First of all, I have to say that Seanan McGuire was brilliant and a half as toastmaster. She is smart as a whip, twice as quick, and COMMANDS a room. I am sorry I missed her Friday concert, in which pretty much every well-known filker on the planet participated, from what they tell me. But I've seen that before, so it was a sacrifice I was willing to make to attend BarBot, which I had not seen before.
I mostly went for the concerts, which were kind of sparse this year, or seemed so to me. They started well with Tim Griffin, who writes and sings mostly things for the grade school classes he teaches, and they are fun and he has a flair for understated showmanship. Check out his web site, where all his tunes can be played all the way through. I especially like this album: The Da Vinci Chord and identified with Leonardo's Mother and loved Lunch Lady. Next up was Brooke Lunderville, who sang mostly new stuff, and some covers I did not recognize. She did end with The Wreck of the Crash, which almost everyone in filk knows by now. As always, she added lots of laughs with her between-song banter.
Next were Two-fers. I ducked out to the con suite for a while and missed a couple. The con suite continues the tradition of being the best stocked and maintained con suite in condom. Wait - there must be a better word than that!
Next concert was Interfilk guests Partners in K'Rhyme aka W. Randy Hoffman & Kira Heston. They abandoned their usual a Capella funny songs to concentrate on a lot of ose numbers so they could co-opt the services of the many available instrumentalists (one at a time, mostly) to accompany them. I would rather have heard their usual presentation. The Interfilk auction was kind of sparse this time around, and mostly consisted of CDs and DVDs recorded at filk cons, which all went for >$100. There was less wenching than usual, bidding went too quickly. There was no chocolate. :-(
For dinner I went next door to Nijo Castle. It was way early (5:30) and I was brought to a table all the way at the back. At first the service was fast, but then a family group of about 20 took the row of tables between me and the kitchen, and from then on I was abandoned. I was impressed at how well they served the big group, though. But 15 minutes to wait for someone to notice I was done eating and another 20 minutes from ordering dessert to receiving it - from a busboy, who also kindly refilled my iced tea which had been empty half an hour before. I had the sashimi/tempura combo. Sashimi was cut too thick, and one of the pieces of tuna was full of gristle. The tempura was fine, as was the salad, and the miso soup, which was served in a cup designed to look like a little barrel.
10% tip was generous, if I go there again it will be with a group.
Back to the con, WTF concert of the evening by a group called Tell Yer Ma. They did some zombie numbers. There was some humor there. But it was hillbilly washboard stuff, not a match for a filk con.
Highlight of the evening I expected to be the GOH concert, all four of the 3 Weird Sisters. I ♥ their newest/youngest member Mary Crowell, so I had high expectations. Also, phenom harpist Gwen Knighton had come from England, and I ♥ her playing as well. There was a lot of sibling banter, some of which was ROFL worthy. A few of the songs were amusing, but for the most part they concentrated on tight harmonies, and it got old for me. Oppressive. There is only so much of that I can take. I know some folks can wallow in it forever, and I know it's a skill requiring a lot of rehearsal. But so does Wagner's Ring cycle.
They also invited in fiddler Amy McNally, who played in almost everyone's concert. That got old too.
The sound check ran long, and the concert ran longer. I'm very surprised that Kristoph was not as organized this year as usual, he did not have his wires labeled and kept plugging guitars into a busted port on his ancient Mackie mixer. Unlike Conflikt's audio staff, he and johno had most of the sets up and running in minutes. Irony here - the couple who run Conflikt's audio, which had a similar sound check last for 90 minutes, were at the con, but I kept running into them outside the concert hall. They could have learned a few things by watching from the front row. They are the sweetest people in the world, I really would like them to do an award-worthy job.
Kristoph played some hilarious special effects games with Toastmaster Seanan. She rolled with it superbly. Love it!
I was filked out, so I went home and dumped the photos onto the PC and converted them to jpegs.
Slept in again, got there in time for Stich & Yammer with Gwen Knighton but did not see Gwen there, and they had shifted from the nice ballroom across the lobby from the main con to a nook in front of the restrooms by the emergency exit near the main ballroom. It made for some good WTF photography. At the same time in the ballroom was English Country Dance, but only the leader and two others attended.
Concerts started at 1 with Bill Roper whom I had seen a couple of times solo and with his wife. This time he had Amy joining him. I would rather have heard him solo for most of the numbers. Amy is an excellent improviser, and was the new toy of the con performers. I admire her skill, but since I am also great at picking up tunes I haven't heard before, I'm not all that impressed. It's called "playing by ear", and IMHO is a heck of a lot easier than playing from sheet music. Trouble is I only improvise well enough on brass instruments, which was not in high demand on filk stages. And I can't sing while I play them. Amy doesn't sing along either, come to think of it.
Next up was Instaband, which normally is two or three bands chosen from names picked out of a hat. This time there were only enough names for one band. Cute song by figmo, sung by Nick and Bill, who needed a lot more practice.
Twofers followed, with Jeff & Maya Bohnhoff + Vixy doing one humorous and one ose song, Kathleen Sloan sang something which I have forgotten and then her own tune Box of Fairies which was based on the liner notes from Gwen Knighton's CD of the same name. It made me cry, and totally broke Gwen. Last one up was Kitty Crowe and her autoharp.
That was the end of official Consonance concerts, next was rock jam, which hurt my ears the last 2 times I stayed for it. Janice wanted to get together at 4:30 on the other side of the Bay, so I bailed and joined her for an hour.
Home, dumped and processed the con photos, interrupted by a low Hgl moment which prompted dinner. Domino camped out on the arm of the chair, but would not eat anything I gave her from my plate. Eggs & toast.
Photos are in two sets:
Vixy and Seanan. I have no idea what they were doing.
Toastmaster Seanan fills in for International Guest Brooke Lunderville (hsifyppah)
Plans for tomorrow:
Work. 9 am team meeting