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Gafilk announces 2013 Super Secret Guest: Larry Niven

Author Larry Niven has won Hugos (five of them) and a Nebula, and various other awards for his stories, including Ringworld and 50 other books. He co-authored The Mote in God’s Eye and Lucifer’s Hammer, and edited the Man-Kzin War series. He also loves filk music. He goes out of his way to attend filk conventions on the west coast, not seeking any attention, not asking for any of the perks that authors usually expect like readings and signings. He goes to filk cons because he wants to hear this music.

Misty Lackey even created a game around Larry’s love of filk called “Make Larry Cry”. It’s not very hard to do. You just write a beautiful melody and fill it with poignant, compelling lyrics…and make sure that the science is at the very least plausible, and sing it to Larry. (Ask Bill Sutton about his humbling attempt to win the contest with Pilot’s Eyes.)

Mendel’s Rules do apply, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are other filkers in the Niven closet. In fact, you’ll be enjoying the song styling of Larry’s filking nephew, Tim Griffin, at the ConCom’s Choice concert. (Who knew!?!) Larry Niven is very approachable, enjoys a good conversation, and contributes to the circle in his own delightful ways. We’re extremely happy to have him as Super Secret Guest for GAFilk 2013.

You can get more information (and buy your membership!) at http://www.gafilk.org/

When You’re Up On The Stage, It’s So Unbelievable

Between 2005 and 2009, I didn’t play a lot of music in public. It wasn’t a decision I made to withdraw from the stage. It started because of struggles with depression that caused me to withdraw from a lot of social spheres, and then after I came out the other side of that particular emotional valley, I just…didn’t. No one was asking me if I wanted to, and I wasn’t volunteering, and the longer it went on, the more it just became…normal. This wasn’t just not doing concert sets or one shots; many have noted that I absented myself from open filk, preferring instead to spend my con time socialising or lurking around the edges.

The last couple of years, I’ve been making an effort to get back to playing public, because…I enjoy it. So I’ve made an effort at cons to make itto at least a little bit of open filk, if only to justify having brought my guitar. And when [livejournal.com profile] mrgoodwraith asked me at OVFF a couple of yearsago if I’d like to come play a short set at Confluence in 2011, I eagerly agreed. Unfortunately, just before I was to book my flight, [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi unexpectedly lost her job, and I couldn’t justify the expense. Randy understood, and extended an invitation to come up in 2012 instead.

Gafilk 2012 Super Secret Guest is…

Our Super Secret Guest is…

Elise Matthesen

by Brenda Sutton

Elise MathesonSo let me ‘splain…

We’re not superstitious, no…but the thriteenth GAFilk experienced a series of unsettling circumstances, starting with Seanan McGuire losing her origianal backup band, and culminating with a wallapalooza of an ice storm that kept many at the con for two extra days. In the middle there, our Super Secret Guest, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and and his wife Teresa found themselves unable to attend, and therein lives our tale.

Not only was GAFilk going to be Patrick and Teresa’s first filk con, but it was going to be their friend Elise’s first filk con, too. We all met “for real” in Australia at the WorldCon. (I say “for real” because I’d been communicating with and following Elise’s Live Journal since the tragic and untimely death of her dearest dear, John “Mike” Ford in 2006. Elise wrote a hauntingly beautiful love poem about their relationship that she graciously allowed me to publish in the Mythic Passages e-magazine. I urge you to go read it here, but take a box of tissues when you do. Since then, I’d been lurking over her website, watching her bravely wrestling with grief and gracefully getting on with life.) When GAFilk chose Patrick as our Super Secret Guest, he mentioned that Elise might be coming along, too. I was over the moon!

We were all looking forward to a bang-up GAFilk, hearing Patrick’s music with The Deaftones, Teresa and Elise, backing him up. Elise flew out from Minneapolis to NYC, and the three of them planned to travel down to Georgia together. Then on Wednesday night Elise suffered a stroke. Fortunately, Teresa recognised the symptoms and they rushed her to a hospital, spending the weekend and then-some at her bedside until she was well enough to travel home. Naturally, we were all worried sick, and so very sad that they weren’t coming to GAFilk, but grateful that Patrick and Teresa had been there to help. We were also very glad to learn that, because of their swift efforts, Elise suffered no lasting side affects from the stroke, and recovered swiftly. We were even happier when Patrick volunteered to come to GAFilk this year.

