Farpoint is the convention that thrived after OctoberTrek and ClipperCon rose and fell. Organized and run by many of the same people, it become a generational con, started by the first generation of Baltimore-area Star trek fans and gradually taken over mostly by the second generation. And now, as the show celebrated its 20th Anniversary this past weekend, a third generation has come to work on the event. That’s pretty damn impressive considering how many shows have staffs that change almost annually.
It was always in the shadow of Shore Leave, half the size and therefore more intimate, the organizers wisely moved hotels a few years back to the Crowne Plaza so it has clearly developed its own identity and flavor.
The feeling of family has also been extended to the guests as they have brought back several faster than other shows would do. Felicia Day, Lee Arenberg and Bonita Friedericy, all appeared over the last three years and were brought back. Joining them as first timers was Bonita’s husband John Billingsley, Rob Paulsen, and Giancarlo Esposito, who was making one of his first con appearances so it was still new to him.
We brought Ariel David with us, and she came loaded with stuff to auction off to help raise funds to offset her father’s medical costs, which are an enduring concern. Hitting the road at 6 a.m. has become the norm for us, ensuring we arrive in Maryland in reasonable time. This year, we actually managed a record four hours flat, including one rest stop.
Friday was spent getting reacquainted with the Baltimore fan family and getting settled in. Crazy 8 Press was given a table so that was cool and we were well placed next to Constellation Books so we were a publishing corner of the dealer’s room.
Kate joined us for the evening and things got started with the opening ceremonies. It was my turn and I auctioned off a few items for Peter, and when we had four Shore Leave bunnies to offer up, Alan Chafin suggested we pass the hat and try to raise $500 and give the bunnies to Peter. Over $700 later, we had the bunnies to give him. Shortly thereafter, Kate and the Boogie Knights began performing but after one song they stopped. Steve Wilson took the stage to introduce a surprise guest: Peter. Ever since he was released early from rehab, he had been hoping to make an appearance, holding the right to cancel at any time. But no, he was there, with Kathleen and Caroline and he was stunned by the standing ovation he received.
Soon after, order was restored, the Boogies did two more songs and then it was time for the Prometheus Radio Theater. This is a live radio-style performance and the guests are invited to participate. All but Giancarlo (delayed thanks to Revolution shooting) participated and the Alien satire was a hoot. Billingsley repeatedly stole the show, even after he sat in the audience after his part was over.
The long day ended with a two hour Meet the Authors event which allowed the writers to catch up with one another when we were not interacting with fans.
On Saturday, the con began as it always does with my taking the stage for an hour. I rattled on about all the stuff going on in my professional life and then showed movie trailers, aided and abetted by Glenn Hauman. I was followed, as usual, by the Boogie Knights, which performed a fine set, showcasing songs on their just-released CD Wasted Days and Wasted Knights.
Then began my marathon programming, beginning with the Crazy 8 Press panel. We talked about what has been working, what some of the challenges have been, and what’s coming up. This was followed by a two hour writer’s workshop that has become a con fixture, organized and run by Howard Weinstein. There, Dave Galanter, Kelly Meding, Howie, and I held court. Thankfully, Kate saw I was fueled with some lunch.
Then Nobilis Reed and I spent an hour sharing time management tips for aspiring writers.
Saturday night, Mike Friedman and I joined all the celebrities, save Giancarlo, to judge the masquerade. It was a wonderful mix of costumes and performances, giving us plenty to discuss. As a result, the judges’ conference was a hysterical period, collegial, honest, and amusing. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard while determining the winners.