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L.a. Pen Show -- February 2020


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65 replies to this topic

#1 melissa59

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 06:41

Anyone going?

Here is the show's website: http://www.lainternationalpenshow.com/

 

The last time (only time) I attended a pen show was this one, back in 2013, about a year after I discovered fountain pens. The venue was jam packed with people and I was completely overwhelmed. I had no idea what I was looking for, what anything was worth, what to expect, etc. I walked through, glancing at what little I could view on the tables, then left. I didn't buy a single pen or even a bottle of ink. It wasn't worth the 4-hour round trip commute.

 

This time, I know what I want -- an affordable vintage flexy pen, a green Esterbrook J, maybe an extra Esterbrook nib and a bottle of Apache Sunset ink. I'm trying to talk myself into going but each time I do, I talk myself out of it. Too far to drive, hotel costs almost as much as what I hope to spend, I don't know anyone who is going, I don't like crowds, yada yada yada.

 

I have a dozen reasons not to go. Anyone have a good argument as to why I should?


"You have to be willing to be very, very bad in this business if you're ever to be good. Only if you stand ready to make mistakes today can you hope to move ahead tomorrow."
Dwight V. Swain, author of Techniques of the Selling Writer.

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#2 FarmBoy

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 07:17

Go to the SF Pen Show in August, they have a band on Saturday night.


San Francisco International Pen Show - They have dates! August 23-24-25, 2019 AND August 28-29-30, 2020. Book your travel and tables now! My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

#3 Parker51

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 11:51

Contact the organizer and strongly suggest to them to change their unusual practice of being open to the general public only on Sunday. My best guess is this is only a result of an historical accident and is not related to demand at all. If the show was open to the Public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as most other shows are then the crowding would be much less, sales would be higher and people would be happier.

#4 Azuniga

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 15:48

Contact the organizer and strongly suggest to them to change their unusual practice of being open to the general public only on Sunday. My best guess is this is only a result of an historical accident and is not related to demand at all. If the show was open to the Public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as most other shows are then the crowding would be much less, sales would be higher and people would be happier.

 

I agree completely...



#5 Azuniga

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 15:54

Anyone going?

Here is the show's website: http://www.lainternationalpenshow.com/

 

The last time (only time) I attended a pen show was this one, back in 2013, about a year after I discovered fountain pens. The venue was jam packed with people and I was completely overwhelmed. I had no idea what I was looking for, what anything was worth, what to expect, etc. I walked through, glancing at what little I could view on the tables, then left. I didn't buy a single pen or even a bottle of ink. It wasn't worth the 4-hour round trip commute.

 

This time, I know what I want -- an affordable vintage flexy pen, a green Esterbrook J, maybe an extra Esterbrook nib and a bottle of Apache Sunset ink. I'm trying to talk myself into going but each time I do, I talk myself out of it. Too far to drive, hotel costs almost as much as what I hope to spend, I don't know anyone who is going, I don't like crowds, yada yada yada.

 

I have a dozen reasons not to go. Anyone have a good argument as to why I should?

 

Last year it was chaotic, hopefully with the hotel change it will be more space and fresher...

 

One reason should be enough when i read you, this time you know what you are looking for, that is already something... now if you beat shyness you can talk to the dealers and learn about other pens –nothing against Esterbrook, on the contrary– there are so many marvelous writing instruments there... I am sure you will enjoy it !



#6 x3cin

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 21:41

I've been thinking about going to this one for my first pen show, but reading everyone's experiences last year is holding me back as well. I'll probably still go though since this is the closest one to me. Too bad it's not close enough to not have to get a hotel though haha. 



#7 Freedom

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 21:46

Well, I hope this is a good one. I already booked my flights in early Oct. This will be my first Pen Show after 5 years in the hobby. Being from Edmonton, Alberta, I was able to get some cheep flights.


Mike L.


#8 Mattematical

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 20:06

I'll be there! But yes, it really should be open to the public every day. Unfortunately, the organizer is just plain _______  (adjective).



#9 FarmBoy

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 04:39

I'll be there! But yes, it really should be open to the public every day. Unfortunately, the organizer is just plain _______  (adjective).

