More than a book fair at Komura’s second run

Amanda T. Lago

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More than a book fair at Komura’s second run
The book fair continues to serve up unique experiences with another round at Makati's Warehouse Eight

June 16 saw another edition of the Komura Book Fair unfolding at Warehouse Eight in Makati, and much like the first, it lived up to its promise of being “experience-driven.”

Many things about Komura were creative and fun, obviously coming from the minds of people who themselves frequent book fairs and aimed to create their perfect one. In this case, those two people are Komura founders Czyka Tumaliuan and Kayla Dionisio.

To begin with, there was a bar serving lit-inspired coffee and cocktails right by the entrance – and something about the smell of coffee and old books combined makes one want to dig into both a cup of Joe and a good novel.

On the way into the book fair itself, a VR station was set up with Ready Player One at the ready.

Nearby, there was also a bucket full of “Honesty Beer” – where you can get as many bottles as you please, and pay the appropriate amount on trust basis. (Where else can you browse books while downing a cold one?)

In the beehive that was the book fair, the organizers set aside a space for a dedicated reading nook, making sure that introverts had a space where they could recover, kids had a space to play, and anyone who needed to had an area where they can wait out an existential crisis.

And then of course, there was the book fair itself, which involved the sale of books, old records, stickers, artwork, and other geeky curios.

The “experience-driven” part of the fair was perhaps delivered in the way the items on sale were displayed – that is, in a ragtag manner, a bit of a jumble, as if a bunch of random people simply happened across whatever empty space there was and spontaneously decided to lay out a mat and display their treasured wares.

Performers took to the cozy stage throughout the event – and not all of them were scheduled beforehand.

Case in point: singer-songwriter Niki Colet, who came to the fair as a customer, but ended up playing some of her songs anyway. It was a serendipitous set – because if anyone’s music matches Komura’s easygoing vibe, it’s Niki’s.

Another element to the “experience” side of Komura: the way many of the vendors were ready to regale people with the stories behind this sticker set, or that photo, share the inspiration behind a particular painting or zine.

And speaking of the zines – they were ubiquitous, evidence of just how supportive Czyka and Kayla are of the local zine community.

There were hand-drawn comics, typewritten pages filled with crowd-sourced texts, a collection of travel photos, even a zine whose title you had to figure out for yourself by looking for the words in a page almost black with type.

The event also saw the awarding of the Komura Creators Grant, which was started by Xend, along with Kwago Book Bar and Warehouse Eight specifically to support zine makers.

Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan artist Rommel Jason ended up taking home the prize, which includes a P15,000 prize from Xend, a one-month co-working pass from Warehouse Eight, zine loot from Kwago, and Xend online credits.

Whether or not one ended up buying something, the would have brought something home anyway – whether it’s a story from a creator, a great idea inspired by all the other great ideas they’d been exposed to, or simply an appreciation of the craft and creativity of local writers, artists, and dreamers. –

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Amanda T. Lago

After avoiding long-term jobs in favor of travelling the world, Amanda finally learned to commit when she joined Rappler in July 2017. As a lifestyle and entertainment reporter, she writes about music, culture, and the occasional showbiz drama. She also hosts Rappler Live Jam, where she sometimes tries her best not to fan-girl on camera.