2004 Con Report

JoAnn and Lori

 

 

On Friday we had registration (and got tote bags decorated and donated by
fans which included items also donated by fans) and those who hadn't connected
with friends before had a chance to chat before opening ceremony. We started
with a "getting to know you" segment in which con-goers were introduced by their
name, where they are from, their favorite B&B character besides Vincent and/or
Catherine, and their "home" tunnels. As we had attendees from Chesapeake,
HAT, on-line groups and "unaffiliated" it was quite a collection of "homes" and
made us realize just how extensive our tunnel system is, and that not all fans
are on-line. Judy Loyd, ably assisted by her pal, Karen Quattlebaum, led the
attendees in a call-and-response story that had some blowing kazoos at each
mention of the word "wind" and shouting out "Not a good idea, Vincent" whenever
Father was mentioned, etc. Everyone was in stitches, and it really broke what
little ice there was.

We passed out a First Season Trivia Game and everyone mined their
recollections - incredibly, Rosemarie Salvatore got nearly all the answers right
(and
most of the questions were HARD).

Marty Postlethwait of the con's charity - Shadow Buddies - brought a video
describing the good work of this organization and really fired up the interest
of the crowd. Shadow Buddies also contributed to the con by providing bottles
of water for our tote bags and donations for the charity auction.

After a lunch break, we gathered to watch some celebrated B&B music videos
while the Orphan Table and Art Display were opened. Beast Bingo followed, and
that was followed by a chance to put on a (temporary) tattoo and sign con cards.
We then had a wonderful pasta dinner cooked to order.

After dinner we showed the first of several wonderful slide shows created by
the talented Deb Fowler - a San Francisco con retrospective and a B&B
retrospective. This was followed by a group reading of the incomparable zine
"Sleepless in Providence." Another Deb Fowler special followed - a slide show
entitled
"Can't Touch This" which included some hilarious poses from past cons that
thoroughly embarrassed certain attendees (Chan's 14-inch hot dog dinner in NYC
was prominently featured!). And THEN (and we realize we were all VERY naughty
and are all going to hell - but we'll have cons there!) we had a Pin the [Dangly
Bit] on Vincent game. Two versions were offered. One involved pinning
Vincent's rose pouch on his chest, and the other...well...pinned the dangly bit
on
Vincent's nether regions. Those who could see from the tears streaming down
their eyes from laughing at the various techniques used to ascertain just WHERE
to
pin the dangly bit (kneeling was involved in several instances) can further
describe the experience in (hopefully) upcoming con reports! Needless to say,
we laughed pretty much all day long, and folks lingered in the room long after
the last event of the day. A chocolate lover's snack ended the evening.

After a light breakfast, Saturday began with a couple of rounds of
Beastrivia. Then Chan ran a workshop called "Fun With Bread" which involved
making roses
with bread, glue and elbow grease. Again the Orphan Table was open, as was
the Art Display, with folks bidding on items in the latter. Amy McGarrah held a
fascinating workshop on experiences faced by the blind and demonstrated
braille embossing equipment. Then it was time for a lunch break and talent show
rehearsals.

After lunch, Winterose held a hands-on quilling workshop (who knew you could
make paper look so beautiful?), while some con-goers colored Vincent's Window
(you'd be surprised how many people took those crayons and went to work!).
This was also the last chance for purchasing items at the Orphan Table (and we
cannot fail to thank Cathy Moran and Larry Baca for all their hard work in
running that operation) and bidding on Art Display items (and thanks go to Sandy
Tew for organizing and running the art display, and Chan Shelton and Larry Baca
for the building of the art display area and hanging the painted panels). We
then watched "A Happy Life" with a twist - whenever anyone on the show hugged
someone, so did we, whenever Joe's face appeared on-screen, we shouted, "Hey,
Cutie!" - and so on...kind of like a "nice" Rocky Horror experience. The
viewing ended when the final scene was replaced by the one we SHOULD have gotten
(if
you know what I mean! <kiss kiss>).

In a break with tradition, we held the Art Auction and Charity Auction
together...and in the afternoon, instead of post-banquet. Bids were flying fast
and
furious - the generosity in our tunnels is indeed awesome. While we have yet
to do a final accounting, Lori wants everyone to know that our pre-con
expectation of how much money we'd raise for the Shadow Buddies charity has been
far
surpassed. We cannot thank enough the many fans who bid with abandon, who won
and then re-gifted items to be auctioned again, and who in general made such a
success of our auctions. B&B fans are the BEST!!!!