Every show is a bit different and there is not a lot of overlap with the show promoters across the US shows.  Each promoter figures out what works for their show and since they take the financial risk it seems appropriate that they run the show in the way that works for them.

 

That said, if a particular show doesn't work for an attendee ...


San Francisco International Pen Show - They have dates! August 23-24-25, 2019 AND August 28-29-30, 2020. Book your travel and tables now! My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

#10 ethernautrix

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 09:41

Said to the tune of "there's always money in the banana stand," there's always the San Francisco Pen Show.

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#11 Greenie

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 18:11

If your goal is:

1. To have fun -   It is a good social event for pen collectors, and it is always fun to be in a room full of pen people and pens.  But Sunday is a zoo, and you have to pay a lot to go any other day. 

2. To sell - see other posts above. Only one public day, which makes it overcrowded, and lowers overall sales.

3. To buy - You can go on Sunday, but it is overcrowded and a zoo.  Otherwise,  you have to bite the bullet and pay the higher cost to come Friday or Saturday to make it a pleasant experience.

 

It is my local show and I always go, and always have a good time.  The flaws listed above are accurate.  When I recommend the show to local people, my advice is to go on Friday or Saturday, pay the price that sucks for one day, but you will be a happy one day attendee (albeit bitter about paying $65 for a one day admission to a pen show).

 

If you are local, and this is the easiest first show to attend, you absolutely should go.  The rest of us need to work on the organizer about day passes for all of the days, and to also add more social events like the outstanding San Francisco show.



#12 melissa59

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 23:42

Thank you, everyone. After doing my due diligence (online research, number crunching, and balancing that with my reasons for going), I have decided to skip the LA Pen Show in February.

 

From what I've gathered, I can either go cheap -- $8 Sunday show ticket & $25 parking -- and have the same rotten experience I had five or six years ago.
Or I can pay the $55 ($65 Jan 15 or later) plus $25 parking and attend on Saturday.

The best experience would be getting a hotel room Friday night (an additional $190 -- room & taxes), plus valet parking $29 (x two days?) and wake refreshed for a Saturday pen experience. 

 

If I had "real life" fountain pen friends and was making a social experience out of the event, I'd certainly go for the latter as it does sound like it could be a fun time of socializing with old friends. And I hope that all of you who've gone will continue to go and have fun. And, if possible, make a few suggestions to make future years more enticing to newcomers and longtime regulars alike.

 

My guess is that the pen show is being put on by the same group of old stodgy old fogies who are set in their ways. (I'm 60 and most of my friends are older, so I know how we old fogies can be.) They probably say to themselves, "this is how we've always done it and it's always worked so why change it?"  That's fine. It's their show. Let's just hope that it doesn't lead to the extinction of the LA Pen Show after they are gone.

 

In addition to the complaints about Sunday crowds, I've also read that some vendors pack up early on Sunday to catch flights and avoid an additional night hotel stay. It seems to me that having the biggest day be on Sunday is a lose-lose proposition for both buyers and sellers.

 

Another complaint I came across is that the LA Pen Show organizers take only checks for registration. Checks??? I haven't owned a checkbook in years. Someone needs to help the organizers set up a PayPal account so people can use credit and debit cards to pay for registration.

 

And while they are at it, maybe they can get someone to fix the website. There are images covering text. What good is it to have a website if it can't be read?


"You have to be willing to be very, very bad in this business if you're ever to be good. Only if you stand ready to make mistakes today can you hope to move ahead tomorrow."
Dwight V. Swain, author of Techniques of the Selling Writer.

#13 FarmBoy

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:48

Thank you, everyone. After doing my due diligence (online research, number crunching, and balancing that with my reasons for going), I have decided to skip the LA Pen Show in February.
 
From what I've gathered, I can either go cheap -- $8 Sunday show ticket & $25 parking -- and have the same rotten experience I had five or six years ago.
Or I can pay the $55 ($65 Jan 15 or later) plus $25 parking and attend on Saturday.
The best experience would be getting a hotel room Friday night (an additional $190 -- room & taxes), plus valet parking $29 (x two days?) and wake refreshed for a Saturday pen experience. 
 
