Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Everyone Expects the Fannish Inquistion

I attended a couple of the the morning program items at SMOFCon on Saturday, but had to skip those in the afternoon. Lisa and I did go on the tour of the San José McEnery Convention Center. Some of the people on the tour hadn't been here since ConJosé while others hadn't been there ever. I provided context for "Here's what we did in 2002," while Craige Howlett explained how FanimeCon runs 25,000 people through the building. I was very interested in how they are renovating the old Civic Auditorium (where the Hugos, Site Selection, and other major events of ConJosé were). They're adding additional bathrooms, expanding the tiny amount of back-of-house space to something more reasonable, and installing elevators so that the balcony and upper floor of the building will be handicapped-accessible.

We headed out early for dinner on Saturday night because we had be over at Room K of the Convention Center before most others in order to set up for recording the "Fannish Inquisition" — the presentations and Q&A for future SMOFCons and Worldcons (and bids for same).

I was very worried, based on what people had been asking me, that lots of people wouldn't be able to find the room, or would go wandering down toward the Hilton in the mistaken impression that it was the only way to get to the Convention Center. Besides what I'd posted on the SMOFCon web site, I also printed turn-by-turn, step-by-step directions and a map and posted them in the Hospitality Suite and Cindy Scott put a set on the notice board next to Registration. I also put up signs on the outer door of the Market Street entrance of the CC and to the lobby in front of Room K.

I guess most people who wanted to be there found it, because the room was almost completely filled. The only reason it was standing room was because some people would rather stand in the back than wade through to find the odd single seats that were available here and there.

Some of our own fretting over equipment set-up — we expected to need to set up a screen and projector for Hawaii's presentation — was made easier when we found that the convention center had set up equipment for us. That's because The San José CVB ("Team San José"), having given us the meeting room for free and also provided refreshments, wanted to give us a short presentation. As we started promptly at 8 PM, the assembled SMOFS were not fussed about hearing the presentation from the CVB's sales representative for specialty groups such as ours. (There were the inevitable "now comes the time-share pitch" jokes, though.)

After the CVB's rep explained about how wonderful a place San José is (and I won't dispute that, personally), it was on to the meat of the matter: presentations from groups bidding for the right to host the 2011 SMOFCon. The Maui and Amsterdam bids each made their pitches, with Maui, led by James Stanley Daugherty, having lei'd us all as we came through the door and entertained us with a slide show of their site. Amsterdam's Vincent Docherty gave a witty and dryly humorous presentation while his minions distributed fine Dutch chocolates. After around 45 minutes of presentations and Q&A of the bidders, we put the matter to a vote. We each received a piece of paper with an A and an M on it. We tore the ballot in half and deposited the letter corresponding to our preferred bid (Amsterdam or Maui) into the ballot basket. It was all straightforward.

While SMOFCon Chairman Glenn Glazer retired to the lobby outside Room K with the chairs of the two bids, I temporarily led the meeting and we heard from the Philadelphia in 2012 SMOFCon bid. More quickly than I had expected, the returns came in as the Philly bidders finished their Q&A.

After separating the ballots into two piles, it was clear from inspection who had won, and Maui conceded without actually requiring the ballots to be counted. Vince then came up and accepted congratulations and said that he'd start selling memberships to the Amsterdam SMOFCon on Sunday morning after breakfast.

The final SMOFCon bid announcement was from a group interested in Toronto in 2013 led by Diane Lacey. They gave a short presentation before we moved on to the second half of the evening: Worldcons and Worldcon bids.

I'm not going to go into great detail here, and indeed, while I was temporarily chairing, I encouraged the assembled members to restrain their rapier-like wits in order to be able to have more time in the Statistics & Probability Seminar or at the Beer Tasting in the Hospitality Suite. Somewhat to my surprise, the members seem to have responded to this, and we got through presentations and Q&A for Renovation and Chicon 7 as well as bid discussions from San Antonio in 2013, London in 2014 and Kansas City in 2016. We also heard statements from "Pacific Northwest" in 2015 (considering sites between Tacoma WA and Vancouver BC, not just necessarily downtown Seattle) and from the previously-mooted Japan in 2017 bid (they're interested in sometime late in the decade, not necessarily 2017, and they're evaluating different sites). Finally, Norman Cates talked for a few minutes about the New Zealand in 2020 bid that sort of got started at Au Contraire the week before Aussiecon 4. We wrapped things up at 10 PM on schedule.

There was no time for any Westercon discussions at the Fannish Inquisition, and fans headed back to their evening activities. Some folks were for the Beer tasting. Lisa and I were relieved that things ended on time because she had to break down the tripod and camera and we needed to beat it over to the Santa Vesta Room to set up the Statistics and Probability Seminar.

There's more I'd like to write, but I'm tired and I still want to say a few things about the S&P.
Tags: smofcon, westercon, worldcon
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