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Sasquan All Hands

Last weekend was the All Hands meeting for Sasquan, which is the World Science Fiction Convention being held in Spokane in August. Ulrika O'Brien and I went as part of the fanzine lounge team (I'm the area head), and we were joined at the last minute by Suzle, who had been asked if she could help wrangle the function space in various hotels.

On the way to Spokane on Friday we took U.S. Route 2, which meanders through a beautiful section of the Cascades where you also find little mountain towns like Gold Bar and the Bavarian-kitsch village of Leavenworth. I had never taken this drive, and it was just as picturesque as advertised. It takes longer than just bombing out to Spokane on Interstate 90, but it's worth the time, if you have it. However, you might give the Wallace Falls Cafe in Gold Bar a miss.


Friday night was a Division Heads meeting in which we got progress reports from various divisions. Saturday morning and afternoon were walk-throughs of the convention center, the Doubletree hotel, and the Davenport hotel. I'd been through all of them before in February, but I went through the convention center and Davenport (which is the party hotel where we hope to have a suite for the evening fanzine lounge) again just to let it sink in a bit more. It was particularly helpful to go through the convention center again, and I started getting images in my head of what it was going to be like when it was full of, well, the Worldcon and all that goes on there. I could begin to envision the 11-ring circus that is to come.

Suzle needed to go through the Doubletree, because some of her responsibilities will be there (function space in the Doubletree includes the consuite, gaming, and filking), but Ulrika and I hove off to eat lunch at the Post Street Ale House and then to revisit the NoLi Brewery when it turned out that nearby Ramblin' Road Brewery (which we hadn't made it to in February) wasn't actually open at their advertised opening hour. Still, the NoLi beer was mighty fine, and we had a good time arguing about who was the better Dogberry, Michael Keaton (sez Ulrika) or Nathan Fillion (sez me).

I drink beer while Ulrika hits Google to prove me wrong. Again.

After the Davenport walk-through, the three of us had dinner with Sean McCoy at Italia Trattoria, which is a marvelous restaurant in a funky little mostly-residential neighborhood. Sean is Facilities Division Head and an old friend of Ulrika's, and he was one of the people heavily recruiting Suzle. While they talked business, I medicated myself with a lovely cocktail called a negroni, which blended campari, gin, vermouth, and a garnish of lemon peel. The lamb chops were also superb.

Medication was necessary, because after dinner was two hours of discussion of the budget led ably by Ben Yalow. Thanks to the great influx of supporting memberships, Sasquan is actually in fine shape financially, but there's still a lot of work to do on the final budget. I need to work over the numbers for the fanzine lounge by next Saturday, for example. Oh joy!

Sunday morning was a continuation of the Division Head meeting, including a progress report from our Division Head, Randy Smith. (Which is to say that the fanzine lounge is under Exhibits this year.) Fortunately I wasn't asked to say much, although I did manage to mumble out a joke about why we were calling ourselves the Lost World Fanzine Lounge. ("Because it's where the dinosaurs of fanzine publication still roam.") Then we spent two hours working on the timeline. By the lunch break we had gotten a skeleton of Monday through Wednesday done. (The convention starts on Wednesday, not the usual Thursday, this year.) The three of us headed home after that, although we had lunch at the Post Street Ale House first and ran into Ruth Sachter and John Lorentz there.

Division Head meeting

As I've said before, this is the first Worldcon that I've ever worked on in an official capacity, and thus it's the first time I've seen behind the curtain, as it were. I am receiving an eye-opening education in the elaborate organizational structure and sheer amount of work that goes into running a modern Worldcon. There's still a lot of work to do in the next couple of months, but everything seems to be coming together nicely. We haven't finalized everything for the fanzine lounge, but we at least know where the daytime fanzine lounge is going to be and got a look at the space in the convention center. We'll be right next to the bar, which is called Guinan's. I was also very pleased to learn that Randy Smith has arranged for the bar to serve some of the excellent beer and cider brewed in Spokane.

