David Lester CV 2014

304-1320 Salsbury Dr.,
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V5L 4B3

Visual Artist, Graphic novelist,
Graphic Designer, Guitar Player in Mecca Normal:

"...an unbending advocate of thoughtful indie culture for almost two
decades now. The Vancouver guitar-and-voice twosome doesn't just
make demanding music, they also make books, paintings, photos,
cartoons, among other things." — SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

* Mecca Normal named one of 10 famous Canadians you’ve never heard of by Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, 2007

*Mecca Normal’s music, Malachi 7” cover art and David’s Inspired Agitator poster on Malachi to be exhibited in the 2014 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of Art (March 7 – May 25). Followed by ESS's gallery space in Chicago in the Summer of 2014.
* Mecca Normal presentation at Kevin Chong’s Creative Writing Class (UBC). 2013
* Design BC BookLook website. 2013
* Mecca Normal music included in an exhibition on Riot Grrrl called Jigsaw Youth, Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University. 2013
* The Listener by David Lester was included in "The Best Graphic Novels" as recommended by staff, fans and friends of the San Francisco Public Library. 2013
* Guitar tracks for experimental bassist Wendy Atkinson's Ukulele Shock song. 2013
* Remembering Who We Are zine (UK) includes art by David. 2013
* The Battle of Balantyne Pier 12-page comic (Graphic History Project) 2013
* "Capitalism's Foot Soldiers" poster featured in Critical Theory’s article commemorating Occupy Wall Street: “2 Years Later – The Best of Occupy Art. 2013
* Loyola Marymount University has a course called, Revolution Girl Style: Punk Feminism, Then and Now, which includes Mecca Normal. 2013
* M'lady's Records (Portland) will release the Kramer produced Mecca Normal album in 2014.
* The Listener is presented at a 3 day conference at the University of Alberta (Edmonton) in a session called Promoting Social Justice and belonging in the Classroom with Canadian Literature. 2013
* UNDAUNTED: The Best of BC BookWorld (Ronsdale Press) is published with cover design and art by David, plus 20 of his cartoons, a reprint of his book review, and a reprint of a review of The Listener. 2013
* The Listener is taught at two high schools in Alberta. 2013
* Photos and design of bassist Wendy Atkinson's CD cover. 2013
* The Listener taught at two Alberta high schools. 2013

* New Mecca Normal album recorded with Kramer as producer, 2012.
* The Listener is nominated for a 2011 ForeWord Reviews' Book Of The Year Award (graphic novel category).
* West coast tour by Mecca Normal, 2012.
* Solo reading from The Listener at the San Francisco Public Library (LitQuake literary festival). 2012
* Mecca Normal are featured in the book Love Rock Revolution: K Records and the Rise of Independent Music, 2012
* 25th anniversary as graphic designer of BC BookWorld, 2012
* Awarded a $5,000 grant from the BC Arts Council to write a graphic novel on Emma Goldman.
* Short graphic story published in West Coast Line (2012)
* The Listener is book of the week at the Toronto Public Library. 2012
* UBC Creative Writing class presentation of The Listener. 2012, 2013

* The Listener is #4 on AK Press' list of top-selling distributed books of 2011.
* The Listener is reviewed in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Library School Journal, Baltimore City Weekly etc. 2011
* The Listener is on Book Managers best sellers list for 3 months. 2011
* The Listener eastern Canada book tour. 2011
* David Lester is profiled in the Globe and Mail. 2011
* The Listener is presented at Peace and Global Justice conference (Vancouver). 2011
The Listener graphic novel by David Lester is published (and re-printed). 2011
* Artforum Magazine (New York) puts Mecca Normal’s “Malachi” single (K) on a Best of 2011 List.
* 50 Years of Political Art lecture (World Peace Forum Teach –In, Vancouver). 2011
* David judges CALM (Canadian Association of Labour Media) Awards for graphic design. 2011
* “Talk - Action = 0: An Illustrated History of D.O.A” with over 40 pieces of design by David. 2011
* Mecca Normal play 2 shows with The Corin Tucker Band (guest on Corin’s 1,000 Years). 2011
* Mecca Normal (Magma Festival, Seattle). 2011
* Mecca Normal (Push International Performing Arts Festival). 2011
* The Hidden Cameras release a cover version of Throw Silver (recorded in a 900-year old church in London, England). 2011

* Three Mecca Normal songs (Malachi, After the Next, Blue Sky Branches) are released as part of K Records weekly series of underground singles called K Singles Zip-Pak.The song Malachi is about Malachi Ritscher (1954-2006), American musician, free speech and anti-war activist. 2010
* Mecca Normal play Sarah Utter's art opening (LAND Gallery, Portland). 2010
* “Bikini Kill was heavily influenced and inspired by Mecca Normal.” – Tobi Vail, Jigsaw blog. 2010
* Horde of Two’s “IWW: Lament for Wesley Everest” released as part of “In The Orchard Of Osiris” (It Takes a Village to make Records) comp CD. 2010
* Horde of Two perform at the Olympia Experimental Music Festival. 2010
* 10th Anniversary of Visible Verse (Pacific Cinemateque) screens “Hundred Block Rock” video with music by David Lester and Wendy Atkinson. 2010
* WMBR (Boston) uses "The Dark Side of Maria" and "I'll Call You" for a live Mecca Normal for a comp CD in their station’s fundraising drive. 2010
* DOG DAZE TAPES writes to say they are releasing a cassette by the band Excepter with a cover of Mecca Normal’s "Fallen Skier.” 2010

* Attraction is Ephemeral played on Q (CBC national radio) 2009
* Mecca Normal song on What The Heck Fest comp CD. 2009
* Mecca Normal do weekly illustration/text feature for Magnet Magazine online. 2009
* Mecca Normal 25th anniversary tour, 2009
* Mecca Normal play Under The Volcano Festival of Art and Change (North Vancouver, BC) 2009
* Mecca Normal play Heck Fest (Anacortes, WA) 2009
* Mecca Normal begins collaboration with Toronto artist Clive Holden on his Utopia Suite, 2009
* Horde of Two debut CD released on Smarten Up! & Get To The Point Records, 2009
* Bands stage a Mecca Normal tribute (Philly, PA) 2009
* Mecca Normal song 1922 used in film by EE Miller, 2009

* Mecca Normal northwest tour includes Art Auction for Books For Prisoners, 2008
* Mecca Normal play sold-out show with Kimya Dawson (Eagles Hall, Olympia, WA) 2008
* Mecca Normal perform on Second Life and have a booth at the Book Fair, 2008

* Mecca Normal performance with Mirah (Portland, OR) 2007
* Mecca Normal perform at curated Signal and Noise festival (Vancouver) Video In. 2007
* Mecca Normal perform opening night at the 10th anniversary of the Antimatter Underground Film Festival (Victoria, BC). 2007

The Observer CD by Mecca Normal (Kill Rock Stars) 2006. The album charts in the national CMJ Chart and is listed on many BEST of 2006 critics and fans lists.

