Tuesday, September 14, 2010

small press expo recap

Here's the Rubenstein/Brideau table spread for this past weekend's SPX.  I had a grand old time.  Let us pretend to remember, shall we?

I took a 17-hour Amtrak ride down to DC, and met Kenan at the Bethesda Marriott Hotel, where SPX took place, and checked into our hotel room.  We immediately jumped back on the DC Metro, down to Union Station and caught the MARC train up to Baltimore, which was a smooth and fun ride. The MARC train looks like a space ship in the inside, unlike the Metro trains, which look like space ships from the outside.  My best friend from college, Doghed, who now lives in Baltimore met us at Penn Station, and we drove over to the neighborhood that houses Atomic Books, for a comics reading.  We stopped into Golden West Cafe to have dinner with another friend from college, Joe Mulhollen.  It was all quite exciting.

  Atomic Books held -for the third year in a row- SPXplosion, an unofficial pre-show party which featured readings by folks like Sarah Glidden, Corinne Mucha (who I thought stole the show), Julia Wertz, and R. Sikoryak, as well as an awkward presentation of the Nerdlinger Awards (not hosted by founders, Liz, MK or Robin).

  After the event, Doghed, Kenan and I headed back to Bethesda and stayed up until 3:30 am binding comics.  I can't really blame procrastination, because I'd been working hard on preparing for SPX for the past three weeks.

  The Small Press Expo takes place in a large hotel ballroom, with a couple hundred tables filled to the edge with comics, prints, t-shirts and hand-made toys.  The show attracts comics artists both established and unknowns to set up shop, and sell, trade or give away their comics.  This was the third year attending the show, the last two years I volunteered for the show, and brought comics to trade with folks.  This year I ended up behind a table with my good friend, Kenan Rubenstein.

  Saturday was a very busy day!  The sea of humanity that flooded the aisles never let up, and instead of waiting for a lull, I just ended up running away from my table near the end of the day to say hello to some acquaintances, who happened to have comics I new I wanted to grab.

  Sunday was less busy, but not slow by any means.  I did step away from my table more, though I was nervous the entire time I was away.  I met some really cool folks, and picked up some really exciting comics, that in future posts I hope to mention.  All in all, I sold out of three titles (including both of my debuting titles), and sold, traded and gave away a lot of all of my comics.  I was really happy with the reception my comics got by folks.

  On Sunday, my friend Becky stopped by and delivered 10 sticky buns from Sticky Fingers, a vegan bakery in DC, which I shared with my table mates, and a few friends who were sitting in other parts of the show.  Later in the day, a third college friend, Patience surprised me by showing up at my table.  I hadn't seen she visited me in Providence, the summer of 2003, right before I moved to Chicago.  Besides giving me the amazing gift of her presence, she gave me an amazing hand-drawn flip book she had made called "Herculean Snail," which brought a smile to everyone I showed it to.  Seeing Patience amplified the awesomeness of the weekend exponentially.

  Saturday night, Kenan, Sam Sharpe, and Reid Psaltis went out to dinner to Yuan Fu, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant a couple miles away from the hotel, and got back to the hotel in time for the Ignatz awards.  No one I voted for won, but I still thought everyone who did was well deserving of their bricks.

  I had a lot of fun hanging out with Kenan and Sam (who shared our room Saturday night).   After SPX was over on Sunday, the three of us packed up our tables, and trekked into DC, and met up with Becky, and had dinner at Busboys and Poets on 14th.  We then unloaded our hauls and read comics in our pajamas until late into the night.

  The next morning Becky went to work, Kenan jumped on a megabus, Sam headed out to Dulles airport and I made my way to Union Station to get back onto the Amtrak.

  My first year exhibiting at SPX was a great experience, and I owe it to good friends, and the great interactions I had from behind my table and in front of others'.

  Now I need to regroup, and get myself in order for the Madison Zine Fest (10/2), Alternative Press Expo (10/16-17) in San Francisco, and the Milwaukee Zine Fest (11/12-13)!  See you there?


Meghan Hogan said...

Thanks for sharing your neat SPX adventure! Congrats on selling out of 3 of your titles. I'm glad to hear that Sam Sharpe made it out there too. I can't wait until Raighne and I get to do that show. And that Sticky Fingers vegan bakery sounds yummy.

We've been enjoying reading your comics! Hope all is well with you!

neil-brideau said...

Hey Meghan!

Nate Powell also told me about this weird diner near the hotel that has all organic produce, and lots of vegan and vegetarian options. Having you two at SPX would be so amazing! Maybe we can all make it in 2011.