Capricon 18

Capricon 18 was held over the weekend of February 6-8 in the O'Hare Holiday Inn in Rosemont, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Capricon has traditionally been one of the larger Chicago-area cons, primarily devoted to fantasy, but also giving fair attention to science fiction. Unfortunately they have had serious problems with their hotels for the last two years, which has hurt them noticeably.

I left Carbondale relatively early on Friday morning, since I had a long drive ahead of me. I arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon, and after I stopped at Registration to acquire my badge, I went to the Art Show to get my art up. As soon as I had my art on the pegboards and properly checked in, I got roped into minding the bag check. It wasn't extraordinarily busy, so I wound up keeping it until closing, and even had time to do penciling on a picture for the Artists' Challenge (in which we were to create a work incorporating three of the four elements: goat, galaxy, stapler and armor). Since I do a lot of furry (anthropomorphic animal) art, I decided to do an anthro goat in armor using a staple gun as a weapon against a weird alien, with a galaxy visible through the windows behind him.

By the time I got out of the Art Show, the dealers' room was already closed for the day, so I decided I'd just wait until the next day to check it out. I then went down to the con suite for some refreshments before going up to check out the parties. I'd intended to do some inking on my Artists' Challenge piece, but didn't get it done.

There were four different parties for Friday evening -- the Windycon party, the Cow party (at which they were handing out spotted "Had a Cow" badge ribbons, the bondage party and the ToBeCONtinued party. I spent most of my time helping in the party for ToBeCONtinued, a new con to be held for the first time this year in South Bend, Indiana. It was a beach-theme party, and I got to spend a good bit of the time putting leis on people as they came through the door.

The next morning, I went down to the art show and spent some more time covering the bag check. That gave me a chance to ink my picture in time to put it on the Artists' Challenge.

In the afternoon, I was on the panel on small press publishing. I talked mostly about my own experiences with APA's and fanzines. I mentioned The Tecton Star, the APA that I run, and the discussion nearly veered off into a discussion of Jacqueline Lichtenberg's Sime~Gen universe before the other panelist pulled it back on track. I also mentioned FOSFAX and Mimosa, which led to a discussion of the difference between APA's and fanzines. My fellow panelist then discussed his experiences putting out a semi-pro review zine that concentrates primarily on sf/fantasy related music CD's. He discussed some of the issues involved in reviewing, particularly related to receiving review copies.

After that, I circulated between the art show and the con suite, with a few visits to the dealers' room to see what was available. I also discovered a panel on space law being led by Siobhan M. Murphy, a friend of mine through the writers' workshop APAGRAPHIA. In addition to being a writer and artist, she happens to be a professional lawyer who just started a law partnership this year. After it was over, Siobhan and I went up to the art show to look around some more. I ended up bidding on some artwork, including an anime pencil drawing of some character slaughtering Mickey Mouse (it was entitled "A MOUSE!"), a woman magic-user, two abstract works that were threatening to go for far less than I felt they deserved to go (they both then received their third bid and went to auction) and an Erin McKee original of a wolf's eyes on a pin. Unfortunately none of my art got any bids, not even my Artists' Challenge piece.

After supper, I hurried back for the art auction, since my friend Cheryl Storm (who first encouraged me to get back into artwork and start exhibiting my work on the art show, three years ago at Capricon 15) had all her pieces go to auction. The art auction seemed unusually small this year, and several people were commenting on how the art show in general had seemed rather thin, with several whole panels left unoccupied. I did have a rather difficult moment when "A MOUSE!" came up for bids, since I'd hoped to get it if nobody bid at auction (I had both the first and third bids on the sheet). Unfortunately it quickly went out of my price range and I had to let it go. There was one particularly entertaining moment when one of the auctioneers made a "funny" comment that so annoyed Sunshine that she came up and yanked the "Had a cow!" party ribbon right off his badge. (Sunshine had been one of the organizers of the Cow party).After the auction, I went up to check out the parties, which were pretty well winding down by that time. The bondage party was back on again, but I didn't particularly feel like a repeat visit for it. Anime Central, the new anime con to be held in Chicago this spring, was having a party, but there was almost nothing going on at it except a few people watching TV. So I went over to the Duckon party, which was still going fairly well, and picked up my progress report, then settled in to talk with some other furry fans. (Duckon is the other Chicago-area con, and has a large furry track). We talked some about ConFURence, the big furry con held in the LA area in January.

The next morning I went down to the art show to get my art checked out and pay for the two pieces that I'd gotten. After that I went to the con suite and hung out for a while, then went to the "Writing historical fantasies: the real Xena" panel, which was about writing stories about the historical women of ancient and medieval times, women whose stories have persisted in spite of all attempts to scrub them out of the history books.

After that I said my goodbyes and got in my car for the long trip south to Carbondale.

Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated October 21, 2012.