I went to the L.A. Pen Show Sunday and had a blast. I had never been to a pen show before, but I sure plan on going to more. There were some fun highlights, a disappointment or two, and some lessons learned to make my next pen show even better.
The first highlight had nothing to do with pens, oddly enough. I saw my favorite radio host, Dennis Prager, walking around and checking out pens. Would love to sit down for a beer with that guy.
Canoe U) and I wasn't expecting to see a shopkeeper come all that way.
I was able to keep my promise to Karen of Exaclair to say hello on her behalf to Sam and Frank at the Pendemonium table.
I met Speedy of TWSBI. Impossible not to like him right away.
I had a chat with Brian Gray of Edison Pen Company (another nice guy) about the merits of steel nibs. (See his article, In Praise of Steel Nibs.)
I'm still a relative pen newbie, so I'm sure there were a lot of fascinating things I overlooked. And what caught my attention might be mundane to a lot of people.
It was nice to see some products up close that I had previously seen only on the internet. In fact, the one pen I bought (that's right, just one!) caught my attention at the show because it looked so sharp, whereas it really hadn't done anything for me when I saw it on the website. That pen is the Monteverde Prima fountain pen, which I bought in the brown stripe pattern. I haven't found a picture online yet, including any at the Monteverde website, that does it justice.
It was also fun to discover new products. For example, I thought the Rosetta North Star and Rosetta Magellan were quite nice. Probably would have bought a North Star if I had not bought the Prima.
At the higher end of the spectrum, the fountain pen that really caught my eye was another one I hadn't seen anywhere before, including online: the Diplomat Excellence Rhomb. Love at first sight for me, but a little pricey for an impulse buy: $275 with a steel nib. It's on my wish list now. I know looks aren't everything, but they don't hurt.
The temptation of the day was the Visconti Homo Sapiens. I've been drooling over that one for a while, and a vendor offered it for only $395. (Are they selling that poorly? Retail is $595!)
Oh, then there was this novelty:
|Quite a deal . . . if you like the ink!|
If, for some odd reason, this picture does not satisfy your curiosity about the show, try Brian Gray's photo gallery and this FPN thread (that link also courtesy of Brian).
The show was not without its disappointments. It would have been nice if the show handed out a map or at least a list of exhibitors. Finding what you wanted was a little tough (but I would have browsed everything anyway). Also, there was very little in the way of pen-related products. For example, I looked for a loupe, without success (there were a few, but not the kind I was looking for). I was also hoping for more stationery, but there were only a few displays, and they consisted mostly of the Rhodia and Clairefontaine products I'm already familiar with.
Now I want to go to the National Stationery Show. I'm beginning to think that's my last hope for locating some masculine stationery. Unfortunately, I can't justify a trip to New York just for the show. Anyone out that way need some California legal advice that would benefit from a face-to-face meeting?
I've got to brush up on vintage fountain pens. There was table after table of vintage pens, which I didn't spend much time at because there are so many contemporary pens I'm interested in. This means I missed out on about half the show.
Next year, I'm going earlier. This year, I only spent about four hours there. I was able to keep it that short because I wasn't checking out the vintage pens and I wasn't really shopping for a pen (but I bought one anyway). Next year, I'll probably be doing both, and I'll need more time.
See you there next year!