First, a surprise: the new single! I did it for this con, and it’s a cover of sorts that I turned into a Doctor Who song.
So, yesterday I talked about film. I have my answer, and the experiment with the fisheye lens film camera did not work out so well. 1600-speed film pushed two stops and, well, you’ll see below how dark and grainy the best of them were. I’ll give it one more try (pushing this film as far as it’ll go) and we’ll see. Fingers crossed.
Friday: Not as Fishy As Hoped
Anna and I got to Conflikt pretty early – we had a lot to haul, and the band had final run-through rehearsal at 2pm, a space for which the concom was kind enough to let us reserve in advance.
That went pretty well, so we also had time to get together with GoHs TJ and Mitchell Burnside-Clapp to do a runthrough of our very muppety opening ceremonies skit, which included one of those random semi-nonsensical songs of the sort they used to do on The Muppet Show back in Ye Daye. (It’s called “Magnetic Penguins.”)
So that was a revival of an older form. We knew very few people would get was that Mitchell Clapp here was reviving a character from a Long Fucking Time Ago in the spoken-skit parts of it, but our small test audiences laughed without knowing that, so we figured that’d be fine anyway. And TJ does a good Gonzo, so we knew people would read that part for sure.
Opening ceremonies had a few technical difficulties, which would presage the greater technical difficulties during the show. Still, I’m pretty good at stretching to fill time when needed, and people seemed to like Jeri Lynn’s and Shanti’s improv puppetry in front of the ice-cube background during the “Magnetic Penguins” song.
Then Betsy Tinney had her show, which was great as always, and I played an awfully-nwcMUSIC-like MC, followed by our concert!
Here’s a shot from the stage while I was walking on. This is the kind of thing I want to do with this dumb fisheye lens camera – but honestly, I’m pretty doubtful it’s going to work indoors. Which is a shame, it’s fun to play with, but wow, yeah, film. Film is terrible once you have better.
So Dark and Grainy
The tech issues from opening ceremonies got a lot worse during our show. (Screaming bursts of noise, some of which may’ve been related to RF interference in their gear; no vocals and missing instruments in the monitors, little or no electric guitar in the house mix apparently – really everything that could fall apart did.)
Still, we struggled through, and a lot of people made a point of coming to me and saying that despite the tech issues, our performance was good, and we sounded good in the room. (We didn’t sound so great on the livestream, though, which seemed to be mostly missing CD’s electric guitar, and had a lot of sync issues – I’m hoping to get the raw stems and remix them into a salvageable video.)
People told me they particularly liked “Supervillain For I Love You,” “Thirteen,” and “We’re Not Friends,” all of which are new, which is great.
“We’re Not Friends,” in particular…
I haven’t been talking about that one. I came up with the chorus months ago and had a few failed runs at writing it – those are lyrics which will never see the light of day – but it fell together over the last few weeks. So I took it to my band two weeks before the show and said, “This is brand new. We’re doing it. We are in fact closing with it.” Then I kept making changes to it as we went, because if you’re going to swing for the fences, you should just do that, right?
And the good news is, that worked. We got the crowd to sing along with a song they’d never heard, which was pretty neat to watch and hear, and a few people talked about it affecting them afterwards – ’cause, the thing is, this song is really important and personal to me, but, for a change, in ways other people really get. I’m not going to talk about why here, because it’s long, but – it resonated.
Judging the songwriting contest with TJ and Mitchell and Jackie Mitchell (the Interfilk guest; no relation) got the day off to a good start. All the entries were pretty strong, though three did elevate themselves a level up from the rest. And while we did have a consensus on the winner – a song about the “evil” twins in “good/evil” sibling pairs explaining they do things that need to be done – it was close. It came down, really, to the winning song being the one most transportable outside the stated theme of the contest.
After that – running the “Twofers” open mic, running The Dara Show version of Kitting Out Cheap, etc – it was kind of like being back running nwcMUSIC, only with less anxiety. MCing that was always one of the best parts, for me, so more of that? Can do, sport!
I met and talked for a while with a guy named Sean who came to the studio-building panel. He works at Microsoft and has access to one of those ultra-quiet rooms. I asked him if he could get me a tour! I don’t think it’ll happen, but I can hope.
Then, lots more concerts. This actually is the best of the concert photos – everything else came out even lower-contrast:
Later, I also ran into Murray Porath, which was very odd, and was another person I know of through other people rather than knowing directly, until now.
Apparently he’s moved out here, I guess we’ll be seeing more of him! I didn’t get a chance to find out entirely what that was about, but he has a bunch of funny lawyer stories, including a Kentucky county denying some sort of fortune-teller a business license on the basis that they decided she was a witch and casting spells on people. Yes, a fundamentalist revival preacher was involved.
Conflikt’s concert hall also has a big area in the back with tables and craft supplies, so I took a picture of that from overhead. Other than the window, it’s probably the best shot I actually got:
Open Filk ran quite late each night – I don’t know how late on Friday and Saturday, since I had duties the following mornings so didn’t burn too much oil. Sunday night’s smoked salmon ran until around 2am, and given that it’s usually the earliest of the lot to close down, we can probably assume the others ran later.
I never go to convention banquets, because the cliche about rubber chicken… well, frankly, it’s true. They’re cash-cows for hotels and that’s why hotels like cons to have them. But this time it was part of my job, so I did!
Sadly the best shot I got with Mitchell
It’s not just a lunch, in this case – you’re also writing a song, collaborating with your table, and using two words or concepts handed around at random. Ours were “awesomesauce” and “perspective,” and our table came up with two songs – one I just wrote, another that I helped with. That was a lot of fun.
Here’s mine, it’s very vaudeville – I was by the gods going to stay in theme throughout, if I could:
The Awesome Sauce Song
Apparently I also bellow like a drill sergeant, because my call for people to get their acts (literally) together for the Band Scramble got the attention of the whole crowd without a PA, because YEAH I CAN YELL PRETTY GOOD IF I WANT.
Oh, and the Sunday afternoon jam – I had an idea where I’d bring a whiteboard and a giant wet-erase marker to write out chords, so people could actually join in on an actual jam more easily, as opposed to it just being another filk circle. It seemed to help, we had really good participation – better than I’ve usually seen, I think.
So – yeah! I guess that’s pretty much it! Thanks to Jen and Beth and Jeri Lynn and Jeffrey and everybody on the concom who invited me. I hope everybody had a good time, and don’t forget the new single!
ps: And also, thanks go out to Tom of the Lundervillains – we traded certain device components on Saturday, and frankly, he was doing me a favour. Muah ha ha. 😀