Alexander Film Works

Posts Tagged ‘science fiction convention’

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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Weekend R & R

In Just Because... on January 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm

For the two of us, in most years, January means ConFusion.  This science fiction convention, a joint venture between the Ann Arbor Science Fiction Association (AASFA) and the Stilyagi Air Corps, has been held for over thirty years now, most recently in the Troy Marriott hotel, on Big Beaver Road (also known as 16 Mile Road) just east of Interstate 75.

We hadn’t been for a couple of years, because of the issues we’d been going through with Megan’s mom dying, the brothers and stepbrothers causing different problems, and others in our lives becoming leading contenders for the Richard Cranium Awards.

With these issues (somewhat) resolved, we went to this year’s convention, named “Epic Confusion”, hoping just to have a reasonably good time.

We did.

We saw people we hadn’t seen in a couple of years, saw the widow of our dear friend Mike Glicksohn (if you know Mike, you’re the poorer for his death; if you didn’t know him, you’re the poorer for not having met him), and discussed the way things are going, have gone, and may go in future.

We also saw new and different stuff that we thought was cool, and would be good for costuming uses.  (Trust me, this is never far away from the top of our consciousness.)

It’s good to hang with people who understand you, and whom you understand, every so often.  Unfortunately, the other large convention here in the Detroit area, ConClave, is having hotel problems, and will be taking a one-year hiatus, according to the convention committee.  The thing is, science fiction fandom has a notoriously short memory, and a con that skips a year may not be able to regain their past momentum.

The absence of ConClave would leave only Penguicon (a science-fiction convention/Linux user group gathering), Youmacon (a dedicated anime and manga convention – Japanese comics and animated cartoon movies), the World Steam Expo (a convention for those who try to make Victorian and Edwardian science fiction), and Motor City Comic Con (dedicated to the entire spectrum of comic art, from mainstream comic books, to “graphic novels”, to webcomics) as companions to ConFusion as a gathering point for people whose interests run outside the everyday.

Personally, I think this would be a shame, but things do change, and it would be foolish not to recognize that.

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