This Fourth of July weekend sees Westercon 64, the 2011 West Coast Science Fantasy Conference, coming to downtown San Jose. Westercon 64 will include several special events in its schedule in addition to traditional SF/F convention programming. Among the special events planned is a performance of a radio-style play written by artist guests of honor Phil and Kaja Foglio, a themed Saturday afternoon tea with writer guest of honor Patricia McKillip, a focus event on the guests moderated by Terry Bisson from the SF in SF reading series, and an SF/F-themed game show. The convention will also include two Regency Dances and the Westercon Masquerade costume contest.
Friday evening of Westercon features Regency-style Dancing in the appropriately named Regency Ballroom starting at 7:30 PM. Come while away the evening in courtly style. Period costumes are welcome (but not required), and both experienced dancers and those that have never tried Regency dancing are all welcome.
Writer Guest of Honor Patricia McKillip will be featured in a Saturday Afternoon Tea in the Westercon 64 Hospitality Suite from 4:00-5:30. Tea and light refreshments will be served with Moira Greyland playing the harp for accompaniment.
The SF in SF Reading Series makes a special appearance in San Jose on Saturday afternoon at 5:30 in the Club Regent Room, with the spotlight on all of Westercon 64's guests: Patricia McKillip, Phil Foglio, Kaja Foglio, and Mike Willmoth. Terry Bisson hosts the Q&A/interview session to follow the readings.
Saturday night at 8 PM is the Westercon Masquerade Costume Contest, where members of the convention show off their best SF/F costumes before an appreciative audience. Costumes are a big part of SF/F conventions, both "hall costumes" designed to be work around the halls of the convention and "presentation costumes" to be shown on stage at events like the Masquerade.
The Hugo Award-winning Girl Genius series of graphic novels by Artist Guests of Honor Phil and Kaja Foglio is the inspiration for a radio-style play on Sunday night at 8 PM in The Club Regent Room. The play features the Foglios along with the Girl Genius Radio Players in a hilarious romp through the "gaslamp fantasy" world of Mad Science with Agatha Heterodyne, Girl Genius and her companions. Members wishing to participate in the play should come to the Foglios' table in the Dealers' Room to volunteer.
If you have a ready answer to a question like "Captain Kirk has the biggest ___ in Starfleet!" then you'll love Match Game SF, an SF/F-themed version of the classic 1970s game show, Saturday afternoon at 2:30 PM with a special "late night" edition on Sunday night at 10 PM. Both shows will be in the Club Regent room. Contestants will be randomly selected from the audience to match wits with the panel. Contestants who do the best job of matching the panelists receive great prizes, while all participants receive the famous Lovely Parting Gift.
Because one good Regency dance deserves another, Alan Winston adds live music to the second session of Regency dance on Sunday night at 7:30 PM in the Regency Ballroom. As with Friday's session, costumes are encouraged (but not required), and all skill levels are welcome.
Westercon 64 will be at the San Jose Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose, California on Friday, July 1 through Monday, July 4. The convention opens on Friday morning, with the Dealers' Room and Art Show opening at Noon (10 AM the other days of the convention). Programming starts at 1 PM on Friday and 10 AM on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, with the convention winding down on Monday afternoon around 4 PM.
Admission to Westercon (known as an "attending membership") is $75 for all four days. Single-day admission memberships are also available for $25 to $40 depending on the day. Children 7-12 accompanied by a parent/guardian are $40, and kids in tow under seven years old are free but must stay with their parent/guardian except for children 3 and older in Children's Programming.
For more information about Westercon 64, see the convention web site at http://www.westercon64.org/