SO…when we started hunting for this year’s Super Secret Guest, it seemed to us that Elise was the perfect choice. The Deaftones will ride again, and you’ll finally get to meet the charming and talented Elise Matthesen. She is an exceptional jewelry artist. (Elise designed the famous tiara that graces the heads of John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award winners, including our own Seanan McGuire.) (Digression: She brought all her jewelry-making equipment Down Under for the Worldcon in Australia but, because of Customs restrictions, was not allowed to sell any of her beautiful pieces. So…she gave them away. This speaks miles to the character of this lovely woman. Not only was she just handing out her exquisite work, but, as is her custom, she was also naming each piece. At this year’s GAFilk banquet I’ll be wearing a lovely pair of amethyst crystals with silver full moons named “That Second Drink With the Man in the Moon”.)

Not only is Elise an accomplished artist, but she’s also a talented poet who writes quite a bit of parody filk, too. Check out Elise’s Live Journal for many delightful examples. She’s a fine singer, as you’ll all soon find out. When we asked her what she’d like to do at GAFilk, Elise suggested group a capella singing, and started right in compiling a songbook for us all to enjoy. What can we say…perfect fit.

OVFF Con Report Roundups

As is my custom, I’ve collected all the con reports from OVFF that I can locate in my memories, for both my own benefit and for the community.

A couple of caveats, since this has come up in the past:

  1. I find these by perusing my own friends list. Contrary to popular myth, I don’t actually know every single person in filk (There must be at least 4 people I’m unacquainted with. I’m sure of it. *grin*), and also I’m doing it by hand and it’s easy to miss one. If you know of a report that is not contained on my index, please point me to it.
  2. If an entry I link to is friends-locked such that you cannot see it, you’ll need to discuss that with the journal’s author, not me. I have no control over the locks other people put on their spaces.

That aside, here’s the list so far. I’ll add to it as people point me to more or I see new ones posted.

OVFF 2011 Con Reports

Home from Gafilk

kitanzi and I have made it home with all of Gafilk’s sound equipment and other assorted gear. museinred and decadentdave drove up in hawklady‘s truck, and are now heading back to the hotel, with hopes of heading out tomorrow to AL. Several people who couldn’t get away on Monday got out today.

The ATL roads are still very uneven, even with a day above freezing for stuff to start melting. The worst driving I saw was when we’d hit a clear patch of pavement and everyone would suddenly assume that it was okay to zoom up to highway speeds, only to have to slow back to a crawl at the next icy sections.

The GA400 ramp looked like a ski jump from down the highway. Going over it was a slow affair, since there were basically a couple of tread-width patches clear up the centre of it, and the rest was still covered.

I don’t think we got over 40mph the entire trip, and spent most of it between 15-25. But we’re home safe, and home is nice.

I’m still running a check-in thread for people to let us know they got home safely. Sign in if you haven’t.

Hope to see everyone next year. We’ll make an effort to have less weather. 🙂

Gafilk: checkin request

I’ve seen some folks posting that they got home okay, but since I’m still at the convention hotel and haven’t had a chance to thoroughly look through LJ yet, I figured I’d just post a general request here for people to leave a comment and let me know they got home okay.

More on the con later. I hope everyone had a wonderful time, despite the weather!

Gafilk announces its 2011 Super Secret Guest: Patrick Nielsen Hayden!

Our Super Secret Guest is…
Patrick Nielsen Hayden!

Collage of Patrick Nielsen Hayden holding Hugos, editing, playing the guitar, lounging with wife TeresaPatrick Nielsen Hayden is a World Fantasy and Hugo Award-winning fiction editor at TOR Books. He’s brought to our shelves amazing books by Emma Bull, John Scalzi, Charles de Lint, Ben Bova, George Alec Effinger, Cory Doctorow, Jo Walton, Susanna Clarke, Christopher Priest, Adam Stemple, Glen Cook, David Weber, David Langford, John Barnes, Robert Holdstock, George R. R. Martin, and Arthur C. Clarke. He’s also an essayist and reviewer who teaches workshops in places like Viable Paradise and both Clarions.