Art exhibits (group):
* Graphic design featured in POST NO BILLS: An Exhibition of Vintage Vancouver Punk Posters and Paraphernalia (SFU Special Collections / Museum of Vancouver). 2011
* Ligatura International Comics Culture Festival (Poland).
* The Black Dot Museum: Political Artists from Vancouver, (Northern Gallery, Olympia, WA). 5 person group exhibit. 2010
* Live!Stock Pin & Poster Show (Victoria, BC). David's 1983 Dead Kenedys poster exhibited.
* Paper Politics exhibit (Milwaukee, Walker's Point Center for the Arts; Whitewater, Crossman Gallery) 2007
* Art and Anarchy (Esplanade Loft Project Gallery, Montréal) 2007
* "Waterfront" film shown at curated Antimattter Underground film festival (Open Space Gallery, Victoria, BC) 2007
* Metrospace, Sonic Landscapes, East Lansing, MI 2006
* OK. Quoi?! Contemporary Arts Festival, Struts Gallery, Sackville, NB 2006
* 5+5 Gallery, Paper Politics, Brooklyn, NY 2006
* Phinney Center Gallery, Seattle, WA 2005
* Bookmobile (travelled North America) 2005
* Art in the Air Audio Art Festival, Sackville, New Brunswick 2005
* Happy Gallery, Belgrade, Serbia 2005

"The Listener graphic novel" presentation / reading
* UBC Creative Writing class. 2011, 2012, 2013
* 50 Years of Political Art (World Peace Forum Teach –In, Vancouver). 2011
* The Listener eastern Canada book tour. 2011
* North York Public Library (Ontario). 2011
* Ottawa Public Library (Ontario) 2011
* Word On The Street Festival (Vancouver). 2011
* Spartacus Books (Vancouver) 2011
* Type Books (Toronto) 2011

"How Art and Music Can Change The World" lecture/presentation
(co-presented with Jean Smith)
* Windermere Secondary School (Vancouver, BC) 2009
* Evergreen State College (Olympia. WA) 2009
* Willamette University (Salem, OR) 2009
* Modern Times Bookstore (San Francisco, CA) 2009
* California Institute of the Arts (Los Angeles, CA) 2009
* Bluestocking Books (New York, NY) 2009
* NEXUS/foundation for today's art (Philly, PA) 2009
* Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA) 2009
* Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI) 2009
* Megalopolis Audio Festival (Boston, MA) 2009
* Over The Top Festival (Toronto, ON) 2009
* The World Peace Forum, The Roundhouse (curated by Gary Cristall) 2006
* Arts For Life conference, Richmond Art Gallery, 2005

Books (author):
* The Listener (Arbeiter Ring Publishing) 2011
* The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism REVISED EDITION (Arbeiter Ring Publishing) 2007
* The Tortoise (Smarten UP! and Get To The Point) 2006
* The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism (Arbeiter Ring Publishing) 2005
* The Tortoise
* Re-Echo
* Afternoon Descends to Night
* I’ve Fallen In Love With You
* I Talk so Fast That My Words Lose Context & Meaning.

Books (as publisher):
* Two Stories by Jean Smith (Smarten UP! & Get To The Point) 2006
* Keys To Kingdoms by Bud Osborn (Get To The Point) 1999
* I Can Hear Me Fine by Jean Smith (Get To The Point) 1993

Illustrations published in publications and books:
* Mungbeing Magazine, 2012
* West Coast Line, 2012
* Global Educator, 2012
* Magnet Magazine, 2012
* Globe and Mail, 2011
* Silence (Poland), 2011
* Geist Magazine, 2011
* Celebrate People's History! The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution (The Feminist Press). Includes David Lester’s poster of Paul Robeson. 2010
* Lunch for Insurgents (Les Pages Noires) by Norman Nawrocki, 2009
* Breakfast for Anarchists (Les Pages Noires) by Norman Nawrocki, 2007
* Reproduce and Revolt: A Graphic Toolbox for the 21st Century Activist (Soft Skull Press) 2008
* Paper Politics 2006
* Z Magazine 2005
* Briar Patch. 2005
* CityFold 2004

* Kill Rock Stars Video Fanzine #3 DVD (features Mecca Normal), 2005

Selected Media:
* Interview in GEIST Magazine. 2012
* Interview (North by Northwest, CBC Radio) 2011
* Profile in the Globe and Mail, 2011
* Common Interest interview for CCEC credit union publication. 2011
* Global Educators of BC magazine interview. 2011
* Interview in Colouring Outside The Lines zine (England) 2007
* Interviewed in Punk Planet Magazine and online by Visual Resistance, 2006
* "Actually I like crap" t-shirt featured on ZED Television (CBC) 2005
* Pacifica Public Radio’s KPFA, 2005

