Taral: Three’s A Charm

By Taral Wayne: It had gotten so difficult for me to get to SFContario that, when November rolled around and it was time for the third year’s con, I had decided not to attend. My plans were thwarted, however, by the announcement that Chris Garcia was the Fan Guest of Honour in 2012. I had always wanted an opportunity to spend some time with Chris, since both times I’ve met him it was impossible to make him sit still long enough to talk to. So, I went to SFC anyway, despite expecting to have a thoroughly miserable time.

In fact, I did have a thoroughly miserable time … but it was the travel to and from the convention that was the source of it. Two hours each way, with three connections. By day the traffic getting downtown was impossible. The driver actually warned the passengers, still quite some distance from the subway entrance, that progress would be so slow and that we might prefer to get out and walk the rest of the way!

All in all, I spent one hour in transit for every one I was at the con.

Under the circumstances, I think you’ll understand why I skipped Sunday. Anyway, people customarily leave early Sunday, and all I was likely to miss was the dead dog. Compared to the prospect of a long sleep, and no public transit, there was no doubt in my mind I made the right decision.

For the first two years, I felt SFContario was a little too small and maybe a bit pokey, but this year I enjoyed myself virtually every moment. Whether that’s entirely because the con had reached critical mass or not, I’m not sure. Partly, I may just have been in a more receptive mood. But I felt welcomed from the start, recognized more faces and found more things to say to them. I ran into one of the guests, Jon Singer, almost immediately and caught up with many, many years since we had last seen each another. I had arrived late enough to miss all the programming, thankfully, and could ease into partying mode right away.

Saturday was much the same. I arrived late, in spite of trying to arrive earlier. But among other delays, that day there was a police incident on the streetcar. I barely walked into the con in time for my scheduled program event at 6.

The panel was on fanzines and fanzine writing, and the other participants were Chris Garcia (the moderator), Neil Jamieson-Williams and myself. Colin Hinz joined us late, after the panel began. The audience wasn’t large, but it was attentive and friendly, which is half the battle. When I posted photos on Facebook that night, I described Chris as “The Wild Man of Fandom” — which is too self-evident to need explanation. Neil I described as the “Punk Academic of Fandom,” which does need explanation. Neil is a sociologist who feels a duty to describe fandom to itself in ways that make anthropologists happy, using words like “matriliteral,” “polyfrenetic,” and “diverse etherealcentrism,” which mean little more than we already know about ourselves but are vastly more educated. But he also publishes a fanzine using a type font that literally cannot be read, and consciously rejecting any illustration or layout tricks that would make the experience of reading “Swill” more pleasurable – a “punk” attitude if ever there was. I captioned myself in the photo as “Supreme Being of Fandom,” a truism you need not question. Since Colin came late, he wasn’t in the shot and has no caption.

I thought the panel was more successful than most I’ve been on. We seemed to know what we wanted to say, said it, didn’t repeat each other, but avoided name-calling and fisticuffs throughout. Afterward, the audience had a few questions that we did our best to answer.

Someone else will have to write about the other programming. I believe there was some. Arriving as late as I did, I never saw the artshow or dealers room either, though the program book assures me that SFContario had one of each. For me, it was once again party time.

Highlights among the parties were the Detroit NASFiC bid, the Kansas City in 2016 and Spokane in 2015 Worldcon bids, the birthday bash for Yvonne Penney and the festivities in Robert J. Sawyer’s room (both nights). Also notable, but not for everyone, was the Mike Glicksohn Memorial poker game. I found Chris Garcia, David Clink (a poet), Carolyn Clink (rob Sawyer’s wife) and several others deeply immersed in their poker faces when I arrived to take a picture. Okay … in reality they were laughing and gesticulating like madmen, and I didn’t see a poker face among them.

