GOH: C. J. Cherryh
This was Darkover's first year in another new hotel, and the omens were good. It was a wonderful convention.
Hotel, first: the Timonium Holiday Inn has a large atrium which contains a pool, bar, lounge, and cathedral ceiling the height of the one in St. Paul's. Part of the lounge area became one Huckster's Room -- another was down the hall. Many of the hotel rooms overlooked this atrium or the pool area, and all the con functions: registration, bulletin board, hotel checkin, etc. were here. The function rooms were down the hall.
This year the Meerkat Meade entourage consisted of Thomas and Don, Amanda, Dan, and Doug Warden -- as well as hangers-on Andy Shoemaker and a friend of his, and Mary & Jim. The first five stayed in two connecting rooms . . . a far cry from the Cedar Grove Movement Suite in Boston, but still very convenient and spacious enough for all and their party.
Their party. The Cedar Grove Movement Soiree and Sock Hop was after the masquerade Friday night; Thomas & Don scurried around all Friday evening handing invitations to people. As it turned out, they had the party of the evening, and possibly of the con. C. J. Cherryh was there, and Susan Schwartz, and Linda Woeltjen, and Marty & Bobby, Mary & Jim, Amanda, Debra Feaster, and . . . oh, everyone. Or at least everyone who was anyone.
Once again, the Cedar Grove Movemet succeeded in being the people that they'd always wanted to be.
What else? Programming, of course: Don was on three panels, did a reading and tried some storytelling (one kid showed up, and she had to leave after ten minutes.)
Julia Ecklar spotted Don in the crowd at one of her concerts, and sang Carmen Miranda's Ghost just so they could plug the anthology.
Don had a stunning Saturday lunch with Susan, Linda and the crowd (Thomas was still asleep) and a delightful Saturday-evening dinner (including Thomas) with Marty & Bobby and the rest of the entourage at the Steak & Ale. And they even made it back to the room to watch Red Dwarf on channel 67.
The highlight of Saturday had to have been the impromptu midnight panel. Let's see . . . Amanda, Jim, Thomas, Deborah, Andy and Don were wandering down the hall at midnight, and they went into the main function room. Lo and behold, the microphones were live and the lights still worked. So Andy and Don were the audience, and the other four became the panel, discussing "Strange Things We Do At Cons, and The Fine Points Of Freaking Out the Mundanes."
Well, people started wandering in. By the time folks reached the end of the hall, they knew there was nothing to do . . . and the panel seemed interesting. In the end, the audience numbered over a dozen, and they were raising their hands, asking questions, relating stories -- just like a real panel. The Meerkat Meade contingent left at one, and a couple more people took the dais. Thomas said that the room was occupied until well after 2:30.
They may have started something . . . .
After checking out on Sunday, six valiant souls (Amanda, Deborah, Dan, Doug, Thomas and Don) went to their favorite Chinese restaurant in Hunt Valley, then saw Back to the Future Part II at the York Road Cinema.
It was, all told, one of the best Darkovers ever.