AWP began yesterday. It's the first time I've gone to the convention, and I've been planning to go to this one in Los Angeles, specifically, for the last five years. I don't really have the money to spend on traveling throughout the country each year, so when we found out the 2016 conference was here in LA, my friends from grad school kept telling me there's no excuse for me not to go.
This first day started off feeling underwhelming. I got to the LA Convention Center around noon for registration, which was scheduled to go until 7 PM, and had my badge in the first half-hour. Apparently, AWP is using a new computerized kiosk system this year to cut the processing time down by a whole lot. Well, congrats, AWP. Mission accomplished.
I ended up lunching at Tom's Urban, a sports restaurant just a stone's throw away from the convention center. The food was good, the atmosphere was chill, and during the quiet period when I got there, the bartender and I had such great conversation that I dropped a 90% tip. Lunch was basically three hours of eating, watching old school music videos, and chatting. There was another fellow named Max in town for AWP and we got to talking about everything from how overpriced MFA programs are to writing methods to whether or not you can consciously write comedy versus letting it come out spontaneously.
The evening events were where the action was at yesterday. The AWP kickoff party at Barcito was so loud, crowded, and overflowing with a terrific vibe that you couldn't hear the hosts even when they were on microphones. In fact, you couldn't hear them even if you were standing right in front of them. It was that jam-packed. Afterwards, there was a reading closer to my neck of the woods at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park. A friend of mine, Seth Fisher, was one of the featured readers. You should read Seth's work. Man's got the writing chops that make more household names look like a pack of illiterates.
But now I'm tired and need to hit the hay before AWP really kicks off tomorrow.