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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 09:53pm on 20/11/2011 under ,
Tonight we got back from the 75th Philcon, the Philadelphia Science Fiction Convention, which was held (for logistical and financial reasons) at a hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

We only went for Saturday and today, and we mostly did a lot of board gaming. This year, a sporting fan rented a suite instead of a normal room to create what was supposed to be a subsidiary gaming suite. Unfortunately, no official gaming area was ever set up by the con for reasons I don't know and can't understand, so her suite turned out to be the only gaming area for the entire con. It was crowded, but nice, and the fan who organized it laid in a supply of games (hers and her SO's, I assumed) as well as snacks, sodas and tea.

The dealer's room was, as usual, large and well-stocked with a variety of games, books, costumes and accessories, and odds and ends.

There was programming, and an art show, and I'm told that SJ Tucker was there as music GOH, but I never got around to seeing those things. There was also a Masquerade; judging by the pictures I saw displayed from it on Sunday morning, it was small but of good quality.

Unfortunately, I'm told that the hotel in Cherry Hill does not want the convention for next year, and the con comm is currently scrambling for an affordable place that is big enough and appropriately equipped to host it. Heaven only knows what will happen. It's a bad omen, though, for what (technically) was the con's Diamond Jubilee.

EDIT (11/30/2011): I've heard a rumor from a friend that the con comm is thinking of bringing Philcon to "Malvern" (probably Frazer, which has the same zip code, since there are no hotels within the borough limits). I can think of three possible hotels in the area, but at least one of those is unlikely to have sufficient function space to host an sf convention. We'll see what happens.
cathyr19355: Stock photo of myself (Default)
posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 09:44pm on 31/05/2010 under , ,
I just returned from Balticon, the annual Baltimore-area regional science-fiction convention, less than an hour ago. Since I never managed to write about Penguicon, which I attended at the beginning of the month, it seems as good a time as any to talk about both of them. For those of my LJ friends who don't know or care about science-fiction fandom, I'll put the rest of this under an lj-cut.

Read more )
Mood:: 'pleased' pleased
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 09:08pm on 23/11/2009 under ,
I spent this past weekend at Philcon, Philadelphia's annual science fiction convention which (for reasons I really don't feel like getting into right now), was held at a hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

I had a pretty good time there. I did some gaming, saw a few friends, and there were more room parties than there had been last year (about 5 or 6, which gives you an idea how few parties there were last year). The con continues to have a good dealer's room, and a fairly big art show (though the quality of the art displayed seemed, to me, to be not quite as good as I'm used to seeing at Philcon). The Masquerade, like the Masquerades at most East Coast cons I've been to lately, was small, though the quality was, again, pretty good.

I'm not sure how many people attended the con, because the hotel is so large it wasn't easy to estimate attendance. However, I saw a fair number of teens and college age people hanging out, gaming, partying, and generally having fun--definitely a good thing.

Unfortunately, the gaming area was still the same drafty hallway they used last year, and the game bank was supplied by some gamer, or company, that is mostly interested in miniatures gaming. Not a lot of fun for the rest of us. (Fortunately, a large subset of the games we like best live in the trunk of my car, and we were constantly fetching games from the car to play.)

[ profile] esrblog was, for his part, frustrated that, through a series of mishaps, the convention once again failed to put him on the program and use his presence to draw new attendees. He succeeded in getting on two panels at the last minute, and they were quite good.

What depressed me a bit about Philcon is not that the con was terrible. It wasn't. But it was entirely too much like last year's Philcon. Even the annoying parts, the parts that various con comm members swore last year that they would do their best to change (like the bad location for gaming and the failure to pick up on [ profile] esrblog's willingness to do more programming items) were the same.

Having tried and true events at your con is great, but being stuck in a rut isn't. Especially when the con has shrunk so greatly in membership.

I like Philcon, and I want to see it survive. I still have hope that it will. But it hurts to see so much momentum dragging it back to bad old habits.
Mood:: 'thoughtful' thoughtful