08 December 2010

Turn the drums up, turn my vocals up too

Listening to: Biggies Smalls freestyling at age seventeen. I'll explain below. The clip is from a 2000 film, "Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme."

I'd been anticipating going to the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival for awhile and even though I rolled out of bed super late, I got there mostly on time because it was literally a block down from my apartment. So far one of the very best things about living in Williamsburg is how close I am to the L train station. You exit out of the underground, go down a block, cross one unbusy street, and there's my sublet. It's absolutely lovely.

Ignorant New Yorker that I am, I thought that since I was in Brooklyn, and got off at the Bedford stop, I was living near where Biggie, Mos, and Jay-Z grew up. Yes I know Williamsburg is now the hipster capital of gentrification but I thought maybe I was within hailing distance of the streets these legends grew up on. Haha, how wrong I was. Their Bed-Stuy is actually not that close to where I live. I mean, at my stop all the white people get off and all the other people stay on to parts unknown.

Cured of that particular ignorance, I still can't help reciting Common's line from The 6th Sense in my head as I wait for the train: "Somedays I take the L to gel with the real world." Yes I know he was talking about the L train in Chicago, but I gotta have something you know?

Anyway so I stroll down a block to the church where the festival is being held and inside are mustachioed young men and eclectically dressed young women. Actually, everyone was eclectically dressed, it's Williamsburg. This was the second year of the festival and it was absolutely packed. A lesser man would have turned away but I was intrigued by all the artwork and books and zines. I had hoped to watch/listen to some of the programming events but the audio was kind of poor. The last festival I went to with panels and readings had poor acoustics too, which seems like something that should be a priority to have working well for these types of things.

The upstairs area was filled with vendors and there were some seriously famous people in there. Apparently the exhibitors are curated and that made the quality of the work super high. I'm not that familiar with too many names and faces in this comics world, but my friend knew like everyone. This was to her what a Comic Con would be to me. I was tasked with taking photos that would last a lifetime.

Actually I was also tasked with being a wingman on a meet and greet, but that mission absolutely failed. There was someone my friend was really excited to meet, but as it turned out, this young artist neither looked like advertised (/imagined) nor talked much. The person in question does really witty and well done work, but as hard as we tried to engage him, he gave only perfunctory answers. And then he signed her book without asking for her name, or saying much of anything, and his print was in a tiny scrawl.

Look, I'm no expert on signing things but when someone brings my work for me to sign, I'm super nice, appreciative, and I at least ask them who I can address the message to. Give it some thought and personalization if I can. This dude did none of the above. For the rest of our time I'd glance over at his table occasionally from across the room to see if he made efforts to talk to other people. I needed to know if it was personal or if he was just anti-social. Neither are forgivable.

Other than that, the festival was awesome -- and including that deflating experience made it additionally memorable. Since I was cashless, I borrowed a few bucks to purchase "Hey, 4-Eyes #3: A Zine About Glasses" and "DHarbin's Diary Comics #1". If I had a million dollars I would have spent it all in that room so it's probably good that my wallet was empty. I wrote down a whole bunch of new comic creators I need to become fans of, I got inspired to one day make one, and I also got to see Adrian Tomine and Julia Wertz, who were both super nice and friendly. I was pushing Wertz's stuff last month, so I hope you listened to me.

All in all, quite the successful day. And then later that night I stayed out real late, mostly sitting around watching a room of people dance and karaoke like crazy. Then I took the train home as the sun came out so I could again represent BK to the fullest. Word.