2004 BatB Convention, Kansas City, MO

Of Love and Hope: A Mini Con – but (as they say)
you'll never miss what's missing
July 9-11, 2004

Rosemarie's con report


Of Love and Hope: A Summerfest Family Reunion combined the best aspects of a busy con and a warm family gathering.  The setting was perfect. The Hotel Phillips was beautiful with an antique look and feel to it.  There were two Titanic-style staircases in the lobby that led to the mezzanine level.  The faucets in the bathrooms of the rooms were amazing – like small old-fashioned water pumps.  The staff was so nice and extremely helpful in any way they could be.  And there was a lot of delicious food.  On Friday and Saturday nights, we watched in amazement as a hotel chef prepared individual, made to order servings from a pasta bar and a fajita bar, respectively. It was so in keeping, I thought, with the elegant atmosphere.

Almost all the events took place in one room – like a big party- and we sat at round tables instead of rows of chairs.  The theme all throughout the weekend seemed to be group participation and there were, as a result, many new and fun events like the “Getting to Know You” session.  You learn a lot about a person, it seems, by asking questions like: “Besides V&C, who is your favorite Tunnel Character?”

Another never-before-done-at-a-con favorite of mine was the group reading of “Sleepless in Providence”.  I’ve heard so much about this ‘zine but never had the chance to read it.  It was a very beautiful way to experience this special ‘zine for the first time and I loved taking part in it. 

On the lighter side was the very clever and funny Top Ten List and the  “Pin the _____ on Vincent” game, both G & X rated versions were just so much more fun than you would think could be had from such a relatively simple activity!

One memorable Saturday activity was a group viewing of “A Happy Life” a la “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.  I’ve never been to a showing of the Rocky Horror, but have been told about it and never quite “got” how much fun it could be.  But needless to say I “get it” now.  And JoAnn’s quick change of tapes at the end was a brilliant touch..

On Saturday night Judy, Karen and Maranda were our hosts for the costume/talent show.  Their romantic pre-con letters of encouragement really paid off because there were a lot more wonderful costumes this year including: The Phantom of the Opera, Harry Potter, Anthony and Cleopatra, a Butterfly Princess, Arthur the Raccoon and many more.  I was first on stage with the amazing honor of modeling Catherine’s maroon velvet ensemble from the pilot episode.  Of all Catherine’s costumes, to me that’s THE one – so symbolic of all the magic that is to come. It was a wonderful feeling. (sigh) The talent show was great too, with songs by Winterose, Pixie, KG and a hilarious musical comedy routine to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”.

One of the highlights of Sunday was another con “first”.  At noon, we left the hotel as a group and took a field trip.  We were only told we were going to the Crown Center to “Look at something B&B related”.  When we arrived at the Crown Center I noticed a banner advertising a display/show entitled “Things People Collect” and wondered if this was the surprise, but that was not even the half of it.  There was a mural of collectibles at the entrance to the exhibit and as we approached someone pointed out Vincent in the mural!  It took a while for everyone to see what was inside because those ahead of us had come to a dead stop in the doorway.  It was Lori’s B&B collection that was occupying the very first spot to the left of the door when you went in.   It was so amazing to see all that B&B stuff on display for the public to see!!  What unbelievably perfect timing – it had only just opened that day.  It was also fun to see what other people collect: Hogan’s Heroes memorabilia, orange things, found notes, Laura Ingalls Wilder memorabilia, antique ballot boxes, cereal box toys, animation cells, movie posters, autographed photos from the cast of The Young and the Restless - just to name a few…but of course none could compare to B&B.  It was another very unique touch to the weekend. 

