The 40th annual LepreCon science fiction convention was held at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Mesa, Arizona on the days and nights of May 8-11, 2014. This is Phoenix’s oldest science fiction convention. Believe it or not, I helped start it back in 1974 or so, and was Con Chairman in 1979. I usually attend–as a guest or participant. I think I’ve only missed 3 of them. I went again this year, mostly to see my friends. I’m long past the stage of gathering autographs, buying things, and paying any attention to the panels. I took a lot of photos this year, and I’m going to share most of them with you here. You should take my comments with a pinch of salt or pepper, as I’m frequently crossing my fingers and/or distorting the truth in what I say about things.
When I walked into the Con on Thursday night, the first person I saw was Jason Youngdale. Jason is a friend of mine. I joined him to listen to some music and drink some beer.
The band is called Squid Dog. They are a motley and aged crew, but they produce a rocking sound.
This is my artistic composition in honor of LepreCon. You can see the program book in the foreground, and the best drink I had for the weekend in the background.
Paul Tanton, Jason Youngdale, and I went off and played some card games. I took a selfie shot of myself while I was playing cards, but it’s way too accurate in representing the real me, and thus too horrible to look at. I’m not gonna show it.
They gave me a grilled cheese sandwich in the staff lounge.
Griller of cheeses. With volunteers like this, the future of LepreCon is in good hands. Of course, this is the only volunteer like this that LepreCon has, so maybe it’s doomed!
I went to the Art Show. I was mostly not impressed, but I did like this troll skull, so I bought it. I’m sure I’ll find all sorts of uses for it. Troll skull by amateur artist David Perrine.
Back in the gaming room, my main home at conventions, we wound up playing Magic for the rest of Friday afternoon.
Late Friday night, I walked into the command center for the whole convention. Yes, friends, this is what the high command of these affairs look like when no one can see them.
Saturday, I spaced it and left my camera at home. I have no pix from the most important day of the Con.
Walking into the Marriott Convention Center from the rear. The Marriott in Mesa has been quite the popular convention site for SF fandom in Phoenix for the last 5 years.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here! Beyond these doors lies much that is fannish.
Some of the usual suspects. From left to right: The Flash (out of uniform), Paul Tanton, Victor Bugg, Jason Youngdale, and ???. I should know the last guy, but I don’t.
The entrance to the Dealers’ Room. There are many wonderful things and even more wonderful people inside this room.
The woman in white is author Gail Carrigher, our Guest of Honor, best known for her steampunk fiction: The Parasol Protectorate.
An ever-changing cityscape lived on this table. I don’t know why.
The fans of David Weber and Honor Harrington owned this real estate. Spiffy space marine uniforms they have.
Flag desecration in poster form.
Artist, dealer, weird female person. I like her.
Oooh, oooh! That fan might buy something!
Bennie Grezlik, author, nice guy, creator of Princess Pain.
Since she was all painted up like a mime (Harley Quinn for DC Comics) I asked costumer Krysta Crawford to do the “I’m Trapped in a Glass Box” routine.
Local authors. I ought to know everybody. They know me, but I don’t know these guys.
I don’t know this guy either, but he has some cool steampunk weapons for sale.
I took her picture because she was wearing a mask. Doesn’t she look like someone just hit her in the head and knocked it sideways?
Fabulous artist, friendly guy. I don’t know him.
You, too, could be wearing a fabulous mask. Buy them here.
I took her picture because she was wearing a corset. You can’t really see it very well.
A complete gallery of the bizarre art of Steam Crow.
Friendly woman, weird art.
Intentionally weird art for a weird magazine.
Steampunk grandees. I vowed to photograph every corset that came my way.
Phoenix has another small sci-fi convention called CopperCon.
Artist Gilead (yes, that is his whole name) teaches a few people the finer points of drawing tentacles for fun and profit.
They’ll let anyone on these panels–even officers from Star Fleet.
