CRACK BANG BOOM CON, Argentina -- CONCLUSION 10.26.10 Today is the promised “Risso Walking Tour” of Buenos Aires. I won’t bore you with a litany of all the sites...you can find them for yourselves and i would HIGHLY recommend it. BA looks like you’re in Paris – the architecture tends that way and the scale of the streets, plaza, etc – but it’s got all the positive energy of Latin American country. We hit all the highlights – the tomb of Eva Peron in the famous La Recoleta Cemetery, Cafe Tortoni, the “Pink House” (basically their White House), Soho Palermo and more. While lunching at CAFE IBERIA, Risso gets a phone call from artist LEO MANCO out of the blue. He heard I was in BA and wants to meet up...how he found us i don’t know. Leo worked with me for many years on HELLBLAZER and is one of the most enthusiastic guys in know – everything “ROCKS!” to him. We make a plan to meet for dinner. While the sites and sounds of the city are amazing – one boulevard has ELEVEN lanes of traffic going ONE WAY! – i’m most excited about my first encounter with a SUPER PANCHO. Remember the hot dog covered in salsa and French fries? I finally break down and get one – i dig it but like so much in life, falls short of expectations. Still...i was ready to eat another one until Kiki dragged us away in disgust. :) At some point the ladies peel off to shop and the boys head back to grab a nap (awe...wittle boys are sleepy). We reconvene at an Irish pub called the DUBLINER (every city has one!) and have an amazing meal at a hipster spot specializing in PERUVIAN and JAPANESE...how that’s possible i have no idea. It’s served tapas style and is amazing. But there is some sadness...we’ve learned earlier in the day that PULPO PAUL has died. What? You don’t remember Pulpo Paul??? He was the octopus that picked all the winners during the World Cup! Poor guy. Now as someone who’s known to place the occasional sport bet, I have total respect for old Paul. Godspeed my friend! Anyway, we order this incredible octopus appetizer and pour one out for our lost homie. I have my first (of many) PISCO SOURS – the national drink of Peru i’m told – and finish the meal with SUSPIRO LIMENO – basically its like pumpkin pudding. Insane. Azzarello is a huge “foodie” so he’s in HEAVEN at this point. Or maybe it’s the Pisco Sours... 10.27.10 LAST DAY....tear. Day breaks and we learn that today is CENSUS DAY HOLIDAY. In Argentina, they do the census in one day – everyone is told to stay home and someone comes to your house to check you off. Makes sense, right? The problem though is that EVERYTHING is closed. I mean EVERYTHING. Our flight’s not til 10PM so seems like we’re stuck...but wait...remember the ninjas from Day 3? Like the ninjas they are, they basically reappear to whisk us off to lunch! Seriously. Seems that Martin, Marisa and their son, Vitto got word that we were in town and would have nothing to do all day. So they insist we come to their home for lunch! As the Risso’s are departing for home (sadness), Martin shows up at the hotel and takes us back to his house in SAN TELMO – a very cool neighborhood famous for the Tango clubs. Remember to talk to strangers! Now Martin is a toy sculptor who is very well know in the world of sculpts – he’s done tons of famous sculpts for Marvel, Lord of the Rings, Terminator and many more. His wife Marisa is a fine artist who works in collage, glass, found art and more. We figure their home is probably pretty cool but nothing...i mean NOTHING...prepares us for what’s inside. It’s impossible to do it justice...imagine a townhouse in the middle of Greenwich Village that appears historical on the outside but the inside was designed by TIM BURTON. The place is INSANE – nooks, crannies, metal staircases, secret doors – every surface covered with sculpture, glass beads, superhero statues, toy models...breathtaking. Kiki is freaking out. After the tour we have a lovely lunch of small plates and artist Juan Bobillo drops in to share in the fun. Juan is an amazing artist in his own right and just the coolest guy – sort of the JOCK of Argentina i would say. He’s definitely someone who should be working at Vertigo. After lunch the census worker showed up and collected all our data – everyone was very excited about it! Then it was time to say our goodbyes and Juan took us back to our hotel. Because of the census holiday the streets were completely deserted. It was very surreal...like the zombie plague had hit or something. And that’s about it...i’m sure i’m leaving out a million things, people, places, beers, etc..i didn’t even mention SPACEMAN – the new Azzarello/Risso joint! – but we can do that another day (watch this space). Overall i’m left with the sense of wonder at how, as a people, everyone could be so warm, genuine and hospitable. They just “get it”...they get what’s important in life – friendship, food, good wine, art, love. Obviously they have many of the same problems as we do here but in a bigger way, in the ways that really matter, they seem to be more highly evolved. It’s something to consider. Many heart felt thanks to: Eduardo, Maria, The Risso Boys, Edus, David, Julieta, Juan, Leo, Marcelo, Jorgelina, Sophia!, Juan B, Ariel, Phoney Stark, Apple Face, my stalker Javier, Martin, Marisa, Vitto, Andre, Joche, Claudio, Valerie at Arte Hostel, Jim, Carla, Azz and the best travel partner a guy could ever have, the lovely Kiki. Thanks also to Pamela Mullin for giving me this much room to tell the tale. Chimlee!