Escapade 2003 Con Report of the Killa variety

Wow, it's been a long time since I actually managed to write one of these things! I don't know that it'll be of interest to anyone, but I came away from the weekend in love with fandom, in love with my guys (far too many of them) and having had such a good time that I'm not ready to come home in my mind yet. Also, overlaid upon the intense happiness and wonderfulness I feel towards my guys and towards friends and fandom right now is the very-nearly-equally intense sadness about missing faces, missing hugs, missing points of view and presences that makes me want to write the weekend down in hopes that they will read it and feel like they were there with us in body, as they surely were in spirit and in our thoughts.

One painful truth has made itself evident: four days is not long enough for this con. I think this was my sixth Escapade, and I've now reached the absolute limit of my ability to see and talk to people within the time span allotted. As the weekend sped by, I became increasingly aware of the fact that I could not possibly manage anything like real conversation or interaction with people I didn't already know, in spite of the fact that I came across fascinating, talented, fun and intelligent new people at every turn. By Saturday, I began to feel incredibly lucky if I managed even 'hello' or any kind of substantive interaction with anyone outside the usual few I manage to share orbit with during the weekend. I met Nestra and Shrift briefly in the lobby (Saturday? Sunday?) and wished desperately that a) I could manage to be less of a ditzy idiot upon first encounter with people and that b) I could sit down over drinks with them and get to know the fascinating people I know they must be from what I've read of Shrift's stories and their other contributions to fandom. I briefly met a handful of wonderfully smart and welcoming Hornblower fen, and would have gladly sold my soul for an extra day just to spend with them. I said hello to Shoshanna on Thursday and then pretty much never saw her again; I longed for a week of nothing but leisurely lunches by the pool discussing Immortals with Carson and Melina and Hafital and all the wondermous HL fen who make me so very happy. As always, I wanted to be in any room where Taz was and just listen to her talk, about anything. As always, I wished I were the sort of person that thoughtful and scarily brilliant women like Kat Allison and Destina and LaT would find interesting to talk to, at length. <g>

Of those that were missed, and they were legion, Maygra's absence was the most vital and the most apparent to me, and to many of us - she holds and binds us together in a way that is only the more obvious without her. I also missed Zen's evil grin and irrepressible energy, and nancy's beautiful and striking presence, very much. For every welcome face (Viv Nichols! And Alice in Stonyland! What a wonderful surprise, both of them!) there was at least one I missed: Deb, more than I could say, Seah & Margie, Lynn C., Suze, Merrie, chelle and Kamil, devo, Ruth, Laura S., Nick -- too many to count.

But back to the con, the panels, the vid shows and the general mayhem! Feel free to skip ahead:

Thursday, Feb 20

The travel gods were kind, and none of our party had flight delays, so I immediately shanghaied Hafital, Luminosity, and Lys (a last- minute addition) and headed straight for food (priorities!) in the form of this wonderful Mexican restaurant I know in Santa Monica. They were given no choice in the matter, really, but didn't protest. <g> We then took the PCH up to Oxnard, and were treated to the gorgeous weather and blooming flowers on the way. Much better than the floods of '98!

I'd been moving the two days previous, and my back was shot from carrying immense amounts of heavy things up lots of stairs, but lucky for me we met up with shalott, and I believe Carol S, in the lobby, and those kind and generous women helped me lug my ridiculous quantity of crap up to the second floor (stairs! Gah. I believe I whined.) I left a key and a note for Taselby, and fear I was rather distracted for a while as I began thinking of a million reasons that might have kept her from making it to the con, but succumbed to the pull of gravity that was the hotel bar. There, an ever-expanding cluster of tiny bar tables began to spawn, and fen began to gather, as did my usual migraine that inevitably results from the overstimulated atmosphere of cons, but the distractions there were legion and infinitely silly. Jessica and Snoo are their own form of entertainment wherever they go.

Then X came and brought Bystander zines and we oohed and aahed over them because they were frickin gorgeous, with beautiful art, typography, design, paper, and just general loveliness. If you aren't familiar with the Bystander concept, she has a number of art pieces and stories here:

http://www.tenebris.org/x_art/x_art_bystander.html

The zine introduced new artwork in Highlander, Mag 7, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Phantom Menace fandoms, with stories from many excellent authors to match. There's a Marie Blackpool story in here, Han/Luke from Leia's POV, that really blew me away. Some of the Highlander pieces likewise impressed me, especially Carson Kearns' version. It was a limited run, so I don't believe she's selling any more, but if you know anyone who got one, see if you can get them to part with it long enough to take a look - this is all that zines can be, aesthetically, and I was really glad I got my hands on one.

