Sketched May 31, 2012 [Click image to enlarge]
When I saw the chilling surveillance stills of Wednesday’s shooting at Cafe Racer, I immediately recognized the place.
I sat on those bar stools last year to sketch Jim Woodring, a local cartoonist and regular patron who would also hang out here with the “Friends of the Nib” drawing group. It’s “a place where your eccentricities would be appreciated,” he said.
Woodring took me to Cafe Racer because he thought I’d like the artsy locale, a hub for artists and musicians, and he was right. The cozy space teemed with wit and creativity. Where else could you find a spot like the OBAMA (Official Bad Art Museum of Art) room? And it was the perfect backdrop to draw Woodring’s newest cartooning tool, a 7-foot dip pen.
Like many other days, Drew Keriakedes was there, and Woodring introduced me to the easygoing musician. Keriakedes said he played the banjo and told me about his band, God’s Favorite Beefcake. “I should come sketch you guys one day,” I said.
But the senseless violence that took Drew’s life and four others Wednesday means I returned to Cafe Racer to draw a memorial instead.
Woodring told me this week he would always go talk to Drew every time he saw him at the cafe. “I knew him and I loved him,” said the cartoonist. “He was such a pleasure to talk to … always friendly and warm and enthusiastic.”
His murder is “cosmically wrong,” like John Lennon’s death, said Woodring. “It hasn’t sunk in yet … I just can’t accept it.”