A Con In Search Of An Audience

When gearing up for Baycon every Memorial Day weekend since 1997 I have to steel myself for masses of people, energy, ideas, and dozens of new BFFs. Unfortunately this year the numbers were down by almost half. This made a quieter than usual con at the Santa Clara Hyatt Regency next to the convention center. A lot of friendly faces were missing. But there were a number of new ones..

So we had a stroll through the paces of panels and readings, of costumes, books, and filk.

Oh my gosh the filk! Baycon has some of the best music presence on the circuit. BVC member Maya Kaatherine Bonhoff and her husband Jeff put on a stellar performance of both original and parody music. They promoted their newest album “Mobius Street.” Check out Maya’s bookshelf for links. My favorite song of their original music is finally recorded on this album. “Crossing The High Desert” speaks to me. When I first heard it at a previous Baycon, I dashed out of the concert to add a scene to the mostly written and revised “Moon In The Mirror.” The haunting nostalgia of the music inspired a scene that gave my character closure on a serious issue and allowed her to take on a dangerous task with equanimity. Bravo Jeff and Maya.

Maya moderated a panel on Alternative Publishing. I sat in on the panel with three other people weighing in opinions on e-publishing and small press. Maya and I talked a lot about Bookview Café and passed out book marks. Most of the audience seemed to be writers. I’m wondering if we’ll start seeing BVC clones popping up all over the internet.

Costuming is a big part of Baycon; hall costumes as well as the formal masquerade. Everything from full Shrek and Fiona gear, to a Classic Star Trek shirt, to just a perky hat. Lots of decorated hats dressing up regular clothing. I succumbed. Normally I look at hats as sun protection and not much else. This one was baby blue with a cute scarf tied into a rosette. I’d just finished reading a Daisy Dalrymple cozy mystery by Carol Dunn set in London 1925. This hat looks like something Daisy would wear. We had good laughs about it.


Did I say the hat is baby blue? Just my color.

Despite the quiet halls and missing faces, Baycon was good. Baycon deserves better attendance. Let’s pray for a better economy next year so the con can shine once more.


About Phyllis Irene Radford

Irene Radford has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. A member of an endangered species—a native Oregonian who lives in Oregon—she and her husband make their home in Welches, Oregon where deer, bears, coyotes, hawks, owls, and woodpeckers feed regularly on their back deck. A museum trained historian, Irene has spent many hours prowling pioneer cemeteries deepening her connections to the past. Raised in a military family she grew up all over the US and learned early on that books are friends that don’t get left behind with a move. Her interests and reading range from ancient history, to spiritual meditations, to space stations, and a whole lot in between. Mostly Irene writes fantasy and historical fantasy including the best-selling Dragon Nimbus Series and the masterwork Merlin’s Descendants series. In other lifetimes she writes urban fantasy as P.R. Frost or Phyllis Ames, and space opera as C.F. Bentley. Later this year she ventures into Steampunk as someone else. If you wish information on the latest releases from Ms Radford, under any of her pen names, you can subscribe to her newsletter: www.ireneradford.net Promises of no spam, merely occasional updates and news of personal appearances.


A Con In Search Of An Audience — 5 Comments

  1. I’ve only been to Baycon once, but obviously must go back — hopefully before my son graduates from Santa Clara U. Over at Balticon, they were actually doing well with membership, not a huge jump but no slump either. The dealers reported good sales, and speculated that instead of springing big $ to go to Worldcon or World Fantasy, local fen were attending Balticon only.

  2. Miscon in Missoula reported a jump in membership from 300 to 500 and good sales. I think people are restricting travel and attending more local cons. Most of Baycon was local. The missing bodies seemed to be the out of towners.

  3. Wiscon caps its membership at 1000, and there were just about that many people there. I feel a little guilty that I miss Baycon to go to Wisconsin, but until they invent cloning I’m going to have a hard time being at both cons.

    The hat’s adorable, Phyl.