Every so often the stars align and this hippo gets to go to a pen show 🙂  This was my second pen show, and I have to say that DC (my first) set the bar for fun very high.

It all started with deciding which pens to bring.


Then of course we had to get there!  I got to use my MB HippoCactus luggage tag for the first time.  I have no idea if this luggage tag helped anyone find me, but a Hippo + Cactus can’t be wrong!


When we got to the hotel we noticed a few things that weren’t right.  The show was held at the “newly renovated” Westdrift Manhattan Beach, by newly renovated they meant construction going on everywhere with the main restaurant and lobby closed.  The only areas of the hotel that were accessible were a tiny reception area for check-in and a corridor that led toward a single elevator, the elevator button obscured by construction so you had to stick your hand through a hole to press the button.  I didn’t get any photos of this because I was a bit tired after the flight, but I promise I did get a photo of the greatest atrocity of all!  More to come about that.  Let’s focus on the good, the show!

The night before the show we had the pleasure of seeing some amazing pens in what the hotel loving called “The Tent”, a literal tent outside the hotel with a makeshift bar.

There were many great collections and I even got to play with the elusive Waterman Music Nib that I have been dreaming about.

Day 1 had a very late start due to the fire marshal not signing off on the ballroom permit yet…bad planning to say the least.

Some very classy signage:


But it did eventually get into full swing and the show itself did not disappoint!

There were all manner of vintage, modern, Japanese, and just about any type of pen one could imagine for the buying!  It really is hard not to just say, screw it I don’t need a place to live and just buy all the pens lol.  I definitely resisted that temptation this time and came away with just a couple of pens and a lot of inks.

One of the pens was a Stylo-Art Maki-e featuring Plums and Warblers.

The other I picked up was the ASC Bologna Extra Arco.


On Saturday, Hippo Noto had a table next to Strait’s Pens, showing prototypes and hanging out with amazing people!

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Even got to meet the amazing Joey Feldman who autographed some of his LA Pen Show notebooks for a friend and I.  He drew me a hippo!  How cool is that!

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The pen after hours were a joy, from The Tent to the Shake Shack, great pens and great pen friends (and courtesy reach arounds!  lol don’t ask)  ^_^.  The two IG pics at the end stolen from Franz D. who is awesome btw!

Last but not least, the furry friends crawling around The Tent, the bar and the food lol. Can anyone spot whats wrong with that picture?


Rat aside, The LA Pen Show was definitely worth going to, the hotel sucked but the pen people were amazing.  I greatly enjoyed meeting many of you and seeing some Hippos in the wild!

A small Hippo Update:  The ivory Hippos are on the journey to the USA!  If you are interested in one, we will have the Kickstarter price of $33.00 until they reach the USA, at which time they will go up to retail.  Our latest Colorverse inks are scheduled to arrive this week, so if there is a color you’ve had your eye on, they will all be in stock!  Visit http://www.hipponoto.com.


I leave you now with a photo of a Hippo Prototype and the amazing Stylo-Art pen from the show.