Don Rosa in Rapallo
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The sticker celebrating the event
It is no exaggeration to thank everyone for the umpteenth time, mainly Frank, whose good offices with Don and U Giancu made this Papersera dedicated meeting possible, without being forcet to be in Turin the following week, where the Donrosian experience was giong to be more diluted. Thanks also to Torino Comics and Vittorio Pavesio, which has made this possible by inviting Don Rosa in Italy!
A double thanks goes to all the ones who wrote something (being an article or a drawing) that was going to be included in the book: nearly 500 pages of admiration for Don! And a special thanks goes to Carlo Chendi, a real Disney totem who spent the evening with us!
And above all, a huge, enormous, huge thanks to Don!
Organization and departures
In an attempt to not forget things (and anecdotes) I'll try to write "chronologically" about the Papersera Mission 2011, beginning at 7:30 in the morning, when conker reached my house, and then the two of us headed to the metro Laurentina station to take on board Tigrotta and Dippy Dawg.. starting with the first logistic problems about space in the car: 9 boxes of books occupy a large part of the trunk and placing the luggage of the passengers was not easy!
By the way, we didn't let this trouble to demoralize us: we reached the entrance of the A1 highway where the traffic jam started: stcuk after just 300 meters! But who is in the car placed right in front of us? There are known faces... in spite of all the statistical calculation of probabilities, and we end up right behind the "Tiburtina" of the Roman Patrol: Alle, Gloria (his wife), Gladstone and Scrooge4! Incredible!
After some traffic, we leave the motorway at Castelnuovo di Porto (brand new station, there is not even on Google maps, dammit!) where inthenight was waiting for us, and we also salute with Alle & Co.
All ready for the final departure: destination Rapallo, cheered by the sound effects coming from conker's iPad, reading the graphic novel "The Kite Runner" illustrated by the (also)Disney artist Fabio Celoni. The trip geos on calm, with a couple of stops, the first to feed the car (fuel ...) the second to feed people (with the exception of the ascetic conker).
The various patrols start to consolidate...
Arriving in Rapallo
Once in Rapallo, we divide to reach our various hotels, leave suitcases and briefcases, a quikc refresh, and let's start meeting other people from Papersera: Zangief, Avv. Photomas, Uomochesapevatroppo, Franka (accompanied by hes family, who preferred to leave, leaving Franka it to us), Hon-ki-ton and Trudy (his wife, treacherously joined to the forum by her husband, without her knowing it). Speaking of wifes... during dinner I heard Trudy asking her husband "who is Hon-ki-ton ?"..... ARGH! At least I'm not the only one who have to licve in the same house with an agnostic!
Compacted, more or less, we start to get Don, who by then had lunch (or met) other Papersera people: Frank, marcobar, minz68, Sprea, Paperinika and Bottagna. The company was enriched by the presence of Carlo Chendi!
First round with Don
The need for Don at the moment is to leave some of his luggage in Frank's hotel, and then we move all together (I admit that the scene might have seemed a bit weird to passersby) toward the hotel, where Frank, I do not know how he can do it, convinces the innkeeper to give us a room where to sit for a while and begin to relate with Don... The qualities of Frank as persuader never cease to amaze me, I think it holds a good amount of paintings from this story to use as needed!
However, within this room, while arrive in dribs and drabs some of the other friends (piccolobush, Maghetto & son, Floyd, Gingerin and her husband, New_AMZ), Don began to be questioned by us, on his preferences, his knowledge of other Disney comics, etc. etc. etc.
He starts saying that he feels gratified and embarrassed by so many people set out to meet him... and we were still half of those who would meet in the evening!
At a certain point Don pulls out some of the color prints he is used to bring at the US convention to meet fans (or at least the few who are still interested in Disney comics). They are beautiful colored drawings, printed on cardboard and with ample spaces for personal dedication. Don decides that, despite he brought them to be used in Torino Comics, he can lend us some, with the only limitation of not to take more one for each of us. They are spectacular, the photos do not pay justice to them ... I'm just waiting for someone to scan them properly. By the way, does anybody around here chose the one with Donald sitting in his armchair while reading comics? Are you willing to make an exchange "scan vs. scan"? I can offer the one inspired by the Lord of the Rings...
In U Giancu's garden
Met also Brigitta on the rapallo promenade, we head, not without some crazy dissertation on the distribution of people on the available cars, toward the restaurant: Fausto (aka U Giancu) provides us with some space in the restaurant (the weather is beautiful!) where is already sitting, waiting for us, the patrol coming from Milan, composed by Nutty Isa, Nene, Vito, Pacuvio and MIK (...I think that the only one really from Milan was Isa, but anyway... you know what I mean!).
The printing I choose among the many beautiful ones brought by Don.
Fundamental help from Alle and his wife (and the mathematical support of Marco) with his receipt for the withdrawal of the book and the checklist for participants to dinner, needed to manage so many people and check the economic and financial aspects of the organization: we didn't miss a penny, is the first time!
But apart from the organizational details, it is here and now where Don begins to surprise us, promising to make a drawing for each of the ones who were there: needless to say, around the table where he was sitting quicly starts a siege! All beautiful drawings, but I have to mention at least a couple of them: the Flintheart Glomgold for Scrooge4 and the Glittering Goldie fro Brigitta, even if these designs won't be the most sensational one of the evening...
