The last week of November was particularly memorable. On Monday, I resumed reviewing manga for the Comics Buyer's Guide, after a break of over a year and a half since my stroke. CBG assigned me to review seven manga that TOKYOPOP recently sent me review copies of - and I should thank TOKYOPOP as the only manga publisher so far to put me back on its review list. I also received a copy of the November 2006 Locus from John Hertz, after stating here a couple of weeks ago that the LASFS Library's copy had been lost. Thanks, John, even though it turned out to be unnecessary; the club Library's copy was found last week.
I spent most of Tuesday at my sister Sherrill's apartment watching stuff on my DSL-connection iMac that I couldn't see on my dial-up computer at the hospital. I was very favorably impressed by the trailers for the forthcoming CGI animated features Happily N'Ever After (produced by BAF Berlin Animation Film GmbH & Co. Produktions KG; distributed by Lions Gate Films; January 5), Arthur and the Invisibles (Apipoulaï Prod. in Paris/MGM; January 12), and Meet the Robinsons (Walt Disney Feature Animation/Buena Vista Pictures; March 30. Roy Disney proclaimed at an animation festival in Everett, WA the previous weekend [Nov. 17-19] that he was there to "refute that ridiculous statement of Michael Eisner's that 2D was dead. It is not dead, and the statement is not true." Bravo, but I must say that Disney's CGI Meet the Robinsons looks extremely promising.). The CGI/2D trailer for The Simpsons Movie (Film Roman Productions/20th Century Fox; July 27) also is very amusing. Scott Beckstead arrived in the evening to pick up the special exhibit of my art collection for the Loscon's Art Show. He had promised me four 4' x 4' panels, and I had selected, and Sherry had packed, fifteen pictures encompassing the five broad areas of my collection to fill them. Sherry & I also watched the first half of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on her 42" TV screen.
On Wednesday, Glen Wooten e.mailed me that he had finally confirmed with Accredited Nursing Care the required caregiver & Registered Nurse to care for me throughout Loscon 33, so I could stay at the LAX Marriott Hotel all during Loscon 33 instead of having to return to the Golden State Convalescent Hospital every night for evening & morning medications. There had been problems finding a Nurse available to work during the holiday weekend. Sherry came to the hospital to pack a bag of clothing for me to bring to the hotel for the Loscon. Loscon Vice-Chair Kathy Thornton e.mailed me my final programming schedule (not counting being invited to the Guests-of-Honor dinner on Saturday evening):
Friday 1:30 - 3:00 ballroom c Opening Ceremonies - Scott Beckstead, William Tenn, Fred Patten
Friday 3:00 - 4:30 Art Show Docent Tour of Private Collection - Fred Patten
Friday 4:30 - 6:00 ballroom b Anime Invasion - the early days of japanimation in the US - a discussion to include such shows as Astro Boy and Gigantor - Fred Patten, Brett Achorn, Ed Hooper
Saturday noon - 1:30 dallas The Eaton Collection - A presentation by The University of California Riverside's specialty collection of science fiction, fantasy, and fan-related materials. (This location currently houses our Fan GOH's collection.) - Fred Patten, Melissa Conway, Sheryl Davis, Julia Ree
Saturday 3:00 - 4:30 ballroom a Hour 25 - Join Warren James as he interviews this year's Loscon Guests of Honor - Warren James, Suzanne Gibson, Patrick Fahey, Scott Beckstead, William Tenn, Bernie Wrightson, Fred Patten
Saturday 4:30 - 6:00 ballroom a Hour 25 - Join Warren James as he interviews this year's Loscon Guests of Honor - Warren James, Suzanne Gibson, Patrick Fahey, Scott Beckstead, William Tenn, Bernie Wrightson, Fred Patten
Sunday 1:30 - 3:00 chicago The Gift of Fur - The first days of furry fandom - why did it happen, who was involved, and did they expect it to last until the 21st century? - Fred Patten
On Thursday. Sherry picked me up at the hospital after its Thanksgiving turkey luncheon to spend the afternoon at her apartment. We finished watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, had our Thanksgiving dinner (not turkey) at Solley's Restaurant & Deli in Sherman Oaks, and then went to the LASFS meeting, which, as usual for Thanksgiving meetings, was short; only about 45 minutes. We had both the president and secretary, but not quite a quorum; but we had fun, anyway.
