D.C., SPX, 29!

Mon 10/6/2008

Man oh man, WHAT A WEEKEND. Sorry I keep doing these day-by-day blog dumps, but it's the only way I can keep straight all the cool stuff that has been going on!

Wednesday morning Greg and Jesse sat in on my Professional Practices class as guest lecturers, which was really interesting. Jesse went super in-depth about the process of creating, pitching and maintaining his weekly newspaper strip, Slow Wave. Jesse is on a big tour right now, to promote his new book The Night of Your Life. So that night, we went with Gabby, Robyn, Colleen and Sam to the Amherst Bookstore for a signing. There wasn't much of a turnout, but it was fun hanging out with each other and getting some dinner outside of White River Junction!

My Lulu.com books came Wednesday afternoon (hooray!) but we were still waiting for a box of the new French P7 book that Max had sent. Thursday morning I packed while we waited for the post man. He arrived around 11am with no box, so we hit the road (sorry Max!)

It was really fun driving with Greg down to D.C. It's been a long time since I took a road trip. The rental car had a CD player, so we brought along some good music and rocked our way down the East coast. There is something really great about listening to music and driving!

Friday morning we went downtown to the Smithsonian to see the Jim Henson exhibit. It's really hard for me to explain how powerful it was for me to see this exhibit. I feel like I have been lucky enough to see a few truly amazing museum exhibits in my life (like the William Steig exhibit last year) and this was definitely one of them. It was full of Jim Henson's original drawings and sketches and storyboards and screen prints and posters, and a bunch of the original muppets including Kermit and Rowlf. They also had a few videos playing his old ads and scenes from his experimental film Timepiece. All in all, I spent three hours in the exhibit, reading every little placard and all of Mr. Henson's hand-written notes. By the end of the experience, I almost felt like I should give up comics and start making PUPPETS! But once I got outside again, I calmed down a bit, and realized that I should just apply the excitement I was feeling, and all the stuff I had just learned into my own work, in comics form.

Anyways, I'm babbling, but it was just AMAZING. Jim Henson is definitely one of my all-time heroes. This exhibit is touring all over the country! PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND CHECK IT OUT.

Afterwards Greg and I got the most incredible, behind-the-scenes tour of the capitol building from my friend Ann. She took us all over the building (including a ride on the top-secret Subway that senators use to save time!) and she knew SO MUCH about the history of the architecture and the various statues and paintings and various chambers and meeting rooms, etc. etc. etc. It was a real treat, thanks Ann!

By the time we got back to the hotel it was already 6:30pm and we were pretty tuckered out, so we chickened out on the hour drive to Baltimore for the Nerdlinger Awards. This sort of sucked, because I was actually given a Nerdlinger this year, for "Most Missed Cartoonist." Liz said my absence during the award ceremony was VERY POIGNANT. :( Sorry Liz!

I'm glad I got some sleep that night though, because Saturday was CRAZY! We set up at about 10, wandered around and said hello to people and then the show was from 11-7. I was so excited about seeing all my friends, I sort of forgot about the whole "standing behind the table and selling comics all day" thing. It was a great show (SPX is my favorite) and lots of people came up and wished me a happy birthday (29!) It was Mike Dawson's birthday too (!?!)

That night was the Ignatz Awards, which was slightly awkward, only because I had friends in almost every catagory (and in most cases, MULTIPLE friends in the SAME catagory). So with each announced winner I was simultaneously going "HOORAY!" and "Aw, man..." Really, I think the voting can go one way or another depending on a lot of different factors. In the end, I think the most important honor is just being nominated! I will say CONGRATULATIONS to Greg Means for winning Best Anthology though! I fully agree that Papercutter is the best anthology out there, and I was pumped to see him get the brick. (Also TODAY is GREG'S Birthday!!!) Lastly, a big congrats to Chuck McBuck for snagging TWO Ignatz Awards (his new nick-name is Chuck McBrick!)

After the awards a bunch of us went to sing Karaoke, which was crazy and fun. Liz Baillie and I rocked some weezer, and then I headed home kind of early so I could get a good night's sleep before another long day of standing behind the table.

Sunday we also did a CCS panel, which went pretty well, and LIZ PRINCE showed up, even though I thought she wasn't going to be there, because of a wedding she had to attend on Saturday. After the show, I got dinner with Liz and Kaz which was nice and low-key.

The last adventure occurred late on Sunday night... Every year at SPX I forget to bring my swimming trunks, but not THIS year! So Gabby and I were going to go swimming at 9pm, but when we met up, Gabby informed me that there was supposedly a BETTER pool that we were allowed to use, across the street.

So we grabbed a few people who were already swimming (Liz, MK, Joe and Robin) and got a key from the front desk and then crossed the street...

It was this giant condo-complex, which had a huge indoor pool in the basement, along with a HOT TUB, and a SAUNA, and a STEAM ROOM. Even though we were totally allowed to be in there, it felt like we had snuck in, like on a high school band trip or something. It was pretty rad. There's nothing like hanging out in a hot tub after a whole weekend of standing on your feet for 8 hours a day!

I slept and drew on the train ride home today, and it felt really nice to get back to Vermont. It's FREEZING up here! (Literaly - it's 32 degrees outside as I write this) but I for one, feel ready for the fast-approaching winter. I've got A LOT of work to do, so it's time to dig in and get it done. I consider my batteries fully recharged!

Thanks to everyone who made it such a great birthday weekend, and for everyone who stopped by to say hello, or to buy comics, or to trade comics. I can't wait to check out everything I got!

6 comments on this entry

Welcome back to Vermont! I do like the train as a way to return - at a civilized pace with space to adjust in my cozy inner space.

I just love that your descriptor for feeling like a rule-breaking badass is "like on a high school band trip." Hardcore!

Rach Oct07

Everyone should read Liz Baillie's SPX blog entry for more detail about the hot-tub party on the last night! Hillarious!

Alec. Oct08

Happy (belated) Birthday! It would have been my son's birthday too, but he came a week early.

David Oct08

Hey! Did you received the books? I hope you're not too cold up there...

Max Oct09

Max - the books have still not arrived :( I'm worried they may be caught in customs or something. Is there any way for you to check where they are (a tracking number?) Sorry dude!

Alec. Oct09

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Running out of This American Life :(
Today I listened to the 300th episode of This American Life. I searched back through my blog ..
Leaving for SPX!
All of my books arrived! HOORAY! Greg and I leave in about 9 hours to drive down to Washington ..