For me, the highlight of the con was Saturday night, when I bought a funny hat from the Kansas City bid people. It was a dapper little number in black and pinstripes just like Sammy Davis Jr. used to wear, and was supposed to remind one of gangsters in the 1920s. It was too modern for that – real gangsters in the Roaring ‘20s wore snap-brimmed Fedoras, or even Derbies. I was able to convince myself I wouldn’t look too silly in one, though and since I had sold a small number of my CD-ROMs, I felt I could afford an extravagance that weekend.

Also, Diane Lacey had brought my Hugo pin to give me. At last, I had all eleven!

This year Geri Sullivan ran the con suite and was present almost around the clock. She did step out at least once, and when she returned I collapsed at her feet and whimpered something like “Where were you, I had to fill the coffee machine with water myself” … which she seemed to find excruciatingly funny for some reason. Geri had had bought about 6 flavours of gourmet potato chips and a Canadian cheese to put out. There was hot pulled pork, candies and soft drinks as well, keeping everyone well fed. Unlike some cons I remember, there didn’t seem to be a mass exodus of fans from the hotel around dinner time, leaving a few broke unfortunates or alienated loners behind. This was a good thing, as I am both kinds of fan.

I don’t want to appear wildly optimistic, but having had a surprisingly good time at SFContario 3, I may have to consider returning next year … The guests will be Seanan McGuire (author), Dave Kyle (fan) and Chandler Davis (science). Dates are November 29 to December first. http://sfcontario.ca

Friday photo montage: 1. Jon Singer (background Jo Walton); 2. Geri Sullivan; 3. Jo Walton; 4. Chis Garcia; 5. Cathy Specht, Ctein, and Jon Singer in the background, right; 6. Diane Lacey

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Saturday photo montage: 1. Chris Garcia, Neil Jamieson-Williams, Taral Wayne; 2. Hope Leibowitz & Chris Garcia; 3. Chandler Davis; 4. Mike Glicksohn Memorial Poker Game; 5. Penney Birthday Party; 6. Catherine Crockett (co-chair)

2012 Smofcon Scholarhip Winners Named

CanSMOF has awarded Danielle MacDonald (Ontario, Canada) and James Shields (County Meath, Ireland) scholarships to the 2012 SMOFCon.

MacDonald has worked a number of art shows, and is also interested in masquerades and food and hospitality services. This will be her first Smofcon.

Shields has worked in programming, and is interested in developing uses of web technologies to further aid conventions and their memberships with their online experience. This will be his first Smofcon in North America.

The winning applicants were selected based on a demonstration of their potential for contributing to their local fandom and Canadian fandom. The 2012 selection committee was Terry Fong, Diane Lacey and Kevin Standlee.

CanSMOF Inc., is parent non-profit organization of Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon, The first scholarship was open to a Canadian citizen or resident, while the second was open to anyone involved in running conventions, regardless of their place of residence or citizenship.

Smofcon 30 will be held Philadelphia from November 30-December 2.

CUFF Stuff

They’re off and running – for the Canadian Unity Fan Fund. Jane Garthson and Debra Yeung are competing to be named the CUFF delegate and represent fandom at When Words Collide (combined with the 2012 Canvention) in Calgary from August 10-12.  

Votes for CUFF race must be submitted by 12 midnight PST, April 17, 2012 to either the current Delegate, Kent Pollard, or the Eastern administrator, Diane Lacey.

Eligible to vote are Canadian fans who have been active for at least two years as of April 17, or are paid, attending members of this year’s When Words Collide convention. Voters are asked to make a donation to CUFF — $5.00 is the suggested amount. Either use Paypal and e-mail — kentpollard@gmail.com — or paper mail (with checks payable) to Kent Pollard at 1222 Junor Ave., Saskatoon, SK S7L 7K1, Canada.

[Thanks to Auroran Lights #6 for the story.]

2011 CUFF Results

Kent Pollard has won the 2011 Canadian Unity Fan Fund race. Diane Lacey reported online that the final vote was Kent Pollard, 20, Danielle Stephens, 18, and no preference, 2.

Pollard will attend CanVention, being held in conjunction with SFContario 2 in Toronto November 18-20.

