Recap: MediaWest*Con 35

I attended MediaWest*Con 35, in Lansing, MI, last weekend. It was a fun time and an interesting time, a time when I get to see old friends that I don’t see any other time or place. It was also a bit of a disappointment, as some of those old friends were not in attendance for one reason or another (surgery, attending another convention, etc.) but overall, I still won’t miss it, and have already signed up for next year.


One of the reasons I attended is that I love doing panels, and this year I was on five panels, four of which were decently attended and interesting.

Cover Design for E‑Publishing

This is cover to my short story 'Undercover Unicorn'.

This is cover to my short story ‘Undercover Unicorn’.

This was a panel I was really looking forward to, and it had a really good turnout. I was prepared to discuss the several covers I did for another writer that I did largely for practice and then turn to the ones I created for my own works. I brought all of the original Photoshop format files along on my laptop so I could open them and show how the layers worked, what went where, etc.

However, I was limited by the lack of any kind of projector, which forced me to use the visual aids I brought along as backup. Instead of showing the cover images on a large screen and large scale, I displayed the 8 12″ x 11″ images and pointed to things on the images in reference to what I was talking about.

Unfortunately, time and equipment limitations prevented anything further. Next year I plan to do a panel / seminar where I go through the entire process, hopefully using a projector and big screen so that everyone can see what is happening.

Gaming 101

It started off as a panel on recommendations on gaming for beginners. I was hoping that I would have someone else on the panel with me, because I am really only familiar with a large section of the gaming market, but that didn’t happen. As it turned out, that wasn’t really necessary, as the panel turned into a series of gaming stories that continued after the panel was over.

Hypnosis 101

My Hypnosis 101 panel was the best attended and the best received of all my panels: I actually had people in the audience thank me for presenting it (and they weren’t hypnotized into doing so, either.) This is something I have done before, talking about the myths about hypnosis, especially the media-inspired myths and representations that many of the audience were familiar with. I touched on several topics including my take on how hypnosis functions and the tricks stage hypnotists use during their performances, and told my own story demonstrating that hypnosis is real and that is does have an effect. But, no, I actually did not do any demonstrations of hypnosis: that may happen next year.

The Legend of Korra

Alas, there were no other Korra fans in attendance, so this panel was understandably very short.

Watch the Skies!

This panel was intended as a discussion of the classic alien invasion trope of movies, but it largely became a contest of who could remember the most movies (and TV shows) of that trope. We did manage to get through the hour without running out of movies to mention.

Art Auction

The focus of my attendance is to work the Art Auction. I have done this for over 20 years: I am responsible for managing the transition from the Art Show to the Art Auction. That means arranging all art going to auction into lots and overseeing the placing of art into the auction and returning it for eventual pickup.

Unfortunately, the auction this year was even smaller than last year. When all was said and counted, there were only 35 pieces in the auction this year. 15 of them were by artist Karen River, including several of her etched slates. As she was one of the auctioneers, and since they all have a policy of not auctioning their own pieces, there was some jockeying during the auction

With that few number of pieces, it was assumed that the auction would not last past 8:00 pm. In fact, the only reason it did go past 8:00 was that someone, presumably someone not from the convention, pulled the fire alarm. Once I realized it was a real alarm, I got the microphone and made the announcement and hustled people out of the room. Fortunately the alarm was turned off just about the time I got the last person out of the room, where most everyone was outside waiting. I just hope whoever was responsible is caught.

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