Saturday, August 26, 2006

Worldcon II

Location: still Anaheim, Ca
Miles: still 3996

Last night we went to parties. They physical arrangement of the hotel is great. Parties are all on the Lanai level, where rooms open to the interior hall as well as to three outdoor decks. It means that you can wander all around the circumference of one deck, visiting the parties, then cross over to the next deck and repeat. Some big parties (the Columbus and Chicago bid parties, for instance) are across an interior hall from one another but open on different decks, which is magnificently convenient.

Let's see, what kinds of parties are there? Biggest are the bid parties. Worldcon changes location each year, with the members of each Worldcon voting on the site two years in the future. Contenders bidding for future Worldcons throw bid parties, hoping to drum up supporters. Currently, the choice for 2008 is between Columbus, Chicago, and Denver. In addition, Kansas City is getting an early start on a bid for 2009. Sometimes bid parties serve food or drink from their local area: for instance, the Chicago people are serving hot dogs and Kansas City has beef with an assortment of barbecue sauces.

Next year's Worldcon, which is in Japan, also hosts a big party each night (they have poky sticks, Japanese beer and saki). And since Worldcon is out of the US in 2007, there will be a sort of stay-at-home con called NASFiC (North American Science Fiction Convention) in St. Louis -- they also have a big party. And then there are so-called hoax bids: groups that throw parties but aren't actually bidding for Worldcon. The biggest of these, this year, is "Xerps in 2010." Xerps is a made-up alien planet, complete with travel posters, postcards, and local drinks and delicacies.

That's the Worldcon bid parties. A couple of regional conventions are also sponsoring parties, some with fun themes: Westercon, which is a sort of West Coast version of Worldcon, has a Gnome Party; Loscon, which is a local Los Angeles convention; and Costume Con, which will be in Los Angeles next year, is having an Evil Genius party.

Then there are parties thrown by various publishers, large and small, and parties sponsored by groups or individuals. All in all, there are probably a good two dozen or so parties each night, most of them open to all visitors.

Anyway, we had a blast at the parties.

Today has been a bit slower day. We had a chance to spend some time in the exhibit hall, to make a detailed swing through the Dealer's Room and make some purchases, and to inspect some of the Art Show. (In the Art Show hundreds of artists display their works, and members can bid money on them -- items with fewer than three bids go to the highest bidder, while more than three bids kicks the piece into the Art Auction, which is its own universe. Big pieces by professional SF/Fantasy artists have been known to sell for plural thousands of dollars, sometimes tens of thousands.)

Since Thomas was wearing one of his Star Trek costumes, we also stopped to have his picture taken on a replica of the bridge of the Enterprise, surrounded by wax dummies of the original Star Trek crew. This display, which spent decades in a Hollywood wax museum, is apparently quite famous, at least on the West Coast. The display has now apparently found a new home, and the new owners are making a little money by taking pictures of con-goers on the set. Here's the picture of Thomas (he's the one in red who isn't Uhura or Scotty):



I'm just back from the Masquerade, which is one of the two big events at Worldcon (the other is the Hugo Awards ceremony). This year there were 33 entries, all of them entertaining and magnificent-looking. Master of Ceremonies Phil Foglio kept things running smoothly. I did not stay for the judging, so I can't report who won which awards. The crowd-pleaser was "The Spamish Inquisition," which was a dead-on accurate re-creation of the major cast members from Spamalot. Another great one was "Foster's Home fo Imaginary Friends," which used cotume and puppetry to present brilliant live-action versions of characters from the animated TV show.

Now, I know that all our costumer friends are wanting me to go into great detail and post pictures of all the entries -- while at the same time, all our non-costumer friends are thinking, "oh, no, please not that." Well, dear friends, there are plenty of other places online to find out info about tonight's Masquerade...and besides, Thomas has the camera.

(Thomas didn't compete in tonight's Masquerade, so intstead he volunteered to help out backstage. One thing that I haven't mentioned about Worldcon, because I kinda take it for granted: this 5,000+ person event, with a budget in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, is entirely run by volunteers. No one gets paid for their involvement. Some people devote several years of their lives to running a Worldcon, others volunteer a few hours at the convention; if the convention is successful, they will usually refund membership fees for program participants like Don -- but nobody gets paid anything.)

While I'm at it, things I haven't mentioned: this is the 64th Worldcon. The first was in 1939 and had about 200 people attending. There were no Worldcons in 1942-45 because of World War II. This is Don's 26th Worldcon, and Thomas's 19th. (If you want to know more about cons we've attended, Worldcons and otherwise, check out our badly-out-of-date SF Cons page.

Tomorrow: more panels for Don, and more fun for both of us.

-Don

1 comment:

Betsy said...

Great Con info and absolutely fantastic pic of Tom in his Star Trek costume with the wax characters. He certainly mimics them well. That is meant as a compliment not a personality quirk of his. He does have a much better skin tone. ;)

I remember a World Con in Baltimore a few years ago (okay, quite a few years)Any talk of getting one here again? Now that I am older and wiser, but still as poor, I would love to attend one close by. I hope I am remembering correctly - 1984? 85? or such? I should go check the site before I post this, but what the heck.

Continue to have lots of fun!