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2012 La Pen Show Report


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#1 AltecGreen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:24

Here is the 2012 LA Pen Show Report.



As a reminder, do not quote my posts in your replies because it's brutal for those with lower bandwidths. Be courteous.



I always know when it's time for the LA Pen show. You spend the latter part of the year saving a pool of money for the show and then just weeks before the show, all kinds of pens come into the market to tempt you into spending your show stake. It's kind of like bears coming out of the holiday hibernation. This year was no exception but thankfully, Marc Shiman was kind enough to announce ahead of time that he was bringing a huge load of Italian pens the show for sale. So I resisted temptation and headed to the show. More on this later


The weather was cooperating this year. Two years ago, the east coast was snowed in and a lot of dealers missed the show and last year it rained all weekend. But the weather was good and we were good to go.



As usual, I don't show up very early on Thursday since very few dealers set-up on Thursday. I was eating a leisurely breakfast at 9:00 am and checked FPN. Loren posted two hours earlier that he had already sold an entire collection of pens and bought another collection. What!!!!! :yikes: I told the waitress, "Give the me the check! I need to get to LA!" So I hopped into my car and made it to LA city limits in 4.5 hours then I hit the 405. :doh: More on the 405 later.


When I got to the show, the room was already a third full and very active. It felt more like Friday morning rather than Thursday afternoon.

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The outer areas, as usual, were like empty fields awaiting planting.

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Pen Posse members Teri Morris and Fred (sketchy) setting up

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Two of the special events at the show this year was the unveiling of Andreas Lambrou's new "Fountain Pens of Japan" and Michael Sull demonstrating beautiful calligraphy.
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I'll have a bit more to say about the book in the section of Friday.


Michael Sull was hosted by Greg Minuskin and doing demonstration of some of the most beautiful calligraphy. He spent the weekend writing people's name on request as well as a seminar. At the end of the report I'll have a special segment with photos of his technique.

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Michael's gorgeous pen holders for sale
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As I mentioned earlier, Marc Shiman brought a huge collection of vintage Italian pens to the show. He contacted me the week before and sent me a list of the pens he was bringing. As I posted on FPN, I told him "You bring the pens, I'll bring the cash". As promised, I did clean him out of his best pens. Actually, Marc and I could have just hung out in the lobby exchanging pens for money.


Marc Shiman-my drug dealer
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Some of Marc's pens
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Some of the most beautiful modern pens to have been introduced recently are the handpainted Artus pens from Russia. The artwork is out of this world and done in the classic Russian style.

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Pendleton Brown's Bad boy
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Here are last pics of the closing part of Thursday

Greg Minuskin's pile of pens
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Got tools?
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Got parts?
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It was getting late and I was hungry. We rounded up the SF Pen Posse members and started to look for food. At the risk of a bad meal we decided to give Lido Italian food a try. The restaurant was featured in Gordon Ramsey's "Kitchen Nightmares". I remember watching the episode and saying "Hey I know where that place is!" This could have been bad but it looks like Gordon Ramsey did his magic. The place was full and the food was pretty good. Of course, sticking Gordon Ramsey's name all over your menu helps.


As I always say, pen shows do not end when the official hours end. When we got back from dinner, the show was still abuzz with pen activities.


In the lobby lounge area

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Edited by AltecGreen, 21 February 2012 - 01:59.

"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#2 AltecGreen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:25

Who is this masked man?

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Why it's Pendleton
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Pendleton is like James Brown. The hardest working man in pens. He was grinding away through dinner. We always go hang out with Pendelton after dinner. There was not as much activity in the room this year.

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Are there fried chicken and biscuits underneath?
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Mauricio came down to hang with us

Mauricio and the Dark Lord
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The Dark Lord and Farmboy
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Edited by AltecGreen, 21 February 2012 - 00:27.

"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#3 AltecGreen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:26

Friday


Beautiful SoCal dawn
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The main story of Friday were 'where's Ethernautrix' and Roger's party that evening.




Pendleton's bad boy with bullet hole.
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Friday morning set-up
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Sarj and Jas
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Sarj brought his two daughters along this year. I walked up to Sarj and he introduced me to his daughters. I go "Hi. Which one of you had their hair catch on fire." There was a look of confusion and embarrassment and laughter from the one daughter whose hair did not catch on fire. Sarj goes, "Ricky's a Facebook friend". Ah. The dangers of social media. BTW-it was a birthday cake incident.




