Sunday morning, the first order of business after hauling myself out of bed was the concert for the participants in the Performance Master Class. Because I assumed that the concert was in the same order as the class, I made an effort to be there 10 minutes before the concert was to begin. I was a little surprised to see that there was a stage set up. A nice touch, and probably the first time a couple of the participants had ever been on a stage. Things were a little bit fannishly disorganized, but I did end up leading off, after a little confusion. I introduced myself to the audience with the instafilk (see part 1) about Saturday, which I really had composed in the shower, which got laughs, and did “The Word of God”, as the masters had recommended, without the fingerpicks. It felt fine, but I’ve been really amazed by the number and intensity of comments on how much of an improvement it made and how well I did. Thanks, guys.
I’d made a point of wanting to stay first in the batting order because I wanted the option to leave if things got slowed down, and I had a schedule to keep: we’d gotten our checkout time extended from the hotel’s default (and highly annoying) 11:00, but only until 1:00. As it happened, the concert moved smoothly, and I was able to hear all of the performers, even the couple I’d had to duck out on when the class itself ran over its scheduled time. In general, the performances went smoothly, and even the weaker performers clearly showed that they had something to offer. I would hate to have to try to be the teacher for one of these; it’s hard for me to point to specific things that need improvement, let alone to figure out how to say what needs improvement in a completely positive way. The biggest problem I saw with my classmates as a group seemed to be lack of confidence/comfort, and the biggest improvements between the class and the concert were alymid and almeda, who both had rough spots in the class that seemed much smoother on the stage. I don’t know how much that came from the advice and support from the masters, but I’ll give them the credit anyway.
After the end of the concert, I wanted to leave my guitar somewhere in the filk area while I got out of the room, because if I put the guitar in the car, it was staying there and I wouldn’t have it for the dead dog. It took a bit of poking around, but eventually I found blur01 and got his blessing to leave it in Ops. In the course of tracking BLuR down in the Green Room, I got a glimpse of how the other half lives -- they really had some fancy vittles in there! I’ll have to try to get myself onto a couple of panels next year so I can score some of that. Then I ran up to the room, ate a sandwich, got my art bag, and headed to the art show. I somehow became confused about when the show closed, so I showed up at 5:25 to see if anybody’d bid on any of my stuff only to discover that the show had closed at 5:00. So all I knew was that someone had mentioned that one of my pieces had had a bid on it Saturday morning. When markbernstein escorted me to check off the pieces being returned to me, I was shocked to discover that I was only getting 5 of my 12 pieces back. 7 of them had sold! Most of them for the minimum bid, and none of them went to auction, but all of the tigers, and oddly enough Mariposa para Rebecca, had all sold. The checkout procedure was well designed and went smoothly, until I actually got in the line to get my check. Before I could get into this line, I had already gone over my paperwork with Melissa, and signed off that it was in order and the amount it said to write the check for was the right amount. So, I wonder, how was it that the two people in front of me, who I presume had followed the same procedure, needed to argue with the person writing the checks for a combined half an hour while I and the people behind me waited for the one person doing the checks? I guess it just goes to show that no system is so intelligently designed that it can keep dumb people from messing it up. (In case it’s not crystal clear, I mean no criticism of the art show people; they were doing it right, and in fact were much better organized than most of the shows I’ve been at. It was the people who managed to get through the “Check the paperwork. Is it right? Do you agree that this total is how much we owe you? Sign here.” and then complain that I’m railing about.) By the time I actually got my check, it was 12:45 (remember, we’re supposed to be out of the room by 1:00). Grumble. We managed to get our stuff into the car without major trouble, and then I made it into the dealer’s room for the first time. I actually browsed over the tables quickly, and bought a copy of Shadowbeast because “The Girl That’s Never Been” has been gnawing at my subconscious and I’ve been kicking myself since GaFilk for not getting it direct from vixyish. And I found catalana, and the three of us decided that we’d hang around for some of the dead dog filk, leaving exactly when we would leave up in the air but holding to my pre-con plan of leaving no later than 6:00.
I wandered back to the filk room and discovered that almeda, beige_alert, and anach (I think it was) were already filking, a little ahead of schedule, so I retrieved my guitar and joined them. We ended up with a pretty good circle for a while, as we were joined by filker0, Jen from Wild Mercy with her harp, Deirdre, probably a couple of other people who sang things, and bunches of listeners. Both Sue (WINOLJ) and birder2 had apologized for missing the concert because they had been confused about when it was happening, and they asked me to reprise my performance, and no one else present howled in protest. I did Cindy’s “Three Sisters”, which I want to mention to remind myself that I improvised a new arrangement on the spot, and I think I was onto something on the verses, though the chorus wasn’t terribly special. It was another good circle, but birder2 was getting really antsy about leaving (and people were drifting off), so we hit the road around 5:30. I really didn’t want it to be over, but it was.
The trip home was problem-free except for birder2 not being able to find her keys (I trust you found them eventually?); we stopped for Popeye’s and gas on the secret shortcut along 159th St. from I-294 to I-57; we talked mostly about things inconsequential enough that I don’t remember them, but it’s always nice to chat with catalana. I noted that if the con had been a chocolate eating contest, I would have qualified for a prize. We got into something close to an argument as we got back to Champaign, as birder2 expressed her disgust that the new Aldi is demanding a deposit from shoppers to use shopping carts, and catalana was arguing that businesses should be free to adopt obnoxious business practices, since customers are free to not shop there. I’m not quite sure why it seemed to be almost degenerating into a shouting match, but I suspect it had more to do with lack of sleep getting in the way of communication than any real lack of respect for anyone else’s positions. I got home 9:30-ish, and called Jim and Robin to see if they wanted me to get my dogs then, but they said to wait until Monday, which was probably for the best. I could have done it, but I was probably tired enough that I should have stayed off the roads. And considering how much of a pain Meg was about getting in the car, it is a good thing that I had daylight and was alert, even though I missed my puppies last night.
All in all, this is the most fun I’ve had at Capricon in a couple of decades. Which is not to say that it isn’t usually fun, but this was the best the music has been in a long time, with the best support from the convention that it’s ever had. There were some imperfections, like the con suite closing at 2, and the Internet Cafe apparently not looking at the schedule of other music events when deciding when to have performers, and the confusion about where the music would be Saturday night, but overall, I had a fantastic time, and I mainly thank singlemaltsilk for putting together such a great music program, and daddy_guido and the rest of the committee for letting her do it. In fact, the only person who’s probably not happy is billroper, and that’s because he’s running filk next year and he’s going to have to work his ass off to clear the bar where singlemaltsilk has set it.