Escapade/Escapade 2002

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Escapade 2002

Escapade 12 was held on February 15-17, 2002.

cover of program book
front and back covers of another version of the 2002 program book
From the program book:
What's New: In keeping with our homage to The Lord of the Rings, you will notice that we re including a TENT this year. Believe us, just like Frodo with his quest, this wasn't our first choice. The Company has become too large to be comfortably housed in the buildings as currently designed, and we didn't imagine most of you wanting to trek over hill and dale to get to a panel. There is neither magic nor money that will convince our hotel to, you know, build new space just for us, so — the pavilion tent in the parking lot is most definitely convention space. Enjoy.

Programming

Program Book (PDF)

Friday:

  • Do I gotta write that sex scene? by JiM, AnneZo (The pros & cons of fading to black.)
  • Oz: Love behind bars or sexual predation? by Movies Michelle, Star (Can a "slut lawyer" and a "gay serial killers" (kudos to Salon.com for the descriptions) find lasting happiness -- or at least occasisional hot sex -- together? HBO's answer to Luke & Laura, along with your own favorite non-canon prison pairings.)
  • We have met the enemy, and they are us by Kathy M. and Dara S (Why fandom would be great if it weren't for the fans. We've all experienced Bad Fans. What do we do, and what can we do to make fandom a more pleasant place to to hang out? Or at least, a more pleasant place to vent our peeves.)
  • Fandom Extravaganza (aka Organized Pimping) (Think of it as a fannish trade show; come in and browse for a new obsession.)
  • Sentinel by JenCat004 (How and why Blair Sandburg is often depicted in feminine-seeming stereotypes.)
  • Criticism by Shoshanna, Kass Rachel (Two editors, fannish and professional, lead a conversation on story criticism -- how it can be done and why it should be done, from zine-published reviews to discussion lists like FCA. Come join the kind of meta-discussion that Prospect-L won't allow!)
  • How to run a Fiction Archive (and Maintain Your Sanity) by Sharon H/Amothea, Naomi/Shallot, Kate B.
  • XF: History Of by Nonie Rider (Or why Chris Carter should be shot in the head. Sorting out the show's scattered and contradictory history, both of human/alien relations and of characters like Krycek, Skinner, the Mulders, and the Spenders. Starting point: best theories from canon.)
  • Nobody Here But Us Sockpuppets by Merry Lynne, Naomi/Shallott (How multiple personality disorder takes on a whole new meaning in the world of mailing lists.)
  • Art Manipulation Using Photoshop by Killa, Taselby (A how-to overview, with demonstrations in Photoshop, and more detailed techniques for creating photo manipulations, web graphics, and zine graphics. Depending on interest, creation of vid titles and overlay vid graphics may be included.)
  • Star Wars TPM: Beyond Canon by Gloriana, Briony, Alex, Tem-ve H'syan (Or, How to Correct George's Little Mistake) They've been written as virgins, whores, sinners, and saints. Can characterization have any meaning in a fandom like TPM? Or is it all any-two-guys in disguise?)
  • Fannish Year in Review by Maygra de Rhema (What was hot this time last year, who was making us ditch old favorites, what were we fighting about, and what's on deck now to make us get all excited again.)
  • Digital Vidding by Melina, Naomi/Shalott, Killa (An overview of the digital vidding process, including some advice on the hardware and software you need to get started. Learn the basics of editing with Premiere and similar programs, and get an overview of some of the fun options you have when using a computer to vid.)
  • Stargate SG-1: Where's the Science in the Fiction? by Margie (Stargate has easily reachable aliens and worlds and tech, scientists eager to discover, and warriors ready to take all comers. Fanfic for other SF shows takes vistas like that and expands them, exploring the universe as well as the characters. Why do so much SG slash shrink the universe down to Cheyenne Mountain a a few houses?)
  • Slashcentric or Demi-Mundane -- How does slash affect your intellectual/social life? by Smarard Gruen, Anne Fairchild (Does your social life predominately revolve around other slash fans, or are your friends/family largely in the dark by your obsession? Is most of your leisure time centered around fandom, or is it balanced between slash and non-slash pursuits?)
  • Website Workshop by Laura A., Calysta Rose (This panel will introduce various tools to build websites, design and style tips followed by discussion about the tools and tips. There will also be a brief discussion of the special legal/security concerns that fans sites have.)
  • Buffy: Chipped Spike by Sandy Justine, Jessica Ross (Chipped Spike is the best thing to happen in three years vs Chipped Spike sucks.)

