San Francisco, Part 1; Convolution

I’ve been back in San Francisco since October, and been quite busy, thankfully.

Over Halloween weekend I attended Convolution, a convention being held for just the second time. It took place at the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame, which is a really cool location with a giant indoor atrium (I like a nice atrium) and an odd but endearing shape (I am fond of those too, looking at you Escher Marriott!) full of nooks and crannies for late night conversations and adventures.

Aside from some problems at registration, which was extremely friendly and helpful but very slow, the convention seemed to run very smoothly and I had a really great time. The theme was Gates of Horn and Ivory, Realms of Dream. So fantasy centered, and working heavily with the theme to create a unified atmosphere, which I always enjoy. The guests included Richard and Wendy Pini of Elfquest, Brian and Wendy Froud and their son Toby Froud, and the central Saturday night event was the Goblin King’s Masked Ball. Many of the public spaces where decorated in theme as well, and attendees were encouraged to costume along. The choice of panelists and musical guests also meant that the theme flowed nicely to the panels and other areas, creating a lovely immersive experience.

I missed most of the Ball, unfortunately, but the idea of Kickstarting it to allow for a grander show without taking away resources from the rest of the convention seems to have been successful. And the Art Show and Dealer’s Room were both excellent, the former was direct sales only–which may actually be a better way of simplifying the experience for artists and buyers alike–and the latter was one of the better ones I’ve seen, with themed vendors dominating one side of the room and then flowing into a wider variety on the other end, I assume this was done on purpose and it felt very natural.

In the end a convention is about people, though, and I met a bunch of excellent new folks at Convolution. Some of whom were Bay Area convention veterans that I had just never happened to meet before. Among them the good people of the Nerdvana Podcast, who were tons of fun to chat with.

The party floor was good as well, which is a large part of what makes a good convention for me. Late Friday night in the party I talked my way onto a “harassment in fandom” panel on the basis that it was going to be male-dominated otherwise, and that ended up going very well thank goodness. The other panels I saw were good, including a silicon mold demo by Mette Hedin and Bryan Little.

Next year’s theme is science fictional, ‘Halfway Home’, and assuming I’m in the area I will definitely be there again.



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