On Friday morning, just before leaving for the Loscon, I got an e.mail from the editor of Anthro saying that he has just collected most of its first year (bimonthly issues #1 - #6) into a 602-page trade paperback, ANTHROlogy One, published through Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/content/536807). The price is $19.99 through the end of this year, when it will go up to $24.99. My reviews from issues #2 through #6 are in it. Profits from sales will be paid to the authors, so I might actually get paid something for my reviews. I hope that the LASFS Library will get a copy. This news came just in time for me to publicize it at the Loscon.
Sherry picked me up at the hospital at 10:15 a.m. We arrived at the LAX Marriott Hotel just before noon. The first fans I saw, while getting out of Sherry's minivan, were Michael Burlake & Ken Pick. Glen Wooten arrived while we were chatting, and he took me into the hotel to meet the caregiver from Accredited Nursing Care, Michael Green. Sherry turned me over to them and continued on to spend the weekend with our mother in Mission Viejo. Glen got us checked into our hotel room, 5018 on the 5th floor; then we went down to the Ballroom level to register for the Loscon itself. I did what I always do first at a Loscon; checked the Program Book to see if the LASFS history and the lists of the club's awards were updated properly. They were, with some errors: Frederik Pohl's name on the Forry Award list was misspelled "Poh", the membership/attendance totals were missing from the Loscon 32 entry, and the LASFS History lacked the new information about when the club really started meeting every Thursday, that I had e.mailed the Loscon Committee on October 20th to add to the history after Bob Null found the information at the previous night's LASFS meeting. Hopefully these will be corrected in next year's Program Book.
The three of us went to the Opening Ceremonies at 1:30, where I was to be introduced to the con as the Fan Guest of Honor along with William Tenn as the Writer G-o-H. (Bernie Wrightson, the Artist G-o-H, did not arrive until the next day.) Tenn & I were asked to give brief speeches. I said that I felt particularly lucky to share the G-o-H honors this year when the Writer G-o-H was one of my earliest favorite authors, who had made Galaxy so worth looking forward to during the 1950s when he was one of its regular writers. Tenn filled the rest of the hour by relating why he had stopped writing s-f around a decade later. Too bad nobody was recording it; it was a wonderful talk.
As the Opening Ceremonies ended, my caregiver threw Glen Wooten & me into consternation by saying something that indicated that he expected to care for me only until Saturday afternoon; not Sunday when the convention ended. Questioning confirmed this; he was sure that Accredited Nursing Care had told him he would be pushing my wheelchair and watching over me at night for only one day. Glen immediately called ANC on his cell phone and verified this. Green did not mind caring for me for an extra day, but would have to go home and get extra clothing & leave some notification he would be gone an extra day, which would take several hours since he did not drive but would have to travel home & back by bus. Fortunately, Michael Burlake had joined us during these conversations, and he volunteered to take care of me while Green was gone, the next day. Wooten had some sharp words with ANC, which apparently tried to increase the bill for my care steeply by calling the extra day "a major last-minute demand for additional service by us" rather than acknowledging it as a mistake on their part.
We got to the Art Show about ten minutes before my scheduled docent tour of my exhibit. I was disappointed to find that there had been room to hang only 11 of the 15 paintings that I had sent, because the Art Show panels were only 3' x 4', not 4' x 4'. A Tim Kirk painting had been omitted from my Convention Art Show purchases, and all three Furry paintings had been left out. But the 11 paintings that were exhibited were very attractively displayed. The exhibit was:
S-f book or magazine covers
Cover for ANALOG SF, January 1971, by Frank Kelly Freas (illustrating "The Telzy Toy" by James H. Schmitz)
Cover for A WORLD OF TROUBLE, by Robert E. Toomey, Jr. (paperback novel), painting by Dean Ellis. (Ballantine Books, 1973)
Cover for SCIENCE FANTASY, December 1958, by Brian Lewis (illustrating "City of the Tiger", by John Brunner)
Motion picture and TV production art
THE POISON TOADSTOOL, by Hans Bacher (from an unsuccessful presentation for a 1980s TV cartoon series)
STAR WARS, by Ralph McQuarrie (production sketch; Y-wing fighter sortieing from the Death Star, 1976?)
