Steve Savitsky and company held a tiny house filk convention (a tiny convention; not a tiny house; just to be clear; the convention was in the house) last weekend. I'd known about it for a year, after it was announced in the wake of the wedding in the same site last year, but we'd dragged our heels on committing, given that it was across the country and also likely to be tiny. And it was going to be expensive, given that it was fairly last-min, and we were low on cope after our move. On the other hand, I'd been an unofficial advisor, encouraging the organizers to go super-low on programming to accomidate the gap in "filk relaxacons" that can let filkers hang out together without a lot of must-make programming.
And you know? It was -amazing-, and I'm glad we went. The con guests were Decadent Dave Clement (who I admit I've always been somewhat intimidated by, but who is -amazing-, both personally and as a performer) and Tim and Annie Walker (who we've seen back and forth at different filk cons over the years when our across-the-pond paths crossed, and got to connect with, finally, at Loncon in 2014.
We decided to go out on stupid-early Friday morning (ie, a 4AM flight, without more than an hour of sleep between us before the flight), so we spent a bunch of time recovering before making it over to the con itself; at the con, I voted in (and was mostly outvoted, which was fair, since I didn't attend much programming) the programmed workshops, had something dinner-ish (con-provided in the excellent kitchen con suite by Colleen; extremely impressive given that it was, for most, a free con), listened to, danced to, and sang from the audience at Dave's concert, then chatted and socialized until the evening filk -- a modified poker chip bardic where you got three chips (blue > red > white x 2), and weren't limited to not using your later colors until after the early colors were used up; instead, earlier colors were higher priority and would "trump" later colors, but you had to use your colors in order rather than saving your blue chip until you -really- wanted to go. I loved this format, and loved this circle, however short; we'd intended to tuck in early, but as it happened we ended up sticking around until we'd each used up, IIRC, 3 chips (ie, gone 3 times) and it was after 1AM.
On Saturday, we slept in (this might be a pattern), missing the early workshop session; I don't remember much of this session, but I know it involved a Stan Rogers singalong by Dave, Annie leading a vocal/harmony workshop (where I decided to sing soprano--because I could (the soprano part was pretty low and my head voice is reasonably strong) and because we were heavy on basses and tenors and light on sopranos, Tim and Annie's excellent concert (we didn't dance as much as we had at Dave's concert, but this was mostly due to being too relaxed), much socializing and food, and the evening concert (which was a bit of a low-ebb, although still pleasant; it started late enough that the announced format; cats cradle, was way overkill; we barely had enough performers to maintain a chaos filk, so we mostly never got a queue of more than 2 people (and that only by effort), and eventually stopped passing around the yarn ball entirely before the filk ended.
Sunday? Sunday, well, we also slept in (who didn't see this one coming?), and hung around, mostly chatting with a bit of filking, until the jam/closing ceremonies started. The Jam was a lot of fun; we had just enough instrumentalists that it was solid, but not so many that it felt like (as you do at OVFF) that you're lost in the crowd and your individual contribution cannot be heard, much less be a full part of the ouvre. We'd planned at this point to slink into the night, since we had a red-eye going back to NYC (after all, this is how I manage other-coast conventions without losing more days of work than I want to), but it turned out that the dead dog dinner was near the airport, so we were able to spend a precious few more hours with people before we had to drop off our bags and wait for our plane (particularly Stephen Schwartz, who I've been second order connected to for -years-, but only briefly bumped into at a few events for the last 18 years or so we've known the other exist; also planning to do a 4 player online Fiasco game that we really should set up and plane).
Will we be back next year? Well, it's still an open question; a lot depends on how Contata planning is going; we'll either be at the end of our rope or really, really need the break, I'm guessing. But assuming we have the budget? Absolutely. When you get down to it, this tiny con gives you -more- than you get from a larger con. Of course, if enough people decide that this is a good idea, maybe some day it won't be as small a con, but as long as the concept stays largely the same it will likely have a lot more of a "small con" vibe than a con that's designed to be a larger filk convention cut down a few sizes (like the NEfilks, which as much as I love them, tend to go with "yes please" on programming).
Pros: Yes, there are some. With an intimate setting like this, you get to spend more time with more of them individually, so there's less of "traveling to hang out with people you hang out with all the time"). The hosts were amazing and gracious. The con was in many ways far more relaxed than a larger con (even GaFilk, which tries to be as "filk reclaxicon as it can given its size) can ever be. I had lots of chances to also rock a shaker egg and my bass voice (I even ended up walking over near Dave, who was singing a bass line on a song, at one point, so we could hear each other better and choose different lines) rather than accidentally colliding all the time)
Cons: Yes, it was one. Next year there will probably be a slightly smoother way of disseminating the program, since there was one even if it was relatively minimal. I brought my little harpsicle SE, rather than a fiddle--which would normally be the right decision except that as I'd forgotten, they'd rented a lovely 36 string Dusty Strings for Annie which she was totally willing to let me use whenever she wasn't using it, so if I'd brought a fiddle I'd have been able to play fiddle -and- harp as appropriate. It was too short, and we weren't able to attend the dead dog filk. On my way out of the dead dog, I had a brain fart and forgot Dave's name (because my brain does stuff like this), so ended up skipping over saying goodbye (and circled back and did so a minute or so later after my secondary search engine had gone online and searched, appropriately, against "Decadent.")); whooops/ack.
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