Norwescon 23 Post-Con Report
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Ad Astra Addendum
The Post Con Report for Norwescon 23
Hooray and Thanks For All the Animal Crackers
As the Chairman of a convention, you use many yardsticks to measure the success of your convention. And no matter which stick I pull out to measure Norwescon 23, it was a success.
First, I would like to thank our Guests of Honor. My gosh! What convention could have had a more wonderful set of talented and gifted professionals? David Brin and Gregory Benford are two of the most charismatic and accessible writers any convention could ever ask for. They helped make this Norwescon’s programming one of the best we’ve ever had. Harper Collins was our Spotlighted Publisher and they sent us one of their best; Jennifer Brill. With her extensive experience and background, she brought many insights and depth to our convention membership that we will value for years to come. Barclay Shaw’s amazing art presentations were truly a highlight for myself and everyone else who attended his panels. Bjo and John Trimble have endeared themselves to the fandom of the Northwest, and will now always be considered part of our Norwescon family. We can’t wait until John retires in 18 months.
As most of you know, on Friday we had a surprise visit from John Travolta who was in town to promote his new movie Battlefield Earth. Contrary to the rumors that were going around, we only received a call from the publishers of the book, Bridge Publications, on Wednesday to ask if Mr. Travolta could drop by. Even though he could only stay for an hour to sign autographs, we think that this turned out to be a wonderful and fun event for the convention. One of the most delightful things that happened, besides the fact that I didn’t stutter or drool even once upon meeting him, was when John met Brian Herbert. John was very excited to meet Brian and wanted to spend more time speaking with him than time allowed. Brian was so amazed that John Travolta was excited to meet him because Brian is just a writer and “he’s John Travolta.” It was really neat to see both of these extremely talented men get excited about meeting each other. It also turned out to be a small world for John and Barclay. It seems that Barclay’s mom has known John for years, she’s his real estate agent in New York. In the hour that John was at the convention, he was able to sign about 250 items for people. But each person got a moment to speak with him, which is what he requested. He truly seemed to enjoy speaking with all the fans and they with him.
There are always so many people to thank after a convention. I’ll try not to droll on too long but there are some very special thank you’s to make. First, I’d like to thank my Vice Chair Betty Claar. She is the Ying to my Yang, and I could have never made it through the year without her. Norwescon wouldn’t have been as successful without her hard work and dedication. Next, I’d like to thank Jayson Claar, our Business Manager. Often the tedious and time consuming tasks of the business department are overlooked, but Jayson and his staff have worked so diligently this year that much of our success should be credited to them.
I’d like to thank Bob Grieve for an outstanding programming lineup. This was Bob’s first year as Programming Director and he brought a lot of new and innovative programming to Norwescon. The Rare Earth panel was one of the most exciting and talked about programming events that we have ever had, and Bob promises that next year will be bigger and better yet.
I’d also like to thank Michael Brocha, who produces the most amazing program book that it has been my experience to see. Norwescon is extremely lucky to have such a talented and dedicated artist available to make us shine.
This year’s art show was run by A.O.V. and I would like to thank them for their outstanding job in producing such a wonderful show this year for the artists and our membership. The Dealer’s Room was also a great success this year and our dealers reported record sales. If only we could get the hotel to build that extra ballroom for us so we could bring you even more great dealers. Alas, for now it must remain a dream.
A very special thank you needs to go to the crew of Hospitality: Judy and Bob Suryan and Judy’s sister and brother-in-law Jerry Anne and Gordon, Elizabeth “Dragon Lady” Warren, “Roo” Kathy Warren, and all of their families and to all their friends who did an outstanding job in bringing back a hospitality that has long been missed since the Golden Age of Norwescon.
This year we set a daunting task for our new Director of Membership Services/Registration. We tasked Ben Schreiber with writing a new registration program. This took him many long hours and numerous little gray cells to produce, but he came through above and beyond the call and I want to extend my thanks to him for all of his hard work.
Really I’m almost done!
Another person who often gets overlooked is the recording secretary of a convention. Alyxx Feltser has been a tremendous contribution to this year’s executive team, and Betty and I want to thank her for all of her hard work and many extra tasks before and during the convention which she took on to help ensure this years success.
