We then took the necessary stuff to the ballroom for The Gathering setup, where we staffed the “Custom Button” table. My job is to take tickets, cut rounds of colored paper and pass them to Georgie, who letters the purchaser’s slogan. Then, I compress the button parts together using the press to make the finished item. Having practiced at home this year, I did a fair job and didn’t screw anything up unsalvageably. We were kept fairly busy, producing almost four dozen buttons. In addition, Georgie lettered a sign for pat Murphy, and was rewarded with a handsome balloon hat for her pains. This event gives us an opportunity to meet new people and discuss their enthusiasms while the buttons are made. Some of the wittier sayings made it into the con newsletter.
After clearing up the table, we ran over to Myles Teddywedger’s to get Cornish pasties for supper, and to them back to our room to eat and get changed for Opening Ceremonies. The sketch was “Conablanca,” with the final script adaptation by Tracy Benton (replyhazy) after suggestions by myself, Georgie, Bill Bodden (billzilla), and Jim Nichols. As usual, we did it radio-style, with script in hand and minimal blocking, but the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy the play, and we got compliments on it all weekend long. The cast was: myself as “Rick” (my Bogart impression—more like a “faintly reminiscent”—went over OK), Georgie as “Ilsa,” Tracy as “Louise Renault,” Victor Raymond as “Victor Laszlo,” Bill as “Mr. Strasser,” Jim Nichols (who played and sang his own version of “As Cons Go By”) and Ruth Nichols as “The Narrator”. Tracy intends to put the full script up on the Net shortly. Then off to parties and panels, with me on an 11:45PM panel on “Male Bonding in ‘The Lord of the Rings’” where we had a vigorous and enjoyable debate on whether or not reading any homoerotic subtext into the work is legitimate. (I was firmly in the ‘Nay’ camp, and was able to bolster my position with reference to Leslie Fiedler and other critics.)