Saturday:

  • Slash and the Media by Sharon Cumberland, Agnes T. (Who are these people and what are they saying about us? Compare notes on the ways in which the media are getting it right (or wrong) about slash fandom.)
  • Writing Workshop by JiM, Nonie Rider (Discussion on giving and getting feedback, dealing with writer's block, establishing characterization (especially if you're branching off from canon), strengthening PoV, and whatever else you want to discuss. Please bring a scene you'd like to work on.)
  • DS: Swingin' both Rays by Laura Shapiro, Merry Lynne (Fraser cares for both of them, so why can't we? Is it possible to accept all seasons as canon? Is it necessary, or desirable, to go beyond OTP in order to embrace all the wonderful characters Due South offers?)
  • BDSM: what works and what doesn't by Ruth Gifford, Cassandra (A discussion of reading and writing BDSM in fan fiction.)
  • West Wing: Sam & Josh - making love out of nothing at all... by Megan Kent (The show is good. The boys are cute. They've known each other for years. And there isn't even an onscreen hint that they're fucking -- except for the really great slash.)
  • 20 pairings that haven't been written but should be, damn it! by Dara S (Tell your fellow slashers what pairings you want to see, or where to find the ones they want to see.)
  • Vidding Workshop: Art After Craft by Jessica R., Katharine Scarritt, Naomi/Shalott (What is the Art of Vidding?)
  • Invisible Man: Slashing an Invisible Man by Margie, Celeste Hotaling-Lyons (Two cute guys saving each other's lives, then showing each other their owies... IM should be the new big slash thing. So why will the fandom fail?)
  • Slashers & Gay Porn by Robin S, Zorrorojo, Calysta R., AuKestrel (What we want, when we want it, and why. A frank, open, no-apologies discussion. Why do we have the urge to watch, what are we looking for when we do, and why are we drawn to particular types? What do we get out of it as slashers, and simply as ourselves? Share recommendations of your favorites and learn what else might be out there waiting for your eager eyes -- and libidos?)
  • HL: Are they watching the same show I'm watching by Killa, Melina, Rachael Sabotini (Is Methos really a chimera who's frequently got his bags packed and one foot out the door? Does Duncan really see the world in black and white, and need Richie to explain the subtleties of life? Where was the episode that showed us Duncan and Methos as alcoholics whose first asnser to their problems is to drink themselves into a stupor? And exploration of HL fanon and its tangential relationship to the show itself.)
  • Warnings: The panel may cause high blood-pressure by Beth F., Katharine Scarritt
  • TiVo Fans Unite!
  • I Spy: Harder, faster, grittier, funnier, cooler by Dorinda (Why I Spy is way better than Man from UNCLE.)
  • How much research do you need to write historical slash? by Laura A., Lisa Weston, Elizabeth Holden (In love with boys (or girls) in costume but intimidated by research? Wondering how to make a slash coupling historically plausible? Discuss the pros and cons of research, and share strategies for writing gorgeous guys in more richly realistic detail.)
  • Vid Revision by Naomi/Shalott, Laura Shapiro (The art and craft of revising vids -- how you get from a song in your heart and a bunch of clips on your hard drive to the final product. We'll show multiple versions of a few vids, critique them, and talk about what improves a vid. No technical knowledge needed; come whether you make vids or just like watching them.)
  • Classical Slash by Katharine Scarritt (What is the true source of slash? Hint: it's not one or more sentient characters in a sexually charged relationship.)
  • Aging of fandom by Sandy K. Hereld, Agnes T. (Fandom is maturing. It's mellowing, it's reflecting, it's becoming so peaceful -- until the upstart newbies come in, dagnabit! An intelligent setting for young fans to share enthusiasms, and oldtime fans to tell them why they should be seen and not heard.)
  • Smallville: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's ... Subtext by Naomi/Shalott, elynross (Come see why you've been hearing so much about this show, then stay to discuss where it's coming from, where it's going, and how it's going to get there. Warning: clip tapes and vids will be shown, seeing Lex and Clark together has been rumored to cause spontaneous human combustion. Come at your own risk.)
  • Gay Boy Tells All... by Minotaur (This is a gay man. Those are fans asking questions. Get the picture?)
  • Vids: Pro vs Fan Editing by Sandy K. Hereld, Madison, Rachael Sabotini (A long time fan vidder and a professional editor discuss techniques.)
  • LOTR: The Fandom That Need Not Be Slashed by Kathy Martin, Nonie Rider (It's always been difficult to write good Tolkien slash, since in his universe there's no physical love and no language or it. But now that the movie has given the characters faces (and some very nice ones too), what has changed? Is it even clearer that slash is irrelevant to Tolkien's story? Or can slash deepen our understanding of the characters?)
  • Vid Show

