Report by Amedia
Shortly before ConneXions my roommate-to-be discovered that she wouldn't be able to get time off work. Eek! Fortunately I was able to find a new roommate, Danica Greenleaf, through the yahoo listserv for ConneXions. She had also lost her roommate to unforeseen obstacles, so we were pleased to find each other. She is also a LOTR slash fan and was very easy to get along with, so I felt doubly lucky.
Martha Sayre, who runs ConneXions, had asked me last November if I would consider taking over running Orphan Zines at the con, since Nat isn't able to do it anymore owing to her new job. I was honored to be asked, and happy to accept. Thus, I spent nearly all of my daytime at ConneXions behind the Orphan Zine Table - which was a great place to be! Sooner or later, just about everyone at the convention comes to that table, so it's a wonderful spot if you like to meet people. I had three terrific gofers helping me out, too: Rebecca, who was there when I arrived Friday and did a whole lot of setting-up and organizing work; Rosalita, who came earlier than expected on Saturday afternoon and stayed longer; and James Walkswithwind, an author I have long admired, who not only came for her Saturday morning shift, but stopped by periodically at other times to see if I needed a break. I had been somewhat concerned about getting meals, but the food provided in the con suite was so plentiful and excellent that I never had to go out for lunch.
Friday night I went to the Lord of the Rings room party, hosted by Heather, whom I know from Axe_Bow (a wonderful listserv for both gen and slash fans of the relationship between Legolas and Gimli), and some very welcoming friends of hers. It was quite a setup. There was a large metal board propped up on a windowsill with the erotic magnetic-poetry set scattered all over it. I spent some time admiring other people's efforts at magnetic poetry and putting together a couple of lines myself. If I remember rightly, I laid claim to "luscious", and rhymed "belly" with "jelly." I made it over to the TV area just in time to catch the beginning of _The Two Towers_. Now, I've seen the movie a couple of times, but it's *quite another thing* to watch it with slash fen! We cherished every tiny scrap of Legolas/Gimli interaction, and cheered when our heroes got screen time. We found numerous occasions to quote the Very Secret Diaries [Legolas to Eomer: "No one tries it on with *my dwarf*!"], and got into a bit of a scrap with a polite but determined member of the Legolas/Aragorn contingent over the scene where Legolas returns Arwen's necklace to Aragorn. Not a bit slashy, no sirree. (VEG)
On Saturday I had enough gofer coverage at the table to attend the LOTR slash panel, run by Heather and K.C. There was an interesting discussion of whether it's good for fan writers to attempt to imitate Tolkien's style. At first we started out with the assumption that Tolkien is The Great Master, and that most fans don't do High Grand Epic all that well, and tend to sound rather awful when they try and can't quite do it. On the other hand, writing just a bit more formally than usual can often convey a Tolkienesque flavor quite well, without the danger of misusing archaic forms. Another point that was brought up, however, was that Tolkien himself isn't always consistent, and uses different styles of writing for different situations, some of which fans can quite easily adopt. Moreover, Tolkien's editors didn't always urge him to smooth his transitions from one style to another, and a fan who copies Tolkien *too* well may wind up writing badly as a result. Not everyone agreed with this, but it was good to see the debate.
Saturday evening was the banquet, which is usually a dress-up affair. This year the suggestions were expanded to include costumes. I struck a middle road by wearing an elegant Middle Eastern gown that I inherited from my friend Elaine, a diaphanous royal blue caftan with a huge gold-sequined butterfly embroidered on it. She used to wear it as her "Arab Girlfriend" costume when she hung out with the Rat Patrol costumers. My roomie, Danica, bought a marvelously exotic outfit from Kathy Sands, which looked something like a belly-dancing costume - if I remember correctly, Danica studies belly dancing, so it was very appropriate! It looked smashing on her.
