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Part Three: SEATTLE, VANCOUVER, AND SAN FRANCISCO
Monday morning after the Portland Zine Symposium, we drove up to Seattle for a workshop at ZAPP (the Zine Archive and Publishing Project) at Hugo House, a writer's center. Not a whole lot of people showed up (it was one in the afternoon on a Monday after all) but those who did participated in a round table discussion about comics, publishing, and Japanese poetry. Fun!
Then I walked around the city a bit with Jennifer Daydreamer while Noah went with Nora of ZAPP to check out the Fantagraphics offices. I wish I could have gone with as well... maybe next time. We all met up again for a quick dinner and then headed back to Hugo House for the slideshow and talk. It went great, and I got to meet a lot of people who I hadn't seen in awhile (including the inimitable Jason Shiga, who happened to be in town for a wedding!), and a lot of new people too...
Crowd at Hugo House, Seattle.
Afterwards we went back to the home of Kelly Froh and Max Clotfelter, two of my favorite cartoonists, and hung out for a bit. I was so tired I pulled my cap over my eyes and fell asleep on the couch while eveybody was hobnobbing.
Mr. Shyler, Max Clotfelter.
There was a neighborhood "stray" cat named Squeakers that would show up at various apartments where Max and Kelly live-- he was so sweet. I wanted to take him home with me, but alas...
The next morning we drove over to the great Fantagraphics store, where they have a Dent and Ding room in which everything is half-off cover price... I picked up most of the Krazy Kats I didn't already have, and had to restrain myself from spending even more. Then we got back on I-5 towards Vancouver BC.
We made it across the border with no difficulties, and drove into the city, where I got lost. I have a pretty good internal compass, but when it's off-- it's off! Finally we stopped at a gas station where I looked at a phone book and Noah bought Ketchup flavored croustilles. We made it to the shop in time to get some over-priced burgers beforehand, and check out the neighborhood (West Main Street) in the rain. I picked up a copy of Fear of a Black Planet for the road at a used record store and tried in vain to find a place that sold postcards.
Outside Lucky's, in the Vancouver rain...
Back at the shop (the great Lucky's, run by Gabe Linder), we set up and did the talk for the small but enthusiastic crowd which included such Vancouver comix luminaries as Colin Upton, Robin McConnell, Robin Bougie (NSFW!!!), and Rebecca Dart... Afterwards we had Japanese food and said our goodbyes-- we were driving back to Seattle that night in order to minimize the exhausting drive to Berkeley that lay ahead of us.
Noah and JP with Inkstuds host Robin McConnell.
JP and Colin Upton.
Robin Bougie, JP, and Rebecca Dart.
(Vancouver photos taken by miscellaneous unknown Canadians. Thanks!)
After four or so hours of sleep in Seattle, we got back in the car and drove down to Olympia, dropping in to sell comics at Danger Room, and then into Oregon. We stopped in the college town of Eugene, the highlight of which was calling the local comic shop to get directions at 5:55 PM, and then arriving a few minutes later to find out they closed at 6. Nice! I wonder why comics shops have such bad reputations?
South Central Oregon at dusk.
After paying through the nose for a tiny plate of rice and beans, we got back on the road and drove through the night till we got to Redding CA, where we couldn't take it anymore. We slept in the car in a truck stop parking lot for four hours and then drove into SF at dawn.
That night we did a signing at the great Comic Relief in Berkeley, the first non-local shop that ever carried King-Cat for me... the turnout was small but fun and I found a copy of an Oog and Blik Jacques Loustal book, so I was happy!
Ember, the Comic Relief store cat.
Ember's mom, Ash.
Post-signing at the shop, starring Brian Kaas.
One of Noah's mom's many giant cats: "Mawr."
The next day was spent plodding around SF selling comics to shops: Needles and Pens, Dog Eared Books, Aquarius, Mission Comics and Art, Modern Times, Giant Robot, and Little Otsu. It's still amazing to me how much support there is in a place like San Francisco for small press and self-published stuff. By the end of the day my shins were burning from walking up and down those crazy hills. After a great comics-reading at the Cartoon Art Museum, we went to bed and slept hard in preparation for the Zine Fest the next day.
San Francisco, with the Mt. Sutro Tower in the distance.
I lived here for three years: Hayes and Shrader.
Noah's bougainvillea-colored sweater.
Before the signing at the Cartoon Art Museum, I stole away into a nearby alley to give Izzy a call. As we talked, a bum came in and started peeing against the wall next to me. I walked aways off to give him some privacy, and he began saying to me, loudly: "I'm not peeing, I'm praying to the wall! I'm not peeing, I'm praying to the wall!" He said this a bunch of times and then, finally: "Don't call the cops on me, man..." I said I wasn't going to, and he thanked me. Photo above is the view from that alley.
Noah at the Cartoon Art Museum reading.
That night we came home to see the fog start to roll in over the city.
Around 3 AM a car alarm went off, and I awoke to this beautiful scene...
So, the next day was the first day of the SF show. I feel proud to have helped organize the current incarnation of SF Zine Fest, with Francois, Misun, and Jonas, back in 2006. It was always a great show, but under Francois' leadership it has become even better. This was my first time attending it at the new space in Golden Gate Park-- which was about twice as large as the one I helped organize... so, hooray!
Hob, who organized the CAM reading.
Col. Tim Root, Floridian.
"The what was who?" : Chris Cilla.
Wouldn't be a zinefest without a little dog walking around somewhere.
Tim Root's Ass™, God love 'im.
Noah at the Spit and a Half table.
Jason Shiga enjoys the latest video from Zebratron.
These guys were just so damn photogenic, I couldn't stop takin' pictures!
L: Andrice tries to pretend I didn't just take a picture of her with food in her mouth; R: Jesse Reklaw.
"Ho's gotta eat too."
Rina and Ken, with Finn.
What, another baby already?!?
Anyhow, having lived in San Francisco from 2003-2006, coming back for the first time was nice. Sunday night Noah and I drove out to Ocean Beach and saw a lovely, cold, sunset. The next morning we'd drive down to LA.
Heading down Lincoln towards the ocean.
The edge of America.
NEXT TIME: LOS ANGELES
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