Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday, WisCon 33

Friday May. 22nd, 2009

I thought I'd have plenty of time to blog in the evening, but last night I got busy sorting out things I'd need for today's events and today I've spent the time getting ready for this evening's events :-)

For lunch I wandered down State St and got a Gyro from Parthenon Gyros, It was excellent, but HUGE! Now I'm ready for a nap ;-) BUT, nap I can't because I've got plenty to do to prepare for tonight's opening ceremonies (I'm participating in a skit) and the Broad Universe reading at 10:30 pm. After that, I'll be ready to crash, I'm sure.

After lunch, attended the first event of the convention, The Gathering. I'm sure I'm not going to do it much justice in my description, but it's such a fun thing that I've got to try.

Basically the convention takes over two ballrooms of the hotel and throughout this large "room" they have stations where different events are happening. For example, at one station someone was doing face painting, at another someone was doing tarot card readings, at another there was a book sale to benefit the convention. People were sitting around a table making necklaces for their namebadges, someone was giving an intro to shapenote singing, and members of the Interstitial Arts Foundation were serving up delicious cookies, coffee, and tea. There was much, much more, but those are the ones I saw and remember off the top of my head.

The big draw is the the clothing giveaway. Con-goers drop off cool clothing they no longer want and other con-goers rummage through them. It's like a rummage sale without exchanging money! I brought five pieces of clothing that I thought would appeal to the WisCon crowd: two shirts made by Deva Lifewear, a nice summer dress that never looked right on me, a denim vest, and a wonderfully funky tee-shirt someone gave me as a joke that says "Queen of the F****** Universe. Any questions?" Needless to say, the shirt got snapped up right away.

Last year was the first year that I attended WisCon and I didn't really get into the spirit of the Gathering. I wandered on the periphery, thinking, "This is nice," but not really being affected by it. ThAis year, feeling more a part of WisCon because I know what to expect, I enjoyed it more. Of course it helps that I now know and recognize more people, but I think it just helps that I've acclimated to the con.

I managed to drop in on the Mod Squad panel for just bit. If they offer it again next year and you're considering being on a panel, go. It's part of their continuing education of panel moderators, an effort I appreciated. I've been to very few really bad panels, but there were a few that could have used better moderating, and this panel gave a lot of insight on how to do just that.

At 4:30 I had to meet other members of Broad Universe for a rehearsal. We were doing the opening skit and I played the part of The Bee. (Yeah, those who know my phobias can stop laughing now. The cosmos *does* have a sick sense of humor!) I think I overplayed my part and I was so nervous I forgot to look at the audience, but everyone had a good time nonetheless.

Unfortunately, I missed "Norovirus and You: Responses to WisCholera 2008," which sounded really interesting. It was to be a debriefing session that also described what steps they were taking to prevent more of the same. They worked really hard on food safety and general health precautions over the weekend, but as people have stated repeatedly, any time you have nearly 1,000 people from all over the country (and a few from outside) converging in one spot and closely interacting, you're bound to have contagion. As I type this, I'm dabbing my nose from a serious head cold, but I'm not complaining. It could have been norovirus again or swine flu. I think they did an excellent job of education and containment.

Broad Universe always does what they call a "Rapid-fire Reading" at WisCon. It's not that we read so fast, but that each reader has a very short period of time to read a brief selection from her work. This time, for example, I think it was just under 5 minutes. I read a short selection from my first book, DARKSOME THIRST, one in which the vampire Frederick has an ill-begotten rendezvous with his latest squeeze, Susie. It was well-received, and I think I did well, but once again, *I was too nervous to look at the audience!* I don't know why. Yes, I'm naturally shy, but usually once I'm onstage I'm a ham. I had rehearsed, but maybe not enough. Maybe it's because it was so far away from home? Who knows. Something to work on.

I went to bed not long after the reading broke up at 11:45. It had been a long day, and the fact that my home time zone was one hour later must have contributed.

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