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  Lympago Forums    Reviews    The Other Arts  ›  Cate J of WA's review of GenghisCon2007 (Moderators: leece, rdm)

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  Author    Cate J of WA's review of GenghisCon2007
rdm
Posted on: January 26th, 2007, 11:58am Quote Report to Moderator
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Reality might not get out of Beta today - O.Timas


Posts: 934
This review is being sent to several folks by email, and also to my 'blog.

I hereby consent to this review being reproduced in any relavent media which
is not primarily intended for profit. Such might include webpages, fanzines,
small print-run books or club newsletters. It may be edited provided such
editing is reasonable. (eg correction of accidental errors. Deliberate
errors should be left intact ! )

GENGHISCON  19 to 21 Jan 2007

Note this is not intended to be an exhaustive review, simply an overview, of
some of what happened there, and some of those present.

Recemtly I attended the annual Genghiscon Convention, it was the 4th
Genghiscon I'd attended (I missed the first 1 or 2 years).
http://www.genghiscon.org

Genghiscon runs annually about this time of year. It is not intended to be a
competitor to Perth/WA's main annual Science Fiction and Fantasy convention
"SwanCon", instead Genghis is intended to be a smaller and cheaper affair.
For the last several years Genghis has been held at the TRINITY
accomodation and convention centre in
Crawley-Nedlands.  This is usually student accomodation being right across
the road from the UWA campus.  As such overnight accomodation is available
onsite quite
cheaply, and free breakfast is included.  At this time of year it is almost
deserted, being in between one school year and the next.

The convention facilities at Trinity are perfectly suited to holding Genghis
conventions.  The inner quadrangle being an open grassed lawn area of approx
2 acres.  There is only one shortcoming of the Trinity centre, it would not
be very wheelchair-friendly.  Attendees need to be able to climb at least
one flight of stairs to access several areas.  The weekend of the convention
the weather was perfect, not a hint of rain, and mild Summer temperatures
with daytime maximums  in
the high 20s and low 30s*C
I arrived almost an hour before the official start-time of 4 pm, on Friday
afternoon.  The organisers were, well, still organising, things, so I had to

wait for awhile before I could get issued with a room-key.  After unloading
my stuff from the car into my room, which I was pleasantly surprised had a
bar fridge (most of the mid-priced rooms, do not), although the installed
air conditioner was cactus.  I decided NOT to ask the organisers to switch
me to a spare room with a working air conditioner as the temperature was
moderate and there were 2 openable windows.  (I had overheard some committee
members talking earlier, while I's waiting, and they had quite sensibly
arranged for a number of extra rooms to be available of all 3 types, basic
$40 per night, with ensuite bathroom for $55 a night, and $95 a night for a
double room with tv and fridge.  Note that share bathrooms and kitchens are
located dotted around the upper 2 floors of the 3 storey accomodation
blocks.

I checked out the timetable and also the
video-room timetable.  Also, yay, same as last few year, the organisers
had arranged for a table to be set up, for free self service tea, coffee and
milo
for the duration of the 'con.  Note that Genghiscon also has cold drinks
and chocolates of various kinds available in the fridge with an honesty-tin
for payment (and the sales of these items helps with fundraising)

Yes even though Genghis is only a small convention (approx 100 to 125
members) it has actually run a videoroom, pretty much "full-time" for the
duration of the convention.Thanks to Greg Tyrie. (remember that as a fan
run, not-for-profit convention, all organisers are just volunteers
themselves) Some had to arrange leave from their work to organise things in
advance and attend

Some years the video co-ordinator might be more a fan of Anime' or perhaps
Zombies so the program tends to vary from year to year.

This year there was perhaps less Anime' than in the past, but there was
quite a number of fan made films.  Although "Knighthood" (a high quality
Perth made, Star Wars themed fan film, was not ready for inclusion in the
programme, some clips from it were included in a film detailing it's making,
and this dovetailed well with two separate  panel items fronted by several
of the key
cast and crew.  (.....and yes, they really did get people highly skilled in
martial arts and swords for use in this film, and the overlaid computer
effects for the light-sabres is nothing short of full cinema quality special
effects)

Several other fan-made films featured, some also from Perth. "Return Of The
Killer Bikini Vampire Girls" was followed by the second film in the series
"Killer Bikini Vampire Girls Strike Back" and made worthwhile watching. I
understand a third installment is currently under way.

