Gaelicspirit (gaelicspirit) wrote,

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KazCon: A Lawrence-based fancon revisited

As promised, here is a recap of the four(ish) day gathering. I will say that volunteering to be part of the planning committee was a unique experience and not one I'd truly prepared myself for. It is a lot of work -- more than I realized. It's one of those things you want to do, then don't want to do, then want to do, then feel obligated to do, then want to do as the months prior to the event roll out.

As our fearless leader, wolfpup kept us all to task as far as our committments and promises. She also came up with some really great ideas to enhance the charity the con was supporting by having one very talented fan create a scrapbook dedicated to Kim for each con attendee to sign that included a place for a copy of the check we'll be sending and a picture of the whole group of con-goers. I can't remember who created the book--wolfpup would have to tell you that--but it was fantastic.

In addition, wolfpup asked thruterryseyes to create a matted picture of the guys with Kim -- it was taken right after the prank where water was poured down on them as they crawled down the sewer drain in "No Exit." Across the bottom of the picture was Kim's catchphrase, "Kick it in the Ass! Action!"

Lastly, I wrote a tribute to Kim that was included in the registration packet for attendees to read. I'm certain black_wingedbird is posting a ginormous amount of pictures at some point, so if anyone is interested in seeing the Kim Manners tribute items, I'll see if I can post a link. For Kazcon '09, we had a very synchronistic committee that pulled together, contributed time and talent (for example, thruterryseyes created all of the art and graphics for the con, inclusive of merchandise and black_wingedbird and wolfpup knew exactly each item would be needed to execute all components of the panels and parties) and the end result was an extended weekend of good times, good conversation, and good friends.

Day One: Thursday the 6th

This was a bit of a 'prep' day, really. Being local, it was easy to volunteer as a taxi for a few attendees from the KC airport. I picked up Bayre and morganslady and returned them to the hotel in Lawrence. That afternoon consisted of waiting out the hotel's schedule so that we could get into the various rooms and set up the panels and the auction items for both live and silent, as well as the abbreviated dealers room. Around 5pm, people began to register and were given their package which contained a lanyard with either Dean, Sam, or both (depending on who they selected when registering) and a "survival kit" specific to each brother.

Additionally, the kits included a keychain with a pic from the show or of the actors--there were about 50 different pics to choose from--and the two different Kazcon logo designs that Terry created. There were also raffle tickets for a number of prizes that would be given away on Saturday, a form for voting in the fanfic writing contest, an opportunity to sign up for Friday's Ghost Tour, and the printed schedule/guide that included ads for the dealers room, Ghost Tour, and tribute to Kim Manners.

I had to play the dual role of Mama and Con attendee and for that evening had Mo Chuisle with me until her Papa was able to get off of work. She alternately amused and horrified attendees by pointing to the pictures of the guys and saying, "Mama, dar's Dean an' dat odder guy." Guess I don't really identify Sam that much around the house... *ahem*

Later that night, we watched "Lucifer Rising" as a group (those that were there, anyway) and Terry and I led a discussion on what people thought about the episode and speculations about and then what happened... The con had a double feature with Friday the 13th and My Bloody Valentine and offered popcorn and a cash bar. I'm not sure who all stayed for that (I think Nana56 said she did) because I went home and crashed.

Day Two: Friday the 7th

This was the first day of panels. I was only able to attend one personally--and that was the Supernatural Season 1 Jeopardy challenge--but I'll include the schedule so that you can see what panels were held and who hosted them. I manned the "orphan table" in the dealer/auction room. My one regret with this con is that I wasn't able to get more dealers to come in. I can think of a number of reasons -- economy, the con in Vancouver, not big enough, Lawrence is too far away--but I am still disappointed my campaigning didn't pay off better.

I even made an annoyance of myself at some local Lawrence businesses that (I thought) would have fit in great! But, alas, it is what it is. We were fortunate to have EveSong and JMGriffin present with their GriffinSong Press zine, Rooftop Confessions, and other digests they'd produced. Additionally, Judy D was there to perform tarot and palm readings, which I saw several people taking advantage of.

