July 8, 2010

ConChord was amazing!

The flight was smooth and we had no problems with customs or the border guards. Apologies to all concerned for everything I have forgotten or mixed up. 


Lee and Barry Gold met us in the lobby of the hotel. They were most charming, kind and attentive. We had dinner and retired to their room for much conversation and music. I hope they enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed them, and they sure made us feel welcome! Thank you!


We met up with Paul Kwinn, Beckett and the boys to do a little socializing and rehearsing, since we were planning on joining each other on stage. The official start of the con was open filking at noon, and Nick asked us to do a set to kick off the con at 8:00. We were followed by concerts from our new friend Barry Gold, and our old friend Blind Lemming Chiffon. The themed filk circle "Songs Old Enough to Drink" was fun. We slipped out early and headed off to bed.


We went to see Brett Glass give his "Band in a Box" tutorial. That was great, and as a software junkie, I WANT! Tom has been considering this software for a while, but I hadn't seen it before, and I think it could be useful even to a novice like me. We also saw the Nintendo DS "Rhythm Core Alpha" workshop, but decided that it wasn't as useful for us. The workshop was cool, though!

Sometime Friday I paid a visit to the dealers' room, and discovered a really wonderful display by Pendragon Costumes. They often appear at renaissance festivals, and they carry a wonderful array of costumes. I spent quite some time talking to the maiden there, and when Tom appeared we grabbed him and stuffed him into some gorgeous garb, suitable for any bard, and which he wore on stage for our concert on Saturday. 

Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff were fantastic (as expected, after all we had them to FKO as GoH). Chris has a beautiful voice, and I asked her when she was changing the name of the group to "The Bohnhoffs", or maybe just Chris and her band! Then came Paul Kwinn's concert, and Tom and I were invited to help out, along with the rest of the backup band which included Kathleen Sloan, Seanan McGuire, Jeff and Maya, and Beckett.

Hour 25 is an internet radio show, and they interviewed all the guests of "Westerconchord", including us!. Seanan was hilarious! Tom and I tried to be intelligent and friendly, and I am anxiously waiting for them to post the interviews. Apparently it takes a while to get all the "um"s edited out. We were told not to worry - that they'd fix it in post. Keep your fingers crossed!

Don Neill is an old filk friend of Tom's, formerly from the New York area, now living in Pasadena. He's an excellent singer/songwriter, and he was once GoH at FilKONtario. We went to trade songs and stories in the smaller filk room, and were soon joined by a host of others.

I attended Gerry Tyra's excellent microphone workshop, and learned what I'd done wrong on Thursday, and how to fix it for Saturday. Gerry is extrodinarily good with sound equipment, and knows how to explain it to those of us who are less informed. There were quite a few other sound guys in the room, and it was fun listening to them geek microphones.


We missed the second Band in a Box workshop, offered by Marilyn Miller, but felt it might be a bit too advanced. We did go to the Totally Tasteless and Tacky Review, and some of the songs lived up to that name! Tom and I did Chastity Belt, complete with some tacky props (false nose and glasses!).

Marilyn Miller's concert was next. We met her when she was Interfilk guest at FilKONtario, and were happy to see her again. She has a really beautiful voice, and is lovely and graceful on stage.

At 2:00 we played our second set. Tom had been feeling worse and worse all weekend, with a sore throat and a stuffy nose. Heidi on the registration desk suggested I get him a hot drink with lemon and honey, and Colleen Savitzky directed me to the Starbucks coffee shop, and Tom felt much better and made it through the concert. Paul Kwinn came up to help sing and to lead audience participation on Gone Filkin'. Beckett joined us on stage to play harmonica on a bunch of songs. Tom wickedly changed the last verse of Gone Filkin' from "Leslie Fish won't you sing a song for me" (as we had all rehearsed it) to "Paul and Beckett...". They looked a bit surprised, but carried on anyway, and forgave us for our silliness. We had fun.

The Interfilk auction was, as usual, a lot of fun. Steve Savitzky got a wonderful leather jacket that looked quite fetching on him. Tom bought Jeff and Maya's very early recording from their band Syntax. Our Stone Dragons DVD raised quite a bit of money for Interfilk as well. The wenches were delightfully persuasive. Jesse bought a Japanese treat made with rice flour, and offered me a bite since I had never tasted it before - very generous of him considering how much he paid for it! I consider the interfilk auctions to be a high point of every convention, and wouldn't miss them!

Seanan's concert was amazing. Paul was her stunt guitarist, and Jeff and Maya joined her on stage. My that woman can sing! I told her later that I thought it was the best I've ever heard her, and she gave me a funny look and told me that she was just getting over a chest cold. Don Neill was sitting with us, and he was so impressed he ran off to buy her CD (as well as Jeff and Maya's). Wow!

We were famished and we scooted off to dinner in the hotel lobby bar with a big bunch of Kwinn's and Kathleen and her husband! Don joined us. Paul left early to prepare for the masquerade, and after dinner we all lined up for seats in the main ballroom.

The masquerade was very well done, with some excellent costumes. Paul was MC, and he helped out admirably. Our friend Carol won in the Journeyman class for her hand-dyed costume, and she was very amusing as a moth attracted to the light Paul held.

We rested in our room during the poly circle, and came back for the open filking. Again, we ended up in the small circle. The funniest thing was when we heard Kathy Mar singing Santa Monica Pier in the other room, we decided we loved it too, and sang it in our room!  Apparently she overheard us, because she laughingly commented about it during the dead xenomorph, and gave us all another chance to sing it together.


We had two-shots followed by three additional concerts, by Lynn Gold, Jordin Kare and Allison Lonsdale.

We went out for dinner with Bill and Carol, who took us to a Peruvian restaurant. Tom had the beef dish with rice, and I had the fish and purple potatoes. We had passion-fruit mousse for dessert. It was all very delicious, and Bill grabbed the cheque before we could. In exchange we promised to return the favour when they come to FKO (you ARE coming to FKO, aren't you?)

After that we hit the dead whatzit, the whatzit hit back, and we filked until midnight when the last filk room closed.


Breakfast with the Kwinns including Paul's mother and father. What a delightful family - we are so sad we can't be with you more often!

Hugs to all our filk family in California! We really hope to see you again soon. There's OVFF, and of course FKO. If you can't make it to any of these far-away cons, keep in touch on LiveJournal.

We especially want to thank Interfilk for their generosity in sending us to ConChord. We had a wonderful time and hope we were good guests. Thanks you for making it possible for us to meet a whole bunch of new friends, to share songs, to swap stories, and to enjoy the warm California sun (and avoid the heat wave in Toronto!). I know we will be talking about this trip for a very long time to come. Once again, thank you for a most excellent adventure!