Andrew Trembley (bovil) wrote,
Andrew Trembley

Baycon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

No, you're not getting the play-by-play. The internet wasn't free in the hotel this year, and I didn't feel like paying for service, so there was no liveblogging.

We'll start with the ugly, just to get it out of the way.

Having 425 seats for the masquerade last year was ugly. Having less than half of that this year was worse. Having the house open over 45 minutes late was bad. Not having any risers so nobody behind the first 5 rows could really see anything was ugly. Yes, I know there are reasons that the space wasn't larger and there wasn't a stage. It doesn't change the problems.

That's the only real ugly. The rest of the flaws were just bad.

The room layouts in the hotel were suboptimal for parties, fanzine lounge and consuite. Nothing that can really be done about this, except maybe finding a new home for consuite and/or fanzine lounge in the future.

There was almost no hanging space in the hotel rooms, just an alcove with a hanger rod.

The Dealers' room was less than thrilling. There were some good dealers in there, but space allocation could have been handled better.

Closing reg at 9:00pm on Friday night when the party floor is badged is a nuisance. Some folks can't come to the con until after work, and in some cases "after work" is in another county or fairly late at night. We had several folks who just couldn't get to Santa Clara until well after that. It was explained that this happened because reg wasn't allowed to have more staff to stay open later, and that's a failure of the BayCon staffing model.

The fire alarm on Friday night that only went off on some floors and proceeded to leave much of the convention and hotel staff confused about what happened and when it actually ended was a nuisance.

Having the only upper-story path between the convention center and the hotel pass through the break-out rooms being used by the Northern California Catholic Charismatic Conference was not good. Granted, BayCon was only using ground-level space at the convention center, but I know a lot of people tried at least once to get to it via the second-floor hotel connection or the parking structure bridge.

That said, there weren't that many other problems that impacted us directly.

The good?

This is the first BayCon I've been to in years where there was no lack of parking. Our room overlooked the parking garage, and I could always see at least a few spaces available on the top level.

Function space in the Hyatt and ballroom space in the convention center was all pretty good. Public spaces (the bar, restaurant and patios) were really nice, and if the weather was in the high 70's to low 80's would be even better.

One would think being in a tower with only 4 elevators and no sleeping rooms below 3rd floor would be horrific, but elevator congestion was manageable. That was actually good.

With the exception of a bad waiter or two in the bar and the restaurant, all the hotel staff was fantastic, friendly and cheerful.

The 'zine was good. The program book took a series of what could have been horrible design choices and made them work. The design was attractive and readability was OK.

Program green room was calm, quiet and nicely stocked (even if you had to ask someone to fetch you a cold soda or water). Program ops was well-organized. Ops was well-organized.

The consuite was, even in cramped space, absolutely gorgeous. Best decorating job in years.

Art show was pretty nice.

Fanzine lounge was a blast.

Parties were excellent and plentiful. Our last outing as party landlords went really well. The last loeg party is over. The A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Harem party was fantastic, and the furcon party on Sunday was fabulous.

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