Punkie’s Applied Modern Art in Fandom

My EveCon 15 Review

Bruce and Cheryl did it again! Another successful convention where almost everyone had a really good time. The weather was nice, the people were friendly, and the pool had enough chlorine to disinfect almost any biological hazard.

Christine and I had planned ahead this year, and we got a room away from the pool. We also had an ulterior motive, since we thought we would be dropping a bomb on everyone at the convention, but that bomb fizzled. I have told some people about the big news that didn’t happen, so no I’ll tell it to everyone: We almost had another child. To learn more about this, check out my diary. But the adoption fell through, so we went to convention with only one child.

Then we got the call that Bruce and Cheryl were in a car accident. I’ll spare you the details as we heard then on the Sunday before the con, but Christine, CR, and I attended the "Magical Bus Tour" set up, where we loaded things onto the bus. Well, I didn’t load much, just the mixing board and the registration stuff. The rest of the time, I did the dishes at the FanTek house, as poor Ms. Starr (their roommate) was the only one doing them since the accident, and she needed a break. I also made everyone pizza bread, which was very well received. Christine helped Cheryl plan programming, and CR made drawings. I also made some Martians and South Park characters.

I spent the next three days preparing myself for the convention. I printed out "Security Blanket" so I could read that. I dug up my old security headset, and my Viking helmet. I got some Punk Walrus books ready. Then I got a cold. "Dagnabbit!" as Cartman would say. My son was home from school, too, so I had to chase after him with the cold, and then he got the cold. By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around, I was exhausted, and the con hadn’t even started yet! An astrophysicist friend of mine from Arizona stopped by as he usually does to party with us through New Year’s Eve. We watched the ball drop as an ageless Dick Clark and the Disney Empire filled our TV screen with its saccharine sentiment. I barely made it to 1am before I crashed, deep asleep.

The sun woke me late on Thursday. Christine was finished her artwork, printed out certificates, and I started packing the station wagon. I soon realized that with all our luggage, the art show stuff, the Art Show Gala food, and four people (plus our friend’s luggage) would not all fit in the car easily. I had to play a game of 3-D Tetris to pack in all of our suitcases, sixteen 2-liter bottles of ginger ale, bags and bags of frozen meatballs and cheese squares, a helium tank, 100 balloons, a small microwave oven, a punch bowl, and dozens of assorted items into a medium-sized wagon. By the time it was through, it resembled the fitted mortar-less stone blocks in many Aztec temples. My cold was diminishing, but I was worn out. Finally at 3pm, an hour later than we planned, we left to drop our friend of at his parent’s house. Because of all the cargo, he had to ride with his luggage in his lap, my son was buried under his bag of toys, and I had some luggage under my feet. (Thank God we didn’t have a new baby, or who know what we’d have left behind to fit her in). We stopped for a bite to eat, dropped our friend off, unburied CR, and drove to Frederick.

Despite the delays, we actually got there close to the time we originally anticipated. The usual "early" crowd was already there, waiting for the bus. Suzi and Rogue arrived early, too. Rogue announced that if she got her way with set-up, there would be a staff dance on Thursday night. Once we had the go-ahead, we started setting up the art room, and somehow I managed to injure my lower back offloading all those bottles of ginger ale. So I was sore for a while, but Amira fixed it later. Then I grabbed a copy of the program book, and planned out my next three days. When we got to our hotel room, we were surprised that we not only had a king-size bed (which we did ask for), but a VCR, fridge, microwave, and recliner. Wow. They didn’t charge us extra, either. I wonder how that happened. Also, the room was RIGHT NEXT to exit D-2, and FAR AWAY from the pool. So we not only didn’t get chlorine poisoning, but also didn’t have far to go to get to our car. Also, the outdoor lock was broken, so we didn’t need a hotel key to get in and out of D-2. Also, the window opened when it got too hot, and since the weather was nice, we left it open when we had people in the room. What a great room. I helped Albedo set up one of the light stands, and calmed another friend who was getting ill and sick of two people that kept bugging her (it got so bad, she left the con). I fell asleep early, partly because of the cold, and partly because I was exhausted from packing and unpacking.

I awoke at 6:15am on Friday morning, no, not because I hate myself, but because Christine had to go to work (her real job). That sucked. I took CR to breakfast, and started assembling Opening Ceremonies. I found I had not brought my original notes, but a piece of paper I thought was my OC notes. Luckily, I did bring my speech about 15 years of FanTek. I had a reading at 3pm, but programming was light again. Then, I studied how Crazy Horse and Kristen did registration, since I will be doing it at Katsucon 4 at the end of February this year. But taking care of a seven-year old is a full time business, so I had to leave shortly after we set up. I took this time to hang up my artwork in the art show.