There were a number of classic "episode ones" shown as part of the video
programme.  I missed the first episode of the Swiss Army pocketknife
classic "MacGyver", but I did get to see ep One of Sesame Street from 1969
(we gotta teach those American kids to grow up to be good little consumers,
eh)

A documentary I hadn't seen before  that turned up was Al Gore's "An
Inconvenient Truth" from last year.  This was followed by a newer update
piece.  Later several panels followed on related subjects. "An Inconvenient
Panel" and "Future Landscapes...How do we get to a future without the use of
fossil fuels and without having an Apocalypse ?".  Both of these panels
included academic Chris Creagh (who also presented the audience
participation interactive "Fiziksy Stuff" where we
learnt about  air pressure and water vortexes ("vortexi"?) and all sorts of
other stuff.

Saturday morning was busy......after having all-one-could-eat in the student
dining-room (until we'd ate all-they-bloody-well-had, and there was no more)
, I made my
way to the "Arthur Dent's Breakfast" talk in the panel room.  Wearing a
bathrobe was optional but bringing a towel was recommended. As any good
galaxy ranging
hitchhiker knows, "you should always know where your towel is". It was also
suggested that people could bring "a pint" but I myself brought along a
teapot and some hot beverage for myself, that was "almost, but not entirely,
un-like tea".  (Ken McCaw
was ably assisted by his companion Mel and Jen Hindley was s'posed to be
there fronting it as well. Sorry I can't recall for sure. Note that I
couldn't be everywhere at once and so even though I made a few notes as I
went, my record of this convention is not intended to be complete.  Please
don't be offended by names being left out of people or events)

This Panel item finished just as the "Morning Tea with Grant Stone" was
getting under way.  Grant is a long time friend to Perth fandom, and  of the
WA Science
Fiction and Fantasy community and he's a respected academic on staff at
Murdoch University who also works part-time presenting for local ABC TV
productions.  Plus free scones with jam and cream......and held right next
to the free tea-and-coffee area. Golly attendance at this item was almost
compulsory !  Grant kept the crowd around him amused with various anecdotes
of Murdoch University's early days.

One advantage of Trinity's  inner quadrangle grassed lawn area, is it gives
plenty
of space for various activities and demonstrations.  Previous years have
included archery for example, and when it's dark there's  juggling and
swirling of "Funky Twirly Glowy things".

Although there was no archery this year, special mention must be made of a
certain Mr "Wombat" (sorry I don't know of him by any other name).  He works
for DARKZONE Lazergames and he kindly brought along a large chest containing
more than $10,000 worth of handheld "Laser" guns.  These I understand were
brand new and we got to use them first.  Usually Laser type shooting games
require to wear a vest with sensors on the chest and back, but these were an
all-in-gun unit.  They used Infrared techniques, similar to a tv remote
control (so safe for the eyes).  Because participants were limited by the
numbers of guns available, a sign-up sheet with 20 spaces, and 10 reserves
rapidly filled early on Saturday.  Plus, when the time for the event rolled
around (being 8 pm Saturday evening) a few extra stragglers turned up
awaiting any vacancies. In dim light, the range of the infrared was close to
40 metres.  Note that by this time on Saturday evening the grassed lawn area
was
littered with a number of castle-structures constructed of large old
cardboard boxes.  These "castles" had been constructed as part of an earlier
event, although according to a report I heard,  one had been damaged
slightly because "K-9" (noticed roaming around throughout the convention)
had apparently
pee-peed up against it earlier.

I'd put my name down in time to be one of the 20, so I got to have a go.
Initially was just a free-for-all practice game set to run for 12 minutes.
However
even cowering in the shade of a "castle" I got hit some 20 times, going by
the gun's inbuilt digital hit counter.

That was enough for me so I handed my gun back in so some of the others on
the reserve list could have a go.  Participants were then split into teams
and a game area was designated.  Play continued over a series of several
games for something like 3 hours.  Genghis conventions relies on the
goodwill of various sponsors.
Many thanks to DARKZONE for providing the loan of equipment for this event.
They have 2 locations within the Perth metro area, so please support them.
They also hire out equipment for parties etc

Genghis usually has one room dedicated for Panel talk-presentations and
several rooms for various Gaming activities, with other gaming activities
taking place elsewhere, such as on the lawn areas etc

One room had been set up permanently for use as "The Armoury" where at
various times construction workshops took place, under expert instruction.
Some of these activities could only cater for limited numbers due to the
provision of raw materials, so sign-up sheets were available upstairs in
advance.  Note that even these "sign-up" type activities are all provided
free by convention organisers (although they appreciate if participants can
make a coin donation towards the cost of materials)

Deadly weapons made of foam rubber and cardboard which could later be used
to batter an opponent to death on the quadrangle lawn, but other
constructions went on also.  There was a session for the construction of
fantastic alien
"Bead-y Critters".  One workshop made foam missiles, projected from
cardboard
tubes by compressed air.