Selected Highlights 2005-2010:
* Artwork becomes part of The Black Dot Museum of Political Art collection. 2010.
* Olympia Experimental Music Festival Film Program, curated by Eric Ostrowski, includes films by Jean Smith and David Lester. 2010
* Howard Zinn poster is named “Poster of The Week” at the Center For the Study of Political Graphics (Los Angeles). 2010
* Design of Arsenal Pulp Press Spring 2011 catalogue cover. 2010
* “Actually, I like crap” painting selected for Perfect Lines, Saatchi Online’s Collection of the Week: Art that contains the perfect amount, size and shape of lines… lines of site… or composition. 2010
* “Inspired Agitators” poster series becomes part of the permanent collection of the Center For the Study of Political Graphics (Los Angeles). 2010
* “The Lynching of Wesley Everest.” Painting by David Lester. 2010
* The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism is required reading for courses at Capilano University, English: Academic Writing Strategies (2010) and for a Compostition Course for SPRING 2011, English 100-12, 16 - Academic Writing Strategies. 2011
* Posters, press kits, brochures and leaflet designs for Tanya Tagaq, Alpha Del Yello and The Paperboys. 2010
* The Essentials: 150 great BC books & authors (Ronsdale Press) book design. 2010
* "The politics are not obvious" painting used for folk song revival poster, synagogue in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 2010
* Cover illustration, MungBeing Magazine #34. 2010
* Logo design, Hard Core Logo Live theatre production. 2010
* Logo design, Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival. 2011
* Design of four new Inspired Agitator posters: Howard Zinn, Kathe Kollowitz, Malachi and Norman Nawrocki. 2009
* The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism becomes required reading for a course at Capilano University (English: Studies in Contemporary Literature) 2009
* Book design of Raise Shit (Fernwood) and Tibetans In Exile (Ronsdale) 2009
* The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism to be used as a course text in an underegraduate course taught in Vermont (Community College of Vermont). 2007
* Raising $1800 in royalties (from the Gruesome Acts of Capitalism) for the Canadian Centre for the Victims of Torture. 2009
* Professor Denis Rancourt, University of Ottawa, ends a lecture by quoting from my book The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism. 2006
* Franklin University (Columbus, OH) uses one of my paintings (Conflict #1) for a course on Global Cultures. 2005
* The University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah) uses 2 of my paintings (Conflict #1 and #2) course called Conflict Resolution. 2005
* The Network for East-West Women-Poland (an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations) uses my Conflict #1 painting on for an article on Crimes Against Women. 2005
* The University of Colorado (Boulder) uses my painting Conflict #2 on their webpage for a course on Social Problems. 2005

Art exhibits: Group Shows
* Paper Politics exhibit (Milwaukee, Walker's Point Center for the Arts; Whitewater, Crossman Gallery) 2007
* Art and Anarchy (Esplanade Loft Project Gallery, Montréal) 2007
* "Waterfront" film shown at curated Antimattter Underground film festival (Open Space Gallery, Victoria, BC) 2007
* Metrospace, Sonic Landscapes, East Lansing, MI
* OK. Quoi?! Contemporary Arts Festival, Struts Gallery, Sackville, NB
* 5+5 Gallery, Paper Politics, Brooklyn, NY
*Phinney Center Gallery, Seattle, WA
* Bookmobile (travelled North America)
* Art in the Air Audio Art Festival, Sackville, New Brunswick
* Happy Gallery, Belgrade, Serbia
Artropolis Road Show (Human Image In The Landscape) curated by Ed Varney -- Chilliwack Art Gallery, Alternator Gallery (Kelowna), Kootenay Art Gallery (Castlegar), Kamloops Art Gallery, Grunt Gallery (Vancouver), Open Space (Victoria), Nanaimo Art Gallery
* Counterfeit Gallery, Seattle
* Interurban Gallery, Vancouver
* Ministry of Casual Living, Victoria, BC
* Tollbooth Gallery, Tacoma, WA
* Department of Safety, Anacortes, WA
* Lombardi Gallery, Austin, Texas
* Bookmobile, Re-Echo (travelled North America)
* Interurban Gallery, Vancouver (2003)
* Maltwood Fine Arts Gallery, Victoria (2003)
* Word On The Street. The Moat Gallery, Vancouver Public Library (2003)
* Bookmobile, Inspired Agitators (travelled North America, 2003)
* Spin Gallery, Toronto (2003)
* Bfly Atelier, Vancouver (2002)
* Bookmobile, Gruesome Acts of Capitalism (travelled North America, 2002)
* Tart Gallery, Vancouver - Post No Bills - exhibit of posters (2002)
* Fine Arts Gallery, Edmonton (2002)

"Inspired Agitators and the Pantomime Horse", a two person art exhibit with Jean Smith of Mecca Normal, 2004
* Xeno Gallery, Vancouver, BC
* Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver, BC
* Grand Forks Public Art Gallery
* Vernon Public Art Gallery
* David Thompson Cultural Centre, Nelson, BC
* Cumberland Arts Centre, Cumberland, BC
* Bryce’s Barber Shop, Olympia Experimental Music Festival
* Denman Island Community Hall
* The Crooked Cafe, Kaslo, BC
* Bean Scene Coffee House, Kelowna, BC
* Wild Indigo Theatre, Hornby Island, BC
* Western Front, Vancouver
* Balazo Gallery, San Francisco
* Flywheel Gallery, Easthampton, MA
* The Middle Gallery, Indie Media Center, Urbana, IL
* Capitol Theater, Olympia, WA
* The Smell, Los Angeles
* AK Press, Oakland
* Empty Bottle, Chicago
* Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle
* Knitting Factory, New York

"Does It Help When You Close Your Eyes?" -- a five person art show at Vancouver's Word On The Street, 2003 included art by Jason MacLean, Carel Moiseiwitsch, Jean Smith, Shayne Ehman and David Lester. Mecca Normal performances and workshop elements were presented.

"How Art and Music Can Change the World" – co-presented with Jean Smith of Mecca Normal.

See above under 2005-2009 highlights (How Art and Music Can Change the World).

The World Peace Forum, The Roundhouse (curated by Gary Cristall).

Arts For Life conference, Richmond Art Gallery (200 high school students in attendance).

Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver BC (400 Foundation students)
Burnaby Central High School, Burnaby, BC (400 students)
Grand Forks Public Art Gallery
Vernon Public Art Gallery
David Thompson Cultural Centre, Nelson, BC
Denman Island Community Hall
Bean Scene Coffee House, Kelowna, BC

2002 – 2003:Chatham College, sound art class, Pittsburgh, PA
St Vincent's College, poetry class, Latrobe, PA
The GAFC Church, Bellingham, WA
Capitol Theater, Olympia, WA
Pacific Switchboard Collective Gallery, Portland, OR
Youth Drop-in Center, Garden Grove, Orange County, CA
Western Front, 5 nights, artist-run space, Vancouver
Lucy Parsons Center, Boston
The Bakery Art Collective, Providence, RI
Bottle Top, 6 nights upstairs at the Empty Bottle, Chicago
University of Chicago Art Gallery, Normal, IL

ILLUSTRATOR (publications and books):
* Alpha Yaya Diallo CD 2010 * Wendy Atkinson CD 2007 * Reckoning 07 (Symposium at SFU about book industry) 2007 * Breakfast for Anarchists (Les Pages Noires) 2007* Reproduce & Revolt: A Graphic Toolbox for the 21st Century Activist (Soft Skull Press) * Paper Politics * Z Magazine * CityFold * Briar Patch * Drippytown Comics & Stories * Grimm Magazine * San Diego Reader (regular contributor) * Bananafish (San Francisco) * Vancouver Sun * Literary Review of Canada * Succoacido (Italy) * Warburger (Slovenia) * Mix Magazine * 3rd Annual Alternative Writing & Design (winner), * Stereoscomic (France) * The Best of Zines * Prentice-Hall * Canadian Forum * Wegway * Canadian Fiction * Broken Pencil * Writer’s Block * Vancouver Review * Sub-terrain * Re-sister * Geist Magazine * The Leveller (London) * Time Out (London) * Cultural Correspondence (NYC) * Latin America Newsletters (London) * Resurgence (London). * Ten illustrations for Rebel Moon by Montreal poet Norman Nawrocki (1996) AK Press, San Francisco. ALSO: * "Noir Canada" graphic short story becomes part of the Comic Art Collection, Michigan State University Library (Special Collections Division). 2004

Book covers * letterhead * posters * brochures * catalogues * CD covers * business cards * buttons * t-shirts * logos. CLIENTS: Mainstage Management, November Theatre, Federation of BC Writers, Ronsdale Press, Anvil Press, Bluefield, Touchstone, Pink Ink, Playwrights Theatre Festival, Blizzard, Firehall Arts Centre, Tamanhous, New Star, Pulp Press, Crown, Harbour, New Society, Caitlin. OF SPECIAL NOTE: Zines (Booth-Clibborn Editions) design work featured in two page spread. * West Coast Music Award nomination for album cover design. * Paul Robeson poster (Celebrate Peoples’ History Series, Chicago). * Inspired Agitators poster series featured in Punk Planet Magazine. Poster art in punk graphics anthology, Fucked Up Photocopied (Gingko Press). Design of Federation of BC Writers logo, 2007.

Art: Reviews
“Lester authored the graphic novel The Listener, and he is a painter of historical subjects specializing in picturing events and people most historians (except for the great Howard Zinn) ignore. I watched a video of Lester talking about his painting The Lynching of Wesley Everest, which depicts the 1919 lynching of an Industrial Workers of the World union member in Centralia. Everest was dragged from his cell and lynched on the bridge over the Chehalis River. No one was charged with the murder. In the video Lester talks about why he chose not to show the hanging but rather to picture the murderers looking over the edge of a bridge to survey their handiwork after they lynched Everest. We see the rope, not the body, and we get a peek into the souls of the murders. Lester said his work has more to do with subject matter than style, but I see in this a style very much like that of the American Scene painters of the 1930s and '40s, particularly Walt Kuhn.” —-- Alec Clayton, Weekly Volcano, review of ‘The Black Dot Nuseum: Political Artists from Vancouver

" ...a witty collection of Lester’s illustrations in a variety of graphic styles that make pointed commentary on favorite topics such as conformity vs. identity, forming relationships in a society that communicates via the Internet." —THE PROVINCE (Vancouver daily newspaper)

"Looks like it was smudged over the page with a kind of accidental precision that turns the mundane into the sublime." —Hal Niedzviecki, EXCLAIM

"A collection of funny, surreal illustrations. Lester’s insights make him a kind of alterna-editorialist." —MAGNET MAGAZINE

"Uses a vital combination of drawings and prose bits to break-down literary pretensions."

"He creates a whimsical collection of one-panel images, many of which would be much more refreshing to find in a daily paper than Gary Larson’s old tricks." —DISCORDER

* BC BookWorld
* Vancouver Sun
* Musqueam News
* V Magazine
* Vancouver Magazine
* Latin America Newsletters
* Georgia Straight
* North Shore Weekly
* Open Road
* West Ender
* People’s Law School
* Canadian Forestry Association

Change Is How You Act, shown at 25 Years of BC Animation Festival (Pacific Cinematheque) 1999

Reviews of THE LISTENER graphic novel:

"A dense and fiercely intelligent work that asks important questions about art, history, and the responsibility of the individual, all in a lyrical and stirring tone." -- Publishers Weekly (New York)

"Lester mines expressionist graphic manners, especially those of Käthe Kollwitz and 1920s poster artists, to forge a black-and-white style that powerfully realizes his exceptionally literate script." -- Ray Olson, Booklist, American Library Association (Chicago, IL)

"... it makes fascinating reading." -- Andy Shaw, Grovel (UK)

"...a powerful work of art..." -- Marty Mulrooney, Alternative Magazine (Liverpool, UK)

"David Lester’s first graphic novel is a beautiful work of black and white with heavy grey washes. It is a novel about unintended consequences and learning to live with them. It is an interesting story that draws in the reader. The dark tones in the art mirror the dark tones of the story. For those unfamiliar with Canadian politics or German history it is an eye opening work. It is both interesting and intellectual, a combination making this a compelling story." -- Giovanni Aria, First Comics News (USA)

