Thursday, September 4, 2014

International Photobooth Convention pt.1

In August of 2013, I sent an email to Brian and Tim, the gentlemen behind Since 2005 they've been the organizers of the International Photobooth Convention. (I should note that the conventions are not commercial trade shows, but rather volunteer-run festivals to celebrate all things photobooth-- with a heavy bias towards vintage machines.) In my email to them, I expressed interest in helping to organize the next IPC and listed a handful of ideas.

Ten months and hundreds of emails later, I arrived at A&A Studios a week before the convention date. Anthony Vizzari, his team and I got to work prepping IPC 2014. Truthfully, it was an immense amount of work, but it also felt energizing to be back in that creative space again, with all my old Chicago pals.

Chemical booths, from left to right, a Model 21, 17, 17 and 14, with a Photomatic peeking around the corner. Photo by Brian Meacham
Anthony was responsible for getting the physical space in order, which involved setting up five chemical and two digital photobooths, as well as planning the opening night party. I was responsible for the programming, scheduling and the promotional materials. The A&A staff were a tremendous amount of help. Brian and Tim would join us for during the actual event to keep everything running smoothly.

Conference room, table covered in Anthony's collection of PDQ cameras.
Some details from a Model 9 that Antony acquired since the last time I was in Chicago.
Anthony's photos, a couple Photomatics and three great examples of frames designed specifically for photobooth pictures.
Anthony's own Photomatic, an incredibly rare gem of a machine.

Anthony taught a workshop on using a photobooth camera outside of the photobooth. A&A staff member, David made a device to trigger the camera and paper cutter and attached a darkroom bag to collect the photos as they dropped out of the camera box. The photos were then developed by hand in the darkroom. Getting the lighting just right was the trickiest part.

It had been a while since I had serviced a photobooth but I was about to help get the machines up and running.  Here are some test shots from the Model 21 and Model 11 which we had running colour paper and chemicals.

What there aren't photos of, but what was certainly a memorable part of the pre-convention experience, is all the containers of take-out food we consumed that week.

In addition to the poster I made announcing IPC, we also wanted to make limited edition silkscreened posters, like in previous years. I designed the graphic while Kiera, an A&A staff member did the actual silkscreening. I also designed name tags and a set of four buttons.

Photo by Brian Meacham.
Volunteers made bunting out of paper in the convention colours and together we set up a merch table with a pretty good array of photobooth related products.

Photo by Brian Meacham.
As part of the convention we had a small exhibition of art titled Photobooth: New Works. The theme was art that was made since 2010 either using photobooths or with photobooths as the subject matter. With a team of volunteers we managed to get the art hung just before the opening party on Friday night.
Photo by Brian Meacham.
Well, that's it for set-up, in my next post I'll talk about what actually happened during the convention!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Chicago Comic Events!

I spent the first three weeks of June in Chicago for a slew of comics and photobooth related events. First up was the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (or CAKE, as it's better known.) I tabled with follow Conundrum Press author, Dakota McFadzean, who's one amazing storyteller/ cartoonist. Dakota is a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, so the organizers put us next to other CCS alumni, who I got to know and befriend throughout the weekend.

There was a fair bit of interest in Photobooth: A Biography and all weekend long I had great conversations with people about the topic. I met a few photobooth fans that I hadn't met in person before and I may have converted a few casual photography enthusiasts into true blue photobooth devotees. (Which is the ulterior motive behind most of actions.)

Photo on the right by Megan Byrd of Women Write Comics
My only qualm is that I didn't have much time to look around at mini-comics and zines that I would have liked for myself. I did however get to hang out with folks after the expo wrapped each day. One major highlight was going to Headquarters, which is a huge bar filled with pinball machines that are set to "free vend"... yes that's right, unlimited pinball! I may be a photobooth fan but I've got a soft spot for the whole coin-op industry. Headquarters also has a backroom filled with arcade machines, including my very favourite, Street Fighter II. Chun-Li 4life.

CAKE was lead by a super team of volunteers who were incredibly organized, cheery and helpful. The venue, the Center on Halsted, is also a really awesome, queer friendly space. Thanks to everyone who made that an awesome experience!

Two weeks later I had a talk and signing at Quimby's Bookstore, which in addition to having an amazing selection of alternative books, they also happen to have a functioning chemical photobooth! The talk went well but the coolest part of the evening (for me at least) was the Q&A session afterwards that turned into large discussion. 

I also gave everyone who came to the talk a tiny envelope, which they weren't allowed to open until the end. Half the envelopes contained glamorous photobooth shots and the other contained grotesque shots. Sending photobooth art to each other is one way that members of the international photobooth community stay connected, so I wanted to give the attendees a taste of that. Together, at the end everyone opened their respective envelopes to delight or dismay. 


My good friend Elizabeth came to the talk, which was awesome because she appears in the book multiple times. Elizabeth, over the last eleven years has literally appeased me dozens of times by posing with me in photobooths. This occasion was no different, here we are in the Quimby's photobooth. We are beautiful grown-up ladies.

Elizabeth and I also went to go see the Neo-Futurists perform their signature show Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. I had heard a lot about the ensemble over the years but this was my first time seeing them... and my gosh, I can't believe I waited so long. It was one of the best live theatre experiences I've ever had. I highly recommend it!

More recaps about the rest of my trip to Chicago coming soon...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Portfolio- Improv Camp Designs

Last week Improv Camp, which takes place on Gambier Island outside of Vancouver, wrapped up its 13th year! There's a special place in my heart for Improv Camp, where I was a camper and then a trainer for many years. I've created shirt designs for the camp for the last five years and it's a fun challenge to be given, essentially the same assignment every year.

In July I designed a two screen t-shirt design and a one screen hoodie design, both to be sold at the camp's tuck shop. Here are a few sketches, the finished designs and the designs mocked up on models: