Saturday, October 10, 2009
Reno in 2011!
Reno is hosting the World Science Fiction Convention in 2011, and this weekend the bid committee flew in to look at the facilities and generally get a feel for the place. My friend Arthur Chenin invited me to a planning meeting this afternoon and a party this evening.
I felt a little out of place at the planning meeting, since I don't generally attend cons with large gaming, costuming and media elements. This WorldCon will also have an academic track, though, and that should be interesting, not to mention the fact that Gary and I look forward to catching up with many out-of-town friends. (Inez and Claire, we're holding spaces for you at Chez Palwick-Meyer. We're so glad neither of you is allergic to cats!) A lot of my students will be interested in the gaming and media events; unfortunately, WorldCon registration is expensive, and I don't know yet what the day rates will be. Someone tossed out the figure of $50, which is still a lot on a student budget. But I think maybe volunteers get discounts? At some cons they do, anyway. I need to ask about that.
I also just have to say that the Atlantis, one of the two main convention hotels -- and the one where we met today -- is already one of the most surreal spots on earth, even without costumed SF fans wandering around. I find all casinos jarring, with their chaotic color schemes and constant noise and blinking lights. Add an underwater/vaguely Caribbean theme and things get even stranger: a sushi bar plunked down in the middle of a bunch of slot machines; fake thatched huts which, from one floor up, look like segments of a sandworm, or possibly giant hairballs; a bunch of potted plants with a lifesized plastic lion lolling underneath them. I never knew lions were aquatic. Maybe the lion's responsible for the hairballs? Upstairs, in the suite where the party was held, I was very puzzled by strange, vaguely phallic projections on the arms of the chairs, until I viewed them from another angle and realized they were dolphins. (And I wasn't even drinking!)
The party was a lot of fun, with good company and nice snacks, including an excellent batch of cookies Gary baked this afternoon. I was especially moved by learning that someone on the committee reads my blog regularly and used to live near Hopewell Junction; she said she'd been hoping to meet Dad so they could talk about HJ, and told me how sorry she was that he'd died.
Also, at the planning meeting I sat in front of a dapper fellow named Ben who wore a bow tie and looked awfully familiar. I kept thinking, "Is that Ben Yalow? It can't be. I remember Ben Yalow from my first Star Trek Convention in New York City in 1973."
He introduced himself at the party. He remembered me from when I lived in New York, although probably from my post-college days in the 80s. It was indeed Ben Yalow.
Wow. This is what's amazing about the science-fiction community: you can go to a party across the continent from where you grew up and run into someone you first encountered when you were twelve, and furthermore, you have a bunch of other people in common. Someone else at the party, a woman I met years ago -- in 1992 or thereabouts -- recently stayed with some old SF friends of mine, and gave me an update on them and their kids.
So I'm now a fully registered member of the convention, and hope to get to be on some programming. I'm sure I'll be reporting here periodically. Hard to believe that it's almost two years away!
In fiddle news, I've now sounded out credible versions of "Good King Wenceslas" and "All Creatures of Our God and King," although I have a lot of practicing to do to make them sound decent.