Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Dysprosium: Sunday & Masquerade

Guilia de Cesare the compere for the Dysprosium Masquerade.

It's Wednesday so it must be time to put up my Sunday post.  As my partner didn't take any pictures of the panels we went to see on Sunday at Dysprosium, you will all have to make do with the pictures she took at the Masquerade, which are probably more interesting, in that they show the hard work and creativity of the fans who go to all the effort to make costumes depicting their favourite characters.

I awoke Sunday full of good intentions, but lacking the energy to get-up and go, as in go to the morning Tai-chi practice.  Therefore we ambled around, got up late, had breakfast late, and so missed another chance to be virtuous.  It's a hard life being a fan at a convention.

So looking at our schedule I see that the first panel we went to was Truth, Justice and the Home Office, which can be best be described as a gag fest where Sabine Furlong, the moderator, joshed Jim Butcher and Charlie Stross about the awful truth that underlies hierarchical bureaucracies, by turn enthralling, thrilling and funny.

If I remember correctly, which I probably don't, I was also handed a fanzine by Joseph Nicholas, who was sitting in front of us with Judith Hanna called The Night is so Black that the Darkness Cooks (However, memory aside, this is as good as point as anywhere in the narrative to insert a mention of the event).  I read it after the convention was over, and have to say I'm impressed on two counts: first the fact I was given a copy, and second the fact that I was given an old school printed and staple fanzine.  I felt honoured.

Oustanding costume inspired by Jaine Fenn's Principle of Angels.
After too much fun we went and mooched around the various dealers rooms that were all off from the long connecting corridor.  Spoke to old friends, made some new acquaintances, and generally shot the breeze about the convention and writing.

After grabbing a light bite for lunch, all part of Plan B (don't flake out), we went to see Seanan McGuire Guest of Honour Q&A session.  She started by saying she would answer any question, with the caveat that a stupid or sexist question would get a lecture on how stupid and sexist the question was.  She was very witty and entertaining, and we loved her cat stories.

We also sat off to one side of the hall, rather than sitting in the centre as we had been doing on Saturday, and found that being able to stretch out in the chairs, resting on each other, was a far more comfortable way of sitting.  At least it meant I was able to keep on top of stuff, and not be wracked with pain, which when all things are said and done, can rather spoil one's enjoyment.

Steampunk mad scientist.
Then we were off to a panel called Imagineering Starships – How SF Starships work, or don't.  We had bumped into one of the presenters of this talk while having coffee, and being the SF spaceship geeks that we are, we were inevitably drawn into discussion about the British Interplanetary Society, Project Daedalus and stuff, as one is.

A very interesting talk by people who work in the field.  After the talk we went and grabbed a burger from the fan bar area, all part of the eat little and often plan, and bumped into Rob Hanson, where inevitably the conversation turned to the Hugo fracas.  My position on this is that you read the books, vote for what you like, and if there is anything that you feel is utter dreck, then vote no award above it.  No need to panic – we have rules, follow them.

Gary Stratmann with a steampunk adventurer that reminded me of Lord Flashheart from Black Adder.
After eating and chatting it was time to go to the Masquerade.  I'm an off and on again costume fan, because most of the time I cannot be fagged to go to all of the effort required to pull a costume together.  While I'm quite good with my hands, as in making things, I'm not at all into sewing and making clothes, so when I do stuff it's usually assembling items together.  Death from the Sandman series use to be a favourite of mine when I had dark hair, andI think that the last time we went to convention in costume it was a Stargate USAF MPs.

However, I really appreciate seeing other fans who have made the effort to dress up, and applaud them for doing so.  Cosplay has been a tradition of SF conventions from the very beginning when Forrest J. Ackerman attended the first Worldcon in 1939.  So colour me supportive.  My kind of fans.

I really like these two.  The costumes were gorgeous to look at.
So throughout the convention I tried to make sure I gave all the fans wearing their outfits during the day a tag provided by Dysprosium to acknowledge their efforts.  I've not wanted to be critical of the running of the convention, but this is one area where I think more could have been done.  For example better acknowledgement of hall costumes within the programme, and perhaps in future making up ribbons that one could give out.

My reminder to all con-committees to be inclusive of costume fans.

A group shot of all the participants in the masquerade.  The woman dressed as Cally was very good.
Finally, we came to the end of the day and the last item we would go to.  A retrospective called The Reunion: Spock in ManaclesDavid Wake moderated the reunion that had Kate Solomon, Caroline Mullan, and Steve Lawson on it.  We got to watch a cleaned up copy of the video taken by Colin Fine of the performance of Spock in Manacles that was put on at Beccon in 1985.  Susan tells me that I giggled like a little girl when I saw myself go on stage as one of the amazons.

Thirty years is a long time, and several of the cast have died since the performance, which is still being talked about today.  I understand that only four fans at Beccon didn't attend the performance of Spock in Manacles, preferring to stay in the bar.  Well bah yoo sucks to them.  I suppose this only goes to show that miserable old gits who don't like fun existed back then, much as they exist today.

After the days fun it was time to go to bed, for tomorrow is Monday and I'm on another panel.

1 comment:

  1. Masks have been around for centuries. The Greeks used masks to depict the emotions or character of the people they were playing in theater. Later Europeans chose to wear masks at formal balls where they could engage in questionable activities with no loss of dignity because they were anonymous. For a period of time, only criminals wore masks as a means of hiding their identity.

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