So this past weekend was Arisia
, which I did pretty full-immersion. (It's not Kate's cup of tea -- too big and crowded -- so I was on my own for it.)
Overall, it was a good time. Three of my four panels
were great, which is a perfectly fine track record. (The "Hellboy's 20th Anniversary" panel was kind of doomed from the start -- having that geeky a panel at 10pm Friday is an uphill battle -- but was pleasant enough.) The SCA Ball
was a blast as always, with 50-75 people up and dancing, and AFAIK having fun.
The food trucks (this year's new idea) weren't a complete success, but better than not having them. (I failed to get lunch at them both times I tried -- they were out of food by the time I got there the first time, and the line has half an hour long out in the cold the second time.)
The Masquerade was good, and the half-time show better than usual -- it turned out to be the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers
doing a tour of historical dance styles, using a Doctor Who framing story as the excuse. Lots of fun to watch -- I hadn't realized that Antonia had become so much the headliner for the troupe, but she's become a truly excellent performer.
But above all, this Arisia reminded me of just how much I enjoy good, hearty folk singing
, and how much I've missed it. Mind, I grew up musical -- I've been going to folk festivals since I was 3, and was singing on stage in elementary school. I don't do it a lot in the SCA because I'm not deeply into period music, but I do always enjoy a good bardic circle.
This past weekend, I was wandering the hallways late Saturday evening, when I heard some music coming from the elevator lobby, of all places. It turned out that a bunch of folks (a mix of Sassafrass, Stranger Ways and friends) had sat down and simply started to have fun; they waved me over and I mostly listened, since I didn't know most of what they were singing. Then they decided to wander over to the filksing, so I tagged along.
The filksing reminded me of several things:
First, at a filk I can turn off my Laurel brain entirely, and sing more or less anything I like.
Second, I have a fairly large songbook. (Which turns out to be hard to access via Google Drive, but I managed.)
Third, I'm a better-than-average singer. Not great by any means, but I've had more training and practice than most filkers.
So that was a hoot, and I sought out the filk room again Sunday night. This time around wasn't quite as much of a success -- it was unmoderated, and I quickly began to realize that, in that environment, the people who aren't quite as good *and* don't realize it wind up dominating the time. But I still had a decent time for a while.
(The award for "Demented Filk of the Weekend" was introduced by asking the audience, "Who here likes the Muppets? Okay, who likes Babylon 5? Great -- who likes both?" And then he launched into a rendition of "Rainbow Connection", replacing the word "rainbow" with "Vorlon" throughout. The result is wrongity-wrong-wrong.)
Anyway, after I couldn't cope with any more of everybody jumping over everyone else (around 1am), I wandered outside -- only to discover that a bunch of folks had preceded me out to the lobby, and set up a jam session instead. *That* was a complete blast. There were half a dozen instruments or so, and a dozen-plus singers; the consensus rule was that we would mostly focus on stuff that at least much of the crowd knew and could join in on. I wound up spending about an hour and a half going, "I really should go to bed now, but this is *way* too much fun" -- I knew most of the songs, and this was an environment where I could just jump in and belt them out.
So the upshot of this is to remind me that I need to make more of an effort to find the bardic circles, filks and jams, and join it. As mentioned above, Google Drive has proven to be a problematic way for me to maintain my songbook (which was a single long text file, much of it 20+ years old), so -- me being me -- I am in the process of transcribing it into a new Querki Space
. I'm about halfway through that now, and expect that I'll begin to put more effort into collecting again once it's done. In the long run, it may turn out to be a decent candidate for Querki's crowdsourcing features, when I get around to those...