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awkward, john cleese
From today's "Lying in the Gutters":

"The following e-mail was recently circulated by organiser Clydene Nee, entitled 'Cuts to Artists' Alley 2007'

'I am afraid that there are significant cuts in the number of tables we will have for Artists' Alley 2007, we were cut by 37 tables, which approximately 1/3 of our space, and you will not have a table this year. The loss of our tables is due to the convention center requiring the convention to set aside more space for participants to sit and having the snack bar open where we previously had tables.

'Cuts in the alley were based on a variety of measures, contributions to the auction, participating in programs, length of participation in artists' alley, the work that someone is doing, what publishers they work for, and their artwork in general, etc. A combination of factors went into the scoring. It was very hard to make the cuts as you might imagine.'"

Now, I don't really don't have a dog in this hunt, having been out of the Artist Alley game since a disastrous 1992 SDCC where the Image guys dominated the Alley and untrained volunteer "security" tried to control the mobs wanting to get to them--and stopped people right before they got to my table. They then grilled them rudely about where they were going, so that many turned around or were turned away and killed my sales for the weekend deader than dead.

Sure, it's been fifteen years. But between that and disastrous Artist's Alleys at Wondercon and BayCon, I only had to learn my lesson four times to buy a "real" table, get space at a publisher's (YAY, NBM!) or not bother, because Artist Alley is always the first place to get cut, and usually the worst managed anyway. (You gotta wonder why people who don't enjoy confrontation keep stepping directly in the path of the Speeding Confrontation Bus as it rounds the corner on two wheels.)

One wonders aloud why the con needs to give MORE snack bar space to the center. In meager defense of Comic-Con International and the decision to screw artists on a budget instead of, say, dealers: doesn't CCI ALREADY do enough for San Diego's economy? Has it not been there every year for more than two decades? Are thirty-seven tables going to be that much of a difference?

Why do I bitch about cons? Because I can just go to anything I've written labeled COMICS, read it, and lie down until the urge to go to one on my own dime goes away.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
sclerotic_rings
Jan. 29th, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes: why do I suspect that the convention center got tired of Cat Piss Men dumping nachos all over the place and then whining "But I can't find a place to sit down." Gee, Sparky, have you considered sitting down, eating your food, and then getting up to put your filthy mitts all over the freebies?
big_wired
Jan. 30th, 2007 12:28 am (UTC)
I have a friend named Shaz that spoke of similair occenrences at anime cons where he's at the artist alley, and how difficult they make it to reserve a table. He muscles on through when he can though, so maybe you two could talk and exchange experiences?

All in all though, that sounds like a crappy way of getting things done. Part of the beauty of comics is, well, the art, so why not have more of an Artist Alley to let the fans in to talk with the artists, get a commission or two, check out new artwork etc etc? I don't know much about this kind of thing, but it would seem that less artists at a comic convention would be a bad thing.
luxshine
Jan. 30th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC)
I totally feel your pain. I do hope that the artist can get together to see if there is any chance to get their tables back -maybe in a different zone away from the snack bar?- because if not, it's going to be downhill from there.

(I speak out of experience. 'Free' tables are unexistant in México. 'artist alley' tables are about 60 dlls. for the days of the con, and usually hidden so far away that you need a map to figure out where they put us (We usually kid that next con we'll be in a different building), and heavy ear plugs as we always end up next to the karaoke)
ringwoodcomics
Jan. 30th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
Sucks. I've actually skipped cons entirely since 2005 (I don't count CAPE as one), but when I did go, artist's alley was the main draw for me. I could care less about the unveiling of new toys or press release soapboxes disguised as panels.
notalabel
Jan. 30th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
God forbid they should eliminate any of the multi-media corporation booths that drew such huge crowds that it was difficult walking from the comic book section on the northwest end to the Artist Alley section on the southeast end. And I was so hoping Tania del Rio would get a table.

There is a problem with lack of eating space, but I'd venture that much of the problem is due to well-rested able-bodied people carrying on conversions long after they'd finished eating. Several years ago, Sam Kieth was kicked out of the DC booth when his allotted time ended, and he moved to the snack bar tables so he could sign & sketch for every last person in line. (I know, because I was the last person in line.) There was no table space, and while Sam stood and used a trash can as a flat surface to place comics and sketchbooks on, a group who had finished their meal was yakking it up the entire time at the table right next to him. I grabbed a large clean plastic bag (from the CrossGen booth I think) and gave it to Sam to place on the trash can, but in hindsight I wish I'd done more than glare at the oblivious yakkers. BTW you can bet I profusely thanked Sam for being nice above and beyond. Way above.

