Ugliest Disaster

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Joel K. Furr

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Nov 28, 1994, 1:09:58 AM11/28/94
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I'm curious: those of you who've run cons or been on con staff, what was
the ugliest disaster to happen during your con? In other words, when
Murphy's Law came true with a vengeance, what exactly happened?

Don Glover, the younger

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Nov 27, 1994, 5:49:23 PM11/27/94
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I was not on staff for this but back in 83 we had a con here in seattle called
Future Fest (or as we loved to call it Future Farce). That budgeted for 3000
people showing up and paying 30 or so bucks each. They got 800-1000 no one is
sure of exact numbers. Several of the paid guests (this was mainly a media
con) had demanded pre payment and did not show. Many of the hotel functions
were pulled when it was discovered by the management at the hotel and
convention center that the persons who had signed the contracts were under 18
years of age...

Kelly Lockhart

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Nov 28, 1994, 12:54:00 PM11/28/94
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In message <3bbs7m$6...@news.duke.edu>, Joel K. Furr asks:

JKF> I'm curious: those of you who've run cons or been on con staff, what was
JKF> the ugliest disaster to happen during your con? In other words, when
JKF> Murphy's Law came true with a vengeance, what exactly happened?

Probably the worst thing ever to happen at a con was at the second
Magnum Opus Con held in Columbus, Georgia about six years ago. One of
the GoH's was one of the actors who portrayed Dr. Who. Early Saturday
morning of the convention, he passed away in his sleep.

The Con Chair, Roland Castle, apparently just stared blankly at a wall
when informed of the actor's demise. What else could he do?

And in true fannish tradition, the con is now referred to by those who
attended as "DeathCon I"

------------------------------------------------------------------------
| kelly.l...@lightspeed.com | North American SF Convention |
| kelly.l...@ftl.mese.com | July 13 - 16, 1995 |
------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Harlan Ellison Timothy Zahn Michael Whelan |
| George Alec Effinger Bjo Trimble |
------------------------------------------------------------------------

---
. SLMR 2.1a #1492 . I used to watch TV, then I bought a modem.

John F. Zmrotchek

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Nov 28, 1994, 3:22:32 AM11/28/94
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Two years ago, our convention (Concept) had its con suite (hospitality suite,
whatever you might call it in your neck of the woods) shut down on the Friday
night. Seems our hotel liason had made a verbal agreement with the hotel to
have such a room where food and drink were served, but no one thought to tell
the service staff. When someone on the room service crew noticed this hotel
suite full of people getting food and drink (we had food for about 400 for
three days), they screamed bloody murder that such was against their union
agreements. Either we had to shut down the con suite, or the service staff
would hold an impromptu walkout. Needless to say, we got shut down so fast it
made our ehad spin. Worse, we then had to figure out what to do with all the
food...

In the end, it wasn't as disastrous as it could have been. Another convention
two weeks after ours bought most of our non-perishables, the hotel opened a
'con lounge', which consisted of hotel service staff running what basically
amounted to a pop and chips stand that charged horrendously inflated prices,
and the con-goers realized that it was the hotel's fault, not ours, and
directed their complaints accordingly.

It was, btw, our best year ever in terms of attendance.

The moral of the story? No matter what you agree to with your hotel, GET IT
IN WRITING!!! Otherwise, THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU, TOO!!!

John F. Zmrotchek
Chairman, Concept 95
Montreal, Quebec
This year's Guests of Honor: Spider & Jeanne Robinson, Vincent DiFate

Martin Schafer

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Nov 28, 1994, 10:43:59 PM11/28/94
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In article <3bbs7m$6...@news.duke.edu> jf...@acpub.duke.edu (Joel K. Furr) writes:
>

Well, one worst set of problems from a Minicon about 10 years ago:

The club (Minnstf) was having a serious disagreement with a person
who shall remain nameless. This particular year, someone called
the Bloomington Health department, saying we were preparing food and
serving it, contrary to health department regulations. Inspectors
arrived, looked over the con-suite, and decided that there were no
violations.

Someone called the Minnesota Department of Revenue and said that
we were running a flea market without collecting sales tax. Inspectors
arrived, and discovered that all our paperwork for an untaxed special
event were in order.

Someone called the Bloomington police and reported that a major drug
deal would be taking place in a particular room that a member of the
con committee would be staying in (it was a room that they always
stayed in, in the hotel). By this time we had informed the hotel
that we were being harrassed, so their security department explained
the situation to the police and the police went away.

Someone put up posters around the local state university campus
saying "all the beer you can drink all weekend only $25!!" We
probably got some people we'd rather we hadn't, from that, but it
wasn't terribly noticeable.

Now, the worst thing, was unrelated to all of the
above (the possible source of the harrassment had been jailed for
trashing his apartment earlier in the weekend). Some fans, breaking
the rules about not using the service
elevators, discovered a female hotel employee tied up and gagged,
her clothes disarranged, apparently not breathing. Hotel security
was called immediately, she was given mouth to mouth and revived
and recovered (she had been chloroformed and raped).

Martin


Joel K. Furr

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Nov 29, 1994, 9:06:45 AM11/29/94
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z...@cam.org (John F. Zmrotchek) wrote:
>they screamed bloody murder that such was against their union
>agreements. Either we had to shut down the con suite, or the service staff
>would hold an impromptu walkout. Needless to say, we got shut down so fast it
>made our ehad spin.

Bizarre. I assume that Canada's union laws are different from America's,
but similar to Hollywood's. If memory serves, in Hollywood the director
can't change a lightbulb in his office on the set; he has to pay an
electrician and an electrician's helper a full hour's pay to do it. And
if he DOES do it himself, the electrician's union and all their brethren
unions may strike.

What you're saying is that the union had an agreement that ANY food
served in the hotel had to be served by them?

Hmm. In that case, your 'get it in writing from the hotel' thing
probably wouldn't apply -- I doubt the hotel management can waive a
union's rules or an agreement with the union.

Sounds pretty awful, though. Glad to hear it worked out.

--
Joel Furr(ian): "Armenian" crook/criminal/wacko. Big Kahuna of alt.fan.lemurs.
Moderator of alt.folklore.suburban and comp.society.folklore. Co-moderator of
alt.humor.best-of-usenet. King of alt.config. Purveyor of cool net.collectibles.
Will create newsgroups for food. URL: http://www.duke.edu/~jfurr/index.html

david sutton

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Nov 29, 1994, 12:06:25 PM11/29/94
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Mine don't rank up there with the previous "Nightmare stories",
however here's a few that happened up north.

Robert O'Reily was guest at a Star Trek/Sci-Fi convention in
Canada. (Note: Plays Gowron, High Council) It was his birthday,
so that first night he had smuggled in some "special drinks".
He claimed to be living up to his "Irish" heritage or some such.

Well, he made himself several extra strength magarita's, followed
by a bottle of vodka. To say he got drunk is an understatement.
He had to go the bathroom, he staggered up, and went. Unfortunately,
he hadn't reached the bath room yet. We had to "borrow/steal"
a Gofer's pants to put on Robert, then carry him out to the
Cab to take him else where to sober up.

You see, he was the first person on stage that morning...
Needless to say plans were slightly altered at this point...
And lucky for the Con committee, they didn't have to deal with
his agent, when she found out. That was my job.

Don't worry, the scars have healed up nicely...

Ask away! I've got more where this comes from, not all of
them so funny...

"Happy Swinging"

Farrell McGovern

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Nov 29, 1994, 12:12:03 PM11/29/94
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In a previous article, z...@cam.org (John F. Zmrotchek) says:

>Two years ago, our convention (Concept) had its con suite (hospitality suite,
>whatever you might call it in your neck of the woods) shut down on the Friday
>night. Seems our hotel liason had made a verbal agreement with the hotel to
>have such a room where food and drink were served, but no one thought to tell
>the service staff. When someone on the room service crew noticed this hotel
>suite full of people getting food and drink (we had food for about 400 for
>three days), they screamed bloody murder that such was against their union
>agreements. Either we had to shut down the con suite, or the service staff
>would hold an impromptu walkout. Needless to say, we got shut down so fast it
>made our ehad spin. Worse, we then had to figure out what to do with all the
>food...

Another "great" blowup was the year at Maplecon, I think it was
Maplecon II where one of the dealers from the States had come in with
out properly delcairing their stock, and the RCMP came in and shut down
the whole dealer's room for about 5 hours...talk about nail bitting, some
concom were afraid that they would shut down the whole con!

I beleive it was the same year that a co-chair of Maplecon had
been promising that Spider Robinson was going to attend...and when the con
started, told everyone Spider had suffered a heart attack, and had been
flown back to Halifax...a story that would have won the tall-tales night
at Callahans! Poor Spider, for months afterwards, he got calls from people
wishing him well in his recovery!

Then there was Millinium down in Toronto, a Media con...They were
playing a game of "kill" with in costume with wepeans...and some of the people
playing were ex-military...so the manouvers that were happening in places
like the hotel parking lot looked like a terrorist's attack...The police
were called, but luckily, they had half a brain on their shoulders and
realized what was happening. Otherwise it could have been extreamly dicy...