Sunday:

  • Sunday Morning Vid Review by Jessica Ross, Lynn
  • Blogs (Weblogs/Live Journals) by Kat Allison, Rachael Sabotini (What are they? Are they the salvation or the damnation of fannish communication?)
  • Death, Depression and a Good Cry by Movies Michelle, Maygra de Rhema (What draws us to these kinds of stories?)
  • Seeing that slash-me moment by Sandy K. Hereld (Is it all in the all in the beholder? If so, then what specifially makes many eyes pop out vs. a sad and lonely few? Physical vs. emotional intimacy? Intellingent writing vs something we can fix in fanfic? Good looking guys? Just enough violence but not too much? Ideals? No ideals? What is that elusive spark that changes things from one crazed fan to a teeming, screaming fandom?)

Alternate Programming:

  • The Slashed and the Furious by Katherine (A nice exploration of slash and The Fast and The Furious.)
  • ST: Voyager by Britta (Now that Voyager is no more, what will happen to the quality/quantity of fic? Will writers use the other universe to open a whole new avenue of thought?)
  • VividCon Discussion by Naomi (Come discuss the proposed VividCon, tentative time/location, August/Chicago.)
  • Oz songtapes/clips by Bunniqula Dina (Come watch a pile of Oz vids, and a collection of clips from the show.)
  • Stargate Eps, Season 5 by Kay and Kathy (Watch three new Season 5 episodes with a crowd who loves them.)
  • Stargate New Episodes by Kay and Kathy (Come see two new episodes!)
  • Anime by Stephanie (Discussion and viewing of anime.)
  • Femslash by Kate Bolin (General discussion on female/female slash fiction. If Buffy wanted something cold and hard between her legs, why didn't she just choose silicon?)
  • Misogyny in Slash by Cassandra (What it is, why do we throw the word around so much, what it isn't, and whether or not we really do it.)
  • Oz: Beecher/Keller, the definition of unconditional love by Dina (A compilation beginning in S2 when boy meets boy, through S5's not afraid to die for love. TV Guide calls Beecher and Keller the Luke and Laura of the new millennium and we can but agree.)
  • Smallville Episodes by Zoe Rayne (Selected episodes to follow the panel.)
  • Horatio Hornblower Episodes by Vicki (Selected episodes to tempt and appeal.)
  • Angel/Lindsey by Kat (Seeking A/L shippers to join with us for worship.)
  • Vampire Slash: Giving Our Boys Fangs by Nonie Rider (Some of us write stories about a vampire attacking our favorite characters. What's the appeal? Is the hero mostly victim or attacker? The values and quirks of sticking to vampire mythology vs making it up as we go.)
  • Chanslash: Into the Mainstream? by Gloriana (Once upon a time underage slash could tear fandoms apart. But with the popularity of fandoms like Harry Potter and Smallville, is it now in the fannish mainstream? And are the old fogies the only ones complaining?)
  • Why We Slash the Guys We Do by Cassandra (Why do we slash the guys we do? Little Black Dresses, any two guys, or deep and abiding love for that special and ideal pairing? What's going on here?)
  • Highlander Songvids by Naomi (A bunch of people with a bunch of vids, lots of variety, all Highlander.)

