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TCAF! [Aug. 21st, 2007|12:42 pm]
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[music |All Girl Summer Fun Band: Grass Skirt]

We're back from the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, one of the most fun shows we have ever done! It was a fantastic weekend, full of friends old and new, lovely architecture, great books and great art, tasty food, and hilarious shenaninigans.

All of our photos from TCAF are on Flickr, with a few choice selections and my con report

Dave and I flew up on Monday afternoon, which allowed for a little bit of time to relax before the weekend's craziness set in. John and Marion followed soon thereafter, on a flight from Colorado. They had been travelling all over the place since Comic-con last month, and Toronto was their final stop on the tour.

Friday night found us at Rocco's Plum Tomato, right next to The Beguiling and Honest Ed's with a massive group of people. Kean Soo set it all up and we enjoyed pasta, pizza, and good company. We were sitting next to Jim Zubkavich, who we'd never met before, but he took us under his wing and told us funny stories and even walked us back to our hotel later that night! Canadians are always so welcoming, and we always appreciate it.

Marion and John with a 'crazy' pizza of their own invention.

Chris "McNinja" and I, going for street cred.

After dinner we all had ice cream at Greg's, because I was pushing for it. The place is small and bright, and I got to try their signature flavor, Roasted Marshmallow...which I then spent the next 4 days thinking about. It was incredible, I could have eaten a bucket of that stuff.

On the way to Greg's.

On Saturday we had a lackluster breakfast at the hotel, and then set up at the con. It took place on the U of T campus in the Old Victoria Building, which is really old and historic and pretty, covered in ivy and surrounded by vaulted arches and maple trees. It was filled with paintings and sculptures and lovely fixtures to begin with, so filling it with cartoonists and their art and books was wonderful.

Heading into the wonderful world of the University of Toronto.

Before the crowds arrived: the first floor of the show.

Our table on the second floor.

I can only compare this show to MoCCA in its intimacy, warmth, and spirit. Everyone was over the moon all weekend, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face, and there was a great crowd of attendees from start to finish. Perhaps since the show was free to attend, people old, young, and in between from all walks of life came to check it out, and I had a lot of great conversations and just enjoyed the good karma. My hat is off to Chris Butcher, Peter Birkemoe, and the rest of the staff and volunteers who made sure that everyone was happy and comfortable and taken care of.

Saturday in the kids tent. (Photo stolen from Marion)

My panel in the Kids Tent was a success, with a lot of kids and parents coming by to talk comics and drawing and materials. Then we started talking about pets--between us, we had a lot of really gross lizard stories, for some reason!

Saturday, dinner.

When Saturday was said and done a pile of us went for Japanese. My yam tempura was excellent, and for some reason that green tea was some of the best I'd ever had. Perhaps I was thirsty! I got to catch up with Rich and Chris and Mer and Miguel, which was really nice. Then we had a long, long walk to Sneaky Dee's, where the official TCAF Saturday party was in full swing. I, of course, was a puddle of exhastion at that point, and missed out on talking to a few people I wish I'd had a voice for. (Hi, Allene!) It was simply shot at that point, I'd been talking all day long. We were really there to see Mal sing, and we did, and he was good! But after that, even though about 50 of our friends were heading out to quieter climes, me and my gang opted out and jumped in a cab back to our hotel.

We went to bed at 11, but were all sort of wired and ended up talking and laughing for at least an hour. It was like a slumber party! Everyone fell asleep and I don't know why but I just could NOT get comfortable, and lay awake until almost 4. The alarm was set for 7:30. Sunday dawned bright and early and I was afraid I'd be wrecked for it, but things worked out.

Adrenaline kicked in, I guess. By noon, the show had started to get crowded again. I went off to a Kids Tent talk at 1, which ended up being 3 kids and their respective parents, but it was one of the best discussions I've ever had! The kids were all incredibly bright, tuned into what they liked about comics, and were super-curious about the process of making them. I was so happy to meet them all.

Sunday, Kids Tent.

Most of the show looked something like this.

Or this.

Dave and Kean.

The rest of Sunday was much like Saturday: so busy I could barely get away from my table. We sold through most of the stuff we brought. I was on a panel at 4 with Hope Larson, Kean, Carla Speed McNeil, and Scott Robins. Now, the panels were all held in the University's chapel, which our table happened to be right next to. It was gorgeous! Stained glass windows, arched ceilings, carved wood and pillars. No comparison, it was the loveliest place I've EVER done a presentation. I hope the accoustics were on par!

Check that out: best panel backdrop ever.

Right after our panel was another presentation by a girl lip-synching to Mariah Carey songs. It was VERY interesting and I've never seen anything like it at a comic convention before...

The show wrapped up and everyone trickled off in different directions. We had a small-scale dinner with Vera, Rosemary, Miguel, and Nadine at Spring Rolls, a Thai restaurant that takes their vegan section and their food allergens VERY seriously, so it was a real treat. I usually have to tread very carefully with Thai food, even though I love it, because fish, eggs, and peanuts are out for me. That rules out just about everything, most of the time. But not this! I had great eggplant-basil noodles and some sweet, bracing ginger tea.

Spring Rolls, on a journey to the future.

We were all still in high spirits, and walked over to the TCAF afterparty across town. It was paaaaaacked. I got to talk to Kevin Breslawski, who I went to school with but rarely see these days, and then found my way to a back room where a lot of my friends were gathered. There were some hijinx going on which I am reluctant to talk about as they were not exactly all-ages friendly, and I try to keep this journal clean for obvious reasons. Needless to say it was very, very funny and I was glad to bear witness to the silliness--I'm almost ALWAYS too tired to hang out late after cons, so I miss out on a lot of the weirder drawing memes and stuff like that.

