Saturday, August 01, 2015

Winkie Newsletter Convention Report - Day One

I'm going to just cut and paste the newsletter as I sent it to subscribers late last night. But I'm going to put the whole thing behind the cut. Enjoy!

Winkie Newsletter Supplement - Con Report One, 2015
439 e-mail subscribers, 7 by regular post

Notes for con-goers...

1) Saturday programming will start in the courtyard at 9:30 a.m. with another round of People Bingo!

2) Saturday's 3:15 autograph session has been canceled.

3) Saturday night's 8 p.m. program will start with Emma Ridley, who will be on stage until 8:45 p.m. The reunion will start at 9 p.m. instead of 9:15. The after-party will start at 10:15 p.m.

4) The Oogaboo room (aka Clarendon) has several games available, including the brand new Munchkin Oz game, courtesy of Steve Jackson Games (It's debuting here and at Gen Con this weekend). People are welcome to stop by and play a few rounds.

5) Head to Brittany on Saturday for the Oz Screening Room.

Whew. What a Friday!

The convention started promptly at 9:30-ish in the a.m. with the meet and greet in the courtyard. A number of people enjoyed playing People Bingo (I could only sign two squares on the Friday board, and one of them I wasn't 100% sure about). As usual, the game led some people to deep discussions, while other people ran around getting as many signatures as possible.

After the meet and greet, people streamed into the main ballroom for the welcoming ceremony. Our mighty panel of J.L. Bell, Con Chair Freddy Fogarty, David Maxine and Eric Shanower gave attendees an overview of the schedule and other events.

At 11 a.m. people streamed out of the ballroom and into the multi-track programming including panels on the Scarecrow, the Royal Podcast of Oz and stained glass Oz. From there, the rest of the day until 5 p.m. was full of different panels, screenings and autograph sessions with Justin Case and Emma Ridley.

A highlight of the afternoon was a screening of Return to Oz for anyone who hadn't seen the movie in awhile, however, many panels got good attendance and attention, including the panel featuring Justin Case (who played the Scarecrow in Return to Oz) and a later panel on Ozma featuring Emma Ridley (who played Ozma in Return to Oz).

The dealers room was open from noon until after 5:30 p.m. and featured a lot of art and vendors. If you haven't checked it out, make sure to look at the Oz books, art, card deck and the awesome stuffed animal puppets.

The OzCon Reception and Jinxland Bonfire Cookout was held at 5 p.m., starting with the Morris Dancers of Oz hitting sticks together and jingling a lot. Then everyone enjoyed too much food and good conversation together. The meal was hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad, and gigantic chocolate chip cookies.

After dinner people had a couple of hours to relax before the night's programming began. Some folks headed to rooms to take a quick nap, some folks hung out chatting with others... in short, it was a nice break.

At 8 p.m. Freddy got up in front of most of the con attendees to thank everyone for coming and explain that being the chair of the con was a lifelong dream come true. He also said he's had his fill of it and doesn't plan to be the chair again. He also gave thanks to the various folks who helped him run the convention.

He then introduced Justin Case, who got up to talk about getting cast as the Scarecrow and what filming was like. He answered a few questions and talked about promotion for the film. He played a slideshow of photos from the filming that were pretty neat and nicely behind the scenes.

Next up was a chat between David Maxine and Joan Vinge (author of the novelization of Return to Oz as well as a pile of award-winning books). She talked about what it was like writing novelizations instead of original work and some stories related to the writing of the book. It was a well-conducted interview and everyone enjoyed it.

The audience took a nice break to get water, walk around... then we were called back for "It's the Baum", the Oz-some Oz Game Show. But before we started, we got news that Steve Koontz, who had originally planned to be at Winkies but instead was sent to Gen Con by his company, Roll20. Apparently his company won an award and he was there to accept. So that's two links between Winkies and Gen Con this year.

"It's the Baum" put the Skeezers (Judy Bieber, Susan Hall, Karyl Carlson and Susan Johnson) up against the Flatheads (Colin Ayres, Atticus Gannaway, Miriam Goldman and John Bell). The Skeezers got off to a slow start, getting only a single point in the opening round (with Susan Hall answering "Justin Bieber" at one point instead of "Justin Schiller" (founder of the Oz Club) to Judy Bieber's clues). The Flatheads quickly took a lead and managed to hold onto it, going into the final round with a 9-5 lead. The teams went into the L. Frank Boom Explosion Round with the Skeezers trailing by eight points. Because they only made up one point in the final round, they conceded to the Flatheads and the game ended at 10:15 p.m.

At a complaint from someone on the Skeezer team that the questions were too hard, you could hear a voice, "What? You're at an OZ CON!"

The final speech was from Atticus Gannaway, who presented the story of the Scarecrow. As Atticus read about the creation of the Scarecrow, Eric Shanower drew a Scarecrow on the stage. Atticus also went into the history of the scarecrows, including at least one illustration that wasn't something children should see (a survey of ancient scarecrows included Priapus), so it was good the presentation didn't start until well after all the families had put the little ones to bed.

The entire crowd then dispersed to the elevators in the Regency Tower to head up to the after-party on the ninth floor. At the after party, the Oogaboos got out the dominoes, Sam got out Tim Tams he'd brought from Australia (ye editor tried Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Red Velvet... there was also peanut butter, coconut cream, choc raspberry, chewy caramel, white chocolate, double coat, original and maybe a few that were devoured before ye editor got there) and everyone chatted and had a good time.

Ye editor did not stay for long, though, because she still plans to get up tomorrow. So off to bed she went, first sending out this wonderful newsletter to all the adoring Oz fans.

****BOOK SALE****

If you are at the convention, please be sure to check out the Oz Club store in the Galleria to find deeply discounted books and attractive membership promotions. The Galleria is upstairs from the courtyard and features the Oz Club rooms, the craft room, and some programming. Don't miss this sale... it may be the last time to get some of these Oz Club publications.

****OZ Con 2016 Tickets on Sale NOW****

Come to the Oogaboo room to get your tickets for Winkie Con next year! Checks or cash are easily accepted, credit cards will be accepted if the equipment behaves. Tickets are $50 for a three-day pass for adults and $25 for a three-day pass for children. Prices will rise starting Monday, so don't delay!

Next year's convention will be held July 15-17 in Portland, Oregon.