Excerpts from convention reports

TrekFest 89

This was the first time I had met Ann in person. It was she who affectionately dubbed Emrys "bounce," citing Eeyore's definition of Tigger.

It had been a long trip from Austin to Houston, and we had a tired, cranky critter (now aged 3, by the way) and I was beginning to wonder if it had been worth it. One good thing that happened was I went over to the Blake's Several table and they recognized me (I'd sent them some submissions for the next issue of Standard by Several) and made quite a fuss over the critter, whom they quite accurately nicknamed, "Bounce."

REVELcon Uno (1990)

For the first time ever, I participated in the costume contest/masquerade. This was one of those deals where you don't just show off your outfit, you do a skit, so Elaine McKannan (a local friend of mine) and I dressed up like Blake and Avon and did my "Mickey Mouse Club March" B7 filk (it appears in GATEWAY TO TIME #5, plug, plug.) "Blake's the one - no he's not! Blake's the one - no he's not! Forever let us follow him or die - DIE DIE DIE!" At the end I shot her, she fell down, I stepped over her, aimed my little toy gun at the audience and smiled. We didn't win, but it was enormous fun, and people kept telling us afterwards how much they liked it.

CON-Tex 10 (1992)
Elaine wasn't at this convention, but her kitties made a starring appearance in my convention report!

I was invited to attend CON-Tex for free, provided that I worked in the hospitality suite for the weekend; I was even offered a free place to stay! The free place to stay was basically an apartment-sitting deal connected to the hospitality-suite job; the reason Blakes Several needed an extra hand was that Elaine was going away for the weekend. The first night I spend at Elaine's apartment was marvelous. She gave me permission to use her tape & zine library, so I had videos to watch, fanzines to read, kitties in my lap two at a time, and a cozy bed all to myself. I didn't even mind very much cleaning up a spot in a corner of the bedroom where the kitties had expressed their displeasure over Elaine's prolonged absence.

Saturday night, for some reason, was The Night of the Cats from Hell. I woke up several times in the night to the sounds of Harley batting metal objects around on top of the dresser, Marco knocking paperback books out of a bookcase onto the floor, and 'Tini clawing the furniture. All of these sounds were accompanied by the scent of fresh new displeasure from the corner of the bedroom. I felt around under the bed - at home I generally chuck sneakers at noisy cats - but Elaine keeps her shoes elsewhere. [The next time I saw Elaine I grabbed her by the lapels and shouted, "You don't keep SHOES under your bed!" This puzzled her greatly.]

REVELcon Tres (1992)

Elaine and I presented her filk about the ordeals of zine writing - a natural for this crowd! - and my B7 Mickey Mouse Club March, which people complain if we don't do. The zine-writing filk is narrated by a writer, with lines for the editor, so we split it up; Elaine, who has the stronger voice, sang the writer's part, while I put in the editor's lines and sang along on the refrain. We also handed pieces of paper back and forth and mimed rewriting, scribbling suggestions, etc. We started our act, however, with a truly sick and twisted piece which I had simply entitled "The Hurt/Comfort Filk." Much to our surprise, after three (not six, Glenda!) years of performing without ever winning, we placed second!

REVELcon 4 con report: (1993)

As Elaine and I walked onto the stage at the costume cabaret, I went right up to the microphone. "By popular demand," I said, "we are not Blake and Avon." This was greeted with applause and laughter. We were both dressed in medieval garb and I had my guitar. We had decided to freshen up our act with some major changes!

The first song we did was an original, serious song about "Yesterday's Enterprise " with words and melody by Elaine. I had worked out the guitar chords and coaxed her to sing it at the cabaret. It was very well-received. Then we did Elaine's "Zine Writer's Lament" - I couldn't act out the usual editorial byplay, but the guitar accompaniment seemed to jazz it up a bit.

There were at least a dozen acts this year. I especially enjoyed the opening group, the "Duras sisters" (a.k.a. the editors of SUPERNOVA et al.), who sang a beautiful song about Edith Keeler and a hilarious filk about Odo, all in gorgeous 3-part harmony. Laurie Keeper and Leah McGrew worked up a hilarious sketch featuring Leah as the Doctor and Laurie as the monster from Shada. Erika Frensley was a stitch as the ferocious She-Wolf of Fandom, with Jamie Ritchey dangling a fanzine like bait to coax her off-stage. A crossover sketch by Media Madness had characters from War of the Worlds, Professionals, and others colliding over a dead body - my favorite moment was when "Lovejoy" calmly appraised and pocketed the deceased's watch. As always, Glenda was a hilarious MC.

Elaine and I were impressed with the competition. So we were surprised and delighted to win third place in the combined costume-and-act category! (Leah & Laurie won first in that one.)

Afterwards, when Elaine and I were heading back to get changed, we were stopped by a total stranger in the hall, who complimented Elaine on her lovely singing voice. Elaine was walking on clouds for the rest of the night!

REVELcon 6

Being a gofer, I had to serve some official time, so I spent four hours Saturday afternoon in the hospitality suite. This is a job I particularly enjoy, because it's a great way to meet and chat with a lot of different people. A couple of people had asked both Ann McKannan (I call her Elaine) and me whether we were going to sing together at the costume cabaret. I think they missed us last year! Well, we hadn't planned to, but since it was suggested. . . . I used some of my free time in the hospitality suite to scribble out a ST:Voyager filk and copy it over neatly for Elaine. She was tickled and agreed to sing it with me.