As for what we'll be doing in the fanzine lounge, well, that's starting to come together too. We'll have posters, exhibits, and displays (Tom Whitmore has offered to lend us some prime fanzines from the '40s, and Guest of Honor Leslie Turek will be lending us all her zines as well), we'll have a reception for TAFF delegate Nina Horvath, we'll have memorials for Art Widner, Stu Shiffman, and Peggy Rae Sapienza, we'll have a discussion of Susan Wood that Tom Becker is organizing, we'll have the WOOF collation led by Andy Hooper, and there's been some discussion of using the fanzine lounge as a stop in a fannish scavenger hunt. No doubt there will be more as we develop our ideas. Feel free me to send me yours, and if you come to Sasquan please stop by the Lost World Fanzine Lounge. We'll have ourselves a time.

And that's not even mentioning the potential pleasures of this year's Hugo Ceremony and WSFS Business Meeting!

Spotted outside the auditorium where the Hugos will be presented


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 3rd, 2015 06:23 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen Nathan Filion's, and I didn't like Michael Keaton's. Keaton's was too much like Beetlejuice.

I could imagine liking the role played like Captain Hammer.
Jun. 3rd, 2015 08:11 pm (UTC)
I'd say great minds think alike, but I actually had to look up Captain Hammer.
Jun. 3rd, 2015 09:21 pm (UTC)
Filion played it a little like Captain Hammer. Less pompous and more blustery, but somewhere in the same vicinity. It was, IMHO, the best Dogberry ever.

Jun. 3rd, 2015 09:27 pm (UTC)
Wrangle function space: That's what I'd like to do for a con, specifically figuring out what spaces to use and what goes where. Scheduling Mythcons is some of the most enjoyable work I've ever done.

I drove through Leavenworth once. With my jaw dropping, mostly.

Fanzine lounge next to bar: very wise idea.

A discussion of Susan Wood: also a good idea. I was surprised a few years ago when Cheryl Morgan confessed to not having heard of her. Cheryl won't be there, of course, but she's surely not the only one.

That concert is in November, so the sign should still be there at Worldcon time. Hah!

Jun. 4th, 2015 03:02 pm (UTC)
I believe a new collection of Wood's writing is also in the works.
Jun. 4th, 2015 02:32 am (UTC)
Just an FYI, now that i am home (and marginally recovered) from That Fucking Con, the plan is to haul out the contraption and see if it still contrapts reasonably well. News as events warrant!!

(HAHA, at the Wrdnrd who thought they'd be hauling it out and testing it over the holidays. Oh, silly Past Wrdnrd!)
Jun. 4th, 2015 03:05 pm (UTC)
Hey, I hope That Fucking Con was fun. I've only heard good things so far.

I actually think the steam-powered mimeograph idea has been abandoned at this point, because I don't seem to have any actual interest in making it happen. It was a good idea, but not for me. So Past Wrdnrd was in fact wise to procrastinate!
Jun. 4th, 2015 05:02 pm (UTC)
Y'know, this is probably all for the best, because last night when i got to looking at my mimeo supplies i realized all over again just how scanty supplies are at the moment. I still have only what i inherited from Suzle and Jerry. I'm not sure how many stencils are left, and there's very little Akshual mimeo paper. I need to start haunting eBay for this stuff -- unfortunately, all the OTHER old mimeo hounds are ALSO haunting eBay for this stuff.

I am ... a bit surprised you've heard only good things, honestly. I guess, having started in my position right in the middle of last summer, i am inclined to expect the worst. :/ Although the post-mortem panel at WisCon was nowhere NEAR as bad as i had been led to believe it would be from concom old hands. Sure, people were upset about how our Con Suite changed, BUT to my surprise and delight, once i explained the challenges the Con Suite faced this year (to wit: we had only THREE WEEKS to pull that whole thing together), people were not only understanding of some of our flaws, they actually APPLAUDED. Weird!
Jun. 4th, 2015 05:10 pm (UTC)
Ha! Fans can be so critical, yet so forgiving.

Anyway, all I'm going by is what I saw on Facebook, which was generally enthusiastic.
Jun. 10th, 2015 07:00 am (UTC)
That's really great to hear, tho'! So easy to get caught up in the behind-the-scenes, where all you can see are the little flaws, that it's hard to see when people are honestly having fun.
Jul. 18th, 2015 04:20 am (UTC)
Should WOOFzines be collated and stapled?

Laurraine Tutihasi
Jul. 18th, 2015 02:04 pm (UTC)
Hi, Laurraine. Yes, that's the expectation. Andy Hooper is the OE this year, so you should contact him for details.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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