Interview: Dan Vado Talks About Moving APE to San Jose
Posted today in Publishers Weekly: My interview with Dan Vado, “head kahuna” of Slave Labor Graphics, as he discusses his plans for taking back the Alternative Press Expo (APE) in 2015, and moving this San Francisco indie comics show to San Jose.
After founding the show almost 20 years ago, Vado handed over the reins of the show to Comic-Con International, the organization that also runs WonderCon in Anaheim and San Diego Comic-Con. But that’s changing, because at APE 2014, Comic-Con International announced that APE would once again be managed by Vado.
Dan Vado at APE 2014 | © Deb Aoki
I spoke with Vado at APE, and later did a follow-up call with him after he firmed up plans for APE 2015, including settling on a new date (October 3-4, 2015) and a venue, the South Hall of the San Jose McInery Convention Center. The South Hall is the large structure in back of the main convention center — a place that should be familiar to anyone who has gone to FanimeCon as where they have hosted their artists alley in the past.
According to Vado, he hopes to offer exhibitors larger table/booth spaces than they’ve had at APE in the past, and have programming and events outside of the main exhibit hall at nearby art galleries and event spaces in nearby Downtown San Jose.
“It’s been a goal of mine to make APE into a multi-venue event, with additional events, and programming in the nearby SoFa district in downtown San Jose, within a few blocks from the show. If we get participation from the nearby galleries, I think it’ll be an exciting opportunity to give this show a more European flavor,” said Vado.
Alternative Press Expo 2014 at Fort Mason, San Francisco | © Deb Aoki
While Vado is excited about his plans to make APE an event that makes the most of San Jose’s art and culture scene, a small but passionate group of comics creators, educators, librarians and fans came together to discuss creating a new comics festival for San Francisco. This did not go over well with Vado, who saw this movement as a potential distraction from his efforts to reinvent APE.
“I was annoyed when I heard about this meeting. There’s an attitude in San Francisco, that anytime you need to go south of SFO Airport, you need a passport and Ebola shots!” laughed Vado. “Sometimes, there’s an arrogance that comes from living or working in San Francisco—there are more people who live outside of San Francisco than in it. It’s annoying that people in San Francisco feel like they never have to leave it.”
Check out the rest of the interview with Vado on Publishers Weekly, and chime in with your thoughts about APE’s move to San Jose. If you’ve attended or exhibited at APE in the past, does this change affect your plans to attend it again in 2015?