Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Worldcon 75 Day 1: And This Was Supposed to be the Easy Day

Worldcon 75 is up and running at a flat-out run. There are thousands of members on site already. I was surprised at how well the registration queues ran, but also worried about the huge queues in the halls of people trying to get into programming rooms. There is nowhere near enough programming space for the number of people wanting to attend panels.

Welcome to Worldcon 75

Here's the sign over the main entrance of the convention center.

Vendors Outside Worldcon

In the plaza outside the front entrance was a space where they were running a smelter and doing metalworking.

After breakfast, Lisa and I and Don Eastlake (WSFS Deputy Chair) went to check out Room 208 where the WSFS Business Meeting was to be. The room was... suboptimal.

Business Meeting Reset

The head table was set up over to one side, so that it wouldn't block the main projection screen. This definitely would not work, but it took a while to get the right people into the right place to make the necessary facility and technical changes.

Business Meeting Reset

The lectern at the left is where speakers will address the meeting. After the room reset, the platform and head table were moved into the center. We think the projector can be dealt with. We'll manage.

Business Meeting Reset

Kate Secor, Deputy WSFS Division Head (visible here talking to Don Eastlake III) was able to get the ball rolling on the necessary room reset. Lisa and I thought that the platform forward of the glass booth at right was for Lisa doing her recording.

Business Meeting Reset

It turns out that the platform was for the convention tech team, who will be doing their own recording and apparently live-streaming through the Worldcon 75 YouTube channel. This leaves Lisa no place to work from. As near as we can figure, she will have to set up near the pillar at the left of this photo. This is very unfortunate because there aren't enough seats as it stands.

My biggest worry is not having enough room. There are by my count just over 230 seats in this room. The rated capacity is 280 people, which means we have a bit of standing room possible. But we can't exceed that, and we can't turn people away. Every attending WSFS member has to have the right to attend. If we get over capacity, we'll have to suspend the meeting, work with Programming, and make enormous and expensive changes. I have to hope that we don't go into overflow, because it's going to be a real mess otherwise.

Opening Ceremony Queue

Talking of over-subscribed functions, here's what it looked like waiting to get into the Opening Ceremony just before the doors opened. I was one of the lucky ones — I got a seat. Many people were apparently turned away.

The Opening Ceremony was nicely produced, with a theme of the seasons, and with a music or dance number themed to each section. As part of the Winter segment, convention chair Jukka Halme came in dressed as a bear, followed by the vice chairs, who delivered the Gavel of WSFS to him, and he officially gaveled the convention open, then exited.

I wanted to get pictures, but failed to do so. I hope the convention recorded them.

After the Opening Ceremony, I chased down the Gavel of WSFS, which I need for my WSFS functions, then went off to the panel and meeting on which I was scheduled. That was a panel about getting the most out of the Business Meeting. I've been on this panel and variants of it for years. We had more people at this one than at the last four combined, most of whom had never attended it. I had a lot of fun demonstrating how bits of the Business Meeting worked.

After the panel, I swam through the packed hallways to the WSFS Mark Protection Committee meeting. There are 15 MPC members, and we were lucky that 8 members made it to the meeting so we actually had a quorum. The meeting was, however, relatively short before we adjourned so that Linda Deneroff could head off to the Ghost Tour for which she'd signed up.

Lisa had gotten very tired and gone back to the hotel room after lunch. After consulting with her, I went to the Lidl down the street to get some more groceries. Because of the convention-provided transit pass, I decided to ride the tram three stops, although it's within my walking distance. I'm glad that I did.

Streetcar Sweep

After I got off the trim, I started walking to the store, and spotted this piece of equipment running down the tram tracks. It runs on rails but also rubber tires as it sweeps the track area and cleans out the flangeways.

Lisa was still feeling ill and had gone to bed early when I got back to the hotel. I went off to find dinner. Coming across Linda Deneroff, who also wanted dinner, we first checked out the locations in the convention center, but they were all closed, and all of the functions were shutting down. The hotel restaurant was overloaded. I suggested we try downtown Helsinki, so we headed there. Having the transit passes helps. Frequent trains and a five-minute train ride make this even easier. Linda and I had a pasta dinner, and I brought leftovers back to the hotel room in case Lisa wanted to have anything, but she was asleep, so I put it in the 'fridge, which is now full.

I went back downstairs to see if there was anything interesting. There is almost no way of doing convention parties in the way we're accustomed to doing in North America, and there wasn't enven a "Fan Village" like London did. There was one large space in the hotel where New Zealand in 2020 was hosting a party at one end with Finnish Fandom hosting at the other end. I did not stay long. I have to be up early enough to be at Room 208 for 9 AM to make sure everything is set up properly.

As I said, the convention already has huge attendance. Goodness knows what's going to happen tomorrow.
Tags: business meeting, worldcon, wsfs

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