"Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Art, aka M.E.C.C.A, are large comic book and artist conventions held annually in Detroit, MI."
From the MECCA CON Facebook page.
I submitted an application to MECCA CON and quickly received a reply from Maia Crown Williams that my application was accepted so I booked a train ticket. Maia suggested a Detroit Air BnB that was very reasonably priced so I booked a room. Super excited I looked forward to meeting new people and all the amazing artists I follow and interact with online.
I've traveled to Chicago on Amtrak before so I knew it would be a long yet beautiful ride. I have been considering a few concepts lately around fear and doubt and ways in which negative energy becomes manifest in action and behaviors of others and myself because of these emotions. I am working on being more present,mindful of how "thoughts become things" and how to navigate forming boundaries which enable my self care and deflect others psycho-emotional trauma and negative energy. I consciously and deliberately allow myself to be,safe and prioritize my health and well being. This trip to MECCA CON was much needed.
I expected to take a few photos,draw and be silent for 2.5 days. I did not expect to meet Joseph a young brother who had packed a bag and ditched California for Denver Colorado. We laughed and chatted all the way to Denver. I was blown away by all the scenic views and sunrise and sunset as well as all the colors. The ridiculous colors so vibrant and vivid even through the train windows. I was amazed by the lush greens,blues and the low hanging white voluminous clouds and speckled red rocks outside of Denver. I took photo after photo of clear dark olive water and black brown rocks with rust colored bushes and butter yellow tall reeds of grass flowing into beige sandy shores and pale salmon mountain vistas.
I sketched a bit and slept alot and laughed as people stomped and wandered up and down the train aisle like drunks.
Oh and I even managed to almost get left behind in Granby. Funny now and funny then as I ran from the station bathroom and even funnier now as I write this, even with the assistant conductor screaming, "YOU LAUGH BUT WE WOULD HAVE LEFT YA!"
I could not help but laugh as my new friend Lorraine stood in the door of the train making sure the other conductor did not indeed leave me and as we giggled she says," I WASN'T GON' LET THEM LEAVE YOU GIRL!"
By the time we pulled into Chicago I simply felt a huge amount of relief and anticipation. I had also chatted up Barbara who was going from California to Detroit to visit her sick brother. We laughed and talked about how hungry we were and how her family was having a barbaque and how good real food was going to taste verses the crap on the train.
I was picked up from the Detroit train station by Kemit from the Air BnB and we immediately hit it off and spent the next 2 hours talking and eating at a place named Coney Island a chain of eateries in Detroit. After I got to the Air BnB I showered and jumped into bed not really even looking around just grateful to be able to relax in a real bed.
In the morning I showered for a long time trying to wash off 2.5 days of train. Breakfast was included in the fee so I made way to the unit where the owner was cooking which was easy to find since the aroma emanating from the house was herby and heavenly. The food was divine. Vegetarian home cooked yummy food from produce grown,picked and prepared fresh all right there on the property. Delicious food. I had arrived a day early to chill before the event so I grabbed my sketchbook and art supplies and looked for a place to work on some drawings.
Breakfast was included in the fee but not lunch or dinner so I jumped on a city bus and went to find food. I walked around downtown but ended up going back towards my accommodations and got a quick bite to eat and as I returned met the other guests arriving for MECCA CON. I met Maia or "Crown" and made it an early night as I was extremely excited for the next day of activities.
Daniel of Pochino Press picked me up Saturday morning and we took off and he quickly showed me around bits of Detroit before pulling up to the Detroit Public Library.
I prayed that I wouldn't geek out at meeting Anthony Piper or other comics superstars.
Set up was smooth and Jonathan one of the many volunteers was super nice and helpful. Daniel and I set up next to Bill Campbell of Rosarium Press who I'd met at the Black Comix Arts Festival in January. He made me laugh alot with his sardonic and dry humor. The crowd was friendly and happy to see us and very excited. I met so many of the coolest people, ones that I follow online and finally got to meet in person. Too many to name. I was humbled to have a couple young artists ask me to view their sketchbooks and spend time with fellow artists talking about the creative energy and positive energy of being around like minded melaninated individuals.The after MECCA CON dinner conversation was memorable and fun as I had a chance to sit and talk with Imani Lateef of Peep Game Comix.
Huge thanks to Maia "Crown" Williams and all her volunteers. Great event! Lots of laughs and much needed community building. Big ups,Thank you and blessings to Diane Hoye of the Hoye family garden and Air BnB. Lovely space and even sweeter and awesome people.
The train ride home seemed so much shorter than the ride out? One highlight was meeting Sarah who rode from Chicago to Colorado. We laughed and slept and laughed even more at people falling and actually drunk or high? Not sure which. She knits and made several hats on the ride. I was able to buy a couple. We exchanged cards and maybe we will talk again sometime soon. Funny the day after I arrived in Detroit Kemit was leaving for California, maybe she will visit me here. Now that I've showered 3 or 4 times and looking over the awesome photos and comics haul, I'm already dreaming of next years trip to MECCA CON! It's not good bye Detroit it's see ya later!
Enjoy some photos and,
As always you can view more photos on my flickr page here,