Chag Sameach and Thank you

Yesterday I went from wings and chiffon and a line for the breakfast buffet that was 1400 people long, to a dinner table for 1400 with matzo and wine and references to oppression and an obligation to recline and relax and celebrate. As I was sitting at the longest damn table I’ve ever seen, it occurred to me – seder is one hell of an effort for my inlaws, and that effort is one reason why I left RT early and rushed home to then travel upstate for Passover dinner. That effort, and my acknowledging that effort, is important, and worth – almost – missing the opportunity to have Fabio graze MY left boob (scroll down on the right).

The same can be said of RT. A convention of that size is definitely the results of many, many sleepless hours on the part of the convention staff, from the people who stuffed bags at the last minute to those who opened the doors a bit early so people who were disabled could find a seat nearer to the doors. Someone was hanging that purple sparkly fabric all over the room, and the person who took that effort made the entire venue seem more special, and I noticed that effort. I’m sure other convention attendees noticed too – just like they noticed the ceiling decorations and light effects at the underwater faery ball, the table-scape decorations at the Vampire ball that would have made Sandra Lee proud, and the combined glitz and ongepotchket that communicated one thing: there is no one guest of honor. It’s not a bat mitzvah, or a wedding, or a quince-gone-wild. All this crazy is for each and every one of the folks dressing up and gettin’ down. That’s a lot of effort to make 1500 romance readers feel special.

While I didn’t entirely get on board with each and every moment of the RT wings-and-teeth-o-rama, the effort that went into the convention deserves acknowledgment, just like my mother in law setting a table for 25. So to all the convention staff who didn’t sleep much this week: thank you.

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Romantic Times

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  1. 1
    Rebecca says:

    Chag Sameach back!

  2. 2
    Suze says:

    You know, this is why I like you bitches. You’re rational and civil (yes, I do think the term “sucks donkey balls” fits into civil discourse).  You don’t brush everything you like with “This is great, there are no flaws, la la la, if you don’t agree with my every utterance you are EVIL”, and you don’t brush everything you don’t like with “there is nothing good about this, the person who created it should die and go to hell, and anyone who likes it is STOOPID”.

    You acknowledge people’s efforts and intentions, even when the results aren’t entirely what you would wish for.

    Thanks for the website.

  3. 3
    Tae says:

    As someone who has helped run conventions (science fiction and anime conventions that run 800-3000 people) I can tell you that it does take a lot of work.  On top of that, RT is a paid convention I’m betting, meaning that the people who run it get paid to do it.  When I did it, it was all volunteer time, but we had the chance to meet some of our favorite authors and artists and sometimes television/movie personalities too. 

    Running a convention is a lot of work, a lot of planning and at least for mine, we started planning for the next one before the current one was over.  However, I would say that if the staff were being paid to put on the convention then you should expect a little bit more in terms of getting things done right.  It’s one thing when everyone is a volunteer, but if someone paid me to run conventions, hell that’d be my dream job and I’d work my butt off even more.

  4. 4
    SB Sarah says:

    Danae: I know there is a paid convention staff from RT, because I kept getting on the elevator with them, and man, were they tired. But I also know there were volunteers who stuffed bags and did other tasks during and before/after the convention itself. So I think the effort was a mix of both. But it was a LOT of effort.

    Suze: Your comment made my day. Thanks.

    Rebecca: Pass the bread of oppression. I got the charoset.

  5. 5

    By leaving early, you did miss the model madness on the night before the last day.
    Should have sold tickets to that one. I’m not telling but I mailed my report in to Sybil, so you can read it there.
    Yes, shameless redirecting going on, but damn, this is my first ever scoop and I’m proud of it.

  6. 6
    Jackie says:

    ((Takes a break from nibbling on matzoh and butter—which, dang it, just isn’t as good as a bagel))

    First: love the new look!

    Second: happy Pesach!

    Third: RT was marvelous—and Jo Carol in particular is a peach who should have her own national holiday.

    I took off right after the Book Fair, and I still missed the first seder. What can you do? At least I kept Pesach on the road. (Sort of. After 5 pm, anyway…)

  7. 7

    First, let me wish you a happy Passover.  We celebrate Passover in my family, too, so when I arrived home from RT on Sunday, I went to my niece’s house for a seder dinner. 

    RT is a wonderful experience…because so much work goes into it on the part of the convention staff and volunteers.  This was my second RT convention and there just seemed to be so many more people this year.  All in all, everything seemed to run smoothly.

    Next year…Orlando!

    : )

    Catherine Chernow

  8. 8

    Running a convention is a lot of work, a lot of planning and at least for mine, we started planning for the next one before the current one was over.  However, I would say that if the staff were being paid to put on the convention then you should expect a little bit more in terms of getting things done right.  It’s one thing when everyone is a volunteer, but if someone paid me to run conventions, hell that’d be my dream job and I’d work my butt off even more.

    I’ve worked on various things behind the scenes for the RT con for a few years, and very few of the people who run the convention are paid to do it. And I know that they go far above and beyond what their salary might be. Almost every one of the people behind the scenes are volunteers and they work their butts off every single year.

