Friday, April 1, 2016

Jungle links

So where did I go this year instead of the Queens World Film Festival? Well, my pals Bibi and Eric invited me to someplace I had never been to before: a science fiction convention. Although I have a vague memory of having been to one as a kid, I'm not very certain about this memory; it could've very easily been a comic convention that my mind turned into a sci-fi con over time. The point is, it's a very suspect memory, which is why I'm saying last month was the first time I've been to one.

The show was called LunaCon, one of, if not the oldest, sci-fi cons in America, held in Westchester County. For someone like me, used to comic cons, this was kinda different. There were only three major guests (plus a musical guest - more on that in a second); two sci-fi writers and a genre artist, and it was much smaller than most comic cons these days (though I can remember when comic cons were small indeed). There were a ton of panel discussions on topics that ranged far beyond typical genre topics, such as "Currency of the Future," "The Future of Warfare" and "When Will Our Consciousness Grow?" And that was just from Saturday.

There were also gatherings devoted to "filk" singers. My understanding of filk is that it's a kind of music rooted in genre fandom and born of folk music (somebody misspelled "folk" with an "i" one day and the typo stuck). I thought it was sci-fi and science-themed parodies, but the songs I heard encompassed more than that. The musical guests, a filk duo called Murder Ballads, performed Saturday night during the costume contest. If I had to describe them, they struck me as a cross between The Swell Season and They Might Be Giants. Also, they were relatively young (around my age, perhaps) compared to the other filk singers I heard, who were all old-timers. I found the whole thing amusing but very, very odd.

The show on the whole, though, wasn't bad. Bibi and Eric had been coming to LunaCon for years, though this was their first time back in awhile. The admission was steep - fifty bucks! - but I like to think I got my money's worth. I went to two Star Trek panels and a writing panel; I bought a book from the dealer's room (John Scalzi's Redshirts); there was an art room with a bunch of genre-related art; and there was the aforementioned costume contest, which was good, but maybe a notch below what you'd see at the New York or San Diego Comic-Cons.

LunaCon was an interesting look at a segment of Fandom Assembled I don't normally see in this light. I never got that deep into prose SF as a youth; I read SF novels from time to time (not counting Trek novels) but they never got a hold on me like comics did. Traditional SF fandom - the kind born of pulp magazines and novelists like Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke - has an identity similar to modern, mainstream fandom - the kind associated with genre movies and TV shows and comics - but slightly different, and it was worth the high door price to take a glimpse at it, especially with a pair of close friends. Not sure if I'd do it again, though.

Thanks for the turnout for the Athletes in Film Blogathon. I knew I wasn't gonna get a list of contributors as big as last year, but that's okay. I'm grateful for what we got. Aurora and I have had to compete for attention with an unusually high number of blogathons this year, and there was a little concern as to how much we'd stick out, but it didn't appear to be a concern at all. Still plenty of time if you wanna join; it's not until June.

Just a few links this month:

Did you know my blogathon partner Aurora is co-hosting a web TV show about classic movies?

Kristina has zombie movies on the brain.

Jennifer talks about Southern accents in the movies.

This is really cool: an old folks' home for retired movie industry professionals. (Hat tip to Paddy; I got this from her Facebook page)

In appreciation of the TCM Classic Film Festival. (Also stolen from Paddy's FB page)


  1. It's good to get out and see another side of things once in a while. It is like you are a visitor from another planet checking out the strange beings. Like when hubby and I were first dating and he'd take me to a hockey game. I'd pretend I was an anthropologist studying Canadians. (That's not weird, is it?)

  2. LunaCon definitely had a bit of an otherworldly feel to it. Probably by design.

  3. Thanks for the link! That was interesting about the LunaCon, I've never been to any of those cons and the atmosphere and activities totally fascinate me. So does that piece about the tcm fest, thrilled to be going again this year!

  4. LunaCon was much smaller than the San Diego or New York Comic-Cons, so it may not have felt as festive, but there was a sense of togetherness, bordering on familiarity, that felt different from those cons, which are both so huge and unwieldy. I imagine it probably felt closer to the TCM Fest, not that I would know (yet).


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