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April 25, 2013

A Few Notes On Visiting New York’s MoCCA Arts Fest 2013 And S.P.A.C.E. 2013 In Columbus

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* so a week apart I went to two very different comics shows: the MoCCA Arts Fest in New York City, and SPACE in Columbus, Ohio. What follows are some notes from those travels. I apologize for their lateness; nothing here quite cohered, and I thought they might do so as time passed. Then I got busy. Then my computer blew up.

* I have relatively few hardcore travel/flight notes this time out. I remain slightly dismayed how thinly we're spread in terms of our travel infrastructure, how missing a single connection can capsize your trips for a day or more, and how little this seems to matter to any of the airlines that might be able to better cope with the consequences of this were it to become a priority to do so. This is not my memory of travel even 15 years ago, and can't be a good thing for the prospect of traveling a bunch in the future. I think travel may become more increasingly attractive to cartoonists and other comics folk.

* so: New York and MoCCA.

* since New York is first, let me do a New York-related travel note about the hotels I stayed in. I did spend some time with a friend in New Jersey but in the city I stayed at hotels. I prefer this, even though I know most people couch and guest room surf -- there were a couple of comics people inhabiting the otherwise empty home of Brian Heater, for example, perhaps even with his permission. But at this point in my life I almost always opt for a hotel. I'm old, I prefer to watch ESPN at full blast at 3 AM while eating corn ships, and I occasionally have Night Shrieks.

I stayed in three NYC hotels. According to on-line review sites, this should have cost me $1500 and involved rats constantly running over my face. New York hotel room reviews are about 20 percent crazier than all other hotel reviews, which are pretty loopy to begin with. People seem to savage any hotel that isn't really top-end as being a series of tiny hell-holes in a crumbling façade staffed by ingrates. I thought all three hotels I stayed in -- a Best Western at Bowery and Grand, Pod 51 reasonably close to the Society of Illustrators (I got a full room rather than one with a shared restroom) and the Marcel at Gramercy Hotel near the show itself -- were freaking fine, and everybody at each place was super-nice. I would stay in all three again. I also worked all three down under $150 a night by just checking discount sites with some regularity in the weeks leading up to the show.

So it's possible to do a hotel in NYC and not get screwed. Just saying.

* okay, that boring point was to make everyone leave that was likely to leave so we can gossip, you and me. How are you? Have you been well?

* comics shows are sort of amazing right now. I could go to a comics show every other week for a solid ten months, and that's not the month that includes Angouleme. It's a whole different world than it was a generation ago, when there were maybe two or three shows in an entire year that one might consider doing. It's a better world, I think.

* I flew into NYC on Easter Sunday. This was the Sunday before MoCCA.

* I was close enough that first night to stop by the KGB Bar Easter-tradition comics reading on my way to a late dinner. Robyn Chapman told me that attendance was slightly down, but there were still enough people I had to stand. I enjoyed what I saw: Sam Henderson doing funny voices, Jesse Reklaw singing a song on his guitar, and at least one cartoonist I'd never heard of whose work I enjoyed -- I think the one I saw and whose work intrigued me was Caroline Paquita. The room would hold maybe 40-50 people at most. I'm glad I did such an event this one time, as I can't imagine that becoming my kind of thing on a regular basis even if I had the opportunity. But anything that cartoonists want to do and that they think helps get their work over with an audience, I'm for it.

* one unfortunate element was a small stream of traffic walking past the screen in varying degrees of stooped-over politeness in order to get at a bar. One man that looked a lot like Michael Chiklis walked in during the Jesse Reklaw reading, wondered out loud what in the hell he was seeing, and then asked me where he could "score some blow." That's never happened to me at
posted 12:00 am PST | Permalink

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