>John F. Zmrotchek
>Chairman, Concept 95

So far in this newsgroup(s) we have a current Chair, Vice-Chair
and a Hotel Liason...It would be nice to hear from a Guest Liason and
maybe a Treasurer and a Head of Ops...

ttyl
Farrell J. McGovern
Vice-Chair, CAN-CON '95

p.s. does Rene have netaccess? It would make co-ordinating the buyer's
group and the mailings a whole lot easier!

--
CAN-CON '95, May 12-14 The Talisman Hotel, Ottawa. A conference exploring the
art, craft, and effects of Speculative Literature in, of, and about Canada!
GoH: Dave Duncan. Workshops, seminars, panels, entertainment. Also, our wild
Computer Expo, great Con-Suite, French programming, new academic conference,
we are also co-hosting the opening of the National Library of Canada's landmark
exhibit on Canadian SF&F, and are hosting Canvention and the Aurora Awards.
** Tickets available from TicketMaster throughout Canada or direct from us **
P.O. Box 5752, Merivale Depot, Nepean, Ontario, Canada, K2C 3M1. 613-596-4105
E-Mail: can...@diana.ocunix.on.ca
****** Watch for our Web Site --- coming soon courtesy of Achilles CIP ******

Krikket

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Nov 29, 1994, 4:39:21 PM11/29/94
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Joel K. Furr (jf...@acpub.duke.edu) wrote:
>z...@cam.org (John F. Zmrotchek) wrote:
>>they screamed bloody murder that such was against their union
>>agreements. Either we had to shut down the con suite, or the service staff
>>would hold an impromptu walkout. Needless to say, we got shut down so fast it
>>made our ehad spin.

>What you're saying is that the union had an agreement that ANY food

>served in the hotel had to be served by them?

>Hmm. In that case, your 'get it in writing from the hotel' thing
>probably wouldn't apply -- I doubt the hotel management can waive a
>union's rules or an agreement with the union.

You'd be suprised at what people can get waivers for from the unions.
Usually it's just a matter of the con or the hotel approaching the union
management well in advance to the convention asking for a waiver. The
advantage to having it in writing is that then you have one more thing
to go on if things go wrong, and such a written contract can be useful
in dealing with the Union in such cases. What comes immediately to mind
is the masquerade at the last ChiCon where the con/hotel didn't read
their briefing materials, and didn't ask permission in advance, and then
nearly had a lot of the workers walk off with the effect of having the
masquarade shut down because the wrong people moved "the pipes and
drapes" from one side of the room to another. I seem to recall it
taking a lot of last minute calls to muckety-mucks in the Chicago
branches of the Unions to set things straight.

--
{}{}{}{}{}{}
Krikket kri...@mcs.com an6...@anon.penet.fi
Voice (708)665-9732 http://www.mcs.net/~krikket/home.html (WWW Page)
http://www.mcs.net/~krikket/html/tsd.html (The Straight Dope Archives)

"How many boards would the Mongols hoard, if the Mongol hoards got bored?"

Chad Childers

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Nov 30, 1994, 1:00:54 PM11/30/94
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>out properly delcairing their stock, and the RCMP came in and shut down

I thought the Canadian cops were cool... of course, my only exposure to them
was that Canadian Police Bagpiper's convention at Ad Astra... fun guys,
albeit they got all the girls at the dance by waggling their kilts.

>playing a game of "kill" with in costume with wepeans...and some of the people

Oh, I had forgotten about that! SOB^2 (Survivors of the Big Bang) once put
on a Villians and Vigilantes tournament at a convention next to the New Orleans
airport. This was a big mistake, that we didn't live down for years, because
somebody decided to run to the airport, and the "killer" decided to chase
them there. Airport cops have no sense of humor, y'know?

--
/* Chad Childers */ http://grimmy.cnidr.org/chad.html

John Donat FE Chicago Loop

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Nov 30, 1994, 2:37:35 PM11/30/94
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Oh, boy.

Well, I had one when I was using a post-mix soda machine (that's one that uses
syrup and water from a water line) and the machine started to leak. It leaked
enough that the water ran down from the 5th floor Con Suite down to the suite
on the 3rd floor. The hotel forbade us from using the machines ever again, but
did not charge us much for the damages. We are still in the hotel, so's they
must have forgiven us. This was at a Windycon in about 1984/85.

John Donat

Alexander von Thorn

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Dec 1, 1994, 5:25:39 AM12/1/94
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From the Book of Lex:

"Next time it won't be such a problem. If they give me four
hours to book a headline guest instead of two, I can get
somebody really good."

Said to the treasurer: "Does the convention cover bail money
for the guests?"

Murphy's Law. Hah. Life should be so easy. The short answer to your
question is: Don't ask. Let's just say that having one of the paid guests
leave on crutches was the least of my problems.


Alex von Thorn
Guest Coordinator, Toronto Trek IX
Disclaimer: When it's official, I'll say so. When in doubt, ask.
The Worldhouse | Mensa Canada '95 AG | Toronto Trek IX | etc.
"Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact
man." --Bacon, _Essays_
==This article is Copyright 1994 by Alexander von Thorn, and is==
==protected by the Berne Convention in all signatory countries.==

Jailbait

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Dec 1, 1994, 6:11:11 PM12/1/94
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Um...DeathCon I was aka Philcon 82.1, held Jan. 83, in downtown
Philly...
We were sharing the hotel with another 2 conventions...one was for
makers of heavy farm equipment, the other - and the reason I'm telling
this story - was for the tri-state (PA, NY? NJ?) Monument Makers - the
people who quarry, finish and sell Head (or tomb) Stones...
They had pattern books, granite samples, and freebies galore -
pencils, paper, letter openers, magnets, etc...
We're STILL using the notepaper at my mother's house...Houle-Guidici
Granate Company, among others...

It was also the con at which I got my name...:)

JB

Minstrel

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Nov 30, 1994, 6:54:50 PM11/30/94
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jf...@acpub.duke.edu (Joel K. Furr) writes:-

jf> I'm curious: those of you who've run cons or been on con staff, what
jf> was the ugliest disaster to happen during your con? In other words,
jf> when Murphy's Law came true with a vengeance, what exactly happened?

Winning the bid, I think....

Chris
--
Minstrel's Hall - The Filk BBS on the South Coast, UK 44-(0)1273-777291
Sysop: mins...@filklore.seuk.com FIDO: 2:441/86.104

Melanie Fletcher

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Dec 1, 1994, 10:24:22 AM12/1/94
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ai...@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Farrell McGovern) writes:

> So far in this newsgroup(s) we have a current Chair, Vice-Chair
> and a Hotel Liason...It would be nice to hear from a Guest Liason and
> maybe a Treasurer and a Head of Ops...

I could offer myself as Transport Chief, but I guess that doesn't count,
huh?

*waves at John* Hello, glorious leader. Did you like the cookies?

MMF
Mimister of Transportation

*****************************************************************
Melanie Miller-Fletcher flet...@geloser.login.qc.ca
Core Member, SFLAaE/BS * Babe Feminist * Expatriate Chicagoan
"Eat, move, breathe. . .and carry a big stick."
-----Susan Powter, by way of Hoosier Red
*****************************************************************

Twoflower

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Dec 2, 1994, 2:34:36 AM12/2/94
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>>I'm curious: those of you who've run cons or been on con staff, what
>> was
>>the ugliest disaster to happen during your con? In other words, when
>>Murphy's Law came true with a vengeance, what exactly happened?


We had 2 people try to commit suicide at our con last year (they said
they were going to throw themselves off the 4th story roof of the library
building of our college where the con was going on.) Then at 3 am we had
some drunk 13 year old girl claim (through her boyfriend only) that she
was attacked by a bunch of vampire-like, satanic weirdos in the
basement. This only after they were caught in the basement where they
weren't supposed to be. We were rather skeptical, but it still brought
the college security and a really badly written article in the school
newspaper.

This year we're tempted to lace our pop in hospitality with prozac.

:)

*----------------------------------------------------------------------*
| Todd Clark / sa...@halcyon.com | "you tiptoe through your lives |
| CitNet: Twoflower@The Fourth Tower| and pretend you're all so |
| Intermud: Raphael@Onyx | dangerous!" -frente |
*----------------------------------------------------------------------*
*-Finger me for the current Seattle/Bainbridge ferry schedule!-*

Farrell McGovern

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Dec 2, 1994, 11:23:42 AM12/2/94
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In a previous article, flet...@geloser.login.qc.ca (Melanie Fletcher) says:

>ai...@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Farrell McGovern) writes:
>
>> So far in this newsgroup(s) we have a current Chair, Vice-Chair
>> and a Hotel Liason...It would be nice to hear from a Guest Liason and
>> maybe a Treasurer and a Head of Ops...
>

>I could offer myself as Transport Chief, but I guess that doesn't count,
>huh?

Sure, any legit concom member can become part of the "Great
Virtual Usenet CONCOM". Might even get t-shirts made up or someting....<grin>

ttyl
Farrell
Vice-Chair, CAN-CON'95

Jacque Marshall

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Dec 2, 1994, 7:33:04 PM12/2/94
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In article <3bmimc$o...@news.halcyon.com> sa...@coho.halcyon.com (Twoflower) writes:
>
>This year we're tempted to lace our pop in hospitality with prozac.
>

Oh dear. How far we've come since the days when the
temptation was to lace the punch with LSD...