I'd actually signed up in advance for the session "Knotty Knots" which
started with a brief presentation on different types of rope construction
before moving onto various plaitting techniques and other stuff.....which
unfortunately I missed, as I had a spell of not being well, so I had to
leave
early. After an aspirin and a quick nap in my room I came right.

There must have been a session on "Trebuchet" which I missed but I later saw
one being used out on the lawn.  These are the Roman type swinging catapult.
The one I saw was quite impressive, being constructed of wood and something
like  one and a half
metres tall.  (actually I noticed a slight design flaw......it sat flat on
the ground. Didn't they see the same tv documentary  I did, awhile ago, that
the
latest research and recontructions have shown that  ancient Trebuchet had
wheels on the bottom ? and that with the wheels on the bottom and the
catapult as it rolled first  forwards then backwards during the firing swing
actually increased it's power and range.

Now here I would like to declare that I am not a Gamer and nor have I ever
been a member of the Communist Party (McCarthy-ist era reference).  But
there was of course many of the Games SwanCon-ers would be familiar with.
Towards the end of the 'con, many games progressed to a knockout tournament
status
and prizes were later awarded for certain events. "Settlers of Catan" had so
many players there were several sets going simultaneously, and also I saw
"Terraform Battlecruiser"
as I visited the Gaming rooms.  "Not Tonight
Josephine" was s'posed to be running and later there was some Poker, the
prize "pot" being a substantial supply of chocolate bars (although I wasn't
around at the right  times to see either of these events).

Thanks to Rob Masters and Alicia who brought along on their bicycle-trailers
huge plastic crates  being their supply of games. As usual they'd sourced
some brand new ones too.  One, a
boardgame called "BOOTLEGGERS" set in the US Depression Era obviously about
illegal whiskey distilleries and drinking clubs.

Another they brought along featured real LASER beams ! Yes isn't technology
just running ahead in leaps and bounds.  The playing board resembled a space
age looking chess set, but with a border wall around it about one inch high.
Some of the pieces featured small mirrors (angled in such a way that nobody
got their eyes burnt out). Each player had one preset
Laserbeam. The aim being to move your peices in such a way that your
Laserbeam would reflect off the mirrors and strike opponents pieces.  Both
this game, known variously as KHET or DEFLEXION and the Bootleggers
boardgame garnered much interest amongst those present.  There was also a
presence of several of the "Looney Labs" card based gaming systems, as well
as various diced based games I did not recognise.

Although "I am not a Gamer" in enjoy experiencing a range of activities at
'cons.  I signed up for the Beginners "D+D" (they had arranged for 2 groups
of upto 5 players each) plus we had an experienced "DM" (Dungeon Master) who
used
one of the basic Dungeons and Dragon texts.  Before we knew it 3 hours had
elapsed and several of us were too tired to continue as by then it was 1 am.
Remember gotta get up early for that free breakfast on Sunday morning too.

There was a handful of late night panels and activities which were rated for
"18+" only, although I myself didn't attend any of these. The VideoRoom ran
until 4 am, before taking a  break and resuming at 8 am.  Even though the
numbers attending in the video room fluctuated, I'd recommend future
Genghiscons and other mini-conventions do still run a videoroom, even if
only part-time.  The Minions had set up some 48 chairs but the most people I
ever saw, when I went in there to watch something screening, was about a
dozen.

"Minions" are of course the volunteer helpers. Just other convention goers
who help out the organising committee and do some basic chores like running
messages, setting up chairs and re-stocking the  various snackfoods, cold
drinks and chocolates for sale  in the fridge.  They get paid Millions of
dollars, well no, but almost. They get paid for giving up some of their
convention time in "minion" dollars which can be exchanged for cold drinks
and snacks etc (some other conventions may have other names for their
volunteer helpers, such as "stewards")

Note that one reason why Genghis Conventions Inc. are able to run such a
cheap convention every January is because the organisers and Minions work
tirelessly throughout the year on various fundraising activities, such as
Quiz Nights and organised movie screenings.  Thanks folks.  A 3 day
convention for just $25 is such excellent value (extra charge applies for
those wanting the onsite overnight student accomodation)

Thanks also must go to others who helped support the convention in one way
or another.  "FANTASTIC PLANET" had a stall set up all day Saturday and
Sunday. Their normal location being a shop located in SHAFTO Lane, just a
short walk westwards of Perth's central city Hay St Mall, so please give
them your support when you're looking to buy Science Fiction and Fantasy
books.  At the convention their stall was ably staffed by Elaine Kemp (an
experienced editor in her own right) and internationally published horror
author Stephen Dedman.  The shop has a website, sorry I don't have their
exact url handy, but they'd be easy enough to find

