One of the things consuming my life lately is CONvergence 2013, which will invade on July 4th and then continue through the weekend. CONvergence is the 800-pound gorilla of Minnesota conventions, where an expected 7,000 people will show up and proceed to nerd out, dress up, and boogie down until the whole thing vanishes again like Brigadoon.
CONvergence is my “home” convention. I started attending sci-fi conventions back in the early 1990s with Minicon, which back then was the equivalent 800-pound Minnesotan gorilla. I did some volunteering with Minicon, but it wasn’t until CONvergence started up and inherited the giant-convention mantle from Minicon in 1999 where I really started spending time contributing to the community. I’ve spent a lot of time making tiny segments of CONvergence go, in various capacities: party host, co-head of parties, video team lackey, publications minion, badger, panelist, money counter, general gadfly.
These days, I’m mostly just a panelist. But oh, do they ever put me to work!
Last year, I broke the CONvergence record by sitting on 20 panels in one year. This year, I said I was going to take it easy, so I wound up cutting my schedule down from 22 panels back down to 20. Ah, the easy life!
Thus, if you spend any time in a random panel room at CONvergence next week, there is something like a 5% overall chance I’ll be talking at you for an hour. It seems like a 20-panel slate would make for a larger percentage, but that’s just a testament to just how much amazing stuff happens at CONvergence every year. And that’s just panels. That doesn’t count the parties and the dances and the dealers room and the art show and Paul Cornell teaching everyone in the parking lot how to play cricket. (Okay, the Paul Cornell thing actually is on the panel schedule, but I think you get my point.)
Anyway, if you actually want to catch me at CONvergence and say hello (and you should!), here’s where you can find me:
THURSDAY, JULY 4th
2:00 PM Atrium 6: Movie Sweding and You
We will be talking about making silly movies on the cheap. Plus, we will launch a contest where convention attendees will make their own sweded films over the weekend, which will be shown on Sunday.
3:30 PM Sofitel Bordeaux: The Geek Life Live
The full team from The Geek Life podcast will be recording live, to the delight of the people who manage to find their way to the new panel rooms in the Hotel Sofitel. Yay!
9:00 PM Mainstage: Super-Spy Smackdown
Which fictional spy will win against all the other fictional spies in a totally arbitrary cage match? Our panel of experts will decide!
11:30 PM Bloomington: Poe’s Potables
In this follow-up to last year’s popular Cocktails with Cthulhu panel, our panel of experts will discuss Edgar Allen Poe while drinking Edgar Allen Poe-themed cocktails.
FRIDAY, JULY 5th
11:00 AM Sofitel Dijon: Monty Python
We promise to host a panel about Monty Python, and not just spend the entire thing quoting the Dead Parrot sketch.
12:30 PM Sofitel Bordeaux: Kubrick’s The Shining in Depth
Last year’s Aliens panel went so well, that the same team of people decided to delve deep into The Shining.
2:00 PM Atrium 7: Judging a Book by Its Cover
Our panelists will craft the plot of books based entirely on their cover art.
7:00 PM Plaza 2: Grosser than Fiction
Greg Laden, PZ Myers, and I decided that we wanted to spend an hour just grossing people out with our true life stories of working in the sciences. Laura Okagaki will also be joining us.
11:30 PM Bloomington: Movie Year in Review
This is an annual panel, where we all discuss the films that came out between CONvergences.
SATURDAY, JULY 6th
11:00 AM Sofitel Dijon: Hitchcock’s Legacy
The resident film nerds will be discussing Hitch’s films and their lingering impact.
2:00 PM Atrium 6: PowerPoint Karaoke
This is the CONvergence version of our monthly show, and the CONvergence show is always the best of the year. Four contestants craft a PowerPoint presentation for slides they have never seen before.
5:00 PM Atrium 7: Geeks Without God Live
PZ Myers and I will be guests on the Geeks Without God podcast, which launched exactly one year ago at CONvergence 2012. If they let me, I will re-answer one of the Five Questions, and PZ will back me up on the veracity of my story.
7:00 PM Bloomington: Mega Panel
The Mega Panel is an annual ritual for people who don’t want to watch the Masquerade. I’ve never had the pleasure of actually being on the panel before, so I’m stoked. We promise to talk about everything except the Masquerade.
8:30 PM Plaza 2: Drinking with Geeks
The annual gladiatorial ode to drinking continues, and this year’s special celebrity guest is the amazing Virginia Corbett. Bring cash to the panel, because there will be a cash bar. Yeah!
11:30 PM Atrium 6: Killer B’s Improv Movie Show
This is the annual show where I edit together old B-movies, strip out the sound, and then show it to a team of voice actors and musicians, who make up an entirely new soundtrack on the spot, without ever seeing the footage before. It’s like Mystery Science Theater 3000 for badasses.
SUNDAY, JULY 7th
9:30 AM Plaza 2: Hungover with Geeks
Come see the sequel to Drinking with Geeks! It’s like AfterM*A*S*H, only different!
11:00 AM Atrium 6: Movie Sweding Festival
Come see short, silly movies that were made during the CONvergence weekend!
12:30 PM Sofitel Lyon: First Issue Live Comic Book Review
The team of the First Issue videocast will be looking at the first Dr. Who comic books.
2:00 PM Atrium 6: Art: Impossible
Iron Artist has evolved into a new show called Art: Impossible, where artists compete against each other in challenges of varying difficulty.
3:30 PM Sofitel Dijon: Canines in Fact, Folklore, Fiction, and Film
Our 11th annual animal panel will be looking at members of the Canidae family, which includes dogs, wolves, jackals, coyotes, and foxes. And, presumably, werewolves.