Preliminary reflections on Westercon 71/MALCon 6
I’m freshly back from Denver, and the 71st Westercon, hosted by Myths and Legends Con 6, a Shiny Garden event. The first panels and an opening reception began on Wednesday, July 4, 2018; the last events and Closing Ceremonies came on Sunday, July 8.
|The reception on the 12th floor of the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center at Westercon 71/MALCon 6 on the first night (July 4, 2018) gave us a panoramic view of several municipal fireworks displays in Denver and along the Front Range of the Rockies. They went on for at least an hour.|
I intend to devote at least one more post to the programming (possibly more), but I’m still waiting on a couple of things, so today I’d like to give some more general impressions. As I noted last week, I managed to miss connecting with the Programming folks. As a result, this was a very unusual con for me in one way–no panels to prepare for or moderate!
So I did what any truefan would do: I volunteered when possible, to help out. Science fiction fandom runs on volunteer power–and the best way to get to know people is to participate.
|Here’s a photo from the Art Show setup at Westercon 71/MALCon 6 in Denver. We had a pretty small space but Art Show Director Bruce Miller (far L, white hair with his back to us) and his MileHiCon Art Show Team who could make it–some were ill, sadly–have this setup thing down to a process. My son and traveling companion Tyrell Gephardt (3rd from right in the background) and I helped as we could. I can’t see well enough to identify the guy in the middle by the doorway, but the woman in the foreground right is Lizzie Newell, a fellow paper sculptor! (although her work and mine are different). At far right in the background you can see about half of Robert Pechmann, a mainstay of Bruce’s Art Show Team.|
Mostly, I volunteered in the Art Show. Having been the Art Show Director at ConQuesT for three years, before gratefully turning it over to the capable and talented Mikah McCullough, and having been involved in art shows since the early 1980s (including co-writing the original version of the ASFA Art Show Guidelines with Richard Pini, in intense consultation with Teresa Patterson, who is writing now but was running art shows then), art shows at sf cons are my “natural environment.” I like to think I helped, this weekend.
|Here are two views from above: at left are fan tables and several general-interest booths; at right is a view from the catwalk above, of gamers enjoying tabletop games inside the atrium at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center.|
As noted above, at least one more blog post in this space will deal with the panels I attended at Westercon 71/MALCon 6, but in more general terms I’d like to quote from a journal entry I wrote on Saturday of the convention (July 7, 2018), about my experience:
“I feel as if I’ve been attending an intensive writers’ and artist’s immersion experience this week. My typical day has been a wake-up into immediately thinking about my book, working on the book, then working in the Art Show, surrounded with amazing art and interacting with some of the people who made it, going to panels that are (at their best) almost like graduate-level seminars on the topic of the panel—frequently thought-provoking, even when they don’t reach that pinnacle. Evenings have been spent reviewing the day’s events and input, discussing experiences with Ty, and more writing.”
After the better part of a full week at the convention, I must say my mood was divided. Part of me wanted to linger longer (maybe get more work done), but we also needed to get home!
|Heading out on Monday, July 9, 2018: My little green Subaru fit right in, with the Denver crowd. The Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center has a lot of glass in that atrium.|
IMAGES: All photos in this post were taken by Jan S. Gephardt, including the one of Jan’s own artwork. Please feel free to re-post, reblog, share, or tweet any of these photos, but please include an attribution and a link back to this page. Many thanks!