No convention can be run without volunteers. At best this can be a daunting task, at worst near maddening. But Shawn Marier head of our Personnel Department, and his staff took on this task and ran with it. I know all of the volunteers will like to join me in thanking Shawn and his staff for all of the support they provided to the ConCom and the volunteers of Norwescon.
Last but not least, is the Laurel to my Hardy, Cheryl Ferguson, Director of Convention Services. She has the unenviable task of running Norwescon during the convention. During the many long hours of the convention it is her job to make sure that the convention runs smoothly and safely. Norwescon couldn’t happen without her good humor, common sense and dedication. I’d also like to thank her and her staff for making possible the appearance of John Travolta. It was she and her staff that took on the last minute complications and responsibilities in making his appearance possible and they deserve all the credit for this event.
Lastly, lastly, the attendees of Norwescon are some of the most wonderful people in fandom. I would like to thank you all for making this one of the best conventions it has been my pleasure to be a part of. From all of the contestants in the Masquerade, to everyone in the halls and the volunteers who took time out from their convention experience, you have made this year special and I hope that your experience this year was all that you hoped it would be. Thank you for being part of Norwescon.
See you next year.
Chairman Norwescon 23 & 24
Norwescon 23 Guests of Honor
A convention becomes a special event when its Guests of Honor individually, and as a whole, set a standard of excellence for others to follow. This year we were privileged to have a blockbuster line up of SF/F luminaries. The innumerable accomplishments and accolades of these special members of Norwescon 23 are well documented and listed elsewhere. What hit home at the con this year was what they did above and beyond what could be expected of a convention GoH.
As professionals, these people were always willing to show up on time and go the extra mile to make things better for the everyone. They were polite, helpful, and courteous with the convention staff and membership. Jennifer Brehl and Peter Schneider, seeing that help was needed moving equipment and supplies in Hospitality, pitched right in without a second thought; Barclay Shaw stayed well after his scheduled time to sign auto- graphs and just visit during the volunteer event; Bjo and John Trimble took the time to talk to a fan who was feeling down; Gregory Benford was willing to take a less convenient flight home in order to spend more time at the convention; David Brin bent over backwards to make everything he was involved with special for the audience; and even surprise guest John Travolta came down from the stage to sign autographs, shake hands, and visit with his fans who were unable to walk up the stairs.
It was these, and numerous other examples, that make this group of honorees a program director’s dream come true. I feel especially privileged to have met and worked with these stars of science fiction and fantasy. I hope that all of our membership will join me in thanking them for coming to Norwescon and making it the very special event that it was.
Norwescon 23 Programming Highlights
Almost every new programmer for a science fiction and fantasy convention takes on that task with the expectation of producing spectacular events and panels never before seen in fandom. Visions of awed and bedazzled fen dance in our heads. The euphonic sounds of adulation and accolades ring in our ears. In short: we expect everything we touch to turn to gold.
The reality is that not everything is new and not everything will work. The end result of the tremendous effort put forth by all of the people in the programming department will be mixed at best. There will be items that are new and ones that have been done many times before. There will be ideas that work like a charm and others that will need to be examined to see if they are worth pursuing. Some panels will be absolute successes and some panels will not meet pre-con expectations. Norwescon 23 was no exception to the rule although the number of success stories far out numbered the events that were disappointing.
One panel this year stood out like a super nova in the night sky. The first annual Norwescon Science Debate: Rare Earth or Many Edens? was a spectacular and popular success. It is hoped that this type of debate will become a permanent fixture of programming at future Norwescons. Thank you to all the participants (Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Burt Webb, John Cramer, Peter Ward, and William Calvin) for making this a memorable occasion. For all of you who missed this, it will be part of the weekly Norwescon broadcasts on the Seattle Public Access Channel. This one hour program began in October and airs every Friday at 4:30pm.
Other items that garnered enthusiastic comments, positive ravings, and general cheering from the convention membership include the various Mars panels, The Harry Potter Revolution, From Now until Arrakis, The Future of Science and Science Fiction in Public Schools, and several of the art, filking, and costuming panels. For the most part, audience numbers were up from previous Norwescons. The membership this year seemed to thoroughly enjoy the numerous tracks of panel programming.
