Written by Fred Patten, and published on the LASFS Rex Rotary, May 26, 1965. Intended for Apa L, Thirty-Second Distribution, LASFS Meeting no. 1450, May 27, 1965. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GRanite 3-6321.
|Long Beach in 1965!||San Diego in 1966!||Salamander Press #97.|
This past weekend was so filled with fan parties that I missed two of my fanzine deadlines -- a deplorable situation, but one which I imagine I'll survive.
Saturday's party was the Shower for Virginia Schultheis which was held at Al's/my place, and Sunday's party was the LASFS Picnic at the Arroyo Seco Park. Both were successes, though frankly they seemed to blend together so well that I'm not sure I could have told them apart afterward if one hadn't been indoors while the other was outdoors. The Shower was a typical indoor fan party, with a bourree session in the back room, food on the dining room table, and many small conversational groups constantly forming and dissolving. There were no spectacular events to distinguish it from similar parties, but it didn't break up until midnight, so I presume that everybody enjoyed it.
The LASFS Picnic took over where the previous day's party left off, except for the card session. The Arroyo Seco Park is a spacious, well-shaded place, beautifully kept up, with large picnic facilities and lots of clean benches and tables. It doesn't have free firewood as we had expected, but this was the only drawback, and a large supermarket at the edge of the Park (about a block's distance from our tables) handily provides charcoal briquettes plus soft drinks and marshmallows for roasting, and anything else that might have been forgotten. (This is a reminder note in case of any future picnics at that Park.) the Picnic was scheduled to start at 12:30, but didn't really get under way until about an hour later, which is standard. Besides all the hot dogs and potato salad we could eat, we had entertainment in the form of a Mexican family's party at the group of tables next to ours. This was apparently a birthday party, and a piņata was set up for the children to knock down. We had as much fun watching them as they had in breaking it up. Bruce provided some entertainment of his own in the neatest ploy I've seen in a long time, directed against Tom and myself: his fractional Apa L Distribution. This is, of course, now a Tradition that will have to be maintained at all future official LASFS functions, so any time in the future that the club votes to hold a theatre party or Halloween Party or Fanquet, come prepared with your pages. And don't forget your hektograph and typewriter, Bruce & Dian. The piņata entertainment prompted a trip after the Picnic down to Olvera Street for the Trimbles, the Hulans, Don Simpson & Lyn Stier, Blackbeard & myself; then, while the rest of them adjourned to the Labyrinth (where everyone else had gone after the Picnic), Blackbeard & I went over to his place to sort out old Sunday comic pages for the Collector's Book Store, which gets good prices for old "Lil' Abner"s, "Krazy Kat"s, & others. I finally went home with a large stack of old strips for myself -- "Apple Mary", "Radio Patrol", "The Pussycat Princess", and others without much market value. These will probably eventually end up in the ISL's files. Old newspaper comic strips are the sort of things that everybody throws away at the time, and collectors have to pay high prices to get years later. They are an item that the Institute for Specialized Literature should definitely have. Certain strips such as "Li'l Abner", "Pogo", "Blondie" and others have at various times been seized by the intelligentsia as examples of "true modern American folk art", etc.; but while the works of the novelists can always be found in the libraries, how many complete copies of the comic strip series have been preserved? Comic strips may show the work of famous writers and artists. Fritz Leiber did the story continuity for "Buck Rogers" for awhile; strips of this period would be valuable in any collection of his works. How many of you know that Dr. Seuss had a strip of his own, "Hajji", thirty years ago, before he became a famous author/illustrator of children's books? I didn't know this until I saw some of the Sunday pages at the Collector's Book Store, and I've been a Dr. Seuss fan since I was 6 or 7 years old. How much would these be worth to any collector of Seussiana? -- and there are such. Hmm, I should've started a new paragraph if I'd realized I was going to get carried away on this new subject. Anyhow, Save Your Old Sunday Supplements; they are Valuable Literary Works.
Getting back to the LASFS Picnic, there is one respect in which it was almost a failure. One of its purposes was to raise money for the Colin Freeman Fund, above making back the expenses of the Picnic food. But due to the non-appearance of many of those who signed up, we were left with a large surplus of food (above letting everybody who came eat as much as they liked); and while we didn't lose any money, the proceeds for the Colin Freeman Fund came to exactly 17¢. (This isn't counting the expense of the charcoal briquettes, which Bill Blackbeard insisted on donating.) There were 12 people who signed up or were signed for who failed to attend, and while some of these may be people who really planned to come but were unavoidably prevented, I wonder how many of them just put their names on the sign-up sheet so that there'd be a place for them if they decided to come, and then when the time came they decided they weren't interested in going after all -- leaving the LASFS out the amount it had spent on food for them. This kind of thoughtlessness is unfortunately not unusual around the club; it was the same sort of thing that cost the Treasury money on unsold tickets to "The Wonderful Ice-Cream Suit". Last-minute cancellations because of something else coming up, or reservations for people who aren't sure they can attend the event but want to make sure there's a place for them if they can, are understandable and acceptable; but there are some people who'll ask the club to spend money on material for them before even making up their minds whether they want to attend the event or not -- and if they finally decide they don't want to, then the club's out the money. Tough luck! Of the 12 people in question, only one notified me in advance of the Picnic that he wouldn't be coming after all (and that was the day before the Picnic, after the food had already been bought); the others simply failed to show up.
Frankly, this occurrence wasn't unexpected, which is why I passed around a sign-up sheet to collect specific names, rather than just counting the hands at a LASFS Meeting of those who said they wanted food provided for them. I now propose charging the full 50¢ fee to everyone whose name is signed to the list, whether he/she attended or not. (Incidentally, everyone who attended the Picnic either paid in advance or at the Picnic itself; it's only the Tardy Twelve who haven't been heard from yet.) if I can get it all, that'll be another $6.00 to Operation: Andy Capp. I expect that some of these fans will take the attitude of, "Well, I didn't go so I don't have to pay and you can't make me!" Maybe I can't, but we'll at least have a public record of the deadbeats, and we'll know who to charge in advance or to ignore altogether when orders are being taken for any future events.
I would also like to thank the person who signed up and didn't come but who paid in advance, because I don't think he really meant to come, but intended his 50¢ as a donation to the event. I want to make it clear that I don't consider him in the same category as those who don't care whether the club loses money because of them or not.
Possibly after we've established between those who are seriously interested in attending the LASFS function and those who aren't, we can arrange more events like this for the future. This Picnic was a lot of fun, as everybody who was there will tell you. What should we do next?