ACES HIGH, by Warren Tufts (from an unsuccessful presentation by Farmhouse Films for a TV series, details unknown)
Covers of magazines that I edited/published
Cover for CAPA-alpha #80, June 1971, by Rudi Franke (comic book APA)
Cover for DELAP'S F&SF REVIEW, November 1976, by Tom Reamy (s-f review magazine)
Cover for ROWRBRAZZLE #62, July 1999, by Victor Wren (Furry APA)
Convention Art Show purchases
"Lothlorien", by Bernard A. Zuber
"Arabian Nights Commuter", by Michael R. Hague (1976)
At 3:00 when the tour was supposed to begin, only Michael Burlake and Kay Shapero were there. It did not take long to tell the stories behind 11 paintings, but in the time a couple of other fans arrived so I started over again. I repeated the stories three or four times before a lull in more fans arriving allowed me & my caregiver to escape and see the rest of the Art Show. The general quality looked quite good. I had mixed feelings, though, about this year's Rotsler Award display featuring all nine Rotsler winners. It was nice to see the art of the previous recipients again, but this did rather a disservice to this year's recipient, Alexis Gilliland, by reducing him to only a small portion at the bottom of the display instead of featuring him prominently.
After going through the Art Show, I had Green push me on a tour of the Dealers' Room. Two of the book dealers had my Furry! anthology on their "books by authors at this convention" shelves, which boosted my egoboo considerably. Glen Wooten had given me two $20 bills as shopping money from my donation fund. I did not expect to use it since I have been borrowing more than enough to read from the public and LASFS libraries and fans like the Moffatts. But a dealer in out-of-print movie music CD's had one copy left of the complete "Conan" music by Basil Poledouris from both Conan movies that I had been trying to replace since my old CD was sent to the Eaton Collection with the rest of my s-f collection last year. The price was $45, but he would knock it down to $40 for an immediate sale. A moment later I was broke again, but with the "Conan" music CD to begin rebuilding my music library in my study at Sherry's apartment.
My Registered Nurse had been scheduled to give me my afternoon medications before my 4:30 p.m. panel on anime started, but she did not show up until about 5:00 p.m. so I had to temporarily leave in the middle of the panel. It turned out that Accredited Nursing Care had given her the wrong address and she had initially arrived five or six miles away. Fortunately she had guessed that a Los Angeles Airport hotel should be near the airport, and had found the right address quickly enough. I had no complaint with my caregiver, Michael Green, or the RN, Norma Avelar, themselves, but we are unlikely to work with Accredited Nursing Care again if we can possibly avoid it. The anime panel went smoothly, and hopefully Brett Achorn will have gotten some new attendees for Cinema Anime out of the Loscon.
Michael Burlake invited me to join him and Ken Pick for dinner. It was Pick's 50th birthday, and Burlake was treating him at the hotel's elite JW's Steakhouse. I usually avoid a hotel's most expensive restaurants, but since I was one of this year's G-o-H's I did not have to worry about the meal prices. I had a lobster bisque soup and grilled salmon; both excellent.
After dinner, it was time for the Ice Cream Social. As both a G-o-H and a handicapped attendee, I was allowed an early entry, with both Michaels accompanying me as caregivers; Green pushed my wheelchair while Burlake got me ice cream including some of the instant liquid-nitrogen-frozen malt. Very good. The announcement that Elayne Pelz was the recipient of this year's Evans-Freehafer Award was enthusiastically applauded. I also qualified for front-row seating at the following Lux Radio Theater's performance of Blade Runner as a late 1930s-style radio dramatization starring notable movie stars of the period as the cast; Bogart as Rick Deckard, Bacall as Rachael Tyrell, Vincent Price as Roy Batty, and other voice impersonations ranging from Edward G. Robinson to Laurel & Hardy in the other roles. It was very well done, but the immobility of sitting in the warm audience after a big meal soon put me to sleep. Green felt I should go to bed, so we left early.
Once I was moving again, however, I woke up and wanted to go to the evening's parties on the 17th floor instead. To my delight, Keith Kato was serving his wonderful chili again this year. I had a dish of the hot chili, despite my caregiver's worrying that my hospital's dietician might not approve it. (I imagine that nobody will be surprised by the news that my hospital's food is mostly very bland.) I did a bit of party hopping, but I spent most of the time at the "Pluto is still a planet, dammit!" party. Marji Holt warned me that I would probably meet a big fan of mine tomorrow. She had come to L.A. for the Loscon by train, and she had met a young man who was a big fan of anime who was not aware of fandom. She had told him about the Loscon with its Anime Room, and that I was a Guest-of-Honor (he had my Watching Anime, Reading Manga book, though not with him), and she had excited him enough that he was interrupting his trip to attend the Loscon on Saturday; and he particularly wanted to meet me. Green & I went to our room about 10:30 p.m. Fortunately for me, the Marriott's mattresses and pillows were a lot firmer than the Anaheim Hilton's during the Worldcon, and I did not have the problem of sinking down into them to the point of choking to death.