What is Jim drawing?...

I slept like a rock that night!

And then the next morning I kind of fell out of bed and hit my head on the side of our camera charger which was plugged into the wall and also stubbed my toe. Then I got a migraine, which didn't seem to be connected to the goose egg on my forehead. It was kind of a lousy morning for me. But by the time Kean picked us up for one last brunch, I had turned the corner and was feeling a lot better. It's a good thing, because we ended up having a ton of fun!

Naseem and Dave awaiting delicious food. Naseem's like the nicest person I've ever met.

High-altitude coffee.

French Fry Party.

The idea was to have brunch in the swanky rotating restaurant at the top of the CN tower, but then we realized that even the appetizers started at like $25. We opted for the cafe on the observation deck instead--and it turned out to be the right choice. Dave and I had waffles there at the last TCAF, and we remembered them being good, but this time they were GREAT. In fact, all of our food was great! Even the coffee and tea seemed special. We totally ate like kings and watched planes and helicopters fly by at eye level. The day was blustery and grey and cold, but the view was still worth seeing. Then we realized how late it was, and jumped on the glass floor and ran around for 3 minutes before going back down the elevator, rushing to the car, driving in traffic back to the hotel, and getting cabs to the airport. Luckily, we made it in time!

Marion of the wind.

Glass floor!

And that's it! Our next con is SPX in October, and we have a lot of work to do between now and then. So, it was nice to have one last fun summer con before fall sets in.

[User Picture]From: say_it_with_pie
2007-08-21 06:33 pm (UTC)
It was very nice to meet you this weekend (Karen, of the Whale). I read Mary Anne Saves the Day when I got home, and it ruled.

There are pictures of you and the Comics Bakery crew on the internet here.
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[User Picture]From: yaytime
2007-08-21 07:03 pm (UTC)
Great photos and con report, Karen!!
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[User Picture]From: goraina
2007-08-22 03:56 pm (UTC)
Yay, thanks, Karen! :D
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[User Picture]From: redknot
2007-08-21 06:40 pm (UTC)
aaaaahh, i'm so glad i didn't come to breakfast with you.....
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[User Picture]From: goraina
2007-08-22 03:56 pm (UTC)
Dooooo itttttt!
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[User Picture]From: marionv
2007-08-21 06:59 pm (UTC)
WOOOOOOOOO! The crazy never stops at the Bakery! :D

That was really windy out there.
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[User Picture]From: qwantz
2007-08-21 07:05 pm (UTC)
It was nice seeing you again! Sorry the walk was so long! :)
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[User Picture]From: goraina
2007-08-22 03:57 pm (UTC)
Long but scenic! I am really learning how the city all fits together, which makes me very happy. :)
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[User Picture]From: alisa5179
2007-08-21 07:13 pm (UTC)
Ooo what a pretty campus. Aside from the columns, that interior looks a lot like Old Main at Kutztown. Looks like a great time, I'll have to check out TCAF one of these years.
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[User Picture]From: goraina
2007-08-22 03:58 pm (UTC)
I always wanted to go to college in a place like that. And as you know, I totally didn't...but these occasional weekends make for good wish fulfillment!

You should come sometime, we would have a lot of fun!
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[User Picture]From: hopping_v
2007-08-21 07:28 pm (UTC)
Great seeing you guys again!
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[User Picture]From: rufftoon
2007-08-21 07:29 pm (UTC)
Nice and fun show, so glad to have seen familiar faces again :)
Aw man, I wished I'd stayed a bit longer, looks like you guys had fun on Sunday.
Thanks for sharing the photos!
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[User Picture]From: tanukitsune
2007-08-21 07:58 pm (UTC)
It sure looks like you had a blast! You should have shared the photo of Dave's waffles with the world! X3
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[User Picture]From: ttallan
2007-08-21 08:42 pm (UTC)
It was great to see you guys again! I knew Spring Rolls is an excellent place to eat, but I never knew that they're such a good place for those with food allergies. I'll have to remember that!
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[User Picture]From: goraina
2007-08-22 03:59 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear the show went well for you this year! And yeah, SR is definitely a place I'm comfortable recommending to most folks.
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[User Picture]From: skry
2007-08-21 11:08 pm (UTC)
Wow. That looks like such a good time! and... Roasted Marshmallow ice cream... I have a one-word response. Duuuuude!
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[User Picture]From: goraina
2007-08-22 03:59 pm (UTC)
Seriously. It was EXACTLY as it should be.
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[User Picture]From: steveflack
2007-08-22 12:37 am (UTC)
I want to go to Toronto.

Trip looked like fun. Hope all is well.

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[User Picture]From: goraina
2007-08-22 04:00 pm (UTC)
You would like it, I think! Especially if you have appreciations of 90s Canadian television.

I have that mini-comic you requested, btw...
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[User Picture]From: dayuse
2007-08-22 02:22 am (UTC)
Glad you guys had a good time!
It's weird: I've lived near the Greater Toronto Area for all of my life, and I still haven't been up the CN Tower. :\
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[User Picture]From: goraina
2007-08-22 04:01 pm (UTC)
It's okay, I was a San Francisco native who never really went on cable cars or ate crab.

And hey, thanks again for the fan art! It totally made my day! :)
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[User Picture]From: goraina
2007-08-23 02:25 pm (UTC)



Now I'm REALLY curious, and a little scared... ;)
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