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Rivercon XXII

Copyright 1997, 1998 by Leigh Kimmel

The weekend after that, I went to Rivercon. On Friday I got up early and headed over to Louisville for Rivercon. I'd intended to get a nice early start, but as so often happens, it didn't quite go as planned. I'd just gotten out of town when I realized that I'd left my cellular phone behind. Since it was an incredibly hot day, I figured that I wasn't going to take the chance of getting stranded without it. So I went back to retrieve it, although that added about a half hour to my start time.

I arrived at the Executive West Hotel at about 1:30 PM Central time, which was 2:30 PM Eastern time (although at first I didn't realize that I'd gone far enough east to change time zones). I went to registration and got my badge and signed up to gopher, then took a quick run through the dealers' room before going up to the art show. I found a copy of Sword and Sorceress III, which I quickly bought.

Then I got up to the art show and got my pictures checked in. Since Rivercon sells space by the panel rather than a per-piece charge, I had to decide how many items I could put on the panel before they would start looking crowded. I finally settled on eight of my larger pieces and four more small ones. Then I donated an additional piece for the charity auction, which benefits a local AIDS charity.

When I got done putting my art up, they didn't need any more volunteers in the art show. However the art show director let me know that she'd probably need some volunteers later in the evening, as more people came. So I went over to the con suite to grab a bite to eat.

Sure enough, things got busier after 5PM and I was put to work on roving security. Basically, I wandered around watching to see if anyone might try to steal one of the smaller pieces. (Surprisingly enough, the art show at Rivercon does not require everyone to check their bags, although many people voluntarily left them at the entrance).

After the art show closed for the night, I went to see the parties. However there were only a couple, so I headed up to the con suite for a while before connecting with someone who had crash space and turning in for the night.

On Saturday I headed back to the art show and stuck around there for a while. Surprisingly enough, all four of my small pieces had sold by noon (three went for the immediate purchase price, and the fourth got two bids, the second significantly higher than the immediate purchase price). One of them (a Klingon) was purchased by a man I'd met the previous night in the Star Trek suite.

In the afternoon I participated in an impromptu drawing activity called "Exquisite Corpse." It's something like an artists' jam, only the paper is folded into thirds and one person draws the head, another the body and the third the legs, without being able to see what the other people did. Needless to say, the results were Interesting.

Then I watched while they held the charity auction. There were a few pieces (my own included, but also a very beautiful piece by a pro) that didn't go, but almost everything went. However, the bidding was disappointingly unenthusiastic, which made me wonder if people were saving their money for the art auction that evening.

After the art show closed for the evening, I headed over to the con suite to relax for a while before getting ready for the art auction. The art auction proved to be fairly lively, with a few bidding wars. The best was between Nancy Tucker Shaw and another woman for a huge, beautiful painting of horned lions (biologically absurd, I know, but beautifully executed). It almost reached $200 before the second woman bowed out, although with obvious reluctance.

After the art auction I headed up to the parties. At the Millennicon party I met some of the people from the fanzine FOSFAX, who expressed interest in my art. I showed them the photocopies that I had in my portfolio, and they invited me to come by their open meeting on Sunday to see what kind of filler art they needed.

While I was at the Chicago in 2000 Worldcon bid party, I got to hear Mike Resnick tell some fascinating stories of the early days of Chicago fandom and the first few WindyCons. After he left, the rest of us continued to tell our favorite stories of crazy things happening at cons. I told the story of the Great Bidding War at Capricon two years ago, and about the incorrectly numbered signs at last year's Worldcon which sent guests of the Leather Tea Party to the SFWA Suite instead. I didn't win the midnight drawing (although it would have been Really Cool to have Mike Resnick draw my name, since he came back to do the honors of drawing names), but I did pick up my two regular cards. Then I went to a couple more parties before turning in for the night.

On Sunday I got packed and out of the room, then went over to help with closing the art show. Things cleared out pretty well, and I packed up my remaining pieces at noon. Then I got my t-shirt for having eight hours of volunteer work and went down to the FOSFA meeting. I got to see a number of issues of FOSFAX and got their address.

After that I went up to the con suite to see some people and relax a little before it was time to make the long drive back home. Overall, I was very satisfied by Rivercon and am planning to go back next year.

Copyright 1998 by Leigh Kimmel

For permission to quote or reprint, contact Leigh Kimmel

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