Lynn Gold (figmo) wrote,
Lynn Gold

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ConChord Report

Friday I woke up sick with a cold. Uck. I had a couple of hours to put in at work for the week, but because I was sneezing and coughing I opted to do them at home.

Just as I was finishing up and getting myself ready to pack the phone rang. Warren's car broke down en route to my house. This meant I had to shlep from Mountain View to Los Gatos (about half an hour), then call AAA, then lead the tow truck to the auto shp.

After this I insisted we get food. It was close to when I had hoped to leave, but I still had to pick up the blonde wig for the Totally Tasteless and Tacky Revue (aka the TTTR). I also needed something easy to swallow, as my throat was red and raw. I suggested we hit the Pasta Market in Sunnyvale because it was near where I had to buy the wig. We stopped at House of Humor, I bought the wig, then we both got meat ravioli with marinara sauce with extra garlic. This slid down nicely for me but didn't work well for Warren, as the sauce was too acidic for his palate. I then filled the gas tank for the trip, as I'd hit upon a cheap station.

Next we drove home. I gave Warren money so he could run errands while I packed. I called Martin DeMello (aka "zem" on #filkhaven) to let him know I was running late and why, then packed and staged everything. Somewhere in there Warren decided my oil needed changing and did so. I wound up departing at 5pm, two hours later than the latest I'd hoped to leave.

I swung by where Martin was staying and picked him up, stopping in at the 7-Eleven across the street to pick up a diet Coke to sip en route. This was kind of amusing because we'd never met in person and had only seen photos of each other on the net. Martin looked quite a bit different from his photo because he'd cut his hair. I don't know if I looked like what he'd expected, but who else would be driving a car with license plate "FIGMO N" on it?

Martin turned out to be a pleasant travel companion. He's insufferably cute, really polite, and even nicer in person than he is on the IRC channel. We discovered we'd both been active at different times on alt.callahans and compared notes.

As the trip went on I was plotting my concert set. That's the only way to describe it. Nick Smith wanted Saturday's concerts to be on the tasteless and tacky side, and it was my job to help. It was also the first time I'd had a solo concert on a Saturday, and I wasn't about to disappoint folks. I had made sure in advance my props were loaded in the car and my MIDI files were backed up.

We stopped for dinner at the obligatory Harris Ranch, then made our way down I-5, arriving around 12:30am. It turned out to be too late for Martin's sister to pick him up, so I figured I'd ask my roommate, Jane M., if he could crash with us. Luckily for me, she was going to ask me to see if we could scrounge for extra roommates when I popped the question. I like it when great minds think alike.

I wasn't up to much filking Friday night. I chatted with folks a bit. Jodi and Allison have new haircuts that really look good on them (no ladies, I wasn't BSing you when I complimented you). I then went to bed, only I couldn't sleep because I was so sick. Between coughing and sneezing fits (I rushed to the bathroom so I wouldn't wake Jane and Martin), I sorted through various MIDI files, doing some editing and tweaking of a couple of them for my concert set. I had yet to touch base with the other 2/3 of my TTTR bit.

Saturday I woke up and got ready just in time to catch the beginning of Urban Tapestry's Songwriting Workshop. This was a major win. They had a song about chocolate (hey, this is UT; what else would it be about?) Debbie had started and which we, in groups, were to complete. Scott Snyder came up with a verse, and Blake Hodgetts, Barry Gold, and I wrote a bridge. (Note to Self: Must do musical stuff with Blake more often. He and I have similar styles, similar hardware and software, and our voices blend so well it's freaky.)

I then asked Scott and Paul, my other 2/3 for the TTTR, if they'd practiced. Scott had not had time, and I learned Paul hadn't had the time to practice, either. Oops. Rather than have Paul fake it and have someone else learn Scott's part quickly I suggested we hold it till next year and crossed us off the list. It was really weird not having a TTTR presentation for the first time since I've been attending ConChord, but there was no way I could put together anything approaching the tastelessness of my concert that quickly. Given that I was doing what amounted to a half hour of tasteless and tacky material, and given my sucky health, I decided I was best off opting out and resting up for my concert. Good move.

Before the TTTR ConChord had a special act: Throwing Toasters. The act consists of a guy named Grant explaining why the rest of the band couldn't make the gig and doing tasteless and tacky songs. I've been a fan of his for a while from listening to demented radio on I caught a little of his act at Loscon, but since he was on right before me I didn't really get to see him. Afterwards I bought both his CDs and chatted with him a bit.

The TTTR was a blast. mannoftalent MC'ed and was perfectly tacky. The revue kind of blurred together for me; the most memorable bits were Kay Shapero's with lots of hats, UT's with the library boy, and Mara Brener's LaMaze song where she "gave birth" to a stuffed teddy bear.

Other folks from LJ who were there included cadhla, almeda, and misdev. The former two did not strip during the TTTR this year, and the latter was running the con suite (and did a terrific job).