Bjor-Refill Monster
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Mario Campa gets props for bring this display case
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I wonder if the show organizers agree. :roflmho:



Things begin to roll

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Andy talking about the new book
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Pendleton's still working. Doesn't he ever sleep?

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Farmbaby guarding his new pen
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Did you want to see some pens? I thought so.

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Ooooo....look......vac group buy!!!!
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Several new custom pen makers this year
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There were a lot of new Danitrio's this year. They wisely introduced new models with maki-e but at a more reasonable price point. (At least reasonable in my book.)

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Bryant (evil pen purveyor) brought a bunch of cool new stuff

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Look! A non fuzzy picture of Bry. (After three years of trying!)

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Edited by AltecGreen, 21 February 2012 - 00:28.

"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#4 AltecGreen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:27

It's Kenny! (Actually, it's just Farmbaby)

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Got ink? (FPN you had your chance)

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Things pick up steam

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Rick Propas (that's pen show dog in the background)
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Frances
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Farmboy and Rob Lott
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Everyone needs ink.
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Pens aren't the only thing for sale
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Back to pens.



Here are some cute Peter Pan pens
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Overlay Peter Pan
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Since people were so uppity about new Conway Stewart pens, here you go.

The new Marlborough. The ebonite pens (shown here) are LE with300 pens in each color. There will be a version in black resin that is a standard edition. This is the same pen that I showed in October in the SF pen show coverage.

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New carbon Fiber pen
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Solid gold CS pen
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Mary Burke setting up for the NBC camera crew
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Mary with the camera guy.

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Brian Gray was in his usual spot along with Ernest Shin this year.


These pics should help the Edison group buy people. :roflmho:
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Edited by AltecGreen, 21 February 2012 - 00:31.

"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#5 AltecGreen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:28

I got to meet Ernest for the first time. He brought a nice selection of his work.

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Cool mother of pearl 'white dot'
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Here are some better pics of the Artus pens from Russia.

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More of Marc's beautiful pens

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Rare Swan
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One of the best things about pen shows is the amount of expertise people willing to share their expertise. Toaster Pastry had a problem with a Soennecken 444 pen. At the show Wayne and I talked about the pen and I suggested asking Osman. I didn't really know Osman but someone made an introduction. Osman proceeded to describe the process of removing the piston. He also shared some much nicer Soennecken pens.


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Random Friday stuff

SoCal Posse
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Mauricio
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Mario Campa and giant display case
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Gary Lehrer
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Pen Torture Tool?
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More of Michael Sull's work
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John Mottishaw
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Rita
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"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#6 AltecGreen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:29

Back to Ethernautrix. As the afternoon wore on, we kept on getting the 'Where's Lisa?" questions. We were expecting her since she was attending the party Friday night. At 3pm she checked in that she was jsut before the Grapevine. Ok, that's good. The party is normally on Saturday night but because of some scheduling issues, it was moved to Friday night. As it got later, we were getting worried. At 5:30 pm, Lisa calls me and is a bit frazzled because she hit the 405 during Friday night rush hour. "I'm at exit 55!?!!!" What. Do you have a street name. "No, exit 55". After some questions, I figured out she was just before the 10. So we all gather at 6 pm in the lobby but there's still no Lisa. At 6 pm she calls and we figure out she was about 4 miles away on Culver Dr. I volunteered to stay and wait and drive her to the party since I've been to Roger's mom's house. 35 minutes later, she makes it to the hotel. 35 minutes to go 4 miles. So we hop in my car and drive to the party. What a day.


It was a fabulous party and Marilyn is a very gracious host. It was party for a number of the show attendees.

Here was our amuse bouche for the night. A sweet pea shooter.
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At the end of the evening, Pendleton hit the piano and belted out a few tunes.
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And that's all for Friday.

Edited by AltecGreen, 21 February 2012 - 00:34.

"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#7 AltecGreen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:30

Saturday




Dawn breaks over the show
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The LA show builds each day because of the format.
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Mauricio and Stan Spezzi
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Looks like Loren got sleep and did not buy a Montblanc (see last year's coverage for details)
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This was the coolest thing at the show. The world's largest pocket knife!
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Danitrio was doing well at the show and was selling out of pens. They needed a pen re-fueling Sunday morning.
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Lisa's new hairdo
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Lisa's pen holster
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Hakase pens were surprisingly available for sale. Alan Gross is bringing in small lots of Hakase pens for sale. Why wait?
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There was a new vendor of pen materials. Good looking stuff. Brian Gray is getting a bunch of test samples. The group buy people might want to wait for Brian to do his tests because the new material looks promising.


