Monday, May 2, 2016

JordanCon8 Recap Post

My apologies. I’ve been staring at a blank page for far too long. Post Con Depression has its foothold, and it’s the reason I’ve been so quiet (sorry! heh).

2016 marked the sixth consecutive year I’ve traveled from Toronto to Atlanta for JordanCon, the little literary convention with the big heart.

This year’s JCon was hosted by my friend, Linda Taglieri, a renowned Wheel of Time scholar from The Thirteenth Depository, and it had the added honour of being the site of this year’s DeepSouthCon (those guys, they’ve been around the block a time or two, and let me tell you: they know how to have fun!). The Author Guest of Honour was Catharine Asaro, the Artist Guest of Honour was John Picacio, and the shenanigans and revelry were bigger, better, and more shenanigan-y than ever.

No, seriously. We’re going to have to come up with some crazy shit to top this year’s tom foolery--that’s the real reason why JCon is only once a year: it takes us a whole year to come up with an idea that tops the previous year.

(Wait, er, I mean… I’m not up to anything. Except maybe liver failure.)

The highlights from JordanCon8 were many, thus I present a sampling, featured in no particular order and likely even less sense:

  • Thursday evening Directors’ Dinner: before the crazy of con truly begins the Directors and guests enjoy a meal together, and as a newly appointed assistant director, this was the first year I attended. However, there had to be at least one tradition to kick off the weekend, and apparently it was the one where I say something mortifyingly inappropriate in front of respectable author Brandon Sanderson. I blame the wine. And Paul Bielaczyc. (Damn you both for making me memorable! *sigh*) 

  • Performing in the Opening Ceremonies as Sith Elaida: yes, my hack acting skills were on display in full getup as a Wheel of Time/Star Wars mashup character Sith Elaida (Elaida Jedai? Either way--she’s too obtuse to realize she’s channeling the Dark Side, haha!). So much fun, and myself, along with April Moore as Jedi Cadsuane, and Brit Lewis as Jedi Moiraine, and Linda Taglieri as toastmaster absolutely rocked those Opening Ceremonies! (I wish I had pics, or even better, video!)

  • The JordanCon Art Show, in all its glory! It’s no secret that I’m biased: having worked quietly as April Moore’s second for years now, I now carry the title of Assistant Director for the Art Show. 2016 marked the fifth annual JordanCon Art Show, and it was our most successful yet. Our talented artists and dedicated team of volunteers outdid themselves again. Our exhibits were dazzling, our sales were up by about 30%, and no one lost their mind (or voice!).

  • The Friday evening meal tradition of the Rereaders’ Dinner: in the past we’ve all negotiated our way to a restuarant, but this year Ross Newberry went to the trouble of having our annual meal catered at the hotel instead of on the road. (It was excellent, and methinks we need to continue it in the future.) And we had Rereaders join us who had never hit up JordanCon before! (ALICE!) Big hugs all around!

  • Sharing JordanCon yet again with my cousin Mandy: as much as it saddened me to sit out of the costume contest this year (a girl only has so much disposable time), I had the privilege to watch her place 2nd in the costume contest (Canadians represent!). And I helped with her Myrddraal makeup: this means I’ve placed 5 years in a row now, right? Right?

    Clockwise top left: silliness in the elevator; with Jason Denzel; the Myrddraal places second; the Hive Mind lives (April Moore and Lannis).
  • The Writer’s Workshop, and receiving praise from Catharine Asaro on my writing. “An economy of words,” eh? I’m tickled! 

  • Hanging out with my BFF, Jason Denzel, in person instead of online for a change, and watching his eyes roll every single time I declared pretentiously that Pomella, the protagonist of his novel, Mystic, was based on me (of COURSE she wasn’t). He later set me up in front of Harriet McDougal (Robert Jordan’s widow) and Brandon Sanderson (big wig author). Knowing I would preen on cue and state the dreaded line, “Pomella was based on me,” Jason turned my teasing around with a snort and the burn, “Only the bratty parts!” Oh, Jason! Payback’s a bitch, sir! Just wait! Haha! oxo

  • Seeing old friends, naturally, but also seeing newbies enjoy their first JCon (Kalen! Ebony! Drew! Alice! And many more!) Honestly, I love expanding our Con family, and watching you enjoy JordanCon for the first time gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies! (Come back next year: the second time around is even better, trust!)

