Wednesday, June 01, 2011

BayCon, Leprecon, Capricon....oh my!

Wanted to give a belated shoutout to a few cons, and hard-working con teams. I've been the Artist GoH at all three of these this year. While I've been able to thank each of them privately, I haven't had a chance to thank them publicly (thanks to tiny pesky things like Juggling Multiple Major Deadlines, Putting Out Fires, and Working 18-Hour Days). ;) LOL


Back in February, I was Artist GoH at Capricon, which was chaired by Erik Olson. John Scalzi was Author Guest of Honor and packed the rooms wherever he went. Janice Gelb and Stephen Boucher are two of the coolest fans you will ever meet. Helen Montgomery ran a phenomenal slate of programming for all of us. Panels were well-attended and well-executed. Tammy Coxen ran the Green Room like a four-star gourmet kitchen (not kidding). I regret not spending more time there. Steven Silver and Samantha King took care of me as Guest Liaisons. Dave McCarty was terrific and turned me on to the greatness of Chicago-style Italian roast beef sandwiches. He'll also be chairing the 2012 Worldcon. I have very high hopes for that show because of Big Dave's enthusiasm and fresh ideas, and because of Helen. I signed up for that Worldcon onsite, almost purely because I believe in them.

And last but not least, I am a Kerry Kuhn fan. She ran the Art Show at Capricon, and took care of her artists as well as any Art Show director I've ever seen. When Kerry runs an Art Show, the show scratches the Artists' checks onsite, and the artists are handed their check as they walk out the door. Brilliant. Kerry is amongst the few that manages this detail perfectly. Capricon's Art Show was a big success. She ensured that traffic kept pouring through the doors and that big money was spent. Big applause for her, and for all of the Capricon team.


I was Artist GoH at Leprecon one month ago, and it was located at one of my favorite con hotels ever, the Tempe Mission Palms. It's very hard to have a bad con when you have a great locale like this one. Lee Whiteside chaired. Mike Willmoth was Treasurer and Guest Liaison. There seemed to always be 17 Mike Willmoths doing 17 jobs simultaneously. He's very good at that. So is Lee. Kate Moor looked out for me as well, while Cathy Book ran programming. Had a blast with the Darrell K. Sweet family, Ellen Klages, Chris Merle, Glenn Glazer, and Tina Worley. Mad shoutout to the hard-working Dave Gish and Niels McLellan. Both were terrific and took good care of the artists in the Art Show. Dave's father Ray Gish was a long-time beloved Art Show director in the Southwest and Dave continues the tradition of excellence. Very grateful for everyone's efforts and hard work.


Just got back yesterday from BayCon in Santa Clara, CA. The printing on their program book cover may be amongst the finest I've ever seen. Made me do a double-take when I first saw it. I think chairman Robert Toland had a big hand in this, and that was one of many things he got right. He's also hilarious. Wish we would've had more time to hang out, but we both had our duties and they were many. Big thanks to Michael Siladi, Alison Stern, Tycho Petersen, Cruz Arellanes, Albert Baker, Sally Rose, and all of the Art Show and Tech heads and teams that worked with me.

When I walked into the Art Show room, there was a super-high ceiling that would've defeated most cons, but not Baycon. Thanks to the Art Show and Tech teams combined efforts, they rigged a drop ceiling grid of lights that was genius and well-done. Big applause to all of them and the gofers for pulling that off. It was literally the difference between night and day.

BayCon also had one of the coolest con t-shirts I've yet seen using my artwork. Very well done, thanks to Scott Dennis.

I loved the bar area at this con, and the way it circulated into an outer seating area toward the pool. It's a near-perfect diagram for a social bar, and again, Tycho was brilliant as Hotel Liaison.

2011 Hugo nominee Christopher J. Garcia was in the house and is quite frankly one of my favorite people on the planet. The big family-style Chinese dinner we had with his girlfriend Linda, Author Guest of Honor Mary Robinette Kowal, Sandra Tayler, Marty & Diane Halpern, and Jacob & Rina Weisman was one of my con highlights.