It was then back to the hotel and Summerfest Banquet.  It began as we all watched on the big screen the scene from Dead of Winter where everyone gathers to enter the Great Hall – “Can I lead you into the darkness…?” That was followed by the actual candle lighting scene - as we all lit our own candles. The banquet hall itself was intimate and elegant with mirrors and clusters of candles and roses on either side of the stage.  The tables were also beautiful with scattered rose petals and more roses and candle clusters for the centerpieces.  Favors were a small pouch with a rose box and chocolate coins inside.  I love the little touches like that.  You know what they say – God is in the details J For entertainment there were more songs from KG and Pixie.  Then, the last of Debbie’s wonderful slide shows - “A Hug” - all the scenes were V&C’s embraces.  (We saw a total of seven slide shows all weekend and they were all amazing.  Some funny, some touching, some of V&C and some of fans and past cons, but I think this last one was my favorite.)  We saw an encore showing of two older videos by Liz and Sally Perkins and two new ones from Novtek.  I loved the one to “Leather and Lace” by Stevie Nicks. Then THE VIDEO…and the closing ceremonies.

In addition to all of this, what I love so much about B&B cons is the creativity that abounds at every turn.  There was Chan’s “Fun with Bread” workshop - in which we learned how to make dough out of a slice of bread and glue and then fashioned it into a rose; Winterose’s “Quilling” – a paper craft using pink or white strips of paper to make a rose.  I love the chance to try new ways of being creative and it seems that B&B fans keep coming up with new things I’ve never even heard of before.  Then there were more familiar things that were no less fun: “Hand Made Cards” with Mary & Karen and Vincent’s Stained-Glass Window coloring contest.  There was also some excellent advice about drawing from Sandy and an interesting introduction to a blind person’s world from Amy.  And let’s not forget B&B temporary tattoos!  Perfect for those of us too chicken to ever consider getting the real thing J.

Any con report would not be complete without mention of the wonderful add-on trips that gave me a great taste of Kansas City.  On Thursday we took the bus to the Country Club Plaza which had beautiful fountains and architecture and very elegant shops to browse in.  I really enjoyed the Thomas Kinkade gallery – he is one of my favorite artists.  I also had my first taste of  Cheesecake Factory cheesecake there.

On Monday we explored the Crown Center in more detail, did a lot of shopping and ate at a place called Fritz’s that was so much fun but really hard to explain to people.  It’s a train themed restaurant where you place your order by phone from your table.  A small train traveling on a track overhead then brings your order to you!  You really have to be there to fully appreciate it, I think.  That evening, the Ameristar Casino turned out to be so worth the trip even if you didn’t want to gamble.  It was made to look like you were outside in an Old West town even though you were really indoors.  There was a fabulous “outdoor” buffet and an antique rail car to stroll through.  Quite the photo opportunity!  I actually wound up gambling anyway because I came across a slot machine that was called “The Enchanted Unicorn”. The symbols that spun around were a prince, a princess, a rose, a lion and a unicorn!  I’ve never seen anything like that in Atlantic City and just couldn’t pass it up.

Tuesday morning we went to the Steamboat Arabia museum.  This was fascinating – we saw the cargo that was retrieved- in tact- from this steamboat that sunk on the Missouri River in the 1800’s.  Following that, we took a tour of a Creative Candles factory.  That evening we saw Sandy Duncan staring in The King and I at the Starlight Theater.  It was a very good show with some of the most beautiful and brightly colored costumes I’ve ever seen - and the theater and grounds itself were beautiful.

On Wednesday the official trips were over but there was still more goodies to see!  Debbie, Cyndi and I went to the Toy & Miniature museum.  What a wonderful place!  One could spend hours or even days gazing at the intricately detailed antique doll houses, dolls and toys and the unbelievably perfect miniature scenes done by contemporary miniature artists.  And finally, last but not least, I went off by myself on Wednesday afternoon to the Hallmark Visitor’s Center.  From the first mention of Kansas City I was looking forward to this because I am a big Hallmark fan.  There were displays about the history of the Hallmark company; a section on calligraphy that I drooled over because I do a little calligraphy myself; displays about the sentiment writers, a short film on how their artists develop/maintain their creativity, a place to view a card being printed and a bow being made.  Also, a display of their Christmas ornaments and some very unique Christmas trees that Hallmark employees have given as gifts to the Hall family in the past.  For me, this was the perfect ending to a wonderful trip.

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