We got up Saturday morning about 7:00 a.m., and took a leisurely two hours to get washed up and dressed before the RN arrived at 9:00 a.m. to give me my morning medications. Green & I then went to breakfast at the hotel's Latitude 33 coffee shop (a fortunate coincidence, having Loscon 33 at a hotel with a Latitude 33 coffee shop), where we both had the breakfast buffet. Nurse Avelar stayed with us for a half-hour to make sure that I did not have any adverse reactions to my medications.
Michael Stern, at the Loscon 34 ("The Dig") table, asked if there was any anime with an archaeological theme. I said that there was in at least two senses, but that it ought to stay buried (referring to the deservedly forgotten 1989 Explorer Woman Ray, a boring Indiana Jones rip-off that was aborted after only two episodes because nobody was buying the videos). I went on to remember several other titles ("Turtles! Why did it have to be turtles!?" - Love Hina), until Dr. Susan promised me a free membership in next year's Loscon if I would assemble a program's worth of archaeologically-themed anime. During our conversation, the anime fan that Marji Holt had told me about appeared. Since he did not have his copy of Watching Anime, Reading Manga with him, and none of the dealers were selling it, I ended up autographing a mailing label for him to paste on the title page of his copy when he returned home.
Just before my noon panel, Michael Burlake and Glen Wooten relieved my caregiver so he could return home to get the additional personal items he would need to be with me for another day. I finally got to attend, and even be part of, a presentation on the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction at the University of California at Riverside's Library. Melissa Conway and the other librarians from UCR had prepared a brochure on the Eaton Collection with "Special Congratulations to our dear friend, Fred Patten, Fan Guest of 2006!" printed on the cover, and a paragraph inside, "Particularly with the Patten collection, we have begun to cover anime (Japanese and other East Asian animated films), foreign comic books and SF ephemera." (John Hertz helped write the brochure.) This slide-show presentation and talk was the best attended of all my events; the room was over half-filled. Several in the audience seemed very seriously interested in planning for the future of their collections, both in regard to their future disposition and in regard to increasing the longevity of books and magazines printed on acidic paper. A question about how to preserve video tapes, which are supposed to last only about twenty years, reminded me to tell Dr. Conway that several of the videos in my collection (including "Clearance Papers", the Opening Ceremonies film for Loscon XIV that I wrote and Michael Aguilar animated with stop-motion models), are unique and irreplaceable, and should be inspected and preserved if need be immediately. The librarians were very pleased with the favorable reaction to their presentation.
Glen & Michael traded off on pushing my wheelchair during the afternoon. We toured the Art Show and the Dealers Room again (Glen gave me another $40 to spend; he said the donors to my fund had been very generous), and went to the Green Room for a mid-afternoon snack. At 3:00 p.m. we went to the Hour 25 recording session for the interviews with the Loscon's Guests-of-Honor. I have never listened to Hour 25, although I was interviewed on it along with Harlan Ellison about thirty years ago as the publisher & co-editor of Delap's F&SF Review. William Tenn dominated these interviews, as he had the Opening Ceremonies speeches. Even if he had not emphasized his Jewishness in his notes to his collected stories from NESFA Press in 2001 (not that it was ever a secret with such stories as "Bernie the Faust" and "On Venus, Have We Got a Rabbi!"), he went into it here in a series of personal anecdotes that were fascinating as s-f history and funny as a comedy monologue. We were not surprised to learn that Tenn had had a (very brief) stint on the fabled upstate New York Borsht standup comedy circuit. I assume that Hour 25 host Warren James originally intended to give Scott Beckstead and we three G-o-H's interviews of equal length, but Tenn talked for over an hour and the rest of us got about ten minutes each; and it felt like we were being rude by cutting Tenn short since he was so much more worth listening to than the rest of us. This arrangement turned out to be fortunate for me, since Nurse Avelar arrived in the middle of the session to give me my afternoon medications, and I had plenty of time to leave the room for them and return before they were ready for my interview.
