Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Virtual Worldcon Day 5: Wrapping Up & Winding Down

(Backdated, actually composed on August 2 because I was too busy yesterday.)

As with most Worldcons, I usually have a lot less to do, especially when there is no "overflow" WSFS Business Meeting. I did have a meeting, however: the organizational meeting of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee and Annual General Meeting of Worldcon Intellectual Property (the non-profit corporation set up to hold WSFS's intellectual property, particularly in those places that don't recognize unincorporated societies like WSFS.)

As expected and planned, the MPC appointed the three members whose terms expired and whose seats went unfilled when the WSFS Business Meeting adjourned without holding an election to hold those positions ad interim until the Business Meeting fills them, probably by holding a six-member election next year instead of the normal three-member election.

Because at the moment, none of the members of the MPC (which forms the membership of WIP's board of directors) live in California (WIP is a California non-profit corporation), we once again appointed Bruce Farr (who lives in Santa Rosa) to serve as a non-voting director of the corporation. When we were setting up WIP, it seemed unthinkable that there would be no Californians on the MPC, but over the years, people have dropped out or (in my case) moved out of state.

I reluctantly agreed to accept the position of vice chair of the MPC. I cut back on my commitments when we won the Tonopah Westercon bid, so I do not really want a lot of the responsibilities of the leadership of the committee, but I'm willing to act as deputy in such cases as is necessary. For example, by the request of the members present on the Zoom call, I presided over the meeting yesterday.

The MPC meeting was an official convention function on the schedule, because it's open to any attending member. This had taken lots of fiddling pre-con, and I am grateful that at least five CoNZealand members who aren't on the MPC decided to attend and see what was going on.

After the MPC meeting was the Closing Ceremony. I always attend the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. I reckon it is a reflection of how well CoNZealand built a virtual community that I had many of the same feelings of sadness at the ending of our annual gathering. It certainly wasn't the same as an in-person gathering, and I hope that we will once again be able to meet in person again by next August (although I understand how dicey that currently looks), but the event this year did evoke some of those same feelings.

The Closing Ceremony included a virtual "gavel handover" after CoNZealand co-chairs Kelly Buehler and Norman Cates banged the gave to official close the convention and then handed it off-screen to DisCon III co-chairs Colette Fozard and William Lawhorn (properly masked, I might add), who brought the Gavel of WSFS from off-screen and said, "We're on the clock now!" For logistical reasons, the gavel in New Zealand was the "stunt double," with the Gavel of WSFS having already been shipped from where it has often resided between conventions in my home.

I finally had an opportunity to look around the convention's virtual exhibit hall after the Closing Ceremonies. When I showed it to Lisa, she wished that she'd known what was going on, because she thinks that she and some of her friends who part of the ActiveWorlds virtual community could have build a "private world" (open only to CZ attending members) that did something similar and might have been a little easier to navigate. It was an interesting build, though. I won't link to it because it's unclear whether or not it will be preserved and if so, whether non-members will be able to access it.

There was still some programming after the Closing Ceremony (as there often is, just as there's often programming before the Opening Ceremony). The final program item was the last feedback session. This was pretty large, with at least five Zoom screens of 25 people online. Not surprisingly, the issues around the 2020 Hugo Awards Ceremony were addressed. Kelly and Norman handled this earnestly and honestly, and I would like to think that their distress as they took responsibility for the unhappiness of many people was obvious. I certainly could see it. I know how they must feel. I hated disappointing people at ConJos&eactue; in 2002, and as far as I remember, we didn't have quite as high-profile displeasure vented toward us back then.

I spent the rest of the evening at the Former Worldcon Chairs' ("Old Pharts") Party. This is the traditional gathering of past Worldcon chairs and their invited guests (also including future former Worldcon chairs and also NASFiC chairs). Like all of the parties, this was a Zoom meeting, with different breakout rooms so it wasn't just one single-stream conversation.

I assume that Kelly and Norman did go to the official post-con parties for a while, as I did when I co-chairs ConJosé. Norman in a sense did one better: he put out an announcement on the convention staff mailing list inviting every members who could do so to drop by his house in Wellington and even offered to pay for an Uber to get them there! Among those who took up the offer were M. Darusha Wehm, the "Emergency Holographic Chair" of the WSFS Business Meeting. That gave me an opportunity to thank them in person for their work making the one official Worldcon function that we have to hold in person happen. (Kent Bloom, the meeting chair who worked with Darusha to develop a script that they could follow to get everything done that was needed, later said (and I agree), that in a legal and technical sense, this does establish that the 2020 Worldcon was held in Wellington, New Zealand, at the West Plaza Hotel.)

As one point, Darusha's partner unwisely speculated on the possibility of maybe holding the convention in New Zealand again, maybe in 2030 or so. Immediately people reached for their wallets, both in person at Norman's house and virtually in the call. A couple of people on the call changed their Zoom backgrounds into NZ$20 bills. (I'm annoyed that I didn't get a screenshot of this.) I ran upstairs to look at my stash of non-US currency, but it turns out that the Bank of Morgan Standlee doesn't have any NZD on hand. I did pledge $20 of any currency that I do have on hand, but he quickly backpedaled and insisted that he was not bidding for anything.

"Not Yet," said some of the rest of us.

Soon enough, it was time for the Old Pharts' Induction ceremony. It's not secret, but I put it behind a cut because photos.

Old Pharts 2020 (Part 1)

Conveniently for the purpose of this photo, Kelly and Norman's Zoom boxes were adjacent to each other. Dave McCarty (row 1, column 2) gave a short speech congratulating them for having organized and survived what might be the most challenging Worldcon ever. Both Kelly and Norman talked about the experience. Not quite as long as James Bacon did last year, though, and I think perhaps all of us (including James) were grateful for that.

Lisa attended the party as well, although she doesn't like to be on camera that much, as she's normally the person behind the camera. She sat off to my right.

We stuck around until about 2 AM PDT, which is phenomenally late when your usual days start at 4:30 AM. Fortunately, it was now Sunday morning my time, so I didn't have to set an alarm, but I also didn't have enough brain capacity left to write anything, and that's why this post is actually being written around 3 PM Sunday afternoon.

It was good to see people. It would have been better to be in the same place with them.
Tags: conzealand, worldcon

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