Friday, December 16, 2011

Highlights of LosCon 38, November 25th to 27th, 2011

LosCon is a science fiction convention put on by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS). We started going to it back when it was held in Burbank (it is now held at the LAX Marriott) and it is probably our favorite local convention.

Please accept this review as opinion rather than fact. Your mileage may vary. You may be holding another part of the elephant.

Friday the 25th:

The Convention Hotel had the usual parking problems, but the room contained a phone book and a hotel guide and a mini-fridge. The Convention packet also contained a map of nearby restaurants, shops, and urgent care facilities. This was great!

Programming and Diversions:

"Feynman, the Graphic Novel":  The artist Leland Myrick talked about doing the artwork for the biography. (Jim Ottaviani wrote it, and Hilary Sycamore colored it). I am looking forward to reading the graphic novel, and I'm told it contains a good explanation of the QED theory.

It is always a pleasure to go to panels given by Carole Parker.  She is a costumer and fabric experimenter whose enthusiasm is catching. Grout resist? I've got to try that.

The panel "The Wonderful Future That Never Was" was given by Greg Benford and John Herz. They discussed the book of the same name which contains excerpts of Popular Mechanic's articles from the past. Very appropriate, as the theme of this years convention is "Where's My Flying Car?"

Saturday, November 25th

The panel "Hair, There, and Everywhere" presented by noted costumers Arabella Benson and Kate Morgenstern had a lot of good information, including "If you have a large head and are having trouble finding a wig that fits, try going to a shop that caters to transvestites." ( Men, on the average, have bigger heads than women.)

 "A Conversation With Louis Charbonneau" had the author being interviewed by Nick Smith. From the 50's through the 90's Louis Charbonneau wrote numerous books and the stories for two Outer Limits episodes.

David Gerrold's Auction to benefit Aids research is addicting.  If David Gerrold hadn't become a writer, he would have made a great auctioneer. I think he could sell snow to eskimos, and I know he can sell books to people who already have too many of them, because I bought some.

 I enjoyed the music of Marilyn Miller, Allison Lonsdale, and Eben Brooks.

Sharon King's presented "Unusual Behavior in Household Appliances". In doing further research I found out she also participates in the International Association for the Fantastic in The Arts. (IAFA) Conference. This is a serious convention with academics presenting serious papers on subjects like "The Decomposition of the Contemporary Family: Zombie's Role in the Transmogrification of the Nuclear Family." Wonders never cease.

At 8pm there was the traditional Masquerade, with fantastic intermission music by Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff, followed by room parties.

Sunday, November 27th

I attended "Making Your Art Work: The Right Medium for the Right Job" with panelists Dr. Laura Brodian Freas, and Julie Sczesny. We had a field trip to the Art Show and Ellen Shipley showed us her wonderful woodblocks and talked a little bit about the process of making them.

"Costuming Techniques" with several panelists. They discussed the do's and don'ts of presenting your costume on the stage with much practical advice.

Some unusual aspects of this convention.

The bad: The Con Suite: There wasn't one.  The Con Suite had been a large room where you could pop in and grab a soda or just sit and talk to people. I found out later that not enough people had reserved a room at the convention rate so the hotel did not want to provide the space. The Convention would have had to pay the hotel a $7,000 penalty because they had fewer rooms at the convention rate than contracted for, but they compromised by buying $5,000 worth of food from the hotel, which was served at an undisclosed time and location. Apparently a lot of people booked rooms online or through the 800 number at a lower rate than the "special" convention rate.  I also suspect some people also decided to stay at other hotels in the area because of the perennial "no parking" problem at the LAX Marriott on Thanksgiving weekend.

The Newsletter: "The Cartouche" had a weird distribution schedule.  The explanation given for it was that the printing service wasn't available.

The good: The Maker Room featured a wide variety of exhibits and demonstrations on subjects from cheesemaking to rocket making.

I've been trying to filk "A Con With No Suite" from Tom T. Hall's "The Bar With No Beer" (filking is to write new words for old songs - usually with science fiction or fantasy themes)

The Con With No Suite

There's lots to do at LosCon: shop, party, and play
But it's nice to relax and have breaks through the day
When you're thirsty and want to get off of your feet 
It's a blow when you find it's a Con with no Suite.

Forget hotels restaurants - you'll need a big loan
And you've left all the turkey and leftovers home  
And you don't want a lot, just a coke and a seat
But there is no such place at a Con with no Suite

There's a Green Room with snacks where the VIPs roam
And the volunteers, smofs, and staff all have homes
But the regular fan has nowhere to retreat
When he's attending a Con that's a Con with no Suite.

You can go to the lobby and freak out mundanes,
Get a $5 latte from 'Bucks for your pains
But there's no place to rest and get something to eat
When you're at a convention that has no Con Suite.

Now our hotel room's restful, but just has two seats
And there's parties at night if we just wanted treats
For main meals a Denny's is just down the street
But between tracks we're stuck in a Con with no Suite

If I'd known 'bout the hotel room quota in time
I wouldn't have booked my own room through Priceline 
I enjoyed the convention, but it seemed incomplete 
Because this year at LosCon they had a Gone Suite. 

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