November 24, 2014

ConQuesT 46 Preview #2

By David Sooby
What Makes the ConQuesT Art Show So Great?
Let's admit it: ConQuesT attendees are totally and completely spoiled in having such a wonderful Art Show every year. Active fans who attend many conventions have been heard to remark that even some recent WorldCons have had art shows not much bigger than ours. We are also spoiled in having such a wide variety of art: Not just paintings and prints, but three dimensional art such as sculptures, jewelry, ceramics, and science fiction and fantasy knives and swords.
This is only one small part of last year's ConQuesT Art Show.
So how does a medium-sized, local/regional convention like ConQuesT create such a wonderful Art Show year after year? We interviewed Mike Neely, the current Art Show department head, to find out.

As with all the high profile attractions at ConQuesT, the Art Show is very much a team effort. Mike was a staff member under the former Art Show department head, Jan Gephardt, for three years, before taking the mantle of department head last year. Mike is continuing the tradition of excellence established by Jan and her predecessors. Mike is ably assisted by a team which includes his wife, Kat Gibb.

This is a wider view of last year's show.

ConQuest has a juried Art Show. An artist who has never displayed at ConQuesT must submit a sample of his art. Mike and his select jury of artists look over the submissions, and decide whether the art is – or is not – of sufficient quality to be shown at ConQuesT. Submissions can be made either by e-mailing Mike digital pictures of the art, or else by pointing to the artist's website.

Of course, being selective about what art to display wouldn't work if there were not a plethora of submissions to choose from! Last year the Art Show displayed 20 different artists' work, including two which were new to ConQuesT. Mike and his team are hardworking advocates for the artists, and last year every artist but one made sales.

One advantage for artists at ConQuesT is that the convention does not take a percentage of sales. There are fees for displaying art; $10 for a 2' x 6' panel, and $5 for half a table. “Print Shop” spaces at reduced rates are also available for bins of prints.

Peri Charlifu ("Dr. Who Udon Bowl" shown)
will show art in 2015.
Last year, Mike brought the Art Show record-keeping and payment system into the 21st Century. (Hooray!) All records are now electronic, and receipts are printed via computer, whereas previously they had been hand-written. Credit card payments can be made via PayPal “triangle.” 

This is a vast improvement over the previous method, which was to send buyers to Registration to make the credit card payment and then bring a receipt back to the Art Show. Another big advantage of all-electronic records is that it greatly speeds up Mike's ability to get payments out to the artists, and unsold art mailed back. All that was accomplished within about two to three weeks after the previous ConQuesT. We're sure our artists were both surprised and pleased to receive such prompt service.

David Lee Pancake was last year's Artist Guest of Honor. He's already promised his work will return in 2015.
It's a bit early for Mike to know just what artists will be displaying at ConQuesT 2015, but he already has commitments from David Lee Pancake and Peri Charlifu. You can see photos of some of their work on this page. We look forward to seeing what will be displayed by both new (to ConQuesT) artists and returning favorites at the Art Show next year!

IMAGE CREDITS: The photo of part of the 2014 ConQuesT Art Show at the top of the Page is from the ConQuesT Art Show page on the ConQuesT website. The 2014 wider room-view is by Keith Stokes, from the Midamerican Fan Photo Archive, Art Show and Dealers' Room page 1. The "Dr Who Udon Bowl" by Peri Charlifu is from Charlifu's Aegean Goods Facebook Page. The image of David Lee Pancake's display from 2014 is by Keith Stokes, from the Midamerican Fan Photo Archive, Art Show and Dealers' Room page 2.

November 21, 2014

SF & F Literati Meet November 24, 2014

Date: November 24, 2014-7:00 p.m.
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates 
Available from: Fine booksellers, including Barnes & Noble
Meeting Location: Barnes & Noble #2352, 2nd Floor
11323 W 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66214

Overview from Barnes & Noble: 
“From Robert Charles Wilson, the author of the Hugo-winning Spin, comes Burning Paradise, a new tale of humans coming to grips with a universe of implacable strangeness.

“Cassie Klyne, nineteen years old, lives in the United States in the year 2015—but it’s not our United States, and it’s not our 2015.

“Cassie’s world has been at peace since the Great Armistice of 1918. There was no World War II, no Great Depression. Poverty is declining, prosperity is increasing everywhere; social instability is rare. But Cassie knows the world isn’t what it seems. Her parents were part of a group who gradually discovered the awful truth: that for decades—back to the dawn of radio communications—human progress has been interfered with, made more peaceful and benign, by an extraterrestrial entity. That by interfering with our communications, this entity has tweaked history in massive and subtle ways. That humanity is, for purposes unknown, being farmed.

