2015 Filk Hall of Fame Inductees

The Filk Hall of Fame honors those who have contributed to filk over the years as performers, organizers, and facilitators. Here are the citations for three fans in the Hall of Fame class of 2015:

Kay Shapero

found filk at her first convention, Equicon, in 1973. She walked into the lobby where a group of fans were gathered around a piano, singing the “Orcs’ Marching Song”. She promptly joined them.

In the late 1980s, this California filker created and moderated the first filk discussion group, shared over the Fidonet. This later became the newsgroup alt.music.filk and, later still, with assistance, rec.music.filk. All of this brought filk to a wider, global audience. It is impossible to overstate the impact this had. For the first time, filkers had frequent and immediate contact with other filkers all over the world. Thanks to Kay, we became an international on-line filk community. She is one of those who, very early, built the base, on which other people could establish their own creativity, and participate in the exchange of the world-wide filk culture.

While moderating the newsgroup, Kay also created the first compilation of filksongs, collected from the Filk Echo and provided for download in May of 1990. She was an original contributor to SMOF.com’s Filk Primary Source List, which gave access to source information on filk parodies to general fandom and to runners of conventions. Her long-lived, and frequently updated “Filk FAQ” remains a valuable resource for anyone trying to understand the filk community. If you do an on-line search for “What is Filk?”, one of the first links to come up is Kay’s “Filk Frequently Asked Questions”.

Kay is creative and organized, qualities valued by conventions she worked on. For several years, she has been the driving force behind ConChord’s “Kazoo Awards”. Under her administration, these awards have become a fun way to recognize song writers, in competition against their peers, as determined by unique categories each year. She has also been nominated for one herself.

Kay rarely seeks the limelight herself. She will often perform a one-shot at cons, but otherwise only sings in circles. She has also written a huge number of filksongs, some of which have been published in Xenofilkia. She really was and continues to be an outstanding ambassador for filk.

For these contributions to filk music and the filk community, Kay Shapero is inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this eighteenth day of April, two thousand fifteen.

Nick Smith

first encountered filk in 1973 at a Mythcon, first wrote a filk in 1978 and first performed in 1980 at a Westercon masquerade. He has been the long-serving Chair of ConChord and has also run programming for the con. He has run filk at Loscon and arts at Worldcon (LACon III, 1996 and IV, 2006).

Nick has been a regional Director for Interfilk since 1998 and a valued auctioneer. Nick is a calming voice in a sea of chaos at many an Interfilk Board meeting. He has a wonderful knowledge of charity law, and is a great resource for Interfilk, filk conventions and other organizations. Nick is more than willing to help with getting the legal answers a committee or board needs to keep going.

In the 1990’s, Nick wrote a concise and comprehensive article on filk “What the Heck Is Filk Music?” Originally produced for distribution at Los Angeles folk music events, Nick’s widely quoted work focuses on both music and song-writing. He has been involved with curating the library of the now defunct Thor Records and assisting DAG with their recordings. He has also been found emceeing one-shots and concerts, and moderating panels.

Nick was a member of the L.A. Filkharmonics from 1980; they were responsible for three filk zines, Massteria!, Massteria Strikes Back and Return of Massteria, all subtitled “Star Wars & Other Filksongs.”  Many of those songs were written by him. As a member of the L. A. Filkharmonics he has also been active in disseminating many humorous filks as well as being part of one of the few a cappella choirs in the filk community.

Nick is active in the folk music and professional story telling worlds. He has been instrumental in introducing filk music to professional musicians who fall in love with our community. He is a tireless advocate for filk music within the general fan community. He practices the almost lost art of Story Telling, for both children (and those of us who act like children), and even adults some times, at filk conventions.

He was also an occasional Co-Host of Hour 25, a radio program focusing on science fiction, fantasy, and science, which has an eclectic mixture of filk music, science fiction news, and other science fiction related material.

Nick is a diplomat and a gentleman.  He not only has many worthy filk accomplishments, but manages to be one of the most gracious and soft?spoken “get things done” people in all West Coast filk, and manages to avoid or work around squabbles and politics.

For these contributions to filk music and the filk community, Nick Smith is inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this eighteenth day of April, two thousand fifteen.

Steven Joel Zeve

found Science Fiction Fandom in 1980 when he attended Noreascon II, the 1980 WorldCon, in Boston. Soon afterwards, he attended his second convention, Boskone, where he discovered filk in February 1981.

It can be said that Steven Joel is the heart of the Baltimore-Washington area filk community. He started as assistant to filk activity at Balticon in 1991, and took it over in 1994; he has a talent for finding the perfect guests for each year. His filk track is held in high esteem by other programming heads.  He built a strong filk following within the convention and passed it with loving hands to his successor. He is widely connected in the overall fan community, and he is not afraid to recruit any of those he does know for filk’s benefit. He is also is an incurable filk SMOF, and will share his extensive experience with filk and/or convention running, giving the slightest hint. His advice has been highly valued by the organizing committees of Conterpoint.

After years of being one of its staunchest supporters, in 2012 Steven Joel was added to the Interfilk Board as “second/spouse” to the Midwest Director. He has been a long time Interfilk supporter and willingly participates as a “mensch”. Together with his lovely wife, France, he has played host to many traveling filkers, providing a place to stay, a tour guide, or just a shoulder to lean on. They have also opened their house for house filks.  He does a lot of un-credited work providing transport, hauling instruments, running errands for forgotten items, finding specialty diet foods, and entertaining and feeding children while parents are rehearsing. He spends at least one-third of every convention helping with the mundane things no one really notices need doing. They can even be accused of raising another generation of filkers.  Along with France, Steven Joel was a much appreciated Interfilk Guest at Conflikt in 2008.

He insists he is not a performer and, in fact, he insists that tunes have been known to produce power drills out of thin air to escape from the bucket he uses to carry them.  He is encouraging to newcomers as well as excellent at making sure we don’t forget the classics. He’s also a funny, intelligent and approachable filk ambassador who is always willing to talk to the curious, sometimes at length. His strengths are in lore, offering years of recollections of filk and cons. Often, if someone was asked something by a newbie, the strategy was to say, “Why don’t you talk to Steven Joel about that?”, and then to hand them over graciously to a longer memory, and wider knowledge.

For these contributions to filk music and the filk community, Steven Joel Zeve is inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this eighteenth day of April, two thousand fifteen.



Contata (NY/NJ area) Merav Hoffman
ConChord (San Diego area) Nick Smith
FilkCONtinental (Germany) Katy Droge-Macdonald (1)
OVFF (Columbus area) Mark Peters (2)
Conflikt (Seattle area) Rick Weiss
GAFilk (Atlanta area) Rob Wynne
Con27ilkin (British)) Annie Walker (2)
Consonance (San Francisco area) Dr. James Robinson
DFDF (Germany) Steve Macdonald (1)
FilKONtario (Toronto area) Judith Hayman (3)



2 thoughts on “2015 Filk Hall of Fame Inductees

  1. I’m sure Kay will correct one or the other of us, but I very much think credit for “..the first compilation of filksongs…” should go to Lee Gold, who did it on paper years before.

  2. Don: Now that you mention it, wasn’t the first published collection of filksongs assembled by Juanita Coulson? Or Bruce? Seems to me I knew the answer to this question at one time.

    However, the citation may contemplate only the first online compilation. (Or perhaps the writer fell into the usual trap of assuming there was no history before the internet. Who knows.)

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