There were a few disappointments as well. The Norwescon Junior Writers Workshop developed unforeseen problems (such as parking) and did not generate the number of participants that had been forecasted. The annual Norwescon Writers Workshop also suffered from low numbers. Ditto the readings by authors (almost all of them in fact). Each of these items has been examined for what could be improved. Ideas and suggestions will be welcome.
All in all, programming this year was fruitful, productive, and enjoyable by the membership and participants of Norwescon. The members of the programming department made many positive things happen this year and learned a lot about what makes for an effective event to ensure the success of Norwescon 24.
Programming Department Thank You’s
There were literally hundreds of people who helped out in programming this year. From the over 200 invited pros that manned the panels to the dedicated few who planned the events to the numerous volunteers who staffed the departments at the con, Norwescon 23 would not have been the same without you. Thank you.
There are some who deserve special mention and a pat on the back for the jobs that they did: Alyxx Feltser for running the Green Room; George Nyhen, Lisa Woodings, and Richard Stephens for all the special functions; Keith Johnson and the heads of all the special events; Judy and Bob Suryan for all their help throughout programming; Julie Christensen as the liaison for the Camarilla; David Addleman and the Fairwood Writer’s Group for handling the Norwescon Writer’s Workshop; and Daryl Allison for the movie previews.
One very special person who needs to be singled out is Ali Young. She is the person who is more responsible for everything that went right in programming than any other single volunteer. The entire department could not have functioned without the tremendous amount of time and effort that she expended on behalf of Norwescon. She is truly amazing. I know for a fact that I could not have survived without her guidance, encouragement, and wisdom. I also realize that I do not wish to do programming, or anything else for that matter, without her by my side. That is why I have asked her, and she has accepted, to be my wife.
Track Programming Thank You’s
Programming for any convention requires the efforts of a team of people that selflessly nurse ideas into reality. Putting together the schedule of events for a large convention, such as Norwescon 23, increases the quantity and difficulty of those efforts exponentially. As the total number of panels balloons ever higher, the requisite supply of antacids, aspirin, and coffee grows proportionately. Directing the programming department can be a real experience in better living through chemistry.
Much like an NFL team, programming relies on the talents of many people working together to make things happen. Quite a few of the crew go unnoticed. The product of their labors is the only evidence that most of the membership will have of their existence. Each of these people expended a goodly amount of time and energy breathing life into the many pieces that eventually became the programming department of Norwescon 23.
Panel programming provides the flavoring that can make any one con distinctive from all others. Norwescon 23 was fortunate to have a handful of talented and brilliant track programmers that created a smorgasbord of events to please the palette of attending fans. Science panels were a huge success this year thanks to the innovative and Herculean efforts of Burt Webb. The mastermind behind the paneling for fannish attire was the beautiful and astounding Lori Edwards. The art track was handled by the clever and insightful planning of Steve Adams. Literary creations at the convention were designed by the astute and resourceful Duane Wilkins. Discussions pertaining to the gaming side of SF/F came from the experienced and knowledgeable efforts of Brannon Boren. The difficult job of lining up a slate of provocative social issues was deftly handled by the imaginative, yet practical, Heather Candelaria. The sounds of Norwescon were provided by that ingenious and capable filking maestro, Karen Rall. Poetic pursuits were provided by the inspiring and entertaining fannish bard, GregRobin Smith. A tip of the hat and a heartfelt thank you is due to each of these wonderful people. Without them, and the host of people who aided their efforts, Norwescon 23 programming would not have been the success that it was.
Stage Management continued the mission of having a stage manager in every panel and helping the panelists have a smooth experience. From all feedback, we were fairly successful in both goals. Our biggest excitement (and challenge) was the John Travolta event, but we did make it possible for virtually everyone who wanted to take part in the event to do so, without any negative incident... other than the severe disapproval by all panelists who were impacted by the event. Each year we recognize one of the hard working Stage Management volunteers by naming them Stage Hand of the Year. This year’s recipient of this acknowledgment was a con 1st timer, Jeri Lynn Chatfield. While working with programming, we found several process improvements, and will make certain these are put into place to make our panelists and members even happier next year. All in all, we had an interesting year with lots of learning opportunities, and are supremely thankful for the help from our members and the support and feedback we received from our panelists.
