2004 - OFF TO A KICK ASS START
2004 has been a great year so far. And it's only going to get better.
It's February 1st, 2004.
At my business the year revolves around February when the Alternative Press Expo comes into town. This San Francisco convention on a weekend in February is a showcase for independent and mini-comics. The fresh and enthusiastic atmosphere of this is always infectious and is a perfect match for the cutting-edge and innovative city of San Francisco.
As you can imagine, February is the busiest and the most fun month of the whole year. Friends come in from out of town, there are always new creators to get to know at the convention, and APE Aftermath remains our biggest event annually. Not even the Isotope's legendary Warren Ellis Scotch Tasting drew in a bigger crowd than APE Aftermath. Imagine inviting three hundred of your closest friends over to your house for a raucous party.
The Alternative Press Expo, since it is such a mini-comic friendly event, provides the perfect framework for the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-comics, which we present at our APE Aftermath event each year. Truly, this is the pride and joy of the Isotope.
And so I am already busy stocking the bar, reading the mini-comics and making arrangements for the awards ceremony. The Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics is, of course, the highlight of the APE Aftermath event for me. I should be done reading the submissions by Monday, but then the other judges and myself have a tough decision ahead of us. This year we've received some really great submissions and I think our deliberations to determine the winner will be long and arduous! The sexy stone and steel trophy has been ordered and is in production, and depending on how intense our battles to determine our winner end up being, by the end of the week we should know whose name will grace the name plate.
Like I said, February is a really exciting time of year for me.
January wasn't half-bad either.
It broke my heart to give you guys my column a couple days late, but this past week, the final week of Brian Wood Month, we topped it all off and sent the month out in style with three straight days of partying!
As I talked about last week, during January we celebrate the comic industry's only month-long party, Brian Wood Month. Throughout the month of January 2004, we took the San Francisco Tiki Tour, went hoarse cheering on the fine folks at Incredibly Strange Wrestling, enjoyed Booze and Bowling, shot the hearts out of paper men at the Jackson Arms Shooting Range, and celebrated the release of the third issue of Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan's monthly series, "Demo." And as promised, here is the update on our grand finale of events.
On Wednesday, after unofficially celebrating the official release date of "Demo" #3, we made our way to the Bottom of the Hill to see one of Brian Wood's favorite bands, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Due to Ted Leo's cult following (primarily consisting of young women), the show sold out even before the doors opened and many Brian Wood fans were forced to listen through the doors, hoping some one would leave and make room for them or to go home and rest up for the next two events. In truth, many Brian Wood Month devotees were so exhausted at this point that they were not disappointed to get the respite. However, those of us who made it in to see Ted Leo were treated to an awesome show complete with great punk rock, Ted Leo's amazing vertical leaps while playing his guitar, and even an attempt by inebriated Detroit girls to start an East coast- West coast rivalry.
Thursday was Brian Wood's birthday and the celebration started as soon as the Isotope's doors opened at 11 am. Fans called Brian with birthday greetings, brought in birthday presents, and one fan even baked Brian a duo of Demo-themed homemade birthday cakes. The revelry went strong at the Isotope until around eleven when Brian Wood's fans called loudly for karaoke. The party then migrated to a local bar where the karaoke classics were done up in style. World-famous Funwrecker, Dennis Culver, demonstrated to all the ancient arts of the karaoke master.
Those Brian Wood fans who were able to drag their tired bodies out of bed by 3 pm the next day, finished off Brian Wood Month by touring San Francisco's Speakeasy Brewery. Speakeasy is a micobrewery with a relaxed attitude and some serious beer. Steve Bruce, part owner and founder of Speakeasy Brewery, began the tour by filling up our glasses, much to the delight of those still hoarse from the karaoke of the previous evening. We were then educated on the brewing process and allowed to sample a special limited batch that was aging in one of the large stainless steel tanks. We all agreed that it was such a special brew that I immediately asked that they reserve one of the 26 barrels for the APE Aftermath event. Because even when I'm standing with a great group of friends, drinking freshly brewed beer straight from its stainless steel womb, I'm still working, baby!