A WebTrip to OVFF 1996

Leslie Fish's Filksongs

The Virtual Filksing

Convention Reviews

Personal Filk Projects

Other Cool Stuff


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)

My OVFF 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 the store:


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.

(Mark Wise)

(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 hand, too!.

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 year.

(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 dinner.

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 the verses.


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 our saucer-buddy.

After we got back to the Ramada, at least two dozen of us finished off with a dead dog filksing in the con suite.

(Tom Billings)

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.