Thanks everyone, and see you next year!
I think we had a great bunch of volunteers! Our “Fickle Techie Award” winners, the team of Elizabeth and Walt, were as always a treat to work with.
Now if only more folks realized what a great area the prop room is to work in! You get to wander through all those neat back hallways, seeing all the secret ways to get around the throngs in the hotel! And to top it off? You only really work 30 minutes out of the hour. The rest of the time you can relax!
Things went pretty well for us. Good pros, good staff, and plenty of fun things to play with. Even the equipment requests were remarkably good considering we had a new Programming Director. With him returning next year I expect we’ll have an even better time next year, now that he has the kinks worked out!
And again, I can not thank our volunteers enough! Without them there is no way we could ever set up all the great equipment our pros need. It is them that allow us to have such top notch presentations.
Tech Dept. & Event Services Asst.
First off, I want to give a very big thanks to all of the committee. Without you we would not have been able to put on our convention. I hope that you all had a good experience, and will be back with us next year. For those of you who are not currently on the concom, and want to help Norwescon be one of the best convention in the country, please consider joining the committee next year. For Norwescon 23 we had 88 members on the committee, but we still had many positions which we could have filled. So if you are interested in joining the committee e-mail me at email@example.com and I will make sure you are contacted.
This was my first year as the head of Personnel, and boy was it a learning experience. Personnel has two major departments under it. The most visible department to the convention attendee would be volunteers. Without our volunteers we would not be able to put on this great event year after year. This year we had over 200 volunteers who put in over 2000 hours of work. I personally want to thank each and every one of them, because they are the ones that allow the rest of you to enjoy the convention.
For those of you who don’t know: Norwescon is a completely volunteer-run event, and the more volunteers we get the better convention we can put on. So, next year, please consider helping us out when you have a few spare hours.
To thank these volunteers for all the work they put in we offer them some special events and activities. This last year we tried many new ways to show our gratitude to our volunteers. One of the most successful was that for every two hours a volunteer worked we gave them a ticket which they could then cash in for prizes in the volunteers lounge. The theme for the prizes this year was aliens, which seemed to be very popular. In addition, we gave away gifts donated to us by companies such as Wizards of the Coast, Lady Jayne’s Books, and Ripcord Games. On Sunday we held a pizza feed during which we had a raffle of all the larger prizes which we collected, such as: books signed by our Guests of Honor, computer games, movie posters and passes, and many other cool things.
The other department which I managed was Staff Support. This is the department which tries its best to make sure all of our staff and volunteers survive the weekend. This department went around to all the people who were working long shifts and supplied them with food and drink. So, if you were working for the convention and someone came up and offered you food and drink, you can thank your staff support department.
I want to thank the following people who made my job easier. From the Volunteer Department: Mary, Vicky, Denise, Wilma, Deb, Marjory S., Charlene, Becky F., Larry, and Becky C. I also want thank E.J., Marjorie R., and Katrina who did a great job in staff support.
Head of Personnel
Philip K. Dick Award
Once again Norwescon was honored to host the Philip K. Dick Award. The nominees were Typhon’s Children by Toni Anzetti, published by Del Rey; Not of Woman Born edited by Constance Ash, published by Roc; When We Were Real by William Barton, published by Warner Aspect; Vacuum Diagrams by Stephen Baxter, published by HarperPrism; Tower of Dreams by Jamil Nasir, published by Bantam Spectra; and Code of Conduct by Kristine Smith, published by Avon Eos.
The award was presented by David Hartwell to Stephen Baxter’s Vacuum Diagrams. A special citation was given to Jamil Nasir’s Tower of Dreams.
Norwescon 23 Final Budget Report
Vice Chair $6868.04
Member Services $8368.44
Convention Services $15436.77
Artshow at Norwescon 23
The artshow at Norwescon 23 was run by The Association of Operations Volunteers (A.O.V.). Over sixty artist showed art at the artshow at Norwescon 23. Sixty-two of the artist made sales either from direct sales, bid or action. Over 450 pieces of art where sold over the three days the artshow was open.
Wow! We pulled it off again! And with many new people too! Thanks go to all involved, both the staff members and the volunteers who helped them.
