SF/PCA Recap Redux

Things appear out of order, as memory dictates. Let me backtrack to lunch with the Comics Area folks before I jump back to Saturday. The lunch is always equal parts fun and irritation, as all events involving large groups are. The Hatfields — after many trials — arrived in time for lunch, but ended up sat at the far end of a very long table, so we caught up later. We ate in the hotel which proved convenient if expensive. I got to argue about politics with Stanford, in between his showing off pictures of his little girl Kira and his little iPhone (Vivian, wish you were there!). We chatted with grad student Jacque Nodell, who was presenting on monsters in comics and was a delight to meet. We were surprised to find out in the course of conversation that she was the grand-daughter of Martin Nodell (co-creator of Green Lantern) and had just had dinner a few days before with pal Pete Coogan. What a small world comics are.

Saturday allowed some of us to sleep in — I had to be up for the 7am Area Chair’s meeting. At least they have a nice breakfast spread. I looted a couple of baked goods to take back to the slumbering pals. Gene was getting ready to head off to the Schulz museum with the Hatfields and José, while Wendy and I headed over to the Asian Art Museum. It was an absolutely gorgeous day! Every time I’m in San Francisco, it seems to be gorgeous. My roommate at USC always got irritated with me, swearing that it was always foggy and cold, but so far my luck has held.

The featured exhibition was “Drama and Desire: Japanese Paintings from the Floating World 1690-1850″ which oozed languorous beauty. I felt relaxed seeing all these people indulging in various pleasurable pursuits across the four seasons on scrolls and screens. The Kabuki theatre always fascinates me and it was really cool to see ephemera like lanterns and posters for plays. So fragile! So fascinating — I loved the courtesan in the spider web, all the actors in costumes. We also visited the Zhan Wang sculpture exhibit, which included a depiction of San Francisco constructed of steel rocks, silverware and stainless steel posts and pans. We had a delicious lunch in the museum cafe (mmm! Thai coconut milk soup), then wandered through the Indian exhibit on the third floor, making an offering to Ganesha at the entryway. We gazed in awe until we were seeing double, then took a leisurely walk back to the hotel.

We were sipping drinks at the rooftop bar when Gene returned from his trip (it was the first time I finally thought about earthquakes — eek). After hearing his adventures, we made plans for dinner. Jill had recommended a sushi restaurant across town, but after the crazy busyness of the conference, we decided to find one we could walk to in order to enjoy the great weather (considering the snow this week, I’m glad we did). On the advice of the concierge, we settled on Sakana (the kanji above, originally meant a meal to go with alcohol, like tapas, but has come to be the pronunciation for the “fish” kanji as well). Delicious! and not as expensive as some of the other sushi restaurants we saw. There was an older Japanese couple next to us, who finally gave in to the curiosity to ask if we really did like Japanese food (you bet!) and complimented us on our chopstick use. Afterward, Wendy was in the mood to walk down to Chinatown, but I had to admit I was just too tired to do so. We went back to the room and chatted for a good while and watched movies.

Up early the next morning to head home by way of Chicago — long day, another early morning and scrambling to catch up (still trying to catch up, sigh).