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Mimi Pond's new graphic novel 'Over Easy': Sex, drugs and gourmet omelets

Mimi Pond/Drawn & Quarterly

From "Over Easy," Mimi Pond's new graphic novel about working at a gourmet diner in the Bay Area in the 1970s.

Mimi Pond/Drawn & Quarterly

From "Over Easy," Mimi Pond's new graphic novel about working at a gourmet diner in the Bay Area in the 1970s.

Mimi Pond/Drawn & Quarterly

From "Over Easy," Mimi Pond's new graphic novel about working at a gourmet diner in the Bay Area in the 1970s.

Daughter Lulu, wife Mimi Pond, son Woodrow, and Wayne White in a screengrab from the new documentary about Wayne, "Beauty is Embarassing."

Beauty is Embarassing

Mimi Pond, husband Wayne White, and kids Lulu and Woodrow in "Beauty is Embarassing." Mimi's new graphic novel, "Over Easy," is from her pre-Wayne era.


John Rabe talks with Mimi Pond about her new graphic novel, "Over Easy," which paints a vivid picture of the 1970s and a crazy diner that changed her life.

"I don't know that I ever worked quite that hard before. I think it's good for everyone to suffer when they're young. I think waiting on people is excellent training for life in general. I think everyone should be forced through national service to wait on tables; there'd be a lot more sympathy for the human condition." — Mimi Pond

"Over Easy" is about artist Mimi Pond's early years, including the diner that saved her after she lost her student aid at art school. She walked into the Imperial Cafe in Oakland and immediately felt at home. The staff was quirky and mostly welcoming, the food was delicious and the vibe was artsy, and later punky.

"In the mid-to-late '70s, you just didn't stumble across restaurants that served really truly fresh ingredients for breakfast. You had basic diner fare with greasy spoon food like frozen hash browns and Styrofoam white bread toast. This place had real cream and real butter. It was right up there with Chez Panisse." — Mimi Pond

RELATED: Mimi Pond reads at Skylight Books in Los Feliz on Wed. Apr. 30 at 730pm

Mimi, who now lives and works in LA, says she knew from the minute she walked in the door that the story of the diner was a story she'd have to tell. The graphic novel took her 15 years, from when her kids were still kids. Now they're grown and out of the house.

Mimi says the most important thing she learned was that it was worth the sacrifice to be a mom and an artist; that it was important for her kids to see hat she had a creative life apart from them; and besides, she laughs, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

RELATED: NPR 95% loves Mimi's "Over Easy"

There's much more in our audio interview, including what Mimi thinks about the scenes in "Over Easy" in which she draws herself having sex with "a bad boyfriend." She says it's a long tradition in graphic novels.


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