Well, Hal-Con is over for another year. Phew!
I keep telling Joni Crocker that I am not earning my keep there every year. I just walk around and take pictures of women dressed up in a scanty context, but she says I am doing my part. I am thinking about increasing my participation in Hal-Con for next year. Maybe a few pictures of dudes in costumes as well.
In its 4th year, Hal-Con has reached a level of popularity that the original Halcon (minus the hyphen) never achieved. This popularity was amply demonstrated on Saturday when too many people who had pre-paid for their tickets months ago were unable to get in to the World Trade and Convention Centre. When the new trade centre opens in a couple of years, there will be that much more room for that many more people; until then, the organizers will have to make do with the space they have, or try to find another venue in town that is bigger. If there actually is one. Exhibition Park, maybe? Doubt it. Even if it is bigger, the transportation to and from that place is problematic, and the guests used to a good hotel room might be disappointed with the Slumber Inn close by. Nope. The more I think about it, the more I believe that the existing WTCC will have to do for another couple of years.
Wading through the throngs of humanity, especially on Saturday, showed me how popular the con has become in just a few years. Perhaps smaller cons could be held throughout the year, organized by some different folks, but all reporting to the head folks at Hal-Con. I, for one, would love to see Wolfcon return. They started that con in the late 1980's, round about the time I was graduating university. They originally held it in Wolfville at Acadia University. But after... 1990 I think it was, the Dean of Arts put her widdle foot down and would no longer allow the con to use any rooms in the Beverage Arts Centre, probably thinking that people talking about science fiction, fantasy, horror and comic books would somehow sully the reputation of the university and the building. Bitch. So the con moved to the nearby Old Orchard Inn for its last few years, ending in 1996. The 1997 con was announced, some guests booked (including Lawrence Watt-Evans), but because of volunteer and organizer burnout, the con was cancelled. I would like to see it come back in some form, and the popularity of Hal-Con could galvanize its rebirth. A fella can dream. But if it were to happen, I'd be all over that like peanut butter on strawberry jam (without pectin). I had a great time at the couple of Wolfcons I attended. I still regret missing the one in 1993, but the weather was atrocious that weekend. Even so, it would have been my only chance to meet Spider Robinson and his now-late wife Jeanne. It was their only time back to Nova Scotia (that I know of) since their acrimonious move from the East Coast to the West in 1987.
When I see the weariness on the faces of the organizers, I worry about their own burnout. I hope that they can catch a breath before they start working on Hal-Con 2014. I hope that their volunteer base expands. I hope some of the volunteers move up to become organizers who want to put their two cents' worth in. And I hope that Hal-Con is around for many years to come!
Count on me to help out in any way you want me to. I do have some ideas of my own and would like to share them with you.
See you tomorrow.