And…he’s also a very talented musician. Patrick plays two guitars. A Taylor acoustic (“I’m much more of a lifelong acoustic guitar player than electric.”) and a year-2000 Fender-made reproduction of a classic 1952 Telecaster. (“Faithful to a fault, it’s a commemorative edition that I bought used. The varnish on the body is nitro-cellulose, not acetylene; it’s all 1952 ingredients. The pickups are wrapped in waxed string. The biggest downside to this is the authentic 1952 sucky tuning mechanism. Otherwise it’s a gorgeous guitar, and it has that great authentic American twangy sound that all Telecasters have — in spades. The first time I played that guitar it had opinions about what kind of music it should be playing.”) He plays the electric with the Americana rock quartet, Whisperado. If we’re lucky he’ll be playing both of them here at GAFilk, and singing along with his wife, the talented editor Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

When considering GAFilk’s criteria of characteristics that make for a good Super Secret Guest, Patrick really stands out. He’s genial, personable, and musical. He has interesting opinions about the stories we read and the world we share, and he loves to talk about them. Plus, he’s contributed to the sf and fantasy community in ways that some people may never appreciate…but we all should. We think GAFilk will be an eye- (and ear) opener for all of us.

  • Read Making Light, the Nielsen Hayden’s weblog, with contributions from James D. Macdonald, Avram Grumer, and Abi Sutherland.
  • Check out his band Whisperado.

Gafilk is soon!

It’s the Georgia Filk Convention, happening 7-9 January 2011 at the Crown Plaza Airport in Atlanta, GA.

Guest Of Honour: Seanan McGuire
Toastmaster: Matt Leger
Interfilk Guest: Howard Scrimgeour
PLUS another Super Secret Guest!

Come celebrate the fannish New Year with three days of fun, music, and friendship! We’ll have great concerts, the annual dinner dance banquet featuring Play It With Moxie, and, of course, singing until the early hours.

Membership is only $40 through November 30, 2010. (That’s tomorrow, so send in your registration today! We will announce the Super Secret Guest on Wednesday!

You can get more information about Gafilk, including online registration, at :

GAFilk: Georgia Filk Convention

Official website for the Georgia Filk Convention (GAFilk)

Hope to see you there!

(Please feel free to repost this to other appropriate communities and lists you think might be interested.)

OVFF Reports

kitanzi and I are sitting at our gate at the Columbus airport, waiting for our slightly delayed flight to board. We had a fantastic weekend, and I will likely post a more complete report later.

Meanwhile, I’ve been scanning back to try and catch con reports that were made during the convention (laptops and smartphones have made this a much harder process than it was when I started doing it eight years ago!) and will continue to collect them going forward, as I see them. If you know of a report I don’t have on hand, please drop me a note in comments.

Here’s the complete list of reports that I have found.

If you’re inclined towards Twitter, there are a number of entries from the last few days with the hashtag #ovff.

[NB. Due to the nature of friends-locking posts, some entries on this list may not be visible to all persons. Please contact any person whose entry you cannot see directly if you want to find out what they had to say. I apologise in advance for any inconvenience.]

Conterpoint

(As is my custom, I’m collecting Conterpoint con reports. Please alert me to any I’ve missed!)

Some while ago, I noticed that the floating East Coast filkcon fell on my birthday this year. And Conterpoint is one of the iterations of that entity I’d not yet attended, so what better time than to check it off my list? (It sure didn’t hurt that folkmew and edstauff were GOHs and Char McKay was Interfilk Guest.) After some discussion back and forth, kitanzi decided she would stay home for this one, and so I prepared to go it alone into the wilds of Maryland.

Friday
Friday morning, I got up at the crack of stupid and Kitanzi drove me down to the North Springs station so I could catch the train to the airport. I got checked in, through security, and down to the gate in plenty of time, so I set up my laptop and bought a cup of wi-fi to tide me over until it was time to board.

On the plane, I was seated next to a very nice lady returning home from a work conference. She apparently works for one of the pipeline companies (not owned by BP, she stressed), and we chatted a bit about the Gulf situation, and then the conversation turned towards books. Having asked her if she liked urban fantasy, I recommended seanan_mcguire‘s Toby Daye books to her, and then said, offhand, “She also has a science-fiction/horror/political thriller about zombies and blogging.’ ‘Wow, that sounds really interesting!’ my seatmate replied. So when the seat belt signs were off, I fetched my copy of Feed from my laptop bag and gave it to her. “You can keep that,’ I said. ‘I’ll grab another copy when I pass a bookstore.’ She put the book she had been reading away and spent the rest of the flight reading it instead, and declared herself well and truly hooked by the story when we landed. I gave her my email address and told her to write me and tell me how she liked it when she finished it.