"Yesterday I had a book presentation at the library by graphic novelist and musician David Lester who has just published the book "The Listener". It is really a very impressive book that I would recommend your organization have a look at. Also I would like to recommend David and his performance partner Jean Smith who gave an incredibly dynamic, introspective and involving presentation that involves a slide show, music, monologues and a sense of humour. His presentation would be absolutely perfect for teens especially." -- Cameron Ray, Youth Services Specialist, North York Central Branch (Toronto Public Library)

"David Lester has done an excellent job researching and writing this story. I highly recommend this book for art history, 20th Century European History, and literature classes." -- Richard Jenkins, Arts & Education Consultant (Bartlesville, Oklahoma)

"A superb cautionary tale in which your art and words combine to stir up many emotions, thoughts and reveries, managing to be a fascinating personal and historical journey and a treatise on the politics of art which at the same time addresses self-doubt, fear, and sadness yet inspires action...an ambitious project to be sure and fully realized!" -- Ron Sakolsky, Emeritus Professor of Public Policy (University of Illinois)

"This demands to be added to any shelf on which Anne Frank’s Diary, as well as Maus or Miriam Katin’s We Are on Our Own, are available." -- Francisca Goldsmith, School Library Journal (New York)

"Here the little-known history of the Nazi propaganda push in one small German state is rendered in astonishing detail: the political machinations between the right-wing German National People’s Party and the Nazi Party, the eventual agreement that the former would support the latter in Lippe elections, the stifling of the press, the assassination of a reporter, the brave acts of a few, the cowardice of the many... a meditative, memorable graphic novel." -- Andrea Appleton, Baltimore City Paper

"Absolutely beautiful." -- Paolo Pietropaolo, North By Northwest, CBC Radio (British Columbia)

"David Lester depicts the shadowy relationship between words and actions in The Listener. The black guilt that weighs heavily within Louise and the German couple seeps across each page like a Rorschach blot."
-- Nicole Gluckstern, SF Bay Guardian (San Francisco, CA)

"A beautifully and powerfully presented story which reveals how each moment in time can have a huge impact upon the future." -- Dun and Red, a readers’ advisory resource blog (Pima County Public Library, Tucson, Arizona)

"This is an excellent graphic novel for teens who appreciate history or have an interest in contemporary politics as well as for young artists and writers who can both learn from and appreciate the storytelling that brings the past to life while focusing on a character’s present. From the opening passages, the tension never lets up, yet the story remains accessible and memorable." -- Francisca Goldsmith, School Library Journal (New York)

"In this striking mixture of fiction and history, Lester makes a compelling argument for the need to continue to speak to others through your political artwork. Along the way, of course, Lester also gives us a lot of great artwork, strong characterizations and a fascinating look into the way Hitler rose to power in Germany in 1933. Recommended." -- Brian Cronin, Comic Book Resouces (Los Angeles)

"... there’s a thematic depth and sense of ambition to The Listener that’s admirable. As Lester’s heroine tours museums and contemplates how art often fails to capture real atrocity, The Listener’s intellectual approach begins to reflect what it’s about." --A.V. Club, The Onion

"Lester’s drawing is wonderfully expressive and the book is an intense and well-structured look at a forgotten pivotal moment in history..." -- BK Munn, Sequential (Canada)

"Louise is an extraordinary original. Speaking as a reviewer of comic art since 1970 and historian of comic art, in some way, for the last thirty years, I can say that no one has captured better this dilemma of the politically-inspired artist. An achievement all the more remarkable because the author-artist of this book has managed to place himself within a female protagonist, with perhaps as much skill as the scriptwriters (one of them, later blacklist victim and my own late friend, Ring Lardner, Jr.) was to manage for his friend, that great actress of spunky women, Katharine Hepburn." -- Paul Buhle, ZEEK: A Jewish Journal of Thought & Culture (San Francisco, CA)

"Lots of depth, lots of great imagery." -- Comic Attack (Los Angeles, CA)

"...this affecting and thoughtful debut belongs on any grown-up comic bookshelf that also includes, say, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and Alan Moore and Joyce Brabner’s Iran-Contra history, Brought to Light."
-- Adrian Mack, Georgia Straight (Vancouver, BC)

"... a perfect theme for a melancholy and mature black and white graphic novel."
-- ComicList (San Francisco, CA)

Reviews of "The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism":

"Lester breaks down the system's more despicable traits into easy-to-read factoids that are certain to appall and inspire." --Alternative Press Magazine (Cleveland, OH)

"Lester's pocket-sized book is a handy argument-enhancer, packed with hundreds of quick facts in crafty presentation, all of them reliably sourced. Get the book, win arguments." --The Republic (Vancouver, BC)

"As soon as I saw the striking cover of this book, I was driven to read it. This book is inspiring." --NEXUS, Camosun College's Student Newspaper (Victoria, BC)

"This is the kind of book everybody should have in his or her possession. Thanks, Mr. Lester, for laying the facts on the line. But even more so, thanks for the resource." --Indie Workshop.com (Clive, IA)

"Great little book and a great idea! Loved it and will use it!" --Libby Davies, Member of Canadian Parliament

"It's actually a quite entertaining... thanks to David Lester, now you too can use facts to back up your political arguments. And because all of the royalties go to the Canadian Centre for the Victims of Torture, I can say 'go out and buy this book' and not feel the least bit guilty." -- Impose Magazine, (New York)

"A package of hard numbers encased in simple statements is all it takes in David Lester’s The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism to make a powerful agit-prop tool out of a small book. Like an unrelenting Michael Moore in print, the type is crudely designed to make the numbers jump out. Readers may end up seething at the corporations and sickened by celebrity-economics after grazing this little book....Whether it is billions spent on birthdays, weddings, and bombs, or lives lost to poverty, poor medical care and low education scores, these are the statistics of a world where equality has been forgotten in the celebration of excess." --New Internationalist (England) Rated: 4 out of 5 stars

"Charming in its clarity and understated simplicity of style, and adorned with pleasing and poignant artwork." --Briar Patch magazine (Regina, SK)

"If only every household in North America had a copy of this book on its living room coffee table." --Wonka Vision Magazine (Philadelphia, PA)

Get To The Point Publishing (founded 1993).
"The future of publishing has arrived, born into the world by publishing houses with names like Get to the Point..."—CANADIAN BOOKSELLER MAGAZINE, 1999