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More group buy fodder
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Some interesting pens made from Tibaldi celluloid stock.
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My vote for the most over the top presentation.
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Some Gisi pens at the Penopoly table
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Some steam punk pens
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Taccia came out but surprisingly Sailor did not.
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At some point, the hotel staff started to play with the ballroom lighting. Attempts to improve the lighting failed. I felt bad for this guy. I think he needed a ladder.
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Edited by AltecGreen, 21 February 2012 - 00:37.

"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#8 AltecGreen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:30

Random cool pens and stuff
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Osman's tools
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The People

Scott Franklin
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Shu-Jen of Taccia
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Paul Erano
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Mark Hoover
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Jon and Susan
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Saturday was the day for the SoCal/SF Pen posse dinner. While waiting for people to show up, we were pressed into making a liquor run for Jon Martinson. Next year, I'm bringing a case of booze. We had a great dinner at Sammy's woodfired pizza. It was a shame the restaurant could not seat all of us at the same table but at least we got seated, outside, in the cold. Fun times were had by all. Our only problem was getting back too late. Poor Maxim of Artus pens. He waited for us but when we returned he was gone. And he had all of that Russian vodka. I'll make it up to you next year Maxim. We all feel really bad. As for the rest of the evening.....

That's all for Saturday.

Edited by AltecGreen, 21 February 2012 - 00:34.

"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#9 AltecGreen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:31

Sunday-The Day of Reckoning, Time of Carnage






Sunday is the public day at the LA Show. This year there was extra carnage.


So peaceful at 7 am in the morning.
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Yafa's set-up
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The calm
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Thanks to Refill Monster for the free coffee and pastries on Sunday morning
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Getting set-up for the hordes

Maxim of Artus pens
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Fred and the banner
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The official pen cleaner (Don't try this at home kids)
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Checking in
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Last chance for dealers and traders to look before the hordes arrive
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Plotting to take over the world.
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Double checking game plans
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Getting some last minute advice. Jon Szanto was smart to get some personalized service in the morning before the pubic arrive.
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Now where did I put that?
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We buy pens? Who doesn't at a pen show?

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This is going to be my new avatar.
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"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#10 AltecGreen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:32

Last minute QC trash
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Just in case
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The first people in line
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My last look at some pens

Oh no! The hand.
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It got Ralph
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The new 'Franck Mueller' old style Paragon
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Delta and Stipula are keeping the celluloid tradition alive. I'm really impressed Delta has bought large quantities of celluloid

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The Sunday pens
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Duke pen
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Diplomats
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Demonstrator Prera
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The line grows

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10 minutes and counting
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It's time

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Zach is ready to go
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"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#11 AltecGreen

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:33

Coming down the hall
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The room
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The line at John Motishaw forms
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How did Miroslav and Stan find an empty space
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Mark Hoover demonstrating the percussive qualities of their ebonite
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The Dark Lord was selling pens
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Michael Sull demonstrating calligraphy
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David Oscarson pens
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Here is a Conway Stewart Silver pen quiz. Name the following pens.

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See Mary for the answers. :P





Hallway action.
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Sunday this year seemed to be much more crowded than last year. If that is even possible. It was so crowded in the main room that I was trapped several times and could not even shoot any more pictures. I finally gave up and put the camera away. Then I found Lisa and went for some lunch. It was still pretty crowded at 3:30pm when I made my round of goodbyes and hit the road.


All in all it was a great show. As Lisa puts it, it was so much FUN! Having gone to the show for a few years, you do build bonds with a lot of the people in the community. You know everyone and they know you. Coming to the show is like a big family reunion and leaving is a bit hard because you have to say goodbye.



Some observations:

1. On the vintage side, there were a lot of people on all of the days but there was a lack of new vintage stuff. Had Marc Shiman not brought all of the Italians, I might have really underspent my budget. As it stands, I stayed within budget unlike the two previous years.

2. There was some good action on the new pens. Danitrio's strategy of moving a but back into a more affordable price range paid dividends. Kevin had to get emergency re-stock on Sunday morning because so many of the new pens sold on Friday and Saturday.