I sat at a table with Elke Tanzer, a fan of anime, among other things, whom I met at Escapade last year (and who very kindly offered me room space there at the very very last minute), Pam of "Versaphile," and several other fun-loving slashfen. Every table had a pair of teddy bears as a centerpiece, placed back-to-back in keeping with the theme of this year's convention. It wasn't long before our teddy bears had been freed from this arrangement and maneuvered into positions more suitable to a slash con. Elke was sitting one person away from me, with Pam on her other side, and the person between Elke and me was trying to carry on a conversation with Pam about RPS, which squicks both Elke and me... soon a logical solution (i.e., switching places) was proposed and Elke wound up next to me. I proposed to her that we drown out the talk of RPS with a rousing chorus of the _Ranma 1/2_ theme, and even began, "Yaa paa paa, yaa paa paa, ii shan-ten," which got her giggling. The food was quite good, as usual. Afterwards we watched a pretty funny game show called "Fan Feud," with contestants who had volunteered beforehand being called up out of the audience, and finally understood the purpose of the survey that Ker had sent out some months ago! She used it to put together the answers for a "Family Feud" type game. Then the Sizzler awards (for Slash In Zine Literary Erotica) were announced, which took rather a long time. It was wonderful, though, to see Marion's dream of recognizing excellent slashfic at the convention realized. And it was great to see how many different fandoms were recognized; many of the winners were present - and thrilled! I was delighted to hear the name Jen Ludwig among the winners; she is a young writer whose work I had read online and whom I encouraged to write for zines.
Next came the music videos, always one of my favorite events at a convention! There were lots of good ones this year. One vidder (Flamingo?) used an innovative technique: the song she had chosen (Led Zeppelin's "Trampled Underfoot" - the one that goes, "talkin' 'bout love") has lyrics that are hard to understand, so she supplied the lyrics onscreen it all the way through. Very effective! It made for a very funny Starsky/Hutch vid, with many bits of humorous interplay between the video action and the words to the song, that I wouldn't have gotten without the subtitles.
I wasn't quite sure what to do after the songvid show. I changed into less formal attire and wandered around the con area looking at the various party signs. Then - "Amedia!" called a voice from a corner niche. I turned, and there was several fen - Heather, K.C., Carolyn, Reetchick, and more - clustered around Heather's Palm Pilot, onto which she had downloaded some *momentously* bad LOTR slash from the Internet, and which she was reading aloud. So I joined the gang, and it was more fun than any of the parties I'd seen signs for, at least from my perspective. After we got done reveling in the badfic, we discussed fanfic theories on Clark Kent's Kryptonian sexual anatomy. Actually, they discussed, and I sat wide-eyed and listened. I must say, it was a fascinating and highly educational discussion!
On Sunday morning I scored an unexpected victory in the art auction, which I did not actually attend because I was at Orphan Zines. I had put a bid in on a lovely Legolas/Gimli stealth-slash photocollage by Heather just so it would go to auction - I expected to be greatly outbid, but no one else was interested and I got it at a bargain price! The slashiness is in the romantic Elvish poetry layered over the picture... the stealth is in the fact that the poetry is actually written in Elvish! The translation is on the back.
I stuck around for the packing-up and the dead dog panel. Martha said very kind things about my performance running the OZ table for the first time, and made me feel very appreciated. I'll be happy to do it again next year! The experience I got at Eclecticon proved invaluable. Then I got a nifty "job" helping - I kept Ker and Cory, her adorable 9-month-old, company while Martha & company packed out the con headquarters. Went out to dinner with the remaining members of the concom and my roomie, who sweet-talked the restaurant into seating us even though their dining room had just closed. It was great to have a chance to unwind and talk over the con and eat yummy food!
When we got back to the hotel, I was surprised to find a message from my husband blinking on the phone. I called him back, and learned that a humongous snowstorm was predicted for our part of Pennsylvania the next day. In April, for heaven's sake! I promised to call early the next morning so he could update me on the weather.
Danica and I stayed up midnight-ish packing; it would have taken less time, but we put on some of the music videos I brought with me - the WOAD Society, JKL & Friends - and had a great time watching them. Bit of a distraction, but SO much fun!
I called the hubby on Monday morning at 6:45 to learn that it had already begun to snow! All the schools in our area were closed. The Weather Channel was predicting we would get 6-12 inches. Worse, I would have to drive through a belt of sleet/freezing rain/wintry mix before I hit the snow. Hubby recommended that I call my parents in the D.C. suburbs and stay overnight with them.
So I did! They were surprised but delighted to see me, and glad that I had a good time at "one of those Trekkie conventions."
Hubby called Monday evening to say that after all the hoopla, our area got about an inch of snow... but he was glad I went to Mom and Dad's, because it was better to be safe than sorry. (This earned him major son-in-law points, as you might imagine.) I drove back Tuesday morning and was happy to get home safe and sound.