Of course, having given my book away, I decided to occupy myself by trying out the in-flight wi-fi. The actual connection was amazing, but now I really seriously am jonesing for an iPad. The problem is that I’m very tall, and there’s just no place to put a laptop where I can simultaneously see the screen well and type on it. My co-worker eloren brought hers into work today and let me play with it. Want. Wantwantwant. But, I digress…

Got my luggage and went to wait for the bus to the rental car station. and waited. and waited. Then a bus came by, full of people and didn’t stop. And waited. And waited. And then another full bus came by without stopping. And waited. Finally, an empty bus arrived. Honestly, I was getting tired and cranky by this point. The line at the Hertz counter was awful, and then when I finally got to the front, they didn’t have the car I’d actually asked for, gave me a reasonable alternative, and then told me to hike 4 miles to where it was parked to drive off. (Ok, it was likely more like 400 yards. But it felt like 4 miles. At this point, I’m *not* impressed with BWI’s rental car facilities.)

Having acquired car with GPS, I punched in the destination and set out. The drive down to Rockville was pleasant and uneventful, and I imm3ediately ran into gorgeousgary and MEW at the registration desk. I got checked in and went to take a shower, since I had not gotten one in the morning, and it was hot as a sauna outside.

Suitably refreshed I met up with museinred and we went out for a late lunch/early dinner, ending up at a Burmese place nearby, where I had a delightful Orange Beef and an intriguing Ginger Salad that I wished I could have brought home to Kitanzi, because I know how much she loves ginger. We returned to the hotel and chatted a bit, and then I let France take a nap while I vegged and read email, before meeting up with MEW and Ed and Steven Joel for chat. I poked my head briefly into the filkroom afterwards, and then headed for bed.

Saturday

I went down for breakfast, since the buffet was included. There wasn’t much of it, but it was reasonably filling, and I got sit and talk with kyttn and a couple of other folks, which was lovely. Collected hugs from some people, then went to enjoy the pool.

Which was closed. At nearly 10am. Pout.

I inquired to the front desk, who informed me that by county ordinance, the pool could not be open without a paid lifeguard, who would be on duty at 11am. I made noises as to my feelings about this, but being unable to charm the desk clerk into illegally opening the pool early, I went and changed back into normal clothes and then met up with France to shop for provisions and doughnuts. It appears that Rockville is home to one of the two remaining Krispy Kreme franchises in all of Maryland, and we got us some. I bought a bunch of fruit, some yoghurt, and a couple of two litres of Pepsi One from Safeway, and stashed them away in the full sized fridge my room was equipped with. I have to say, while there were issues with the hotel here and there, it’s a very plush way to spend a weekend, with a full kitchen, including provided pots and pans and silverware.

Well stocked, I finally got down to the pool for a while, and enjoyed soaking in the whirlpool. I had woken up with a terrible pain in my neck and shoulders, which I can’t quite figure out, but by the time I went from the whirlpool to the pool and back a couple of times, I felt well relaxed. I changed back into dry clothes and wandered to the con suite, where I sat and chatted for a while about the sorts of things one chats about in con suites. (I also got to buff my Boy Scout credentials, when the consuitista bemoaned the lack of salt and pepper for the veggies she was roasting. “I have a container of kosher salt in my room. Would you like some?’ It’s good to be prepared.)

Music was being piped up from the main room during this, so I was able to hear some of the 2x10s as I chatted. (As an aside, of all the things I invented for Gafilk programming over the years, the one I’ve been most pleased to see stolen by other cons is the 2x10s. It really warms my heart.)

I got rumour of a dinner run to a nearby sandwich place that was famous for its incredible variety. Turns out there were a couple of parties heading over there for the dinner break, because we all met up with each other in the parking lot. The restaurant certainly lived up to its billing…hundreds of sandwiches, all with colourful, punny menus. I had something with hot pastrami and cole slaw and Russian dressing which was delicious, and I had a great time chatting with Char and Randy and Stephen Joel and France, all of whom I knew of old, and with Marty Gear, who I think ‘d met in passing but had never spent any time with, and who is a delightful storyteller. The only thing better than dinner with old friends is dinner with old friends and new friends. My only regret from dinner is forgetting to purchase a souvenir menu to bring home to Kitanzi, who would have found the whole thing delightful.