“Cassie’s parents were killed for this knowledge, along with most of the other members of their group. Since then, the survivors have scattered and gone into hiding. Cassie and her younger brother Thomas now live with her aunt Nerissa, who shares these dangerous secrets. Others live nearby. For eight years they have attempted to lead unexceptional lives in order to escape detection. The tactic has worked.

“Until now. Because the killers are back. And they’re not human.” 

Please note, there is no December meeting. This year the 4th Monday is only 3 days from Christmas. 
But it's not too early to start preparing for the January meeting!

Date: January 26, 2015-7:00 p.m.
AuthorJohn C. Wright
Publisher: Tor Books
Available fromFine booksellers, including Barnes & Noble
Meeting LocationBarnes & Noble #2352, 2nd Floor
11323 W 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66214

Overview from Barnes & Noble:
“John C. Wright burst upon the SF scene a decade ago with the Golden Age trilogy, an innovative space opera. He went on to write fantasy novels, including the popular Orphans of Chaos trilogy. And now he returns to space opera in Count to a Trillion.

“After the collapse of the world economy, a young boy grows up in what used to be Texas as a tough duelist for hire, the future equivalent of a hired gun. But even after the collapse, there is space travel, and he leaves Earth to have adventures in the really wide open spaces. But he is quickly catapulted into the more distant future, while humanity, and Artificial Intelligence, grows and changes and becomes a kind of superman.”

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to GoodReads for the cover image for Burning Paradise, and to the "Bewildering Stories" review blog for the cover image for Count to a Trillion.

November 15, 2014

Laser Rangers 2014 November Meeting

Kaiju Attack Schedule
Date: November 22, 2014 Note Schedule Change!
Time: 4:50pm
Location: David Sooby’s home theater with 51-inch Samsung HDTV, a 5.1 Surround Sound Dolby Digital sound system, a full set of audiophile-grade speakers, and upgraded seating for about 15 people without crowding.
Captain Laser: Ty G.
Food: Japanese, Northwestern, Alaskan (fish)
Costume: Speedsuits, Jumpsuits, or Lab Coats

To learn more, please visit our Facebook Event Page.

This is our planning meeting. There will only be one movie. Please stay afterwards to help us plan the next year!

 Our short feature will be an episode of Johnny Sokko

Pacific Rim

(2013, 132 minutes) Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, and Ron Perlman

As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse. -IMDB

Watch the trailer here!

After our first feature, please join us for a potluck dinner that will encompass our planning session for the next year. Bring something to share. It can follow the theme, or be something you prefer.

The home of the Laser Rangers is located about four miles north of the Kansas Speedway, NW of the intersection of I-70 and I-435 on the Kansas side of the Greater Kansas City area.

IMAGE CREDITS: The information for all of these shows come from the invaluable IMDB. The movie posters come from Wikipedia or the movie's respected distributors. 

The movie screen frame image used for the Laser Rangers contact information is courtesy of Psychology Today Online. Many thanks to these websites!

November 10, 2014

KaCSFFS Thanksgiving: November 15, 2014

ALERT: The most recent forecast predicts lesser amounts of snow. The meeting WILL BE HELD as scheduled.
Join us for Food and Fun
WhatThe annual KaCSFFS Thanksgiving party and November meeting 
When: Saturday, November 15, beginning at 7:00 pm, set-up starts at 6:00.
3607 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
WhyThe Thanksgiving meeting is traditionally our largest of the year. In addition to the excellent opportunity to hang out with our friends, we have three excellent reasons to come in 2014:

Chair Massages!
Jesse Thomas
A new feature this year will be an offering of chair massages by licensed massage therapist Jesse Thomas

Let him help you relax before the holiday rush! He will bring his own massage chair and set up on the landing. Massages are $1 per minute, for a minimum of 10 minutes (He can take cash, checks or credit cards). 

Jesse also is an artist who often works with fantasy themes, and he is an enthusiastic Whovian.

All dues-paid members who attend the Thanksgiving meeting may pick up a printed copy of the KaCSFFS Directory (just in time for holiday cards, if you send them). 

The Board approved a budget for them at the October meeting. This will be the first printed Directory since September 2011. If you can’t attend the November meeting but are a dues-paid member and still want one, you may pick up your copy at a later meeting. 

There will literally be one with your name on it.

And of course, the Food!
For the feast, KaCSFFS provides turkey, plates, cups, flatware and napkins. 

It’s up to the members to fill in with beverages and side dishes. 

Please post your food or beverage selection on the KAXFEN list, so we can make sure there’s a nice variety. Thanks very much.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to the Inhabitant website for the cornucopia photo. We also recommend this site for news and insights on environmental issues, "green" design, and lots more. We acquired the image of Jesse Thomas from his Facebook page. The first image of a table with food is from the Ashlee Marie blog post, "Thanksgiving Table Settings and Food Labels." The second is from the Modern Architecture Decorating Ideas Blog post, "Dining Table with Food."