I sold several different zines on behalf of agentwithstyle and Gilded Lily Press, and the best part of that was that people would come by to scope out the zines and strike up a conversation with me. *GRIN*

I did have one of Terry's Hellhounds (security) man the table so that I could join in on the Supernatural Jeopardy game. Terry made signs for each team: Hunters, Reapers, Angels, Demons, Ghostfacers... and I forget the 6th one. Both days I played, I was a Hunter and it paid off in a "Son of a bitch, I WON!" pin. Yay! :)

Here's the schedule for Friday's Panels:

Friday: 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
* To Smite or Not to Smite - Fluffy guardians or avenging warriors? Compare and contrast the angels in S4. What are their motives? How do they see themselves in relation to mankind? And who answers to whom? (Rob1, Black_wingedbird)
* Scenes on the Cutting Room Floor - Forty minutes isn't long enough! Scenes from S3 and S4 that should have been, but never were. (lovesrain44)

Friday: 10:45 - 11:45 a.m.
* Sonuvabitch S1 - Test your knowledge and attention to detail with anything and everything regarding Season 1. (Jeopardy-style game) (KazCon Committee)
* Sam Winchester: Boy King? - An indepth psychological profile of Sam in Season 4. How he differs from the little brother we knew before Dean's death. (lovesrain44, Paladin)

Friday: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
* Down and Dirty - Which brother is hotter and why? A look at the boys on the most basic of levels. (Adult discussion) (Robin, Roselyn)
* Kripke Said What? - Sam eats health food... if he eats at all? Dean always takes the bed by the door? CPS was constantly knocking on the Winchester's door? The blurred line between Canon and Fanon.(K. Hanna)

Friday: 2:15 - 3:15 p.m.
* Writer Workshop: Beginning, Middle and End - How to construct the foundation of a great story and bring the reader along for the journey. (K. Hanna)
* Dean, Sam and the School System - Take a closer look at the school system and how things worked when Sam amd Dean must have attended. (JM Griffin, Judy D.)

Friday: 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
* Ramblin' Man - A look at Bobby Singer. The life he's led and his role in the Winchester World. (Paladin)
* It's Getting Hott In Here - Classes of demons, their powers and ranks. A look at the demons encountered throughout the series.

Friday: 4:45 - 5:45 p.m.
* Sonuvabitch S2 - Test your knowledge and attention to detail with anything and everything regarding Season 2. (Jeopardy-style game) (KazCon Committee)
* Pass the Ammo - A look into the Impala's trunk. A hands-on panel of the types of weapons the boys use in their day to day battles. (Weapons and ammo will be part of the panel. However, no weapons will be loaded.) (Rob1, Paladin)

After some Mommy-duty schedule juggling, Terry and I returned to participate in the pizza party up in wolfpup and black_wingedbird's suite--complete with Supernatural cake--and then rounded up the crew to attend the Ghost Tour.

There were about 35 con attendees and 5 unfortunate souls who apparently signed up for the tour online and were folded into our mix who went on the tour. Now, even though I do live in Lawrence and know of it's very haunted history, I haven't really toured it in this manner before. We loaded up on a school bus (and is it me, of have those things shrunk since I was in the 7th grade?!) and headed to the Eldridge Hotel. We got off the bus there to do a short walk-through of different areas in the hotel and got some history of the hotel founder.

The main source of pain in Lawrence is the moment in August of 1863 when WIlliam Quantrell's raiders came down from Mt. Oread and sacked the town. The Kansas and Missouri border was the bloodiest area of the Civil War as both are geographically midwest, but idiolgically north and south. Kansas was a free state, Missouri a slave state, and thus, animosity and strife and brother-against-brother held sway over history. Honestly? In some places? The border wars continue to this day...

Quantrell and his men killed over 150 men and burned the town to the ground. Many of the stories the Ghost Tour guides shared dealt with that day and the reprecussions afterward. We saw a few houses that were haunted by men killed on that day, and walked up to the cemetery where bodies were carried from town to be buried--many in a mass grave--after the fires from the raid died down.

I am a rather... skeptical believer. When someone tells me they had a psychic event happen to them, I smile and nod and believe that they believe it, but have a hard time buying it myself. The best way I can describe it is, I don't want to go on record saying that I don't believe in ghosts. I believe in the possibilty of ghosts, but I have never seen one myself and therefore aren't entirely convinced.