We returned to the hotel and encamped to the main room to hear Interfilk guest Char McKay’s concert. Char had been nervous about her set, but she killed from start to finish. I”m still giggling over the Twinkie song, which I had not heard before. Char was followed by GOHs Ed and Mew, who were as superb as always. I still have “The Return” bouncing around in my head days later, because yo that song is made of awesome. And perhaps this concert set will be best known for the Lizardhawk incident, but that’s a story for another day.

I decided to skip the Interfilk auction for reasons of economy and returned to my room to tune my guitar and gather my materials. For a variety of reasons, some good and some bad, I’ve largely not been making it to open filk in recent years, spending my time either socializing or (as often as not) hermitting and re-energizing after a long social day. I was determined that this con would be different, so I set out for the Jefferson Room, which was designated as the alternate room and already contained people I wanted to be in a room with (notably Ed & MEW and Paul Estin). Over the course of the evening, i still did more listening and singing along than playing, but I did perform three songs: “Arrowhead” (by Richard Shindell), “Ozymandias” by filkerdave (who was in Texas at Apollocon and thus needed proxy representation), and “Long Distance Love” (a poem by Seanan McGuire that I set to music). I flubbed up a couple of places on Ozymandias, but I blame the excellent scotch that osewalrus was sharing. My story and I’m sticking to it.

1

Around 3am, the circle started to thin out and I fell into bed for a short slumber.

Sunday

Got up reasonably early given the time I’d gone to bed and headed down for breakfast with Stephen Joel, France, Char, Randy, and Marty. Afterwards I hung out and chatted a bit with the other early birds, and at some point went to the room to check in with Kitanzi, who had told me she wasn’t feeling well. Apparently, my body decided this was a good time to whack me on the back of the head and suggest that I needed more sleep. France came by sometime later to see if she could catch a couple of hours napping on my couch again, since they’d already checked out of their hotel room. Eventually slightly refreshed, we went and collected her son Alex and went looking for food. I have to tell you that at 9pm on a Sunday night, Rockville doesn’t offer a robust night-life. We eventually found a reasonably serviceable pizza joint located in a hole in the wall in the back of a shopping centre, got something warm and filling to bring back to the hotel, which we ate while listening to the beginnings of the dead dog. At some point, Alex was offered the chance to earn a bit of spare pocket looking after MEW and Ed’s kids, allowing them to come down to the Dead Dog and stay as long as they wanted. I spent the evening in listener mode, mostly because I was just too wiped out to actually go fetch my guitar, but there was a lot of great music to sing along to. Eventually, we all went to bed, and that was the end of Conterpoint.

Monday

Travelling home. I got out of the hotel and on the road in my rented Chevy Impala by 8am, and was back at BWI by 9am, which was right on target. I had a minor mishap returning the car; I was apparently tired enough that I got all the way to the shuttle bus that would take me to the terminal before realizing I was missing one of my bags. I realized it when I tried to put it into the luggage rack and I didn’t have it, requiring me to pull both of my other bags out and trudge all the way back to where I’d parked the car at the return queue. The bag was sitting patiently next to it, right where I’d set it down after removing the trunk. Even with this detour, I made it to my gate in plenty of time, grabbed some breakfast, a pair of cheap earbuds for my iPod, and a copy of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time for plane reading. (I have no idea what they mean by “500 Greatest Songs”, plus I doubt it, but it made for an entertaining diversion during the flight.)

Down and safe in Atlanta, I collected my luggage and headed for the MARTA station, where we waited for a train. And waited. And waited. After what must have been 20 minutes, the Doraville train arrived, so I got on it, no wanting to trust how long the North Springs one might be. Changed trains at Lindburgh, got to North Springs, where I was picked up by my darling Kitanzi who took me home and poured me into bed, where I slept until 10pm. Got up just long enough to eat something and then went back to sleep and slept until morning.

All in all, an absolutely fabulous way to spend a birthday. Great friends, great food, great music, and great conversation. If I had a time-turner, I’d be awfully tempted to go back and have that weekend again.


  1. I played ‘Ozymandias’ in part because someone did a song which they admitted afterwards they’d sort of lost the tune on, and that it didn’t go quite how she sang it. We all pointed out that since we didn’t know the song she was singing, it sounded perfectly fine to us, and then I told the story about how I turned Dave’s Shelly-inspired folk ballad into a rock song, which in turn prompted ladymondegreen to remind me of how we first met: I was playing that song in an open circle at GaFilk, and she heard it from the hallway, ran in to stand behind me and started singing harmonies. Startled the heck out of me, since no one else in the south knew the song but me at the time. *grin* 

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