It began last weekend with an Eventide Pre-Release in Edison NJ, not far from where I'm at now. A warm-up, of sorts.
Next up is San Diego Comic-Con, the big beast of the bunch. If anyone has been there, you know words cannot describe the crowds packed into the convention center there. The artist alley is being trimmed to half the size, with each artist now receiving 4' of table space, and restricted from having banners, back-walls or anything more than that 4' of table. It'll be interesting to see how we fare, ants among giants booths.
Gen*Con is, comparatively, a laid-back affair. Since its move to Indianapolis, I've attended most years (I attended a few Milwaukee Gen*Cons early in my career but didn't have a real presence as an artist). I'm not sure that we've really settled in there yet, perhaps we haven't found the good places to hang out. There's a pretty good bowling alley with a nightclub vibe on the upper floor of some complex or other. That was alright.
DragonCon follows, and this'll be my first time at that long-running show. Some artists counseled against showing there, believing it had turned more into a giant costume contest / LARP happening than an event for genre enthusiasts, more broadly. We'll see, I guess.
Things I am looking forward to:
1.)Boxtys at the Field, an Irish pub in San Diego where, if we had our druthers, Ben Thompson and I would be eating every evening. Usually the other folks I run with indulge us Boxty fans a couple nights then insist we eat elsewhere, which leads me to...
Reasonably priced, and delicious
Reasonably priced, and delicious
2.)Rei do Gado. All-you-can-eat, beautifully cooked meat, Brazilian style. One of the more expensive meals I'll treat myself to, this carnivore's heaven ends up being a smaller table (what with everyone watching their expenses), but has become a tradition for the few of us who eat there. I had my first churrascaria in Rio de Janiero and thought I'd died and gone to heaven--the dishes were neverending. San Diego ain't Rio, but man is this place good.
3.)Running. Yes, I've taken to running during conventions. This usually means a 6am start to get done and back, showered and at the event in time for its 10am open (parking sucks). At the same time, it's a great way to impress other artists--I wake up and do 6 miles, they wake up with hangovers. I win. Running at conventions also eliminates any guilt I might otherwise feel downing a herd of cattle in one sitting.
4.)Actually talking to other artists at Gen*Con. San Diego is so crazy and hectic that it's very hard to really hang with your fellow artists there. Gen*Con is much more chill, and a number of artists can be found there who aren't typically at Comic-Con; the talented and way cool Steves--Prescott and Belledin--are notable.
5.)Seeing friends in Asheville. I'm hoping to tack on a few days to visit my friends in Asheville where I lived last year. A visit to the Mellow Mushroom will be obligatory. Since I've never been to DragonCon, or spent any time in Atlanta, I have no idea where to eat, what to see or do there.
6.)A tall drip in a grande cup, and a cinnamon twist at Starbucks. Every day of every con.
Things I'm not looking forward to:
1.)Flying. Not that I'm afraid of flying, I just have gotten really tired of airplanes and the whole flying business. Last year, we drove from Asheville to Indianapolis, and drove cross-country from San Diego to Asheville. Yes it took much longer, but I'd rather drive. This year, without a car again, I'll have to fly.
2.)Running at conventions. I run to maintain my training, so that my efforts aren't wasted. I hate waking up at 6AM, and convention nights are often late-nights. Believe me, I don't spring out of bed at that time of the morning chomping at the bit to run.
3.)Not eating at the Field every day that I'm not at Rei do Gado.
4.)Hot and humid weather in Indy and Atlanta. Sure, I'm in NYC now, which is also hot and humid. But I'm a CA boy, and whatever else one could say about CA, you simply cannot beat the weather. I've traveled a bit, I still haven't found better weather, year-round.
5.)Trying to be productive the two weeks between events. These conventions really take a lot out of you. When I can I like to take a day off after each, but am rarely able to. It's also difficult sometimes to get back in gear after a convention. There's no choice--with another event following in a couple weeks, projects must get done. Expect me to be thoroughly wilted and spent by DragonCon.
6.)Caffeine overload. As these events wear on, caffeine is increasingly utilized to maintain sanity and wakefulness. By Saturday I'm downing Ventis with diminishing returns. I heard Starbucks' stock is pretty sad right now--watch for a spike in value soon as I single-handedly make their quarter.