This particular sequence is based on my memories of Lach's Antihoot, an open mike for folk singers that was an East Village institution in the 1980s. Lach was a singer/songwriter who founded Antifolk, a musical genre which has its own Wikipedia entry:
"Anti-folk (sometimes antifolk or unfolk) is a music genre that seeks to subvert the earnestness of politically charged 1960s folk music. The defining characteristics of anti-folk are difficult to identify, as they vary from one artist to the next. The music tends to sound raw or experimental with the intention to shock and protest. It generally mocks perceived seriousness and pretension in the established mainstream music scene. Artists of the anti-folk genre seem to observe the "rules" of music, but then deliberately break them."
Lach is the model for "Lunch", the host and wielder of the all-important "list". Other character who appear in this sequence are based on real-life performers from the scene: "Smirk" is Kirk Kelly, ''Folkie Joe" is Roger Manning, "Candy Lou" is Cindy Lee Berryhill, "Puffy Prawn" is Brenda Kahn, and "Commie Dick Tater" is based on a guy I knew only as "George The Communist". At some point I will post sketches I made of them at the time alongside panels of their cartoon counterparts. All of them eventually released albums, and have their own Wikipedia pages except for The Communist. His real name and music are lost to history- I only remember a presumably ironic ballad about "Big Bob Dole".
Apart from The Communist, all of these performers have songs you can listen to on Spotify, but only Brenda and Cindy Lee have full albums. One oddity about the Antifolk scene is that while most of the performers in it were guys, only the women had much commercial success- Cindy Lee Berryhill and Brenda Kahn were signed to major labels, and the most successful performer to come out of the scene was Michelle Shocked.
The course of love does not go smoothly for Folkie Joe (btw, the real-life Roger Manning was jilted by Brenda Kahn at one point). l treated male romantic heartache with considerably more seriousness in my previous graphic novel David Chelsea In Love. As Mel Brooks put it: "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall in an open sewer and die."
First installment: https://www.patreon.com/posts/16348139
Previous installment: https://www.patreon.com/posts/16860504
Next installment: https://www.patreon.com/posts/welcome-to-zone-17127059