Vid Show Playlist

Only a partial playlist of the vids on the convention videotape are currently available.

Intro VidJessica (tzikeh)n/a
Come What MayDiana WilliamsThe Phantom Menace
You Can Leave Your Hat OnDiana WilliamsMulti
Sea of LoveKatharineThe Man From U.N.C.L.E.
BustedMerry Lynne & KatharineSmallville
Poor, Poor, Pitiful MeKatharine & PamelaThe Man From U.N.C.L.E.
From Where I StandMorgan Dawn, KathyDue South
FrictionKathy, Kay, JillStargate SG-1
Lord, I Have Made You a Place in My HeartLaura ShapiroDue South
Big Man on Mulberry StreetLaura ShapiroDue South
You're My HomeDiana WilliamsQuantum Leap
Please RememberDiana WilliamsX-Files
History RepeatingKilla & LuminosityHighlander: The Raven
Benny EllisonRemi & ZanzThe Sentinel
Fumbling Toward EcstasyRemi d'BrebantThe Sentinel
Wouldn't it Be Nice?Laura ShapiroMulti
PossessionRemi d'BrebantThe Sentinel
TransparentLaura ShapiroBuffy
I Want YouMinotaurBig Wolf on Campus
BreathingMinotaurX-Men
SupermanMinotaurLois & Clark
Gotta Tell YouMadisonSmallville
KryptoniteSeah & MargieInvisible Man
SexualityClucking BellesSmallville
Only the Good Die YoungMerricat Kiernan & KillaWiseguy
Don't You NeedMorgan DawnStarsky & Hutch
Full of GraceMorgan Dawn & Justine BennettDue South

Vid Show Reviews

In 2002, Shoshanna posted her review of the Escapade vid show to the Vidder mailing list. It is reposted here with permission:
Okay, here's the short version: Oh my GOD, what fantastic vid shows. I offer my awed thanks to the technical staff, who struggled so much with machinery that was supposed to make everyone's life easier. (And personally, I was very happy with the projection screen.) As well as getting the machinery up and running, no mean feat any year but an especial triumph this year, they also sort and arrange the vids for showing, and that is an underappreciated skill. The audiences were also possibly the best behaved I've seen at a vid show; this would have been partly due to Jessica's hysterical trailer on Saturday, but since it wasn't shown Friday and people still generally refrained from talking during vids, walking around, etc., I also credit people's basic thoughtfulness. (Though I did notice that one person near me failed to generalize the request to turn off cell phones and beepers to apply to her watch alarm. Sigh.)

Herewith some comments on some of the vids from the Saturday show. My memory is aided by the fact that I brought home a copy of all my on-site feedback, and impeded by the amount of time I've spent running high fevers between now and then; if I don't mention a vid, it doesn't mean that I liked it or didn't like it, only that I can't remember enough about it to mention!