What is the world coming to!?

--jm
---------------------------------------------------------
Jacque Marshall jac...@ncar.ucar.edu

Rick Waterson

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Dec 2, 1994, 9:22:53 PM12/2/94
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>ai...@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Farrell McGovern) writes:

>> So far in this newsgroup(s) we have a current Chair, Vice-Chair
>> and a Hotel Liason...It would be nice to hear from a Guest Liason and
>> maybe a Treasurer and a Head of Ops...

A Registrar story to add: Three (or is it four?) years ago, the Chicago Post
Awful misplaced a bundle of pre-registration mailings from prospective Windycon
members totalling nearly 200 people. Needless to say, those people showed up
expecting to have their memberships waiting. Registration that year was a real
nightmare when folks found out that not only were they not pre-registered, but
they had to pay the at-the-door rate!! Chalk up another wonderful job to the
Chicago branch of the U.S. Postal Non-Service!

P.S. Within 2 weeks of that disaster, Windycon changed post offices

------------------------------------------------
| Rick Waterson Against stupidity, the |
| ram...@xnet.com Gods themselves contend |
| in vain. |
------------------------------------------------

Matthew Frederick

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Dec 2, 1994, 8:44:08 PM12/2/94
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This isn't near as ugly as some of the things I've read, but it was bad enough.

I was chair of CopperCon 14, held (usually) in Phoenix, AZ. This year, we
held the con at a hotel about an hour out of town. The hotel itself was
great -- facilities, staff, you name it. It's a resort hotel, about 4
miles from the nearest small town, with a 9-story tower for the sleeping
rooms and a large convention center nearby. But...

Friday afternoon a storm blew in, and it was a doozey. High winds, rain,
and an _incredible_ amount of lightning. At about 6pm, one of the two
transformers leading to the hotel was struck, resulting in a brownout. In
the video room, for example, the TV worked fine, but there wasn't enough
juice to run the VCR. The Dealers' Room, Art Show, etc. all had dimmed
lights, but things went on.

About 30 minutes later, the other transformer was struck, resulting in a
complete blackout. The emergency lights came on in the (exposed to the
weather) stairwells, and the elevators were out. In the convention center,
two emergency lights came on in the Dealers/Art Show ballroom, one in the
center foyer, one at the front desk, and one in the restaurant. So far, so
good.

It turned out, though, that two wheelchair-bound fen were trapped on
floors other than their own, with nowhere to go.

Lightning then struck a palm tree on the golf course, and WHOOSH, a huge
ball of fire on the end of a stick. Luckily (?), the rain came up hard at
that point, and the tree eventually went out without lighting anything
else.

One-by-one the emergency lights in the stairwells went out -- it seems the
batteries were old, and none survived more than an hour. The loss of power
resulted in the entire hotel phone system going down. It also meant the
pumps that bring water to the upper floors had gone out, and one-by-one
each floor lost all water pressure.

I worked my way towards the convention center since Meet the Pros was
supposed to start at 7:00pm. A great ops volunteer went into town and
bought $200 in flashlights, while another went out to find someone who
called the hotel just before the outage and said their vehicle was
stranded by the side of the road several miles away.

I entered the convention center itself (finally) and was immediately
greeted by an irritated chauffer who had just dropped a pro off at the
hotel, and was demanding $50 to clean up their vomit off the back seat.
The pro had too much to drink on the flight and the ride to the hotel. My
Banker was in town making a deposit, so, after finding myself short,
managed to rob the Art Show of some petty cash.

It's 7:20, past time for Meet the Pros. The foyer was full of people
waiting for speeches and mingling, so gave my little speech, introduced
our GoH (Vernor Vinge), and ran off to solve some other problems.

Everyone was really great. The Magic tournament started under the
emergency lights, role-playing continued on the 9th floor in total
darkness, and the filkers quickly struck up some peppy tunes (in fact,
when the power finally came back on, the filkers turned the room lights
back out and continued their fun).

Many, many other surrealistic things happened that night, but by the time
the power came back on at 11:30, everyone was having a good time.

Evermore the con shall be known as CopperCon Unplugged.

Matthew

Paul W. Cashman

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Dec 4, 1994, 2:32:00 AM12/4/94
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jf...@acpub.duke.edu (Joel K. Furr) writes:

"I have two reports......"

A few years ago a GoH at DragonCon ran into a wall-size mirror. He
was rushed to a nearby hospital with a convention director on the
ambulance also (luckily he happened to be nearby; he's also in this
newsgroup :)). Turns out the GoH, Mike Jittlov, was evading some
overenthusiastic fans on Thursday night and thought the mirror was
another part of the corridor that just happened to have a guy in green
that looked a lot like him in it.... A few stitches and he was back
for his panels and autographings. Ultimately, the hotel paid the
bill. Fans collected bloody pieces of the broken mirror for whatever
later devilish use, deponent saith not. :)

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Last year at ChattaCon in Chattanooga, it was verrrry cold. About 0
to 5 degrees above, one night. The hotel, the Radisson Read House,
had stripped one of the 3rd-floor guest rooms for renovation. They
yanked out the wall insulation.

Ooops.

It was Sunday morning at around 10 or 11 when a 6" water line burst.
Not only did it flood that side of the 3rd floor to about two inches deep,
but the water was leaking down onto the second and first floors through
whatever routes it could find, with a special liking for light fixtures.

The second floor housed the dealers room and other con functions.
Water was pouring through the (shorted-out, bzzzzzzt) light fixtures
and into hastily-procured 30-gallon trash cans. The fans all thought
it was highly entertaining, and so did I (leaving my panel and
wondering what all the fuss was about).....until I remembered that our
suite was on the third floor.

The waters of dooom hadn't quite reached our quiet end of the
corridor, but it was....messy....getting down there. Several members
of the bemused concomm, friends of mine, had gathered to take pictures
and video ("now THERE's something you don't see every day") , and so I
s/c/a/m/p/e/r/e/d/ sloshed back to the room to don a bathing suit,
mask and snorkel from my diving gear bag (never know when a pool will
pop up in front of you at a con).

They tell me I'm famous now in ChattaCon circles; the admittedly
strange resulting video and photos were used by the hotel for
their highly successful insurance claim. :)

Oh, yea, it ended up being the most unusual ChattaCon I've attended
yet. Great convention. How will they top that THIS January? :)


--
Paul W. Cashman | When there is Reason / Tonight I'm Awake
van...@crl.com | When there's no answer / Arrive the Silent Man
Dream Theater | If there is Balance / Tonight he's Awake
"The Silent Man" --> If they have to suffer / There lies the Silent Man

Kelly Lockhart

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Dec 4, 1994, 7:19:00 AM12/4/94
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In Message <D01H4...@freenet.carleton.ca>, Farrell McGovern wrote:

FM> So far in this newsgroup(s) we have a current Chair, Vice-Chair
FM> and a Hotel Liason...It would be nice to hear from a Guest Liason and
FM> maybe a Treasurer and a Head of Ops...

FM> Farrell J. McGovern
FM> Vice-Chair, CAN-CON '95

We have a huge number of Department Heads and Con-Chairs and Con-Com
people here that it nearly boggles the mind. <g>

Kelly Lochart
On-Line Services, NASFiC '95
Technical Services Director, Antares '95
Programming Department Head, MystiCon '95
Con-Suite staff, ChattaCon XX
Security/Operations staff, World Horror Con '95

(If I was a woman, I'd be pregnant all the time, 'cause I just can't
seem to say no.) :-)

------------------------------------------------------------------------
| kelly.l...@lightspeed.com | North American SF Convention |
| kelly.l...@ftl.mese.com | July 13 - 16, 1995 |
------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Harlan Ellison Timothy Zahn Michael Whelan |
| George Alec Effinger Bjo Trimble |
------------------------------------------------------------------------
---

. SLMR 2.1a #1492 . .

Jessika Diamond

unread,
Dec 4, 1994, 11:00:00 PM12/4/94
to
In article <3bfchl$k...@news.duke.edu>, jf...@acpub.duke.edu (Joel K. Furr) writes...

>
>Bizarre. I assume that Canada's union laws are different from America's,
>but similar to Hollywood's. If memory serves, in Hollywood the director
>can't change a lightbulb in his office on the set; he has to pay an
>electrician and an electrician's helper a full hour's pay to do it. And
>if he DOES do it himself, the electrician's union and all their brethren

I think it may have been something specific to the obnoxious people at that
hotel. (I was there; the problems with the hotel were what got JOhn to drag
me onto the ConCom, as I have experience organizing conventions) We're not
allowed to move the desk at my office -- we have to call the appropriate
department for it.

