Sunday, July 26, 2009

... almost at the end

it's a little hard to believe that i'm almost at the end of this trip that felt for a long time like it was never going to begin! i've come at what appears to be a warmer-than-usual summer for portland, with the temperatures today getting up to around 31 degrees celsius and it felt (un)reasonably humid (to me) but they're forecasting about 33 tomorrow and happily i'll be on the plane on monday - yahoo!'s weather tracker is forecasting 36 degrees for monday... and i'll be in air-conditioned comfort in a plane. alas, i have to transit in los angeles, where i'll be cooling my heels for about four hours, which isn't as bad as the seven hours i was there between sydney-la, la-ny flights my last trip here.

these last few days there's been a group of russians staying here at the hostel. there's about eighteen, twenty, including as few young fellows about 13 or 14, several chaperones (of the "oh victor you are very unattractive man" style), and the rest girls of about the same age as these young fellows. all raging hormones and thorough clothing-acclimitisation in a foreign country. i'm a tad surprised they only sent five chaperones. they should have lo-jack on all the kids, with a laptop and google maps on it or something. i'd trust any one of these kids about as far as i could throw one. (although most look fairly light...) they're here on a "salmon camp" where they've got a few days here in portland before they're off to study salmon fishing and canning and shipping, all aspects of the salmon life cycle and fisheries. (so i gather.) interesting on paper but i don't know how it'd be. one of them is eating peanut butter out of a jar with a spoon.

given that the portland beer festival (july has been craft beer month here in pdx) is in full swing this weekend, there have been a great deal more inebriated folk about than i'd noticed before.most seem to be carrying some kind of re-usable beer stein, looking to hold about half a pint. being taken up with the zine symposium, i haven't been out during the day to try any of this stuff out and i've been pretty tired in the evenings - i'm less worried about that, since i'll be happy to be a bit out of it when i'm flying home.

the zine symposium is huge! ninety tables, any one of which could be having two zinesters "tabling", with the possibility of two different tablers for each of the three days. going at maximum capacity, you could conceivably have 540 different tablers over the three days of the event. imagine that! and if each tabler brought only two new zines with the that would be over a thousand zines.

of course, that doesn't happen. many tablers take a whole table to themslves, or use the same table for all three days. when the symposium handbook went to print there were 182 separate tables listed, which is about a third of the conceived maximum capacity. that's pretty good and it's worked really well. mad props (apparently that's the style of the time) to the organisers of pzs this year, especially the really visible movers and shakers. there has been an abundance of volunteers, more coming out of the woodwork every day, and i was fortunate to be able to go around the tables again today, get a whole bunch of zines, and go along to a workshop of working to deadlines and how they can increase your productivity! (makes them sounds like some kind of control undergarment... eeek!)

it's been a bit of an experience seeing so many zinesters i've only heard about or read about. meeting alex wrekk has been fantastic and a real thrill; blue (whom i'd not met before making my initial enquiries about pzs) is an absolute championne; jesse reklaw (of applicant fame, among myriad others), who was so laid back about everything and talked with such warmth; katie, who is kind of new to the scene but an all-in pzs sympanista and organiser and who sympathised about my sense of being star-struck; one of the editors of zine world; ciara, creator of love letters to monsters and others; zine distro organisers; zine librarians; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

fantastic. i've been feeling like kenny at the portaloo trade fair. there are two other workshops i'd like to visit tomorrow, so we'll see what happens. there may be some post-event get-together (i don't know, i might have heard rumours but to be honest i'm having a bit of a seniors' moment about that) and i've been trying out "mac and cheese" (macaroni and cheese) while i've been here. i've twice now been directed to a particular restaurant for what i've been assured is the best mac and cheese i will ever taste in my life. with a scant thirty-six hours left in portland, i feel the pressure's on to make sure i try the best portland has to offer - this mac and cheese may well be the piece de resistance... who knows?

the symposium certainly hasn't just appeared overnight - copious amounts of planning, with a (classically un)healthy sprinkling of last-minute madness, has brought to fruition the ninth iteration of an awesome concept. i'll be going to the gns trade fair in melbourne in a couple of weeks' time (less, actually) and given the resources they have to throw at that may find that in comparison it is somewhat wanting.

two things that i think are great are the sponsors' efforts and the lead-up events. for the month leading up to the zine symposium, there were several events, including a multi-city 24-hour zine challenge and a kick-off dance party.looking at the list of sponsors, i'm confident many were responsible for the nigh-endless flow of food in the free-food section of the symposium space. i don't remember seeing any of the on any of the promotional material, which i also think is great - these sponsors, to whatever degree, valued the symposium enough that they donated without expectation of more than a mention in the booklet (and, obviously, participants' continued business over the year... maybe). very cool.

i have an idea that perhaps that kind of patronage could be something to use in getting some zine-ish thing off the ground... another tool to keep in the shed, just in case it's useful...

i should get to bed. more later. i'm rather looking forward to cataloguing my photos, and these blog posts will help put me in the mindspace of where i was when i took them, which will be good (hopefuly) for reminding me why i thought a picture of photocopiers might be funny... good night.

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