    I’ve “captained” the paranormal panels for the last 2 or 3 years (sci-fi panels were my first, but can’t remember when). Each year I’ve worked with 5 paranormal panels with 5 people per panel. Lots of juggling to do when you’re dealing with so many people and trying to write at the same time and meet deadlines, and have a personal life. Especially when there are cancellations and replacing—ack. I don’t get paid, but I get a little off my registration—$50 I think. And that’s such a tiny, tiny part of all that goes on at the convention.

    Eden Robins and I have put together the Faery Ball every year for 3 years in a row, and all twenty women on the court work their wings off and we ALL *pay* to be a part of the Faery Court. We pay for the dinner, the decorations, the music, the projectors and screens—all that stuff that goes on behind a big event like that. AND the women on the court do all the decorating that goes on before the event! They pay to be on the court and work to make it happen in a big way!

    The goddess herself is Jo Carol Jones.  The woman is truly, truly amazing. She can’t possibly make what she’s worth no matter how much she may get paid. She’s not only spending the year planning the upcoming RT convention, but searching out sites for future
    RT cons,  (and hotel room prices for convention goers is a huge factor—they won’t go anywhere the attendees would have to pay more than X amount for a room.) Jo Carol handles everything I can think of, including keeping herself from killing the hotel people who promised the hotel would be renovated by LAST SUMMER and not still under construction the following April. If it wasn’t for her, the RESTAURANT wouldn’t have been open while we were there. No kidding.

    The behind the scenes staff is incredible. They don’t get paid for the countless hours and hours and hours. I donate the badges, but they’re the ones who come several days early and slip in the name tags for the 1400 attendees. (This year I sent hospital gloves to help with the paper cuts. And cookies so they didn’t kill me when they saw me once I got in.) Can you imagine stuffing that many badges, resgistration bags, packets, and organizing the whole thing? And these are volunteers.

    The RT staff is a class act and I can guarantee you that they had nothing to do with any of the dumbass things that certain people/groups did. Unfortunately not everyone is as classy as Jo Carol Jones, Carol Stacy, and every RT volunteer. I’ve met most of them and they are just fabulous people.

    That’s what I think about when it comes to RT. It’s unfortunate that some dumbass groups and individuals taint the whole RT experience because it is a fun event for readers, booksellers and authors.

    And like Barry Eisler told me, it’s not like any con he’d ever been to. It’s like a big family reunion.

  9. 9
    Gennita Low says:

    :::waving at Chey:::  So nice meeting you and looking forward to your panel next year.

    I second a national holiday for Jo Carol.  I’ve never seen a woman who could be in five different places in minutes, calling people on the phone, printing name tags, making space, looking for missing books….I was in awe every time I had to go to her to ask for help.  And she was always gracious and helpful, no matter how trivial the problem was.

    I thought the sponsoring authors did a fabulous job for each of the balls this year.  Thanks for working so hard to make RT a memorable experience ;-).  Like Chey says, there are always some bad guests that would spoil the party, but overall, everyone had fun and got to do/see something different for a week.

  10. 10

    Daggone it, Gennita, were you at RT?

    I swear, next time I go, I’m printing the attending authors list out so I can hunt people down.

    Sarah, it was great meeting you, although I still wish you would have shown be the fireballs spitting from your eyes trick.

    I’ll add to the chorus of thank yous. 

    For the most part, RT was a positive experience for me, although I’m still voiceless and the doctors added drugs to my regimen until I get over this frickin asthma flare.  That’s not RT’s fault, I know, but man, it would have been nice to actually speak instead of croak.

    Now I’m off to sulk about not meeting Gennita…uh, I mean write.

  11. 11
    Gennita Low says:

    Oh, Shiloh, it was a madhouse at the conference!  I’m sorry I missed you too.  I’m still recovering from crawling away from the enthusiastic throng that surrounded Fabio and Adrian Paul ;-).  Maybe some time this year, at an Ohio signing?

  12. 12
    Kathy Kulig says:

    Sarah, Thank you for the RT photos! Seeing those models are like a cool drink of water on a hot summer day. BTW I’m the lady in the gold dress! (Kathy Kulig) What a surprise to see my photo in your gallery. :)The convention was fabulous and I met so many wonderful people and made new friends. So much work goes into putting this convention together. They did an amazing job, and it was a huge success. Can’t wait for Orlando!! All the best, Kathy Kulig. http://www.kathykulig.com

  13. 13

    Chag kasher v’sameach, Sarah!  I feel like I’m surfacing after four days of non-stop eating.  It’s good to be back online.

    Thanks for thanking all the convention workers.  When I work Worldcon it’s always a pleasure when someone sees my staff ribbon and stops me in the hall to say she’s having a good time, and thanks for the hard work.

  14. 14

    Oh, Shiloh, it was a madhouse at the conference!  I’m sorry I missed you too.  I’m still recovering from crawling away from the enthusiastic throng that surrounded Fabio and Adrian Paul ;-).  Maybe some time this year, at an Ohio signing?

    Oh, hey…. I do signings in Ohio. :)

  15. 15

    :::Chey waves back at Gennita:::

    It was great to meet you and can’t wait to read your book! I think you might win out on my TBR pile over Barry Eisler’s book. Who was a great guy, wasn’t he? If not for the ring on his finger he would have been HOT. If not for the ring on my finger, he would have been HOT HOT.

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