Beckstead wanted us to go directly from the interviews at 6:00 p.m. to the Guests-of-Honor dinner in Latitude 33's private dining room. It was not just for the G-o-H's and wives, since Harry Turtledove and several Loscon Committee heads were also there. My caregiver was not back yet, so Glen Wooten as my temporary caregiver joined us. I narrowly avoided ruining the dinner when the hot & sour soup, which I had assumed to be Chinese, turned out to be Thai instead. It was more highly spiced than I could handle, but so good that I did not want to give it up, and I choked noisily three or four times while eating it. (Two days later, back at the hospital, my blood pressure was still alarmingly high. The pepper steak that I had as my main dish doubtlessly did not help, either, although I was able to eat that without embarrassing myself.) Michael Green returned during the dinner and Glen Wooten turned his own meal and me over to Green.
Our dinner ended just in time for us to go into the Masquerade during the halftime entertainment while the judges were deliberating. The presentation by John DeChancie of the Forry Award to William Tenn was also made here. Tenn surprised us (or me, at least) by saying that in all his years in the s-f community, this was the first award that he had ever received; which made me particularly glad that we had voted him the award this year.
After the Masquerade winners were announced, it was time for the evening's parties. I spent most of the evening at the Furry Party, since the Furry fans did not have their usual table all through the Loscon this year and I had to pack all the socializing that I had expected to spread throughout the con into this one party. Rod O'Riley was showing off a new book he had just gotten; Talk the Talk: The Slang of 65 American Subcultures, by Luc Reid (Writers Digest Books, September 2006), which included the jargon of Furry fandom (also anime fandom and s-f fandom). I joined CaliFur 3, in Costa Mesa next May, which will probably be my next convention away from the Golden State Hospital. (Costa Mesa is within the territory of Care Plus, the good nursing service that provided my caregiver & nurses during L.A.con IV, so I should have no problems.) The only break that I took from the Furry Party was to go to the DarkCon party for some of the Swedish meatballs that everyone was raving about. Green & I got to bed shortly before midnight.
On Sunday morning, we went through the same getting-up, medications, and breakfast routine as on Saturday. We packed up and checked out of our room around 11:00 a.m. to beat the noon deadline checkout crush, and left our luggage with the concierge. There was nothing that I wanted to see or attend before my 1:30 p.m. panel on the history of Furry fandom, so I had Green just park me in the Green Room for an hour or so to relax and eavesdrop on or join in conversations with other speakers.
I was the only speaker scheduled for the "The Gift of Fur" panel. I did not want to sit at the head table by myself, so I invited Michael Burlake and David Bliss from the audience to join me. The three of us outnumbered the audience at a couple of moments, but there were always enough appreciative listeners that we ran the whole length. Too bad there was no Furry table this year; I think they would have been able to sell a few more memberships to next year's CaliFur.
We went after this panel to the Art Show, which had already packed up my special exhibit. I asked the Art Show staff to check the boxes with the concierge along with my luggage. The last event of the Loscon was the 3:00 p.m. Convention Feedback session. Scott Beckstead announced that the final membership/attendance figures were 1,146 and 1,084; a trifle low for recent Loscons. The main complaints were with the Loscon's pre-con not-informative-enough website, and with the hotel's wonky elevators, which did not trap anyone long enough to create a serious problem but gave many people (including me) extra rides of a few minutes before finally stopping at the proper floors and opening their doors. Aside from this, attendees of the Feedback session had little to say besides compliments on how well Loscon 33 had gone, and what a marvelous Guest-of-Honor William Tenn had been.
Loscon 33 was over by 4:30 p.m. My sister Sherry was not due to pick me up until 5:00, so I had some time to kill. We (me and both Michaels) were allowed into the Dealers' Room which was already closed and over half packed up, although there was a long line at the autograph table having books signed by William Tenn. Burlake made a last-minute purchase of the old SFBC collection of Asimov's three early novels. At 5:00 p.m. we went up to the hotel lobby to await my sister. Burlake promised to stay with me until she arrived, so my caregiver could leave for his long bus ride home. Sherry arrived a few minutes later. Burlake and I had fond memories of the restaurant where we had had dinner after Loscon 32, so the three of us agreed to go back there: Jino's Pizza Italian Restaurant/Pars Persian Cuisine, a recommended Italian-Iranian restaurant on Manchester at Airport. Michael & I had the Italian lasagna again while Sherry tried the Persian stuffed grape leaves. The lasagna tasted quite different this year; it was still very good, but definitely a different recipe (with olive oil?). After that, we said goodbye to Michael and Sherry drove me back to the Golden State Convalescent Hospital. It was a great convention, and I am already looking forward to Loscon 34.
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