I knew in advance that the plan was for Connie to mock Neil and generally make him a straight man for her comedy show, and make him judge the Hawaiian shirt contest. The contest was more fun than I expected, both due to the pleasure of the Hawaiian Shirt Jeopardy Game Connie had made up for the elimination round (and the final Hula contest), and due to the running gag that started when Connie explained that everyone wearing a hawaiian shirt would get a thingie (a stick with a little paper fruit thing on the end, such as you might put in a drink), and Gardner Dozois piped up "I already have a thingie!" Gardner kept going on about his thingie(s) throughout ("My thingie is limp and dangling. May have another?") and Connie declared "I knew this was a bad idea!" but it was really quite fun.
After brunch Caro headed off to family events unrelated to SF and I spent an hour helping the university book store people run Neil through signing most of their stock of his books while he also signed various things other people brought by. Then we had an hour's break, during which we went over the program for the SFM Hall of Fame awards that Neil would MC later, and he worked on his speeches and read email while I had a bit of a lie-down. (Those of you who know me will be unsurprised to hear that I woke up around my usual time all weekend, which was about 5 AM local time. Sunday after I took Neil to the airport I had a goodly nap, and Saturday I took advantage of every opportunity to get off my feet.)
I drove Neil to the Science Fiction Museum/Experience Music Project building, which was a very shiny multi-colored building that I heard people describe as looking, alternately, like something a cat spit up, or some very nice piece of modern architecture that a very large child had squished into a lumpy sort of thing. They had a multi-author signing set up at the EMP. It was limited to attendees of the awards weekend, most of whom seemed to still be out to lunch, so Neil and Therese Littleton went to get him something to drink, and I hung out with Byron Herbert (Frank Herbert's grandson), who was scheduled to interview Neil after the signing. Neil came back to a very easy-going autographing session which was only made a bit weird by the fact that somewhere in the middle the EMP security staff people moved the line of people that had accumulated in front of Neil back over to the cordoned-off lining-up space on the other side of the room so that could send them over one by one and not block traffic that was exiting the room. This of course slowed things down, and was also a bit silly since the only reason there was a traffic issue was because the cordoned-off part of the room FILLED the room, leaving only a small exit corridor at the end, and they wouldn't move the stands and cords despite the fact that the back-and-forth line thingy was mostly empty and clearly not needed.
I must say, the security staff were kind of intimidating all weekend, and had enforced a strict cut-off time for the SFWA reception the night before by turning down the lights to get everyone to leave... I was surprised.
It was fun sitting in on Byron's interview with Neil, which went by all too quickly, and was held in a green room behind the EMP main theater, which looked like the dolled-up sort of space where rock stars might hang out, as Therese said they in fact had. After that was the Locus awards, and more mocking for Neil.
Connie was MC-ing the Locus awards and this time she went into the history and significance of the hawaiian shirt wearing, and also offerred people not wearing a hawaiian shirt the chance to win one of the three she had, by offering a good excuse for not having one on. I was sitting with Adam and Betsy Stemple -- Betsy wanted one of the shirts, so Adam and I both raised our hands to try to get her one. I'm sorry Connie called on Adam instead of me, because honestly I think I had a much better excuse than he did. I happened to be wearing a black dress that day, so I figured if she called on me I would stand up and say:
"What most of you don't know is that Neil is actually a mean ogre of an employer, and if his lackeys don't show up in uniform, he beats us with an old copy of the Duran Duran book that he wrote and wants everyone to forget about, and he makes us sing songs from The Wolves in the Walls - 'Arrooo!' and all that."
And if Connie had pointed out that I'd been wearing non-black clothes earlier, I could have just said "Well, what do you think happened between then and now?"
What with the tone of the day I'm sure I could have won that shirt for Betsy, but sadly Connie called on someone else after Adam failed to impress, and she got the shirt Betsy wanted and the opportunity was gone.
The awards ceremony itself was kind of dull -lots of categories to get through and not that many winners attending. Eileen Gunn, Gardner Dozois, and Charles M Brown accepted most of the awards on behalf of other people. I was pleased to see Bear take the award for best first novel but sorry I had not suggested she give me a speech to give for her, since it would have gotten more variety of people up on the stage. Neil picked up two awards, one of which surprized him as he had forgotten "Sunbird" was nominated. The ceremony was over early and so we had an extra long break for dinner, which was nice.
Neil and Dan'a and Liza and I went to a local sushi place for a lovely relaxed meal. There are some pictures of me and Neil and Dan'a and Liza from after dinner over on maudelynn's journal.
I would add, with regards to the Locus awards event and the SFWA reception on Friday, from a smoffing point of view, that I would not have made either event a cash bar sort of thing. Both were advertized as cocktail sort of events, and at neither one did very many people have drinks. My observation over the years has been that most authors are actually quite poor, and bringing them together to charge them $2.50 for a small bottle of water or $5 for a small cocktail is really pretty lame (Water especially. Water should always be free at a bar, I feel. They wouldn't even give me water when I asked for some for Neil, who was a special guest of the event. Liza fetched him a bottle from her personal store. This was all especially funny because there were drinking fountains at one end of the room. But this was a semi-posh event. Who's going to grab a glass and go fill it at the drinking fountain?). A deal with one or two drink tickets included in your ticket to the event, or even the cash bar with a free water/coffe/tea or soda service (a bin of ice with an assortment of cans of soda in it), would have been much better. I imagine Locus was trying to keep the initial cost of the event low - a ticket to their things for the whole weekend was only $25 - but it was sad to see almost nobody drinking at this sort of occassion and I bought some water for David Marusek myself because I mean, really.