Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

WisCon Friday

Friday morning the 22nd was clear and a good day for driving. Georgie
and I gave Sue Blom a ride from Milwaukee to the con, which gave us an
additional source of entertaining conversation for the drive. After a
bit of a delay figuring out how to fit her scooter into the car, we were
off and made it into Madison by noonish.

Check-in with both the hotel and con registration went smoothly. We
hauled our baggage up to our room and then went down to circulate. The
Gathering was of course full of people we knew, and Georgie in
particular hardly got in the door before being buttonholed by friends. I
had a package of old WisCon material I wanted to pass on to Liz Henry,
and so was scanning for a woman with brightly colored hair and a
wheelchair. I thought I had acquired my target and homed in, only to
find Ellen Klages! Upon our expression of surprise at this development,
Ellen told us about the bad fall she had taken a couple of months ago,
injuring both knees, which wasn't entirely healed up yet. Co-GoH Geoff
Ryman joined the conversation, and we all began to drift around the
room, paying particular attention to the Tiptree auction items. Jeanne
Gomoll was there, who congratulated Georgie on her OddCon speech,
reminiscing a bit about history (especially past WisCon concom
meetings--) in common.

I was interested in the "Cultural Appropriation 101" panel/class, given
by Tiptree winner Nisi Shawl, Victor Raymond, and E. Cabell Hankinson
Gathman. This was a well-organized presentation and gave a very well
balanced and useful general overview of some basic concepts relative to
cultural appropriation.

We both had our first panels of the convention at 4:00PM, "Mod Squad"
(#34) for me, and "Rethinking Disabling Metaphor" (#38) for Georgie. I
contributed along with Moderator Beth Plutchak, Alan Bostick, and Ian
Hagemann. The four of us represented as many different moderating
styles, and we took a lot of good questions from the audience, most of
whom were also scheduled to moderate this year. I thought it was a very
good panel, and there seemed to be good feedback on it. Georgie reported
that the "Disabling Metaphor" panel, which focused on suggesting
alternatives to critical terms like "lame", "crazy", or "blind" went
well and was fun also.

For dinner break, we took advantage of the good weather, and got a pasty
from Myles Teddywedgers that we ate on a bench on State Street. The
pasty was as savory as ever, and the State Street ambiance was nice.
Then we strolled down to the Chocolate Factory for ice cream cones.

We got back in good time for the Opening Ceremonies. This year's skit
was presented by Broad Universe, who put on a funny, highly symbolic,
and loosely logical voyage through Ellen Klages' subconcious.

The next panel we went to was "Phantom Maids and Ghostly Ladies" (#56),
since both of us like a good ghost story, and were pleased that
panelists Catherine Lundoff, Valerie L. Guyant, Sarah Monette, and
Kristine Smith were well prepared and provided a good review of the
topic including giving us some new titles to look for.

My next panel, at 10:30PM was "Not Exactly What We Expected: Bastard
Gods In Chalion, Terre D'Ange, and Elsewhere" (#62). Michele Cox did a
good job moderating myself, Marna Nightingale, and Vito Excalibur in a
lively panel that played to a full room. We spent quite a bit of the
time analyzing how deities like Bujold's "The Bastard" and Carey's
"Elua" were both rooted in, yet very distinct from, historical god
figures such as Coyote or Dionysus. Marna Nightingale, who specializes
in anthropology of religion, was particularly valuable on this panel,
but the rest of us pitched in effectively, and the audience seemed to
appreciate the effort.

After that, we went up to the sixth floor and drifted through the
parties, making a particular point to check out the jewelry and the
poetry at Elise Matthesen's "Haiku Earring Party,' before going to bed.
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