?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Chambanacon report, or, Are YOU a BANANA? - Phil's Rambling Rants
November 26th, 2006
07:57 pm

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Chambanacon report, or, Are YOU a BANANA?
We arrived in Springfield without incident at nearly 5 PM. When I checked in, they wanted to put me on the 9th floor, but when I asked if I could possibly get a low enough room that I could use the stairs, the desk clerk said that he could put me in a handicap-accessible room on the 3rd floor, since they weren't using any of the handicap rooms this weekend anyway.  I procured a cart and piled my stuff thereon, parked the car, and took the cart to the room.  I think a truly handicapped person wouldn't have found the room very satisfactory -- the accommodations amounted to a wider bathroom door that opened out, extra grab bars in the bathroom, and a secondary shower head on a flexible mount that wasn't actually usable because the lever to switch between the regular shower head and the flexible one was firmly stuck in the regular position.  The room had the same bizarre floor plan as the other rooms in Springfield's Tin Can Hilton, including a quite narrow corridor around the bathroom to get to the actual bedroom.  But fortunately, I was not trying to navigate the room in a wheelchair, so it was fine for me, and also fortunately, the climate control actually responded appropriately when switched from heat to cool, since it was uncomfortably warm on first entry.

I next headed down to the art show, after a short detour at registration to get my badge, and spent close to an hour stuffing pieces into their frames and filling out bid sheets.  But I did end up with a spread of 12 pieces, comprising 7 tigers, one cougar, and four nature shots.  The art show was only a single two-sided row of panels in the dealers' room, which was only two sections of the ballroom instead of all three, and the small space was pretty well filled, mostly with mail in art, though Ray Van Tillburg, who was there and selling T shirts, also exhibited a fair bit.

After the art show setup, birder2 and I joined TC and barbarakittent for dinner at the Holy Land Diner.  The Holy Land is really the only good thing about the downtown Springfield location of Chambanacon; it's a hole in the wall Middle Eastern restaurant that offers an all you can eat buffet with hummus, ribs in a mild sweet tomato sauce, chicken, and fabulous baklava, among other things.  We returned from that to the Ice Cream Social and a banana split for dessert, starting a predictable trend continued for the rest of the weekend of eating Way Too Much.  After waddling around and conversing for a while, we went to the designated filk space, where myself, Art Warneke, Aaron Bilodeau, Juanita Coulson, and ladyat had a pretty good filk going, when the evening program at the convention center ended and the lobby was filled with raucous hordes of Indians.

There's some kind of Hindu conference or celebration or something that started happening a couple of years ago in downtown Springfield.  The Tin Can is just an overflow hotel, but they pretty much book all of the rooms in the hotel.  And they're mostly polite and not a problem, except that there's really a lot of them, and they're all excited and boisterous when they get out of their scheduled activities, and it takes half an hour for the elevators to deliver them to their rooms.  This wouldn't be a major issue for the filk, except for the fact that the filk space, demonstrating that architecture moves in mysterious ways, is open to the main lobby of the hotel, despite being on a different level.  It's not a large opening, but it's quite large enough that the crowd noise drowns out the filk.

We tried singing Bold Marauder and they didn't notice, so we just waited them out.  We filked a little more, but I was too tired to stay up late.

Saturday, I had some food in the room, and when I wandered down in search of interesting things to do, I encountered TC again, and we had a long conversation, which included my tagging along while he went out in search of breakfast, winding up in a little bar that was not smoky and disgusting, due, I believe, to Springfield having recently passed a strong no smoking ordinance.  This also meant that there was no smoking con suite, which also meant no smoke leaking out of the smoking con suite into the corridor and no filkers disappearing into the smoking con suite for a beer and not being seen again for hours, for which I commend Springfield.  I had time to have the pleasant surprise of learning that two of my pictures had received bids, there was some smoffing about Chambanacon's future (more on this later), and then it was time for the Never Ending Filk Panel.

