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The Desk's Coverage Story
©04 The Media Desk
"Losers will be Sacrificed. The Tiki god awaits offerings." Sign outside Gaming Oasis (on Tiki idol).
"Please be considerate. Do not play games with sticky fingers." Sign in gameroom (and elsewhere).
"Player of Strange Card Games." Button on convention attendee.
The Gameroom is the scene of much of the focus for some convention goers. You can spend all weekend deeply engrossed in gaming . Well, most of it.
They do enforce, somewhat, the 5-2-1 rule for gaming at the Con. Players MUST get five hours of sleep, two meals, and one shower every 24 hour period. However there were a few that seemed to be in the 'Gaming Oasis' whenever the door was unlocked, so if they got their required sleep and so on, who knows.
the role of the editor is to: "Create an environment in which the writer can do his best work". Panelist in writing workshop.
"... to Do what has not been done before". NASA unofficial mission statement, lecturer in hard science workshop.
"So the question isn't 'Is there room for God in SciFi' but 'Is there room for God in Mass Publication'." The Desk's fiancé's remark after the Religion in SciFi panel.
The Convention also offers panels and discussion groups covering everything from fan written adult themed versions of mainstream shows and publications to hard science groups dealing with Astronomy and Cosmology and real word technical applications. Such as the SciFi sounding use of magnetic fields for propulsion or levitation or using electrical impulses to heal broken bones or re-attaching torn retinas with light pulses.
You could learn how to make chain mail or post your fanzine on a website. The Con organizers seem to have gone out of their way to have some sort of panel discussion for every possible taste.
"Oh, Chocolate is allowed." Decision by room host for Art Auction. (drinks are banned)
"You Obey." Key concept in martial arts training for screen fighting. Fight Choreographer at filmmaking presentation.
There are professionals, amateurs, masters, doctors, fans, groupies and everything in between and then some doing almost everything all weekend.
Shane Felux had a dream, and now Panic Struck Productions is making a film. Just like that. Well, almost like that. He recruited friends who could (or couldn't) act, who contacted other friends who did scenery, who had a cousin who did lighting, who knew somebody that knew sound. And so on. The final effort is better than some films Hollywood has done, and at least as good as most of their other efforts. And these guys did it with a working budget of… well, lunchmoney.
The Art Auction is a good place to see the efforts of artists young and old. Some are very talented, others are, well intentioned. Some of the works sell for a significant amount of money, others don't sell.
"Candy for a Cure." Group selling candy to support a Relay for Life team.
"Anything for Jimmy." Donator to the effort to raise money for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for James Doohan.
singing (badly): "Scott Bak-u-la!" Auctioneer at Charity Auction for American Cancer Society.
Charity is a major focus of most convention events. Whether as a tribute to a favorite actor, such as the fund raising for Mr. Doohan's star (the actor is in failing health) or more recognized groups such as the Cancer Society, charity is as much a part of Farpoint as is people in costumes or debates about movie robots having a soul.
In the Charity Auction a script signed by the actors of the series "Enterprise" went for two hundred and twenty five dollars. Another group accepted loose change for another cause. A ticket for a raffle for "Scotty's Star" cost a dollar.
"If you use your light saber to open a beer... You might be a Jedi Redneck." Skit in Masquerade.
"Six rolls of Duct Tape." Duct Tape Man in Masquerade.
"I think all the kids that enter get a prize..." Audience member at Masquerade.
It is as much the heart of the Con as anything else.
It usually draws the largest single crowd of the weekend. And provokes the biggest laughs, applause, and groans.
IT… is the Masquerade. Part show, part competition, part…. Well, part high camp send up of all things in Fandom. The rest of the Con, except for the game room where all other realities step aside, pretty much stops for it. The bar is basically deserted. People in the halls are either coming to or from the ballroom where the costumed participants are on display.
They don't do it for the prizes or trophies, although some of each are awarded in the various categories, they do it simply because they want to. Some spend hundreds of dollars for one costume for this one night. Others much less. Duct Tape Man spent enough to get about six rolls of tape. Some go all out and make their costume as elaborate as it can be, others look like they are wearing their pajamas and some makeup. In the case of the kids, they often are.
But it would seem, just based on observation, they are all having a lot of fun. Even the staff that crouch in the dark next to the stage "Stage Ninjas" to keep the masked performers who can't see where they are going from falling off are having fun. Except when they get sprayed with apple juice during a 'wardrobe malfunction'.
Oh yes, the Andorian Salesmen won the adult division.
"I was in 'Nam, '74 to '75." Convention Attendee on Friday.
"You're the one that broke the chair in the bar." Somebody recognized the Desk after it proved that gravity still works weekends.
"I didn't do the Darth Vader themed Macarena" Another Attendee Sunday Morning.
"They're just ordinary people that have something in common having a good time." Observation by the Desk's fiancé.
Most of all the Con is the People. From the celebrities to the guy in the Roman Centurian hat in the game room. From the tall girl at the registration desk who keeps a straight face no matter who or WHAT comes up for a name badge to the Vietnam Vet that works nights and writes vampire stories to amuse himself and his friends. From the Predator to the pretty woman in the red dress… the Convention is about the People.
Some are die hard fans, others are there to make a buck selling old comic books or videos. There are a few there to watch the whole thing and take notes and pictures (see write-up on how the Desk does these things and stays passably sane). Some show up because it is the only place they can find a game of 'Talisman' that runs three days straight. Others come in just for the dealer's room because they want a good deal on a crystal necklace. Or they come because their friends come. Whatever reason they are there they are there and they enjoy it.
Farpoint 2003 was, all things considered, a success. Even with three feet of uninvited snow coming to stay for the weekend.
Farpoint 2004 seems to have been, at first review, just as much a success.
Farpoint 2005 will be 11 - 13 February at the Hunt Valley Marriot, in Baltimore, and YOU are invited to attend.
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[NOTE: Farpoint, Star Trek, Talisman, the Marriott Hunt Valley Inn, Predator, etc, and all related identifying names and marks are properties of their respective owners. All individuals represented are private citizens and real names are not used by the Desk. The Media Desk is not affiliated or otherwise attached to any of them. The Media Desk is a registered fully qualified domain operating as a Journalistic outlet. Opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of anything affiliated with the Farpoint Con. ]