I had an amazingly detailed dream last night, one that kept going for what seemed like hours, all the way to 6:00AM, when I woke up and thought about it. I think that it was an important enough dream hat I should share it with whoever wants to read about it, so here I am.
Apparently, Avie, Kate and I were at a hotel for some sort of business trip over a weekend in a different state. We went somewhere (not remembering) and came back to the hotel, and ran into what looked like gamers. As we walked through the hotel, we realized slowly (this can only happen in a dream) that there was in fact a convention happening at the hotel which we were (hah!) unaware of.
We soon learned that it was a science fiction convention, and it was "Unicon". Now, for those of you who don't know much about SF conventions, Unicon was a convention which ran in Maryland until 1989. I used to go to it in the mid-80s. Well, in fact, there is a very interesting story attached to Unicon that involves me, when it was held in 1985. If you visit the Wikipedia page and look at the history of Unicon, you'll see that there was no Unicon in 1986 - there was a party that the group held to keep it alive, and it didn't come back until 1987.
1985 was a very infamous year for Unicon, and I am sad to say that I pretty much singlehandedly brought the convention crashing down. This was no on purpose. In fact, there is so much Double Exposure history steeped in Unicon '85 that I feel the need to tell you in detail what happened there. First of all, this is the convention I met Martha at. I needed a ride to Maryland, and she was a friend of a friend, and she offered to drive back and forth, and even pick me up from the Bronx. So we became friends during this convention. But what a circumstance!
The convention was literally shut down by the hotel on Saturday night, and every single thing that went wrong could be traced back to me. First of all, I was running two rooms and I put 21 people into those two rooms. We were fit in like sardines Friday night. I had planned to run around 6 parties, two on Friday night and 3 on Saturday night. These included a giant Toga party and a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster party Saturday night, which everyone at the convention knew about because of other successful Toga parties I had run at other SF conventions. But things started going wrong at the hotel. Some idiot crashed through the front window of the hotel, and he was a good friend of one of the people staying in my rooms, so of course he ended up in my room bleeding. Someone smashed a fire extinguisher through an upper floor window and for reasons I still cannot explain, it ended up in one of my closets. And someone ended up putting a massive amount of dry ice in the pool, and although we had nothing to do with that, everyone knew were using dry ice for the PGGBs, so we got blamed for that as well. Lastly, because we were running a Toga party, sheets were being stolen left and right from every hotel room and the hotel caught on.
In general, the Silver Spring Sheraton freaked out about the convention (I don't remember for sure, but I think they had a new sales team and/or manager that year), and began doing a curfew Saturday night and a count of people in rooms (4 maximum, strictly enforced). We're not talking about a rinky-dink convention here - Unicon was at least a thousand people strong, and it had to come to a crushing end around 11PM Saturday night. I had to send people out of my room, and before I realized it, Martha had gone out to her car to sleep. Although there was some unity in misery, so to speak, most of the convention was deeply unhappy, and although I never had any official communication with the concom, I'm pretty sure they directly blamed me and my group.
Well, back to the dream. So as I walked through the hotel, I began running into many familiar faces, and realized that I was at a huge science fiction convention - something I haven't done in over ten years. And I kept running into familiar faces from the DE senior staff, who were all wondering why I didn't know that the convention was taking place.
I opened doors in the dream, finding sf programming such as the movie room and panels - the convention seemed to have thousands of people and a neverending supply of hotel space. I was giddy as I discovered memories which must have been buried deep in the recesses of my brain. Somehow I ended up with a shopping cart and a small ball which I was supposed to deliver to someone.
I made my way to the con suite, and discovered familiar faces such as Paul Birnbaum and Sarah Gellis (now Gordon), and felt right at home. They had hot dogs and hamburgers in the con suite, and it was huge - something we just can't do at DE conventions because of space and budget restrictions.
Anyway, I walked through halls and ended up waiting in line for an elevator with hundreds of other people (ah, memories!). By this time, I must have run into just about every member of the DE senior staff, plus most of the auxiliary staff. I ran into Rob Cornelius (who inexplicably took the ball I had in the shopping cart and told me he would take care of it) and Malcolm Mallardi, and Malcolm was explaining to me how upset he was about the disparity between two LARPs that were running at Unicon. Apparently, one was being run by a large group (can't remember which group, but I knew them in the dream) and one was being run by Pippin Carino (I have no idea how he ended up in this position), and both were using "hemoglobin" as a combat mechanism (don't ask). But the larger group got premium space at the convention and Pippin was thrown into some back room somewhere, so he was upset and all of Pippin's friends were upset.
I then made what felt like a soapbox speech to Malcolm, and suddenly had an audience of many other DE folks around me, which went like this: "Look, Unicon is a science fiction convention, not a gaming convention. They don't really know what LARPs are, and I doubt that anyone who made the decision where to put each LARP knew what the game mechanics were or even who was running what. You shouldn't tell someone to run a LARP at a sf convention without making sure they know that THEY are the anomaly, and may not be treated fairly."
And so I went on about this, and everyone listened and laughed, and then I woke up. I was strangely pleased by the dream, and knew I had to write about it. I wish I could re-experience the science fiction conventions of the 1980's with all of my current friends, but I doubt that any of them are like they used to be.
Well, thanks for reading this (long) post. I'm glad I got to share this.