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.

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