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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CAKE aka my first time con-going as a spectator sport

Hey so I went to Chicago this weekend for CAKE and I took some photos or whatever.

(Advanced warning: Tom is always accusing me of relying too heavily on the one-liner and maybe he is right but one works with what one has, you know?)

Sometimes you look on the internet for a place to stay and something describes itself as "a funky artist's studio" and you are all like "well, heck, I'm a funky artist," and then you end up spending the weekend sleeping on a wooden palette directly under this painting.

"You guys here for the con?"

(Get it? The show is called CAKE but this is also a name of a food. And I realize, of course, that this isn't a real photo of a cake but rather a cake-shaped-soap.)

(Or, I mean, I realized it eventually.)

It turns out that I didn't really plan my day very well and ended up at Quimby's like 7 hours early, chatting up the awesome Edie for a while and then just kind of saying "so what are we doing now?" when it was clear that there was work to be done and I should have been leaving. So I was particularly thankful and excited when Dan and Leslie Zettwoch showed up and invited me to go out to lunch with them.

Immediately at lunch we started in on the universe of THE VOW and the universe of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and I knew that coming to CAKE was the best decision I could have made if only for this conversation.

Have you guys met Leslie Zettwoch?? I've been working with Dan/in awe of his humour for years, but this was my first time meeting Leslie and she is SO FUNNY. Seriously the best. She started telling me about her and Dan's plans to open a dog brunch place and THIS IS ALSO MY LIFELONG GOAL, so, needless to say, we were fast friends. Dan also spent a lot of time talking about the Huizenga family hot tub, which turned into a discussion of a hot tub themed restaurant (TM)... All I can say is that you should stay tuned in to the blog for some big upcoming announcements.

My poor trip planning meant leaving for the airport on Friday at some stupid hour like 4 am so I didn't really do much between lunch and Dan Zettwoch and Kevin Huizenga's launch at Quimby's that night. When I finally stumbled over to Quimby's I was lucky enough to catch Kevin and Brian Ralph in a minute of repose, sharing some reading material. You can see Quimby's manager Liz in the background. Unfortunately this is the best photo that I got of her, but I assure you that we spent a lot of time talking about making DIY Peter Pan collars out of used microwave popcorn bags. WHAT? YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME? Ask her yourself!

Kevin and Dan prepare for their upcoming presentation. Dan's whole family is in the front row and seriously Dan what are you doing there? WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Kevin does a hilarious reading of a few of his stories. I tell you, I think Kevin is such a brilliant cartoonist. Melissa Mendes and I spent like half an hour on Monday talking about how brilliant he is and I'm pretty sure that I've already called him a genius on the blog so perhaps I shouldn't go on too long. But I just think that his work is so intelligent and thoughtful and that he is so aware of everything that is happening in the medium while remaining humble and self-effacing that it's remarkable. The first time I met Kevin, I think I blabbed on and on about how brilliant I thought he was and how much I related to his Jeepers Jacobs story and probably I went too fan girlish on him, but I just CANNOT HELP IT when it comes to Kevin.

Dan shows some inspiration for pages of Birdseye Bristoe, explains that he still doesn't know what an adult super store is like on the inside because Leslie refuses to go in one with him. Even for research!

Barry Matthews (Secret Acres) and Sean Ford, and a sneaky pic of Liz in the background. Was this before or after Barry offered to get me a green card if I would "give him a baby"? Oh, who can remember. It was a long weekend.

Don't worry, Gabby Schulz! Just because we didn't talk much this weekend doesn't mean I'm not always spying on you. (And Box Brown)

(Also, is just me or does that guy at the end of the bar look like a bro version of Gabby? Hey, whatever, I'll take what I can get.)

(Also, sorry, Sean Ford.)

Here's the big room at CAKE, AKA the Canadian pavilion. I particularly liked that the show overlooked a rooftop pool across the street, but maybe that's just me.

"So, do like my comics?"

"Hush now, mama's got bigger fish to fry." (Imagine me looking wistfully out the window in the general direction of the pool.) (And multiply that X the entire weekend.)

Rina Ayuyang! Great cartoonist, publisher (Yam Books), hilarious facebook user.

We brainstormed some CAKE programming for next year, notably a panel called "Tom Devlin and Everyone's Problems with Him." I know it's still a year away, but, people, we've got a lot of ground to cover so we should get started soon! Please send any points you might like addressed to jessica@drawnandquarterly.com.

Dustin Harbin, Jesse Jacobs, Patrick Kyle with the guardian angel of comics, Annie Koyama, in the background. I can't come up with a joke but IMAGINE IF I COULD? Wouldn't that be hilarious? Yes, thank you, thank you.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the most depressing photo I took this weekend. This feels like a bit of a requisite con shot. Why did I take it, you ask?


Carrie McNinch, Robert Kirby, Marian Runk, Rebecca Mir, Mari Naomi. I had the incredible pleasure of getting a bit of a tour of Chicago from Marian and she's the best! Also, I know we've tweeted about her comics before, but they're great. She's a wonderful writer and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

One of my great disappointments about this trip was not getting to spend more time with Gabrielle Bell, who is secretly/not-so-secretly one of the funniest people in comics. I felt like every time I saw her it was super hot or I'd had too much coffee or I was running off somewhere and we just never got to really chat, but I recommend it if you ever have the chance! Such a delight. I can't wait for her new book.