Soon after my con suite hours were up, it was time to line up for the cabaret. There were quite a few acts, musical and otherwise. The "Babes" did a hilarious act singing "You picked a fine time to leave me Jim Kirk"--with balloons under their matching T-shirts so they all looked pregnant! The Klingons had a cute skit about how Klingons get loans from banks. (Instead of putting up collateral, they have to prove they've made a certain number of kills.) Vivian got to show off her spiffy Zorro costume. Elaine and I appeared as "Ann Squared" and sang the new filk. We were quite unprepared for its boisterous reception--we even got the audience to sing along with the refrain! Cat Boxe Theatre provided entertainment while the judges did their thing. When the prizes were announced, Elaine and I were stunned to hear that we had tied with the Klingon skit for "Best Act!" Vivian also got an Honorable Mention for her costume.

REVELcon 7 (1996)

On Friday afternoon I went to Elaine McKannan's and Jackie Horgan's panel entitled: "What If? Story Writing" which talked about the use of imaginative "what if" scenarios as a basis for coming up with stories. The panelists delved into the issue of creating your own consistent universe, be it original or an alternate version of a fannish one, and engaged in this memorable exchange:
Elaine: "If a writer sets up her own universe and doesn't stick to the rules she's laid out, she won't have a large following."
Jackie: "Or, she might have a large following--all carrying weapons!"

Friday night I stayed over at Elaine's, which was a bit alarming. I slept on the single bed in her guest bedroom, which has recently undergone a startling redecoration. . . . I didn't notice it at night, when everything was dark, but when I woke up in the morning there was a Life Size Avon on the Ceiling Above My Bed! Let me tell you, that is NOT the most pleasant way to wake up in the morning, though Elaine seemed to enjoy my startled squawks!

Elaine McKannan, who also goes by "Ann," and I appeared yet again as "Ann Squared." Glenda cheerfully introduced us as an act that returns "every year, like the viruses they are!" We didn't feel bad 'cause one year we DIDN'T enter, and everybody asked us to come back and do our act again! We performed an updated version of our "Revelcon Hurt/Comfort Filk," having added new verses for popular shows like Due South, Babylon 5, and Star Trek: Voyager. We also made up a verse about REVELcon itself, as we have sometimes done in the past. This year we were inspired by the 10-to-12-year-old girls' soccer team that we saw rather frequently tromping past the convention, gazing wide-eyed at our Klingon security guards. The guards took particular pleasure in posing fiercely, occasionally frightening but usually fascinating their young audience. Hence our verse:

(Tune: Johnny, we hardly knew ye)
At REVELcon we'll have a ball, harroo, harroo
At REVELcon we'll have a ball, harroo, harroo
At REVELcon we'll have a ball,
But watch those children in the hall
Don't let the Klingons eat them ALL--
Candy, we want to thank you

(Candy Pulleine is the organizer who puts REVELcon on every year, bless her heart.) We introduced the song in character as Hans and Franz, the bodybuilders from Saturday Night Live, hefting an (empty) box marked "Fanzines - 10,000 lbs," and teased our audience for being "girly fans"--we were then shooed off the stage by Linda Sparr as "Hauptmann Dietrich." Elaine and I received a "Judges' Choice" award, which tickled us mightily.

Here are the words to several of the songs performed by Ann Squared!

MediaWest*Con 18 (1998)
For the last couple of years, I have been coming to MW*C costumed as Moffitt from the Rat Patrol. It's not an outlandish costume--desert-tan military style clothes with a black beret--but I was always the only one! Linda Sparr, another Ratty fan, supported me by wearing Desert Storm cammies. This year, I was joined by R. K. MacBride as Troy, Catriona MacKirnan as Dietrich, and Gail Barton as Tully--and they brought along a Hitch hat for Linda Sparr, so we had the whole crew!

Ann Elaine McKannan, an old friend of mine from Texas, joined us this year for her first MW*C. She loved costuming, and wore a beautiful blue and gold embroidered gown from the Middle East. It fit right in with the Rat Patrol theme: we introduced her as "The Arab Girlfriend!"

MediaWest*Con Memories from R. K. MacBride
Excerpted from an email R.K. sent me, for which I was very grateful-- I'd forgotten about our spin in the Kuebelwagen!

Although I/we barely knew Elaine, having only met her at MediaWest*Con, I was really looking forward to seeing her again next year, and how much fun she was to be around. She was having such a good time with costuming and impromptu role-playing that it really made the weekend a lot of fun. Her enthusiasm actually helped me quite a bit, as I was feeling very shy around all of you whom I didn't know...I was glad to know her, even just for the one weekend.
[...]I was happy that we got the chance at MWC to take Elaine for a spin in "Brunnhilde" (Catriona's ersatz Kuebelwagen)...she enjoyed it so much, piling into the back seat with Anne and just having a grand time with the whole thing, even though she was not really feeling well at the time. She liked it, and it was fun to spend that time with her.

Later on the phone R.K. reminded me of how Catriona, who had a very precise knowledge of the little car's maneuverability, had changed lanes rather precipitously, whereupon Elaine looked at me and said, "And thou complainest about MY driving...", which got all the car's occupants giggling.

Elaine and the Rats at MediaWest*Con!

More convention stories about how we've remembered Elaine at Eclecticon and REVELcon.

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