Wednesday, March 06, 2013

MarsCon Aftermath!

photo courtesy of Christopher Khounbanam

Well, for the first time in a long time, we had almost triple the Lao American attendance we normally have for MarsCon or any of the other science fiction conventions in Minnesota.

I wish we had confirmed our programming earlier in the year so we could have arranged for more Lao to pre-register at the affordable price so they would show up and get a better sense of the experience of participating in such conventions.

Saymoukda Vongsay and I had good discussions all throughout the evening. She even got to take a picture with the Guest of Honor, Claudia Christian:

Yes. They're both very tall.

Heretically, though, Saymoukda has never seen an episode of Babylon 5.

One of the big hits was explaining the significance of the Gop Kin Deuane, the Frog Who Eats the Moon, framing the possibilities of viewing him or her as a giant kaiju on par with Cthulhu, Godzilla, or similar entities.

We explored how Lao would almost never accept the idea of the Nak being a malevolent entity in a historic context. There were also some fun discussions on the various types of Phi and the Lao perspective on zombies as seen through the Buddhist 5 precepts.

Because Harry Turtledove was one of the guests of honor, although I didn't get a chance to meet him, we did discuss what alternate history meant for people who lived during secret wars. We broke down some interesting points in Southeast Asian, particularly Lao history, where mainstream and Lao American writers could create some fascinating thought exercises, with and without the fantastic involved.

We did not get much time to discuss the Nakanya, however. Perhaps another convention.

Saymoukda Vongsay was only able to attend the first day due to unexpected homework and grant commitments. But she left quite an impression and many were enthusiastically awaiting her new play Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals due out in October, although I understand it's gone through many radical changes since it was first conceived.

The parties throughout the convention were fairly diverse, and we spent a lot of time at Krushenko's and the ConSuite, although I particularly appreciated the Lovecraft room and the Brit Con room.  The Dr. Who room was also very popular:

We were very happy to see how much of an audience there was for horror, and one of these days, hopefully, people will take our work seriously as we scare the pants off of you.

Here's one of Saymoukda's favorite cosplayers of the con:

The other one she admired was a wizard we met in the hall:

Probably my favorite was the Asian American steampunk, Michael, who had a really awesome outfit. But it also convinced me I'd really need to step it up if I made an outfit of my own. Now I regret not getting those goggles in the dealer's room when I had the chance:

He really put a lot of great detail and work into it. And reminds me that once DEMONSTRA is finished up, I need to get back to examining the Steampunk field some more. Saymoukda also found the aesthetic very interesting:

Will she adapt if for her work in the future? Who can say.

Also, this weekend, thanks to Steve Fox and friends, I learned about the near-Lovecraftian Hodag. And I'm almost certain I'm going to have to find a way to include him in DEMONSTRA before it goes to print.

It was good catching up with many of my favorite Minnesota writers and artists, such as Catherine Lundoff, Rebecca Marjesdatter, SN Arly, Michael Merriam, Roy C. Booth and Cynthia Booth, Rob Callahan, David Schwartz, Chris Jones, Lyda Morehouse and Haddayr Copley Woods.

I missed Moira Manion, but ran into her at The Source earlier that week, and Terry A. Garey, who was there but our paths somehow didn't intersect that time around. I also met Rhea Ewing and Rachel Gold for the first time, and they were a riot. Hopefully we'll hear more from them in the fututre.

This is the last year MarsCon will be at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and just as well. While we lucked out on good service in the hotel restaurant the first night, by Saturday, they became a demonstration in Kafkaesque cuisine. Seriously, I'm not going to miss their "restaurant." Here you can see the horror about to unfold...

Lyda Morehouse picked up a most unusual Tanuki during MarsCon:

Overall, Saymoukda walked away with some great ideas for the Lao Space Program, so all is well in the cosmos. Well, as well as the cosmos gets when written by Lao American horror writers.

We had some great conversations with the community about the horror of Mattie Do, or at least, the horror of her films, her possible upcoming projects we'd like to see, the film Chanthaly, and the influences of Lovecraft and others on her approach to horror. Will we be able to screen it at Diversicon in August? It's a possibility! Or perhaps Arcana in October.

So, overall it was a great time, and now the hamster wheel is spinning what we'll present on during the next MarsCon! Thanks, everybody, for all of your support during the panels and here's to next year!

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