Home again, home again....
1. Our 1st anniversary -- March 17th: we arrived in Seattle. Pike Place Market was even more fabulous than we expected. Il Bistro was as romantic as it gets. However, our highlight was the Six-Seven at the Edgewater Hotel. Yes, it's the place where the Beatles famously fished out of their hotel room window. However, Traci and I will instead remember it for its picture-perfect views of Elliott Bay, great happy hour drinks (homemade gin and tonic!), elegant modernism, and the super-cool Edward Scissortree decor.
2. Three days of food, sun (yes, sun in Seattle in March), and sights -- A few Seattle faves on our 1st journey there: Serious Pie (fabulous wood-fired gourmet pizza); the Dahlia Lounge (decadent triple coconut cream pie); Seattle Mystery Bookshop; Seattle Paperworks in Pike Place Market; Piroshky Piroshky (smoked salmon pate piroshky -- we lust for these pastries even now); the amazing Zanadu Comics flagship store; and the mind-blowing Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum (thanks, Therese!!). :) Monorail and EMPSFM pictured above.
3. University Bookstore: the great and powerful Duane Wilkins calls the shots for sf/fantasy at this super-mecca. One of the most diverse and thoughtful selections you'll see anywhere, as well as one of the most badass graphic design shelves I've ever seen in any bookstore. I signed there Wednesday night along with Patrick Rothfuss, Naomi Novik (in town for her first-ever GOH appearance -- go, Naomi), and some very cool new friends (mad shoutouts to them below).
4. Norwescon 31 Highlight #1: Jeremy Lassen (or as he prefers -- Jeremy Fuckin Lassen)...Jeremy and I have known each other a lot of years but Friday night at Norwescon was downright surreal. I still doubt it actually happened...probably a waking dream. It went something like this: I dreamed that I was in a sprawling labyrinthine hotel and there was a huge con going on, full of costumed freakery floating through the halls. Jer was pimping large in one of his signature zoots and he and I were trolling the halls together looking for friends and parties. We encountered the following sights along our journey: an auction for slaves and chocolate (WTF?); a hotel room where nurses in tight-fitting uniforms offered handmade sushi; across from the nurses, a blacklight room with pounding techno music and lots of black leather in the shadows; a party with a sign on the door that required a $50 cover charge for entry and when we opened the door, a guy sat on his bed staring at his TV (we promptly pivoted and scurried away...fast); a generous and festive Radcon room party; and a visit to Maxi's atop the hotel where we were completely alien to the R&B clubbers, yet Jer was ogled approvingly by the ladies in the house for his pimp threads. However, none of this could prepare us for The Party At The End of the Universe at the La Quinta Across The Street. One word -- bacchanalia. Sheer. Unadulterated. Bacchanalia. Heaven help the poor souls in this hotel that WEREN'T attending Norwescon. This wasn't a party; this was an Animal House techno-rave in Wonderland, and Alice lost her mind five drinks ago. Imagine dark, pounding goth/techno dance floors packed with costumed flesh, connected to a gigantic outdoor party tent where a lone barman serves all manner of libations to more costumed masses unleashing their inner freak. Lots and lots of costumes, and lots and lots of inner freak. Like I said, it probably didn't really happen and in fact, was all just a dream....
5. Norwescon 31 Highlight #2: New friends....The-Force-of-Nature-That-Is-Cherie Priest; her super-cool husband Aric; Mario Acevedo (homeboy! See you down the road for sure); Kat Richardson and husband Jim; Richelle Mead; Caitlin Kittredge; and Mark Henry.....you folks are a pleasure to be around. You know you're with pros when you hear the following...."I've gotta get back to my room and work on my workshop material" (Caitlin Kittredge transitioning seamlessly from partyhopping-to-business at 12:30am...damn, that's pro....); "....so, yeah, after I finished my second masters degree...." (super-cool Richelle Mead gracefully and graciously lets me know that one of us is probably a member of Mensa, and it's not me); and "the titles of my books so far are X-RATED BLOOD SUCKERS, THE NYMPHOS OF ROCKY FLATS, and THE UNDEAD KAMA SUTRA" (none other than Mad Mario Acevedo). You people rock. Holler anytime....
6. Norwescon 31 Highlight #3: Jon Armstrong....pictured left in a psychic staredown match with editor/publisher Lassen at the PKDs....his book GREY (Night Shade Books) was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Awards on Friday night, along with six others including Adam Roberts' GRADISIL (Pyr) and Sean Williams' SATURN RETURNS. Jon didn't win on this night, but I suspect he'll have awards victories aplenty in future. A hilarious guy, and a pleasure to hang out with all weekend.
7. Norwescon 31 Highlight #4: Jay Lake and Ken Scholes....Jay was awesome as always. That was a fun dinner at Roasters!! (Special shoutout to the guy that covered the tab for the whole freaking table of 12....his name was Scott, right? Scott (if I have his name correct) also managed to sport one of the coolest utilty belts ever, with flasks of prime whisky at the ready....I salute you, sir.) Congrats to Ken on his forthcoming first book from Tor....go, man, go.
8. Norwescon 31 Highlight #5: Adrienne Loska....who raised over $3400 at Norwescon, for Alzheimer's research with her Match-It-For-Pratchett efforts. Wow.....way to go, Adrienne!
9. Norwescon 31 Highlight #6: Dan and Karen Simmons....Traci loved Dan's book THE TERROR and we very much enjoyed our quality time with these good folks. Great meal at Dave's Diner on Sunday night and Traci and Karen even managed to escape the con and hit the Seattle Art Museum on Saturday (for which I was very jealous).
10. Norwescon 31 Highlight #7: WEIRD TALES' 85th Anniversary Party....congrats, WEIRD TALES!!! Good times.
Whew....Norwescon 31 was a blast, and the con's smofs and conrunners know how to do a show the right way. 3000-plus attendees this year and going very strong. Doug and Pat Booze -- you put on a terrific art show. William Sadorus, Sunny Jim, and Tracy Knoedler -- you made everything look easy, and Traci and I can't thank you enough for your hospitality. Jordan Orr and Walt Thomas -- thanks for making the slideshow work smoothly! Don Glover -- that's one of the classiest con booklets I've ever seen. Top to bottom -- this con was a joy and worth the effort to travel all the way from Texas. Maybe we can do it all over again another year soon!