Eventually Rache, Sandy and Viv appeared, and then finally MacGeorge, after many trials and tribulations with the hotel shuttle, and it was decided that a trip to the House O'Meat was in order. House O'Meat was a blur for me - I was in serious pain by then, and also worried about Taselby - but I sat across from MacGeorge and next to Cinel Durant who had me laughing pretty insanely with descriptions of various badfic and travel adventures. I also sat across from Cara Loupe, whom I had never met before (I think?) but would like to get to know better - she had a lovely wry sense of humor and seemed a woman of grace and wit. At one point, MacG was attempting to describe a particularly bad story and, waving her hands, tried to articulate - "It was a lot of...*writhing* and... and *angsting* and... and a LOT!" which led to my new descriptor for fic so bad you can't describe it: "And a LOT!"

Arrival back at the hotel gifted me with the huge relief of a real, live Taselby to squish with hugs, which I did, and felt much better. The rest of the night? A blur. I think that was the night we watched vids in Sandy and Rache's room, and then there were drinks in our room, and I fell asleep on the floor? But that could also have been Friday or Saturday night, because I think I fell asleep on the floor those nights, too. Wait, and Sunday. (It was kind of cool, actually - real life has been stressing me to almost total sleeplessness the last few months, but being around the coolest women on the planet seemed to shift something in the brain and much-needed sleep was had. Yay.)

Yes! Now I remember. There were vids, including Sandy and Rache's new one to Voodoo (Invisible Man) which is a song I *adore*. Carol's Teal'c vid will always be pure pleasure for me to watch, but that didn't take away from the nerve-zinging "holy shit" factor of this version, which instantly had me and Taselby both craving tapes in the worst way. I adore the IM vid to Kryptonite, but somehow it didn't convert me fully - I needed one last nudge over the edge, and this vid did it. We have sworn to get our hands on this show. I was also mesmerized by the Dead Zone vid they showed, though too exhausted and in too much pain to do more than go, wow. (This was Lynn and Sandy's vid to "Someone You Might Have Been.")

Wow, that was really long already, and the con hasn't officially started yet. I think I'd better break.

Friday, Feb 21

Morning! Up early. East Coast Time. Reading Master and Commander, and laughing at how very gay this book is. Tapping foot waiting for everybody to get up. *g* And huzzah, way to start off the con -- it's time for the Highlander: The Gay Blades panel!

Melina, Ashlynn and Sharon Cumberland led this panel, which turned out to be a relaxed, somewhat unstructured discussion of how Duncan and Methos might think about sex between men, and as something of a separate issue, sex between male Immortals. We came to few conclusions, except that at the very least, most male Immortals would be familiar with sexual contact between fellow soldiers and brothers in arms, and that in Highlander slash, the tension of "will we or won't we have to try to kill each other some day" takes the place of some of the traditional dramatic slash tensions. We talked about how they might look at relationships with women differently than those with men. I brought up Connor's comment to the interrogating cop in HL1 who accuses him of cruising for a trick, ("You're sick!") and the opinion was expressed that he was responding to the accusation of prostitution, or possibly that he was responding as the times (mid- eighties) might have expected him to, which led to talking about how Immortals adapt their behaviors to different eras and social climates. Someone expressed the parallel between the first hundred years or so of an Immortal's life and mortal adolescence, with its accompanying flush of feeling immortal and exploring one's identity, which I found intriguing and worthy of some thought.

I was bummed about missing the Sex, Schmex, Give Me a Story! panel -- and realized later that this was the first Escapade I could remember where I frequently had trouble choosing between panels or tracks of programming.

Being silly gits and not reading the bit about free lunch in the program book, Hafital and I went off in search of food, which we found, leading to lunch by the pool with Melina and Taselby. I think there was Lord of the Rings discussion. Wow, the weather was gorgeous -- X went for a swim and unfortunately got 'cornered' in the pool by a very curious hotel security guy, who wanted all the low- down about the crazy wimmins. Unfortunately, we were too slow on the uptake to rescue her, although she seemed to handle the encounter gracefully. At least, he didn't look too appalled, or shoot anyone.

After lunch, a few of my very kind friends and one or two other people showed up in the Aux Programming room for me to pimp Jeremiah, which I did with a one hour tape of clips chosen from the pilot and two of my favorite episodes, "Journeys End at Lovers Meeting" and "City of Roses." I was reminded of all the ways that I love this show, most notably the wonderful honesty of all the characters and how they *talk* to each other and actually say meaningful things and learn and grow from things that happen to them. I love their emotional vulnerability and their humor. And also, Malcolm Jamal Warner? ::thud:: I think I managed to win over several people, and I'm very grateful to those who showed up and watched the terribly dark TV with the wobbly sound! I know I owe tapes to Carol, and I'm not sure who else. Hopefully they will remind me. Somewhere around that time I also gratefully handed off all my Escapade 2002 vid tapes and DVDs to Kandy Fong, who volunteered (without being asked) to sell them at her table, yay. I never did count the money that they brought in for the con, just handed it to Jenn, but it looked like a pretty thick stack, and I was very glad to have that happen without me having to take money and make change and carry things around.

