Thursday, October 8, 2009

My last night at the ICon

Posted by Simcha 3:43 PM, under | 2 comments

After two wonderful days of book selling fun it was time to pay the piper.

As a volunteer at the ICon I had received a special vendor's discount which meant that despite my less then positive experience as a volunteer earlier in the week, I was still committed to another day of volunteering. That is why, despite only getting four hours of sleep for the past two night, I was up bright and early this morning, and heading once again to Tel Aviv.

But I'm happy to say that today I actually really enjoyed myself. Since I had expressed an interest in the children's events, today I was assigned to the room where these events took place. To my relief, my duties were pretty simple. All I had to do was collect the tickets at the door and help tidy up the room between events. The rest of the time I was free to observe.

When I first entered the room, before the event started, I found a group of young men and women dressed in various costumes milling around and laughing together. But as a group of children was ushered in, each of these girls and guys went to their individual tables where they magically transformed into the characters of pub owner, pirate, drunkard, assassin, thief and strong silent man.

The children were each given some "coins"
by the wizard who was guiding them and were told that they had a mission to complete, which they must do by speaking to each of the figures in the room and fulfilling the tasks assigned to them. Once the children received their instructions, most of them gravitated to the "pub" where they were able to
exchange their coins for a slice of bread with chocolate spread and a cup of juice. Chocolaty bread in hand, the children moved from table to table where they got to gamble with the thief, learn tricks from the pirate, arm wrestle with the strong man and have their fortune told by the gypsy.

The children rushed around the room purposefully, earning coins and picking up clues. Outside of the room, the wizard sat with a group of kids, narrating for them an exciting adventure in which they got to participate, with just the use of dice and some imagination. I watched fascinated, as the costumed ICon volunteers created for these children a world of fantasy and adventure in which each of the kids emerged a hero. One group even came bounding into the room with the head of a beast on a stick, that they had vanquished in battle. The energy and excitement was infectious and I was glad that I had the opportunity to witness it.

I was also amazed by how many incredibly talented individuals there are within the scifi and fantasy community here. One young woman that I met makes beautiful Renaissance style gowns, just for fun, and which her and her friend displayed last night at the ICon. And one guy that I met makes the most amazing foam masks of beasts; a skill that he taught himself. It was one of his beasts that was slayed at the hands of the children and impaled upon a sword.

I returned home tonight tired but satisfied. I had had some reservations, when I had signed up to participate at the ICon, both as a seller and a volunteer. I wasn't sure if it would be worth the time and effort that I would have to put into it, but now I'm really glad I took the chance. I met a lot of great people, sold a lot of great books and I got a revealing glimpse into the Israeli SFF community.


See. I told you it would be worth it! Aren't you glad you listened to your mother for once.

There is nothing like a convention to put you in touch with the genre community. It sounds like it was a great experience. Here in the U.S...I'll be doing some conventions, ending up at the World Fantasy convention in Columbus Ohio at the end of October

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