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Veronica Schanoes
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 03:58 pm:   

> "C'mon over here and say that again!"
>
> The IA Discussion Boards are now open! Night Shade Books is hosting for us at
http://www.nightshadebooks.com/discus/messages/1466/1466.html?1068358544 (Or start at
www.nightshadebooks.com, then click "Discussion Board" in the top bar and "Interstitial Arts
Foundation" in the Topic list.)
>
> Fearless Moderator Veronica Schanoes has started an assortment of threads based on earlier
discussions elsewhere, and the conversations are underway even as you read this. (The setup is
mostly self-explanatory, but there's an IA FAQ link in the "Read Me" thread, and helpful notes
on "Getting Started," "Formatting," and other topics in the Discussion Area help bar across the
top of every page.)
>
> So, let's talk about this, hm?
>
> -----
>
> World Fantasy Convention IAF Report
>
> The World Fantasy Convention is held every year at the end of October in a different host
city. The WFC brings together writers, editors, illustrators, agents, and readers with interests
ranging from horror to mythic fantasy and lots in between. The World Fantasy Awards (selected
each year by jury) are presented there. In 2003, the WFC was in Washington, DC from Oct. 30 ^
Nov. 2. Because of the high concentration of writing professionals and artists there, we decided
to try to really push the IA profile at this convention.
>
>
> Thursday night:
> The Party
>
> Ellen Klages arranged for IA to sponsor the convention's Hospitality Suite (aka Con Suite) on
Thursday night, the opening night of the con. Organization and food wrangling was provided by
Theodora Goss, Holly Black, Davey Snyder, and Steve Pasechnick (all of whom deserve an enormous
round of applause). The Hospitality Suite provided drinks, snacks, and much gooey cake. And 15
minutes before the party officially started, the place was packed, a tribute to Ellen Klages'
wonderfully Interstitial posters, scattered around Registration.
>
> Thanks to the handy "Badge-a-Minit" machine and Ellen Klages' good right arm, we had a bunch
of IAF buttons in six different designs. These she arrayed on a table, with a sign suggesting a
donation of $5/button, and plastic pumpkins in which people were invited to place donations. At
one point Jane Yolen seized a pumpkin and went round the room soliciting donations in her best
"I^m the mom, that's why!" voice, to great effect.
>
> The stereo was playing RESQ (the Really Eclectic String Quartet), which partygoers really
enjoyed. We also featured Baka Beyond, "a soundscape of Celtic fiddle, African drum, Gaelic
vocals and Senegalese Song" ^ when it was presented, Ellen Kushner led the assembled multitudes
in the cry of, "How Interstitial is that!" so they could walk out of there with no insecurity on
how to pronounce our name.
>
> The party also offered us a chance to hand out many copies of our new flyer: the front is a
5-panel comic by Kendrick Goss that brilliantly defines IA, while the back has FAQ, web, and
contact information. It's a large Word document so we're not enclosing it, but if you'd like a
copy write to us and we'll send it.
>
>
> Friday 5:00 pm, in a room generously donated by the Con Suite:
> The IAF Working Group Meeting
>
> We discussed the current core mission of the IAF. We realized that we are most concerned with
outreach right now: over the past 8 weeks, many people have given extraordinary amounts of time
to create a huge website that will launch in December ^ once it^s up and running, we want to
do everything we can to send people there, and from there to get the concept of IA out into the
broader community: book & music stores, libraries, reviewers . . . .
>
> We also talked about the new Discussion Boards
(http://www.nightshadebooks.com/discus/messages/1466/1466.html?1068358544), and encouraged the
Working Group members to participate.
>
> We concluded the meeting by agreeing that the IA mission is OUTREACH AND EDUCATION.
>
>
> Saturday 2:00 pm:
> The Slipstream Panel
> Gregory Frost*, Theodora Goss*, Christopher Barzak*, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Ben Rosenbaum
(moderating). * are IA Working Group members. The topic and panelists were assigned by the WFC
committee, but we did our best to unobtrusively subvert it.
>
> This went very well, assembling a discussion from the panelists' various perspectives,
beginning with the historical (Bruce Sterling's definition of certain fictions as "slipstream")
and moving away from that marker to a contemporary discussion of interstitiality ^ how we
perceive this term, how we can apply it, why we think that identifying such fiction and artistic
endeavor is critical, not merely in terms of recognizing something that is uneasily categorized
by traditional methods but also in order to understand how artistic expression is developing,
growing, and absorbing influences from all over the world. We articulated this by identifying
works and authors that Sterling listed, and then by discussing a few writers ^ Holly Black,
Kelly Link, Borges, Angela Carter, Cortazar, and Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49" for
instance ^ whose works we could agree on as interstitial.
>
> The success of the panel was borne out by the rush of audience members to sign up for the IA
email list at the end. We had a packed house, and we ran out of flyers.
>
>
> General:
> The discussion of interstitiality continued throughout the weekend, at various parties.
Everyone seemed to have a good grasp of the intangible element under discussion, too. It seems
already to be a "I know it when I see it" phenomenon, leading us to the conclusion that readers
have been aware of this "different" fiction for some time but hadn't any peg to hang it on save
for Sterling's "Slipstream." (Though at our "launch" party, a confused couple came up to Ellen
Kushner asking, "Are there any books that are not Interstitial?" "Yeah," she replied; "John
Cheever. Robert Jordan.")
>
> A number of interstitial publications made their debuts during the convention. Tim Pratt's
zine Flytrap, and the new issue of Say . . ., and Argosy. On the visual arts front, interstitial
contributions to the Art Show included Charles Vess's wonderful pen-and-ink illustrations for
Charles de Lint's MEDICINE ROAD, and Lisa Snelling's dark carnival doll/sculptures, not to
mention the little jewelled books with tiny stories in them, written by artist and storyteller
Raelinda Woad. They are jewelry, they are book-art, they are fiction. How Interstitial Is That?
>
> Our next major convention appearances will be at the International Conference for the
Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA) (http://ebbs.english.vt.edu/iafa/iafa.home.html), an academic
conference in Ft. Lauderdale in March, and Mythic Journeys (http://www.mythicjourneys.org) in
Atlanta in June, where there will be an entire Interstitial track of programming! Hope to see
you there.
>
> This report was written and edited by Gregory Frost, Theodora Goss, Ellen Klages, Davey
Snyder, Delia Sherman, and Ellen Kushner.

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