By Jacq Monahan: From April 20-22, the fannish faithful flocked to Southern Nevada for the 29th annual Corflu gathering that’s all about fanzines and fen. Naturally, the close proximity to Las Vegas bestowed a fitting surname of Glitter upon this Corflu, nestled in the desert, but by no means “dry.”
Chaired by Joyce Katz, High Priestess of Fandom, Corflu Glitter featured a cast of dedicated con-spirators including THE Arnie Katz, James Taylor, Teresa Cochran Taylor, Andy Hooper, Ted White, Art Widner, Earl Kemp, Shelby Vick, Claire Brialey and official photographer Gary Mattingly, among others.
Starting off with a Vegrants Pre-Con Kick-off party on Thursday night, the relaxacon offered two consuites (on floors 4 and 6) that catered to both smoker and non-smoker. British and American accents mingled like smoke anyway, no matter where you ventured, but each suite was well-stocked with comestibles and libations to please any number of nations, in this case the U.S., the UK, and Canada.
Opening and closing ceremonies, all panels, a fan fund auction, the banquet and subsequent FAAN awards were held in the second floor Sunset Room, so Corflu Glitter basically took place on the lower even floors (2-4-6) of Sunset Station. Not that that’s odd or anything.
Friday featured a nature walk around part of Lake Mead (led by Ken Forman) panels on Fan Funds, Vegas Fandom Memories, and a Las Vegas Fandom Reunion which took place that evening, with erstwhile fans like Greg Dees and Paul Gardner popping up to surprise the crowd.
Saturday’s events included a fan fund auction to benefit Corflu, TAFF, DUFF, and Corflu 50. TAFF netted nearly $200 from the sale of an eclectic group of items like trip reports, a Spock liquor decanter and a plush dust mite. Yes, I said dust mite. Hey, equal time for vermin; they are the more intricate shapes to stuff, anyway. The little critter went for $5.
A Trufandom 2020 panel and a Conversation with Shelby Vick (Corflu 50 winner) led attendees right into the World Fan Trivia Championship (Sandra Bond and John D. Berry creators), before the place broke out into a New York Fandom Reunion Open Party. Yes, there was deli.
Nic Farey, along with his wife Bobbie, hosted a roomful of usual suspects that featured a phalanx of fans all wearing Beam T-shirts and looking as if they’d imbibed on the product (both liquid and literary). The 10th floor room was the site of a British Invasion that featured Mark Plummer on keyboards and Nic Farey on vocals. A video of this performance exists somewhere, its owner waiting for just the right time to request a “donation” NOT to release it to the public.
Sunday featured the brunch banquet (Chris Marble made off with a bag of bacon) and FAAN Awards in the Sunset Room, where Earl Kemp and Shelby Vick received Lifetime Achievement Awards. Dan Steffan, hosting Corflu XXX next year in Portland, provided the artwork. Previous winners (2010) were Ted White and Art Widner, both present, and both ageless. Robert Lichtman (attending virtually) and Art Widner (in the flesh) received Honorary Vegrant status, and the two are now allowed to leave dirty dishes in the Katz’s sink every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month.
Other FAAN awards went to Mark Plummer (Best Fan Writer) Steve Stiles (Best Fan Artist) Banana Wings (Best Genzine) A Meara for Observers (Best Perzine). The Harry Warner Jr. Memorial Award went to Robert Lichtman. Bill Burns has stopped counting his FAAN awards for Best Fan Website, but flew back to Long Island, NY toting yet another framed accolade. He’ll have to start nailing them to the floor soon; all available wall space has since been consumed.
The Corflu tee-shirt featured artwork by Ross Chamberlain and demand was so popular that the product nearly sold out, except for Small and Medium sizes. Who could wear those with such constant consuite cornucopias of sweet, salty and savory treats available? The same image adorned the Program and depicted a beanie-with-propeller-wearing fairy. Even California resident and virtual attendee Robert Lichtman e-mailed his admiration and desire for the tee.
On Sunday evening a Corflu Sunsplash reunion photo was taken with attendees filling up a room in the smoking consuite to reminisce about a much more humid Corflu that took place back in 1999. That’s so last century of them.
The Final Revel commenced at 7:00 Sunday evening and continued from the p.m. to the a.m., as attendees spent a last night together before returning to homes that ranged from a few miles away, to several thousand.
And so, all eyes turn from the parched desert and neon landscapes of Las Vegas to the rain-drenched greenery of the Pacific Northwest for Corflu XXX in Portland (2013). It will be the thirtieth time that the usual suspects have assembled, none of them showing any signs of settling down.
Corflu, after all, has always been the little convention that could, and did, and still does, literally speaking volumes (of fanzines) wherever it might land on the planet.
Photos by Gary Mattingly: