Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Westercon 68 Stuff

Town & Country Resort is a beautiful setting, with about two or three times the space the con needed. I think the room assignments were very well thought out, as far as size and location go. My only gripe is the resort's signage is horrible, and the con's efforts to add their own was minimal. But to their credit more letter sized pages popped up during the week to help. But by then most fans had figured out the map.

The con chair said there was supposed to be kiosk signage, but the sign maker missed the deadlines.

I didn't see any conops security. Nobody was checking badges, that I could see, at any of the rooms.

Registration was way slow. Badges were ugly, and everyone's name was FULL WEEKEND. Except for the lucky few who were not pre-paid, and were handed a pen and a blank badge to write on.

At the feedback session, it was made clear that the con was nowhere near staffed up to what was needed.

There was a lot of kudos awarded to the a/v crew, and while they worked very hard, the one place it was critical, the Masquerade, they sucked. I say that as a professional A/V tech. 

Another FAIL was the masquerade stage design. Contestants had to climb up to the stage from what appeared to be ground level, at the center, from behind a curtain, with no lighting. Exit was stage right down a couple of steps, after being called stage right.

A big WIN was Tadao as the Masq MC - he needed all his skills to pad for the messed up tech and not-ready contestants.

The programming was deep and wide. It would have been nice to have had a grid more than a few days in advance. If it was there earlier, I missed it, because clicking on the web page's Programming tab brought up a blank sheet. Later I discovered that each tab was a drop-down menu. Not intuitive, that.

What I saw of ConChord was well run, but very sparse. OTOH, there was a lot of talent in the small field of performers.

I enjoyed the con, despite having to take most of Friday off for a medical issue. Had it not been the 4th of July holiday, I probably would only have missed an hour or two.

And then there was the hook which got me there - Spider Robinson. He had a rough year, and backed out of the con early in the year. I am still angry that no other Legend of Science Fiction was arranged to be replacement GoH. They kept Spider on the posters and flyers and ads right through the con. I definitely felt cheated on that score. It was nice to see David Brin on some panels, but one would think that with ComiCon coming the following week and all the legends who live in the area, someone could have been found.

As was pointed out at feedback, most of these woes can be blamed on not enough volunteers. And ComiCon can be blamed for siphoning off a lot of those. But then, why bid a con that close to the biggest commercial crossover event in the country?

I see this kind of thing in my theater work. Some companies hold auditions for the whole year, months before the first rehearsals start. It's not all that rare for people to lose jobs, move, get sick, or even die between the time they signed up and the time of the event. Spider is an example.

Excrement occurs. Bottom line is the con staff handled it as best as they could, which was a lot better than many would have done.

As I said, I enjoyed myself. And as they say at BASFA, worth Senior Matiné price. :-)


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