Monday, August 11, 2014

Winkie Convention Report... The Con Itself...

Once hubby-Eric and I had washed off the saltwater and sand and gotten dressed again, we went to find the convention registration. The Town and Country Resort in San Diego is big, but the area for the convention was limited to a fairly small chunk of it. We were able to find registration without too much difficulty and signed in.

Before we had a chance to breathe, Eric was told he was needed for this and for that and he ended up setting up for the first hour or so. At some point we got lunch, overpriced sandwiches at the deli, and then I spent pretty much the rest of the day at the Swap Shop, which was also the research table (writing and art show).

I have to say that it was a really disappointing way to start the convention. I don't much like sitting in a room with no one else for several hours. Although people visited with some regularity to check out the swap and the art show, I felt trapped and lonely. Worse, I ended up with the same job the next day. It was unpleasant. I missed just about every panel for the entire convention.

Now, I'm not a huge Oz fan, but I did want to see a couple of things. In particular, there was a panel in which Kurt Raymond turned himself into the Wicked Witch, and I wanted to see it. But I was a room guard the entire time. This will have to change for next year. Fortunately, there is no swap table run by my husband next year, nor will he be involved in the research table, so hopefully those duties won't fall to me.

At 5 p.m. I was freed from the room to go to the opening reception. There was food and people chatting with one another and generally a good time. There were also Morris dancers, which was strange but fun. The Doctor Who fans among the crowd (there are a lot, many fans love both Oz and Who) were joking about being reminded of "The Daemons" and a particularly memorable scene with sinister Morris dancers. I, personally, think that any style of dancing that involves hitting with sticks is pretty neat.

One of our friends, Eduard, didn't have a ticket for the meal. I hunted down the chair and asked if that had supposed to happen. David (the chair) immediately came over and gave him a ticket. Eduard was playing The Shaggy Man in the play on Saturday night, and certainly was enough of a member of the convention to be fed in the opening reception!

I was able to sit in the back of the evening program with my computer and write up the entire con report for the day. I also started to put together the paper version that would be published and distributed around the convention Saturday morning. The job was not tough: I generally write a LOT more in a day than I did at the convention. But I was distracted by the program itself, which I was enjoying (particularly Kurt Raymond's Q&A session as the Wicked Witch).

I had limited internet connectivity in the ballroom and was able to post the blog about the travel day from the room. But mostly I didn't have a connection, which was annoying. WiFi is almost as important in a hotel now as water service, and more appreciated by many.

Eric and I didn't even try to stick around for the afterparty. I was still in pain from the kayak trip and needed to send out the first con report to newsletter subscribers. We headed up to the room where I finalized the con report and sent it out. Then to bed, and the first day of the convention was over.

Saturday for us started with a run to get breakfast then back to the room to get dressed for the costume contest. I had forgotten I was dressing up. I became the Rose Princess Ozga in a very simple costume, basically a hat and a long dress. I did some posing and sweated heavily in the bright San Diego morning. A reporter asked me some questions which I answered almost too frankly (I was quoted, correctly, in the ensuing article, second page). After the show itself, I couldn't wait to get out of the dress because it was so hot. I had a pink shirt and knit pants on underneath, and so I told anyone who asked that I was Ozga in casual clothes.

I met a very nice couple dressed as Aunt Em and Uncle Henry and chatted with them a bit. They were fun and interesting and had lots to say. I later learned that they were Bjo and John Trimble, of Star Trek fandom fame. I got to talk with Bjo a couple of other times during the con. She's one sharp lady.

After the costume contest I was cruelly locked up in the Swap Shop room again for many hours. Any time anyone walked in I asked them about the panels they'd been to and what they thought of the con so far. I had to do something to be able to write the con report.

Eric brought me lunch, and gave me a chance to go down to the dealers room, but overall I was stuck in that room for entirely too long. I wanted to go swimming in one of the resorts three pools. I wanted to attend some panels. I wanted to see the Judy Garland costumes. Instead I sat in a room doing my best to get rid of everything left on the swap table. By the end of the day it was all pretty much gone.

The room again closed at 5 p.m. and I again shot out of there like an animal freed from a cage. The evening banquet was pleasant, with about 140 people eating. Eric and I got seats at a table that had some sunlight from the only outside doors in the room shining on it. A couple of folks across the table from us were getting sunlight in their eyes, so I quietly asked one of the servers if anything could be done to help them. A short while later one of the staff brought out a tablecloth and put it over the door that was letting the light in, sparing our friends' eyes from more sunlight and allowing them to see everyone else around the table. We applauded.

The winners of the various contests were announced at the banquet, and I wrote them down like a good reporter for the newsletter. I confess that I didn't do as thorough a job as I would have for my newspaper. If I was writing professionally, I would have taken notes on the entire ceremony. As it was, I still managed to catch quite a bit.

After the dinner it was time for the play. I got down there and asked if I could again set up my computer and hide in a corner. The director and Eric Shanower allowed it. I had far from the best seat in the house, but frankly I enjoyed my spot a lot. During the slow portions of the play, which there were a couple, I wrote up the day's report. However, I was totally into the play, so I didn't get nearly as much writing done as I had hoped.

Let me take a moment to tell you about The Tik-Tok Man of Oz. The 100-year-old play was funed by a Kickstarter campaign and only staged once, at Winkie Con this year. It was, how shall we say it, a very limited one-off event. It was also incredibly good. While the plot was pathetic, the music, which is what the whole thing was really about preserving and presenting, was fantastic. There were 25 musical numbers interspersed with some talking. The puns were lovely. The performances were glowing. In short, it was excellent. I'm glad I saw it.

Again, we were too tired after the show to go to the party, so we headed back to the room where I blogged about the kayak trip, sent out the newsletter, then went to bed. be concluded...