Two Stories by Jean Smith, 2006
The Tortoise by David Lester, 2006
Keys To Kingdoms -- Bud Osborn, winner of the 1999 City of Vancouver Book Award
I Can Hear Me Fine -- Jean Smith's first novel, 1993
Black Milk -- Catherine Owen
No Masters! No Gods! -- Norman Nawrocki
Out of the Missed -- David Pritchett
What the Wind Brings -- Chad Norman
Family Swan -- Jean Smith

Mecca Normal Album Discography:

Malachi 7" (K Records) 2010
The Observer (Kill Rock Stars) 2006
Janis Zeppelin (Smarten UP! Records) 2004
The Family Swan (Kill Rock Stars) 2002
Who Shot Elvis? (Matador) 1997
The Eagle And The Poodle (Matador) 1996
Sitting On Snaps (Matador) 1995
Flood Plain (K) 1993
Jarred Up (K) 1993
Dovetail (K) 1992
Water Cuts My Hands (Matador) 1991
Calico Kills The Cat (K) 1989
Mecca Normal (Smarten UP! Records) 1986

Other Albums:
Guitar and Bass Actions -- Horde of Two 2009 Hundred Block Rock -- Bud Osborn Band, 1999
The light changed before I could blink -- David Lester solo guitar, 1998

Selected Music Reviews:
"Through 8 albums over 10 years, Mecca Normal have presented a consistent, evolving, and luminous challenge to the reigning social order." —ROLLING STONE

"His ruminative playing ably suits her unusual, nearly tactile vocals." —MOJO, (England)

"When the mix is between brainy lyrics and a meaty beat, between mind and body, pleasure and awareness-—that’s when Mecca Normal revs up. Like Odysseus, they have a clarity of vision that’s rare." —VILLAGE VOICE, (New York)

"David Lester and Jean Smith generate huge power with limited means." —SELECT MAGAZINE (England)

"A two-person guerrilla campaign against apathy." —MELODY MAKER (England)

"...stark and breathtaking." —PULSE

"Forget Rancid, Offspring and Green Day. Forget the Sex Pistols. The most important punk band of the 90’s is Mecca Normal." —SACRAMENTO NEWS and REVIEW

"Who Shot Elvis? simmers with captivating parables that knowingly portray regular folks and their deepest passions." —RAYGUN MAGAZINE

"Neither Smith nor Lester has gone soft, yet the new "Who Shot Elvis?" is quieter and more nuanced." —WASHINGTON POST

"Oh, what a lovely sparse sound" —NME

"…her use of precise language and thoughtful candor creates an unexpectedly mature, graceful tone more reminiscent of a Raymond Carver short story. --HANNAH LEVIN, The Stranger (Seattle, WA)

"Musically, Smith and guitarist David Lester have grown far beyond their punk rock beginnings; now their instruments wheel and dip around each other with the dizzying grace of swallows." --Bill Meyer, Chicago Tribune

"Smith's reflections are smart, funny and -- more often than not -- yoked to music that's spare but inventive." -- Mark Jenkins, Washington Post

"Attraction Is Ephemeral," which provides the most complete picture of Smith and what she’s about—the way she begins to doubt her own doubts, wondering if she’d be able to spot genuineness in a man even if it were there—is also the most musically moving track on the album. It’s the most romantic too—or rather, it’s most explicitly about romance, or at least the yearning for it—though in typical Mecca Normal fashion, it opens up from there, addressing gender and class inequality, patriarchy, and how they can really ruin a date." -- Jessica Hopper, Chicago Reader

"The self-explanatory album opener, "I’m Not Into Being the Woman You’re With While You’re Looking for the Woman You Want," is a glowing example of the interplay between her vocals and Lester’s guitar, which is equally distinctive and powerful." -- Jessica Hopper, Chicago Reader

"…this new CD, full of songs inspired by Smith's online matchmaking experiences, I believe, is incredibly lyrical, musically rich and undeniably fearless." -- Terence Dick, Broken Pencil

"Smith is a writer of supremely fresh poetic skills and has a keen, keen eye for the basic incredibilities of our most mundane daily rituals and heartbreaks." -- John Payne, LA Weekly

"We got there just as Mecca Normal was starting, and were treated to superb set of songs, most based on Jean Smith's internet dating misadventures... Jean Smith was in storyteller mode, often speaking sections of the songs, and her sharp, deadpan wit was in fine form. David Lester was liquid on guitar, constantly moving and effortlessly accompanying Smith's vocals. He makes it seem so easy. -- Crow's blog, San Francisco, CA

"Jean has amazing vocal control and power while David has an amazing sense of time... he is the rest of the band. He doesn't imply the other members, they live in him. This really locked in, with both members, on "I Walk Alone," their closer. This song, at the age of 25, is still as hard-hitting as it was when I was three. Jean throws down the mic and struts through the crowd, belting out the hook in a hypnotic and brutal chant, physically tiny yet a hurricane of ideas." -- Corbie, Roam, Buffalo, Roam blog, 2009

"Your show at What-the-Heck was really bright. Inspiring as usual. You keep us all going!" -- Calvin Johnson, K Records, 2009

"Jean Smith is in one of my favorite bands of all time, Mecca Normal." -- Slim Moon, Kill Rock Stars founder, 2009

"Jean Smith of Kill Rock Stars artist Mecca Normal ran the lengths of emotion and took her audience with. Side splitting laughter at her dirty jokes one minute and heart wrenching sorrow in her stories the next, I became mesmerized by her sheer magnitude of presence. This performance was a rare treat." -- Secret Carrboro Ninja Patrol blog 2009

"Watching Dave Lester play guitar is like floating in Heavens Hot Tub. Then, when Jean starts singing, its like being banged on the head with reality. Doesnt seem like the two feelings should be so good together, but they sure are. Mecca Normal is one of my favorite bands of all time to see live." -- Reis, Zoilus blog, 2009