Then, decisions, decisions! "Don't Know Much about History" (a panel about writing in historical fandoms) was up against "Magnificent 7 AUs -- Crutch or Creative Lifeblood?" This I found fairly ironic, but I still had to make a decision. The History panel won out, since I certainly have vast empty expanses in my knowledge of history, and would love to write Hornblower and Mag 7, not to mention HL flashbacks. The IQ level and academic experience in the History panel was pretty astonishing, let me tell you. It was quickly decided that we should make a resource page of links with all the great info people were giving, and I volunteered since it's something I've been meaning to do forever. (This will be added to my site soon, and I hope lots of people will add to it.) Essentially, the entire panel was people suggesting great sources, books, sites, lists, films, etc. for historical research and period atmosphere. I wrote as fast as I could, and could barely keep up. Someone (Elke?) volunteered to create a livejournal community for fen interested in historical fandoms.

I cannot for the life of me remember what I did between 3:00 and 8:00 on Friday. Can we say overload? I think this was hanging out in MacG's room and reading her brutal and gripping new WIP (Duncan and Methos, Horsemen, *shiver*), and gabbing, and then dinner at the hotel restaurant with Taselby and Hafital. And there was con suite in here somewhere, and art show, and I think there was talking about Hornblower. There wasn't a lot of art in the show that I hadn't seen, but I remember a couple of Bluespirit's photo manips that I really liked and a beautiful pencil drawing by Liz that showed Kirk and Spock together at many different ages and times in their lives, quite detailed. I'd seen a scan of this online, but it was lovely in the flesh, so to speak. Oh! Speaking of art, X did the program covers and man oh man, were they gorgeous. Of course I got the one with Duncan and Methos and carried it around all weekend where I could gaze at it. The look on Methos' face is... well, let's say, inspiring. I think there was an Aragorn/Boromir and a couple of others, but really, the D/M image was so stunning that I barely noticed. I hope she puts these up on her site. Oh yes! I almost forgot. Taselby and Hafital and I went to the bar before dinner and H. got carded. She wasn't even drinking, but the manager was having serious trouble buying the idea that she was of age. Wench. *g*

Friday night vidshow. Whoo! The Viewer's Choice format was something new for Escapade, and it seemed to me to be a big hit. It's so much more fun to see vids like "The Man Song" and "The Impossible Dream" in a crowd. I have to admit there were some fandoms and vidders that I felt the absence of keenly, most notably the lack of Wiseguy vids, and Carol S's XF vid to "Veli," which I felt was sorely missing. Unfortunately, this is a hazard of being put on the spot to make nominations -- you try to suggest things you think won't get mentioned, and sometimes overlook the "obvious." I was really in pain again at this show, and don't remember everything that was shown, though I remember being really happy to see "No Way Out of Here" (Gwyn's Buffy/Scully/Nikita vid), and Lum's Buffy vid to "It's the End of the World" which I love seeing in a crowd. Besides "Veli," I kicked myself for not suggesting half a dozen vids, including Melina's D/M vid to "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and Lum's XF vid to "They're Not Here, They're Not Coming." Overall, those putting on the vidshow outdid themselves. Maybe one day they will be able to do this without it becoming a horrible, torturous albatross of tech issues and headaches. Extra thank yous to Jo, Melina, Gwyn, and everyone else who volunteered to make these shows happen for us (elyn? Lum? shalott? Carol? I lost track.)

(A little note: to this day I am floored and incredibly pleased by the way people respond to my Kirk/Spock vid to Dante's Prayer -- it is a wacky phenomenon, that has everything to do with nostalgia and with the universal truth of those characters, I think, and it's just very cool. It's always a surprise, and always makes me glow with happiness for Kirk and Spock's sakes.)

I forgot to mention Rosa, and how intensely, gratefully happy I was to see her on Thursday. I think I squished her with more hugs at the Friday night vid show. I adore that woman. She is too sweet and wonderful and lovely for words. *So* glad I got to hug her in person several times. Which also made me remember more people I didn't get to hug, like Merry. Sigh.

I think there was drinking after this. I remember Devil Child, and furniture breaking, and whisky, and Taselby, and the floor. *g* And not much sleep. Or, that could have been Saturday...

Saturday, Feb 22

And today? Not so much with the early rising.

In the flush of new fandom love for Horatio Hornblower, I suggested a panel on same, and in the same spirit of desperate fannish hunger, volunteered to lead it. Eep. Never mind that I am brand new to both the fandom and to the historical period, never mind that I have barely had time to read any of the fiction and haven't read all of the HH books and only two of the Aubrey/Maturin books, never mind that the ink on my limited knowledge of Napoleonic history is still wet, and that I know virtually no one in this fandom. I can lead a panel anyway!