Lisa Hanawalt, Julia Wertz and the side of Domitille Collardey's face (SORRY DOMITILLE!). Following this photo, we spent a long time talking about Tom's hair and at what length we prefer it. They all say "the longer the better," I say "on the fence." Oh and then I told them that my carpal tunnel wrist guard was made out of a braid of Tom's shorn locks and then kind of looked down and shuffled their feet until I walked away.

It's so funny to see Lisa at these things because we have this great internet rapport, but how does one translate this to real life? HOW? Any advice you might have, oh internet users, would be greatly appreciated. Likewise, if you could explain to me how to get my OKCupid dates to stop "going to the bathroom" and then "never returning" 30 minutes after I meet them, I would be grateful.

Clara Bessijelle and Austin English! Austin recently became a publisher (Domino Books) and they both debuted Clara's Face Man at this show, which I am excited to read. Clara spent a bit of time as an intern in D+Q and I believe that some of this comic was actually drawn at my studio here. I wish I got to see these guys more often, if only for Austin's stories about how mean Tom Devlin was to him back in his Highwater interning days.

ANDERS NILSEN!!! He had this amazing accordion book that he hand bound and I recommend that you buy one while you can because there are only twelve of them and they are beautiful. (I think you can do it here?)

Basically I have a super hard time not making every blog post I do be all about Chuck Forsman and Melissa Mendes. You guys heard that Fantagraphics just announced a two book deal with Chuck, right? Did you also know that Chuck is a micro publisher who puts out mini comics? Check them out at oilycomics.com. He told me about some of the upcoming minis that he's hoping to put out and it sounds like there are some exciting things in the works.

MELISSA MENDESSSSSSSSSSSSS. I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUU. Also, I recommend that you check out her new series "Lou."

John Porcellino peeks out from behind the Spit and a Half booth! John was the other person with whom I got to spend a regrettably small amount of time this weekend.

Sacha Mardou, Ted May (rolling a joint?), Dan Zettwoch, Kevin Huizenga, Tom Kaczynski and Zak Sally. Even to me, who has no sense of decorum whatsoever, this is an intimidating/impressive gang.

Check out these Glenn Ganges dolls!!!!! So great!!!! Also there are books or whatever.

Jeffrey Brown, Marc Bell and Anders Nilsen. What are you guys talking about, hmmmmmmm????

Somewhat related: try as I might, I didn't get a single photo of Amy Lockhart the whole weekend. At one point, we were at a dive bar and I brought my camera out and she was like "Who do you think you are? Tom Devlin? Put that thing away and play darts with that drunk stranger!" so that was what I did. But now I wish I had some pics. TOM WOULD NEVER HAVE LET THIS HAPPEN.

On Saturday after the show we all went to the art show where there was work by Ivan Brunetti, Laura Park, John P and more but then I got sooooo hot and couldn't concentrate and it was time to go outside.

The typical post-con "So what are YOU doing for dinner?" "I don't know, what are YOU doing for dinner?" conversation that inevitably ends with going to Chilli's and trying to get a table for 50. Why do we kid ourselves?

Aidan Koch, Krystal DiFronzo, Sara Drake, Anders Nilsen, Sean, Melissa, Chuck as well as several more like Marc and Amy not pictured. There wasn't enough space for all of us at the table so I ended up sitting at the kids' table nearby...

with Eric Rivera and Brian Ralph. What's that, you feel sorry for us? Well you SHOULDN'T because we spent a great deal of time talking to Eric about how he used to live in the same town in England as Alan Moore and would go over to his house all of the time just to hang out and talk about comics.

And then I think I interrupted him to tell some irrelevant joke. I CAN'T TURN THIS OFF, PEOPLE.

Requisite drunk river shot. Later, Anders, Brian and I would try to recapture our San Diego swimming experience of last summer but it just wasn't the same without Tracy and Tom.

Hey, Chicago's pretty nice! It was around this time that a homeless man told me he loved me, though he didn't take my invitation for a trip down to city hall because "apparently midwestern hospitality only extends so far." Offer still stands, my friend!

No photos from Sunday at the con, apparently, but I'm including this one of us waiting to get in to a vegan diner if only so I can make sure to have a photo of Paul "The Brad Pitt of Comics" Lyons on the blog for, uhhh, posterity. Sure. Sitting down are Jo Dery and Walker of the Providence Comics Consortium. Oh and I guess that's Brian Ralph or whatever.

Monday post con and it's time for a babies' day out with Chuck and Melissa (and our gracious host, Marian Runk, who took this picture). Mostly I am just putting this up on the blog because Tom "forbid me" from promoting my Far Side t shirt any more. But now it's in the annals of the internet for all eternity, so deal. Also, my mom asked me to put more photos of myself on the blog and WHO AM I TO SPURN MY MOTHER? She gave me life after all, sheesh!

Y'all it is really hot in Chicago. If you're by the Institute, I recommend going to the park and dipping your feet in this fountain, but there are a lot of rules like "no standing," "keep your clothes on," "stop drinking that water" and "PUT THOSE CLOTHES BACK ON" just to warn you in advance.

Lookie here at who we ran in to after being chased out of the museum (apparently that clothes rule is like city-wide in Chicago?): Hellen Jo and Calvin Wong! I feel like it's always been my goal to hang out with these guys at a con but I had to pretty much immediately leave for the airport. Where my flight was, of course, delayed for three hours.

CAKE spoils, much of which shall be in the D+Q store later today? Tomorrow? LOOK I DON'T GET DOWN THERE EVERY DAY, OK!

And, finally, my favourite drawing of all time, courtesy of Melissa Mendes.


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