Last friday, we left with a car full of zines to Fumetto comics festival with Mathilde Vangheluwe and Alice Milani from the italian collective La Trama.
After seven or eight hours on the highway, we arrived in Lucerne and realized we had the wrong address for the 'zivilschutz' shelter where we were supposed to sleep in. Three hours later of wandering around and asking the way to overly friendly swiss citizens ("do you smoke? It's good haschich. Come with us to the party!") we ended up waiting for a guy called Jonathan in front of a fondue-restaurant. A woman came out running and threw up loudly on the sidewalk. We decided we wouldn't eat there.
"It's very underground. You don't know what you're in for." said Jonathan as we walked.
The shelter was on top of a hill, under a school, like an underground labyrinth. We walked in a haze of green light through heavy metal doors. There were aligned bunk beds, not unlike a prison camp. There were some itchy-looking blankets available. It looked sort of depressing at first. We didn't know how fond of this place we would grow in just a couple of days.
Alice and Mathilde as the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion from the wizard of Oz. Not pictured: myself as the Scarecrow.
After breakfast in what we called the bunker's dining room, we came back up and were enchanted to find a beautiful sight of swiss mountains.
The 'small press heaven' was located in an old swimming pool . They had installed a bar in the now empty pool and Anke Feuchtenberger and Stefano Ricci were making enormous drawings on the windows. Our table at the small press heaven was located between a couple of nice norwegians and a bunch of friendly austrians. To our surprise, we also met familiar faces from the Angoulême comics festival, Sindre Goksøyr and Bendik Kaltenborn from No Comprendo Press.
Pool party, anyone?
On sunday we had the pleasure to see Lukas Verstraete, a soon-to-be member of Tieten met haar who'd just won the prize of the scenario in the Fumetto competition with his comic 'Tupu' . He arrived at the right moment, just when a group of wealthy people stormed in and wanted to buy his originals. This day was so hectic I was relieved that he could keep the table for me for half an hour, during which he managed to sell a postcard that was actually for free. 'He could sell sand to somebody who lives in the desert', observed Mathilde.
We were invited to a small party in the studio of Ampel Magazin, after having drinks with the norwegian team in the lobby of their hotel. The studio was a huge industrial building. We opened a door and were surprised to find the railway. In the middle of the floor was a square hole that led to a basement. The jump was pretty adventurous. As I was advancing in the cave feeling like a great explorer, I was suddenly scared at the sound of breathing in the dark. It turned out it was only people who had found the staircase (and didn't jump like idiots)
We extended our stay for one more day to be able to see the exhibitions. At 'Robert Crumb & the Underground', I heard people chuckle for the first time in a national museum.
The exhibition of Marijpol was pretty outstanding. I especially liked the installation in the middle of the room made of objects and sculptures that looked like they came right out of her magical illustrations. In an old metro corridor we found Anders Nielsen painting on a wall at his exhibition which featured pages from Big Questions and of his next book about Biblical stories.
Sadly, we were five minutes too late for the exhibition of Nicolas Wouters (also the organisor of the small press heaven) and Mikaël Ross who are presenting their wonderful looking book 'Les pieds dans le béton'.
After a nice spaghetti dinner at Nicolas' place, we definitely said goodbye to the bunker, with tears in our eyes, and took the road home. See you next year, Luzern!