Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Conventions After Hours!

Okay you’ve spent the day at the convention, attended several panels, spent money in the dealer’s room, bid on several pieces of art in the art show, and faced down the hungry troll (I'm not talking about your girl friend) in the gaming room. So what do you do after all these activities have wrapped up for the night?

Room parties!!!

Most science fiction conventions today block a certain number of rooms on a floor isolated from the rest of the hotel. These rooms are for people who wish to host a party in their room after the convention activities have wound down. Since they are separate from non-convention goers staying at the hotel noise associated with party activity won’t bother them and party-goers are freer to engage in animated discussions.

So exactly what is a room party? It is whatever the host wants it to be. A lot of conventions host room parties at other conventions to help promote their own convention, book publishers host rooms parties to promote their current lineup of books. Themed parties are also popular. A couple I have seen in the last year have ranged from Vampire, to Battlestar Galactica (both versions in the same party), and A tribute to Hammer Films.

What goes on in the party is again up to the host. Do you serve alcohol, jello shots, food, ice cream? It’s up to the host. Do you play videos, music, party games? You guessed it; it’s up to the host. This year’s Artist Guests of Honor at OSFest 2; John & Denise Garner, typically host a Karaoke party room. So if you like to sing, be there or be a trapezoid.

How do you go about hosting one? First book a room at the hotel, either tell the hotel staff that you wish to be on the party floor or coordinate with the hotel liaison for the convention. Decide what you want to do at the party – why are you throwing it? If it’s your un-birthday make sure you have a cake. Lay in the supplies you need to make that them work, then open your door at the appointed hour and you will have people coming to you. Even if you are not throwing a party, having a hotel room means you can stay at an interesting one longer than if you had to drive home each night.

Are parties just excuses to get drunk? No! Make that; Hell No! Most hosts keep an eye on attendees these days and will cut someone off if they look like they have had too much. Every host is responsible to obey the laws of the state they are in regarding the serving liquor. No one under 21 – and badge coding isn't good enough. Most responsible hosts card younger looking partiers to protect themselves. You are responsible to make sure anyone you serve to is not already falling down drunk. Both of which are not hard regulations to stay within with a little use of common sense.

But what parties are is another chance for like minded individuals to get together in a social setting and enjoy each other company. Talk about what they had done during the daylight hours of the convention. Kibitz about the videos or songs being played, or show off their talent, or lack of, at the Karaoke machine. Best of all, if you stay at a party too long and are too tired to drive home, you just have to go back to your hotel room and bed. Unless you’re the one hosting the party.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Date Change * NEBRASKON'S: BBQ has changed its date!

This just in: the folks planning the First NebrasKon BBQ, Cosplay, and Frisbee Event have changed the date. Since May 24th this year is the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, and so as not to interfere with people’s family plans, they have moved this event back a week. It is now scheduled for Sunday May 31st. Everything else stays the same, including the rainout date of June 7th. This is great news for a lot of the OSFest 2 staff, as we will be in Kansas City this weekend for the annual SF/F convention there: ConQuest.

For more information about the BBQ, please scroll down to my earlier blog. It is still OSFES’ intention to promote fannish activities in whatever their format is. If your group has an activity you would like us to point out to people, please point it out to us.

OSFest 2 scheduling notes:

There will be two special activities of interest to local groups happening at OSFest this year. The first is a Local Anime Group Roundtable, with the other being an Area Gaming Roundtable. Both of these one hour panels are a time available for local groups to get together and meet each other, as well as promote their activities to people that have never heard about them before. OSFES will supply a moderator for each discussion but otherwise keep this event unformatted. There are lots of groups in the Metro area doing things and the more people know about what is happening, the more they can get involved. If you would like to participate in these discussions, just droop me a line and I will get you on the schedule. Either Anime Roundtable or Gaming Roundtable.

There is still room in both the Star Wars minis Hoth Battle on Friday evening and in the Writer’s Workshop on Sunday morning. Sign up today.

Friday, May 15, 2009


One of the goals of the Omaha Science Fiction Education Society is to bring together all the genre groups in the area, so we can get to know each other. There are a lot of fannish activities available in the area and the more everyone knows what everybody is doing, the more each of us can choose what new activities we’d like to try.

Well OSFES is not the only group with this goal. Anime NebrasKon is sponsoring a fannish get together over Memorial Day Weekend. Sunday, May 24th, from 3 (or 4) PM until dusk, they are hosting a potluck BBQ in the Elmwood Park picnic area. Just look for the people in costume/cosplay in the park. In the event of rain, the BBQ will be rescheduled for June 7th.

Now a potluck means that you bring what you can: soda, chips, a covered dish (but remember unless it can be reheated on a grill, it should be designed to be served cold), a dessert. While they say they will be handling the meat, is there ever enough meat at a BBQ. That would also be an option to bring.

This is for everyone in the fannish community to come together and enjoy some good food, genre conversation, play Fizzbin, er, I mean Frisbee and other games, as well as just a good excuse to cosplay. They have even hinted at an Intergalactic water fight, it would probably be a good idea to bring your water armor. Elmwood was one of the first parks in Omaha to put in a Frisbee course. They are still looking for activities for the day, so if you have any ideas or suggestions please send them to: CCOMBS@RUSTYECKFORD.COM

After the event, everyone will be heading over to the Family Fun Center for some DDR and other games. Yes, the organizer is a confessed gaming addict, but we all have our own vices.

The NebrasKon staff is looking to make this a bi-weekly activity. Not necessarily a BBQ every time but something to keep bringing everyone together so we can get to know each other better. They may also schedule some smaller events in between these large type ones so keep watching the Gateway for announcements. Once a month they will bring this event to Lincoln, NE. They started Anime NebrasKon there after all and it is time Omaha and Lincoln fans got to know each other better.

So if you are in town, please check this out and meet all the new friends you didn’t know you had.

OSFest 2 scheduling notes:

There is still room in both the Star Wars minis Hoth Battle on Friday evening and in the Writer’s Workshop on Sunday morning. Sign up today.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Great Root Beer Bomb

Last year the con suite or hospitality room at OSFest featured a keg of 1919 Root Beer. It seemed to be so popular that one of Omaha's more popular Brewmeisters decided to rise to the challenge of preparing home-brewed root beer for OSFest 2. He promises that it will be ready on schedule and tapped shortly after opening ceremonies on Friday night.

Yet it was not without its trials and tribulations. The first batch brewed up was turned into a Root Beer Bomb when a hose connection failed during pressurization. But it was not a total loss; important lessons were learned from that serendipitous mistake. Lessons that he is now willing to share with you.

Check out the “Lessons I learned from home-brewing Root Beer” at www.osfes.org/HomeBrewLessons.htm. Then pass these on to all your friends that they may avoid the same misfortune as our Brewmeister. May he ferment in peace!