2011 CUFF Nominations Open

The Canadian Unity Fan Fund (CUFF) is looking for a fan from western Canada to send to CanVention, being held in conjunction with SFContario 2 in Toronto November 18-20.

CUFF alternates sending a fan from eastern and western Canada to CanVention, the annual convention of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. This is a “western” year, so the CUFF delegate must come from nominees residing in Manitoba and the provinces farther west.  

Diane Lacey, last year’s Canadian Unity Fan Fund (CUFF) winner, writes, “The delegate is welcome, even encouraged, to stay longer than just the convention and hang out with the local [Toronto] fans. In fact our Third Monday pubnight, a regular gathering of local fans happens to fall on the Monday immediately following the convention.”

Any fan wanting to be nominated for CUFF must apply by March 31, 2011. The application should contain a letter from the fan with a self-description, plus a statement about why selection as the CUFF delegate would be beneficial for the fan and his/her community. And it must have at least three references from people in eastern and western Canada. Send the application to to d dot lacey at gmail dot com.

Once one or more nominees have been identified, voting will run from April 5 through May 31. This long lead time allows the successful candidate to work with SFContario’s program organizers and plan the trip.

[Thanks to Diane Lacey for the story.]

Jeff Orth: A Pre-Hysterical Pre-History
of the Pre-Bid

[Jeff Orth tells how he, Diane Lacey and Ruth Lichtwardt caught the vision for a KC in 2016 Worldcon bid.]

By Jeff Orth: We have worked as a team for several projects since forming for the Anticipation Hugo Administration.  Diane was the Consuite Department head for Anticipation and Ruth and I helped her where we could, both in recruiting staff and taking shifts as needed.  It was one of the best consuites I have ever seen.  Not that I am at all unbiased.  We also recently worked on-site con registration for the Raleigh NASFIC.

We all worked on ConQuesT 2010, Ruth in Facilities and Diane and me in programming.  It was this venue that spawned the idea of a Kansas City Worldcon. (Well that and somebody else trying to thrust $20 at me.  And of course a Worldcon Bid not inspired by late night, drunken conversations would be just wrong. We can, and probably will, make up more stories as we go along.)

After Diane had headed off for Toronto to continue working on SFContario, Ruth and I approached Margene Bahm and asked her to look into facilities downtown. She happily agreed and contacted the Kansas City CVB (called VisitKC [visitkc.com]) Margene made arrangements to tour the hotels and convention center, Bartle Hall, with a representative from VisitKC named Becky.  I unashamedly invited myself along.  We spent a wonderful day in June touring some of the most wonderful hotels I have ever seen.  I don’t recall if you were at the KC Smofcon at the Hotel Phillips.  It was a great hotel and yet it was not the most impressive of the five we saw.  The Hilton President and the Holiday Inn Aladdin, both within 2 blocks of the Convention Center, were at least equally impressive.

Bartle Hall is slightly too large for us, but not so large that any other event of any size could occupy the space we would not use. Becky referred to us several times as a “City Wide” meaning that we would
consume all of the available Hotel Space downtown, thus again precluding any other group from utilizing that space. We would be a big deal in Kansas City, indeed.

We judge the existing hotel space to be more than adequate. If we need to resort to overflow hotels, (the Hyatt Crown Center, where ConQuesT is currently held) it would be a very successful Worldcon.  The other two hotels, the Marriott Downtown (which incorporates the old Muehlbach) and the Crown Plaza Downtown are within a block of the convention center, as is the Holiday Inn Aladdin.  The Hotel Phillips and the President are two blocks away.

I came away from the tour stunned and more excited about a Kansas City Worldcon than I had ever been.  (Margene came away vowing to never take me anywhere, ever again.  I think I behaved like a farm boy in the big city for the first time, which isn’t far from the truth.)

All of this is, of course, subject to the normal ebb and flow of negotiation.  Numbers will be crunched and spreadsheets will be drawn up and disposed of. We expect to have facts for people to chew over
and not just the goshwow of a Kansas farmboy.  And we do have lots of time to get our ducks lined up.