I previewed some sneak peeks of a few 2012 A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE Calendar artworks and was gratified to hear cheers and applause from the audiences that got to see them. Thanks, folks!

Shoutouts to Dani and Eytan Kollin, Jaym Gates, Josephine Gray, Glen Barrett, Kent Brewster, Anders Hudson, Jeremy Lassen, and Francesca Myman.

Last but not least though -- mad shoutout to Tobi Schneider who completely rocked this con. She was the MVP because she joined as Guest Liaison less than a month before con, and worked tirelessly to make everything right. There was nothing she couldn't do, and she never lost her cool. Her hard work and efforts will be one of my enduring memories of this con. Tobi -- take a bow!!

Bay Area science fiction/fantasy fans have the reputation of being amongst the sharpest and most literate sf/f fans anywhere in the US. They are. They know their stuff backwards and forwards, and it was an honor to be amongst them. Bartenders extraordinaire Kevin Roche and Andy Trembley invited Mary and I to a BASFA meeting on the last night of the con, and it was a good cap to the weekend. Thanks to the BASFAns for their kindness and hospitality.

Back home now and time to get back to work. And again -- huge thanks to all at Capricon, Leprecon and BayCon for their hard work and great efforts. Very honored and grateful that we're all in this community together. Looking forward to seeing many of the above at Worldcon in Reno.:)


Anonymous Robert Toland said...

If I make it to WorldCon, I will look you up. Also San Antonio 2013, You know where the BBQ is... Take me to your Dealer...

9:17 PM  
Blogger tlsthatsme said...

Thank you!! Not just for being such an easy guest and so easy to please, but for truly helping to make con such an amazing experience. I am so very in awe, and your chosen pieces in the art show were incredible. The oil original with black, grey, and white tones was breathe taking! I will never forget.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Rellie said...

I just wanted to say thank you again for signing the wonderful picture that SallyRose managed to get for me! It already has a space of honor on my wall where I can view it daily.

Hoping to get to see you at another Con - your work is magnificent and I want more of it!! Rellie

11:42 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Robert -- Will do.

Tobi -- Thanks very much. Again, sorry I didn't get to say a proper goodbye. The auction at the Dead Dog seemed to have no end in sight and I just ran out of gas. Plus I had to leave at 4:45am that morning. You were terrific. I appreciate everything you did.

Rellie -- Very good to hear it. Thanks very much. :) Hopefully we'll see each other again down the road. Maybe Worldcon/Reno?

7:15 AM  
Blogger Trouble said...


Appreciate the kind words, but I will NOT be cutting artist checks on-site at Chicon 7.

Kerry aka Trouble

11:35 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks for the info, Kerry. Worked great at Capricon, and I know artists appreciate your attention to detail. :)

As you know, it costs so much $$$ for pro artists to attend a Worldcon (framing, packing, shipping, insurance on top of the airfare, hotel and $$$ registration that everyone pays). This year's Worldcon is working hard to make the show an attractive one for pro artists and I think they're doing a kickass job in the planning stages. That said, anything future Worldcons can do onsite to make the show less hassle for artists is smart. When you consider that the artists have so much more hassle going IN to a Worldcon than authors, agents, editors, filkers, and fans, it makes sense to have less once at the show, right? Waiting weeks and weeks for cons to process Art Show checks is a big negative, and artists have to consider that when choosing to participate in a show.

Unfortunately, I see many pro artists choosing to participate in other shows instead of Worldcon. Worldcons can be a complicated machine, but from the pro artists' standpoint, we (increasingly) have to look at the bottom line for these things, and that includes cash flow and how a con impacts that.

12:37 PM  
Blogger shsilver said...


Chicon 7 doesn't want to make any promises it may not be able to keep and what works for a $1,000 person con, like Cap may not work for a 5,000+ con like a Worldcon.

That said, we are going to make the entire artshow process as painless as possible for the artists and we should have a timeline in place well before artshow submission which will outline the payment policy with a reasonable timeline for processing.

7:10 AM  

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