I was trying to take a picture of a table full of fannish t-shirts when a woman wearing a fannish t-shirt walked into it and blocked out half the picture.
The “mand” in Mandy stands for “Command”. She ran the art show, helped with registration, and generally tried to keep the convention functioning normally.
The hotel has a beautiful fountain. We’ve been here before in earlier blogs.
Would you believe that Curt Stubbs here was once known as Captain Coors, and that he helped bring the World Science Fiction Convention to Phoenix in 1978? It’s true. He was also Con Chairman for LepreCon 1, I think. I was there, but I can’t really remember that far back.
The Staff Lounge–where hard working staff and con participants like me could go to party.
The staff lounge had food . . . and television, and comfy places to sit.
My favorite hangout was the game room. Here’s a game much too complicated to even consider playing.
The Pathfinder role-playing game over there ran for the whole weekend.
Many goodies were to be had in the Barry Bard movie previews panel late Sunday afternoon.
Eager fen wait for their number to be called.
Mark calls the numbers. There was a prize for everyone who attended. I got a black t-shirt (of course).
They call your number. You go up and claim a prize.
My son James is developing a bald spot (and he’s only 23). He looked so frustrated every time they called a number that was almost his number. It was kind of funny to watch him from across the room.
With the loot all distributed, James and I went back to the game room for a few more games of cards like Parade, which uses an Alice in Wonderland deck that I want. By 5 p.m. it was time to go home, and so farewell to another fabulous science fiction event!
If you have things to tell about LepreCon or funny stories from other sci-fi cons, why not leave a comment?
A lot of good things have been happening to me lately. They are coming almost faster than I can record them. Today, May 7, 2014, I met with my friend Terry Ballard. The two of us have been pals since 1967 or so–we were in high school, but not the same high school. He has lived in New York for the past 25 years, but is in town right now to attend his 50th high school re-union tonight. When he is in town, we usually try to get together and compare lives.
Our meeting place was the Five and Diner cafe on north 16th Street. This is a colorful place with good food at reasonable prices.
Terry was already inside, I sneaked up on him.
I owe a lot (karmically, not financially) to this man. He is a visionary who gets good ideas and then accomplishes them.
Fandom owes a lot to Terry also. He started Phoenix science fiction fandom with the meeting of a few people in his apartment on Friday nights. LepreCon40 is happening this weekend, and LepreCon was Terry’s original vision and idea. I know because I was there when it happened. Terry also started the Phoenix Fantasy Film Society–don’t believe any other stories. Both LepreCon and PFFS happened originally because this man wanted them to happen. In addition, it was Terry who convinced me to start working for the Phoenix Public Library and who told me how to pass the test and actually get a job there. It was Terry who sent my first fan fiction off to Frank Denton and got the first Ken and Terry story published in Frank’s fanzine, Ashwing, way back in 1968. In fact, it was Terry who introduced me to the whole world of fanzines and the idea of fannish activity. He also introduced me to the Tarot, and started my lifelong fascination with that magical tool. He’s only a year older than me, but he influenced my life in so many ways it is hard to keep track of them all.
Here I am, doing what passes as a smile from me.
Our waitress tried to talk us into twice as much food as we really wanted for breakfast. She was a bit surprised when I took her picture, and insisted that she be allowed to pose for the next one. I like this shot. Look at that smile!
It didn’t take long to get another picture of her, posing this time. Terry liked this pic of him. I left her a nice tip for the five cups of coffee she served me.
Terry and I talked about memories and plans, and started a conspiracy to get me to New York for some great walking tours this summer. I’m thinking somewhere around the end of July will be a good time for me to see Long Island and all the wonders that are New York.
When breakfast was over we left the diner, and I showed him the striped rocks I found yesterday in Payson, Arizona. He took one of them with him to be in his rock garden back east.
Having breakfast with an old friend is a simple thing, but it is very pleasurable. Don’t you just love to see and spend time with your friends? I do.
If you ever go out for a meal with people who have traveled thousands of miles just to see you, why not leave a comment?