Welcome to NADWCON 2017

7/17/17 -  Family in Fandom, or: Finding One’s Tribe

Hello Discworldians!

I am so excited to be able to reach out to you as a member of the planning committee. I consider Pratchett fans to be a part of my family, a family in fandom, an extension of the family into which I was born. Sound Strange? Or familiar?

You see, I come from a family of readers. When I was young, I idolized my eldest sister and I would walk into her room and marvel at all the books she had. (I believe at the time it was only one six foot bookcase, but it grew from there). I would try to subtly study at all the titles and authors so I could find the books later and read them. I wanted to be as cool as my sister. She read largely fantasy at the time, so that was where I started. It took me a while to find Pratchett. In college, I remember a friend who tried to get me to read him. She extolled his many talents as satirist and storyteller, as humorist and world builder. I smiled and nodded, but forgot about him as the busy days of college took over.

Now I am ashamed to say I don’t remember which was the first of his books that I read, or where. I suspect a fellow baker at my first restaurant job finally managed to pull me in. Now I am the one buying Pratchett’s books at goodwill, just to have copies to give out to unsuspecting future fans. I think of it as paying it forward, and as an invitation to join a family of like-minded readers.

For me, books and conventions are all about family, the one I was born into and the one I claim through shared interest and thought. When I attended my first NADWCON, I was amazed at the instant feel of family I felt with perfect strangers. It was just like I was sitting and talking to my sisters, as we discussed plot, character, writing style and philosophy. Everybody got my weird jokes! They cared about many of the same things and were just a little weird. I was so enchanted that I attended both the convention in Madison and Baltimore, and convinced more of my sisters to come along. My eldest sister may be responsible for all my sisters thinking that reading made you cool. (It bodes well for her career as a Librarian) As a family we have all bonded over books and a love of great storytelling. Sir Terry is one among many authors that we can discuss for hours on end. And NADWCON is one of the only conventions that bring us together from all of our various places of residence.

This is the first year I have volunteered to help with the planning of the Con. There is a lot of behind the scenes magic that makes it possible for me and so many others to reunite with these long lost fandom family members. It is fascinating to be on the inside, trying to create the best Con we possibly can. It is a lot of work, but what a labor of love to find new and interesting ways to delve into these books we all adore; through in depth panels and discussions (headology anyone?), being able to compete in the witch trials with your very own coven (who knows the famous pig trick?), finding ways to create your own costume to impress your fellow fans, and meeting the some of the makers themselves (EEE!! Stephen Briggs will be coming! I can’t wait to see him voice the feegles!).

This year, I am looking forward to sharing a banananana daiquiri and perhaps some beignets and coffee at the famous Café du Monde with my many family members as we look over the completed programming schedule and decide how best to revel in our love of Sir Terry and all his works. It has been too long since I have seen this second family of mine, and I cannot wait to reunite in New Orleans. It will make all this work so worthwhile!

Christine Morrison

Program family

 

7/10/17 -  A Charity Auction Guide, or: How do I give money to charity and get all the shiny things?

Welcome to the Charity Auction!

At NADWCon2017, we will be holding a charity auction to benefit Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and the Loft. This is your chance to contribute to some important causes. There are two ways you can help and we’ll deal with each of those.

Contributing:

A charity auction runs on items donated by the NADWCon family. We will need around a hundred items to auction off. If you have an item that you think other Discworld fans would be interested in, fill out the form at https://nadwcon2017.org/charity-auction-donation. Here’s the information we’ll need:

  1. Your name
  2. Your email
  3. Your phone number
  4. A description of the item, especially if there’s a story behind it
  5. A picture of the item, if you have one
  6. Whether you are attending the convention

After the auction, we will send you a contributor’s letter detailing what you contributed. Since RavenQuoth,Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, you will get a break on your taxes for donating items.
We’re looking for art works and jewelry and books and collectibles and just about anything that you think another fan of Discworld would appreciate.

Buying:

This is the other half of our equation. Once you purchase your membership, you are automatically registered for the auction. Included with your packet is a paddle with your membership number on it. During the auction, the auctioneer will show the item and call out prices. If you want the item and are willing to pay the price the auctioneer has called raise your paddle high and proud! If the price gets too high, just lower your paddle. At the end of the auction, your number will be called along with the price you paid for it.

You may do this as many times as you like, but, please remember, you are making an agreement to purchase the item at the price announced.
If you’ve made a mistake and can’t purchase the item, let the auction handler know as soon as possible and we can bring the item back up for bid if there’s time.

Getting your items:

Congratulations! You’ve won an auction. Now what?