After the TTTR came the one-shots, and after that, my concert. I missed some of the one-shots because I had to prepare for my concert, but this time I was more relaxed because I'd opted to do everything accompanied by computer. Just knowing I didn't have to play guitar on stage relaxed me.

Part of getting ready involved medicating myself to within an inch of my life. The other part involved clueing in Callie Hills, who had been "volunteered" by Gerry to be propmistress, as to my props. I wrote explicit instructions for her, and Gerry Tyra suggested since Callie is nearly a foot taller than me that she hold the "limbo bar" out straight the first go-around and I walk under it without bending.

Then came my concert. My set consisted of only three numbers because, when you add up the lengths of the numbers, setup time, and patter time, it came out to just under 30 minutes, and I didn't want to run over. My set:

Aunt Bessie's Doggie Cabana
Poetry's Greatest Hits
Poetry's Greatest Hits, Volume II

For the first number, a parody of Barry Manilow's "Copacabana," I had two stuffed doggies. The first one looked like a Bichon Frise (I have several; this should not surprise anyone who knows me), and the second like a mutt. I danced on stage a bit and "acted out" the song with the two toy doggies.

For the second number Callie handed me my graduation robe, which I donned. I then gave the background for "Poetry's Greatest Hits" and ran through it. I was amazed at how many people in the audience had never heard it.

Next I performed "Poetry's Greatest Hits, Volume Two." The limbo gag worked beautifully. I was busy donning and doffing hats in between and dancing (the Monkey, the Limbo, and the Achy Breaky, for those keeping track). It was hard to gauge the audience because the con was sparsely attended compared to normal (I attribute it to Worldcon being in the same state and same month and to the sucky economy).

After my concert Erwin "Filthy Pierre" Strauss led a hymnal-style sing-along with lyrics on slides, playing along with his portable keyboard. It was really cool having that kind of sing-along because we don't normally do filk that way out here, whereas that's the way we used to do it back east when I lived in NY. Much fun was had by all.

After his concert we had several groups diverging for dinner. I opted to go with the group walking to the Thai place down the street. Walking sounded good, and Thai sounded good for my sinuses. The dinner was excellent and most reasonably priced.

After dinner I had time to stop by my room, hit the con suite, then get to the concert room in time to catch all of Urban Tapestry's concert. They were good. Allison Durno had an infected throat, but it didn't show during the concert at all. What troopers!

During the concert we did the song we'd written during the workshop. It was fun. I also enjoyed, for a change, getting to actually attend a filk con instead of run it.

After UT there was a break for the Interfilk auction. I didn't stick around because I couldn't afford to buy much of anything. Then Nancy Louise Freeman. Her concert, or what I caught of it, was also excellent. Nancy writes really cool lyrics. She's also worked really hard on her voice over the years and it shows. Nancy was an entertaining toastmistress for the weekend: I give her an A+.

After the concerts came open filking. At first a bunch of us settled in the larger of the two rooms, but the bulk of the folks were in the smaller one, so we all migrated there. I went to the con suite for a while because there was no room for me to get into the filk room. Eventually I went in, did a couple of numbers, listened to a lot more, and then did my "Yak Butter" song to close and left. Joey Shoji was there and had actually seen the yak butter exhibit I sung about. There are times when it's nice to have someone sanity-check the weirder parts of your life, and this was one of them.

I also spent lots of time chatting with folks during the con, including Eric Gerds, John and Mary Creasey, Gerry and Sandy Tyra, Arthur and Ronni Rubin, Mara, Harry, and Madeleine (wow has she grown!) Brener, Mary Ann Westfield, Tony Fabris, Jeff Bohnhoff, Amanda Weinstein, Beckett Gladney (got to see the Kwinn twins again...awww), Amanda Snyder (Zoe is so cute!), Lee and Barry Gold, Blars, David Okamura (I hope I spelled his last name right), Ken Hughes, and Marilyn Miller. I know I'm leaving a few folks out, and to those of you I didn't mention I apologize.

Sunday was more laid back. I slept really late, hacked, sneezed, showered, packed, got my stuff out of the room, then went to the concert room. mannoftalent's concert was in progress, but I think I caught most of it. He's good, folks. After him Blake Hodgetts did about 20 minutes, followed by the "ASH Project," aka his two daughters (I think they're 10 and 13). The girls write their own material and are quite good. As I settled in I was handed a gold gift bag with a kazoo award. Sweet. I then realized I'd missed the Kazoo Awards. Darn. They're fun to watch to see the kazoos. I like them because (almost) nobody takes them to heart, although mine did look nice enough to put on a mantle.

The concerts ended around 3:30, and I had 1.5 hours till Martin was going to be at the hotel. The Sterns and I grabbed a late lunch at the hotel coffee shop, and then I gathered up Martin and misdev at the con suite and we departed for points north.

In all, a good time was had by everyone. Everyone seemed to be in good form, and we all were glad to be there. My only complaint: Nick Smith isn't selling memberships to next year's con till he's sure where it'll be.

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