*whimper*

They were very patient with me, and very kind. Knowing no one by sight, and almost no one by name, it was a little difficult to know the tenor of the group, but we did manage some fun conversation about what makes the Age of Sail so compelling for slash fans, what it is about the strict shared discipline and forced intimacy of the navy that turns us on, and how the characters vary between the CSF books and the A&E television series. In contrast to some of the hurt and anger I have seen recently in other fandoms on the OTP front, there seemed to be (as there is onlist) a great tolerance for various pairings within the fandom, and an interest in all the primary characters. We also generated a good list of "should also reads" and as a result, I've been avidly reading Melville the last couple of days. We all agreed Russell Crowe is a very odd casting choice for Jack Aubrey. (But really? I couldn't think of an actor more appropriate.) I hope the panel attendees had fun.

Unfortunately, the Hornblower panel was up against the Also Premiering vidshow, so I missed that. I planned on going for the second half, but Hafital and I met up with Melina and Carson, and abandoned vids in favor of lunch with them and Taselby. We hit the Baker's Square and had a wonderful HL-intensive conversation over lunch, touching on recent list discussions, our individual experiences with discovering HL, ideas for the fourth Fifteen Minute Challenge ("A Tournament of Lies"), and the waking of the muses. We also talked a bit about the welcome realization that HL slash fandom is not nearly so split along character lines as it once was.

After lunch, Carson and I conferred about our next panel, "I'm Not Dead Yet, I'm Just Resting," which we were moderating with Rache. We'd planned it as a very silly romp, basically group therapy and fun for anyone coping with a dead BSO, and that's just what it turned out to be. We polled the room for dead guys, and made lots of lists, of the "ways to resurrect your character" variety. We classified fandoms as "sci fi" or "fantasy/magical" or "realistic/historical" with associated methods of resurrection, and talked about stories in various fandoms that either killed the guys or brought them back -- or both. Fun! The general conclusion? Dead is only dead if you really want it to be.

At 3:00 I went to help with the "How to Vid on Computer" panel, which was led most ably by shalott and Carol, with me in the Mac supporting role and Lum pinch-hitting on Premiere. This was long. I hope it helped someone. *g*

After that panel, I met up with Destina in the lobby, as I was bound and determined not to let another con slip by without getting to hang with her a bit. Lucky for me, she was feeling particularly outgoing this year and obliged me with dinner plans. *g* Of course, as these fannish things go, we rapidly became a party of twelve! We found a mexicali seafood grill type restaurant on the hotel's list that sounded likely, scored directions, and headed out in three cars. Three cars full of fans are, of course, capable of getting lost within one block, let alone going to a restaurant with somewhat faulty directions 3-4 miles away. Lucky for shalott's passengers, she had GPS. Lucky for mine, we had Taselby of the eagle eye, who spotted the crucial "N" on the street sign. Lucky for the other car... well, they made it eventually! The food was passable, but the company (surrounded as I was by Taselby, Hafital, Luminosity and Destina) was extraordinary -- and yes, Destina, we are secretly laughing at you. ;-)

Post-dinner, Taselby and I braved the... what was it called? Food n Save, or something? Wow. Third world country on a Saturday night. We did successfully score alcohol and cranberry juice, and managed to make it back before the vid show started, but it was a near thing. I was traumatized by the person in front of me who was buying what looked like an entire side of beef (not really exaggerating) which was barely wrapped in plastic, but I think I'll recover.

Then -- vid show!

This year's show did not quite blow my mind as much as last year's, although three of my own vids in it might have had something to do with that. At one point Lum said she was embarrassed about all her vids being shown, and I was so in agreement there. It really was too much, after four of my/our vids the previous night, and by the third one on Saturday I was acutely and painfully self-conscious and wanting to sink into the floor. But that aside, a great show, expertly put together -- the variety of fandoms and vids and the balance of funny/serious was quite good, I thought. More about the vids themselves in a separate post -- just a quick hug and thank you to shalott, who stepped up to the plate and volunteered to master the DVD of this year's show when no one else (me included) was willing to commit to it. Also, big hugs to Jessica for her Herculean efforts to make sure we actually got to see her show intro, which made me laugh until my face hurt.

After the show I glommed onto elyn and refused to let her out of my sight (see determination re: Destina above). We went and did the vid show feedback form feeding frenzy with many of the vidders, which is sort of... well, I couldn't face it last year, and this year I was a bit sorry I had, since I was really overwhelmed by it, but it was worth it for Jessica's commentary. I'm not sure what I think about the feedback forms. It's hard to really watch the vids and write anything meaningful, at least for me, and it's hard for me to face reading them, good or bad. It's often the one part of the con where I get to be in a room with many of the people I want to spend time with, though, like the Chicago Loop people and the Seattle contingent, and they are all funny as hell, so that part is good. Kind of pleasure/pain shock therapy.

Um, this actually might have been the night of whisky and the broken furniture and me sleeping on the floor. Hard to say.

The Saturday Night Vid Show

I'm going by the list that Jo posted to the vidder list, and hoping my pathetic excuse for a memory will be sufficient to the task.