If I had "real life" fountain pen friends and was making a social experience out of the event, I'd certainly go for the latter as it does sound like it could be a fun time of socializing with old friends. And I hope that all of you who've gone will continue to go and have fun. And, if possible, make a few suggestions to make future years more enticing to newcomers and longtime regulars alike.
 
My guess is that the pen show is being put on by the same group of old stodgy old fogies who are set in their ways. (I'm 60 and most of my friends are older, so I know how we old fogies can be.) They probably say to themselves, "this is how we've always done it and it's always worked so why change it?"  That's fine. It's their show. Let's just hope that it doesn't lead to the extinction of the LA Pen Show after they are gone.
 
In addition to the complaints about Sunday crowds, I've also read that some vendors pack up early on Sunday to catch flights and avoid an additional night hotel stay. It seems to me that having the biggest day be on Sunday is a lose-lose proposition for both buyers and sellers.
 
Another complaint I came across is that the LA Pen Show organizers take only checks for registration. Checks??? I haven't owned a checkbook in years. Someone needs to help the organizers set up a PayPal account so people can use credit and debit cards to pay for registration.
 
And while they are at it, maybe they can get someone to fix the website. There are images covering text. What good is it to have a website if it can't be read?


I doubt the LA show promoter reads here but if there are formatting issues you might try emailing the page, operating system and browser info so it can be fixed.

The show promoter has been involved with the show for many years and seems to have a formula that works in that the show recovers the costs year over year.

I know I have not stayed for Sunday in many years. Note that many many vintage and smaller hobbits dealers do not take tables on Sunday.
San Francisco International Pen Show - They have dates! August 23-24-25, 2019 AND August 28-29-30, 2020. Book your travel and tables now! My PM box is usually full. Just email me: my last name at the google mail address.

#14 Seney724

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 17:20

I doubt the LA show promoter reads here but if there are formatting issues you might try emailing the page, operating system and browser info so it can be fixed.

The show promoter has been involved with the show for many years and seems to have a formula that works in that the show recovers the costs year over year.

I know I have not stayed for Sunday in many years. Note that many many vintage and smaller hobbits dealers do not take tables on Sunday.


I really appreciate FarmBoy's very fair and balanced perspective here. As always, his posts are well worth the read.

I have been very bothered by the way folks here have been "beating up" the organizers of the LA & DC Pen Shows. I have no relationship to either of these organizers nor any stake in the success of the Shows...... but I do have empathy for these guys who are working much harder than for which they are given the credit. I have attended both Shows over the years and whenever I have had some sort of issue or need I have found them both to be very responsive.....even if the answer I received was not what I wanted to hear.

We as a community of pen aficionados are not "entitled" to have these Shows nor are the organizers "obligated" to do them. They are certainly not compensated or subsidized to do the Shows above or beyond whatever profit margin exists when all is said and done. And, for sure, if they lose money, the pen community does nothing to keep them whole. For better or for worse, it's their Shows. They make the rules and they live or die by the outcomes. If one does not like them, they do not have to attend. And, if a group wishes to "boycott" the Show(s) (as has occurred recently in DC) it's their prerogative to do so but, as those of us who attended in spite of the boycott can attest, they were not missed. There were plenty of folks present who were happy to pick up the slack and a good time was had by all.

I am unaware of any law which says there can only be one Show per year in LA or DC. If someone thinks they can do a better job, they are free to give it a try.

I am grateful to these gentlemen for their efforts and I have never felt that they have blown me off when I have made respectful recommendations for some improvement.

I enjoy the conversations here about what's good and/or bad about the Shows but I do not appreciate the personal attacks upon the organizers. Let's all try to be a bit more like FarmBoy, please.

Edited by Seney724, 07 December 2019 - 17:22.


#15 Rancho Gordo

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 21:58

The problem is I spent close to a thousand bucks in San Francisco this year. I'm itching to go to another show. I would go to Los Angeles in a heartbeat but reading about the logistics makes me think: hard pass.

I don't know how rare I am but I bought a mixture of vintage pens and new inks. I bought one new pen as well. The ones who really suffer are the vendors.

#16 Rancho Gordo

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 21:58

The problem is I spent close to a thousand bucks in San Francisco this year. I'm itching to go to another show. I would go to Los Angeles in a heartbeat but reading about the logistics makes me think: hard pass.