Saturday evening was the, now a tradition for Genghiscons, free Barbecue (as
Trinity has a suitable BBQ area.)  Last year just one of the picnic table
and chair units was available for use, being mounted correctly into the
ground, the other 3 units in that BBQ courtyard area lying upside down and
useless, and a danger to skin your shins on as you try to navigate past
them.  Well obviously TRINTY building management set a fire under their
maintenance-handyman, as this year, a whole *two* table and chair sets were
available for use, with just 2 left lying wasted and useless, upside down,
as obstacles on the ground.  If Trinity is again used for next year's
Genghiscon, then at this rate,  I look forward to one more set being
available by then ! (Hey note my correct spelling of "barbecue" quite a
rarity nowadays. People don't seem to know that you only use a "Q" if the
word is abbreviated into letters)

Note that ANIME, the Japanese style of cartooning, is quite popular and this
overlaps into COS-PLAY.  Some fans dress up as their favourite characters.
There were a number of panel presentations relating to Anime and CosPlay,
and some Anime items did turn up in the videoroom.  Note that at the AGM
meeting, held on Sunday, a new committee of volunteer organisers was voted
in for next year, and with more Ainme and CosPlay fans on next year's
committee, these areas will probably be even more catered for in future. A
number of people were circulating throughout the 'con in full costume and I
understand there was to be a display of some kind at some stage, although I
missed that.  There was an official photographer, so photos were taken where
people consented and those are likely to end up perhaps on the Genghiscon
official site ( http://www.genghiscon.org )  I understand that we have Jen
McCutcheon and Sarah O'Keefe to thank for a number of CosPlay related items.
Sorry I don't know these folks personally.  Nor do I know Lily Evans who may
have  run a Military CosPlay event, but unfortunately I managed to miss this
too. For a small convention there really is just so much going on all the
time, one's bound to miss stuff.

I's hoping to attend at the ORIGAMI audience participation interactive panel
item, fronted by Wez Lamont. Unfortunately by the time I got there from,
somewhere else, I was very very late and didn't want to interupt the others,
so I just watched quietly for awhile at a discreet distance.  Later I saw
intricate little paper animal creations dotted around the place, so they'd
obviously all had a successful fun time.

One room had a  video Game system connected upto a family sized tv screen
and various folks rotated through that room almost constantly. Sorry I'm not
into those kinds of games so can't be more specific. Genghiscon also ran
some competitions. Their, now regular, colouring in and Logo-art drawing
competitons and this year also they had a "Marching Song" competition.
where folks were supposed to come up with something that would inspire
Hordes of Invaders to follow Genghis wherever he went.

Mmm, you were allowed to draw on exisitng material.  I didn't enter but
thought about the mercenary warrior chant from the DORSAI trilogy of books
(by  some big author, I forget, maybe PJ Farmer ?), it's been some 25+ years
since I read it, but from memory it goes.....

Dorsai, ask not, now or ever
Where, to war your banners go,
Anarch's Legions all surround us
Strike, and do not count the blow

For a tune, it fits perfectly with the old movie theme from "Exodus"

Note I do not know who ultimately won the marching song, or any of the other
competitions or tournaments. I left a little before the very end of the
convention on Sunday (as I wanted to get home before dark, and did not want
to stay over in Perth another night).  So I missed the auction  and prize
presentation small ceremony at the end of the 'con. (again thanks to
sponsors like EMPIRE TOYS  and  QUALITY COMICS who provided prizes) The
winners names will likely also be posted up on the Genghis website, when
their volunteer "web-monkey" (yep that's what they call 'em) gets around to
updating the site.

Yeah, right lucky too, just as I was entering my sideroad, about 3 km from
home, just as darkness was falling, 2 big kangaroos hopped right across the
road in front of me. I keep my speed down to about 60 kmh on this piece of
road as the road is narrow and the native bush comes right upto the edge in
places.  I've only crashed into a kangaroo once and that was enough, they
can do almost as much damage to your car as those darned Deer that keep
running in front of Yanks in country areas !

Well that's all folks, Genghiscon is over for another year, and a great time
was had by all I'm sure. Thanks to all who helped organise it. See you again
sometime in late January in 2008

Catherine Jemma
Central Wheatbelt
Western Australia

catherinejemma@myway.comREMOVEthis

"Save the Cheerleader, Save the World"
.....HEROES ep 5    Oct 2006

this email brought to you by Rubbish-Dump computer-power !

Find me at http://myspace.com/catherinejemma
check my weBlog  http://catherinejemma.blogspot.com
................The Tribe episode 2:49
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