Farrell McGovern

unread,
Dec 4, 1994, 7:06:40 PM12/4/94
to

In a previous article, kelly.l...@lightspeed.com (Kelly Lockhart) says:

>FM> So far in this newsgroup(s) we have a current Chair, Vice-Chair
>FM> and a Hotel Liason...It would be nice to hear from a Guest Liason and
>FM> maybe a Treasurer and a Head of Ops...
>
>FM> Farrell J. McGovern
>FM> Vice-Chair, CAN-CON '95
>
>We have a huge number of Department Heads and Con-Chairs and Con-Com
>people here that it nearly boggles the mind. <g>

But...they are all one person! <grin>

It is just that I used to be participant in an Fidonet echo that
was passed between Myself, David Dyer-Bennet (in Minniapolis), and Mike
Wallis (Toronto). Recently, DDB & I killed the echo do to the lack of
use...and have kicked around the idea of a newsgroup/list aimed at new or
journeyman/woman concom looking for help from some more experienced
concom...as well as discussion of the usual problems many cons have...

ttyl
Farrell

Kevin Wang

unread,
Dec 5, 1994, 8:47:18 PM12/5/94
to
In alt.fandom.cons sa...@coho.halcyon.com (Twoflower) writes:
>
>>>I'm curious: those of you who've run cons or been on con staff, what
>>> was
>>>the ugliest disaster to happen during your con? In other words, when
>>>Murphy's Law came true with a vengeance, what exactly happened?
>
>
>We had 2 people try to commit suicide at our con last year (they said
>they were going to throw themselves off the 4th story roof of the library
>building of our college where the con was going on.) Then at 3 am we had
>some drunk 13 year old girl claim (through her boyfriend only) that she
>was attacked by a bunch of vampire-like, satanic weirdos in the
>basement. This only after they were caught in the basement where they
>weren't supposed to be. We were rather skeptical, but it still brought
>the college security and a really badly written article in the school
>newspaper.
>
>This year we're tempted to lace our pop in hospitality with prozac.

Two or three of the cons at the Red Lion Inn in San Jose, CA have had
decreasing numbers of problems ever since they stopped offering the
"night-only" $5 badge. No more "free" parties for these party
crashers, and they just disappeared. I can't say that it was fun
having the police show up once or twice a night...

- Kevin, random behind-the-scenes con worker

Erik Olson

unread,
Dec 5, 1994, 3:15:29 PM12/5/94
to
>.and have kicked around the idea of a newsgroup/list aimed at new or
>journeyman/woman concom looking for help from some more experienced
>concom...as well as discussion of the usual problems many cons have...
A) Please do-

B) Make it a list. Keep that S/N ratio high.

* Erik V. Olson * This is not a clever message *
* er...@bix.com * All .sigs have a clever message *
* Just this guy, ya know * Therefore, this is not a .sig *

C. Baden

unread,
Dec 5, 1994, 10:29:23 PM12/5/94
to
Farrell McGovern (ai...@FreeNet.Carleton.CA) wrote:
: use...and have kicked around the idea of a newsgroup/list aimed at new or

: journeyman/woman concom looking for help from some more experienced
: concom...as well as discussion of the usual problems many cons have...

Well, sounds like you're describing the purpose of "SMOFCON" which was
just this past weekend. (But nobody from Atlanta seemed to find it
important enough to come to represent their NASFiC and Worldcon bids.)

Next year - after NASFiC - SMofcon 13 will be held in Texas. More on
that later.

You're also describing, I think, the "SMOFS" mailing list, run out of
gandalf.rutgers.edu along with SF-LOVERS by Saul Jaffe.


--
ha...@netcom.com - Home of Margarita Jell-O, an alcoholic use for lime
jello. Email me w/ "request margarita" as subject or message for recipe.

* L.A.con III * World S.F. Convention * Email bot: lacon...@netcom.com
* Aug29-Sep02 '96, Anaheim CA * Ftp = ftp.netcom.com:/pub/la/lacon3-info/
* Web page = ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/la/lacon3-info/www/lacon3.html
* Join for $90 * L.A.con III, c/o SCIFI P.O. Box 8442, Van Nuys CA 91409

Kim Dyer

unread,
Dec 5, 1994, 11:02:45 PM12/5/94
to
>>I'm curious: those of you who've run cons or been on con staff, what was
>>the ugliest disaster to happen during your con? In other words, when
>>Murphy's Law came true with a vengeance, what exactly happened?

Well, there was the "year of the softheads", where we wound up sharing
our convention hotel with several teams going to a softball tournament.
The "athletes" turned into drunken yahoos, destroying hotel property,
harassing the few children there, and accosting female attendees. The
police were called in several times. We finally decided we'd had
enough and took care of it in our OWN fashion. The real highlights of
this included a person in a VERY high quality werewolf costume "gently"
persuade a drunken ball player that harassing the 4 year old was not
a good idea. (Followed by the 4 year old taking said werewolf's hand
and toddling off to find mommy.) The hotel never allowed the ball
players to book space in the hotel again.

A few years ago we had booked the ENTIRE hotel and ALL it's space for
a convention. (Which we had done the same weekend every year for more
then 10years.) But SOMEHOW they managed to schedule two weddings at
the same time in the same space. Confirmed hotel reservations were
ignored. (We screamed loud enough that they moved the bride and groom
for ONE of the weddings to the cheapie motel across the street.) They
moved the banquet to the POOL. (Eau de cholrine.) The chicken was
undercooked, and the pool area was FAR too hot. They also had us move
the MASQUERADE to the pool area, which meant very few people could
see it. Management was basically rude and obnoxious the entire weekend.

We moved the convention for the following year. The current hotel is
more then thrilled to have the entire place booked solid for 5 days
straight.

C. Baden

unread,
Dec 6, 1994, 4:04:25 AM12/6/94
to
Erik Olson (er...@BIX.com) wrote:
: >.and have kicked around the idea of a newsgroup/list aimed at new or

: >journeyman/woman concom looking for help from some more experienced
: >concom...as well as discussion of the usual problems many cons have...
: A) Please do-

: B) Make it a list. Keep that S/N ratio high.

But it exists already, I tell you! Write to
sf-lover...@gandalf.rutgers.edu and ask to be placed on the SMOFS
mailing list.

And try to attend SMOFCON next year.

Kelly Lockhart

unread,
Dec 5, 1994, 4:18:00 PM12/5/94
to
In Message: <3brr9g$q...@crl5.crl.com>, Paul W. Cashman writes:

PWC> A few years ago a GoH at DragonCon ran into a wall-size mirror. He
PWC> was rushed to a nearby hospital with a convention director on the
PWC> ambulance also (luckily he happened to be nearby; he's also in this
PWC> newsgroup :)).

That would be me. I walk into the hotel, having picked up a guest and
delivered him to the con, to see a man dressed primarily in lime green
holding a bloody towel to his face sitting at the Manager's desk.
Realizing that it just happened to be one of the GoH's, I franctically
remained calm and rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital, where
he had his face sewn up.

Jittlov even signed autographs in the ER. Neat guy. <g>

PWC> Fans collected bloody pieces of the broken mirror for whatever
PWC> later devilish use, deponent saith not. :)

And Paul has a piece of the bloody glass himself. I've seen it.
Anyone want to try and clone Jittlov? <big grin>

------------------------------------------------------------------------
| kelly.l...@lightspeed.com | North American SF Convention |
| kelly.l...@ftl.mese.com | July 13 - 16, 1995 |
------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Harlan Ellison Timothy Zahn Michael Whelan |
| George Alec Effinger Bjo Trimble |
------------------------------------------------------------------------
---

. SLMR 2.1a #1492 . Smash forehead down on keyboard to continue...

David Weingart

unread,
Dec 6, 1994, 9:14:19 AM12/6/94
to
On Mon, 5 Dec 1994 00:06:40 GMT, Farrell McGovern (ai...@FreeNet.Carleton.CA) babbled:

: use...and have kicked around the idea of a newsgroup/list aimed at new or


: journeyman/woman concom looking for help from some more experienced
: concom...as well as discussion of the usual problems many cons have...

Only one problem, of course...we already _have_ alt.fandom.cons and
rec.arts.sf.fandom...

--
73 de Dave Weingart KB2CWF | "Send lawyers, guns and money!
phyd...@emerald.princeton.edu | Dad! Get me out of this!"
phyd...@zanshin.poly.edu | -- Warren Zevon

In the event I am captured or killed, the secretary, the project leader,
the manager and the C.E.O. will disavow any knowledge of my opinions.

Lynn Gold

unread,
Dec 6, 1994, 9:43:56 PM12/6/94
to
I can't believe none of you have mentioned Westercon 40, aka "the con
of the 'double-double cross' (XXXX)," "WesterBomb 40," and "the 'W' word."

For starters, the con had two rulers: the chairperson, and the hotel
liaison. The two were close friends when they'd done the bid, but by
the time the con hit, they were all but at each other's throats.

The hotel liaison had her name be the ONLY name on the hotel contracts,
so when the con chair or co-chair tried to talk to the hotel, the hotel
management would point to the contract and only deal with the hotel
liaison.

Meanwhile, the hotel liaison led a sort-of coup to try to overthrow the
chair, convincing many of the concom members the chair was incompetent.
This meant the con chair would give orders, but half the concom would
instead go to the hotel liaison for their instructions.

I was one of two people in charge of the con suite.

The hotel liaison told the hotel to expect "three to five thousand
people at the hotel eating at the hotel restaurants." To accomodate the
extra traffic, the hotel brought on extra staff and bought extra food
for the weekend. Westercon takes place July 4th weekend, so this gets
extra pricey because of vacation pay.

