Sunday was another fun day at Diversicon. It was a late night for most of us on Saturday, particularly for those who stayed for the late-night presentation and discussion of the original Ju-On, not to be confused with the awful version starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. (Sorry, Buffy and Sam Raimi. The American version just doesn't cut it with me.)
We opened up on Sunday with a presentation and discussion of The Eye, a great film at many levels. The American remake is slated to feature Jessica Alba. Once again, we roll our eyes at this news, even as Pulse opens up to 5th place behind a NASCAR spoof. Bao Phi and I led a brief discussion of The Eye and how it presented a far different take on 'seeing dead people' than M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense.
I almost feel silly having to constantly reiterate: 'The original is much better.' But seriously, in the case of the previously mentioned films, they are.
The Eye led directly into a well-attended session on mysterious locations in Laos: The Plain of Jars, the Spirit City of Xieng Khuan, and the Black Stupa (That Dam) in the capitol of Vientiane.
We had just enough time that we were also able to do an extra special run-through of the creatures of myth and legend again!
Everyone asked some great and interesting questions regarding the myths and legends of Laos and Southeast Asia, and it's clear that there are still plenty of subjects to discuss to advance everyone's knowledge.
Throughout the convention, I thought of the old Lao proverb: "You know, you teach. You do not know, you learn."
Kelly Link gave a great reading from one of her short stories, and Andrea Hairston also gave a powerful reading from her novel Mindscape. She'll be the main guest of honor at next year's Diversicon.
As always, Diversicon is a relaxed convention compared to most- authors, guests and speakers mingle very freely with the attendees, and speak frankly about the subjects that interest and concern them.
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, as well as Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine,Mental Floss, and Whistling Shade generously provided some wonderful give-aways of back issues that everyone couldn't get enough of. Dark Wisdom and Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu also sent some great bookmarks for everyone. Nnedi is promoting her book Zahrah the Windseeker.
Diversicon doesn't focus on flashiness by any stretch of the imagination, but rather on depth and honesty, and I respect that. And they make tremendous efforts to create an environment where fans and writers from all of the diverse cultural perspectives can come together.
I should also put in a big plug for Shannon Gibney, Katie Ferreira, Shoua Lee, Bao Phi, Yuk Ki Lau and Cynthia Mai Lee and their family for extra special help and support both before and during my workshops and presentations. :)
I also give a big thanks to Rick Gellman, the Chair of this year's Diversicon (and next year's as well) for his supportive vision and input and Eric Heideman for his constant feedback and support even up to the last minute.
And lastly, a big thanks to everyone who bought some Hmong handicrafts from Mrs. Xiong at my table throughout the weekend. She works hard to make them, and it's nice to see people appreciating authentic handcrafts in an age when it's all too easy to buy something that's machine-made.
Already I'm looking forward to next year's Diversicon!