Whether it's Wordstock or the Stumptown Comics Fest, the book fair model is always the same: A convention hall full of table after table of slightly wild-eyed artists, publishers, and writers hand-selling their wares to attendees who are largely just trying to avoid eye contact. A few panels and signings. A general sense that while books and comics are great, the Oregon Convention Center is where creativity and enthusiasm go to... if not die, then at least take a stress-nap.

This weekend sees the debut of The Projects, a new free experimental comics festival that promises hands-on activities, panels, discussions, and more with artists from across North America and Europe. As Matt Stangel writes in the arts section this week:

Festivalgoers have a lot to choose from: painting by numbers with Igor Hofbauer, collaborative drawing with Alex Chiu and Sumi Ink Club, a choose-your-own-adventure comic installation, and even a "sad penguins" draw-in with Duskin Drum. Local comics club Gridlords is hosting "readings, interviews, and multimedia presentations" at the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) on Saturday and Sunday, and there's even an encore presentation of DMTV, Floating World's yearly animation festival (fuck yeah!).

I'm really looking forward to this—along with the All Jane, No Dick festival at Curious Comedy, it's an incredibly exciting weekend for arts events.