Unfortunately for the hotel, Westercons typically get approx. 1800-2200
members (this past one was unusually small) TOTAL, most of whom do NOT
eat at overpriced hotel restaurants. When the hotel saw us serving
something bearing a resemblance to "real food" in the con suite, they
shut us down. The hotel's security also went around shutting down
parties and clearing the party hall Saturday night.

Somewhere in there, the hotel liaison had her staff haul off our beer
into HER suite, and then she somehow fired our alcohol supervisor and
put an underage high school student in charge of the alcohol!

When I finally got to bed after pulling two days of no sleep, I got an
"urgent" phone call from the suite. I threw something on, staggered to
the suite, propping myself up on the door frames and furniture, was
coaxed into a chair, and then this guy put down a boom box, turned it
on, started bumping and grinding and taking his clothes off -- it was a
Strip-o-Gram in the middle of the Con Suite for my birthday!

We had a scare when one of my staff who'd been crashing in my room was
allegedly doing lines of coke in MY ROOM while I was in the con suite.
I wound up getting shuttled around for hours when I should've been
sleeping.

As if THAT wasn't enough, we had a death at the con. Someone drank
while taking prescription medication that specified "no alcohol" and
died.

Other "fun" things included a Programming Director who said "I have a
fire that needs putting out" over the radios when she REALLY meant "I
have a problem." (You NEVER say "fire" over a two-way radio unless it
involves something or someone rapidly oxidizing.)

After that, I swore I'd never do another con suite.

--Lynn
--
Lynn Gold "net.fogey" fi...@netcom.com,
hm: (415) 968-7366 l.g...@genie.geis.com,
wk: (415) 506-2596 or lag...@us.oracle.com

Thought of the week:

When flaming someone about their grammar make sure that all of your
sentences are
--Ken Smith
(lifted from ba.singles)

Kelly Lockhart

unread,
Dec 6, 1994, 4:22:00 PM12/6/94
to
In Message: <D0B9n...@freenet.carleton.ca>, Farrell McGovern writes:

FM> It is just that I used to be participant in an Fidonet echo that
FM> was passed between Myself, David Dyer-Bennet (in Minniapolis), and Mike
FM> Wallis (Toronto). Recently, DDB & I killed the echo do to the lack of
FM> use...and have kicked around the idea of a newsgroup/list aimed at new or
FM> journeyman/woman concom looking for help from some more experienced
FM> concom...as well as discussion of the usual problems many cons have...

I think that it would be a good idea. We practically have a virtual
con-com in existence (someone here even suggested t-shirts).

And I even have an idea for a name: rec.arts.sf.concom (or should that
be "condom"? <g>)

------------------------------------------------------------------------
| kelly.l...@lightspeed.com | North American SF Convention |
| kelly.l...@ftl.mese.com | July 13 - 16, 1995 |
------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Harlan Ellison Timothy Zahn Michael Whelan |
| George Alec Effinger Bjo Trimble |
------------------------------------------------------------------------
---

. SLMR 2.1a #1492 . The 10 Commandments: The taglines Moses stole from God.

C. Baden

unread,
Dec 7, 1994, 10:33:42 AM12/7/94
to
Erik Olson (er...@BIX.com) wrote:
: >.and have kicked around the idea of a newsgroup/list aimed at new or
: >journeyman/woman concom looking for help from some more experienced
: >concom...as well as discussion of the usual problems many cons have...
: A) Please do-

: B) Make it a list. Keep that S/N ratio high.

But it exists already, I tell you! Write to

smofs-...@gandalf.rutgers.edu and ask to be placed on the SMOFS
mailing list.

And try to attend SMOFCON next year.


--
ha...@netcom.com - Home of Margarita Jell-O, an alcoholic use for lime
jello. Email me w/ "request margarita" as subject or message for recipe.

* L.A.con III * World S.F. Convention * Email bot: lacon...@netcom.com
* Aug29-Sep02 '96, Anaheim CA * Ftp = ftp.netcom.com:/pub/la/lacon3-info/

* Web page = http://sundry.hsc.usc.edu/lacon3-info/www/lacon3.html

Joel K. Furr

unread,
Dec 7, 1994, 11:14:47 AM12/7/94
to
jac...@niwot.scd.ucar.edu (Jacque Marshall) wrote:
>In article <3bmimc$o...@news.halcyon.com> sa...@coho.halcyon.com (Twoflower) writes:
>>This year we're tempted to lace our pop in hospitality with prozac.
>
>Oh dear. How far we've come since the days when the
>temptation was to lace the punch with LSD...
>
>What is the world coming to!?

Dunno. I note that the Arisia con in Boston has explicitly banned
alcohol at 'open parties' (parties which anyone may attend).

Have there been problems with slobbering drunks at cons, or is this just
a defensive reaction to the dram shop laws that make the source of the
alcohol, however tangential that source may be, responsible for anything
the drinker does?

Lisa B Hertel

unread,
Dec 7, 1994, 11:49:23 AM12/7/94
to
Most conventions explicitly forbid alcohol at open parties.
In Boston, public drinking is illegal; also, there is the
1986 Boskone legacy (aka, The Boskone from Hell) that makes
everyone a bit touchy. Finally, it's best for hotel relations
that people do their drinking in the (hotel) bar.
Arisia allows closed parties to serve alcohol (to those over 21).
--Lisa Hertel

Joel K. Furr

unread,
Dec 7, 1994, 1:37:11 PM12/7/94
to
her...@world.std.com (Lisa B Hertel) wrote:
>Most conventions explicitly forbid alcohol at open parties.
>In Boston, public drinking is illegal; also, there is the
>1986 Boskone legacy (aka, The Boskone from Hell) that makes
>everyone a bit touchy.

What happened then?

Keith F. Lynch

unread,
Dec 7, 1994, 4:55:18 PM12/7/94
to
her...@world.std.com (Lisa B Hertel) wrote:
> ... the 1986 Boskone legacy (aka, The Boskone from Hell) ...
^^^^
You misspelled "1987".

Joel K. Furr <jf...@acpub.duke.edu> wrote:
> What happened then?

A worldcon-sized con was stuffed into a relatively small Sheraton,
which caused stress to the hotel staff. Also, fire alarms went off by
themselves, perhaps because of the bitter-cold weather, but the hotel
blamed the con.

After the con, the hotel told NESFA (who runs Boskone) don't come back
next year. NESFA then wrote a letter to all con members, saying that
most of them weren't welcome back next year. Needless to say (though it
apparently came as a great surprise to NESFA), most recipients of the
letter got steaming mad. I certainly did.

The Sheraton also tried to weasel out of their signed contract with the
1989 worldcon people, who had to sic their lawyers on the recalcitrant
hosteliers to get them to honor the contract.

All subsequent Boskones have been held out in the boonies, away from
Boston, since a Boston convention was "impossible" according to NESFA.
Then Arisia, a new Boston convention, started up, without difficulty.
--
Keith Lynch, k...@access.digex.net

f p=2,3:2 s q=1 x "f f=3:2 q:f*f>p!'q s q=p#f" w:q p,?$x\8+1*8

Seth Breidbart

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Dec 7, 1994, 11:07:34 PM12/7/94
to
In article <3c4n1n$8...@news.duke.edu>,

Joel K. Furr <jf...@acpub.duke.edu> wrote:

>Dunno. I note that the Arisia con in Boston has explicitly banned
>alcohol at 'open parties' (parties which anyone may attend).

For this purpose, "open" is more likely defined as "advertised" (in
the newsletter, or posted on bulletine boards and walls, or even just
leaving the door open for all passers-by to notice and enter). If you
keep the door closed, but welcome anyone who knocks (and spread the
information about the party by word of mouth), it's generally
considered sufficiently "closed" for you to serve alcohol.

I don't know Arisia's specific policies in that regard.

Seth

Joel K. Furr

unread,
Dec 8, 1994, 8:42:32 AM12/8/94
to
k...@access.digex.net (Keith F. Lynch) wrote:
>After the con, the hotel told NESFA (who runs Boskone) don't come back
>next year. NESFA then wrote a letter to all con members, saying that
>most of them weren't welcome back next year. Needless to say (though it
>apparently came as a great surprise to NESFA), most recipients of the
>letter got steaming mad. I certainly did.

That's insane. Did they want to basically kill off the Boskone
franchise? If all con-goers got a letter saying "95% of you suck and we
don't want to see you back," I'm astounded that any subsequent Boskones
have been held.

Perhaps what you should have done, Keith, was recommend to Boskone that
in the future, they staff the con with yetis.

Joel K. Furr

unread,
Dec 8, 1994, 8:48:06 AM12/8/94
to

Hsm.

Well, I enjoy drinking as much as the next man and more than most, but
I'm not interested in being the free beer room for underprivileged Boston
youth; it's entirely possible that one huge side-benefit of the 'no
alcohol in open parties' rule is to save party-givers from themselves.

"Sure, we got a couple of cases of Milwaukee's Best," they say. Ten
minutes into the party, it's *gone*.

I've seen it happen at non-con parties when there weren't controls on who
could enter. People would walk in, grab two beers, stuff two more in
their pockets, and leave, never to be seen again.

Seems to me that the smart thing for any con-goer to do if they really
like wandering around a con with a persistent buzz on is to simply bring
their own.

