when you're pissing off your friends and family all the time, and having to re-explain yourself over 
and over and apologize?

10) What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Diversify as surely as if you were in the aluminum siding business. Learn to perform your work, learn to be a cold and businesslike 
agent for yourself, be charming on the phone, and take it all on the chin. But more importantly, remember that no one in charge 
knows what they're really talking about. They're all just winging it. Look at our "president" in case you need to be reminded about 
how folks got to be in charge in the first place. Folks who don't have squat usually are the smartest 'cause they've already lost face 
and don't give a fuck about losing any more face. 

11) Will you be coming anywhere near Jacksonville on your tour?

I don't know yet, but anyone who wants to find out can sign up for my mailing list: ErikaLopez-subscribe@topica.com 

12) What are three things that make you indescribably happy?

The ability to at least eventually laugh at everything and go back into the ring to try something else, and my cat and my best friend James.

13) Who are your influences, author-wise?

A ton of Stephen King for the mix of scariness with heart and some Kurt Vonnegut for funny social commentary that scribbled outside the lines.

14) What advice do you have for people planning their own cross-country motorcycle road trip?

Stay off the interstates and take the two-lane highways.

15) Is there anything I didn't mention that you would like to address?

Yeah, now I get it. Support everyone and everything out there that you like because it's a vote for them to stick around. Don't just sit back 
and admire it for free because everyone's gotta pay the rent and we all get tired of hanging on just for the love of it, and a lot of folks quit. 
A lot of folks make it big, too, but a lot of folks just up and quit.

I feel good that so many of us are into seeing what little and real stuff is wiggling out there underneath the Disney and Mtv boulders. Indie 
stuff will thrive if we support it. At the very least show up because it's hard to get up in front of everyone and constantly believe in what 
you're doing. It's harder to find because we can't afford the huge billboards, but work a little harder at staying in touch and then it'll be a nice 
two-way road. Challenge yourself and your ideas because they get lazy and easy. 

Be careful when you're getting all of your rebellious reminders from Target, because while the clothes are nice and cheap, we all need 
a little balance.

Good luck and thank you for your interest and time!

For more  information straight from Erika Lopez, sign up for her mailing list: 


The Disinformation Company announces Richard Metzger’s new book,
"Disinformation: The Interviews"
– publication/street date November 18, 2002.

A companion 2-DVD set featuring the complete Disinformation® TV series, plus
highlights of the Disinfo.Con event featuring Robert Anton Wilson, Douglas
Rushkoff, Joe Coleman, Kenneth Anger, Marilyn Manson and others, will be
released simultaneously.

Satanisn * Shemales * Extreme Pornography * Time Travel * Fetish * Outsider
Music * Conspiracy Theories * Weird Science * Mind Controlled Sex Slaves of
the CIA * Robot Sex * Hillbillies on fire…

How far is too far? Well, when it comes to “reality TV”, you’d think nothing
was too outrageous for prime time these days--but you’d be wrong. Just 12
days before it was to air on the SCI FI Channel, the Disinformation® series
was unceremoniously dropped despite being listed in TV guides and the TIVO

Hosted by Disinformation Company co-founder Richard Metzger, the series
caused quite a stir when it aired on the UK’s Channel 4 TV network. The first
season was bizarrely scheduled after Ally McBeal and surely messed with the
heads of more than a few fans of that show; the second season went even
further in challenging the network’s censors, resulting in Channel 4 refusing
to air certain segments. Nonetheless, the series was a hit and was bought by
SCI FI Channel in the United States. They didn’t quite realize what they’d
paid for, apparently, and never aired the programs.

With this new book, Metzger, Disinformation’s “wicked warlock,” presents the
most compelling interviews from the hit TV series Disinformation® -
mind-blowing thoughts from modern culture’s most radical thinkers:

*   Robert Anton Wilson on The Illuminati and “black magician”
    Aleister Crowley

*   Comics genius Grant Morrison (The Invisibles, X-Men) describes sex
    Hollywood’s interest in underground culture and the best alien abduction
    story you’ll ever hear!

*   Scientist Howard Bloom (The Lucifer Principle) on the coming

    biological apocalypse

*   Genesis P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV) describes what
    it’s like to be the leader of your own cult

*   Artist Joe Coleman on serial killers

*   Douglas Rushkoff explains media viruses

*   New York’s most outrageous performance artist Kembra Pfahler
    on why she sewed her vagina shut.

*   Artist Paul Laffoley tells how to build a time machine and solve the
    housing shortage by growing houses from plants

*   Duncan Laurie reveals the forbidden science of radionics

*   Philosopher Peter Russell on ecological doomsday and spiritual renewal

*   The apocalyptic visual parables of religious painter Norbert H. Kox

The special 2-DVD set--crammed with extras--features the entire 4 x 1-hour
series created for the SCI FI Channel, plus a second disc with hours of
material from the legendary counterculture convention, The Disinfo.Con, held
in New York’s opulent Hammerstein Ballroom on Februrary 19, 2000 and
featuring Robert Anton Wilson, underground film maker Kenneth Anger, rocker
Marilyn Manson, Kembra Pfahler and the Girls of Karen Black performing ‘The
Wall of Vagina,’ Joe Coleman exploding and much, much more.


Title:      “Disinformation: The Interviews”

Author:     Richard Metzger

ISBN:       0-9713942-1-0

SRLP:       $19.95

Pub Date:   November 18, 2002


Title:      “Disinformation: The Complete Series”

Director:   Richard Metzger

Features:   2-Disc set, color, 4 x 1 hour SCI FI series, Channel 4 UK series
            Disinfo.Con footage - 8+ hours

UPC:        TBD

SRLP:       $29.95

Street date:    November 18, 2002 from www.disinfo.com; retail 2003