Sunday, November 17, 2013

Billy Ireland Festival, Day Three

For those not keeping count, yesterday was the third day of the Billy Ireland Festival. Unlike the previous two days, though, the focus of the day's events were less academic and more on the popular side of things with talks from Matt Bors, Stephen Pastis, and Eddie Campbell; a screening of the documentary, Stripped; and culminating with a discussion with the Hernandez Brothers.

The morning kicked off with a presentation of the newly revived Seagar Award, given to the insanely well deserving Lucy Caswell. It has been (and I suspect will remain) the only standing ovation of the conference. She doesn't get much attention and adulation in the popular comics press but she's done an incredible amount for comics. Someone needs to do a full-on biography of this woman.

The talks were all good. It was the first time I've seen any of those creators speak, though Pastis' presentation gave me a curious sense of deja vu. I can't think of when/where I might've heard it before but whatever. Stripped was really impressive as a movie and Dave Kellett mentioned afterward that they'll be donating all of the full interviews to the Library, which will be another fantastic resource for them. Los Bros was also a great talk and I heard a number of folks who are bigger fans than myself that some of the anecdotes they heard were entirely new.

Oh, geez! And I almost forgot that Brian Walker conducted a tour of the Museum's first exhibit.

The overall audience was, not surprisingly, a less academic/more populace crowd. Interestingly, this didn't seem to have much of an impact, aside from the rooms being a little more full. It was great to see some tweens there, despite my usual grousing at these kids today. This was comics outreach that we need more of.

But like the previous days, the energy and excitement continued outside of the conference proper as you would run into folks in the hall or at a restaurant where you would continue the conversation. Dinner was particularly exciting for me as there were about 25-30 of us who took over part of a sports bar.

I've heard a few people ask and answer "what's been you favorite part of the conference so far?" If you sit back and think about it, you can narrow it down to three or four but a lot people's initial reaction has been: "All of it."

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