Arisia '07.Â Those who went will understand more of what I'm talking about than those who didn't.Â For those who didn't, Arisia is an annual SF Con in the Boston area.Â This year it moved to a new hotel.
The hotel was a lovely hotel.Â Wonderful architecture.Â Well designed for your standard business-class traveler on any normal occasion.Â Completely unable to handle thousands of hang-out-in-the-hallways congoers.Â Many of you will have already experienced or heard of the hotel difficulties, but let me make my own marks.Â First, the elevators were a problem.Â Not only were they fragile and small, necessitating a 7 person occupancy limit, but there were only 3 of them, where the old hotel had 6 or so which could accommodate at least a dozen people each.Â Add to this the fact that there were only two stairwells, both at the far flung corners of the building, and the immediate impression is that of traffic problems.Â I also noted that unlike in the Boston Park Plaza, the con was not able to center on a few floors, and was forced to put Dealers Room (much smaller than in the past) and Art Show (also smaller, but somewhat better) at the top of the building, making it very difficult even for those who chose to take stairs.Â I also noted that the hallways were much narrower in this location, making the congestion and crowds that much greater.
Second, the location was unfortunate.Â It was not right on the T, so there was a lot more automotive congestion, although I was unaffected.Â It was also about a mile from any reasonable food option (the wonderful cafe in the bottom of the Modern Continental building next door isn't open on weekends), and even then, if you were an out of towner you were in trouble.Â For us locals though, I managed to get out to Anna's Taqueria Friday night and Central Square Saturday night, so fed relatively well.
Thirdly, although the conference space seemed fairly generous, the layout and locationing was inconvenient.Â Notably, every panel I had in Prefunction space A was continuously affected by people looking for the panel in President's Ballroom A, on the other side of the partition wall.Â Conveniently, though, one of my panels was on the 2nd floor, right across from learnedax's room/Intercon party room where I had stuff stashed.
The gripes posted, there were plenty of good things about the con this year.Â Having to walk a mile+ to and from where I was staying gave me plenty of time to catch up on This American Life.Â The Intercon G InterKong Party was probably_the_ most successful public party on Friday night.Â Wired blogged about us.Â We had hundreds of people come through.Â Without much advertising.Â Part of it was that we were conveniently located near the access end of the hallway, so people going up and down the hall were bound to pass us.Â Part of it was the ever popular snocones.Â We also got a lot of interest in the Banana Smoothies and the genuine Atari 2600 with Donkey Kong.Â Kudos to learnedax for organizing it, and to Nat B. for bringing stuff and helping out, and Alex for helping stock supplies and set up, Alex for making tasty smoothies, and Alex (learnedax) again for making every part of it go.
And I was on panels for the first time this year.Â I had a good experience overall, and will do it again next year, I think.Â I started off on the Funny and Fabo Table Games panel, with a few others, and we got to show off some of our favorite amusing games.Â We had one MiB who talked about Ninja Burger and Munchkin, one WizKids guy who talked about some of the clix products, Bill Todd who talked about Chopstick Challenge, and Gloom, and I talked about Evo and Bang.
I followed this up with the Podcasting 101 panel.Â I've been running one as a side project for about a year now.Â Only two of the panelists had actually done podcasting, and the other two were looking at doing it to promote their books, which the other podcaster was doing, so I had a different perspective, not being an author promoting a book. We had a good diversity in the panel, and it was the most attended panel I was on, with perhaps the exception of Sunday.Â We had a full room, with a few people standing.Â I brought some gear and recorded most of the panel (with permission). That one went exceedingly well.
TS Larp: Beyond Boffer was mostly attended by ringers; a lot of Intercon regulars.Â There were 4 or 5 that weren't though, and one of the Panelists wasn't (one of the panelists didn't show).Â This is the panel I was on with TPau, and although the audience was small, I think we covered some good ground, helped clarify the differences in game styles for those who had only played Live Combat games, and made some good points.Â I think we sparked some interest, but I don't know if we will see any real effects from it.
Sunday I moderated The Eye of Argon: The Professionals.Â I'm not sure what makes me a professional, but I was honored to share the panel with GoH Esther Friesner, SF writers Shane Tourtellotte and Michael A Burstein, and artist E J Barnes.Â Esther proved herself to be an old pro, handily wiping out the first page-long chapter.Â I'd decided we'd change readers at the chapter marks to help move along in case someone proved an excellent Argonaut.Â On the other end of things, Michael had never read it before, or even heard anything about it.Â Shortly in to reading, he turned and asked me if this was a joke...Â he rallied though, set a personal goal of making it through a whole paragraph. To his credit, he succeeded, doing very well for a first-timer.Â I dug out a bright orange hotel-concierge style bell from the 70's edition of the game Pit, and cheerily rang it when someone goofed up or cracked up, myself as well.Â I know the panelists had a good time, and the audience seemed to have a good time as well, so all for the best.
After followed the Intercon G ConCom meeting, and the NEIL Board meeting, both of which went without too much of a hitch.Â I then fled the scene so I could work my way back to Framingham, pick up asdr83, and dash down to Westerly, RI, to see a production of this year's 12th Night show that my brother had a small role in.Â It was an excellent show with some very entertaining juggling, excellent selection of music, and fabulous costumes.Â If I'd been able to make a better job with dinner, it would have been quite the excellent evening, but we did alright.
All said and done, a busy, but good weekend.
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