Saturday, February 26, 2011

An OSFest 4.0 Fanzine?

By Trudy V. Myers; editor and publisher of Ship To Shore

Somebody suggested that OSFES hold a 'fanzine workshop' at OSFest 4.0. Remembering the hours and hours of typing and layout I used to do, back when I did fanzines, my first reaction was, "No way! Can't be done!"

Since then, the back burner of my mind has been mulling it over and … maybe it could.

Very early fanzines were just a collection of content – letters, stories, whatever – slapped together, mimeographed and disbursed. There was little or no editing done on the contents. There may not have been a coherent page-numbering system or a cover or even a method of holding the pages together.

Certainly, something like that could be done. Would doing it serve any purpose? Because if you're going to offer this as a workshop, there should be some purpose, something people will learn from participating.

I see 3 groups who might be interested in how such a workshop did; the writers who might have their stuff in the 'zine, the workshoppers who want to learn how to do a 'zine, and readers who might be interested in the final product. And if done right, a workshop could benefit all three groups. The writers might get a clue how their writing is doing; the workshoppers might get a glimpse into the life of an editor/publisher, and the readers might actually have something decent to read.

Plans are extremely nebulous right now, but these are my rough thoughts on how such a workshop might work:

  1. People who want to submit their work for consideration for the OSFest 4.0 fanzine would have to send them in early. I'm thinking we should keep the size of these stories short, maybe 2,000 words each, because I don't want the workshoppers to miss everything else happening at the convention as they try to slop their way through 100,000 words of stories in 24 hours!
  2. People planning to attend OSFest 4.0 who want to participate in the fanzine workshop would need to check in with The Publisher on Friday to get their assignment. They would be handed their share of the stories in the 'slush pile' to read and decide what was 'good enough' to be considered. They would be given a few basic instructions, such as "If a story hasn't caught your attention by the end of the first page, stop reading; you don't have time."
  3. In Phase 2 of the workshop, either Saturday night or Sunday morning, the workshoppers would meet again to make their final decision. Stories that did not 'make the grade' would be packaged up for the return home, perhaps with a few comments by the 'workshop participant' to the author. The others would be put together, pages numbered, a Table of Contents page added, and maybe a 'cover'. Then it would get shipped off to a copy shop for reproduction.
  4. Would the workshoppers need to gather together one more time to correlate the pages and bind them in some way? Or would we ask the copy shop to do that?
  5. At – or slightly before – closing ceremonies, the finished product would be available for sale at a price that would cover the printing costs.

I haven't worked out where the money comes from to get the printing done. And now that I've put some thoughts down on paper, I can see places where things could be done differently.

Any thoughts? Any interest? Speak now or I'll tell Programming to put this idea back on the shelf.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Brigadier has passed

William Nicholas Stone Courtney, better known to Dr. Who fans as Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart or just The Brigadier, died yesterday after a short illness.

Nicholas Courtney, the son of a British diplomat born in Cairo, Egypt in 1929, made guest appearances on The Avengers and The Champions before becoming a regular on Dr. Who. His first appearance on Dr. Who was in the 1965 serial; The Dalek Master Plan (most of which is missing, though a scene with Mr. Courtney still exists) as Space Security Agent Bret Vyon with William Hartnell. In 1968 he was the director's second choice for the role Colonel Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in The Web Of Fear with Patrick Troughton. By The Invasion, again with Patrick Troughton, he had been promoted to Brigadier and formed U.N.I.T. This rank and organization would carry him through the entire run of John Pertwee and several episodes of Tom Baker. By the Peter Davidson era, the Brigadier had resigned from U.N.I.T. and taken a position as a school teacher. His appearance with Colin Baker was a "Children In Need" special called Dimensions In Time which is available on YouTube. Finally he donned his old uniform one last time to appear with Sylvester McCoy in Battlefield. He has also worked on radio plays with Paul McCann, allowing him to have worked with all the Classic Dr. Whos. His final appearance as the Brigadier was on a two-part episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures; Enemy of the Bane.

The interplay between Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and whichever Doctor he was working with, took what could easily have become cardboard characters and breathed life into the roles. The world is a smaller place for the lose of his presence.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Omaha Costuming Day - Wrap Up

I'd like to thank everyone who came out and made our first Omaha Costuming Day a success.

Three duct tape dummies were taped together, including a full-body one. Several cat tails were produced with men relearning the art of using a sewing machine. Talks on how to create costumes with resorting to needle and thread, and how to present you costume on stage were given. And the Steampunk Society of Nebraska help several of us begin construction of steam guns.

