OBLIGATORY INTRODUCTORY FOO:
This year, I figured I'd ditch a traditional text-based OVFF review and go for
an all-out web-based multimedia OVFF review. For fun, I've assembled this convention
review entirely with Apple hardware technologies --- namely, a 4 year old Apple PowerBook,
my Quadra 610, and an Apple QuickTake 100 digital camera. RealAudio files were encoded
at light-speed with my brand-new PowerMac 8500/180.
This is also one of the first few filk con review that I've seen posted which
includes images and actual recorded filksongs. Since I'm not aware of any established
conventions for using photographs and sound clips, I've obtained any legally necessary
permissions for any songs included. I am fairly sure that I got permission from every
individual in photographs that have fewer than five people and which are not from
the concert stage. If you appear in a picture and would prefer that it not appear,
let me know, and I'll remove it (or digitally blur you out) as a courtesy.
Finally, please forgive the primitive visual design and formatting. I didn't feel
like manually cranking out HTML, so I used Claris Home Page 1.0, which is still a
very new product, and...well...as Jean-Louis Gassee would say...it has potential.
THURSDAY: (October 24th, 1996)
adventure begun Thursday morning. It started at 4:15 AM, to be precise, when the
alarm clock went off, sending Greymouser (my cat) flying several inches up into the
air. Since Bob Laurent was unable to make it to this year's OVFF, Kristoph &
Margaret came by my townhouse at 5:15 AM to drop off a few dozen tapes that needed
to get to dealers at OVFF.
Imagine my surprise when I walked over to my flight's gate at San Jose International
Airport and *plop* sat down next to Alan Thiesen and Alta. It took a rather amusing
minute until we realized this fact. Alan happened to be taking a plane to Missouri
en route toOVFF, which happened to just take off at
the gate next to the flight I was taking. Small world!
I had never been through Phoenix before, but had the opportunity to at least see
it from the sky while making the connection flight. Seeing a desert so close to Silicon
Valley was rather spooky.
Finally got to Columbus. Unlike last year's OVFF, I didn't have the chance to
greet all of Urban Tapestry massively lost in the airport. ;) I did get to the convention
hotel by 6:00, and immediately did what any fan would do: I went to the bookstore
right next to the hotel! *wink* It wasn't a mere book store, but it was actually
a Media Play, which I hadn't been to since I left Atlanta --- they sell music, books,
software, and more.
I nearly keeled over in shock and laughter when I saw the sign in the front of
Yup, Terry Kennedy got a gig at Media Play across the street from the con hotel.
The forces of filkdom had truly conquered Columbus. Cute.
After Media Play, I proceeded to grab a yummy dinner at Red Lobster across the
street (Having not eaten anything all day save a package of airplane peanuts, their
seafood pasta transcended paradise!), and finally returned back to the Ramada Inn
East. Oh, here's what our con hotel looked like on the outside:
Got back to the hotel lobby. I swear, there's something about pulling out a computer
inducing SF fans to appear! The *moment* I pulled out the PowerBook, who would walk
in the hotel lobby door but Don Neill, MEW, Pete & Jill Grubbs, and Dave Clement?
MEW has now officially moved to New Hampshire to live with Ed. Pete and Jill now
have a 1-year old son named Cecil (most likely mispelled), in addition to the 5 other
kids that they're raising. (Jill managed to evade the camera. Talented lady.)
Speaking of MEW, would you believe that MEW will be opening next Spring for Fred
Small in his New Hampshire concert??!
We all chatted for a while, and finally Nick Smith got dropped off by the hotel
shuttle. Nick very kindly allowed me to crash in his room on Thursday night; I hunted
down his phone number in a last act of desparation after every single person staying
at the hotel on Thursday (all five of them) didn't have available crash space. Then
again, I think they were all sharing the same room... (The entire hotel was long
since sold out, even Thursday night.)
I ended up staying up until 1:00 AM chatting with Nick until collapsing. Nick
is an exceptional conversationalist, with well-thought out and articulately expressed
opinions on just about any topic related to filk. Nick had actually never attended
an OVFF before; how kind of Interfilk to rectify this. ;)
As ironic as it may seem, two thousand miles from home, I managed to get the first
full night's sleep in over a month. Thus, it shouldn't be surprising that by the
time I awoke the next morning, filkers were starting to creep in, and in costume.
(Mike Browne and Rennie Levine, who will be having a newborn kid in early Spring!)
(I think that's Kathleen Sloan on the left, and definitely Robert "Harp Dude"
Stockton on the right.)
Solomon Davidoff had arrived, proudly holding his master's thesis (in filk!) in
The OVFF music programming started at 9:00 PM with the California Round Robin
filk, featuring Alan Thiesen, Kathy Mar, and Paul Kwinn. (I'll omit the pictures
from this one, since they looked horrible. Did I mention that Ronald Reagan was still
in office the last time I used a camera?) I skipped this one; what can I say? Call
me a California resident!
Next, at 10:00 was Steve Macdonald's concert. While he didn't have many new songs,
largely due to how busily directing himself to his new job at ANS, his concert seemed
to go over very well.
Steve's concert also happened to be visited on-stage by a bumblebee (which originally
appeared to be unsuccessfully trying to pollinate the chandelier). "I just love
those old B movies" gained new meaning during that concert every time the bee
buzzed by Steve.
Also, in case you haven't heard, Steve Macdonald has finally left MSEN [an Internet
Service Provider in Ann Arbor, Michigan] and is now providing internal techncial
support at ANS, a company that's essentially one of the major Internet service providers
to Fortune 200 companies and other large companies.)