  • First off, it’s going to take a little time to get your item from the stage to the checkout area. Everything will be available after the auction has ended. The auction distribution area will be well-marked. Go up to the first station and show either your paddle or your NADWCon 2017 membership badge to the attendant. They will look up what you won and give you a print out. The print out will list each item you won, the price, and any taxes.
  • Take the printout to the second station. Here, you will pay for the items you won. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, or UnionPay. Receipts can be sent to your email address.
  • Once you pay and sign, your form will be marked and you can go to the third station. Present your printout to the attendant and your items will be collected and given to you. Then off you pop to show off your cunning wins and new treasures.

Lord William d'Auction

Auction Coordinator, Co-ordinator of all the shiny things, NADWCon 2017

 

7/3/17 -  Passionate Programming - no Seamstresses were involved in the making of this blog...

Hello, Caryn from programming here. I am just one part of the programming team. I first found Sir Terry when I was quite young. I was always an avid reader and my oldest sister got me a copy of Pyramids. I read it and loved it, however at the time I didn’t pursue it any further. I was young and didn’t have a constant Pratchett influence, these things happen. However I stumbled upon Wee Free Men in college. Within a year I had read 5 or so of the Discworld series and had signed up for my very first convention ever. The NADWCon 2009. I couldn’t help but volunteer. You may have seen my trolls head. The one I made that is. However, once I got to con, I met some of the best people and I got hooked. I even tried my hand at cosplay… let us just say a seamstress/needlewoman I am not. Each following NADWCon I took a larger piece of the volunteering pie. I had a great rallying point in 2013, where I took on the role of Children’s programming. I really loved the planning and participation of it. I spent countless hours working on activities and panels. I got to see the fun and excitement the kids had, and really connected with many of the families. We even had DEATH visit the children, and their little eyes lit up with joy. In fact this experience sparked my desire to continue the volunteer path, and now I am active with Phoenix Comicon Programming department as well. I have stepped up to this role because I really love planning programming. I love a program where people are interactive and enjoying themselves. I love the planning and unique problem solving this provides. There is quite a bit to learn, but we have a wonderful team put together for this.

We generally have more ideas than panelists! For example, here are some fun ideas that have yet to meet their match*:

  • The Boring Storytelling Competition
  • From Campfires to Opera
  • Utility Bloomers (ala Nanny Ogg)
  • Last Minute Costuming
  • Headology Versus Psychology

I am so excited to be part of the team putting together the NADWCon this year. We have so many great ideas, and with your help we can have so much more fun together. As you are aware this year we have a witches theme. One of the new competitive programs that will run throughout the convention is “The Covens”. All attendees will be sorted (at random) into a coven, but participation is not mandatory. Each coven has the opportunity to earn points, with the end goal of raising your Coven to the title of Head Witch at the end of the convention.

And the fun can start now... You can garner points by spreading the word about NADWCon and you will get points every time someone references you when they sign up. You can also get points if you're feeling crafty or want to snag a panel. Fill out the programming suggestion page or simply e-mail our programming team at Program@NADWCon2017.org There will also be several events during the convention that will give you the ability to earn more points, so make sure to check in with programming to snatch up those opportunities. After all, who doesn't like a chance to show up their fellow witches?

Caryn H. Pessimal

Passionate About Program Planning, NADWCon2017

*If you want to help with these or anything else, get in touch! program@nadwcon2017.org

 

6/27/17 -  How They Got Me, or: Volunteering on the Disc

Continuing the NADWCon blog and our countdown to convention time, the metaphorical keyboard is passed to me, Volunteer Coordinator for 2017. I'm here to talk about a topic dear to my heart: helping people have fun.

My experience with Discworld volunteering began when a man came up to us at the start of the Baltimore 2013 NADWCon and asked if we were "the volunteers." Well, no. Not "the" volunteers. But volunteers nonetheless, having signed up earlier. So we bundled into a moving van with complete strangers in order to pick up equipment from a science fiction organization across town.

These things happen.

It's generally said that first you attend conventions, then you volunteer. I attended the 2009 and 2011 events because of my lifelong enjoyment of Sir Terry's work, though I had no idea who these people called "Discworld fans" really were. Those were my first conventions of any sort and if I was scared in any way then it was merely horrified fascination.

After two of these cons, yes indeed, I was volunteering. Discworld fans are good people, and who wouldn't want to help good people have fun? So they got me as a volunteer, and now here I am as convention committee.

For 2017, we can look forward to all the same sorts of experiences as the previous ones: brilliant and/or beautiful cosplay, funny and/or informative panels, and witty and/or wonderful guests. (No, no, the guests are all "and.") There will be the charity auction and the gala dinner, each the social highlight of the year for the relevant crowds. Discworld fans come here hoping that these experiences will be fun, and there's one key element that helps make this happen:

You.

