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Thread: First pen show (probably)

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    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default First pen show (probably)

    Well, it looks like I will be having a long trip back to the UK next year. As neither my wife nor I relish 30 hours of travel all in one rush, we have decided to stop off in the US for a couple or three days. And I thought I could arrange this to coincide with a pen show. The chances of this happening again are vanishingly small.

    Anyway, we had originally planned to go late April/early May, which would mean taking in the Chicago show. Although technically we are free to choose our dates, due to various work commitments and study (for me) it looks as though we will now be travelling in late August, so it would seem that the San Francisco show would be a better fit. 'Sides which SF is probably going to be more to my wife's liking (by the sea, famous China town area, generally more tourist oriented than Chicago I guess).


    So, given that I will most likely only be able to attend the show on one day, which day is best? Bearing in mind that I have no idea what to expect and that I am not coming to look for anything specific. I understand that there is almost no chance to attend any calligraphy classes, so this will be more of a look-see and an opportunity to pick up pens and take notes on sizes and finishes and so on.


    Also, as we won't know anybody, is there a kind of 'floor plan' of how the stalls are set out?


    Any advice appreciated.

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    The San Fran show is awesome, and a great choice if you're only going to make one show next year.

    This year they had a large map/floor plan onsite that was easy to read. I do not know if it's available online beforehand, but you can find 2018's floor plan at the show website.

    Double check with the organizers (awesome people) about daily admission, I don't remember the specifics on the rates or availability and that info isn't up on the site anymore.

    As with most any show, Saturday is the busiest day, Sunday is usually considerably calmer, with many dealers willing to make deals.

    hope you make it!

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    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    It's likely to be the only opportunity (barring a big lottery win!) that I get to go to a pen show.


    Busy is not a problem, but does that mean that on Sunday all the good stuff has gone, and that's why it is quieter? What about earlier days, as I hear some shows run Thursday to Sunday (not sure if this happens at SF)? Admission prices are not a concern, I'd even pay for every day admission and only attend for one half day if it happens to be the best day to do so.


    As noted above the reason for the visit is to be able to document pen sizes and fit for my hands. I will not be able to buy any ink unless I wish to ship it (not going to lug it around Europe with us), and I doubt that I'll be able to afford any pens whilst there, considering the continuing uptick in prices. The custom makers are out of bounds, so at least that narrows the focus somewhat. And I don't really want to meet anyone given the largely negative view people here (who may also attend) have of me. So having a paper/e-guide would be useful. I see nothing on the website yet, though it is obviously some months away!
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; November 3rd, 2018 at 07:03 AM.

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Clarifying questions.

    Are there any drop-in classes?

    Do pen shows publish a list of vendors?

    How early is this published (if at all)?

    Is there a recommend selection of vendors that have 'must see' tables for a one-time visitor?


    What are Americans like in person? (I've travelled extensively over most of the world in the last 30 years, but have spent only transfer time in the US)


    I guess what I am asking here is, given a limited amount of time (likely just a couple of hours) should I have a viewing plan? I don't know how chaotic a show is in terms of volume of people. Jostling for a glimpse of something is not my thing, English politeness prevents me from shouldering my way to the front. Would this mean that I will miss out on a lot of stuff?



    EDIT: ooh, forgot one thing. Do attendees have to pay by a certain deadline, or can they pay on the door?
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; November 14th, 2018 at 01:27 AM.

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Here EoC, try these articles from Richard Binder on attending your first show and what to expect.

    Linky: http://www.richardspens.com/ref/shows/firstshow.htm

    All the Best.

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post

    What are Americans like in person? (I've travelled extensively over most of the world in the last 30 years, but have spent only transfer time in the US)
    There are almost as many ways to be American as there are Americans being it.

    There is no easy answer to this without essentialising and being reductive. Plus there are regional & subcultural differences.
    325 Million of them, all with different ways of being in the world.
    & of course with 325 million, statistically speaking, there are going to be some awful people and also many astoundingly kind and generous people & everything between.
    Keep an open mind. Be nice. Most will be nice back at you.

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Quote Originally Posted by junglejim View Post
    Here EoC, try these articles from Richard Binder on attending your first show and what to expect.

    Linky: http://www.richardspens.com/ref/shows/firstshow.htm

    All the Best.

    Just read all of those articles and they are quite off-putting. So much so that I am seriously in doubt about going at all. I just wanted to look around.

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by junglejim View Post
    Here EoC, try these articles from Richard Binder on attending your first show and what to expect.

    Linky: http://www.richardspens.com/ref/shows/firstshow.htm

    All the Best.

    Just read all of those articles and they are quite off-putting. So much so that I am seriously in doubt about going at all. I just wanted to look around.
    One guy's take. You don't have to like, or agree or conform with anyone's advice.

    The more reasonable reaction would not be cancelation but just to disregard the advice.

    The thing I truly wish to say here to you, I will just say to myself. As it involves exasperation and massive profanity.

    You really are trying, difficult and too fragile FOR THE PEN WORLD (!?!). Honestly. Get a grip.
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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Richard Binder isn't just "one guy" though, is he?



