Lunacon 2004 by Alexis Gilliland
New York Science Fiction Society - The Lunarians Inc.
Official Website: http://lunacon.org/ Event Date: 03/01/04
Review by Alexis Gilliland
(image © The Lunarians Inc.)
It is in the nature of Lunacons that they incorporate a lot of chaos in their makeup. This is compensated for by the coping skills of the all-volunteer staff, so that the attendees usually enjoy a smooth running con, and do not notice the chaotic conditions backstage. Sometimes this is not the fault of the con committee.
A little history. In 2002, my wife Lee got to run the Lunacon Con Suite. She spent some money and did a little decorating, which was well enough received so that she was asked to decorate the 2003 Con Suite, which she did. Twice in a row becomes a fannish tradition, so she again was invited to put up some decorations--but Lunacon has its own traditions, and they cut her budget. The hotel had promised the Presidential Suite would be available Thursday evening, and the plan was that we would come up Thursday, redecorate the con suite, and spend a complimentary Thursday night in one of the bedrooms. In the event, the hotel (which knew Lunacon wasn't coming back) found paying customers for the Presidential Suite; they partied hard into the wee small hours, and cleanup wasn't completed until 4:00 PM Friday. Shocking? No, this is trivial.
Lunacon was supposed to put up the art show hardware Thursday after 6:00 PM; they weren't able to start until midnight, and didn't finish until 4AM. So we rented our room from Thursday instead of Friday, killed time Friday morning helping finish the art show setup, and eventually decorated the con suite with chintzy stuff (including inflatable aliens--who tended to wander around the con) a little later than had been expected.
More history. My first Lunacon was at the Commodore Hotel in 1968. The high point of the convention was finding a legal parking space in front of the hotel for the whole weekend. I have probably racked up 20-25 Lunacons, including all of the last 15. When I got the questionaire for what program items I would like, I knew we would be attending, filled it out, and sent it off in a timely fashion. It fell through the cracks; my absence was noted and the director of programming left messages on my answering machine. Alas, that we do not have an answering machine. He did the best he could in the circumstances, showing me what was available (Including a lot of Anime' related stuff, which may explain why so many young people were wandering around.) and from a list of 135 program items I picked out two which were approved. There were no further problems with programming or registration.
Saturday, we went to see Bob Eggleton, the Artist GoH, who was giving a slide show. The Lunacon tech crew had not been notified (!), and came in with an 8 x 8 foot screen, for a room with a 7.5 foot ceiling, a movie projector(!), and finally a non-functional slide projector as Eggleton vamped by telling Godzilla stories. I drew a cartoon, "Godzilla vs Technofiasco" showing Godzilla going "Arrrgh! My extension cord!" which Lee gave him. In the circumstances, he thought it was funny.
En route to the masquerade, one of Lee's old friends was shorthanded with 5 minutes notice, and asked her to fill in one of the slots backstage, which she did, leaving me to trot off to the masquerade by my lonesome. Chatting with friends towards the end of the line, one of the committee sought me out to offer seating in the VIP section. Surely part of the reason that Lunacon seems more sedate is that I am older, and staying up past midnight is becoming a strain. Relatively few open parties were listed on the party board, which is not to say that there were not plenty of parties. We were in the non-party wing, and Saturday night there was one directly overhead that broke up sometime after 3:30 AM. Sunday we checked out and went home. Heading south it took about 45 minutes to go past the Jersey Meadowlands, where Lunacon will have its new hotel. Despite a shorter trip, the old Escher Hilton will be missed.