Clayton: Godfather of Lower East Side Documentary

Edited by Julian Voloj. Permuted, $21.99 (112p) ISBN 978-1-68261-898-1
The ghosts of a vanished Lower East Side float through this anthology-style graphic tribute to one of the neighborhood’s streetwise documentarians. Clayton Patterson fell in with all the right kinds of scenesters after leaving his native Canada and landing on the Bowery in 1979. “An outsider finding his niche,” he made a name with his unique handmade designs (from baseball caps to leather jackets for the neighborhood gangsters). Along with his partner, Elsa, he branched out into documentary filmmaking, shooting punk shows at CBGB and was “on the front lines” documenting 1988’s Tompkins Square Riots. He made friends with downtown denizens like controversial Holocaust artist Boris Lurie and drag performer Sun PK. Along the way, Patterson and Elsa’s Essex Street home became an informal archive of “the eccentrics and outsiders” who once lived in the now-gentrified neighborhood. The anthology features 17 different artists, including Ray Felix, Sasha Kimiatek, and Fabrice Sapolsky, as well as newcomers Megan Dolan, Natania Nunubiznez, and Chris M. Wilson. Styles ranging from splatter-scrawled zine to photo comics (the latter used for the awkward framing device of a journalist interviewing Patterson) rotate every few pages, mimicking the bustle of the LES but lacking a guiding perspective. Heartfelt if slack, this volume offers an irreverent and anecdotal grab-bag. (May)
Reviewed on : 04/23/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Comics
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