Last weekend I flew from Portland to Seattle for the Emerald City Comic Con. It was the first time since around 2002 that I have gone to a comic Convention as an attendee rather than an exhibitor and I had a lovely time. The inspiration for the trip was to see my pals Ted and Derek, (exhibiting at this particular show for the first time) but I was also keen to meet up with my old pal Brian who lives in Seattle and whom I had not seen in many years.
Everyone agreed that this was wonderful show. Bay Area exhibitors claimed that their sales were much more than they were expecting and that they all preferred this con over recent experiences at Wondercon… Apart from that, it was just pleasant to attend; lots of great costumes (Hellboy Jr, and Kid Abe Sapien were highlights) and a fun, cheerful atmosphere.
Cons are a great chance to catch up with people, even those whom I see often. I regret not being able to spend more time with everyone but you can only fit so much socialising into a weekend… In fact, we were already talking abut the logistics of socialising at COMIC CON which is only a few months away… Chris Turnham (a co-worker at LAIKA) was also exhibiting with his friend Kevin Dart and their booth was right next door to Ted & Derek’s. It was great to see their work. There were some also some OTHER familiar faces on deck:
Like all my exhibitor pals, Ted & Derek were pretty much chair-bound at the con. I saw them for Breakfast and dinner each day but in between times I wandered about the city, SOLO. The weather was so unbelievably pretty that I simply HAD to get outside (working in Portland has taught me to make the most of sunshine when it comes my way). A highlight of these explorations was the Science Fiction Museum, which houses the impressive memorabilia stash of Paul Allen (of Microsoft). The collection includes Captain Kirk’s chair, A full size Spinner (from Blade Runner) and blasters, phasers, and laser pistols from every Sci-Fi movie and TV show you could name. Luckily for me, Every nerd for a 500 mile radius was at the Emerald City Comic Con, so I more or less had the museum to myself and was able to take my time perusing a Billionaire’s geek-stash at my leisure..
Finding dinner without walking all over the place is hard at cons, and Saturday was no exception to that rule. I take some of the blame for it his time, as the first place we entered was wall-to-wall punch-able faces and I decreed that we would have to eat elsewhere… Thanks to Brian & Heather’s local knowledge, we were taken to a very cosy pub with great food. We all agreed that the long walk to SMITH was well worth it. The quality of the appetisers (Deep fried pork shoulder with chimichurri and a serving of Sweet potato fries) hinted that we’d be in for a treat when the main courses showed up.. and indeed we were.
Seattle reminds me of other Bayside cities that I love; San Francisco, Vancouver, Sydney, Hong Kong, Macau… there is just something about Harbour Cities… Perhaps the rhythms of the tidal water gives these places a special vitality… When on the ferry to Bainbridge Island I had a visceral memory-flash of riding the Manly Ferry across Sydney Harbour… a journey I often made when I first moved to Sydney from my home town. But while the journey from Sydney’s Circlular Quay to the Northern suburb of Manly takes the passenger towards sandy white beaches, the Bainbridge Ferry is headed for snow capped mountains…
It also occurred to me, while wandering around Pioneer Square on Sunday, that it is EXACTLY 20 years since I was last in Seattle. March/April 1989… when I first came to the USA as a back-packing traveler. I hadn’t thought of the time-line until seeing some buildings brought some memories back to me. After tracking down one or two familiar places, I headed back to the CON to reconnoiter with my cronies. Selling out of their stock allowed Ted & Derek the luxury of an early departure from the CON and made it possible for us to have a leisurely FEAST OF CON-OVER with Brian and Heather at The Alibi Room down by the Pike Place market, before our respective flights left that evening. The delicious pizzas (Grape & Blue Cheese, and Chicken Sausage & Basil) were a very tasty end to a satisfying weekend.