*****

Intro: The Vids of Escapade 2003 (by Tzikeh)

This got huge laughs -- the brilliant and twisted Chicago Loop denizens introduced the vidshow (and guidelines for courteous vidwatching) via a parody of the Fellowship of the Ring intro, with Jessica playing the part of Galadriel. Much insane giggling, especially over the Elvish version of "Turn off your cell phones."

*****

Crazy Baby, Joan Osborne, vid by Carol S, Stargate (movie)

I'm not generally a fan of Joan Osborne at all, but this song is an exception. JMHO, and I know I'm in the minority, but I find the Kurt Russell version of Jack to be infinitely more compelling than the TV show version, and this song really echoed his despair. Very much appreciated by this Stargate movie fan.

*****

Instrumental, Clandestine, Killa, Hornblower

One of mine. Things go boom.

*****

RESPECT, Pink, Diana W., Multi-Media

A fun con vid of the garbage-can variety. I'd be hard-pressed now to remember much about it, but it played well in a crowd.

*****

Epiphany, Staind, Bunniqula, LOTR

Ack, my memory is failing me. I think (??) this was the Legolas/Gimli vid? There were two LOTR vids in the show, and neither of them worked very well for me, and I'm having a hard time remembering now which was which. I'm pretty sure this was the L/G one, in which case I liked the lyrics for the relationship, and yet had a very hard time with the visuals matching the song.

I just think LotR is very tough to vid, because the scenes have such incredibly specific (and ingrained since childhood) context that I can't wrap my mind around any other story the vidder is trying to tell. The only LotR vids I've seen that really worked for me were ones where the context of the song actually matched the story of LotR (Brothers in Arms was one, and I believe Bunniqula did another vid that I liked quite a bit, though I'm drawing a blank now on the song.)

*****

Out of My Mind, Depeche Mode, Carol S, SG1

I'm a huge fan of Depeche Mode, which drew me into this vid. I thought it was quite compelling at first, then drifted a bit long, but I liked the ominous feel of the music with Jack's splintering perceptions. I stopped watching SG1 a while ago, but enjoyed this mostly for the song choice.

*****

Nightmares Beneath the Sea, Jeff Buckley, Luminosity, Angel

I'd seen this one a few times previous to the show, and though I thought it was gorgeous, and I loved the song, it didn't mean much to me as a non-Angel-watcher. However, the sound system and big pretty picture made it easier to understand lyrics and pick out details in the images, and I found it carried a lot more meaning for me in the vidshow. I love the emotional intensity of this song and the images, and especially the incredible ominousness of the chorus, "All young lovers know why/Nightmares blind their mind's eye" with the gorgeous slow-mo images Luminosity chose. This is one that I'm sure Angel fans find very affecting -- for me, it's a one-step-removed "wowwww, pretty" experience. Beautiful pacing, IMO.

*****

I Love L.A., Randy Newman, Luminosity, Angel

This got played by "accident," so it's not on the vidshow list, but I adore this vid. Totally approachable for a non-fan, very funny, very endearing, great timing. I love the big laugh that the jousting knights sequence gets, and the seatbelts bit is so great. Showcases the fun and absurdity of Angel, and makes me want to watch the show.

*****

Loser, 3 Doors Down, Taselby, Mag7

Well, as a whole-hearted Ezra fan, I've watched this vid more times than I can count. I love the building pressure of the song, the great kick-ass sequence on the bridge, the subtle inclusion of Vin on "I need this every time," (even though I'm not actually a fan of Ezra/Vin, it's owie in a good way) and the way everything fragments at the end, when Ezra is at both his best and his worst. Many individual clip choices that make this vid a happy, happy thing for me.

*****

Swim in the Ocean, The Call, Kelpie, SG1

God, I totally do not remember this vid. Apologies!

*****

I Kissed a Girl (The Slasher's Nightmare), Jill Sobule, Smut Cutter, Multi Media

Bwahahahaa!!! Frickin genius, and testament to the comedic power of the great reaction shot. This has to be seen to be appreciated. Great use of a vid intro, filmed by the vidder, to set up the joke. The fact that there's an infamous (in K/S fandom) story about Kirk and the Gorn is just a bonus.

*****

My Beautiful Reward, Bruce Springsteen, Gwyneth Rhys, Firefly

I can't stand Bruce Springsteen and only ever got mildly interested in Firefly, but this vid strikes me as a perfect song choice and a perfect Mal tribute anyway. The song really says everything wonderful I can think of to say about the wistful, slightly jaded veneer that made Mal's understated idealism so appealing. It's got a lovely, achy feel that evoked the best of the show for me.

*****

Acceptance, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jill, Kay, Lynn, SG1

Of all the Stargate vids I saw over the weekend, this was my favorite. I was slowly drawn in by the first half, in which Daniel's life unfolded, and really felt the gut-wrench of the second half, when the music hits a minor note and the vid turns to the reactions of the team to Daniel's 'death.' Knowing that was coming, I found it even more absorbing on second viewing at the vid review.