I don't know how rare I am but I bought a mixture of vintage pens and new inks. I bought one new pen as well. The ones who really suffer are the vendors.

#17 Rancho Gordo

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 21:58

The problem is I spent close to a thousand bucks in San Francisco this year. I'm itching to go to another show. I would go to Los Angeles in a heartbeat but reading about the logistics makes me think: hard pass.

I don't know how rare I am but I bought a mixture of vintage pens and new inks. I bought one new pen as well. The ones who really suffer are the vendors.

#18 SoCalBilling

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 22:03

Thank you, everyone. After doing my due diligence (online research, number crunching, and balancing that with my reasons for going), I have decided to skip the LA Pen Show in February.

 

From what I've gathered, I can either go cheap -- $8 Sunday show ticket & $25 parking -- and have the same rotten experience I had five or six years ago.
Or I can pay the $55 ($65 Jan 15 or later) plus $25 parking and attend on Saturday.

The best experience would be getting a hotel room Friday night (an additional $190 -- room & taxes), plus valet parking $29 (x two days?) and wake refreshed for a Saturday pen experience. 

 

If I had "real life" fountain pen friends and was making a social experience out of the event, I'd certainly go for the latter as it does sound like it could be a fun time of socializing with old friends. And I hope that all of you who've gone will continue to go and have fun. And, if possible, make a few suggestions to make future years more enticing to newcomers and longtime regulars alike.

 

My guess is that the pen show is being put on by the same group of old stodgy old fogies who are set in their ways. (I'm 60 and most of my friends are older, so I know how we old fogies can be.) They probably say to themselves, "this is how we've always done it and it's always worked so why change it?"  That's fine. It's their show. Let's just hope that it doesn't lead to the extinction of the LA Pen Show after they are gone.

 

In addition to the complaints about Sunday crowds, I've also read that some vendors pack up early on Sunday to catch flights and avoid an additional night hotel stay. It seems to me that having the biggest day be on Sunday is a lose-lose proposition for both buyers and sellers.

 

Another complaint I came across is that the LA Pen Show organizers take only checks for registration. Checks??? I haven't owned a checkbook in years. Someone needs to help the organizers set up a PayPal account so people can use credit and debit cards to pay for registration.

 

And while they are at it, maybe they can get someone to fix the website. There are images covering text. What good is it to have a website if it can't be read?

 

You don't have to park in the hotel parking. I always park in the parking in the strip mall next door. Been doing it for 10 years, never had a problem. 

 

Anthony



#19 pen lady

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 22:17

Is there strip-mall parking at the new location too?  Helpful if so.  I'd only ever been to the LA Show on Sunday and though it was crowded, it wasn't unmanageable.  Last year's though, in the hotel's basement, that was another matter. Mildly chaotic.   It would be nice if the Show was open to the public more than just on Sunday, but don't let that stop you, go with a plan and have fun.



#20 melissa59

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 00:00

I have been very bothered by the way folks here have been "beating up" the organizers of the LA & DC Pen Shows. I have no relationship to either of these organizers nor any stake in the success of the Shows...... but I do have empathy for these guys who are working much harder than for which they are given the credit. I have attended both Shows over the years and whenever I have had some sort of issue or need I have found them both to be very responsive.....even if the answer I received was not what I wanted to hear.

 

I am sorry that you felt I was "beating up" on the organizers. That was absolutely not my intention. I started this thread hoping to hear show regulars gushing about their experiences or at least giving me a reason to get off the fence and go. When that didn't happen, I did a bit of online research and then returned and posted my findings.

 

Shoot the messenger if you will. But if you really care about the show and its organizers, then whisper in their ears and give them a gentle nudge in the "right" direction. And yes, "right" is subjective. If the majority is happy with the status quo, then no big deal.

 

As for contacting the organizers myself, sending them a screenshot of their website, etc . . . frankly, it's not that important to me.


"You have to be willing to be very, very bad in this business if you're ever to be good. Only if you stand ready to make mistakes today can you hope to move ahead tomorrow."
Dwight V. Swain, author of Techniques of the Selling Writer.






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