Obligatory Preachy Diversion --- after this year's con, I think I truly understand
why I respect Steve so much. Quite frequently, I encounter individuals whining about
whatever they lack --- whether it be the technical skills to have the job and income
they desire, or whether it be a lack of musical skills, or whatnot, and seem to be
wondering why the Fates don't just hand them whatever they want right into their
lap without any work. Steve, five years ago, was working as a bloody collections
agent for a bank. Steve wanted to become a techie professional --- and took a decent
pay cut to work insanely hard for several years at MSEN, developing his experience
and skill base, and while providing MSEN with good work. The Monday prior to OVFF
--- just a few years later --- Steve just took a 75% raise in his new position, doing
exactly what he wants to (or, at least, in this point in his life.) Steve got off
his butt and achieved his goal. Enough said.
Another Obligatory Diversion --- I'm not quite sure how the Friday filking went,
as I spent most of the night hanging out with the folks who I hadn't seen in a whole
year since the last OVFF. I think I understand now --- although it took attending
6 OVFFs until it happened --- why I feel so strongly about the convention, after
a comment that Steve had made in his concert. For many of us, OVFF is simply home.
It's the one chance we have every year to catch up with our old friends --- where
we see the same friends grow, evolve, and mature. This is also why, I think, the
change in hotel left some filkers feeling...well...estranged; it's as if the family
packed up and moved into a new house since the last time we were gone. ;)
Saturday started with Terry Kennedy doing a two-part, two-hour workshop on sound
engineering at 10:00 AM-12:00 AM. Alas, I missed this workshop. You see, the great
side-effect of coming to Ohio from California is that staying up late for the filks
becomes 3 hours easier. The downside, of course, is that waking up for the early-morning
program becomes three hours drowsier.
I did make it up for the Saturday concerts, which were normally my convention
highlight. While I mostly enjoyed them, they were very almost entirely focused on
folk music instead of filk music...and...well...I can get folk music very easily
in my area (as can most people; it's a formalized genre with professional performers).
I came for filk, and of course, with a bit of folk mixed in. I understand that a
number of folks were also disappointed, and that it probably won't happen again next
(Nick Smith's concert)
(Andrea Dale's One-shot)
(Ookla the Mok's one-shot)
For fun, I digitized Leslie Fish's entire concert , and you can hear some of the
performances by surfing over to the Virtual Filksing.
(There was a lot more that I digitized, but I only have so much space from my ISP.
If you'd like to volunteer space for the rest of the songs --- about five megabytes,
please drop me a note.) Thanks very much to Spencer Love, who offered and provided
a feed from his mixing board for the laptop.
Leslie Fish, I felt, was an excellent Toastmistress. (Amusing Trivia --- Leslie
had never been a Toastmistress at a convention before.) Her lack of recent experience
with Midwestern filking and OVFF was quite charming, and her natural humor and stage
presence shown clearly.
Saturday evening begun with the songwriting contest (theme of "First Contact").
I found it very amusing that just about every entry by a guy happened to be on the
topic of having sex with aliens, whereas the women who entered songs had a
more diverse set of topics. Ookla the Mok won the songwriting contest with, (guess
what?), a wicked song about having sex with aliens, which they wrote in the car on
the way up.
Next, of course, was the OVFF banquet. After an extremely long wait for food...
...the feasting begun!
Kathy Mar also showed a room full of a hundred plus filkers, once again, how to
attach spoons and other utenils to our noses. Check out Solomon and company:
After we finished stuffing our faces, Diana Huey and Ann Cecil went on stage to
announce the songwriting contest and Pegasus award winners. I admit the award-shtick
doesn't do much for me, so I don't have much else to say about it, other than that
we all left when they were over...making way for...the Saturday night filking!
Saturday night had, of course, superb filking. Just like last year, the best filksing
wasn't in a taped filkroom, but rather, in a corner of the hotel right next to the
pool. At one time, I suspect there were easily 60-75 people in that filksing.
Rather than try to describe how great the filks were, I won't even try. Just come
to OVFF next year if you missed out on it this year!
Sunday, of course, ended the convention. Beginning with the obligatory OVFF kick-ass,
raise-up-a-storm jam session:
I don't have much to say about Sunday (largely 'cause I'm writing this part over
two weeks after the convention, and don't remember much worth telling!). Those of
us who were still around by Sunday night went to Home Town Buffet for the dead dog
We were still quite lively filkers at the dinner --- for Jinny's birthday (at
least, I think it was Jinny!), we all entered a banging-on-the-tables, rousing rendition
of the Viking Birthday Song, followed (in memory of last year's OVFF) by March
of Cambreadth. In a restaurant with at least 100 people. Much to my surprise,
the mundane diners at the tables near us actually seemed to quite enjoy the experience,
particularly the Viking Birthday Song, and were quite clearly laughing on many of
Not to be outdone by our filking, a particularly inedible dessert got passed across
the table. I wasn't quite sure what to do with it, so I did the only thing a filker
could do: I parodied it.
It turns out that after most of us left the restaurant, the two stragglers remaining
observed all of the restaurant's wait staff congregate around our table to inspect
After we got back to the Ramada, at least two dozen of us finished off with a
dead dog filksing in the con suite.
Mary Bertke requested (and got) Leslie Fish to sing the Horse-Tamer's Daughter.
Every verse. And with a chorus between verses. Eeep! Watch Leslie suffer:
Later that night, it was realized that a Love Puppy was never designated during
the Saturday night filk. So, we took the liberty of designating Jinny's adorable
adopted puppy to be the '96 Love Puppy. (Kathy Mar [who started the Love Puppy tradition
with Carol Siegling] heartily approved of the choice after the convention.)
I finally went to my hotel room to crash, although I still heard the dead dog
until its final death Monday morning. Moof.