*****

Bibbidi-Boddidi-Boo, Cinderella, Thalia, Harry Potter

Video quality was really bad on this, unfortunately. Hagrid as the fairy godmother was rather twisted for me, as well, I have to admit, even though it makes a sort of sense.

*****

Someone You Might Have Been, Oysterband (?), Lynn & Sandy, Dead Zone

If there was a standout vid in the show, for me, this was it. DZ is a gorgeous production, and these vidders made the most of the beautiful visuals, building a compelling, mesmerizing tapestry of light, color and movement that kept me riveted on all three viewings. The song is also incredibly evocative, and the throughline so powerful and layered with meaning about the character of Johnny that it moves me nearly to tears. This is a show I've wanted to love, and haven't, but the vid was everything I could have wished for. The dual meaning of the title phrase, in relation to Johnny, is genius, and the deep, powerful undertones of the song are an amazing underscore to his incredible inner strength.

*****

Next To You, The Police, Sockii, The Police

Well? It made me laugh. I know nothing about the history of the Police except for vague memories of childhood MTV addiction. Didn't really know what to make of this one. Is it RPS? I was clueless. What else is new?

*****

Something to Talk About, Bonnie Raitt, Carol S, SG1

Carol, you are sick, sick, sick. And sadistic. Loved the long delay on the joke's punchline. And elyn putting her hands over her head. *vbg*

*****

Learning to Fly, Pink Floyd, Luminosity, Smallville

Another one of those, not-wild-about-the-song, not-wild-about-the-fandom vids that worked for me anyway. I really wish the show gave us such a bittersweet and subtle portrait of growing up. I love the sequence on the last verse, and especially that last clip.

*****

A Morality Tale, Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, Sandy & Rache, Smallville

Clark and Lex sing the Green Acres theme song. I am scarred for life! But hey, at least now I know it's Eva, not Zsa Zsa. (Sorry, Sandy!) Much giggling.

*****

Spooky, The 3Ds, Killa, Jeremiah

The song title does not match the song. What's up with that? No, this is not the same "Spooky" that someone did that great Mulder vid to a few years back. Anyway! Moving on.

*****

Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler, Xanthe, West Wing

Ow, ow, ow, ow. My God, but I hate this song. That said? The lyrics work okay for Jed and Leo, and the vidder chose wonderfully meaningful scenes to show their relationship. But, ow, please make it stop.

*****

3 Libras, A Perfect Circle, Gwyneth Rhys, Buffy

The throughline of this song is "you don't see me," but on first viewing, for some reason I heard it as "you don't save me." I have to admit, I was disappointed when I realized I was mishearing it! The first is a little whiny, whereas the second had very interesting implications for me. Hmm. I don't really know Buffy that well at all, but the verses of this song worked better for me than the chorus. I love the strings (cello?) at the beginning, with that cool scene where they're on either side of the door to Spike's crypt.

*****

Ability to Swing, Thomas Dolby, Luminosity, Highlander

Well, A++ for song choice, and yay, it's my guy!! I like this vid a lot, and it's got some parts that really groove for me, like Duncan clapping to the beat and the clips she chose for "Everybody's workin, workin pretty hard." I love that it starts at the beginning of the series and goes all the way through Endgame, and that it starts and ends with Connor. The beheading of Connor at the end really jars me, and I don't understand that choice -- in fact, there are several clip choices for "the ability to swing" that I don't understand contextually, but that is probably just me missing the point. Overall, this vid is beauty to watch, and the pacing is great.

*****

Tonight Is Just for Us, artist?, Remi d'Brebant, Sentinel

Hum. This vid was done in a style similar to the vidder's earlier TS vids to Possession and Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Of the three, Possession is the most effective for me, and this one the least so -- the song didn't do much for me at all, and it was hard to keep my attention focused on the vid. Ultimately, I was having a really hard time imagining either Jim or Blair ever saying, "tonight is just for us," and that tripped me up a bit.

*****

Closer, Nine Inch Nails, Sisabet, Angel/Buffy

Guh. Angel/Spike. HOT. Guh. Genius. And more than the sum of its parts. I would personally have preferred it without the voiceovers just because DB's voice is kind of goofy and makes me snicker, but I liked the way they added to the parallelism.

*****

Water Carrier, Ian Anderson, Kelpie, SG1

I feel badly, but I really don't remember much about this vid either -- Stargate sometimes makes my attention wander, I'm afraid. I do like the juxtaposition of SG imagery and any kind of 60s/70s psychedelic music, and I remember thinking Ian Anderson was a good choice from that standpoint. Mostly, I remember thinking that I would love to see a Jethro Tull/LotR vid to something.

