Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pastis by Night

"...sailor's delight. Pastis by morning, sailors take warning." Isn't that how the old saying goes?

I had a nice evening last night watching my pal and former neighbor Stephan Pastis be interviewed on the stage of our local high school. The event was one of a series of "Author's Night" appearances hosted by the alumni foundation, meant to feature writers with a connection to the school. Although Stephan had the misfortune to grow up in southern California, his wife Staci is a third-generation alum and his son Tom attends now, so close enough.

Colors are off because I cropped this from a photo of a slide projected on the back wall of a high school auditorium that I then manipulated in Photoshop to remove the distortion caused by shooting it from a lower-left angle. I'm amazed it's visible at all.

A few hundred people crowded the old auditorium, most clutching a book to be signed (also for sale in the lobby). Having heard many of Stephan's stories first-hand over pizza and beer, I hadn't intended to go until he made me promise I would. Sigh. But I'm glad I did. He's a good raconteur, alternately funny, snarky, and disarmingly honest. It's also fun to see him in his element, interacting with fans. Most interesting to me: while much of the crowd was there to see the creator of the comic strip "Pearls Before Swine," there were a non-trivial number of kids clutching "Timmy Failure" books who seemed to have no idea Stephan had another career ("you mean Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?!"). His diabolical master plan to conquer all media may actually work!

Answering a question posed by local journalist Chris Smith.

Signing books afterward. The line was long.
One highlight of the evening for me: when the gentleman from the alumni foundation who introduced Stephan mispronounced his name as "Steven Pasta." Look, the guy was nervous. A sincerer highlight: having a few moments to say hello to Staci and chat with Rosie McDaniel and Jeannie Schulz.

Setting aside the envy gnawing at my soul, I'm happy for Stephan; this seemed to be sort of a homecoming that meant something to him. I was also happy to see so many folks turn out to spend an hour with a cartoonist and, now, kids' author. People love comics. People love books. Some people love them a lot (Stephan has a few passionate fans).

Good for books. Good for comics. Good for everyone.


RunningFromMoose said...

Count me in as a fan. Perhaps not passionate in italics, but a fan nonetheless. But no worries Brian; I am a huge fan of your work as well. There is room for both of you in the world :)

Brian Fies said...

Aw. Thanks!