    Thing is, we have to stopover somewhere in the US to break our journey into bearable chunks (I'm getting too old for 24 hour flights). It's not like there's an agenda regarding the pen show, we can just as easily spend the day in Chinatown or sitting by the Bay. Binder's description is not encouraging.

    You really are trying, difficult and too fragile FOR THE PEN WORLD. Honestly. Get a grip.

    In real life I'm actually a gentle, quietly spoken person. Quick to smile, and often a bit baffled why anyone would want to talk with me. Totally different to the online "persona", where I feel I have to be "tougher" to avoid being exploited.

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    I am sure you have lots of wonderful qualities but you see how cancelling your long planned visit based on one person's advice (advice that you need not follow) is kind of ridiculous?

    Maybe talk to a few more folks. Maybe toughen up a little. Maybe find your own way in the world? I honestly wonder how you get through your day.

    Why would anyone want to talk to you? Well because you are a person and people are interesting & you share some concerns and interests with others who like pens, writing and calligraphy.

    I am down with being self-deprecation. I am prone to darkness and such myself but you take it too far. Think you need to be reflexive about it.
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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    I think you're overlooking the fact that the planned visit is to San Francisco as a rest stop on the journey to the UK. Assuming that the flight connections are okay we will be in the city regardless of whether the pen show was going on. Originally we were going to stop in Chicago but figured SF would be a little more tourist-friendly.

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    I think you're overlooking the fact that the planned visit is to San Francisco as a rest stop
    okay. In any case whether you go to the SF pen show or not enjoy your stop-over. I still think you are overthinking this pen show biz but honestly you just do you. I wish you safe travels.
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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Perhaps I should stop over in Seoul on the return trip?

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Perhaps I should stop over in Seoul on the return trip?
    Shout out & let me know.

    Nothing much pen related worth coming here for but so much else. Good eats too. I split my time between Seoul and Daegu during the semester but if I am there when you pass through I can show you about.
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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Clarifying questions.
    I guess what I am asking here is, given a limited amount of time (likely just a couple of hours) should I have a viewing plan? I don't know how chaotic a show is in terms of volume of people. Jostling for a glimpse of something is not my thing, English politeness prevents me from shouldering my way to the front. Would this mean that I will miss out on a lot of stuff?
    I may have read this wrong, but I hope you aren't planning to visit a pen show in SF during a two hour connection time for your onward flight. That would be absolutely impossible. It would still be absolutely impossible with a five hour connection. You will need at least an overnight stay in SF, if you want to visit the SF pen show.
    Wherever an "alien" first lands in the US, they have to first go through immigration, say at least one hour, depending on airport, time of day and time of year. Then they have to collect their luggage and go through security for a connecting flight, say at least one hour, depending on the same factors. This is a quirk of the US. "Aliens" must collect their luggage when they first land on US soil, even when on a connecting flight. They then have to take that luggage to a designated place for the onward flight. As far as the UK is concerned, the minimum connection time for flights that land in the US is 4 hours. It might take that long to get through immigration and security.
    If you are anticipating a two hour connection time, you will need to be able to run fast and have special assistance. I can't do it within two hours at Atlanta and I have wheelchair assistance.
    Last edited by Chrissy; November 14th, 2018 at 06:46 AM.
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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    I may have read this wrong, but I hope you aren't planning to visit a pen show in SF during a two hour connection time for your onward flight. That would be absolutely impossible. It would still be absolutely impossible with a five hour connection. You will need at least an overnight stay in SF, if you want to visit the SF pen show.
    Wherever an "alien" first lands in the US, they have to first go through immigration, say at least one hour, depending on airport, time of day and time of year. Then they have to collect their luggage and go through security for a connecting flight, say at least one hour, depending on the same factors. This is a quirk of the US. "Aliens" must collect their luggage when they first land on US soil, even when on a connecting flight. They then have to take that luggage to a designated place for the onward flight. As far as the UK is concerned, the minimum connection time for flights that land in the US is 4 hours. It might take that long to get through immigration and security.
    If you are anticipating a two hour connection time, you will need to be able to run fast and have special assistance. I can't do it within two hours at Atlanta and I have wheelchair assistance.
    Going by his original post I think EoC is planning a longer stopover, which may coincide with a pen show.

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    .........we have decided to stop off in the US for a couple or three days.

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Any event, pen shows included, are what you make of them.

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Yeah, it's a 2-3 day stop, but my wife will be with me and she has no interest in fountain pens.


    Ah, another question that I forgot to ask. On the webpage for the SF show this year it does not show the prices of entry, and next year's prices aren't displayed either. Does anyone recall what the rates are please?

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    All show pass 60
    Friday 1-5 is 25
    Saturday or Sunday 10-close is 10

    But some guy said he would leave a Saturday pass for you at the desk.

    There are usually a number of art type classes on Saturday as well as other activities nonpeners can enjoy.

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    Default Re: First pen show (probably)

    Hmm, all show is 60, but Fri+Sat +Sun is 25+10+10=45. Odd math.


    Okay cool. Gives me an additional savings target to budget for in the whole trip cost.

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