Hertz: Bjo Eggs Us On

Bill Rotsler and Paul Turner at Westercon XIX in 1966. Photo by Len Moffatt.

Bill Rotsler and Paul Turner at Westercon XIX in 1966. Photo by Len Moffatt.

By John Hertz: Bjo Trimble has been inspiring us all for a while.

The way to write her name, incidentally, sometimes doesn’t get through the dark glass of software. A circumflex “^” goes over the “j”, being an Esperantism to show one says “Bee-joe”.

She knows so much and can do so much, and has, that she’s hard to describe briefly. You can look up her early days, and her husband John Trimble’s, in Harry Warner’s book A Wealth of Fable.

She won’t take credit for inventing s-f con Art Shows, but she earned it. She did a lot for Star Trek, the Society for Creative Anachronism, her and my local club the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, Flesh Gordon (yes, I meant to spell it that way), and fanzines, being herself a leading fanartist, and a fine fanwriter as you’ll see in a moment.

The earliest recipient of the Big Heart Award alive, she’s been dyeing for years. She was Fan Guest of Honor at the 6th NASFiC; she and John were conjoint Fan Guests of Honor at the 60th Worldcon. At the 17th Worldcon she moderated the most remarkable panel discussion in Worldcon history, which started Sunday night, still had sixty people at two in the morning, and ran till 4:30 a.m. We’ll have a NASFiC in the same town this summer.

You may have heard of the Harlan Ellison – Bill Rotsler Egg Adventure at Westercon XIX in 1966. I mentioned it myself in File 770 136. She set the record straight with a letter of comment in De Profundis 493.

In the interests of art as well as science, we thought we’d answer this one question: How do you draw a smiley-face on a fried egg? Since we were at that breakfast, mainly because it’s always entertaining to share a meal with Harlan, we can verify this.

First, you have to get said fried egg to a totally solid state. That’s why Harlan didn’t want to eat it. Rotsler always carried felt-nib pens for quick-draw. While Harlan was raising a fuss with a waiter who obviously didn’t give a damn who Harlan was, or why he was yelling about an egg, Rotsler pulled the plate with the offending egg to himself and quickly drew the face. Then Bill silently slid the egg back in front of Harlan.

When others at the table saw the egg, there was general hilarity, which of course enraged Harlan even more. The waiter looked down at the enhanced egg, did not smile, and walked away, causing another explosion from Harlan. Then he saw the egg, glared at Rotsler who looked back as if he had no idea about all this, and Harlan decided it was funny.

John and I were running that Westercon Art Show, so we should not have been surprised when Rotsler walked in with the egg still on its plate, and registered it as an entry in the Art Show. It was displayed, with a bid sheet. Then some upper-level hotel staff member saw it and demanded that it be removed. We showed him the art paperwork that made it a legit art object, and he stalked off.

Another, higher-level hotel person showed up to demand that the egg be removed “for health reasons”. John pointed out that the egg was so ossified that it had passed beyond food into fossil, and qualified for exhibition. The Art Show was ignored by the hotel after that, except by the hotel housekeeper in charge of that room, who wanted to know if she should dust the egg or not.

The egg sold to someone, but I believe we had to find a paper plate for it as the hotel threatened to charge the convention an outrageous sum for their “valuable” plate. They didn’t want to break up the set.

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One thought on “Hertz: Bjo Eggs Us On

  1. I like the egg story. Mention of Bjo reminds me of that old faannish spiritual:

    “Were you there when I published my fanzine? (Were you there?)
    Were you there when I published my fanzine? (Were you there?)
    Sometimes a LoC from Bjo Trimble. (Trimble.)
    Were you there when I published my fanzine? (Were you there?)

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