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Journal of No. 118


August 27th, 2006

WorldCon @ 03:50 pm


WorldCon - This was my first WorldCon. I'm not much of a convention goer at the best of times. I still haven't been to a LosCon, even.

Overall impression: It was strangely exhilarating to be among likeminded fellows. You could almost feel the aura of ease and friendliness that arose off thousands of people who felt free to be kids again. I got sick of hearing that one should "dance like no one's watching" when I was at NDA, but that's what these people were doing, and all six thousand of them knew the same steps.
On the other hand, it's hard not to notice that the WorldCon population was far more older, fatter and more infirm than the national average. I saw more wheelchairs and powered scooters there than I do when I visit my grandparents' retirement community. Is this terrible? No, it just is what it is.
There were great exhibits of robots and cars (including obishawn's) and costumes and books. I think one of my favorite moments was seeing a couple of the convention center's food service staff checking out the Batmobile.
I spent most of my time at Enigma+'s Space Cadet LARP (+, because there were important contributions from several non-Enigmans), so I didn't spend as much time at the con proper as I would have liked, nevertheless I had time enough to spin through the exhibits and get a couple books signed.
I was pleased to get Phyllis Eisenstein to sign my Arkham House edition of Born to Exile. Her first book, I believe. Apart from her grey hair, she looks essentially the same as the book jacket photo of her from 1978.
I endured some ribbing from Richard about my desire to get Anne McCaffrey to sign a book. But I did it anyway. Anne was a real trouper. Her autograph line, as you might imagine, was longer than the Nile, and she signed for more than an hour. And now I have her sparkly purple signature on one of the Harper Hall books, and I'm as giddy as schoolgirl.
There were several other authors that I really wanted to get to sign, but I'll have to wait for another opportunity. I at least did manage to pick up a signed copy of Peter S. Beagle's new collection a day before his novelette Two Hearts won the Hugo. But I'd still like to get A Fine and Private Place signed.
The Masquerade and Lux Theater were both great albeit (if I may say so) both overlong by 50%.
My idea of making a costume is a sheet with eyeholes cut out, but I can at least appreciate excellence when I see it. I've left some notes on my flickr photos, but there were many good entries that I didn't get good pictures of. One presentation started with familiar (but not at first recognizable to me) music, and then an entrance... it's a bird... dressed like a pirate? Aha! It's Captain Jack Sparrow!
"Dancing with Celebrities from the Stars" was a great idea and the execution was perfect. Zaphod dancing with Barbarella, Ming and Magenta, and a beautiful job by the Mars Attacks 'woman' doing the walk to perfection. Too bad she had to dance with some rotten thing from Spaceballs.
"Sterilized with Fear" was a magnificent recreation of the trailer for "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra". Never has so much talent been utilized to recreate something so awful.
Oh, and I'll put in a word for Phil Foglio who had MC duties for the Masquerade. He did a great job rolling with the miscues and stalls for time. Even if (or especially because) he did sing the "Zero-G Polka".
After the masquerade presentations, Lux Theater took the stage and performed Lux After Dark, recreating their show at LosCon. It's an adaptation of Moulin Rouge with many science fictional liberties taken. I never expected to see colleency shake her money-maker, but once the shock wore off, I enjoyed the show immensely. Since I know half the cast personally, my opinion is perhaps suspect, but they kept a couple thousand people in their seats long after their usual bed-times.
After the masquerade prizes had been awarded and the audience dispersed, I virtuously checked out the LARP to see if aaronjv was around and needed help. As I suspected, he was still there with hagdirt. I pitched in for a bit and at midnight or so, we went together to the con's party floor. After two days of keeping the LARP together, all three of us were eager to anesthetize our brains. Some con-parties were dry, but you could count on the libertarian geeks to provide booze. As did the Russian Worldcon bid party, where one could choose from a half dozen authentic Russian vodkas with Cyrillic labels. I'm not sure what Xerps was all about, but they served a mean punch that included both tequila and lite beer. It was really good. And then a tequila sunrise at the Podcasting party, where Boyett was DJ'ing up a storm.
We met up with a fraction of Lux on its way to the Browncoat party. Sadly, Maria had badly sprained or strained her ankles and was icing both, but she was game. Eventually, we found our way to the dance at the ballroom. We boogied to the ambient industrial for a while, but my tolerance for undifferentiated industrial is about four songs. Other people had reached their satiation much sooner. The exact chronology gets a bit fuzzy here, but at some point there was no one dancing on the floor at all. Perhaps at random, the DJ struck upon White Wedding, and I announced "I can dance to this", and I strode off with purposeful measured strides to the dancefloor. By the time I got there, there was an ant-trail of followers in my wake. We (by which I mean therrin) even cajoled the dj into a swing song, and after that he was a pawn in our hands. Or feet, as the case may be.
The dance ballroom was next door to the LARP Village and after dancing and conversation had reached a lull, we stormed the place in giddy madness. It was a great moment. Exhaustion got the better of me and I bid my goodbyes, dropped one LARP volunteer off at David's and headed back to mom's, where my head hit the pillow at 4:20.