Now, way back before EveCon 4, before I was "Punk Walrus," before I became a known name, and even before I graduated High School, I was actually a budding artist. My work was mainly abstract, but I did some cartoon work as well. Both types of work were how I got to know Bruce and Cheryl, when I submitted it to the Castle (since the dawn of time it has ALWAYS been begging for artwork). After some rather successful pieces, I became a Guest Artist at EveCon 4. This is where the little Martians were born, and I started doing doodles. I then had a small career selling some artwork at EveCons, Balticons, and Discalves, but a few years later, I stopped, and only did artwork for the Castle pretty much since then. I am not sure why I stopped, I think it was some bad experience at a Disclave or something. Christine and cjae suggested I submit some art, so I did. My first piece was "Abacus Tech Support," a cartoon of one Martian on a tech line asking the customer if he was sure he didn’t break the abacus. The second part shows the customer, surrounded by broken bits of abacus and beads saying, "Uh… no?" The second piece was a copy of one of my most commented on Castle cartoons of "Still Life," like what you learn to draw on your first week of basic art class, and then "Still Life after a few minutes in the con suite," where the still life is ravaged and scattered everywhere. But the third piece, oh, it was sheer brilliance, if I do say so myself. All it consisted of is a drawing of some small woodcut lettering that said "no." It came to me in a flash of inspiration, and I thought to myself that its basic negativity would be appealing to the average congoer. I wondered if it would sell. I was thrilled at the response. It spawned three spin-offs, one that said "yes," one that said, "maybe" in a ying-yang pattern, and one that said, "whatever." My art shocked, angered, confused, and amused those who saw it. It made it to auction via a third bid by 4pm Friday. So did "Abacus Tech Support." "Still Life" did not get one bid. But 2/3rds of my stuff went to auction, not bad, not bad at all!

Then I played foosball with my son, and then the time came around to do my reading. "Security Blanket" was a short story I started way back at EveCon 6 based on running fan security from the point of view of two people with headsets. It’s a very popular story, and I hadn’t read it since Prune Bran had done a version over five years ago. Unfortunately, anything before 6pm on a Friday is usually dead panel time, and this was no exception. I started out with no one, but then Cheryl and her shadow (I think it was Becky at the time) came in, and that brought more people in, and the story was so gripping, Cheryl actually stayed until the end, which brought the total audience came to four. One of the new guys asked if I had this in print, and I told him about my book. He bought one. Yipee!

After some rendezvous with some friends, I started to plan Opening Ceremonies quite heavily. But Cheryl was napping, so I had to get what I could from Bruce and security. I wish I had my notes, I kept feeling like I was forgetting something!

Finally, OC came along, and my speech was a hit. It was about the beginning of FanTek, and what it was like in 1983. I resurrected stale new-wave humor for one last guffaw (how many times to you get to vent about bad early 80’s Saturday morning cartoons nowadays?), and introduced Bruce. Then security came onstage, and then the bubbles started. We introduced Hal Clement and Conrad Brooks, and talked about the convention, LARP, and other things. What was I forgetting? Well, it ended with a bang and bubbles, and seconds after I walked off the stage I remembered, I forgot to have Electro filk! Argh! I knew I forgot something. Electro was mad. When we met in the hallway, he was seething through foamed teeth, screaming, "You will PAY!!!" and took a swing at me! Okay, actually, he didn’t. But when Electro said "Oh, that’s okay," I knew he was thinking it! Or maybe he was singing it…J


How the Filkers Slew Punkie


Some who witnessed called it the greatest injustice ever seen,
When Punkie forgot Electro’s slot at EveCon 15.
Opening Ceremonies came and went without any song,
And Electro knew he in his heart that had been done wrong.

The apologies that Punkie made were simply not enough,
So Electro knew that this was the day for him to act all tough,
He waited quietly in the hall, and said as Punk went by:
"I hope your family is insured, ‘cause now you’re gonna die!"


First we’ll bash him…
And smash him to the floor!
Then we’ll mash him,
And throw him out the door.

That damn walrus will never forget the day,
When the filkers retaliated in their special way.

The look on Punkie’s face was really worth a smile.
He tried his best to apologize, but it was so futile.
Electro raised up his hand to slap him on the face,
But Punkie was rather alert, and whipped out some mace.

But Electro was quick, and countered back with a mean right hook,
And all that Punkie tried to say was, "Please buy my book."
But Electro responded with a fist, right to Punkie’s crown.
And this is what he screamed and Punkie fell right down:


Punkie tried to escape, by fleeing to the bar.
But Electro stopped him flat to his face with the back of his guitar.
Steve Brinich came along, and on his face was a look of stun,
That Electro would keep him out of what looked so much like fun.

So the both of them pulled out some flutes, and stuck them in his ear,
And then Steve played some loud notes, so Punkie couldn’t hear,
And Albedo joined in, with a giant recorder, bashing in the brain,
And as Punkie started to bleed, they sung this merry refrain:


When the fighting ended at last, there Punkie lay,
In a pile of his own innards, like a recent slay.
The ambulance was called in, but it was too late to save him.
Punkie died in the wreckage of a disused mandolin.

When the police asked why Electro would have done this evil deed,
The singing man replied it was an unfulfilled need,
On his way to the jail, he said he did no wrong:
"It may have been an unfair death, but it made a catchy song."