We had nice weather, good facilities, and good attendance. To everyone who attended; everyone who taught something; and everyone who helped in the planning: Thanks you. Costuming in Nebraska is growing strong.

But the fun will not stop here. Costuming, cosplay, garb are all terms for the creation of a persona; a persona of someone you would like to be. You learn from others how to accomplice that vision. So to help with the interaction between visionaries, the Nebraska Iowa Costuming Community has been created on Facebook. Be a part, share you hobby, ASK how others do their incredible creations. And we will find you the venues where you can bring your visions to life.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Omaha Costuming Day

If you haven't marked your calendars yet, Omaha Costuming Day is this Saturday. Have you picked out the classes you would like to take yet?

If you need something to display your costume on or just hold it while you work on it, build a Duct-Tape Dummy. Wondering what you can do with fabric if you can't thread a sewing machine, we have a Non-Sewn Costume class. And Cassie has done wonders with having to prick her fingers on those sharp pointy needles. Need a prop to get your Steampunk outfit started, detail a squirt gun into a Steampunk Gun. If you have been collecting honoraries over the years and need show them off, create your own Klingon Honor Sash and wear them proudly. Feel like a cat in human skin, create a set of Cat Ears and Tail for your next convention foray. With Peter Jackson working on The Hobbit, now would be the time to get ideas about costumes from Middle Earth: Hobbits, Elves, and Dwarves, Oh My! Take scraps and build a wonderful head dress to compliment your costume-robe. Or just bring a project you would like some help on and we will have people ready to assist you.

But come and meet fellow costumers, even if you don't think you are one. They can be contagious and fun. See you Saturday!

Friday, February 4, 2011

OSFES' Bot Droppings

Your update on OSFES events
OSFest 4.0: System Upgrade – coming in July.

OSFest is still months away but we are working hard to make sure our fourth convention has plenty of fun for everyone. Go to for information on the (NEW!) hotel, registration, guests, etc. Coming in the next few days: details on our Science Guest of Honor. Hint - He can explain the physics of dark matter and has been to OSFest before. But you don't have to wait till the next convention to have fun...


Omaha Costuming Day is just around the corner

February 12, at the W. Dale Clark Library in Downtown Omaha, OSFES will be hosting OCD from 10AM - 5:30PM. If you cosplay, or are interested in checking it out, you're welcome to stop in and learn from folks who take this stuff way too seriously! Ever wanted to make a Duct Tape dummy, but were too shy to ask to be taped up by your boyfriend? We've got a workshop for that. Have you been lying awake nights because you don't have a cool Steampunk Gun? We've got a workshop for that. Need a sash to display all the terrific awards you've recieved, built a Klingon Honor Sash. Just want to learn how to better present your creation, we've got a class for that.

The event is FREE, but if you want to actually make something yourself to take home during a session, there will be a nominal ($3-$8) fee for materials. We've got some great instructors lined up to share their love for what they do, so come on out to join them.

For more details and a schedule of events see "Omaha Costuming Day" on Facebook.


The friendly folks at OSFES

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Creature Feature Live! The Night a Nebraskan Classic Returned

By Jason Burns

On January 29, Aksarben Cinema presented Dr. San Guinary's Creature Feature Live! the first of what they hope will be a monthly event. For their first show, they did the 1957 Sci-Fi classic 20 Million Miles To Earth, starring William Hopper, Joan Taylor and Thomas Browne, directed by Nathan Juran, with visual effects by Ray Harryhausen. The movie is about the return of the first U.S. spaceship from Venus that crash lands in the Mediterranean Sea. The only survivor, Col. Robert Calder (Hopper), is rescued by local fishermen where they find out that a creature they brought back called Ymir has escaped and heading towards Rome.

Almost expected this being the first Creature Feature they had a few bugs to work out. The start time was supposed to be 10:30PM but people weren't let into the theater until 10:40 and then they had some problems with the timing of the show. The event was set up like the old Dr. San Guinary T.V. show where they had an opening host segment to introduce the movie. Local film historian Bruce Crawford read a brief acknowledgement from Ray Harryhausen and also had some actors perform a short sketch. As the night went on, they stopped the film in different places to do some more sketches and got smoother with the transition between film and sketches. After the movie, they moved the props out to the lobby, where they set up a met and greet with the actors and had photo ops.

Over all, it was a fun time, and I'm looking forward to future shows. Aksarben Cinema promises that they are working on other events similar to the Creature Feature and they announced that the next Creature Feature, on February 26, is going to be the original 1933 King Kong. The first show was sold out, so if you want to go to the next one, you might want to look into buying your tickets early.