Friday morning before WindyCon weekend, I have had more failures than successes. The almond-brittle shell for the proposed Moya party cake has collapsed under its own weight; the idea of sticking cream puffs dipped in hard caramel directly onto a papier-mache sculpture of Moya (my alternate plan) sickens me. Reluctantly, and with apologies to the group, I abandon the shaped-cake idea entirely and suggest to Linda that we just do cream puffs for the party. She replies that she's got enough ingredients to make one to two thousand cream puffs, so that's fine by her.
The past few weeks have seen some interesting and rather heartening developments. A trio of Scapers, participating in a Halloween parade, happened to run into Ben Browder on the streets of Los Angeles. Brigitta seems to think this is a positive sign. Also encouraging is the new form that the original WD Section "Save Farscape" Web site has taken; it has now become "Watch Farscape," features a new graphics-intensive interface, and is host to vast tracts of information, suggestions, and resources. We have also decided on an official name for our group - the Chicago Scapers. We've set up a discussion group on the Yahoo.com service under this name, and used it to discuss important matters and share information. Membership in our group has increased to over fifty and is still climbing, slowly but reassuringly steadily.
As far as WindyCon goes, we're locked in. Our room reservation is confirmed - albeit for a single room and our team has purchased much food and liquor in preparation. Brigitta, at the hotel, reports that many convention guests have shown interest in our pamphlets, flyers, buttons, and pens (the latter two printed with our Web site information). We are prepared, Linda says, for a very good weekend.
In light of these positive bits of news, I'm starting to feel much better about the cake.
******************************If it should seem, to the casual observer, that the efforts to rescue Farscape seem a bit disproportionate, one might consider the show's accomplishments. Since the middle of its first season, the show has been a critics' darling, hailed for possessing "imaginative stories, bizarre aliens and sparkling dialogue" by the Boston Herald, touted as "the most irreverent, unpredictable, sexy, intelligent and exciting sci fi show on TV" by TV Guide. Last season saw the series winning two Saturn Awards, one for Browder's outstanding performance. The final episodes of season three were nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Costume Design.
The writing quality has also improved greatly since the show's roots. The writers' willingness to play with the conventions of SF and "regular" televised drama has turned Farscape into a unique exercise in creative storytelling. Almost two-thirds of the third season saw the protagonist duplicated, or "twinned," in the show's parlance, and thus allowed the storyline to be split in two. The second John Crichton was not killed off instantly, like most other shows would have done in deference to the status quo; rather, the relationships that one Crichton had were allowed to blossom, while the other chose entirely different paths. Thus, a science-fiction concept was transformed into a powerful narrative tool, in a way that no other program before it was willing to explore.
And if, as some have observed, the episodes this season have been a little disappointingówell, most anything would seem weak after the Sturm-und-Drang of season three, when our heroes finally destroyed the menacing enemy warship that had hounded them since the premiere episode. It's hard to top something with as much significance, to both the storyline and the individual characters, as that act.
We end up partying our brains out.
Starting the room party at 7 p.m., a time previously decided upon, is a great choice for getting peopleís attention. Most of the other room parties at WindyCon begin at 9 p.m., and as it turns out, many of the guests who aren't attending the con's Masquerade Ball are bored stiff. The only problem is that we're not quite ready by the time 7 p.m. rolls around, so to save face we inform people that the hot food won't be hot for two more hours. Then we pass out some trivia-contest cards to the waiting crowds, pop a Farscape DVD into the player, serve a few drinks and start filling cream puffs like mad.
The next ten and a half hours are something of a blur, but I seem to recall sighting large numbers of vampires, Jedi Knights, pirates, Imperial Stormtroopers, wizards, medieval lords and ladies, cyborgs, Dark Lords of the Sith, and yes, even a few Klingons in our room at various points during the night. Music blasts from our small stereo. We pass out flyers, pens, and character buttons. We encourage people to sign our invitation sheet for the Yahoo.com group.
We're also actively recruiting people to attend the party. Some of our members are venturing out to other parties on the floor, inviting them to join ours (and in some cases enticing them with samples of food). Once the guests are in the room, we ply them with drink, and when they're feeling garrulous, we talk about the show and the reasons it should be saved. I'm surprised at the number of people who've never heard of Farscape before; fortunately, the party engineers are well-versed enough in the program that we can easily engage our guests. More than a few make verbal pledges to watch, based solely on our speeches.
Brigitta turns out to be a great help. She has volunteered to work as our "outreach" coordinator, and has also supplied several large and beautiful posters printed on durable vinyl sheeting. At Windycon, she has a portable DVD player set up in her room, and drags several partygoers there to watch pivotal episodes throughout the night. Her educational skills alone prove her worth to our group.
And so it goes, for hours I can no longer count. Tomas serves countless drinks and in fact hardly moves from the makeshift bar. Our stock of cream puffs and Polynesian-style meatballs and bruschetta topping dwindles steadily. We begin to run out of canned heat.
At length, when it becomes clear that the last few guests will not leave unless prompted, we decide to close the party. It's now 5:30 A.M., and the sky glows feebly blue outside the hotel lobby. Our crew basks in the early morning cloud-filtered sunshine and spends the next two hours in a frenzy of cleaning before collapsing in our hotel beds. An eerie calm has settled over us, a pleasant feeling of satisfaction with our work.
And when weíve finished tallying up all of the new recruits a week later, we discover that our membership roster now tops one hundred and ten.
The WindyCon 2002 ChicagoScapers' Farscape Party is in full swing.
Liquor and little tiny puffballs filled with a sweet and creamy filling are an irresistable attraction for the convention attendees.
The Farscape fan table setup.