Well, now that *that’s* over with…
FaerieCon East, Hunt Valley MD
This is the 5th FaerieCon East, and they loudly touted the return of their inaugural guests, Charles de Lint, urban fantasy author, and Charles Vess, fantasy artist. I’ve known Vess since 2000, when he was the inaugural art GOH at Trinoc*coN in Durham, NC. And I’ve been a fan of de Lint for even longer, since the Science Fiction Book Club introduced me to his created upper-midWest town of Newford, where reality intersects with the magical realm, not always with predictable or comfortable results. I was also very happy to hear the beautiful music of Martine Kraft and to see Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files, and the lovely Princess Author Alethea Kontis, in particular.
I decided to make the trip with Daughter, who has recently expressed interest in becoming more active in convention life, and two friends, another mother-daughter duo.
A longer-than-expected trip from NC on Friday meant we arrived just in time for the Good Faerie Ball on Friday night. We had a wonderful time at the ball, enjoying all the beautiful costumes and the music and dancing.
Saturday morning started rather slowly. Faeries like to party late and sleep in, so my first panel didn’t start until noon. So we enjoyed a relaxing morning and breakfast buffet at the hotel. In typical con fashion, I made friends with a woman while waiting for fresh-made omelettes, and we bonded over Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman. She had already met de Lint and said he planned to be at his exhibitor’s booth when he wasn’t at a panel or other scheduled event. This is one of the “small moments” that I love about conventions – random connections with strangers who have specific common interests. :)
After breakfast, we strolled around visiting all the dealers and exhibitors. We made friends with the lovely ladies at one of the face-painting booths, and I treated myself to “faerie” eyes, which seems more like a half-face mask to me. I gave her more than she charged, she did such a lovely job. And one of her cohorts sang and danced the Time Warp, which had us all dissolving in giggles as we sang along.
We met Charles and Mary Ann for the first time, and when I pulled out my old Science Fiction Book Club edition of The Newford Stories, he laughed and pointed to the next booth over. “That’s the cover artist, right there!” After we chatted for a bit, I went over and met Gary Lippincott and thanked him for introducing me to Charles all those years ago! Gary is sweet and funny and a talented fantasy artist – check his work out at http://www.garylippincott.com. He described how dramatically the publisher changed his artwork for this particular cover, much to his chagrin. While talking with Gary and looking over more of his beautiful artwork, one of his longtime fans told me that she’s collected tarot cards for some 30 years, and his collection is her absolute favorite. They are certainly beautiful!
I tried to attend one of the main lit panels with several of the author guests, including de Lint, but by the time I arrived (a few minutes late), it was standing room only and out into the lobby, so I couldn’t even get into the room or hear very clearly. Another panel I planned to attend on steampunk was punked indeed – none of the panelists showed up after 15 minutes. I was discouraged from making much effort to attend the other panels I was interested in. We saw Jim Butcher standing in a hallway, signing books - he clearly should have had a table, and some scheduled signing time would have been nice.
So the panels proved a bust, but the dealers & exhibitors have a great variety of selections, and we enjoyed looking through so many fun and beautiful items. Daughter was particularly attracted to a fancy dress/underdress at one of the costumers. She kept returning to it again and again, despite my discouragement based on the price. Yeah, I broke down and bought it. She might sleep in it. She’s under orders to wear it at every con she attends for the next…forever.
After a relaxing and enjoyable day, we headed off site to as nearby mall for dinner. On our return, we prepared for the Bad Faerie Ball. By the time we made it down to the lobby, it was crowded with wonderful fae costumes. We enjoyed people-watching and eventually made our way into the Faerie Ball. It was much less crowded than the previous night, which surprised us until we realized there was no band playing, the diehard dancers were making do with canned music (albeit unjoyable). We waited for over 30 minutes before wandering back out to the hall dealers.
Where I met up with friends who introduced me to talented and uber-charming artist Robert Quill…from whom I ended up commissioning an original fantasy portrait! I’m looking forward to seeing what he does!
The 2nd musical act finally started, and we enjoyed dancing for awhile. It was so hot and crowded, we had to go outside to cool down every few songs. After awhile, I decided I’d had enough for the night --writing and sleep hold more allure than late night partying these days!
So, that’s my report for our 1st night/day of FaerieCon. Not entirely as I expected, but so far very enjoyable nonetheless.
To be continued...
To be continued...
~45 minutes, interrupted
October word count: