from here to fabletown & back

last week we set out for minnesota and the FABLETOWN convention. i took a train instead of flying. long train rides are equally relaxing and a test of endurance. i was able to hole up in the cafe car once it closed and stretch out and read. Image pulling through the country and approaching minnesota i was struck by the emptiness and isolation of the countryside. vast open spaces dotted with a small house here and there. it seemed silent and lonely, and reminded me of an abandoned civilization. i arrived in FABLETOWN thursday night, after an amusing shuttle ride from the train station into rochester, host city of the convention, in which i learned that another word for a skunk is ‘wood’s pussy’.  i met up with andrew and josh, who had flown in earlier in the day, and we set off to explore downtown rochester after dark. you don’t see many people out on the streets, owing to the cold and the fact that all of the big buildings are connected by skywalks as well as an underground walkway. this was new to us, and added to the surreal, alien feeling of the place. we walked around and found NEWT’S, a bar&burger joint heartily recommended by andrew’s cab driver. apparently they had a burger named THE JUICY LUCY, and if you poked her with your finger she squirts. a somewhat odd endorsement for a burger, but we bit. none of us tried out the old girl, but josh had a mammoth burger that had to be 2000 calories: Image that’s a bacon cheeseburger with fried onions wrapped in two grilled cheeses. with some kind of mayo sauce slathered on it. the peanut butter bacon burger i tried seemed genteel & dainty by comparison. back at the hotel, andrew and i planned how to maximize the handsomeness at josh’s command.Image friday was the start of the con, and we were up early and ready to set up. a bellman from our hotel, caleb, helped us bring our boxes over to the civic center. little did we know that caleb would help turn us into a hot commodity when we gave him a copy of ONCE UPON A TIME MACHINE. Image Image Image this was the before. there’s no after. i got caught up and never got the pics. the con got rolling, and we had a good response to the book right off the bat. and it wasn’t long before we met our biggest fan, jacob. jacob, we adore you.jacobby the time the opening ceremonies kicked off at 5 we already knew this was going to be a great trip. bill willingham, creator of FABLES, was the host of FABLETOWN, and he took to the stage during the opening ceremonies to set the tone for the weekend and introduce some of the folks most responsible for putting this show together. Image stephanie cooke, seen here behind bill apparently updating her OK CUPID profile, is bill’s assistant and a delightful, thoughtful wonder. the empty chair belongs to brad thomte, bill’s partner in crime. brad’s a high-energy fount of enthusiasm. next to him is stacy sinner. it turns out stacy runs the prisons in rochester and the surrounding area. she also is a warm, accommodating, charming woman who made me smile when she told me i was one of her favorite characters from the whole weekend. she likes red wine. if you see her, buy her a glass. speaking of wine…

Image …stephanie likes white. and yes, she likes them 3 at a time. stephanie, brad, and stacy were instrumental in creating the most intimate, inclusive convention atmosphere we’ve ever experienced. they were constantly checking in to see if we needed anything and the entire FABLETOWN staff, comprised mostly of family members and friends, were unfailingly polite and helpful. wonderful people who created a wonderful world we all would have liked to live in longer. after the opening ceremonies we headed to the KILL SHAKESPEARE BAR, a nattily appointed private bar exclusive to the creators & attendees for the weekend. Image Image it’s fair to say we spent a lot of time in the bar once the con shut down for the day. friday night kicked off with mark buckingham, FABLES artist and instantly lovable, buying us drinks. we are thrilled that mark will be contributing to our upcoming LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM. we drank the night away with david and julia petersen and bryan glass. somewhere in there i ran into carole ann, who’d come all the way from quebec because of her love of FABLES and the mouse books, MICE TEMPLAR & MOUSE GUARD, but couldn’t work up the nerve to talk to any of the creators. in 5 minutes i had her nestled in a booth with buckingham, petersen, and bryan. Image saturday was a brisk sales day, and we have the aforementioned caleb, a bellman at our hotel, to thank for that partly. it turns out caleb was telling anyone&everyone to come check out our book. we had to have 25 people tell us he had sent them to find us. caleb, you are a prince. saturday night we went out to dinner with carole ann and her friend dominique, the jolly giant garrick, and anthony del col, co-creator of KILL SHAKESPEARE. turns out anthony is a college basketball junkie so he popped in&out to watch his beloved syracuse. we ate at an italian place called victoria’s that had spotty service and so-so food but the company was good and afterward we headed en masse back to our hotel room, where garrick supplied the KINKY LIQUEUR and we played video of rob woods rapping THE PUSSY SONG for carole ann and dominique. then we all headed down to the bar. there are vague memories of a marriage proposal…

575671_10151357864137197_889243593_nImage Image Image Image Image that’s van jensen (PINOCCHIO, VAMPIRE SLAYER) in the green shirt. we spent a lot of time with van. good guy. van’s getting ready to take over GREEN LANTERN CORPS. check him out. oh yeah, there was a pool party saturday night. Image sunday saw more brisk sales and i did a panel moderated by anthony del col, where i won his pitch competition by refusing to pitch our book. at the table we had wonderful folks like this… Image Image DSCN0940we couldn’t have had a better response to the book, and encountered so many great people into what we are doing. fabletown forever. sunday night the bar was exclusive to creators and staff. we finally got a chance to hang with mr. willingham, who understandably was pulled in a million directions over the week but was still affable and drinking with the lot of us. we hit it off with some of the girls from the staff, and spent some time with stephanie and her friend liz and chrissie zullo. chrissie joined in for LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM, and we are charmed to have her. eventually we headed out with a large party including anthony del col and a bunch of the staff and adam hughes and his wife, allison. bryan glass let his hair down, literally, and wore my hat. i had this fantastic gin & cucumber & mint drink. and the irrepressible ‘minnesota’ (one of two lauras), stacy sinner’s daughter and one of the staff, secured us a bottle of scotch after hours to take back to the hotel room and carry on the after party there. Image Image Image which we did. there are pictures all over facebook. and we won’t mention the two officials who knocked on the door in the middle of the night, or how damn hard it was to wake up at 7 am and get back on the train to head home. FABLETOWN was a sublime, invigorating experience. to bill, brad, stacy, stephanie, liz, minnesota, laura, and all the other people who gave their time and made us feel so welcome, we tip our hat(s) to you. a truly wonderful experience.

fabletown forever.

-chris stevens

3 thoughts on “from here to fabletown & back

  1. Pingback: Back from Fabletown and the Beach | Once Upon a Time Machine

  2. Pingback: Post-Fablescon Press Round-Up « Fabletown and Beyond

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