    Costumes from the contest and more!

  • Speed Friending: after years of singing its praises and wanting to attend yet having conflicts, I finally made it to the Speed Friending panel! It was far louder than I’d anticipated but oh so much fun! I highly recommend it, and plan on hitting it up again next year!

  • Downing maple flavoured Crown Royal Rye shots with Jason Denzel and Richard Fife at the bar, and--over the weekend--teaching not one but two bartenders how to make lovely layered B52 shooters. Ah, yes, boys, stick with me, and I’ll show you all the fun drinks! Ha!
  • Catching tWoTcast live, playing “Who Said tWhat?” and laughing so hard I cried as they read smutty passages from books by Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, and (previous JordanCon Author Guest of Honour) Patrick Rothfuss; while at the same time I was helping Chip Moore (JordanCon’s official bartender) serve the audience with his portable bar (dude means business!).

  • Getting Maria Simons (of Team Jordan) and Jennifer Liang (the JordanCon Con Chair) to throw panties at our friend Ross during the costume contest--his was a Wheel of Time mashup costume: a gleeman/Elvis named Al’vis, hence someone needed to make sure panties were thrown his way. (12-year-old me is simultaneously thrilled that I have this sort of rapport with these ladies, and absolutely mortified that I insist on sullying our reputation, haha)

  •  Hanging out with our fantastic artists at the Art Show, including the talented likes of Edsel Arnold, Charles Urbach, and Amy Romanczuk. And then purchasing a Melissa Gay original--oh yes, Crystal Run is mine! Muahahaha! 

    Crystal Run by Melissa Gay; 8 x 10, acrylic on canvas.
  • Being accused of being the head of the Black Ajah--a flattering accusation (oh, that I might be so devious as to devise what is clearly a very very good trick!)--and yet completely baffled by what is going on and wondering why am I not cool enough to get a Black Ajah ribbon?! (Seriously, peeps--if you know the lowdown on this one, drop me a line, I'm intent on unraveling this puzzle. info[at]

  • And the cream of the shenanigan crop: the Leigh Butler masks. Leigh is a past Toastmaster and the head of the Wheel of Time Reread (and all around amazing chick), and was unable to attend this year’s JordanCon. Well, that wouldn’t do… so you know we Rereaders had to fill the hole in our hearts the best we knew how--by making not one, but, uh, maybe a dozen Leigh-on-a-stick masks so we could enjoy her as if she were with us. And of course such a stunt isn’t complete unless we unleashed it far and wide throughout the con, getting pics with everyone we could think of--and then I obnoxiously went onto Facebook as the pics were cropping up and pretended Leigh was avoiding me all weekend (because alcohol makes everything more believable). We love you, Leigh! Oxo 

    Fun with Leigh-on-a-Stick!
  • The Team Jordan signing: where thanks to volunteering I was able to jump the (rather long) line, and had Harriet sign my copy of The Wheel of Time Companion, “To Lannis, a scholar and a Trolloc,” and then had Alan Romanczuk tease me--because the tradition of embarrassing shit happening in front of Harriet clearly must continue. Then he asked me how I was going to top JordanCon 2016's shenanigans next year and I made it clear his wifey would be helping me--haha! Poor, Alan!

  • And so many more fun times: the costumes! The dance party! Karaoke! The gaming hall! Two proposals! Silliness in the elevator! Chatting with new people in the ConSuite! MORE!

    Every year I say that JordanCon is like a family reunion, but that’s because it bears repeating: this con is my tribe, and I’m oh so honoured to be a part of it and watch it grow--and grow it has! This year was record-breaking for attendance at 701 people attending the convention, and it really is the little convention with the big heart.