Okay, I am no songwriter. Sorry Electro J .

I was exhausted by this time, and I wanted to take a nap. But Christine was getting ready with the Cider and Cheese Tasting, and I had to prepare for Rocky Horror. But where was Brad? Brad, my main Rocky Buddy with all the funny lines, was nowhere to be seen. I began to panic. By 10pm, they were showing "The Attack of the Killer Cameraman," finally edited. It was over an hour long, and 20 minutes of it were credits. Personally, I enjoyed the film, especially since I got to make all kinds of comments during the film, MST3K style. It was a silly film, and I got to see just how fat and ugly I looked onscreen in a cheap tie-dye shirt. Then Brad showed up right on time, and we did Rocky Horror right after that. We again played to a packed house, and this time, Dan Alt (head of our tech crew) had some new lines that were friggin’ hilarious! My favorite was his comment about "Have you seen my 14-legged dog fluffy? He was around here somewhere… oh, Fluffy, NO!" Well, you had to be there. By this time, I was beyond exhausted, and went straight to my room and fell asleep.

I woke up early (sleep in late with a seven-year old in the room? HAH!"), and was happy to realize that I didn’t have programming until 3pm, when Mark Mandolia was having the Katsucon party in the con suite. I spent time with my son, helped out here and there, guarded Conrad’s table for a while and read the back of some of the videos he was selling. I had to laugh at some of the films he was in, but heck, for money? You’d see me in a film about a skateboarding baby mutant alligator, too! I must say, Conrad is one of the nicest people you’d ever meet. It doesn’t matter that his movies are labeled "Not rated, but mature audience suggested." He’s a sweetie. He slipped on some ice and hurt his foot before the con, so he was in a wheelchair before he went to the hospital, and using a cane afterwards.

I could stay long at the Katsucon party, because my son’s not into Anime. Then I entered my son into the costume call based on a hat he made in a costume panel. Then I rested some more, and soon, it was green room for Costume Call. After milling about, the Costume Call started.

Now, there were many memories I will always have of the convention. Luckily, the one scarred into people’s heads at CC I managed to miss. So did Dan Alt, sitting next to me trying to get the lighting panels to work on cue. At the exact moment of the much-hyped "Scottish Exposure," Dan was looking at the light board, and I was re-writing a certificate. Dan almost immediately said right after we realized what had just happened, "I am so glad I missed that." I was, too. Not that I was offended, honestly, in fact (and this is just me, not any official stance of FanTek) I thought it was cool someone called Adrienne’s bluff. My only retaliation was giving him the "Wee Willy Winkie" award, but I saw him apologizing to a lot of people. Other costumes I liked were that guy in the iron mask, Rule 7, and the "Gothic Debutantes." Brad, in his huge dragon suit, was also a hit. He said he’d be back for more conventions in that suit.

After the Costume Call, I was getting ready for the Art Show Gala. I was already pleased that some of my pieces went to auction, but that "no" picture was really drawing a lot of attention. Then Christine pointed out that the spin-offs of "yes" and "maybe" etc… were all made by major artists, and whoever bought mine, should buy the rest. I agreed, but that didn’t end up happening. But, Christine and I both fell in love with a $155 piece called "Goldfish" which was the picture of a goldfish in the sky like a hazy mist. We’re working out payments with the artist.

After the Gala, I took CR and Heather Prisock out swimming, and then I went to bed. I woke up late on Sunday, and spent most of the morning packing like mad. Unfortunately, I also packed some of Amira’s food. When I finally packed the car and checked out, it was time for the auction. Now, in case anyone ever forgets to tell you, let me add that drinking warm milk in large quantities is not a very good idea. I am not sure why it didn’t occur to me that I should just throw it out, but I didn’t, and by the Art Auction, I was not feeling very well. Luckily, it was planned that a backup auctioneer would take my place when my art went to bid. Dang, my prints went from $5 to $15 a piece! $30 (minus commission) was the most I’d made in art since I think Balticon 20.

Then I waited around for the con to close. I helped several people with several things. One thing was a friend of mine had just gotten a HUGE raise, and he wanted my help in choosing belated Christmas gifts for my family. Christine, who was born on Christmas day, got a full-sized Totoro and a happy birthday sung to her. I got a handmade brass spider with a crystal abdomen. CR got a stone penguin. And I sold a total of two books, which was more money in my pocket (allowing me to pay on a debt to a friend).

The day wound down to the closing ceremonies, where Bruce was so tired, he held it where he sat, in the lobby. We thanked everyone, I got a large ball of gaffer’s tape, and we announced that EveCon 16 is tentatively being scheduled for the weekend after New Year’s Weekend. Then we stuck down the set and helped pack the bus. I got to talk to Hal Clement some more (he’s a fascinating man), and then when the Art Show was all done, we drove home.

All in all, a good con. A few bad personal moments, since I had to deal with someone who went through a self-confidence collapse, and another friend became very sick until she finally went home, but no major disasters, and I heard the LARP was very successful.

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