Rooms With A View

The Haggard Room.

Chicon 7 will recreate as an exhibit the Haggard-themed room from the home of GoH Jane Frank and her husband, Howard.

The Franks’ admiration for H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, She and his other lost world stories inspired them to design a room in their house to showcase specifically commissioned art based on Haggard’s work. Decorated in Victorian-era furnishings, the Haggard Room displays thematic art by Michael Whelan, Don Maitz, and Bob Eggleton, Gary Ruddell, Donato Giancola, Ian Miller, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Richard Bober, and Steve Hickman.

Chicon’s exhibit will be the most opulent room recreation ever presented by a Worldcon, a real peek into how “the other half lives” when you consider what has gone before.

Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon in Montreal, used large graphic photos to reproduce the apartment of its Fan GoH Taral Wayne, the visuals as intricately detailed as a Taral fanzine cover because of all the collections on display.

Entry to Taral's apartment at Anticipation.

Collections on display in Taral's apartment at 2009 Worldcon.

Previously, Chicon 2000 decorated its Fan Lounge to resemble the living room of a typical Chicago fan in the ‘80s, furnished with an ill-assorted bunch of old couches, lamps and end tables. One couch was occupied by two crash-test dummies dressed as Neil Rest and Phyllis Eisenstein – bearded “Neil” wearing sandals, jeans and a Windycon 7 t-shirt, and “Phyllis,” attired in black, a goth ahead of her time. Poor-fan’s bookcases made of boards and cinder blocks lined the perimeter of the room.

Roger Sims and Dave Kyle with “Neil” and “Phyllis” in the Chicon 2000 Fan Lounge.

These room recreations make innovative use of the exhibit space and have all been fun. I wonder if there been any others than the ones I remember?

Update 07/27/2012: Corrected identification of Chicon 2000 Fan Lounge crash-test dummy to Neil, per comment.

Art of the Fantastic Exhibit
Coming to Allentown

Star Wars by Jim Steranko

An ambitious showcase of contemporary fantastic art will run June 3-9 at the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley. Art at the Edge: Art of the Fantastic will feature works by James Gurney, Greg Hildebrandt, Paul Lehr, Jim Steranko and others.

The exhibition’s guest curators, Patrick and Jeannie Wilshire, fantastic art has been around since man has “been able to make meaningful marks on permanent materials.”  They go on to say that, “Ancient artwork is rife with narrative depictions of gods, monsters, shining deeds and things crawling from dark shadows.”

A press release asserts this “will not only be the most comprehensive exhibition of fantastic art to date, it will also be the first time that this discipline has been presented on such a large scale.”

I wonder if they’ll make good on that boast? This will have to be quite an event to surpass Alex and Phyllis Eisenstein’s Classics of Science Fiction Art at Chicago 2000, which presented works by Ed Emshwiller, Frank Kelly Freas, Edd Cartier, John Schoenherr, Ed Valigursky, Richard M. Powers, Mel Hunter, Wallace Wood, H. R. van Dongen, and others.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

More Feedback on Cornell

Steven H Silver organized the 2000 Worldcon as well as other convention programs. Here is his commentary on Paul Cornell’s initiative.

Steven H Silver: I’m aware of Paul’s idea and certainly have some opinions about it.  Not sure I can crunch complete numbers to give you anything specific, although I quickly ran the first few hours of Chicon 2000 Programming (because I have them on-line and the Windycon programs I’ve done aren’t as accessible) and came up with the following:

Of the first 35 Panels…

Men outnumbered women on panels by more than 2 on 8 panels
Women outnumbered men on panels by more than 2 on 6 panels
Perfect parity on 3 panels
Men outnumbered women by 1 on 6 panels
Women outnumbered men by 1 on 5 panels
The remaining items only had one person on them

My approach is to look at the people I have available as panelists, understand their strengths and weaknesses and assign them to panels where I think they have something to add to the topic and will be interesting.  I try to avoid using people to simply fill quotas since people’s skills and knowledge sets are not interchangeable.

I have real issues with people tampering with my programs because they (probably) don’t understand the personalities involved, the concepts behind the panels, and the reasoning given for including the people who are included.

Some panels, by their nature, are going to be heavily slanted towards male or female panelists. Others will be slanted because the panelist pool for the convention is limiting.  I’d love, for instance, to have a panel on women writers in the comic industry, but first I need a convention which provides me with enough women who write comics who will be in attendance.

Paul’s approach would certainly make me less likely to use someone who feels that they have the right to create a scene and mess with programming.  The proper approach would be to contact programming with concerns when the program is set up and open up a dialogue to, perhaps, understand why certain decisions were made, rather than issuing ultimatums.

I spend a lot of hours each time I create a programming schedule to try to get a good balance of people, by gender or interest or experience, depending on what any given panel topic is.  For a panelist to unilaterally change a panel indicates that the panelist doesn’t understand what goes on behind the scenes and seems to think that all panelists are created equally, which, if it were the case, would mean that we could simply toss names into a hat and pull them out at random to determine who should be on a panel.

If Paul were to attend a convention where I was running programming, I would most likely treat his request the same way I would treat a panelist’s request not be be put on a panel with Person A or schedule them for a panel before Noon.  It would be something to strive for, but I wouldn’t do it to the detriment of a panel.  If I had a great panel idea and Paul was a potential panelist and the other four panelists who fit the theme were also men, my choice would be to put together a panel of four without Paul or of all five and worry about Paul becoming a panelist vigilante.  In that case, I’d choose the four-person panel.  Paul wouldn’t have achieved parity for that particular panel and the attendees may find themselves with a slightly weaker panel in the process.