Not a whole lot was really covered this year.  It was noted that a new con is starting in the Pacific Northwest (which is a fine thing in my view), and that they're holding it just after GaFilk and just before the British filkcon (which seems like poor timing in my view).  I don't think it will really hurt GaFilk to have the two so close together, but it does mean that it will be less likely that we'll see people like mrlogic and vixyish at GaFilk, which is a bummer.  There were other, less well formed, rumors of a filk con starting in Phoenix, which might be taking alternate years with ConChord, the sourthern California filkcon.  bedlamhouse opined that this kind of cooperation (ConChord was talking about dropping to every other year, and Phoenix was taking about taking the open years) is much nicer than schedule conflicts.

Nothing of consequence happened between the filk panel and the banquet.  We've been buying banquet tickets to support the con for long enough that it's become a tradition.  This year, conchair Mike Brim told the crowd how he was going to try to be nice to Ken Moore and let his table eat first, but Ken hadn't actually showed up.  Unfortunately, Ken managed to arrive before his table had gotten through the line, so he was not made to wait until the end.  Minor silliness only, and despite my being nearly the last person to go through the food line, there was plenty of everything, and I once again had Way Too Much.  Overpriced at $25 but good food.  The guests were reasonably entertaining, though not too long-winded.  The guest gifts were those toy castles and marble-throwing trebuchets.  And the centerpieces were plastic short swords with bananas attached.

It was officially announced at the banquet that Chambanacon will not be at the Tin Can next year.  With the Indians willing to rent all the rooms, it's a different situation than when it was an otherwise empty hotel.  Officially, everything is TBA, but I stand with Mike Brim and the Suttons in being firmly committed that there will be a Chambanacon next year.  We just don't know where yet.  It might even be in Urbana.

Saturday's filk was interrupted much as Friday's by the convention center's events letting out around 11 PM, but this time instead of just waiting for the noise to die down, people trooped off to try to find a better place, and showed up at the place they imagined they would use, carrying a bunch of instruments, to discover that it was actually occupied.  And then wandered around for a while before landing in the conference room and shoving conference tables out of the way.  Of course by the time we'd actually moved, the noise had died down, and bedlamhouse, who was actually filking before the move, didn't rejoin us afterwards.  I was tired and cranky, and snapped at a couple of people about the move, for which I apologize.  Moving a filk is never a good choice, though; filks are fragile, and no matter how bad the room it's in and no matter how nice the new room seems, the filk often fails to survive the transplant.  I refused to fully unpack, but I did manage to sing a few things in the new room before someone snuck up behind me and brained me with the 2x4 of tired and I staggered off to my room shamefully early.

Sunday I checked out of the art show, having sold two pieces, as much as I'd sold at Windycon.  I had a sandwich for lunch, hugged a bunch of people, got dragged into a game of bughouse with Art, Todd V., and Lee, hugged more people, and went home.

It was nice to see my Chambanacon family of course, but I feel wrung out rather than rejuvenated right now, and quite unready to face the work week.  I spent a sensible amount of time in bed both nights, but didn't wake up properly rested.  The con was too short for me to properly let go of the other problems in my life.  I assume I'd be worse off without any con, but I really need a few days of sleep now.

Current Mood: tiredtired
Tags:

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:daev
Date:November 27th, 2006 03:51 am (UTC)
(Link)
Now that the old Chambanacon hotel in Champaign has been torn down and replaced with a big Hilton, is there talk of returning to the original site?
[User Picture]
From:billroper
Date:November 27th, 2006 04:01 am (UTC)
(Link)
My suspicion is that will remain a big "No Go" as long as the Illinois High School Football Championships are in Champaign over Thanksgiving weekend. But I'm not on the concom, so take that with the appropriate amount of salt.
[User Picture]
From:tigertoy
Date:November 27th, 2006 01:37 pm (UTC)
(Link)
As Bill says, as long as that damned football tournament is across the street, it doesn't make sense for the hotels to give us a tolerable rate. If we make it back to Chambana (and we'll be trying), it will be in a hotel farther from the stadium.
[User Picture]
From:msminlr
Date:November 29th, 2006 12:04 pm (UTC)

Oh, man; I wisht I couldda BEEN there!

