On loan to Buenaventura Press, from January 25th to February 3rd I was in France to attend Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême. My trip to Angoulême was bookended by brief stays in Paris, a city I hadn't visited in 8 1/2 years. Here are some photos I took while I was in France...
I flew to Paris by way of Chicago... Looking back on this photo I genuinely envy The Sleeping Chef of O'Hare Airport, when I landed in Paris I had't slept for over 30 hours and I hadn't a clue as to where I would be staying because I hadn't reserved a room before I left Seattle. (I'll try to only write this only once: the 9 hour difference between Seattle and Paris is NO JOKE.)
From the airport I took the RER and then transfered to the Metro which spat me out into the 11 arrondissement... and this is the first thing I saw. My vision was so blurry from lack of sleep I thought I was seeing things.
From what I could tell by peering through the dusty windows Tête Rock Underground is some kind of comix gallery...? I'm not sure because the place was locked up tight. I took these photos at around 8am on a Monday morning and as anyone who's visited France can attest, things don't really start doing until 10:30 to 11:00 am. Anyway, I meant to come back when they were open but never did.
I went from hotel to hostel to hotel again on a mission to find a place for the night. Every place I went to was either closed (?) or full up and I was beginning to despair... even though I was excited to be in Paris. I stopped for some coffee and to gather my wits. I went to a couple more places and learned how to say "no vacancy" in French.
FINALLY I found a place to rest my bones! (No, not the van...) After I paid the man I started up the narrow stars to my room and Bruce Springsteen's "Born In the USA" started up with me. Say what you will, but Bruce aint my guy, tredging up those stairs to his blue collar anthem made me feel sick. But I digress... So, I'm in my room, dog tired... I know if I go to sleep I'm fucked and after all I am in Paris... Splash some cold water on my face, I head out into the Paris cold to do some exploring!
Now... if I were to tell you this was a comix trip would you believe me? Literally, right around the corner from the hostel where I was staying are the offices for L'Association!
It was still pretty early, the streets were free of people and I wasn't sure if anyone would be in. I walked up to these big red doors and knocked.
This is the first thing you see when you walk into L'Association's space. My immediate thought was "My Gawd! It's French Fantagraphics! Except they're shorter and dressed better!" There was interesting crap piled everywhere!
I got to spy some advance copies of upcoming L'Association titles, such as Spermanga by Pakito B0lino...
Page after page, this book looks amazing and it's all in English!
Here's the proofs for Red Monkey dans John Wesley Harding by the talented Joe Daly. The American edition of this book is due out from Fantagraphics this coming July under the title The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book.
While I was flipping through the proof and sipping some much needed coffee (Merci!) the print run for the book was delivered! just in time for the festival.
It was time for me to go. As I shuffled off I walked past this strange tent. Its rumored that many years ago this tent was once the temporary home of Kim Thompson!
This is what you see as you leave L'Association... I gotta say, it was really inspiring to be so far away from home and to be surround by such nice folks who, like Fantagraphics, are trying to make the world a better place (at least, that's how I see it...).
Revived by coffee and good company I was off to the legendary Un Regard Moderne.
On my way to Un Regard Moderne I spotted this poster for the movie Valkyrie with a V for Vendetta mask placed over Tom Cruise's pensive, Nazi mug.
(The Slide Show will continue soonish with part two.)