Incidentally, rumor has it that anything over 100 proof is illegal in
Massachusetts. I mention this because this past weekend I had occasion
to visit one of those majestic New Hampshire rest area/liquor stores
right next to the Maine border (we didn't bother to stop at the even more
impressive one on the Massachusetts border when we were coming back, we
didn't feel we needed to see both) and my Massachusetts friends who were
with me in the car told me that one thing people used those stores for
(other than evading Massachusetts liquor taxes and sales taxes) was to
get supplies of grain alcohol. Is grain alcohol and 151 proof rum
illegal in Massachusetts?

I ask this not because I'm planning on bringing up a hip flask of
Everclear to Arisia to generally wreak havoc with. I'm just curious.

C. Baden

unread,
Dec 8, 1994, 9:47:43 AM12/8/94
to
Lisa B Hertel (her...@world.std.com) wrote:
: Most conventions explicitly forbid alcohol at open parties.

This is quite a blanket statement, when you consider that I haven't been
to a convention yet that banned alcohol at open parties.

(Well, actually, I confess I didn't pay enough attention to Baycon the
one year I went, to tell you about that one.)

But Loscon, Phil & Ed's, Westercon, Con Francisco, had no prohibitions
against alcohol in open parties that I could see...

David Weingart

unread,
Dec 8, 1994, 4:24:42 PM12/8/94
to
On 7 Dec 1994 13:37:11 -0500, Joel K. Furr (jf...@acpub.duke.edu) babbled:
(referring to)
: >1986 Boskone legacy (aka, The Boskone from Hell) that makes

: What happened then?

What didn't? That was the one just before the move to Springfield,
right? Fire alarms, non-con members crashing parties, people
mainlining ethyl alcohol in the stairwells (yes, I witnessed that
as I was walking up the stairs)...you name it, it probably happened

Dorothy Klein

unread,
Dec 8, 1994, 8:49:38 AM12/8/94
to
2132...@msu.edu (Kim Dyer) writes:

>A few years ago we had booked the ENTIRE hotel and ALL it's space for
>a convention. (Which we had done the same weekend every year for more
>then 10years.) But SOMEHOW they managed to schedule two weddings at
>the same time in the same space. Confirmed hotel reservations were
>ignored. (We screamed loud enough that they moved the bride and groom
>for ONE of the weddings to the cheapie motel across the street.) They
>moved the banquet to the POOL. (Eau de cholrine.) The chicken was
>undercooked, and the pool area was FAR too hot. They also had us move
>the MASQUERADE to the pool area, which meant very few people could
>see it. Management was basically rude and obnoxious the entire weekend.

Ah, yes, MediaWest '91! (I think that's the year) Management was
actively hostile all weekend. The con found out about one
of the weddings after the con had started -- like the hotel didn't
check the bookings after they found the first glitch? One of the
brides even _asked_ the hotel about MW weekend (she was a waitress
at the Denny's across the street) and was told it wasn't a conflict.

You missed out the loss of 3/4 of the ballroom
(to be used for dealer space and art show) to the weddings. The hotel
wanted it all, and suggested moving the art show to the lobby.
If it weren't for the theft probablities, I kinda wish they had, and
moved all the explicit pieces into full public view :> Showing
the hotel a tally of the art show gross receipts from the previous
year, and holding the hotel responsible for any losses, kept
1/4 of the ballroom for the art show.

And the extra security the con had to post to keep the drunken mundanes
OUT of the art show and zine reading room, which were next to the receptions.
The weddings and/or the hotel hired mean-looking rent-a-cops to protect
the receptions from fans. The rent-a-cops were led to believe we
were dangerous, and behaved like airport security in the middle of a
terrorist alert, scrutinizing all walking past.

And the screw-you-fan "loss" of reservations to accomodate
Saturday night's bridal party. I hope the elderly parents of the
the bride enjoyed the blaster-battle.

And the quaint constant malfunctions of the fire alarms in the evenings,
allegedly due to fog rolling in the windows. Hell, if the thermostats
had worked, none of the windows would've been opened. The front desk
was extremely casual about the alarms. No fire trucks ever showed.

>We moved the convention for the following year. The current hotel is
>more then thrilled to have the entire place booked solid for 5 days
>straight.

Yep, we've almost got the new hotel and Denny's staff trained the way we
like 'em. Now if they'd only put another dining room onto the Denny's...

Later,
Dotty Klein

Twoflower

unread,
Dec 9, 1994, 4:57:41 PM12/9/94
to
ha...@netcom.com (C. Baden) writes:

>Lisa B Hertel (her...@world.std.com) wrote:
>: Most conventions explicitly forbid alcohol at open parties.
>This is quite a blanket statement, when you consider that I haven't been
>to a convention yet that banned alcohol at open parties.
>(Well, actually, I confess I didn't pay enough attention to Baycon the
>one year I went, to tell you about that one.)
>But Loscon, Phil & Ed's, Westercon, Con Francisco, had no prohibitions
>against alcohol in open parties that I could see...

Not a single convention in the PNW/I-5 corridor area that I know of bans
alcohol from open parties. We had an open party at OryCon a few weeks
ago (in support of GeoCon and RadCon) where we supplied lots of free beer
and wine, and all we did was check ID when we gave the alcohol to the people.

Best idea is to check ID, either at the door, or set up a "bar" area
where the alcohol is out of reach of the party goers and check their ID
before handing them that bottle of Bud.

Washington state law does, however, forbid people from drinking in public
places, so lobbies and hallways are off-limits for party goers with
drinks in hand.

GeoCon III (of which I'm on the con com for,) takes place on a college
campus, and therefore drinking anywhere is against the law except in
rented dorm rooms (which gain the same legal status as an apartment.)

Banning alcohol at open parties could be a regional thing; same goes for
weapons. Some areas (like the Puget Sound region) every con lets you
carry weapons (within limits, of course,) and others do not.

Twoflower/Todd Clark
panels and dances
GeoCon III
March 31-April 2, 1995


Mike Van Pelt

unread,
Dec 9, 1994, 7:30:37 PM12/9/94
to
In article <3c72qm$9...@news.duke.edu>, Joel K. Furr <jf...@acpub.duke.edu> wrote:
>Well, I enjoy drinking as much as the next man and more than most, but
>I'm not interested in being the free beer room for underprivileged Boston
>youth; it's entirely possible that one huge side-benefit of the 'no
>alcohol in open parties' rule is to save party-givers from themselves.

A number of years ago, Baycon became known to the local high-school
party animal population (mostly kids who couldn't care less about SF)
as a place you could go and get bombed on all the beer you could drink
for a weekend for just a few bucks. The party floor reeked of vomit.

Now, with more restrictive policies, the non-fan party animals have
gone away, and it's an all-around more pleasant con.
--
Mike Van Pelt | It was a typical net.exercise -- a screaming
m...@netcom.com | mob pounding on a greasy spot on the pavement,
KE6BVH | where used to lie the carcass of a dead horse.

Martin Schafer

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Dec 9, 1994, 6:20:30 PM12/9/94
to
In article <3c4n1n$8...@news.duke.edu> jf...@acpub.duke.edu (Joel K. Furr) writes:
>
>Dunno. I note that the Arisia con in Boston has explicitly banned
>alcohol at 'open parties' (parties which anyone may attend).
>
>Have there been problems with slobbering drunks at cons, or is this just
>a defensive reaction to the dram shop laws that make the source of the
>alcohol, however tangential that source may be, responsible for anything
>the drinker does?
>

As cons have gotten larger and more accessible to the mainstream there
has been more and more problems with rowdy drunks (usually in 16 to
25 age range).

As society has become more intolerant of drunkeness, and more litigious,
hotels have gotten fussier sometimes requiring some sort of anti
alcohol action, or in the absence of that, insurance cover that is
financially prohibitive.

Conventions are scared of being sued by family members of a drunk
driver, or whatever.

All of these reasons come in to play with different strengths
depending on the hotel, the committee, the area, the convention.
What the mix of those reasons is for Arisia, only they can say.

Martin


Martin Schafer

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Dec 9, 1994, 6:23:54 PM12/9/94
to
In article <D0G9...@world.std.com> her...@world.std.com (Lisa B Hertel) writes:
>Most conventions explicitly forbid alcohol at open parties.

Wrong. Many is probably accurate. All the local ones (Minneapolis/St Paul)
still serve alcohol in the con suite. Nobody has ever seriously proposed
trying to forbid it in open room parties.

Most East coast cons might be right.

Martin

mark

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Dec 10, 1994, 12:38:59 AM12/10/94
to
In article <3boec0$d...@ncar.ucar.edu>,

jac...@niwot.scd.ucar.edu (Jacque Marshall) wrote:
> In article <3bmimc$o...@news.halcyon.com> sa...@coho.halcyon.com (Twoflower) writes:
> >
> >This year we're tempted to lace our pop in hospitality with prozac.
>
> Oh dear. How far we've come since the days when the
> temptation was to lace the punch with LSD...
>
> What is the world coming to!?
>
It's the SMOFs and the lawyers. This younger generation....

mark "tease me about my age, and I'll beat you with my cane"

mark

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Dec 10, 1994, 12:39:04 AM12/10/94
to
In article <3c4n1n$8...@news.duke.edu>, jf...@acpub.duke.edu (Joel K. Furr) wrote:
<snip>
> Dunno. I note that the Arisia con in Boston has explicitly banned
> alcohol at 'open parties' (parties which anyone may attend).
>
> Have there been problems with slobbering drunks at cons, or is this just
> a defensive reaction to the dram shop laws that make the source of the
> alcohol, however tangential that source may be, responsible for anything
> the drinker does?
>
There used to be a few drunks (very few), but I believe that it's more
the excess of lawyers/SMOFs at cons, who use it as an excuse to not do
stuff. When *I* ran the con suite at Philcon (for 6.5 years), I had less
than half a dozen drunks, and they were in the first three years I ran
it, and no one obviously drunk thereafter. And I served bheer *and*
wine. Of course, I ->served<- it...and if there were no gophers to
help me at 03:00, then it was *me* in the bathroom pumping the bheer.
And everyone *knew* I was willing to flag anyone who looked/acted drunk.
No problems.
Philcon's con suite went dry the year after I left (sorry, folks). And
the folks who ran it were also teetotalers, which *also* may have had
something to do with it.

mark

mark

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Dec 10, 1994, 12:38:54 AM12/10/94
to
In article <170831441...@msu.edu>, 2132...@msu.edu (Kim Dyer) wrote:
> >>I'm curious: those of you who've run cons or been on con staff, what was
> >>the ugliest disaster to happen during your con? In other words, when
> >>Murphy's Law came true with a vengeance, what exactly happened?
>
> Well, there was the "year of the softheads", where we wound up sharing
> our convention hotel with several teams going to a softball tournament.
> The "athletes" turned into drunken yahoos, destroying hotel property,
> harassing the few children there, and accosting female attendees. The
> police were called in several times. We finally decided we'd had
<snip>
Gee, y'all had it easy. I remember the year Philcon was in the Sheraton
downtown (this woudl have been around '82), and it was the weekend of
the Army-Navy game. *We* got the Middies. By 21:30 Saturday night, we
had bunches of drunken Middies in the stairwells passing bottles of bheer
along, and the last one finishing it, and dropping it down the center.
And they were shuttling working and underage girls into their rooms.
They didn't even have a operations room till about 23:00. *Lots* of
us were working security. We did have a Secret Weapon...Norman, who
was walking around in his kilt - the one he'd been given by some
British troops, while he was overseas. He was also wearing the ribbons
he got there...in 'Nam. As drunk as the Middies were, when he said
'frog', they said, 'how high, sir'.

We did get a letter of apology from their commanding officer a few
weeks later.

Hmm, other disasters...well, Philcon was at the same Sheraton a few
years later, a week or so after iit declared bankruptcy....

Ah, yes, then there was my first Worldcon (which shall remain nameless):
it was still "smallish" back then, and the hotel had scheduled *four*
other cons...including the Scientologists. Funny, they tended to stay
as far away from us as possible....

mark

mark

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Dec 10, 1994, 12:39:10 AM12/10/94
to
In article <3c72g8$9...@news.duke.edu>, jf...@acpub.duke.edu (Joel K. Furr) wrote:
> k...@access.digex.net (Keith F. Lynch) wrote:
> >After the con, the hotel told NESFA (who runs Boskone) don't come back
> >next year. NESFA then wrote a letter to all con members, saying that
> >most of them weren't welcome back next year. Needless to say (though it
> >apparently came as a great surprise to NESFA), most recipients of the
> >letter got steaming mad. I certainly did.
>
> That's insane. Did they want to basically kill off the Boskone
> franchise? If all con-goers got a letter saying "95% of you suck and we
> don't want to see you back," I'm astounded that any subsequent Boskones
> have been held.
<snip>
Since no one seems to have responded yet...I understand they had severe
hotel problems, and couldn't find one on that short notice (one year *is*
short notice), esp. since Boskone at the time was occasionally referred to
as the 'Winter Worldcon', running around 4K attendees (which is more than
twice the first few Worldcons I attended, and larger than some NASFICs),
and the folks running it may have been getting tired running something
that big, as well.

mark

Paul W. Cashman

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Dec 10, 1994, 12:56:48 AM12/10/94
to
k...@access.digex.net (Keith F. Lynch) writes:

>After the con, the hotel told NESFA (who runs Boskone) don't come back
>next year.

I'd heard about that, yep.

> NESFA then wrote a letter to all con members, saying that
>most of them weren't welcome back next year. Needless to say (though it
>apparently came as a great surprise to NESFA), most recipients of the
>letter got steaming mad. I certainly did.

That's.....not good for PR.

>All subsequent Boskones have been held out in the boonies, away from
>Boston, since a Boston convention was "impossible" according to NESFA.
>Then Arisia, a new Boston convention, started up, without difficulty.

'Twould seem that Helmuth, speaking for Boskone, spake too soon. :)


--
Paul W. Cashman | When there is Reason / Tonight I'm Awake
van...@crl.com | When there's no answer / Arrive the Silent Man
Dream Theater | If there is Balance / Tonight he's Awake
"The Silent Man" --> If they have to suffer / There lies the Silent Man

Paul W. Cashman

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Dec 10, 1994, 1:08:06 AM12/10/94
to
ha...@netcom.com (C. Baden) writes:

>But Loscon, Phil & Ed's, Westercon, Con Francisco, had no prohibitions
>against alcohol in open parties that I could see...

Nor does DragonCon, although the hotel requests that parties be held
in rooms on the party floors (4, 5 and 6). Parties there are "hands
off" for hotel security, open-door parties elsewhere can be closed
down. Offhand, for the Southeast, I don't know of any SF con with an
alcohol restriction for open parties.

Reminds me...booking tip for NASFiC: if you don't like dealing with
stairs and assuming the elevators will be a problem at times, make a
party floor room reservation. You might have to deal with some noise,
but you'll be just a few flights of stairs away from the action when the
elevators become unusable. (Besides, things will be quieter between
6am and 11am, which is when everyone eventually sleeps. :))

Twoflower

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Dec 10, 1994, 2:11:21 AM12/10/94
to
On Fri, 9 Dec 1994, science fiction/fantasy club wrote:

>
> provided that geocon is in washington, you're wrong. you *can* serve alcohol
> you simply have to have a banquet permit and a rigidly defined area it may not
> be taken out of.
>
>
>

Sorry, you're right. I had forgotten that you can, but it has become
very difficult if not virtually impossible to do such a thing as a
student group. It used to be allowed with classes, but I hear the
college has ruled against it.

Thanks for correcting me.

*----------------------------------------------------------------------*
| Todd Clark / sa...@halcyon.com | "you tiptoe through your lives |
| CitNet: Twoflower@The Fourth Tower| and pretend you're all so |
| Intermud: Raphael@Onyx | dangerous!" -frente |
*----------------------------------------------------------------------*
*-Finger me for the current Seattle/Bainbridge ferry schedule!-*

lm...@telerama.lm.com

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Dec 10, 1994, 6:55:59 AM12/10/94
to

mark (whit...@gagme.wwa.com) wrote:
> In article <3c72g8$9...@news.duke.edu>, jf...@acpub.duke.edu (Joel K. Furr) wrote:
> > k...@access.digex.net (Keith F. Lynch) wrote:
> > >After the con, the hotel told NESFA (who runs Boskone) don't come back
> > >next year. NESFA then wrote a letter to all con members, saying that
> > >most of them weren't welcome back next year. Needless to say (though it
> > >apparently came as a great surprise to NESFA), most recipients of the
> > >letter got steaming mad. I certainly did.

As the author of most of that letter, and the co-chair of the
following Boskone, you're wrong on a couple of accounts.

Boskone '87 attracted over 4,000 people the year the Sheraton Boston
threw Boskone out. There were dozens of hotel problems related to the
bad behavior of some of the attendees. Jim and I looked all over the
Boston area, but hotels large enough to accomodate even 2,000 didn't
want the convention. The only available sites in southern New England
could only accomodate about 1,800 people. As a result, some of us
felt it would be wiser to discourage people who looked at Boskone only
as a weekend party to not attend in the future. We knew they'd get
mad---this was no surprise to most people on the committee.
(Though was a big bone of contention to some on the committee,
so they went out and started their own convention.)

> > That's insane. Did they want to basically kill off the Boskone
> > franchise? If all con-goers got a letter saying "95% of you suck and we
> > don't want to see you back," I'm astounded that any subsequent Boskones
> > have been held.

'Cause that's not what we said. What we said was

o future Boskones will be more focused on literature
o we're trying not to be "all things to all people"
o we're limiting programming related to peripheral things
(media/costumes/etc.)

We were going after a more literary-minded audience. We felt
conventions should have a more target audience. Also, we had a real
problem with "hangers-on" who crashed the convention, etc., so we also
had to be a little more security-minded. Additionally, we said
that if you'd bought a membership at the huge Boskone and you
didn't like the idea of a smaller Boskone, we'd cheerfully refund
your money, something that cons almost never do. We only refunded
about 20 memberships.

