Conventions: Fabletown and Beyond

What is the worst word to apply to this convention…

Regret… And lots of it…

– I regret not arriving until 1am on Saturday morning…
– I regret having to leave by 5pm on Sunday evening…
– I regret letting something so awesome slip my mind so carelessly…
– I regret not being able to stay up beyond my 4am self-imposed bedtime on Sunday morning…

Lots of regrets because the weekend of the Fabletown and Beyond Convention was…


I swear, I am spoiled when it comes to awesome conventions. I mean… Originally I thought the best convention I would ever have would be the weekend (or week) that I spent running around getting last minute touches done for a National Conference in Chicago in 2004. And I was on the conference planning committee meeting that time.

However, as an attendee/fan: Fabletown and Beyond was tops. There was so much to say that one post isn’t going to be enough to talk about just how awesome this convention was.

So I am just going to focus on a few key moments and over the coming weeks add in more posts that would relate.

Answer: A lot of crazy amazing fun.

I mean seriously a scavenger hunt, keynote speech by Mark Buckingham (affectionately known as Bucky), Chris Opperman (affectionately known as Oppy) being used as a plant to participate in the keynote speech as musician, Mark singing a duet with Bill Willingham, late night gaming with creators/writers/artist and fans til the wee hours.

Yup, regret pretty much sums that up pleasantly… dammit.

Thankfully I made it into Rochester by 1am (which was at least an hour off from my intended arrival time) and fortunately my friends old and soon-to-be were still playing Cards Against Humanity and me and a friend that I brought with me joined them.

What a way to end a “Friday”.

In case you missed it I got a call from a friend that was already at the con at around 2pm on Friday afternoon, and I was at work in the office in Chicago. I booked my hotel room by 2:30pm and anticipated every minute until 5pm where I jumped into my car headed home to pack my bags, leaving for Rochester at around 6:15pm.

I ended up turning around to pick up a friend of mine and we didn’t set out officially until 7pm. Yeah… I’m nuts.

Where the hell do I begin?!?!? Seriously it was a long list of panels, then an hour where I watched friends and new friends play a Munchkins game (Munchkin Conan the Barbarian… I believe)… more panels and discussions (complete with heckling), dinner, hanging out at the bar, a pool party, more bar conversation and a long talks / discussions with new and old friends until 6am on Sunday morning! (though I retired at 4am)

So the boring, here is a timed schedule of where I was on Saturday (And because I am too lazy to write out each individual panel here is the link from the website)
10:00am – Boring Panel Room – World Building
11:00am – Exhibitors Hall
12:00pm – Boring Panel Room – Getting it Made
1:00pm – Lunch – Munchkins Card Game
2:00pm – Boring Panel Room – The Fables Panel
3:00pm – Boring Panel Room – In the Shadow of the Wolf
4:00pm – Talk Show Room – Mad About Mice!
5:00pm – Boring Panel Room – Killing Shakespeare
6:00pm – Boring Panel Room – Ethics of Story
10:00pm – Informal Poolside Party
12:00am – Kill Shakespeare Bar
2:00am – Continue Hanging out

Yup talk about fun… 😉

I could go into more detail… but I’ll break the above list down in later posts… but, at the moment just being able to hang out with friends, creators, new and old alike really was a lot of fun.

What I learned during the Fables Panel (which was crowded as crazy) was that the day before *cries* there was a Scavenger hunt that a friend of mine ranked second place in. Plus she missed the “bonus items”. Why am I crying? Because had I got my butt at the convention earlier I could have driven her out to wherever she needed to go to get the last item on the list. *sighs* Plus it would have been fun running around… and being at the bar… anyway, I digress.

However, the pool party was absolutely sensational! It was fun heckling Gene Ha has he got into the pool with a medicine ball, or watching Cthulhu dip his toes in the water. Seeing people dive for the ball… or watching Ryan Sainio “accidentally” get knocked around by the beach volleyball throughout the two hour stint.

But again, more details to come in future posts… 🙂

SUNDAY: SECOND DAY of FUN AND GAMES cut short by an incoming snow storm through the midwest (boo!)
After a long night of chatting and hanging out, bedtime didn’t come til 4am except I would have stayed up even later had it not been for the fact that I had to go home that day. *le sigh*

Ok enough whining, so what I did I do on Sunday?
10:00am – Talk Show Room – The Ham Show! Bill WillingHAM and Mark BuckingHAM
11:00am – Exhibitors Hall
12:00pm – Boring Panel Room – The Art of War
1:00pm – Talk Show Room – The Mythology Hour
2:00pm – Boring Panel Room – The Fairest Panel
3:00pm – Talk Show Room – It’s the Big Announcements Show
4:00pm – Boring Panel Room – Obscure Legends

Wasn’t hungry… as is typical for me, but I did chat it up with Matt Sturges, Mark Finn and the guys from Kill Shakespeare (which caused me to be late to “The Art of War” panel which got me into a twitter conversation with someone completely separate from FablesCon but that’s again a different post for a different day).

Nothing too crazy on this day like Saturday, which is to be expected since I had planned on driving home that evening. However, what I did do was stare at a lot of the artwork and planned ahead for purchased online or on the spot. There were new creators whose work caught my attention so now I’m following their work… seriously conventions will only serve to drain my wallet lest I’m careful.

If I were to do it all over again I would have left the office the moment I booked a hotel room… which meant being able to leave the area at around 3pm which would bring me to Fabletown and Beyond closer to 9pm. Which meant that I would have just barely missed the trivia show in the Kill Shakespeare Bar… *sighs* but I would have had time to really chat and hang out with everyone more… but again, I digress.

If I were really smart… I would have just taken the day off of work on Friday and left in the morning to make it to Minnesota by midday to get my badge and make it to the first panel at 3pm. So if I were to have been there by 3pm, what would I have done?

3:00pm – The Talk Show Room – The Sandcastle Show!
4:00pm – Opening Ceremonies
5:00pm – Guest of Honor Speech
6:00pm – Kill Shakespeare Bar – Fablescon Trivia

*sighs* Well it is a learning curve isn’t it? When it comes to something new and different there are bumps on the road and one thing I learned from this experience is that if this comes back again in a future year I am going to be sure that the dates are blacked out for the trip… end of story.

Wow… it has been a few weeks and I am still giddy over this particular convention…

I swear… I think Fabletown and Beyond has permanently ruined conventions for me as a fan… if only because there was so much fun to be had with this. Eventually (hopefully soon) I’ll post various photos and videos that were taken throughout the convention.

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