3. There were a lot of new people and young people on Sunday.

4. It was good to meet a lot of the new FPN people. Although on Sunday, I was trying to find MikoB1 to no avail.

5. Next time, Maxim should come to dinner with us so he won't have to wait.

6. Speedy did not come this year (I believe he is in Taiwan) ad his sons did not show up other than to give Pendleton some pens.

7. Lisa do not arrive in LA at 4 pm on Friday again. The 405 is a parking lot.



So that's all for this year. Questions abut Conway Stewart can be directed at Mary Burke (ok she put me up to it :roflmho: ) And no I do not have dimensions of the pens.

Edited by AltecGreen, 21 February 2012 - 00:22.

"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#12 jlepens

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 20:42

EXCELLENT! Great pics as usual. Poor Lisa!

Yeah, the Saturday attempt to induce epilepsy with the flashing lights was annoying.

When are you doing the new catch phase post? There were some doozies!

Edited by jlepens, 20 February 2012 - 20:43.

Joi - The Way of the Japanese Pen
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#13 ethernautrix

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 21:23

Bravo, Ricky! Bravo! GREAT REPORT!

You got some wonderful portraits -- Pendleton and the evil Evil Pen Purveyor (Bry!), to mention two. Really wonderful!

Wow, there were pens at the pen show?! I just kept meeting people! So much fun!

I'm beginning to understand my self-preservation method at pen shows: I don't look at the pens. Ha ha ha. If I did, good-bye bank account! Actually, I was sorely tempted to buy one of the painted boxes from Maxim (Artus Pens), but then there was the Dragons of Day and Night pen with the amazing quarter-moon man painted on it (coveted!) (pen was sold, so... no pressure, ha ha ha).

I think Saturday night left to everyone's imagination is way crazier than what actually happened, which was whisky and conversation in the hotel lobby. I don't even remember yelling happily into the phone, "I want to buy a gun!"

Back to the pens -- thank goodness you are like the Sherpa Guide of the LA Pen Everest. Otherwise, I wouldn't have returned with any pens at all.

I already mentioned in the other thread that thanks to you and Ernest Shin, my Nakaya Desk Pen (kuro tamenuri) will be PERFECT! I probably owe Ernest an apology for making a big deal about his youth (he will be carded forever!) and constantly misspelling Hakumin (Hakunin is wrong!). And calling him "Ernst" and probably spelling his name Earnst. What is wrong with me?! But I'm very excited about his painting my name in maki-e on my Desk Pen! Also, I coveted the P51 urushi. Such a beauty. *Clutches heart (figuratively)*

And I finally shared the same time and space intersection with Brian Gray to discuss transplanting my Sheaffer Tuckaway's (TUCKY!) nib to a Morgan. BTW, I LOVE the Del Coronado! I love how the cap posts to the barrel -- right on, Brian!

Many thanks to Roger and his mother for the amazing dinner party. Thanks for driving, Ricky.

The highlight was hanging out with old friends and making new friends, and I want to point out that our lovely Jon Szanto has one of the coolest stories ever: He played drums one night with Pearl Jam. I forced him to let me share this link (I'm going to try to embed the video, too), so blame me for trumpeting Jon's "unforgettable night."




I <3 Penple! (I just invented a word for you guys! Us pen nerds!)




But I'll understand if it doesn't catch on, ha ha ha.

Edited by ethernautrix, 20 February 2012 - 21:27.

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#14 tknechtel

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 23:50

Ricky, your photos let us all have a little secondary hit of happiness after our weekend! Many thanks! (I kept shaking my head and muttering: "How did I miss seeing THAT after four days??"
Tom

#15 talkinghead

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:52

Great, great expose' Ricky!!!

Make's one feel they were there. It's amazing once the tables are set up and the dealers are in the room how FAMILIAR it all looks...I could swear I was in Columbus or DC (sans the outside shots of Palm trees B) ! )

Makes me a bit melancholy actually...yearning for the next show...I'm in the midwest so DC is next for me, followed by Columbus but each of those are a half year away or more!! :crybaby:

Thanks so much for story.

