Greetings, SciFi/Fantasy Fans!
Wow! What a fantastic day at BayCon 2010. The hallways were filled with costumed folk, everyone excited about the day’s offerings. Once again, it was hard to choose from so many fun, interesting activities. Today I went with sessions on Na’vi language, swords and dueling, a second round of chainmail, filk, geek trivia, author panels, and sculptured costuming techniques.
For my first stop of the day, I sat in briefly with a gathering of Avatar fans. The room filled up pretty quickly and there was a lot of entertaining discussion. I couldn’t stay long, though, because I did not want to miss “Swords and Sorcery: Getting the ‘Swords’ Part Right” which was happening at the same time, down the hall.
The Swords panel was really impressive. Panelists Tony Barajas, Jeremy Tavan, David Coblentz, Dori Coblentz, Sydney Thomson and Janine Sahm managed to cover a lot of material in a short amount of time without making it feel at all rushed. We got to handle some of the swords and the panelists sometimes jumped up, grabbed weapons, and demonstrated how different styles or lengths of sword would have been used. The range of expertise was spectacular: historical clothing and armor, bladed weapons, Italian versus English dueling practices, modern fencing, AND a panelist with medical expertise that talked about the types of wounds inflicted by different bladed weapons, infection, and French onion soup as a diagnostic tool on the battlefield. (I know, sounds weird, right?) When the panel finished we all filed out for a brief recess, then back in for a demonstration of armored sword fighting. These guys really went after each other! I saw fresh dents in their armor after each round.
After that, it was back down the hall for another chainmail lesson. Good thing we were given written instructions with pictures, because it’s going to take some practice before I figure out how to do the beautiful (but complicated) patterns we were working with today. Our instructor, Renee Ritchie, showed us a chainmail shirt she made in about 3 months using 50,000 rings! Here is Renee with a chainmail project using colored rings:
Now that I was sufficiently humbled by my poor chainmail skills, I sat in on a Filk panel discussion. I really didn’t know that much about filk before today, which is probably pretty lame since I am not a convention novice. Filk has been around scifi/fantasy gatherings since at least the early 1950’s, named “filk” as the result of a typo in what was intended to be “folk,” and is basically fan lyrics set to popular song melodies or original music. The filkers attending today’s panel were all really knowledgeable and totally into filking. For my next Con I’m planning to look for the filk room ‘cause you can’t really go wrong with music lovers who love scifi and are creative enough to make up their own lyrics about their favorite shows.
One of my favorite activities of the day was a trivia game for scifi/fantasy geeks presented by the good people of Geekfight!SF. Everyone split up into teams, competing for bragging rights and some little games donated as prizes by a local game store. The categories for today’s game ranged from DC comics, scifi transportation vehicles of all types, Whedonverse, Dr. Who, and Magical Items. The questions were HARD, people. Geekwars organizers admitted to making the questions harder than usual because they expected BayCon attendees to be more knowledgeable than your average sentient being. Flattering, but I must not be anywhere near as geeky as I thought, since I didn’t know very many of the answers. But it was really fun to participate and some of the answers and asides were hilarious! Check out our lovely Geekfight!SF official, Patricia Muniosguren Yulo:
Downstairs in the Grand Ballroom, Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon were on stage. These two are HUGE in fantasy fiction, Ms. Lackey having written more than 100 books, some co-authored with her husband, Mr. Dixon. After their panel, the audience was invited to come up to the stage for autographs—and just about everyone in the room took advantage of the opportunity.
For my last session of the day, I chose an instructional demonstration on sculpting costume pieces out of special materials. Mette Hedin and Bryan Little were entertaining as well as informative. This session was so popular that a lot of people were sitting on the floor and standing against the walls, but everyone was so engrossed and considerate of one another it was fantastic. Hedin and Bryan were beautifully open and trusting. They passed around some of their most delicate and prized creations so we could really get a good look at the construction and finishes. We were all invited to come up and play with some of the materials, too!
Tomorrow (Monday, May 31, 2010) is the last day of the convention (*sigh*) but I know it will be another good one. Until then, check out some of these great costumes!