Despite arriving early, I had limited success in arranging a dinner party. I ended up going to the Barbecue Kitchen (which was fine) with just my two car-mates and Shirley WINOLJ who was rooming with birder2. We got back just in time to get bubbly for the New Year toasts. My Filk continues to be an amusing trivia contest quite spoiled by the fact that only the song contest determines the winner. (Perhaps I am biased by the fact that I'm pretty good at the trivia and have no songwriting ability at all, but I think I would find it stupid even if the part I was good at were the only part that counted. If points in the fourth quarter of a football game counted for 100 times as much as points in the first three quarters, everyone would agree there was no point in playing or watching the first three quarters.) The fun of My Filk was also limited by the completely arbitrary, capricious, dictatorial, and unfair ruling that the audience could not win this year. (Not that we would have anyway, since hsifyppah wasn't there, but still, it's the thought that counts.) The most interesting part of the contest was the section where the contestants had to identify a song from the sign language version of the first line. After all these years of watching first Linda Melnick and later Judi Miller, I've deluded myself that I'm starting to learn to extract a little meaning from the signs, but when the song isn't there with the signs, I get nothing. I think I recognized one word out of the six songs. My Filk was followed by a fine Concom's Choice concert from musicmutt and chirosinger, who have done some fine things combining their rather different musical styles. In particular, their casting of Girl That's Never Been as a duet was stunning. I didn't do much open filking. The main room was slated to open with a media theme filk, which I would have little to contribute to, so I wandered into an alternate room and discovered that Teri was trying to impose Buckyball rules, and I wasn't much inspired with followers. I did do the two pieces I had thought to do as a two-fer for OVFF but was far too unready. Despite feeling pretty rough with them, I decided to sign up anyway.
Saturday got off to a bad start when I discovered that the food I'd stuck in the minifridge in my room was frozen solid so I couldn't have the ham sandwich that was supposed to be my real food until the banquet. (Of course I learned this too late to go out and get anything else without missing the fun.) Super Secret Guest S. M. Stirling's reading was quite good, despite the fact that it kinda left me feeling that I don't actually need to read A Meeting At Corvallis. Linda Melnick's concert was fabulous; hearing and seeing her and TJ performing some of the old Technical Difficulties repertoire was like reconnecting with an old friend and relearning how much you enjoy their company. I still have Wishful Thinking stuck in my head. And, I think, tears from Cranes and Lies. We established Friday that I don't know sign language at all, so why does watching Linda sign a powerful, sad song multiply its impact tenfold? I had to miss most of the Urban Tapestry concert, because I did win the twofer lottery, I was up in the second slot, and I wanted to do a last run-through, make sure my guitar was tuned, snack a bit, get water, and be ready.
I have not read any LJ since I got back, so I don't know how much has been said about the first twofer, but I assume it's (in)famous by now. I was asked if I would mind doing my set between the two parts of the set because the performer needed time "for a costume change", but I hadn't understood just what that implied. JenKitty's performance was burlesque dance interpretation of two familiar recorded songs, with the (lack of) costume that implies. I am not going to say anything general about it. My own reaction, from my own peculiar perspective of being on deck to do my own performance and then just having gotten off stage from my own performance, was that I was totally not in the right headspace to appreciate it. I was not expecting that kind of a performance. I don't consider myself a prude and I certainly don't subscribe to the theory that such a performance is inherently an evil thing, but the cognitive dissonance of having it in such an unexpected place on top of the fact that I wasn't mentally ready to receive any kind of performance right then meant that I was just kind of dumbfounded. My own performance, from my own perspective, was OK. I didn't forget the words, I didn't mess up the chords very much, and I think I got the rhythm and strum patterns (which are meant to change several times, for effect, which is nice but harder to remember) pretty much right. I am not used to having a vocal mike (I think I've sung with a mike once before in my life) and I was concerned that I was not maintaining a consistent distance. Several people told me afterwards that it was a good performance. Hopefully I will get to hear a recording soon. I missed most of the rest of the twofers because I needed some time to decompress.