Having written all that, I'll keep going to Comic Con, as it's the closest one to me, and there are still many excellent comic book creators there (albeit one fewer excellent creator who is justified in no longer attending). They'd better not ever cut the Small Press tables though!

~chris
dedagda
Jan. 30th, 2007 02:16 am (UTC)
Less about comics and more about money...

You'd think the PR folks would have stepped in to edit that part out about the food area. Cutting free artist tables for more snack space is shameful.

It San Diego Comic Con not San Diego Coney Con.
notalabel
Jan. 30th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC)
follow the money
The email does claim that the convention center is requiring the increase in seating. But there are plenty of non-comic booths that could be eliminated at-- what's the event called?-- oh yeah, Comic Con.
divalea
Jan. 30th, 2007 03:29 am (UTC)
Re: follow the money
Tut. That makes sense.

They could eliminate botths with booth bunnies--there'd be room for hundreds of tables.
wtf
Jan. 30th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC)
ZING. And you have hit the nail on the head.
divalea
Jan. 30th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC)
Well, of course it's about money.

And subjective criteria.
mpvorkosigan
Jan. 30th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
Lea, MidSouthCon's art show doesn't do this. The art show is well organized, there is no alley, and if you're a guest then your stuff hangs in the show free, or at least that was how they did it in '02.

A dealer table or three wasn't that expensive, and your work would go over well in there. Maybe, my second-dearest love, you're going to the wrong cons.

Go east, young woman! Or at least southeast!

Mike
divalea
Jan. 30th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
I don't go to any cons. (Except CAPE!) Saves time any money.
bigbigtruck
Jan. 30th, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
Weird coincidence - in the past 24 hours, I have managed to get indecipherable responses regarding table availability from not one but THREE anime cons.

It didn't used to be this difficult to secure a table - or, hell, to find out if one COULD secure a table. I don't understand what's going on.
lois2037
Jan. 31st, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)
Y'know... What really bothered me about this was the part about how cuts were made. It basically said, "If you're our pal, suck up to the Con in general, and/or have socio-politically acceptable artwork (acccording to US), you're in." Well, I guess they were up-front about it, anyway. All I can remember about Comic-Con food is the violent stomach-wrenching epidemics that happened to people who ate there. Fans must be getting tougher. WonderCon still has a pretty decent Artists Alley, first come-first served--but who knows how long that will last? I, too, haven't been to ComicCon in over a decade--but who can afford it anymore?
notalabel
Jan. 31st, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
yeah, but it's a less stinky stink
“All I can remember about Comic-Con food is the violent stomach-wrenching epidemics that happened to people who ate there.”

You don’t remember the ludicrously high prices?

Actually, the convention is non-profit, so registration is cheaper than other cons; at SDCC '06 I paid $40 for full '07 membership. If you can get there cheaply (I take the train), avoid SDCC food, and keep your purchases at a sane level, it’s a very affordable vacation. Well, it’s a “vacation” for fans (that may change if crowds get worse), not hard-working creators.

The wrong booths were cut, but don’t they charge less for small press tables than artist alley tables…? I guess it’s like Democrat politicians; they’re stinky, but not at stinky as the alternative. (Sorry, cheap shot.)
notalabel
Jan. 31st, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC)
Re: yeah, but it's a less stinky stink
I forgot to add share accommodations to the list of how to have an affordable Comic Con.
bezman
Jan. 31st, 2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
Re: yeah, but it's a less stinky stink
Can't you just sleep rough for a week?
lois2037
Feb. 1st, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
Re: yeah, but it's a less stinky stink
I say, if it stinks, it stinks. I do remember the high prices, but that's to be expected at a convention center. This working professional can NOT afford San Diego, in spite of it's being deductible. It was a much better convention before it went all big-time media, probably, but there always was the media component about as far back as you want to look. I wish they would put all the comic folk in a separate building or something so we can actually talk to each other again.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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