"Franklin Bruno posted an image by Mecca Normal's David Lester back in March that, for me, maps out the deep politics of culture. Or maybe the better way of saying it is that it maps out the deep culture of politics. Here, politics are "not obvious." Instead, they are something at once more humble and more profound: they are all about self-expression, the heavens, and the individual in relation to the rest of the world." -- Culture Rover blog, 2009

"Ah, I cried both of the times I saw Mecca Normal play last week: in Anacortes and Olympia. They're just that good."-- Diana, Olympia, 2007

"I love the mid to late 70s Lou Reed albums, and everything by Dory Previn. I’ve become infatuated with Mecca Normal recently too." -- Geoff O’Connor, Melbourne’s Crayon Fields, 2009

"Thank you!!! You were brilliant and wonderful. Come back anytime." -- Brooke (Bluestocking Books, New York

"Jean Smith and David Lester have forged one of the most abstract and fruitful musical partnerships of the past 25 years. It's as engaging as it is bizarre, and it serves as a sparse bridge between girl punks of the late '70s and early '80s like the Slits and the Northwest riot grrrl movement of the mid-'90s. "Dovetail" and "Who Shot Elvis?" are classic LPs..." -- Music Snob, Weekly Concert Pick's, DC, 2009

"The Observer, about the horrors of online dating, is a must-spin if you like large doses of intelligence with your rock; I was very pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had seeing them live a couple of months ago..." -- Allan McInnis, Alienated in Vancouver, 2009

"These songs are a must have! The album walks you through the first decade or so of one of the most critically acclaimed music duos of our time. You may have never heard of them – they take a second to grow on you, but let them. You won’t be let down. Bjork and her vocal inflections borrow heavily from Jean Smith, in my opinion, and are neither as raw or as real as Jean’s. Jean’s punk rock poet style and David Lester’s energetic and innovative guitar sounds will wash your ears inside and out." – Softcore, iTunes comment, 2008

"Mention riot grrl, and most folks familiar with that early-’90s feminist punk scene think of the more provocative bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. Often left in the shadows is the visionary duo Mecca Normal, who helped define riot grrl’s subversive, do-it-yourself spirit a few years earlier, albeit in a more evocative manner. Forming in 1984, the indie rock two-piece proffered many of the confrontational, feminist themes that would later define the movement, but Mecca Normal has always been less about shoving its politics in your face than simply sneaking them under your skin — sans rhythm section. Jean Smith’s haunting voice and silver-tongued poetry coupled with David Lester’s eddying, often dissonant guitar have the ability to inspire activism, elicit introspection and marry the personal and political in the span of one song. And the duo has done just that over the course of 13 albums released on a veritable who’s-who of indie-rock labels — K Records, Kill Rock Stars, Matador, Sub Pop and their own Smarten Up! label. While their current tour marks the 25-year anniversary of the band, Smith and Lester aren’t celebrating the milestone with a pat-on-the-back retrospective tour; they’re hitting the road with the same mission and message of progressive social change that’s always been central to their music." -- Jeremy Ohmes, Eugene Weekly, 2009

"Vancouver-based guitar and vocals twosome Mecca Normal has always had a political bent. Sure, the band serves up smartly written songs and obstreperous guitar rock, but its lyrics and visuals reveal a fair amount of conscious advocacy, alongside a feminist bent. So when singer Jean Smith recently got laid off from her part-time job at an eco-friendly clothing store, the prolific writer, musician, and visual artist took it not as a setback, but as a chance to further the cause of political content in art. It also gave her and guitarist David Lester the chance to take their show on the road, just in time for Mecca Normal’s 25th anniversary." -- Mike Rowell, SF Weekly, 2009

"Canadian duo Jean Smith and David Lester have been shaking things up as Mecca Normal since before the riot grrrl movement photocopied its first zine. Though not as brash as some of their peers in that DIY music community, the group combined personal politics, the vibrating grind of Smith's throaty vocals, and the incredible prowess of Lester's guitar playing to develop a deeply intimate yet hard-hitting sound that ultimately made them one of the more memorable bands of the time." -- Casey Catherwood, The Stranger, 2009

"After 25 years of inspiring members of the Riot Grrrl community with their aggressive female-fronted, unconventional approach to punk, Mecca Normal is still on top of the game." -- Lauren Napier, Weekly Volcano, Tacoma, WA, 2009

"Playing Guitar Hero is fun, but being in a real band can change the world. Vancouver’s Jean Smith and David Lester — a.k.a. Mecca Normal — are celebrating 25 years of political punk-folk in their travelling multimedia lecture, "How Art & Music Can Change The World." This time you actually should bring the impressionable young ’uns." -- Eye Weekly, Toronto, 2009

"On Friday, they’re up on College Hill presenting a multi-media dealio titled "How Art and Music Can Change the World." Accept their invitation and you come across very impressive posters of "inspired agitators" by Lester, very revealing self-portraits by Smith, very provocative tunes by both, and a series of ideas delivered in the form of a lecture. One of their stated goals is to "fortify a new optimism that cultural activists can impact progressive social change." Another is to rock us out of our complacency." -- Jim Macnie, Providence Phoenix, 2009

"...hyper-literate Vancouver duo Mecca Normal..." --Jason Keller, Now Magazine, Toronto, ON, 2009

"Saw Mecca Normal last night and it was mind -and life- altering." -- Mary Christmas, Goodreads, 2009

"I saw an intimate performance by Mecca Normal. Though the Vancouver BC musical duo is known for their art rock and politics, they too mix frivolity with commentary and blend discomfort with ease. Many of the songs they performed on that sunny afternoon dealt with Jean Smith's foray into on-line dating. The lyrics drew laughter from the crowd, they were brilliant poems dealing with her misadventures in love (a Rottweiler that insisted on sleeping on the bed, a bedroom door that had to be held shut with a large piece of coral), but the acute observations had dark undertones, an underlying sadness, hints of disconnect and disaster. David Lester is an illusionist on guitar, melodies and guitar lines reveal themselves unexpectedly; they flutter about and then recede. His body seems as much a source for the music as the instrument itself, moving and swaying. The combination of the two performers has always been electrifying, not always easy, but never false." -- Carrie Brownstein, Monitor Mix, NPR blog, 2008

