Submitted by goRaina on April 30, 2008 - 16:33
Dave and I had a fan-tas-tic time at the Stumptown Comics Fest! We got home late last night, feeling green from the rain, full from yummy brunches, and elated from the wonderful convention.
Our photos of the con proper can be found in this Flickr set; we have plenty more photos from running all over Portland with our friends, but our computer is on the edge of insanity and won't let me upload the rest, so you'll have to wait to see those. Hopefully tomorrow!
We flew in on the Thursday Evening Jet Blue Cheapo Cartoonists Flight, in the company of Meredith, MK, Robin, and Liz. Upon arrival we cabbed it over to Vera's, with two dozen bagels in tow, and promptly set in motion a fun super-weekend.
Friday morning, after some bagels and tea in the diffused cloudy light of Vera's kitchen, Dave and I checked into our hotel and scampered off to meet Erika at the Chinese Classical Garden. The sun came out. That may have been Erika's doing, as it's always fun hanging out with her! We got some tea and eats at the Teahouse, and then met up with my sister Amara to walk around Portland.
First we went to Powell's, where we ran into my sister's boyfriend Micah, Matt B., Liz and Robin, and Steve! Dave and I found some excellent, out-of-print books in the humor section, my personal favorite find being another one of Lynn Johnston's pre-For Better or For Worse comic collections: I now have two out of three. Dave got a bunch of neat Peanuts books litho-printed on crazy day-glow paper. Then we walked past the Food Carts, which I guess is a big thing in Portland, and made our way to Voodoo Donut. I wasn't really up for it, but I managed half of a maple-glazed old-fashioned. Amara got one of those Froot Loop-toppped things, but I wasn't brave enough to try it.
After chilling out by the water for awhile, Dave and Amara and I met up with Erin at her nifty apartment downtown, and then went to the House of Vegetarian for dinner. We had some great sweet and sour fake chicken, but I didn't really eat much because I was afraid of not being able to sleep before the big show began on Saturday. In fact I slept just fine, but my stomach stayed pretty twisted up in knots the whole time we were in town. It was really too bad! There was a lot of nice food to be eaten, and I really appreciated Portland's focus on vegetarian food, as well as fresh, local organic produce and farming. It was a breath of fresh air after spending so much time in New York, where the most vegetarian thing on most menus is french fries and onion rings.
Then, the con. Things were busy from the start, and never really stopped for us. It was great to finally get to meet so many people we've known online for so long, and to meet a bunch of new ones, as well. In particular I enjoyed meeting some of my younger readers--and there were lots and lots of them! What amazed me the most was that they were not there to buy books: they mostly came with their own books waiting to get them signed, or they just wanted to say hi after having read them in the library or a school classroom. I'm so used to promoting myself, it was amazing to see that I was already too late to do it here. You beat me to the chase, Portland!
My panel went really well, especially thanks to Erika for moderating it!
After the show ended for the day, we got to have dinner with James Lucas Jones and his wife, Jenny. They took us to Pastini, which we pretty much fell in love with. I got rigatoni with roasted butternut squash, spinach, rosemary, and Parmesan--yum! Then we piled in their car and headed over to the Cosmic Monkey afterparty. What an amazing store!! Andy, the owner, was an awesome guy and the store is the biggest comics-retailing space I have ever seen. And the place was packed! We got to talk to more friends, and the party was just getting started, but it was too much for me inside so we moved things out to the sidewalk. I got to talk to Gene Yang for awhile, which was nice, and then Craig Thompson ended up driving us home! This was after he had drawn me a map explaining how to get there by bus...but everything worked in our favor and it meant we got to spend a few extra minutes with Craig, and Lark and Thien which is always fun!
Sunday was more of the same and possibly even better, sales-wise. People were still coming through the doors to attend the convention up until the late afternoon hours. We also got to hang out with Winter, whom everyone I didn't already know assumed was my daughter! I would have had to have her PRETTY young in order for her to be my kid, but it was amusing. Winter's a new inductee to the Avatar fandom, so Dave and I had plenty to discuss with her!
I was feeling pretty tired and stomach-weary after the show, so Dave and I just had a quiet dinner Sunday evening. We did decide to try the milkshakes at Burgerville afterwards, which came very highly reccommended...and they were, indeed, amazing. But it was the final nail in my tummy-coffin and I spent the rest of the night in a state of distress! I'd wager to say it was worth it, though!
Monday morning was the first time it actually rained during our trip, which was perfect since we had plans to do outdoorsy things, heh. First we had some brunch with Derek, Jason, Neil, and Indy at the Tin Shed, a funky brunch place with a menu item titled The Belly Pleaser, and obviously I had that (it's basically coconut rice pudding topped with mangoes and cinnamon), as well as one of their biscuits and some of their legendary raspberry jam. It put me in a food coma but that was okay. We then drove with Vera and Meredith to a waterfall which I can't spell or pronounce--it was a few stops past the more famous and touristy Multnomah Falls. So, a hike up a mountain in the rain was the word of the day. We had a great time, although I am obviously horribly out of shape and everyone else left me in the dust. We got nicely wet and dirty.
Next was lunch at Laughing Planet, and then I bought some loose tea from the Tao of Tea. I just had some kukicha! It is so good! Then we went to the Nickel Arcade across the street, where I kicked Dave's butt at table hockey...and still have the stiff shoulder to prove it. I won enough tickets to buy a bouncy ball, and playing with that in the street as the sun shone and a million cherry blossoms rained down sticks in my mind as one of the most perfect moments of the trip.
After a failed attempt to see J. Otto Seibold's artwork at Grass Hut and a drink at the Doug Fir, we chilled out at Vera's until dinnertime. I can't remember the name of the restaurant we went to, although it had the word 'Farm' in it and the food was good. Vera's boyfriend Jeremy joined us, and he was fun to talk to. Then we drove Meredith to the airport!
After a good night's sleep, it was OUR turn to go to the airport, and then we spent nine hours getting home (we routed through Phoenix, where it was 86 degrees). I played some Professor Layton during the second flight, and that game is as hard as Dave said it was. I've always been bad at puzzles! At least they are cute, though.
We got home crazy late, and I promptly found a disgusting and unusual bug walking around in my kitchen--it looked more like a sea crustacean than something you'd see in an urban apartment. But even getting the willies from that was not enough to keep me from sleeping like a log! Cons are great fun, but they really wear me out. I'm happy to have a little break before the summer season kicks into gear with MoCCA in June!
All in all, a great, great trip.
EXTRA-special thanks to Indigo Kelleigh and the entire organizing crew of Stumptown, for inviting us out, making us feel like rock stars, and generally being awesome and wonderful and terrific!