*****

Voodoo, Godsmack, Rachel & Sandy, Invisible Man

Yowza. Trippy, powerful, sexual, compelling vid goodness. Made me want to watch the show, like, yesterday. Darien. Drool. Made me pre-verbal.

*****

You Wanted More, A-ha, P.R. Zed, LOTR

Okay, I'm pretty sure this was unintentional, and I wouldn't have noticed it if a certain someone hadn't drawn my attention to it, but... there is something about the placement of certain clips that makes this vid quite hysterically funny, where I don't think it was meant to be. That's all I'll say.

I wanted to like this, because I like A-ha and I like Aragorn/Boromir, but it wasn't quite clicking for me. I imagine some A/B fans quite liked it, though.

*****

Never Left, Oysterband, Jo & Gwyneth, Tombstone

I bought the DVD last night, even though I already had it on tape, and it's all their fault. Gorgeous, beautiful, painful. I've watched this dozens of times and never get tired of it.

*****

Bawitdaba, Kid Rock, Melina, The Shield

I'm pretty much left with, "wow, cool!" as a reaction to this one. I like the song, actually, though it got old by the end, but mainly I liked that she told me a completely coherent, powerful story in the space of the vid, pretty much without help from the lyrics. And pretty. This show has a great look, and she made the most of it.

*****

Money for Nothing, Dire Straits, Laura Shapiro/Debchan, Firefly

I really liked this! I kept laughing all the way through, and though the "break for credits" towards the end puzzled me for a moment, it didn't really bother me and it seemed like a cool way to keep that repetitive ending from dragging on. I thought this was really fun, and I didn't have the issues with it that some did. I didn't care that they used two different characters for "little faggot" and I thought all the trucking around of cargo stayed funny pretty much all the way through. Could be because I've always thought this song is funny anyway, and it's one of those super-nostalgic songs of the 80s, but I thought it was clever and successful. Jayne also cracks me up, and I loved the focus on him.

*****

Salome, Cousteau, Killa, Xena

Hmm, maybe a good spot to say that one should always listen to Lum's ideas -- she was so right about this being a Xena song, I just had to figure out for who. Thanks for the song, Lum! {{{}}}

*****

Ouch, The Rutles, Jill, Kathy, Kay, SG1

ROTFLOL! Adorable. Inspired idea. Still giggling.

*****

Of course, all of the above very much JMHO, YMMV, etc.

Next, Sunday!

Sunday, Feb 23

In many ways, Sunday is often my favorite day of a 3- or 4-day con. I've usually calmed down enough to escape migraine hell, the stress of the vid show is over, and since I've stopped being masochistic and going to the art auction (though I had no art this year anyway), the day is generally more slow-paced and fun. I hate it that people are starting to leave by afternoon/evening, but at the same time, it means more comfortable, relaxed time with whoever can stay through 'til Monday. At Escapade in particular, the outdoor breakfast is a wonderful, social way to start the day, and it's lovely when the weather cooperates.

This year I brought a box with leftover Escapade 2002 DVDs and a few WOAD tapes, and unwittingly brought a small flocking mob scene to the table I joined -- apologies to those who were already sitting there eating breakfast! But it was very nice to see those find good homes so easily. I think I've reached such a vid saturation between my own vidding and that of my close friends, and all the vids available online, that I don't covet the ownership of vids the same way I used to. I still love them and am glad to see them at cons, but at home I only tend to re-watch those in my own fandoms, so I've lost the drive to collect and hoard. It's always a shock to see how quickly they get snatched up. (For those who asked: yes, there will be a WOAD 4 collection, hopefully fairly soon, and it will probably be available only on DVD unless someone else wants to make tapes.)

A few of us lingered over breakfast until they pretty much took the chairs out from under us, and then we headed for the Vid Review panel. Jo and shalott ran it this year, and a good portion of the panel was about song choice, which I think is a subject that bears considerable attention and discussion, so I was happy. (It's such a subjective choice, and one that can evoke vastly different reactions in different viewers, but like so many artistic decisions, the important thing is to know your own goals first, and if one of your goals is to provoke a reaction among viewers, to know your audience. From that standpoint, it's possible to look at the membership of Escapade and say, objectively, chances are good that the majority of your audience is going to respond poorly to the song choice of "Wind Beneath My Wings," regardless of fandom, or that some portion of your audience is going to feel offended by the choice to juxtapose the British navy with bagpipes.) The vid review panel at Escapade is also a great touchstone and measure of trends in fannish vidding, something else that the panel mods touched on, and it is indeed remarkable to revisit that each year and compare the panel discussion to the year before, and the year before that, to see where vidding is taking us as a community, in terms of song choice and stylistic choices especially.