(Link)
Chambanacon art show being only one row of panels is just WRONG. Maybe a new venue would make it easier for art to get there.

If Chambanacon could move to Danville, IN, it might not only be easier to get to, but it could be renamed ChamBanDanaCon.
[User Picture]
From:tigertoy
Date:November 29th, 2006 03:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh, man; I wisht I couldda BEEN there!

(Link)
Considering that there were only ~80 attendees, it was a darn good art show. It's just too small a convention for anyone to exhibit there professionally. The only reason there is an art show is that running it is what some of the most loyal attendees do. Same with the dealers' room -- I doubt any of the dealers do more than make expenses, but hanging out behind their tables is how they interact with the con.
[User Picture]
From:msminlr
Date:November 29th, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh, man; I wisht I couldda BEEN there!

(Link)
Chambana being that SMALL is just wrong!
Back when I discovered filk at a Chambana in the mid '70's, there would be 80 people just hanging out in that upstairs lobby at the Ramada (as it was then). Or, at least it felt like that.
The art show would fill a medium sized meeting room and the dealers would fill another, not the two events sharing ONE.

Chambana needs to get back on the map, somehow.
[User Picture]
From:tigertoy
Date:November 30th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh, man; I wisht I couldda BEEN there!

(Link)
Chambana's attendance was falling precipitously even before we got sent into exile by high school football, because there is so much competition. There are so many cons in the year that even if you have a narrow interest like filk, there are probably more cons that you would like to go to than you have the vacation and/or money to attend. And if you do feel like going to a con on Thanksgiving weekend, you now have a zillion choices. It's going to be hard to convince someone who doesn't already have a history with Chambanacon that they should come, especially since the thing that keeps those of us that still go coming back is spending time with that group of friends. It's really hard to argue that someone who doesn't already have friends there should choose Chambanacon over the alternatives.

I think there are three possible futures: (1) we accept Chambanacon as being a small, comfortable gathering of friends; this means we want to move to a more popular location than Spiffled and we need to work hard on getting people who stopped going because Spiffled was too far to put their money where their mouths are and come back, but we shoudn't expect to be drawing 500 people or try really hard to have facilities for a 500 person con; (2) we find something specific to focus Chambanacon on that will draw in people who wouldn't be interested in the current con, pursue it seriously, and stick with it for a few years -- I'm not sure what this interest could or should be, but I would be willing to listen to suggestions; or (3) we accept that Chambanacon will die, and after a ceremonial wake at the last one, we find something else to do Thanksgiving weekend.

I think (2) is unlikely to work and I really don't like (3), so I am putting my hopes and intent into (1). I think this is where the rest of us are.
[User Picture]
From:wlbh
Date:November 30th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh, man; I wisht I couldda BEEN there!

(Link)
Oh, man, am I so way out of date.

When did Mike Brim return as con-chair?

What happened to Phread?
[User Picture]
From:tigertoy
Date:November 30th, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh, man; I wisht I couldda BEEN there!

(Link)
Mike bowed out as con chair when he was overwhelmed with events in his personal life, and was ready to come back once his life settled down. Phread never wanted to be chair and was happy to return to her previous role last year. She's still bringing insane quantities of baked goods and running around doing stuff; she just isn't In Charge.
From:starstraf
Date:November 30th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
(Link)
congrats on the artwork bids.
I have very fond memories of Chambanacon and the banquette.
Hummm - if it moved back to Urbana I would at least get a day pass and stop by the con.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:June 19th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)

Times have changed

(Link)
I met my first wife @ Chambanacon way back in the 70's, when Joe & Gay Haldeman used to attend regularly. I always had a good time and we attended for many years. It's too bad the con has dropped off so.
Powered by LiveJournal.com