That's right, you the volunteer. From the green room aides working at the cosplay Maskerade, to the guest liaisons ensuring that beloved guests can get to their panels, to the line organizers helping gala attendees enter the dinner to dine, volunteers are the living force behind the hundreds of moving pieces. Like a really friendly beating heart in the middle of the con hotel. Perhaps we could ask an Igor to demonstrate.

This year, what with 2017 NADWCon being "The Genuan Experience" based on the themes of Witches Abroad and all things witchy, we have decided to recruit a series of Witch's Familiars. These magical beings, of course, are the volunteers.

By this point, you're likely thinking one of the following:

"I would love to help people have fun and possibly transform into a magical creature! Where do I sign up?"
"Come to think of it, I already offered to volunteer when I registered. What do I do now?"
"I say, who was that outside the window with the most extraordinary hat?"

I can help with either of the first two questions. So long as you have already registered for the convention (you don't have to have "officially volunteered" already, just registered), please sign in and submit this form right here to express your preferences: Me! Pick me! I want to volunteer!!

I will get back to you with details on each area that needs volunteers. If you haven't registered yet, remember there is still time to register for a membership and book your hotel room for the convention, September 1-4 in New Orleans (and we still have that special hotel rate from August 24-September 10).

People like you are the reason conventions are fun for everyone. I sincerely hope, whatever the manner, that you will join us in making the magic happen!

Richard S. Hetley

Volunteer Coordinator, NADWCon 2017

 

6/11/17 -  Come One, Come All, to the Fourth North American Discworld Convention!

Welcome to the NADWCon blog, where we will endeavor to bring you informative and entertaining missives as we advance rapidly towards the 2017 NADWCon, to be held September 1-4 in historic New Orleans, Louisiana.

As a co-founder of the NADWCon, I’m really excited to be working on yet another wonderful fan celebration of Sir Terry’s works – and as incredibly sad as I am that Terry is no longer with us in the Roundworld, I am glad that we will have an opportunity to further honor him at our con this Labor Day Weekend. And in such a setting, too!

New Orleans has been called many things – The Big Easy, The Crescent City, the Birthplace of Jazz, the Mardi Gras City, and, of course, the modern portmanteau of New Orleans and Louisiana, NOLA.; but for Discworldians, the most important name for New Orleans is Genua: the Discworld equivalent for New Orleans, in which Granny, Nanny, and Magrat had a grand adventure in Witches Abroad. Terry spent some time in New Orleans years ago, and from that the inspiration for the bananana daiquiri and other Discworldian story elements was born. Visiting New Orleans after reading Witches Abroad (or the other way around) is an especially unique experience for Pratchett fans to have, as the book echoes so much of the feel and culture of that unique place.

Having been there a couple of times now specifically to scout out and find the best locale in which to celebrate - the excellent Sheraton New Orleans, book your stay here, located on Canal Street right near Bourbon Street (but don’t worry, also far enough away to offer the option of a quieter environment for those who aren’t in the mood to paaaar-tay 24-7) – I can relay that it is an experience in itself to partake of the food, fun, and atmosphere of the city, and that you can certainly convince yourself, just by looking at things a little bit sideways, that you are actually in Genua after all.

Our hotel is handy to the shops and also to some excellent restaurants and sights. Along with being right near Bourbon Street, which boasts such famous bars as Pat O’Brien’s (the Hurricanes there are a must) and many, many places to procure a bananana daiquiri, around the corner is an excellent breakfast spot very in keeping with the fairytale theme of Witches Abroad, The Ruby Slipper Café; and right across the street from the hotel, for all of your last-minute costuming needs, is a costume and (hem hem) novelty shop that is, amazingly, called “Mr. Binky’s.” (I can hear Terry laughing from here.) I can vouch for the delicious fare at The Palace Café also across Canal Street; and there’s also an Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium right down from it that is still on my list of “to-visit” places.

And that’s just naming a few of the places that are right outside the door within walking distance. There are many other amazing, interesting, and historical sights to be seen all over New Orleans (check out our handy list right here!) And, of course, there will be many things to do at the con itself, with excellent programming, guests, and new and old friends to sit down with.

More on that shortly, but for now, if you are signed up for our con, I’d like to say, “Hurrah! Welcome! And we look forward to seeing you!” And if you haven’t signed up as yet, I encourage you to register for a membership, book your hotel room  (noting that we have a special hotel rate available from August 24-September 10, should you wish to arrive early or stay a bit longer and explore), and join us for “The Genuan Experience” in beautiful New Orleans.

Cheers from your co-chair!

Emily S. Whitten

Co-Chair, NADWCon 2017

 

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