Which brings me to the non-announcement at NASFIC.  We realize that it is too early to bid for a Worldcon in 2016. We believe that fandom has a limited amount of resources (as do we).  But, we wanted to get the word out that we are very serious.  We actually have fans excited here in the KC area and elsewhere. A bunch of them are likely to be in tow in San Jose in December.  (And “in tow” is almost not an exaggeration. Some of them are worried about finals that week.  Just where did all these kids come from?  Don’t answer that, just keep ‘em off my lawn.)

Our primary challenge here in KC for the next two years will be keeping the fire stoked.  You can judge how well we have done when we start throwing parties for keepsies at Chicago in 2012.  We might
sneak a few in here and there, just to keep our hand in, look to SFContario and Reno for example. We do like throwing parties, but, we won’t be actively soliciting pre-supports until our official announcement two years before the vote. Planning, organizing and having fun for now, and keeping an eye on the fannish landscape are our priorities. Oh, and looking for people all across that landscape who might like to join us in the craziness.

Regards, Jeff Orth — and for Diane Lacey, Ruth Lichtwardt

KC in 2016 Worldcon Bid

On the theory that it’s always news to somebody (a theory I plan to write about before long), let me be the last to tell you that a Kansas City in 2016 bid was launched at the NASFiC.

The leadership is Ruth Lichtwardt, Jeff Orth and Diane Lacey (she lives in Toronto). Lichtwardt and Orth are veterans of KC’s annual ConQuest, and the trio worked effectively as last year’s (2009) Hugo Administrators.

The bid has a Twitter feed, there’s a kcin2016.org website under construction, and they’ve got a Facebook page (registration required).

Online CUFF Voting

The CUFF ballot is now online. The Canadian Unity Fan Fund (CUFF) invites any Canadian (resident or citizen) fan who was active in fandom prior to April 2008 to contribute CDN$5 (or more) and vote to select Diane Lacey or Rob Uhrig as Eastern Canada’s delegate to Canvention 30/Keycon 27.

Due to a delay in getting the ballot out, the voting deadline has been extended to March 13.

[Thanks to Diane Lacey for the story.]

CUFF Race Begins Soon

The Canadian Unity Fan Fund has a contested race for the first time since 2003, reports Diane Lacey, one of the fans who’ll be on the ballot. She helped administer the Hugos for last year’s Worldcon in Montreal.

Her rival for CUFF is Rob Uhrig, a member of the Klingon Assault Group (KAG/Kanada).

Voting takes place from February 5 to February 25. The winner will attend Keycon in Winnipeg over the May 22-24 weekend.

Diane’s nominators from the West are Fran Skene, Dave Clement, Richard Graeme Cameron and Tim Hogue. From the East they are Murray Moore, Rene Walling, Lance Sibley and Colin Hinz.

Rob’s nominators are: Dayna Dickens, Tourism Coordinator for the town of Vulcan; Margie Welsh, Thought Admiral Klingon Strike Force (KSF); Dana Dean, Minister and retired Admiral Starfleet Canada; Lori Lightfoot, KAG Kanada; David James, KAG Kanada; Paul Carreau, Thought Admiral (Retired) KAG Kanada.

[Thanks to Diane Lacey for the story.]

Update 2/5/2010: Added Rob Uhrig’s nominators per the comment below.

Hugo Nomination Deadline: February 28

Hugo nominating ballots must be cast by the end of the day on February 28 reminds Diane Lacey of Anticipation’s Hugo Administration Committee. Printable ballots and online voting are both available through the Montreal Worldcon’s web page.

To vote, one must either have joined Anticipation by January 31, or have been a member of last year’s Worldcon, Denvention 3. A PIN issued by Anticipation is required for online voting – see details at their website.

The specific deadline is 23:59 Pacific Standard Time on February 28.

Diane hopes you won’t wait ’til the last minute because “computers have, occasionally, been known to fail.” A word to the wise…