Meanwhile, also the other participants continue to arrive: Walt Zuti, Paolodan3, Harry Fluks, Martin Olsen, Victor and Fa.Gian... who proposed himself as a tour guide/organizational support in Rapallo, but he forgot to give us his phone number, so that we began to wonder if in fact it was not the driver of the tourist train running through the streets Rapallo...
Later, during dinner, will also appear feidhelm, LPSO with a friend, and effezeta1978 (but were you there with your wife? The lists were saying "a friend "...). The only one who couldn't come (justified on the forum) was Francis Drake!
Arranging the table
With Frank, while there is a frenzy activity around Don, we begin to arrange the seats at the table, so to ensure a fair reward for the forum translators placing them around our guest star. The sight of the room is great: 48 seats at the table, all in the Barks room, named after the original signature of the Master placed on a wall.
Some people, tat the head of the table there is Carlo Chendi.
The first surprise in the evening was the personalized menu for the evening we found on the tables, with the Papersera logo (the one used by Disney, however, not the website, since we don't have any... pretty ironic, given the number of good artists around here, isn't it???).
I leave aside the comments about food, because I do not think that may be of interest to the ones who weren't there, but the noodles with artichokes were really great! The discussion with Don, as reported by Brigitta on the forum, resulted mainly in a series of questions about him, his vision of Disney comics, and so on... none of us had the nerve (or maybe it was the fear of a disappointing answer) to ask if there were any possibilities that he came back to draw Disney comics.. or at least writing... We hope that the book might rekindle the spark!
I want to remember on these pages the bottle of acoholic aperitif, served during the meal, generously offered by the valiant Gerbaldo: alcoholic and fragrant: I liked it, and Scrooge4 renamed it the "Gerbiana"!
And so to the book... or the flowers, as it was renamed on the forum to keep it as a secret!
While waiting for the final ice cream, I and some other valiants (don't ask me who they were: the "Gerbiana" was starting to produce its effects...) we took the boxes from my car to accumulate then at the back of the room, except one, located close to Don, who has seen again besieged from all of us in mid-dinner, all standing in front of him, this time not to ask for autographs or drawings, but with cameras and video cameras in hand, ready to capture the highlight of the evening: Frank proclaimed Don, explaining all the background, the 2001 winner of the Papersera Prize, and illustrated him the characteristics of the book we dedicated to Don. Really I think we were just one step away from having him moved, and the surprise was a success too: despite all our "code-talking" on the forum, he did not suspect anything!
I do not deny that working on the book was quite an hard work, but it was really worth it, because of the happiness of both Don and Isa when the Don himself told Isa that her one was a very nice drawing: it was a pleasure to see someone so happy!
I won't dwell on the book description, sinct it can be found in the page dedicated to the book itself, and anyway, sooner or later it will be reviewed on a dedicate thread on the forum.
Don, moved as stated because of the book, wanted to give us a great bottle of Kentucky Bourbon (not merely whiskey), originally intended for Carlo Chendi, but diverted to the Papersera people. Well, believe it or not, Don went along all tables to serve a shot of bourbon to all present, and so redeeming some of the non-drinker among us: this is one of those things that can't be easily forgotten!
Don, in the unusual role of waiter, giving his bourbon to us.
Drawings for all
As if the alcoholic gift was not enough, Don wanted to continue to make drawings to all those who couldn't get it before dinner, also autographing the books (and all the other comics) that were submitted, speaking with all of us, not just making a generic dedication (as if that was not already a treasure to be preserved jealously), but a personal one to the recipient!
To make a long story short, Don finished drawing after one o'clock at night, well after Fausto was gone from the local... we stood here more than the owner!
Said that, I regret to say that it was not possible to sign also all the books for the ones who contributed to the book but was not at Rapallo: he was exhausted and it would take at least another hour.
I have no memories about the U Giancu-hotel trip, maybe because of the Gerbiana, maybe because of the bourbon, but also because of the fatigue and the worrying that something could go wrong, which didn't abandoned me until the time to leave from the restaurant.
The hotel room, albeit vaguely inspiring hospice solitudes, was decent, except that at 7 o'clock they decided to turn on the heaters as we were in December, while it was April, with more than 15 degrees outside! The effect in 2 square meters room was something like a microwave oven! Oh, and obviously it was noisy too!
The hotel, however, was fully revalued when I noticed, over the coffee machine, a pen drawing by Cavazzano with Uncle Scrooge lounging on the hotel terrace.
La Galleria dell'Arco
While leaving the hotel, it comes to our minds that we're near Santa Margherita Ligure, where is the Galleria dell'Arco library, so why not take a moment to check it for something interesting? All I was able to buy were some back isues of Rat-Man (yes, I do not buy it regularly, but from time to time), but there were also those who did plunder, receiving threats of being sent to sleep on the (Disney) mat once at home, and who took a nice Cavazzano portfolio! The gallery owner was very nice, with a funny accent mixing Slavic and the Genoese!
I make it short about the return journey, marked by the theft suffered by the capital first team...
- Paolo Castagno