"Mecca Normal in full flight is an exhilarating experience with Lester's extraordinary fretboard work the perfect complement to Smith's poetic vision. Her naked songs-like the best work of Patti Smith-can make you uncommonly happy, yet somewhat uncomfortable, both at the same time." -- Jud Cost, Blurt online, 2009

"After turning their talents to other pursuits - painting and writing - Jean Smith and David Lester are back in full acerbic force on "The Observer," one of their best albums." -- Evelyn McDonnell, Miami Herald, Knight Ridder News Service

"Anatomy of a Murder Painting" (a film about the making of the painting The Lynching of Wesley Everest) by David Lester. 2010
"Hitler's Sketch" (based on a scene from The Listener) by David Lester. 2010
"Waterfront" by David Lester screened at curated Antimattter Underground film festival, Open Space Gallery (Victoria, BC) and Blue November Micro Film Fest (Seattle) 2007
KRS Video Fanzine #3 DVD 2005
Shield Around the K -- DVD (secretly Canadian) 2004
Try This At Home 2001, documentary on the Yo Yo Festival
Hundred Block Rock 1999 (shown on ZED-CBC TV; selected for the Vancouver Video Poem Festival)
Shield Around the K, documentary on K Records, 1999
I Wanna Be Adored (Emotion Films) 1998
Down Here (Eldorado Films) 1997; Soundtrack by David Lester
Harakiri (Germany) 1994 Mecca Normal performance
Terminal City Ricochet (E Motion Films) 1989 Graphic design and title logo.
Halt (Independent Animation) 1983 by David Lester
Change Is How You Act (Independent Animation) 1982 by David Lester

* "Actually I like crap" t-shirt featured on ZED TV (CBC) 2005
* Vicki Gabereau Show (VTV) 1998
* Much Music 1998 and 1993
* BCTV News Hour 1993

* CBC (Ideas, Nightlines, Brave New Waves, NXNW)
* BBC (England)
* Bavarian State Radio (Munich, Germany)
* NPR (U.S.A.)
* Austrian State Radio (Vienna)
* College radio all over Canada, U.S., New Zealand and Europe.

MECCA NORMAL references published in:
Love Rock Revolution: K Records and the Rise of Independent Music by Mark Baumgarten
Talk - Action = 0: An Illustrated History of D.O.A by Joe Keithley
Girls to the Front by Sara Marcus
I, Shithead by Joe Keithley
She's a Rebel by Gillian Garr
Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes From The American Indie Underground 1981-1991 by Michael Azerrad
History of Canadian Indie Music
We Want Some Too by Hal Niedzviecki
On The Road To Nirvana by Gina Arnold
Spin’s Alternative Record Guide
Rock She Wrote edited by Evelyn McDonnell & Ann Powers
Vancouver Book by Chuck Davis
Trouser Press Record Guide of Music of the 90’s
Popular Music, Gender, and Postmodernism by Neil Nehring
Microphone Fiends by Tricia Rose
Reading Rock and Roll by Kevin J. H. Dettmar & William Richey
The White Stripes And The Sound Of Mutant Blues by Everett True
Websites for Musicians by Gary Hustwit
Once Upon an Elephant by Ashok Mathur
924 Gilman by Brian (ed) Edge
Madonna Anno Domini: Poems by Joshua Clover
Cinderella's Big Score: Women of the Punk and Indie Undergroundby Maria Raha
Perfect Sound Forever: The Story of Pavement by Rob Jovanovic
Girls Guide to Taking Over the World: Writings From The Girl Zine Revolution
Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana by Michael Azerrad
The Rough Guide to Music USA by Richie Unterberger
We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The True, Tough Story of Women in Rock by Gerri Hirshey
Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital by Mark Andersen & Mark Jenkins
Sexing The Groove by S. Whiteley
Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s
The End of Print by Lewis Blackwell and David Carson
Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll by Richie Unterberger
All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (3rd Edition)

Mecca Normal and The Corin Tucker Band (Vancouver, Bellingham) 2011, 2012
Mecca Normal art opening performance (Northern Gallery, Olympia) 2010
Mecca Normal performance with Mirah (Portland, OR) 2007
Signal & Noise festival, Video In (Vancouver, BC) 2007
10th anniversary of the Antimatter Underground Film Festival (Victoria, BC) 2007
What The Heck Fest (Anacortes, WA) 2005, 2007
Xeno Gallery -- "Inspired Agitators & the Pantomime Horse" opening reception, 2004
Interurban Gallery -- "Drawing Resistance" touring art show, 2003
Word On The Street 1999, 2002, 2003
CMJ (New York) 2002
Ladyfest (Olympia) 2000
Vancouver Folk Music Festival 1999
Shawnigan Lake Writers Festival Bumbershoot Festival (Seattle) 1998
Sechelt Writers Festival 1996
Special performance for German Futurists as part of Talk With Tomorrow (New York) 1995
Fast Forward Festival (Holland) 1994
Yo-Yo A Go Go Festival (Olympia) 1994, 1997, 1999, 2001
International Pop Underground Festival (Olympia) 1991
La Quena Festival (Vancouver) 1987
Ultimatum Poetry Festival (Montreal) 1987
Sharing the stage HIGHLIGHTS: -- playing with Mirah, Fugazi, Sonic Youth, Jad Fair, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Sleater-Kinney, Unwound. The Ex, The Fall and Shoplifting.

David Lester blog: http://davidlesterblog.wordpress.com/
Mecca Normal's weekly feature in Maganet Magazine online: www.magnetmagazine.com/category/david-lester-art/
David Lester Drawings and Design
"Inspired Agitators & the Pantomime Horse" -- Art Exhibit
"http://howartandmusiccanchangetheworld.blogspot.com/ -- Artist Talk and Classroom Presentation
Mecca Normal
Mecca Normal Newsletter
Mecca Normal Reviews
David Lester's Paintings and an interview by Newtopia Magazine
The Listener – sample pages, events, reviews, author bio:http://thelistenergraphicnovel.wordpress.com
The Listener by David Lester (Arbeiter Ring Publishing):
To purchase The Listener:
Inspired Agitators Blog