Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thank Yuh. Thank Yuh Vury Much.

Well, here's a huge tip of the hat and an incredibly fond thank you to Carlin Stuart, Sylvia Cox, Eddy Zeno and all those other fine folks who ran the 26th annual MidSouthCon in Memphis, Tennessee, this past weekend and who made your humble blogger's stint there as Comics Guest of Honor a blast-and-a-half. I almost literally had more fun there than a human being should be allowed to have.

Got into Memphis on Thursday evening and, after checking into our hotel, I was promptly taken out for authentic Memphis BBQ by Carlin, his lovely wife Renee, their infant daughter Ginger (well, okay, so Ginger was taken along, too), Eddy Zeno and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic writer John Jackson Miller. They took me to a nifty little hole-in-the-wall joint called the Germantown Commissary, where the food was absolutely fabulous and got me right into the mood of being in the heart of BBQ country.

Since the convention didn't officially start until Friday evening, on Friday morning I kindly coerced poor Carlin into taking me to Graceland, home of the King himself, Elvis Presley. I'll admit it, it was a completely touristy thing to do, and I couldn't have enjoyed it more. The grounds of Graceland are sprawling and spacious, but the house itself is relatively modest in size by comparison. It felt a little strange to be walking through someone else's home without the owner being present (at least not in anything but spirit), but there was a recorded tour that helped us along and I took dozens of photos. Across the street from the house is a complex housing Elvis's car collection and a number of other exhibits, all of which, remarkably enough, let you out in yet another souvenir shop, on the off-chance you might have managed to somehow miss any of the several dozen other gift shops on the premises. Still, I had a really good time and I'm glad I went, dragging poor Carlin along behind me.

The convention itself was laid back and great fun. Attendance was somewhere about 1100 people, which is a nice-sized convention and an easily manageable number. The writer Guest of Honor was Eric Flint, the Science Guest of Honor was author/editor Ben Bova, the Artist Guest of Honor was the Hugo-winning Bob Eggleston, and the Media Guest of Honor was entertainment reporter and fantasy author Candace Havens. There were many other writers and artists at the con, too numerous to mention here, but they all contributed greatly to the overall experience.

On Sunday evening, after the guests were once more treated to dinner at the Three Little Pigs BBQ, my good friends Lin Workman, co-creator of the wonderful Bushi Tales comic, Kevin Williams, puppeteer supreme creator of the delightful Muley, interviewer extraordinaire Eddy Zeno and I wandered away from the crowd to do something I haven't done in years, and may not do again any time soon. We went bowling. Trust me on this, Barak Obama has nothing to fear from me on the bowling lanes. Truth to tell, I think Helen Keller was probably a better bowler than I am. My muscles ache in places I didn't even know I had places.

Still, MidSouthCon 26 stands as one of the more entertaining cons I've attended of late, and I highly recommend the next one to anyone who might be inclined to go. I hear tell they'd love to have some guy named Kurt Busiek as their comics guest next year, but don't know how to get in touch with him.

Gee, I wonder who I know who might be willing to serve as a go-between?

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