Thanks to not-helpful equipment, the vid review ran a bit long, then a bunch of us stayed to help separate the vid comment sheets into stacks by vidder so they could take them home. This kept several of us from the first half of the Highlander: The New Classics panel, and we came in late. MacGeorge was running it, and it seemed pretty well attended -- this is the first year in a while that HL has had two panels, and that in itself was a happy thing as far as I was concerned. Both of them, oddly, were panels I suggested; this one was perhaps not well-named, as what I originally envisioned was a panel about the "classics" (i.e. "big stories") yet to be written, not those that had been recently written. *g* But! Not my panel, and obviously people had a lot of opinions and thoughts to offer about the question of which stories written in the last two years could be (or would one day be) considered classics, and why. The question itself, of what makes something a classic, is interesting to me... but I think it's hard to know what will be a classic until some time has passed. All I know for sure is that my definition of what makes a classic is more demanding than the definition some other people are using. *snerk* The list discussion that came up around this panel topic is interesting to me, though. It seemed to descend into a territory war of the "old guard/new guard" variety, a bit, which is ironic considering my original motivation in conceiving the topic was to stimulate excitement about stories that *haven't* been written in HL, the new ground still out there to be covered, the vast room and space we have for new ideas in this fandom.

I had to run to the dealer's room which (somehow) I managed to miss entirely until 2:00 Sunday, when I went to find Kathy Resch to pick up a Hornblower zine I'd asked her to bring me. Kathy is sort of my godmother of slash, the first person I met in slash fandom, and I had to stay and talk with her and wish (yet again) that she lived down the street. The zine is called "Horatio Hornblower and the Prix d'Amour," all stories written by the same author, and well worth it for the second to last story in the zine, a wonderful Horatio/Pellew story that reduced me to tears twice. The rest of the zine left me a bit hot and cold (thus mostly lukewarm) but that one story is just about perfect, IMO. I then hurried back for the last 20 minutes or so of the One True Pairing panel, which I immediately realized would have been the death of me and I fervently thanked elyn and Lanning in my heart for taking it off my hands. They were doing an excellent job of attempting to be fair and even-handed in moderating a panel where, plainly, there was some bitterness and hurt of many varieties. I proved yet again my inability to keep my mouth shut, and I don't think too many conclusions were drawn, but hopefully it allowed people to air their feelings a bit and reduced the general tension around that particular topic.

We'd originally planned an hour for Highlander vids at 3:00, but the "Has Escapade Run Its Course?" panel was added to the schedule later, and many of us wanted to go to that, so we abandoned our vid hour for the time being. The Escapade panel quickly made us aware that Jenn, who runs Escapade, has been feeling underappreciated and overworked in respect to the con, and that she was in need of a reality check from the attendees. More importantly, we, the attendees, were in need of a reality check about our role in building and running the con, and needed a better understanding of how Jenn would like the con to operate, versus how it is currently operating. Jenn did a good job of expressing where she felt the engine was breaking down, and I think newer attendees began to grasp how their role in the con might be more active. Ultimately, I think Jenn needs to determine what things she would like to see change in the future, whether in general or specific terms, and perhaps share that list with everyone so that we can step up to the plate and help her make the changes she sees as crucial. Certainly, it seemed as though the majority of the panel attendees still feel invested in Escapade and willing to do their part to make sure it sticks around.

After the panel, many of us headed upstairs to the consuite for goodbyes and to pre-register for next year. Later, many of the Highlander folks found their way to MacGeorge and Cinel's room, and began making plans for dinner and vidwatching; shalott gave me and Taselby a lift in her posh ride (a rented Jag) and we hunted down all the salads and burritos we could carry, settling in for the typical Sunday night gabfest. We watched the good (i.e. Duncan and Methos bits) of Endgame, MST-ing all the way, then some of the older HL vids by the Media Cannibals and Jill, Lynn and Kay, drooling over "Clean" yet again, because you can just never have enough Methos. Eventually, Melina, Carson and Zanz had to leave us, much sadness. We kept gabbing until everybody was falling asleep, and at last called it a night. How can it have been four days??

Monday, Feb 24

What, Monday, you say? Isn't this thing long enough? Wait, you have to hear the best part, just in case you were in doubt of my capacity for blonde ditz-headedness. Taselby and I had two cars between us, so I volunteered us as limo service to LAX for six other people -- then promptly locked my keys in the trunk of my rental car five minutes before we were supposed to leave. Yes! It's true! I've been waiting my whole life to lock my keys in the car, and six people who have to catch a plane sounded like just the opportunity I'd been waiting for! Eesh. {{{{Big hugs}}}} to Taselby for the AAA bail-out and the hugs of support, and also to elyn, Hafital, Jessica, Snoo, Lum and Dorinda for patience and non-throwing-of-things-at-my-head. All's well that ends well -- two tow-truck guys broke into the car, we popped the trunk, and waved them bye bye with a twenty dollar bill for extra quick service. Whee! Let's hope that's the last time I pull that one, shall we?

And geez, enough already, the end! And now a whole year to wait until the next one. Sniff. Thank you, Jenn, you throw a hell of a party. :-)