Sunday, March 05, 2006

STAPLE! 06 post-game report:
Or, "Why Randy won't be drinking again for a long time."

STAPLE! 2006 was a blast, and a success by all measures. I just got off the phone with Chris "Uncle STAPLE" Nicholas and he told me that attendance was solid, the live art show was a raging success (every piece of art sold, and attendance of the live art show was somewhere around 150 people or more) and basically, everybody he talked to had a great time. Every exhibitor I talked to made their table and more, and I know for certain that Danielle Corsetto sold out all the Crazy Papers she had and sketched like crazy, that Jim Mahfood sold out pretty much everything he brought, that the Mechanical Bunny folks did great business with their monster pillows, hair clips, etc. Basically, it seemed like it was a great show. Next year... we'll be even bigger.

As for my part, I had a great time as well. The Friday night pre-party at Austin Books was great, and I got to meet (or re-meet) Tony Millionaire, Danielle Corsetto (Girls With Slingshots), Ronee Bourgeois (Buzzscope) and several other folks. Saw Leo and Michelle from New Orleans again, which was great. Met Justin Davis, a comics fan who'd just moved to Austin in the last month. Hung around quite a bit with Nate Southard, and finally introduced myself to Jillian, manager of First Federal who I had talked to on several prior occasions. A bunch of us went to Dan's to grab a bite to eat at about 10:45, roughly 15 minutes before they closed. We felt bad and told them we could go, but they said to go ahead and order, so we did, and then proceeded to stick around, making loud and (to us) hilarious conversation for probably another half hour. They probably wanted to kill us... but hell, we gave them an out and they turned it down.

From there, it was on to the Flametrick Subs show at Beerland. Wherein there was much merriment, Satanic rockabilly music, Satan's Cheerleaders and lesbian hijinx. On the drive down, I got to reviewer geek out with Ronee, which was a lot of fun.

I showed up around 10:00, with Katy in tow so that Suzanne could get a little extra sleep. We walked around and Katy was shy but had fun, even if she did drag me away from every table after about 5 seconds of standing still. Bought her a pair of monster barettes that she loved, and she got to hug some of the monster pillows and play with Miss Monster's plush monsters as well. Katy isn't scared of monsters... to her, monsters are the good guys in Monsters, Inc. or on Sesame Street. She's scared of Swiper the Fox from Dora. Which is good, because Swiper isn't really even a villain. He's usually just trying to take a bunch of stuff from the heroes and throw it far away or dump it in a lake. He's not a villain, he's just kind of a dick.

Anyway, around 12:00, when Katy was getting really tired of being there with me, Suzanne showed up to get her. She made one lap around the place and then headed home with Katy in tow, and I finally got a chance to look around. I made a point of getting my sketchbook to Danielle and picking up her graphic novel Crazy Papers. Also finally got a sketch from Rafael, and it was as great as I expected, a cool sketch in my theme sketchbook. I didn't buy much more in my first pass, spent a lot of time hanging around at the tables next to each other that housed Rafael, Nate and Ronee.

I caught the Xeric Grant panel, which I had helped recruit folks for back in the early planning days, and was very pleased by how it all worked out. The four speakers were really laid back and knowledgeable, there was a good vibe going, and the hour-long panel just breezed by.

Grabbed lunch at Schlotzky's around 2:00, then came back and worked the admissions table until around 4:30. There were some volunteers from an event-planning course who were helping out, and they were all very nice to talk to. There was a youngish guy, a very cute girl with the most adorable southern accent I've ever heard and a woman who worked in professional conference planning who was just astounded at the general level of goodwill, fun and relative ease that came in the planning and running of a comics show. Sadly, I don't recall the names of most of them, but I know that the woman's name was LaTonia. There was a pretty steady flow of attendees coming in.

After that, I got up and walked around again, this time inspired by Leo's purchases to go and seek out more stuff to buy. I stopped at Emily Benz and Summer McClinton's table to grab their ashcan preview of Thread #2. Got a copy of Bronx Angel as thanks for the quote I gave it in online form, and I look forward to reading the whole thing printed. Among the stuff I bought was Cartoons As American as Bald Eagles and Hair Restoration Products, American Born Chinese 2.1 and 2.2, Pipedream (an anthology), Monday Part One, You Ain't No Dancer (another anthology) and SPQR Blues. A relatively light load compared to my usual convention haul, but that's in large part because I wasn't grabbing up review copies of everything. And I'm actually kind of relieved not to have to review a bunch of stuff. Instead, I'll just be able to read at my leisure and really enjoy everything I got.

After the show closed down, about a dozen of us went across the street to Korea House, where we had some really good food. Then we split up to head to the Live Art Show at the Ritz. I drove my car home, and Toby Craig left his car at my place as well, then we got in the car with Leo and Michelle to head downtown. We parked under the highway for $5, and walked out to the Ritz.

The top floor of the Ritz was a great venue for the live art show. There was a bar and the show, and then if you went up the stairs a bit there were tables, chairs, booths, etc. Chris had already snagged a booth area, so we went up and joined him. By the time the art show really got started, the crowd up there included me, Chris, Dave Lamplugh (of You Chose Right The First Time), Ronee, Nate, Shawna (Nate's girlfriend), Rafael, my friend Tess, Jillian, Leo, Michelle, Toby and probably any number of other people I'm forgetting. The Ritz got trashed last weekend, so the water wasn't working, which was a bit of a bummer since you couldn't wash your hands in the bathroom, but it turned out to be a fairly minor thing.

We got in a little after 10:00, probably close to about 10:30. And within the next hour, I drank six rum and cokes. And THAT'S THE LAST THING I REMEMBER. This marks the first time I've ever lost memory as a result of drinking, and lemme tell ya folks, it ain't a fun experience. I'll spare you the gory details of my rough night after I got home, but suffice to say that the next flash of memory I have it sitting in in the bathroom throwing up... again. I spent a good chunk of Sunday more or less wishing I was dead. Lesson learned? FOUR Rum and Cokes. No more. And even that probably should not be drunk within an hour. Good lord. At any rate, hopefully I didn't do anything too tasteless or embarrassing. Chris tells me I fell down the stairs at one point, but that doesn't surprise me at all. When I came in and saw stairs, my mind did the equation of stairs + drinking = Randy is going to stumble down these steps at some point.

At any rate, now after a day of recovering from the hangover from hell and the after-effects of vomiting for hours, I'm feeling mostly human again. I even got a nice little bonus email from Tess, who told me she had bought the red art piece that Mahfood did early on and was going to sell it to me for cheap, which makes Tess officially my best friend for the next week at least. And now I'm off to catch up on some TV, maybe watch some of the Oscars, before I have to get up early tomorrow and head in to do inventory at the store.

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