Alexander Film Works

A NASFiC For Detroit…

In activity, no excuses on July 30, 2014 at 10:06 pm

The 17th through the 20th of this past month, at the Marriott Renaissance Center Hotel in the Renaissance Center on the Detroit riverfront, Detroit fandom hosted the North American Science Fiction Convention, held when the World Science Fiction Convention is out of the North American region.

This is a big thing for Detroit, since the last time we hosted a Worldcon here was Detention, the 1959 Worldcon.

Detroit had to bid against several other cities to host a NASFiC, with less than the usual two years lead time, since London, England had won the bid to host the 2014 Worldcon two years ago.

In my opinion, the all-volunteer committee (and I can’t emphasize that strongly enough – EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE IS A VOLUNTEER) did a splendid job putting on the con.

Early on, I had volunteered to be on programming, and I was selected to do five panels, based on my responses to questions about my interests and knowledge… I was on a panel discussion about the differences between traditional paper fanzines, APAs (Amateur Press Associations), electronic media (such as LiveJournal) and blogging.  Another panel I was on discussed the problems and opportunities of adapting a book into a movie… and two panels listed as “Iron Costumer: Doll Edition”, where participants, with the help and advice of myself and another costumer, took an 11 ½ inch fashion doll, a pile of materials, paint, and a glue gun, and spent 90 minutes fashioning their own doll dress.

There was also the opportunity to costume up for the four days of the convention, and we did so… we were “The Duke and the Duchess of the D”, we got to be official greeters for the convention, and Megan won a Hall Costume award. She was so pleased…

Megan Bouchard as "Poppy Sunshine"

Megan Bouchard as “Poppy Sunshine”

Megan Bouchard as "The Duchess of the  D"

Megan Bouchard as “The Duchess of the
D”

Alexander Bouchard as "The Duke of the D"

Alexander Bouchard as “The Duke of the D”

Megan wins a Hall Costume award

Megan wins a Hall Costume award

Like most cons Megan and I have been to over the years, things did not go perfectly…  The hotel situation wasn’t the best, since the Marriott (previously the Westin) is something of a labyrinth, and the elevators are split into two banks, the low rise (up to the 40th) and high rise (40th to the 70th), and many people got confused by it.   The elevators had a recorded voice saying that a hotel keycard was needed to stop at any of the room floors, but the key card readers did not all work.  This was a problem all weekend.

The parking situation (the Port Atwater Garage and the Beaubien Place Garage) were slightly inconvenient, moderately expensive, but better than the alternatives (such as parking at the Greektown Casino parking structure and taking the People Mover back).  The convention managed to negotiate a discount for these two garages that reduced the cost by about half of the all-day rate, which helped considerably.

The con suite (a 24-hour hospitality suite, for those who’ve never seen one) was not as convenient as we would have liked, being on the 69th floor.  It was well-stocked the few times I was there, but didn’t have much that I could eat.  (Being allergic to almost everything is definitely a pain.)  On the other hand, being a program participant, I had access to the Green Room, on the main program floor.  The problem they had was that they only had hot drinks… no cold drinks, no snacks.  I’m told that was deliberate, so guests would not “hide out” in the Green Room.

All things considered, I think Detcon 1, the 2014 NASFiC, went off quite well, and proved a credit to Detroit fandom.

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