That said? When I was walking in Oread Cemetery, I started to feel very ill. Sweaty, shaking, dizzy. It was hot up there (it's hot everywhere--it's Kansas in August...), and I had been having what I generally refer to as a Bad Pain Day, so I figured I was just dealing with that. But, the moment I stepped off the cemetery lawn and stood in line to get back on the bus, it was gone. It was such an immediate change that it left me with goose bumps. I told no one, and I don't know if it's significant, but I certainly left an impression on me.

The tour also included a visit to Haskell University on the east end of town--which is now a working, thriving university for Native Americans of all tribes that honors heritage and celebrates the traditions of the Native Americans. But it wasn't always that way. When it was founded in the 1870's, it was done so to indoctrinate the Indian's in the the White Man's World. Children were taken from their families and put to work building the university. It was back-breaking labor and many of the children died as a result. In the back of the university is the Children's Cemetery, which is now fenced off and only those of Native American descent are allowed to step onto the sacred ground. More than 30 tribes are represented in that cemetery and the ages range from 6 months to around 14 years.

We also saw a house that was once a brothel (and is haunted by a particular patron), the old Governor's Mansion that is now a Frat House--and that one is haunted by the Governor's mistress who was hung (never determined if it was suicide or murder) and buried inside the fireplace in the house (creepy!). We drove by the Hanging Bridge and Abe & Jake's Landing, both local legendary haunted spots, and then returned to the hotel.

I think the general consensus of those who attended was enjoyment. There were some that wanted to explore more, get out more, get more detail from the guides, but all in all, I believe the Ghost Tour was a success.

After the tour ended, everyone gathered in the viewing room and watched the Vids for the contest and some others to see if they wanted to bid on that vidder in the silent auction. I watched the vids and was once again amazed by the talent presented in these visual stories. After that, Terry and I headed back to my place and crashed once again.

Day Three: Saturday the 8th

Another day of panels. This time I co-hosted two of them, and I have to tell you, I was nervous as hell. I hate standing in front of people and speaking--I am always convinced I'll not meet their expectations in presentation, appearance, or words. But, I survived. Here's the schedule for Saturday's panels:

Saturday: 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
* Writer Workshop: Original Characters - Do original characters enhance or detract from fanfic? How do you make your original characters acceptable in fandom? (GaelicSpirit, Thru Terry's Eyes)
* Brothers In Arms - A look into the evolution of Dean and Sam's relationship over the last 4 years and where it might be going. (EveSong, Swellison)

Saturday: 10:45 - 11:45 a.m.
* Sonuvabitch S3 - Test your knowledge and attention to detail with anything and everything regarding Season 3. (Jeopardy-style game) (KazCon Committee)
* Dean Winchester: Tragic Hero? - An indepth psychological profile of Dean post-Hell, and how he differs from the man we knew before Hell. (JM Griffin, Judy D., MistWraith)

Saturday: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
* Debunking the Skeptics - Kansas' own Paranormal Research Investigators (PRI) take us through their process from discovery, to research, to the endless hours sitting in the haunted dark. Includes first hand accounts and field equipment. (Paranormal Research Investigators)

Saturday: 2:15 - 3:15 p.m.
* Writer's Workshop: Researching the Detail - How important is research when crafting a story? Where should you look, and what is the best way to research without getting bogged down in the detail? (Bayre, Swellison)
* Haunted Kansas - Want to know the real story about the Woman in White? How about the Civil War soldier that still rides down Massachusetts street? Join in to hear some hair-raising tales about Kansas Ghosts... (Beth Cooper - Ghost Tours of Kansas)

Saturday: 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
* The Use of Guns - What Works and What Does Not - in Print and on the Screen. Experienced writer/shooters demonstrate and discuss the use and misuse in the writing and the handling of guns in stories. (Weapons and ammo will be part of the panel. However, no weapons will be loaded.) (Evesong, Judy D.)
* Don't I Know You? - The guest characters we love and the ones we don't. Why do some reoccuring characters work, while others make fans want to scratch out their eyes? Who has been your favorite so far and why? (Nana56, Sandy)

Saturday: 4:45 - 5:45 p.m.
* Sonuvabitch S4 - Test your knowledge and attention to detail with anything and everything regarding Season 4. (Jeopardy-style game) (KazCon Committee)
* Method To The Madness - A look back over four years of mythology. How is the puzzle coming together? (GaelicSpirit, MistWraith)

The first panel went very well--and we got to laughing many times in talking about likes, dislikes and our favorite OC's on the show itself as well as those we saw no purpose for (Bobby and Bela, respectively). I prepared hand-outs with an intro on my "take" on OC's and their purpose in fanfiction as well as in the show, and included two "bios" for my OC's Brenna Kavanagh and Abe Nakomis to illustrate the process I use for building a character and making he or she real to me.

If anyone would like to see a copy of the handouts I created for these panels, I'd be happy to share them with you. No worries either way.

Terry very effectively chimed in with her thoughts and impressions and really got the ball rolling with the humor aspect of that panel. She's a great Ying to my Yang. After that, I played Season 3 Jeopardy (for the Hunter team and collected another button--YAY!) then returned to my post at the Orphan Table until the last panel I hosted. I have to tell you, the hotel did a great job with the lunches and providing food in generous portions. I'm hungry just thinking about it.

Terry was unable to join us for the final panel on the Mythology--wolfpup and black_wingedbird were in the Jeopardy game and I was hosting a panel, so she manned the registration desk. I had met mistwraith once before in 2007, and we hadn't had a lot of time to work together on the panel, so I fear I may have taken it over a bit. I'd had the hand-outs for that already prepared when she requested to be put on the schedule, so I asked that we use them. She was gracious and offered her thoughts on the materials and we went with it. The conversation was charged and it's apparent that everyone has some pretty significant hopes for Season 5 as well as strong feelings about how the guys got to this point in the first place.

It was a satisfying and surprisingly emotionally draining conversation and I was relieved to have survived it. Those hand-outs are available, too, FYI.

At six, we closed down the auction, shooed everyone out, and set up for the theme party. Several lagged behind and offered to help and we glomped on to them. The party was marred only by the hotel's misscommunication and no cash bar, but other than that, there was much music, fun, and frivolity--enough to compete with the wedding party down the hall.

There were four raffle bags. I don't remember who won which prize, though. Amy Blair won the fanfic contest for her story "Travelin' Riverside Blues." I encourage you to read when she posts it--very nicely done. K. Hanna Korossy's entry, "Birthright" came in 2nd--and if you're a fan of K. Hanna, you know that one is a great read--and mistwraith's "Concernto for Lawrence"--a very unique story with a rhythm all it's own--was 3rd. Tara (Lovin'Jackson)'s vid "Special Two" came in third in the Vid contest, Kumaparoogy's "Hair of the Dog" was 2nd, and an awesome promo-vid called "The Stand" was first. I am trying to remember who did that one -- I want to say Thandie, but I could be wrong. Ask wolfpup for sure.

All fanfic entries are available via zine format and I'm sure the author's will be posting their stories soon for you to check out. There were a total of 7 entries, and all were entertaining.

Karoke, Guitar Hero, and Rock Band held sway until the wee hours, but by then Gaelic was in bed. *yawn* I left my partying days behind me pre-child.

Day Four: Sunday the 9th

Last day!

Sunday morning I humbled and humiliated myself by making it known that I have to add by counting on my fingers. Yes, I was in charge of the money for the live auction. To say I was tense would be to say Mount Rushmore is made of rock. We had a sit-down breakfast (which the committee did a bit of scrambling to set up for after the party), and then the fun began. black_wingedbird was our emcee and proclaimed that she was a bit of an introvert, but my goodness, that girl is quick-witted. The angles she used to get people to bid on the auction items was hilarious. I have great admiration for her.

wolfpup and thruterryseyes alternated playing Vanna White and I just sat behind the table and gladly took people's money. I don't have the final auction tally--wolfpup will probably share that on her LJ when she has it all handled--but my esitmation we took in upwards around $2500 all for National Lung Cancer Partnership in honor of Kim Manners. 

Nicely done, all!

Saying goodbye was sad--especially because some of these people have started to feel like family. The committee hung around and cleaned up all items brought with us, making sure nothing and no one was left behind. And then... it was over.

The plan, as I understand it, is for wolfpup to bring the scrapbook and matted picture to the Vancouver Con with her and give it to the boys. I am so excited to hear the report of how that goes and what their reactions are.

That's it! Sorry for the wait. I mistakenly thought I was Superwoman and could finish Chapter 5 and get this recap up immediately after the con ended. HA! I was lucky to have the strength to get Mo Chuisle to bed.

Thanks for reading, if you have, and let me know if you have any questions or requests.

Tags: kazcon, ramble
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