The early evening concert by Play It With Moxie (which as an incidental side benefit includes food) was as always a delight. The food was actually quite good, though slightly limited in variety and in meat; I wouldn't pay that much for just the food, but since I wasn't there for the food I'm not bitching. I danced with chaoticgoodchic, andpuff, and Crystal -- the one from the east cost, not from Germany -- who AFAIK INOLJ. I would like to actually learn ballroom dance, but I need someone local to learn with, since just taking a class by myself is far enough out of my comfort zone that I'm just not likely to do it.
This was followed by the Interfilk guest concert by Summer&Fall, an awesome girl duo from Germany who were so kind as to do most of their songs in English (when they weren't showing off by singing in French and Russian as well as in German). And how on Earth did they manage to get so many instruments to a gig in the US? OK, it wasn't their piano, and the krummhorn doesn't take much space, but I think two of the guitars and maybe the bass were theirs, and the metallophone and glockenspiel were. It's nice to see that the NMC project hasn't completely sapped Interfilk's resources.
Speaking of Interfilk, this year I donated one of my tiger photo prints. I had somehow gotten an ink smudge on the border of this one, such that I couldn't display it in the frame I usually use. I was a little uncomfortable about offering "damaged goods", but I figured I would just see if anyone wanted it, and it did sell. I also bought a board game off the bid sheet. I only caught a little bit of the voice auction; there was nothing I wanted to bid on seriously, and I had enough of the "Interfilk auction as a form of entertainment" at OVFF to last me for a few years.
Open filk Saturday night was kind of a fizzle for me. A number of other people were also not in the auction room, but only conversation was happening, not filking. I managed to get too much stuff set up in one alternate room before we realized that we couldn't turn on the air conditioning because it was locked and the maintenance people with the key were gone for the day. I did one song in the room and wandered out to find a mini Irish session going on in the bar lobby with sweetmusic_27, braider, musicmutt, and Bill Rintz WINOLJ. I just enjoyed the music for a while. Eventaully I managed to get chirosinger, sweetmusic_27, my 12-string, and chirosinger together for a rendition of Swing the Cat, but the session broke up. I think maybe I sang one more song in the filk room and then I packed up and started trying to head for bed. It took about two hours to get there.
Sunday my food had thawed out and I was able to have a sandwich. By the time I got to the filk room, the Ecumenifilk had apparently died out rather than evolving into open filk. I milled around a bit. Just when a good filk was going, it was time for the ceremonial de-badging of the concom and singing of Strangers No More. A concerted campaign to find someone to go to dinner with other than the herd heading to Steak&Ale was a complete bust. Steak&Ale is OK, but not quite the food I wanted, and as usual I was mostly on the border between two conversation groups and not really part of either one. I somehow managed to waddle back to the hotel, and even to sing in the dead dog. I did the Berryman's "After Life Goes By" sloppily and Brian Leo's "The Sea"; the latter got good audience participation. I got an Interfilk haircut, which looks good now but she didn't take off enough; I'll need another haircut too soon. Got to bed at a moderately reasonable hour.
Monday morning I woke up almost an hour before I had planned to get up. I showered, packed, and put my guitars in the car. I had gotten a parking space ten feet from my room, so packing should have been a breeze, but unfortunately, when the room door closed and locked itself, I discovered that my room keys didn't work. So I went to the front desk and they supposedly fixed the keys, but they still didn't work. The security guy let me into the room, and I just stuffed everything in the car (putting the security latch thingy in the door so it couldn't close) and checked out. If I believed in hell, I'd get some comfort thinking about the special place therein reserved for the idiot who came up with the idea that hotel room doors should be springloaded. I couldn't find any of my car-mates, so I went off to the hotel restaurant alone, where the hostess tried to tell me that I couldn't have breakfast because they were closing in 5 minutes, but another waitress said I could get breakfast, but they were only serving the buffet. The fruit was out. Once I finally got them to give me a bowl, I got the last dregs of the oatmeal. I did get more bacon than one really should eat, but I would much rather have had the omelet I was looking at on the posted menu, and it would have cost less than they charged me for the buffet. I guess we're not coming back anyway, so I don't need to get too worked up over one last overpriced crummy breakfast. The drive home featured a thoroughly annoying 15 minute hunt for a Captain D's Seafood that was nowhere near the exit where it was featured on the highway sign, a small adventure trying to find the parking lot of a mexican place in Marion called something like Las Tequilas (which served quite reasonable food), and