|LoneStarCon2 · The 55th World Science Fiction Convention · Saturday, August 30, 1997|
Friday Party Report
Still searching for the mother of all chilis, we began Friday night's party binge visiting our friends hosting Chicago in 2000. As usual, the party was hopping early; we're talking packed like jalapenos in a 3-alarm chili. We then checked out the third official NASFiC bid, the GreatAmeriCon (Santa Clara) bid party, featuring strawberries and cream. We got our chocolate fix at Conucopia's NASFiC 1999 bid party, savoring their richly decorated chocolate cake. We found our entertainment with CoyoteCon's four-piece band featuring the skillful strumming of folk banjo.
We caught DragonCon's slide show and continuing the dragon theme, enjoyed the display of stuffed dragons at the Pern party, which is where all good stuffed dragons go. By this time, some of us were pretty thirsty, which is a good thing, when toga-draped folks from the Empirecon Westercon bid provide thirsty partyhoppers with a Wading Pool full of the Texas national beer, Shiner. Our San Francisco in 2002 fans again outdid themselves in hospitality with a delightful gathering of friends who stopped by to pay respects to the Shrine of Rice-A-Roni.
Z'ha'dum in 2260 provided the night's biggest surprise. This mock bid party shattered our preconceptions of media fandom parties by offering a bid pastiche of party stickers, interstellar cuisine and costumed hosts. They featured Shadow Chili, Kosh Lorraine, Vorlon Sweetmeat, Breen-du Vorlon and Narn toes. Whew! We had to quench our thirst with Shadow Bock, they had so much food! We encountered Philly-Chili ice cream at Philadelphia's bid party. We cannot describe the conflicting sensations of ice cream burning our mouths. This party was child friendly, offering plastic dinos for the youngsters. (Great idea!) How far can you count? We stopped at 1,000 blue balloons which lined the ceiling in Boston's bid party, themed "20,000 Leagues Under Texas." They festooned the terrace with stringed lights and their signature silver and gold star ornaments, causing Kurt to remark, "This must have taken forever!" to which Kelly Persons replied, "All afternoon." Did we mention balloons?
So we were in a quandary. Who hosted the best party? We figured Boston offered an impressive space, classically themed and impeccably hosted (but of course). Z'ha'dum dazzled our senses (alien influence? Were we missing 8 minutes here?) with originality and panache. But there can be only one, and we're awarding it to Z'ha'dum. We understand, however, that Boston is "popping the cork" tonight. Hm....
Friday's Parties: In praise of Boston
I'll admit it: I didn't get to every party last night. But I went to Boston in 2001's, so why bother going anywhere else? They had it all: Ambiance, good food, and location.
The Philadelphia in 2001 party was the kind I would throw: kitchy dinosaurs everywhere, veggies, jelly beans, chocolate kisses, and of course, that great party-room-balcony and view. Later someone asked what was going on in the Philly party. I had to answer honestly: They were trying to get people to eat Habañero ice cream. Others were clearly braver than I.
The closed Tor party had a very fancy suite full of well-dressed writers, writer wanna-bes, and their friends. The food was largely depleted by the time I arrived, but had clearly been of a good quality.
The WesterCon party had excellent chocolate fondue. They were also serving Pan-galactic gargle blasters. In a curious turn of events they were actually carding people. Since many people do not carry wallets or purses around to parties, this proved a bit of a problem. We place part of the blame on the shoulders of LoneStarCon, since the badges do not have any indicator of age.
But Boston gets an A+. They had excellently decorated their suite with a ceiling full of blue and green helium-filled balloons. A few trios of balloons sported dangling fish. The lamps were covered in a light blue gauze rounding out their under-the-sea theme. And since all sea creatures gotta eat, there was real shrimp with cocktail sauce. But the highlight: the candy sushi. The idea is not new, but it is one I've never seen at a con, and was carried off spectacularly. They turned marshmallows into rice, green frosting into wasabi, and fruit roll-ups into seaweed. The amazing part was that it tasted as good as it looked. Well done, Boston.
John Hertz Scours the Convention Center
Friday afternoon. Aiee, I failed to show up for a panel. Rubbing in the irony, it was "Making Connections". My back-badge schedule said FR 1300, which I misread as FRI 300, and when I looked for my panel at 3 PM it was Too Late. When David Feintuch, reported to be ill, didn't show up for the Fantasy Debate, "Resolved, that Tolkien inhibited the development of modern fantasy," Lynn Abbey, who had thought she was the moderator, and Tim Powers, who wasn't sure which side he was on, had to share three roles between them. Powers said Tolkien was too good; people tend to jump on bandwagons anyway, and a well-built one with bright paint was blamefully attractive. Abbey said Tolkien made the field. After twenty minutes, they switched sides. A fan in the audience said "Do you really believe Tolkien corrupted modern fantasy?" Powers said "No, that was the first half. Now she believes..." Afterwards, in the Fanzine Lounge, I had the pleasure of introducing Laura Resnick to Ed Meskys. Laura's father Mike used to write for Ed's fanzine Niekas. Benoit Girard comforted me about the panel I missed by saying how well it went without me. Thanks a lot.
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