I’d like to take this opportunity to give a special thanks to Elizabeth Warren and Judy Suryan, for putting together a really interesting Hospitality! They put a huge amount of work into the decorations and created a place that felt very pleasant.
The Cloak Room went well, but I need to take this opportunity to remind you to pay attention to the posted closing times. All items not reclaimed by the end of the convention are placed in the Lost and Found, and we had quite a few of those.
In the Dealers Room all the dealers were very happy. Sales were up over last year. If you want to have a chance at getting a dealer table, you can get print out an application from the Norwescon web site at norwescon.org.
KidKon hosted a record number of young fen this year, and they had a great time.
Once again, membership was up from last year. Although we had a membership cap in effect, our limit for this year was higher than it was last year, so we did not have to turn anybody away. Our total membership count for Norwescon 23 was 2222, up from 2202 at Norwescon 22. We ended the convention with 360 members preregistered for Norwescon 24. This is up from the 339 who preregistered for Norwescon 23 at Norwescon 22.
One surprising fact was that we had a whopping 100 members who preregistered but did not show up. Remember that if you are preregistered but are unable to make it to the convention, you may transfer your membership, or you may roll it over to the next year. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send your request to our P.O. Box, prior to the beginning of the convention.
Although there were a few rough spots, the new computer system performed quite well overall. Many thanks go to everyone for bearing with us while we resolved technical difficulties. Special thanks also go to all the volunteers who helped keep the stations staffed—we truly couldn’t have done it without you!
Give the Gift That Will be Remembered
Norwescon memberships make great holiday gifts and you can receive a $5 discount with the enclosed flier. But act fast. The discount is only good for a limited time.
Norwescon 23 Masquerade
Best Use of Fabric Paint
Kelly Forbis, Social Butterfly
Best Use of Feathers
Jen Running Deer, Amethyst
Best Use of Found Objects in Dress Design
Kathleen Collobert, Elven Silk
Best Comic Book Recreation
Emily and Regina Ryan, Violator
Best Use of Robotics
Stephanie Kodis, Farscape Funnies
Best Make-up and Use of Prosthetics
Bill Lawrence, Darth Maul
Best Use of Multimedia Materials in Metal and Fabric Construction
Teresa Jewell, Courtesan
Best Use of Sculptural Elements in a Headdress
Orchid Cavett and Shannon Flint, Starlight and Midnight Dragons
Joanne Foster, Romulan Subcommander
Best Use of Color and Fabric Scraps
Joy Day, Rain Spring
Overall Construction and Use of Materials for Wings
Melissa Quinn, Manifestation
Best Wire Construction of a Headpiece
Best Use of Backwards Machine Embroidery
Best of Show, Workmanship
Yadra the Protector
Videos tapes of the Masquerade can be purchased from: Applecations [omitted]
Rising Star Class
Theora Rice, The Purple Fairy Princess
Kelly D. Forbis, Social Butterfly
Arial Conner, Le-Loo—The Beginning
Julie Haehn, Scout for Hire
Teresa Jewell, Courtesan
April Faires, Kagame Jishi
Ad Astrta Theme Award
Jen Running Deer, Amethyst
Judges’ Appreciation Award
Gereth Rodolf, Andrew Thomas, Rosanne Thompson, Mike Thompson, James Thomas, Bunnies Gone Bad
Judges’ Choice for Innovation and Originality
Christopher Dance, Robert Kwis, Futuristic Armor
Judges’ Choice for Humor
T. Brian Wagner, Claudette Wagner, Brice Wagner, Cassandra Wagner, Tony Hallmark, Harry Potter Cheerleaders
Judges’ Choice for Media Recreation
Julie Hoverson, Beef
Judges’ Choice for Design
Joy Day, Spring Rain
Best in Class—Novice
Emily Ryan, Violator
Best in Class—Journeyman
Orchid Cavett and Shannon Flint, Starlight and Midnight Dragons
Best in Class—Master
Garth Stubbs, Randy Gordon, Foodo—Fire God
Best in Show
Tina Comroe Webb, Kathleen Donovan, Lori Edwards, Cheryl Glover, Vicki Glover, Jonnalyhn Lauricella, Margo Loes, Katrina Marier, Teri Specht, Anita Taylor, Andrew Wilson, Yadra the Protector