After working up an appetite spending all that money, we settled into another
delicious dinner (a fajita station). There was a short break for folks to put
on their costumes, and then we held our Costume Contest/Talent Show. The
costumes were truly memorable. So many participated, and it was a shame only
three
prizes could be given out - one for Best Tunnel Attire (won by Tunnelmom with
a lovely hand-made-from-a-bedspread tunnel nightie), one for Best Other
Attire (won by Philip and Julie Smith of HAT in their Julius Caesar and
Cleopatra
outfits - he loved that asp!), and one for Best Overall Costume (won by
Rosemarie Salvatore in Catherine's original costume from the Pilot). Other
costumes
included Verla Beatty's wonderful Harry Potter, Renee Long and Lisa Gould's
Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, Ron Stricklin's Phantom, and those
by Lynn Aoki, Suze Howe, Winterose, J'ecris and many others. Wait until you see
the pictures!

The Talent Show displayed the amazing talents of our tunnel family, most
especially the singers - Suze Howe, Pixie Pass, Winterose, Kg Freeman and Jessie
Frank, and the skit involving Jessie and Daniel Frank, Roy Freeman and Gary
Battershell lip-synching to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" which involved a
"Vincent's
Origin" theme. Again, fans lingered until late in the evening, enjoying the
camaraderie (fanaraderie?!) which only being at a con can bring.

Sunday began with breakfast. Three Deb Fowler slide shows were presented,
followed by a fascinating Fandom Forward panel in which various attendees spoke
about projects which they were involved in for fandom, and of the future of fan
gatherings, both on-line and in person. I'm sure more will come out on this
from the individual fans later, but it was comforting to know that so many fans
are committed to continuing our tradition of annual gatherings in some form
over the next few years. No "convention" per se was discussed for next year - a
"fan trip" is a better description of what will occur in 2005 - but initial
plans were made for a 20th-anniversary-of-the-show gathering in 2007.

One of the benefits of having all activities in the same room was that
con-goers could participate in several things - one actively, the other quietly.
For
instance, following Fandom Forward, another round of Beast Bingo was played
while some fans played Second Season Trivia.

In another break from tradition, attendees went on a field trip - to Crown
Center, for a special surprise and because the food court there offered so many
lunch options. We made a beeline for the "Things People Collect" exhibit,
which had opened just the day before and runs through early September. We were
greeted by a collage of collected items painted on the entrance to the exhibit -
and a version of Pam Tuck's Vincent doll graced that collage. Inside, the VERY
first exhibit was...a Beauty and the Beast collection! Lori had made
arrangements to show a collection of B&B objects (both commercial and fan-made),
and
attendees got a huge kick out of seeing all those items on public display. Lots
of pictures were taken - hopefully someone will post a few!

Back to the hotel, and many con-goers attended Sandy Tew's Drawing Workshop
or watched interview videos culled from many years of conventions and TV
interviews. Mary Burk held an intriguing hand-made card stamping workshop while
Lisa
Gould showed fans how she put on her Vincent make-up. An extra special "kick"
was that she was wearing Vincent's original Winterfest shirt and vest (and we
marveled that they fit BOTH Ron Perlman and her perfectly!). [Later that
evening she took a turn outside the hotel in her Vincent makeup and costume -
lots
of surprised "mundanes" saw her!]

After a break for banquet dress-up, we assembled on the mezzanine for photos
and conversation until the doors of the Crystal Ballroom opened to the sounds
of tapping pipes and a view of lit candles. Our banquet meal was lovely, and
followed by entertainment from Suze, Pixie, Kg and Jessie (who handled the
sound system for the entire weekend - thanks, Jessie and Daniel!). We had our
traditional candle lighting while simultaneously viewing the candle-lighting
scene
from "Dead of Winter," enjoyed another slide show from Deb, and romantic
music videos from Liz and Sally Perkins and from Novtek, followed by The Tape
(with many and heartfelt thanks to Linda C. for continuing to make it available
for viewing).

Closing ceremonies involved drawings for two Judy Loyd-made baskets of
goodies, and passing the candle to those who have stepped forward to plan future
gatherings and events, both on-line and in person.

Then...it was over for another year. There had been lots of hugs, laughter
and late night chats. And, unless they were lying to us (!), everyone said they
had a wonderful time!

Lori and JoAnn