I have just returned from my first ever WisCon. For those of you who are unfamiliar with WisCon, it's a feminist science fiction convention, which takes place every Memorial Day weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. The astute reader may recall that this is usually my birthday weekend. Historically, this means I usually spend my birthday weekend watching with some wistfulness as scads of my friends post all about how much fun they're having far away from me. This year, I decided to change that.
Okay, so first I went to New York to stay over at Sumana
's place so we could travel to Wisconsin together. I was pretty sure this would be an excellent trip when the woman next to me saw me working on the OA Podcast on my laptop and told her new friend about how her 70-year-old aunt makes, "BAAAAAD tapes with GarageBand. I mean it was the baddest tape. You know some tapes, you wanna skip a song or go to the next one? No! This one, you wanted to hear everything! It was the baddest tape I ever had. I mean, it was a CD, but it was a tape
." I am now going to measure every mix I ever receive by whether or not it's a tape
. Seriously. Apparently this one was so BAAAAAAD, that the woman's mechanic stole it when he fixed her car. That totally bites! But the conversation didn't bite at all. It segued into a discussion of Tina Turner's legs (also BAAAAAAD), and how she's proof that 70 is the new 60. Meanwhile, I quietly worked on my podcast editing, and grinned with glee.
Then the trip got its second brilliant start the next morning as we were getting ready to walk out the door. Sumana said, "You know what they say, as long as you have your ID, your boarding pass, and your debit card, you'll be fine... Wait a second. Where's my driver's license?" This then led her to realize she'd left it at a wine shop, and to tell our taxi driver, "Okay, so, before we got to the airport, I have to make a very important stop. Yeah, just pull up right here. No, not after the light, right here. At the Wine and Spirits Shop." It was 10am, and the shop wasn't quite open yet, so Sumana then had to bang on the door until someone let her in. Heaven knows what the cab driver made of that. "Before I leave town, it's imperative that I beat down the door to get into the liquor store. I MUST!" Hee!
The trip got its third great start at the airport, where we ran into three awesome WisCon people (and then several more, including shadesong
once we arrived in Milwaukee for our layover).
By the time we got to Madison, I was pretty worn out, so I'm afraid that first night I wasn't very good at socializing. We went to the reading at A Room of One's Own
, where Candra Gill read Joanna Russ's "When it Changed", and then Nisi Shawl read part of "Pataki"
. Both of them were wonderful. I really loved the way Candra read the Russ story. Even though I'd read it not long before (maybe a week?), her reading was full of warmth and humor and expression, which totally engaged me. And Nisi? Well, Nisi was WisCon's Guest of Honor this year, and if anyone doubted she was awesome before she read, they wouldn't have doubted it after. When the reading was over, I went for birthday sushi with ckd
, which was lovely, too.
Friday, I had a major migraine and a podcast to finish, so I sequestered myself in the hotel room and worked all day. I managed to completely miss The Gathering, which I am told is one of the big WisCon Things. I did manage to get Sumana to take some of my clothes down to the clothing swap, though, so at least there's that. I did get the OA podcast
up, too. That night I dined with gwynnega
in the hotel restaurant before making my way over to the super exciting karaoke night.
Okay, so: karaoke! I heard about it from cathschaffstump
, who totally rocked with "These Boots Are Made for Walking" (among other songs). I sang "I Love Rock and Roll", which was fine, except I did not remember to plan my breathing for the end of the song, which requires a hell of a lot of breath control. Still, I think it got people dancing. Getting people to dance is a good thing. Other highlights included The Christopher Barzak Players performing "The Love Shack We Share Without Knowing"
, an amazing singer who called herself Buffy and sang "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse (and one other thing, which I forget, save that her voice was really incredibly good), Mary Anne Mohanraj and Ben Rosenbaum singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart"
, Liz Argall's spectacular version of "I Touch Myself", Margaret Ronald's dance party inducing "Bad Romance", and finally, the smash hit incredible song of the night: Amal El-Mohtar, David Moles, and Ben Rosebaum performing "Roll a D6"
(the original parody video is here
). The awesomeness that was this performance cannot be overstated. All three of them have amazing charisma, and Amal is totally a wizard. Fighting dragons in her mind!
After that I went up to the 6th floor, which is the party floor, where I met some OA people, like Sunny Moraine and Keffy Kehrli, and proceeded to have great thinky conversations about gender until way too late o'clock. This is one of the things I loved about WisCon: it went from extreme silliness to extreme thoughtfulness over and over again, and everyone seemed totally down with enjoying both modes.
Okay, I think that's probably all I can manage to relate for now. More to come soon! If you met me at WisCon and you want to add me, please do. Let me know who you are, and I will totally add you back.