By 10 the next morning I was back at the con. Saturday was by far our busiest day at the LARP. I did nothing other than work Space Cadets from 10 to 6, so that's the end of my non-LARP reminisces of Worldcon. So stay tuned for my recap of Space Cadets: Guardians of the High Frontier.
 
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From:notjenschiz
Date:August 28th, 2006 12:53 am (UTC)

table of comments

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Your entry is too long to comment on effectively. Clearly you should have broken it into smaller sub-entries for the ease of the heckler, er, reader.

Getting a book signed by Anne McCaffery is mock-worthy, unless you're just going to turn around and sell it on E-bay to a 12 year old girl.

My only complaint against LUX was having the obviously pregnant Elizabeth as the lead. I mean, I understand the situation, but I would have put her in something less form-fitting.
The Masquerade was fun.
Speaking of 12 year old girls and the masquerade, "Goth Fairy" had to be the worst entry ever.
Dancing With Celebrities from the Stars definitely a personal favorite.
And Captain Jack "Sparrow" was quite amusing.
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From:essentialsaltes
Date:August 28th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC)

Re: table of comments

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Stop mocking Anne!

And I'll stick up for Elizabeth, too. She's preggers and she can sing. Which of these is more important?
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From:rizwank
Date:August 28th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)

In a more light hearted reply than Prime...

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Whats NDA?

I'd love to chat with you (off LJ) about your thoughts on Lux's length. Being part of the crew (but not of the creative team that wrote it), I was rather impressed with how they reduced the show from its original length to the current one.

Phil Foglio was stuck on stage for ten minutes and kept the audience from leaving. Currently, he's my hero.

Brilliant job getting us all to dance, by the way. =)

Riz
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From:essentialsaltes
Date:August 28th, 2006 05:11 pm (UTC)

Re: In a more light hearted reply than Prime...

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NDA is the girls' school where I taught one year.

Why chat off LJ? I've already stuck my own foot in my mouth. Let me first make one point. I heard that 'Worldcon' complained about the length at some point in the middle of the show. Worldcon knew what they were getting, so they have no cause for complaint.

For me, I think it's all about context. The Lux performance was described as a halftime show or intermission entertainment. In the NFL, regular season halftimes are 12 minutes. Intermissions are a similar length.
If it had been described as "The Masquerade, followed by a complete operetta presented by Lux Theater," I think I (and other audience members) would have been less surprised as we realized that we were getting the full shebang.
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From:hagdirt
Date:August 28th, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC)
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If you must have an Anne McCaffrey novel signed, you can't do better than the Harper Hall novels. So there.

I was also pleased to find out that Beagle won the Hugo for "Two Hearts." I picked it up at Comicon, and had that and my own copy of "Fine and Private Place" signed. I have to say, Worldcon was interesting—it's not just a geek enclave, it's like a geek ecosystem!—but Comicon is really more my speed. More of my interests...bigger dealers' room...younger crowd...better costumes...mainly the dealers' room, actually. Should you ever want to risk a con again, I'd say give it a shot—and bring lots of money.
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From:essentialsaltes
Date:August 28th, 2006 05:27 pm (UTC)
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So there.

You tell 'em, sister. I'll gratefully accept even carefully qualified support for my position.

Should you ever want to risk a con again, I'd say give it a shot.

I consider and discard the idea every year. We'll see.
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From:rizwank
Date:August 28th, 2006 08:09 pm (UTC)

Halftimes...

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Well, thats a fair point. From a totally uninformed opinion as a simple Lux techie, I'm not sure anyone had the story straight.

We were introduced as an intermission, described internally (by WC) as a half time show, and I heard the word interlude bantered about. We had ~20 minutes assigned to us for tech rehearsal for a 69 minute show. (I about killed someone when I found this out.)

Either way, its one of those things that could have gone really bad, but due to the training of the folks in Lux, good fortune smiling at me in the booth, and the glory that are can-can dancers, we got the show up. I do wish people had better understood what we had in mind though --- stacking 70 minutes of show next to the 2 minute masquerade showing is bound to confuse half the audience.
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From:hagdirt
Date:August 28th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Halftimes...

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I'm getting the feeling Worldcon didn't know what to do with what it had in general. It's not like Space Cadets got an accurate billing, either.
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From:popepat
Date:August 31st, 2006 07:39 am (UTC)
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From someone who was not there, but who HAS PERFORMED with Lux (et al.) about a dozen times, there's no way WorldCon didn't know what a Lux show is like, and that includes show length.

Sure, WorldCon involves organizers other than the usual LosCon staff... still, that was an act of willful misremembrance and self-fooling on the organizers' part.

Still wish I hadn' missed it.
There'll be a third incarnation of After Dark... no?

Journal of No. 118