Rick
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#16 tenney

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:54

Ricky, thanks so much for letting me feel like I had been there. Dang that I had to be in DC instead... the only advantage is that it kept me from buying stuff!
--
Glenn (I have a "pen" circle on G+)

#17 Mauricio

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:00

Ricky,

Thanks for those great pictures. The show was a ton of fun. Was able to run into lots of old friends and meet in person for the first time with a bunch of pen friends I have communicated over the years but never met in person. Lots of new pen friends were made as well, especially with the California pen aficionados, including yourself. Not being a vendor was a plus as it allowed me the freedom to go anywhere, take my time and enjoy people and pens. Had a chance to check lots of pens out, including a couple of modern pens with flexible nibs I had never written with before. One of the biggest treats was to have a wonderful selection of Nakaya pens, including the Nakaya nibs with cutouts for added flex. Got to write with the exotic Nagahara nibs from Sailor. Despite not being a vendor, I sold quite a few of the pens I brought with me. Did lots of trading and ended up buying some interesting pens as well. Bought a bunch of pens that I will use to harvest parts to finish restoring some highly collectible pens.

This afternoon, I got word from a couple of friends telling me that I had won the "monster" nib from Greg. That was a very pleasant surprise. It will be fun to set that one into a P51 pen ... and it will be one mroe stripe to the tiger!

Look forward to many more pen shows this year and being back in LA in 2013. Thanks again Ricky for taking all those pictures and taking the time to upload them in FPN. Those images allow those who could not go feel like they were there. Thanks amigo Ricky!

Edited by Mauricio, 21 February 2012 - 03:02.

Tu Amigo!
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#18 Yuki Onitsura

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:07

My, oh my! Those Artus pens are absolutely gorgeous. :puddle:

Yuki
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#19 bgray

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:06

Great report and photos, Altec!

I'll supplement with a slideshow of my own photos, rather than start a new thread....



#20 gweddig

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:31

Thanks for posting this for those who could not be there. Next year...

--greg

#21 gweddig

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:41

I <3 Penple! (I just invented a word for you guys! Us pen nerds!)


You may have also invented a nib emoticon.

#22 fabbale

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 14:03

Thanks from Italy for your reports Ricky.

:thumbup:

#23 Skyppere

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 19:15

As ALWAYS... great to see you and see alll your pictures.YOur photos really give a sense of what it was like there.... Good work! Did you bring home any new acquisitions?
also in one of the pix above (the one which says ralph) is that a steam punk pen? I forget whomakes them but I was hoping to see one... but must have missed it.
cheers
skip aka skyppere

#24 kcoen52

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 19:24

Amazing! Looks like so much fun! Thank you for taking the time to post all of those pics and for giving us all a little bit of the experience.
"To the optimist the glass is half full, to the pessimist the glass is half empty, to the engineer the glass is twice as big as it needs to be."

#25 AltecGreen

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 20:08

As ALWAYS... great to see you and see alll your pictures.YOur photos really give a sense of what it was like there.... Good work! Did you bring home any new acquisitions?
also in one of the pix above (the one which says ralph) is that a steam punk pen? I forget whomakes them but I was hoping to see one... but must have missed it.
cheers
skip aka skyppere



Great seeing you again Skip.


My purchases are documented in this thread in the Writing Instruments forum.


The Steampunk pens are sold by Roger Cromwell. I have three pics of the steampunk pens in the report.
"It is traditional and not to be questioned."


"You gotta get your Pen Posse on!"
-Ethernautrix

#26 nvbrennan

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 21:00

Ricky, I've been to the show for two days the last two years and I feel like Tom both years. How the heck did I miss that?! I think there's just so much pen it overloads the synapses. Good fun to see it from a different perspective.

#27 GemMayhem

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 21:35

Thanks for sharing photos and fun tales of the LA show! Looks like a great time was had by all. :thumbup:

#28 lsmith42

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 22:04

... I want to point out that our lovely Jon Szanto has one of the coolest stories ever: He played drums one night with Pearl Jam.

I told my son a little about Jon, and this story. He was duly impressed. I left out the part with the bow tie... ;)
MB Hemingway M; Dumas M FP/BP/MP set; Fitzgerald M FP/BP/MP set; Jules Verne BB; Leonard Bernstein F; Shaw B; yellow gold/pearl Bohčme Pirouette Lilas (custom MB-fitted EF); gold 744-N flexy OBB; 236 flexy OBB; gold/citrine Le Grand F; silver pinstripe Le Grand B; 146 M; 162 RB

#29 reprieve

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 22:19

You lucky scoundrels! And, oh, the pen porn...! My heart is going pitter-patter-pit-pit-pitter-patter!

#30 Nikolaos

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 09:21

once again a wonderful review! Thank you so much for taking the time to do such great work!


Nikolaos