Convention committees and their interests do change. Since lots of
people in NESFA love Magic, the next Boskone is having a Magic
tourney, its first gaming event in about 8 years. Boskone has also
put the emphasis on bringing in good filk performers over the last few
years, and is bringing in another one next year. But the heart and
soul of the convention is still a celebration of the written word. If
that sounds good to you, you'll enjoy the convention. If you're
looking for lots of other stuff, there are about six other more
media-related conventions in the Boston area. Or, if you're really
upset, start your own convention.

> Since no one seems to have responded yet...I understand they had severe
> hotel problems, and couldn't find one on that short notice (one year *is*
> short notice), esp. since Boskone at the time was occasionally referred to
> as the 'Winter Worldcon', running around 4K attendees (which is more than
> twice the first few Worldcons I attended, and larger than some NASFICs),
> and the folks running it may have been getting tired running something
> that big, as well.

Mark, you summed up the problems well. Thank you. The Boskones since
then have attracted between 800 and 1200 people a year. It's
a pleasant convention, a particularly good one if you have children
and teenagers because there are lots of events for them and little mayhem.

This topic does get "done to death" every few years (kind of like
the "Dekker is a replicant" argument over in rec.arts.movies).
Why not talk about new and exciting things like how to structure
your convention to avoid disasters in the future? Treating
convention management proactively is MUCH BETTER than being forced
to be overly REACTIVE.

--
****Laurie Mann * * lm...@telerama.lm.com * * Laurie.Mann (GEnie)****
******** CMU Home Page http://ansible.andrew.cmu.edu/lm3k.html *********
******** Telerama Home Page: http://www.lm.com/~lmann/ **************

Chris Lawrence Amshey

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Dec 10, 1994, 7:57:42 PM12/10/94
to
In article <3c72qm$9...@news.duke.edu>,
Pure grain alcohol is illegal to sell; I don't know if it's illegal
to possess. They sell Bacardi 151 in all the liquor stores around here,
so I would guess it's not illegal.

>I ask this not because I'm planning on bringing up a hip flask of
>Everclear to Arisia to generally wreak havoc with. I'm just curious.

Really, now. Well, that's what *YOU* say ... :)

--Chris


--
SCUM Rises to the Top! Chris Lawrence Amshey
Science-Fiction Conventioneers of Umass SCUM Chair
Hosts of NotJustAnotherCon ams...@student.umass.edu
NotJustAnotherCon XI: Oct 20-22 1995 or ams...@twain.ucs.umass.edu

Keith F. Lynch

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Dec 10, 1994, 11:13:42 PM12/10/94
to
In article <3cc50f$s...@asia.lm.com>, <lm...@telerama.lm.com> wrote:
> As the author of most of that letter, and the co-chair of the
> following Boskone, you're wrong on a couple of accounts. ...
> 'Cause that's not what we said. What we said was ...

I stand by what I said. It would be hard to find someone more literary
than me (a whole wall of my apartment is completely lined with books and
magazines, with more in the other room, and plenty loaned out), but the
letter made it quite clear that I was not welcome. It listed several
qualifying criteria, all easy for NESFA to check, and I didn't pass on
any of them. As I recall, they included having been to three Boskones
(I had been to two) or having purchased art at the art show (I hadn't,
but had bought about fifty paperbacks in the dealer room).

The letter certainly implied that if I were to have shown up Boskone 88,
I would have been turned away.

Perhaps I would have been welcome at subsequent Boskones. But after
receiving that letter, I wasn't inclined to attend any more NESFA
conventions, ever.

> This topic does get "done to death" every few years ...

I'm sorry to keep beating a dead horse, but you are misrepresenting
the contents of the letter, and calling me a liar.

Does anyone have the letter handy for posting? It would take me several
hours to locate mine.

ECWhitley

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Dec 11, 1994, 12:10:33 AM12/11/94
to
In article <D0G9...@world.std.com>, her...@world.std.com (Lisa B Hertel)
writes:

>there is the


>1986 Boskone legacy (aka, The Boskone from Hell) that makes
>everyone a bit touchy.

A nit-pick. It was the 1987 Boskone. I remember disasterous cons I go to
11 days after having surgery.

The 1986 Boskone was actually quite nice.--Eva

Charles D. Lipsig

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Dec 11, 1994, 11:23:25 AM12/11/94
to
I wouldn't call this the worst Con I have been to -- for one
thing I really enjoyed the Con -- but CrackerCon 2, March 1993 in
Jacksonville, FL had elements that could have been bad. Looking back at
the Con report I wrote:

"The real excitement, however, had little to do with the Con.
About 5AM Saturday morning, the fire alarm rang four times, waking me
up. While I was still getting my brain jump started, the alarm stopped.
Then suddenly there was a loud BANG! and a bright white flash about twice
as bright as any lightning I've ever seen, followed by the power going
out. I went to the window, looked out and saw a fire near the entrance
to I-95. Apparently a power surge came through (thus the fire alarm) and
blew the transformer.

"The power came back on in a couple of minutes, although the fire
trucks took about ten minutes to arrive. I figured that was all.

"Then Saturday morning about 11, the power went out again. There
was no fire that time, but it was about two and a half hours before power
was restored. Somewhere along the line, I saw Ben Bova and said, "Well,
we have another story for the next 'Cons from Hell' panel."

Finally Sunday morning, about 2:15, the alarms went off again
with the power repeatedly going off for a few seconds, then going back
on. At this time, I was watching _Red Dwarf_ videos in a hotel room, and
the owner of the VCR was going nuts. Every time he got the tape
restarted, the power would go out again. The half-dozen people there and
I got a bit silly after several minutes of this and started a
thirty-second countdown to the next alarm or blackout, although [one
person there] recited a different number than the rest of us for the
whole countdown."

This of course led to an irate person threatening to call the
police on us for being too loud. Yeah, we probably were too loud for
that early in the morning. But you'd think the alarms would have kept
him up.

I also note that at the end of my con report, I wrote,
"While the Con was poorly organized, I had more fun ... than I have had at
most cons. And that's what counts."

Chuck Lipsig afn1...@freenet.ufl.edu
Gainesville, FL

Nancy Lebovitz

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Dec 11, 1994, 3:13:41 PM12/11/94
to
In article <3c34lf$p...@access2.digex.net>,
Keith F. Lynch <k...@access.digex.net> wrote:
>In article <3c0fr6$j...@galaxy.csc.calpoly.edu>,
>Kevin Wang <kw...@galaxy.csc.calpoly.edu> wrote:
>> Two or three of the cons at the Red Lion Inn in San Jose, CA have
>> had decreasing numbers of problems ever since they stopped offering
>> the "night-only" $5 badge. No more "free" parties for these party
>> crashers, and they just disappeared.
>
>Usually, hotel room parties are open to everyone the party host chooses
>to admit, whether or not they have a membership in the con. Of course
>the hotel could have a policy against non-con-members being allowed in
>the hotel, but I've never seen this at any con hotel. But then, I've
>never been to a con at a Red Lion. I don't think there are any Red Lions
>here in Virginia.

I don't know if this counts, but I was at a Unicon where hotel security
swept the halls and told everyone with a key to go to their rooms and
everyone without a key to leave. I didn't hear anything about whether
they checked rooms to see if only people with appropriate keys for
the room were there, so I assume it didn't go quite that far.

I don't remember the name of the hotel, but I don't think it was
a Red Lion.

Nancy Lebovitz

Seth Breidbart

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Dec 11, 1994, 6:08:11 PM12/11/94
to
In article <figmoD0...@netcom.com>, Lynn Gold <fi...@netcom.com> wrote:
>I can't believe none of you have mentioned Westercon 40, aka "the con
>of the 'double-double cross' (XXXX)," "WesterBomb 40," and "the 'W' word."

I forgot. How many times did the Dealers Room have to be reshuffled
(with the dealers already in it, and some set up) before the fire
marshall approved the layout?

Seth

Paul W. Cashman

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Dec 12, 1994, 2:22:56 AM12/12/94
to
ha...@netcom.com (C. Baden) writes:

>Well, sounds like you're describing the purpose of "SMOFCON" which was
>just this past weekend. (But nobody from Atlanta seemed to find it
>important enough to come to represent their NASFiC and Worldcon bids.)

I'll ignore the condescending tone, there. Frankly, I'd have expected
better. Also, "defend" might be a better verb to use up there.


Re SMOFCon, it was a bit too far. NASFiC did have representatives at
the last US SMOFCon, as I recall. Since I suspect the number of
SMOFCon attendees without some measure of Internet access is quite
low, likely little or no harm was done.

Craig Arnush

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Dec 12, 1994, 9:34:50 AM12/12/94
to
nan...@universe.digex.net (Nancy Lebovitz) writes:
>
>I don't know if this counts, but I was at a Unicon where hotel security
>swept the halls and told everyone with a key to go to their rooms and
>everyone without a key to leave. I didn't hear anything about whether
>they checked rooms to see if only people with appropriate keys for
>the room were there, so I assume it didn't go quite that far.

>I don't remember the name of the hotel, but I don't think it was
>a Red Lion.

This also happened at the Parc-55 during Confrancisco last year. Of
course, it was something like 3 or 4 in the morning, but it WAS supposed
to be the party hotel...

Me

David Weingart

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Dec 12, 1994, 11:34:44 AM12/12/94