MediaWest Con 31 Report!
I had dinner at a Chinese buffet with two of my con buddies, Vivian and Linda. We did the traditional Thursday night "room crawl". There aren't as many hall dealers as there used to be in past years, but there are still a few good ones. :-) There are some good deals to be had if you're looking for used zines. Our waterloo was one of the jewelry dealers who sells gorgeous pieces with mostly opaque stones in sterling.
Friday morning started with breakfast in the hotel dining room. The hotel is newly remodeled, and the rooms and convention spaces looked really nice. The restaurant remodel is great--all done in shades of blue and white--but the service wasn't. It seemed like 99% of the staff had never worked in a restaurant before, and large groups frightened them. LOL That was a minor setback, though. The hotel staff were friendly and accommodating as they always are.
In the past, registration for the con was a two-hour event with a huge line, so we planned for that. Not sure how they've done it, but registration took all of a few minutes, so we hung out in the lobby and chatted and read our program books until the dealers' room opened at noon.
It was a smaller crowd this year (smaller being a relative term, since MW is still a big fan con--it's probably small in comparison to the big pro cons, but as cons by fans for fans go, it's a biggie). The moment the dealers' room door opened in the past used to be like festival seating at a rock concert, with a mad rush of bodies. This was a nicer pace, with a little more elbow room. :-) There was a nice selection of t-shirts, jewelry, fannish items, etc. There were some dealers missing, including a couple key ones who do tote bags, t-shirts, and other fannish items.
Panels started at one, and we had a two-hour block of Strachey panels from 1-3. Our turnout wasn't as big as I'd hoped, but that's a challenging time slot. Some people arrived late due to various weather and other delays, and some are still hanging out in the dealers' room. We had about six people, and some great discussion. Our first topic was what we thought the guys' childhoods were like. Most of us agreed that Timmy came from some level of wealth, had a great relationship with his mother, but we also discussed the "fracture" in the family regarding Kelly, and his parents' reactions to her rebellion and the tattoo. Donald's childhood was more of an open book that we could be swayed either way on, but most people felt he wasn't abused/neglected as a child, since he's so good with Timmy and treats him so well--we felt he learned how to love from someone, most likely a parent/grandparent.
The second panel was on why Timmy left the seminary. I'm not sure we exactly settled on a single answer, but the front runner seemed to be that he couldn't be who he was in the seminary, and that was probably what motivated him to leave. We didn't really resolve the question about why Donald says he was "kicked out", vs. him voluntarily leaving. Some speculated it was semantics.
Friday night, the slash vids showed for the first time. Slash vids are always shown after 9PM (not sure why, but apparently they're protecting the gen fans from hysterical blindness should they happen to stumble in by mistake...LOL). Anyhow, Angie's (Male Drzewo) song vids were a great representation for Strachey fandom, drew big applause, and the vid show lady even acknowledged that they generated a lot of interest last year, and this year, too. Later, some people I talked to mentioned how they'd seen the vids, and now were going to Amazon to get the movies. So, Angie, you go, girl!!
The zine was still being finished up as the con got rolling. We had a second panel Saturday evening, with similar turnout as the other panels. All I can figure is our panels weren't at optimal times, because they weren't quite as well attended as last year, but the interest in the fandom overall seems just as strong as ever, if not building.
The zine made its debut on Sunday, with the ladies at Light and Shadow Press assembling and binding in the dealers' room. Once the zine hit the tables, it started flying out of there as fast as they could put them together. The cover art is beautiful (cheers to Lorraine!), the interior art is gorgeous (kudos to Jean!), and the formatting and overall look is sharp and professional (bravo to Glow, Kelly, Kath, and company!). Out of 50 copies, there was only a small stack left, so while I don't know the exact number that sold, I know they sold well. I have two stories in the zine, and was excited to read Nyte's and Storyfan's contributions. They were both lovely--I expected nothing less. So our authors, artists, publishers, and vidder all did ourselves proud representing our fandom at the con!!
Our party was Sunday from 11AM to 1PM in the party suite. It was called "Brunch with the Strachey-Callahans", and we had fruit, cheese, sausage, little pastries, donut holes, chips and drinks while we watched "Ice Blues" on the widescreen TV. A few fans made donations to Chad's participation in the AIDS Lifecycle. We had about 15 people attending, and everyone enjoyed the movie. We gained a couple new fans from the party, too! I got buttons made up for the party (that nice shot of Donald and Timmy sitting outside, smiling). It was good to see Strachey fans wandering around with them on after the party!
The other notable moments on Sunday included a tornado warning (the sky turned dark gray, and apparently one hit nearby Eaton Rapids--we were in Lansing--and destroyed a house there). Some people lost power, and the hotel staff were suggesting guests take refuge in the service hall. Vivian and I decided that was a good time to hit the hotel dining room, since we wanted to make it to the Art Auction at 7 (the weather mayhem was around 5ish). So we scored a table in the interior part of the dining room away from the windows and watched the torrential rains and heavy winds from a safe distance. The auction was postponed an hour due to the weather.
Fortunately, it cleared up, and we didn't have to deal with any disasters at the hotel. I haven't said much about the art show--there are always some interesting pieces in the art show, including jewelry and other trinkets in addition to paintings, prints, etc. There were some beautiful Suzan Lovett pieces in S&H and Sentinel fandoms, and some great Hawaii 5-0 pieces. Unfortunately, no Strachey art in the show, and we were missing notable artists Lorraine Brevig (we missed you, Lorraine!) and Jesse McLain (I hope I spelled that right!). Still, the art auction is a great live show, and one of the con highlights. I got a necklace and a photo I'd bid on before the auction.
Monday morning, I did two panels from 10-noon, and they were fun. Around ten people showed up, and we meandered through a variety of topics including the importance of feedback to slash authors, what makes a show a "fandom" show, and then a whole bunch of miscellaneous things people wanted to talk about.
Monday afternoon, hung out with friends, had dinner at Finley's up the street from the hotel, and Vivian, Linda, and I watched Shock to the System in my room to top things off. Had breakfast Tuesday at Bob Evans, and bid farewell to another MW, and headed for home.
Anyway, that's how the con went. We are, I believe, officially, the "little fandom that could". ;-)