Thursday, October 8 at 6:00PM pt


in conversation with HILARY SAUNDERS

An exploration of indie rock, a memoir of drinking and, then, not drinking, and ode to Columbus, Ohio, and most of all an elegy for a handful of musicians—particularly the haunting singer Jenny Mae—who lived hard and bled art and died too young.


During the heyday of the late '80s indie underground, high school sweethearts Bela Koe-Krompecher and Jenny Mae Leffel moved together from small-town Ohio to the big city of Columbus to pursue education and a dream of something more. When they arrived, the two met Jerry Wick, a prickly malcontent and lead singer of the punk rock band Gaunt, and the trio quickly forged a contentious friendship that would be challenged for the next 20 years by addiction, mental illness, homelessness, divergent whims and tragic paths. They bonded over their obsessive love of music, especially the scrappy, welcoming world of independent labels and bands, where heroes could be a neighbor, a bartender or even a know-it-all behind the counter of a record store. Through the label Koe-Krompecher and Wick launched, and the music Leffel made, these three friends gained fans nationwide and garnered unexpected critical acclaim from The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, SPIN and more while sharing the stage with bands like Superchunk, Mudhoney and Guided by Voices. At its heart, Love, Death & Photosynthesis is a story of the love between friends and the power of music to pull people together--often in spite of themselves--in the universal search for connection.

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In the early 1990’s while working at Used Kids Records, Bela Koe-Krompecher partnered with Jerry Wick to create the independent record label Anyway Records. During the following decade, Bela was involved in the Columbus, Ohio underground music scene as a writer, concert promoter, and continued his role as the head of Anyway Records. In 2009, he began a popular blog chronicling his involvement in the burgeoning midwestern music scene and the characters who inhabited much of the national underground music world. He has since written three graphic comics based on his stories and experiences, which have been compared to the likes of Harvey Pekar, Nate Powell, and John Porcellino. In addition, his writing has appeared in the award winning book Malls Across America, as well as the publications Shredding Paper, Raygun, Dagger, and 614. Bela continues to champion new artists through Anyway Records while working as a social worker, professor, and guest lecturer in Columbus, Ohio. 

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in conversation

Hilary Saunders is the managing editor at No Depression and her previous work has appeared in Paste, ESPN, Next City, The Jewish Daily Forward, and more. She’s a proud member of the National Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists, an alumna of the University of Miami, and a unironic believer that rock and roll can save the world.