&Now 2009: quick hits

I’m just back from the &Now Festival in Buffalo, NY, where the FWRebate crew premiered 1337BFF4EVAR. I’ve posted a few pictures and videos on my Facebook profile; a more complete flickr photoset is over here, so I’ll spare you a large and meandering recap. Instead, here are some quick thoughts and observations:

1 ) Buffalo is a much cooler city than I was expecting it to be. But then again, I got to stay in what is quite possibly the most amazing house ever built, a 4,000+ square foot former rectory in the Allentown neighborhood. It houses three of the world’s most generous and adorable men, who have dedicated an entire bedroom to their 7-year old turtle who will one day inherit the entire place.

2 ) Steve Tomasula never fails to completely blow me away. He presented his digital art novel TOC right after us, and the room constantly refreshed with ooohs and ahhhs from the audience. Fuck Spider-Man; when I grow up, I want to be Steve Tomasula.

3 ) Lily Hoang is my favorite dead-tree-edition writer right now, and she was on just about every friggin panel over the four-day schedule. I wasn’t there Saturday night for Percival Everett’s keynote, but I’d be willing to bet Lily gave that, too.

4 ) Is there anyone sexier-smarter than Shelley Jackson? Absolutely not. (Pssst…I’ve had a crippling schoolboy-style crush on her for years now…Please don’t tell.)

5 ) Speaking of crushes, I developed one on Matt Bell pretty quickly. When he turned his back on me to read to the rest of the room for Lily’s 30 Under 30 panel, that pretty much cemented it. I’m a total sucker for the hard to get game.

6 ) Finally meeting Kate Zambreno in person was a definite highlight, and I can’t wait for her novel O Fallen Angel to come out next spring. The world might very well never be the same.

7 ) Vanessa Place is pure genius. Oh. My. God.

8 ) The Olsens’ kindness and energy never ceases to amaze me. Everyone on the planet should be so lucky as to meet them at least once. And I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

9 ) Shawn Rider is a fucking machine and still rolls at 1,000 MPH. If I hadn’t slept in the same room with him, I would never believe the dude ever rests.

10 ) I missed Lidia a lot more than I thought I would. Luckily, Vanessa, Lily, Lance and Rob made me feel better by performing her “Voices” piece.

11 ) It was an absolute privilege to spend nearly every moment of this experience with Shane Hinton. Period.

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