Ken Moore, long time Nashville fan and founder and chairman of Kubla Khan, passed away June 30 after a long illness. He was 66.
Khen — as his name was fannishly spelled — always seemed bigger than life to me, a Dionysian figure. He was the soul of a good time and known for his friendliness to new fans.
Nashville fandom owes its origins to Khen Moore, John Hollis, and Dan Caldwell, who collected other Nashvillians they met at Worldcons and DeepSouthCons. Their Kubla Khan was reputed to have the best movie event of any convention in the South, with Khen at the projector. Such efforts as these helped Khen win DSC’s Rebel Award in 1974.
The locals became a big, teasing family, remembers Kathleen David:
When Jeanna Tidwell was three or four, John Hollis taught her the names of various Nashville fans – “Who’s that, Jeanna?” “Unca Dan [Caldwell]!”, “Who’s that?” “Aunty Fran [Bray]!”, etc., until it came time to point to Khen Moore and say “Who’s that, Jeanna?” “Unca Nickelnose!”
Khen was a dynamic extrovert among fandom’s many introverts. Usually literally — at one Midwestcon he and Cliff Amos appeared in bikini bathing suits complete with dress cummerbunds in the middle of the Holidome. But pretty much every other time Ken went around in short shorts, no matter the weather, the reason he also won DSC’S Rubble Award (1991) “for having the ugliest knees in fandom.”
He and Lou, then his wife, ran the art shows for the 1978 Worldcon and 1979 NASFiC.
Janice Gelb says her first convention volunteer work came as the result of bringing a slinky dress to Phoenix to help beat the heat: “Art Show head Khen Moore saw it and immediately requested that I wear it the next day to run art for the art show auction. Jobs based more on intellectual qualifications soon followed.”
In the late Seventies Khen and Nashville fandom reached their fanpolitical zenith. Ken Keller published a “Nashville is Neat in 100 Degree Heat” ad in a 1975 MidAmeriCon progress report, a practical joke on Khen. But in fandom, jokes can easily turn into serious bids. Khen became ambitious to run a Nashville Worldcon and investigated potential facilities. However, this was before the Opryland Hotel was a factor and the city wasn’t a viable site. Soon this energy was channeled into a successful Louisville bid for the 1979 NASFiC (a con chaired by Cliff Amos.)
In addition to fandom, Khen loved aviation and was a pilot. He was retired from AVCO Aircraft where he worked as an Aircraft Engineer and Quality Control Inspector.
If you’d like to toast Khen’s memory with a concoction of his own devising, here’s his recipe for Swill, which he served at many a room party:
“Take a clean wastebasket, add a gallon of real orange juice. Real Krogers orange juice that’s got the pulp in it that you have to shake up. A quart of ReaLemon juice. A quart of Welch’s Grape Juice. A half a gallon of cheap vodka. Stir it all up. Take a blender, fill it half full with the mixture, go all the way to the top with ice. Two tablespoons of sugar in the top of the blender. Put the lid on the blender and let it run for about 45 seconds, then enjoy. “
[Thanks to Joel Zakem and Andrew Porter for the links.]