  • BUSTED (SV) Merryish and Katharine Scarritt: Holy fuck. This was a stunning vid. I've only seen two episodes of the show, but thank god I had read enough fanfic to understand the context of some of the important scenes. The vid is hardhitting and multilayered; among the few technical points I still remember with awe are the clips against "high school letter" (Clark's jacket, which manages not to be too literal because it's placed against the first occurrence of the line; the tulips) and the long, (relatively) slow fall into the river against, um, some highly appropriate change in the music. Can you tell I need to see this one again?
  • YES I AM (HL) Melina: I wanted more of a narrative thread or plot than I saw, but I thought as I watched it that I might have been missing something that was there to be seen . . . ?
  • LANGUAGE (SG1) Carol S.: A bizarrely experimental vid, the kind of experiment that is worth making even if it fails, because, well, you never know until you try. The source is heavily digitally modified -- I have no idea of the technical term for what's been done, but the images end up violently stylized, and it's often impossible to tell what their backgrounds are, though I'm sure diehard HL fans could recognize a shot just from the position of the heads in the foreground <g>. Still, the clips are strongly decontextualized, as Carol said in a post here earlier this week. The text that scrolled up the screen was an interesting idea, but I think ultimately I'd have to call it a failure. It was impossible to read -- were we supposed to be able to read it? What's the effect of a vid called "Language" filled with language that cannot be deciphered? -- and because it scrolled continuously, without changing its appearance or speed, it grew a bit monotonous. Also, the scrolling text, plus the one or two highly stylized images simultaneously playing, made it hard for me to follow the vid; I was never sure what I should be focusing on at any given moment, like a kid at a three-ring circus.
  • MOTORCYCLE DRIVE BY (Buffy) Lynn C.: Holy fuck, take 2. I didn't realize Lynn had done this vid (it wasn't on the playlist), or I would have tackled her at the con. An incredible insight into Spike, by means of incredible clip choice and editing. If the con tape contained nothing but this and Busted, I'd probably feel like I got my money's worth. Well, and the intro. (No, I wouldn't, actually. Remembering previous discussions of vid pricing, I don't want anyone thinking I'm seriously suggesting selling a three-vid tape for $12! But, y'know, *rhetorically*.)
  • I'M NOT A VIRGIN ANYMORE (HL) Luminosity: A laugh-out-loud funny and well put together construction of an attitude. I'd call this a "constructed reality," if we're going to be bandying the term about -- it's certainly not my normal view of Duncan -- but the clips and editing totally sold me.
  • G.T.O. (BG) Kellan Dane: It seemed to make its point and then just keep going. This is a risk in all vids that don't have a plot or narrative trajectory; they may make their statement or establish their mood or whatever in the first verse, and then just repeat themselves or drag on through two more verses and a bridge. Clever use of visuals can create progression where it isn't present in the song, as in Jo, Sandy, and Nicole's HL vid "Change the Locks" and Sandy and Alex's Pros "500 Miles," in which the clips used against repeated lyric lines grow progressively more -- the best word I can come up with is "absurd," though I'm sure there's a better term if I could only think of it. But this vid didn't do that, or of it did I wasn't familiar enough with the course to recognize it, and seemed to drag.
  • SEXUALITY (SV) Sandy and Rache: Some wonderful things here, too: the beat on the shot of the moon, and the long slow fall of the glass. Wonderful timing and use of movement. It may have begun to drag a little bit toward the end, when I started wondering if the vid was going to say anything other than what it had already said, but then it does -- aw, poor Lex <g>.
  • SOUL FOR EVERY COWBOY (M7) Gwyneth and Jo: It was opaque to me; I know nothing about the show and couldn't follow the vid.
  • WONDERFUL LIFE (Buffy) Gwyneth and Alexfandra: Sigh; I can't remember the first thing about this vid, but my notes show that I loved it and wrote "I want to see it many times so I can pick apart the way it works with the lyrics," which is a high compliment.
  • HISTORY REPEATING (HL) Killa and Luminosity: Terrific matching of internal movement across clips; it's nice to see so much attention paid to that.
  • KRYPTONITE (IM) Seah and Margie: Those of you familiar with the Wave Theory of Slash may understand what I mean when I say that this felt like a second-wave vid to me: less ironic than some, less multilayered, less filled with FX, less obscure, but meaty and clever and filled with goodness. I thought the POV switches were beautifully done, and the vid as a whole was just amazingly tightly structured. Lynn suggested that just one POV switch would have sufficed to make the vid's point, but I strongly disagree; I think it's crucial to the overall construction of the vid that it moves from Darien, to Bobby, to *both of them together*. That coming-together is the pure slashy goodness, the structural counterpart to the amazing parallelism/mirror imagery of the individual clips. The vid also has one of the best final clips I've ever seen. I mean, classic slash in a nutshell, there it is: those hands, paired and dovetailed and complementary. This vid also got me thinking about literalism, and wondering how many people were imagining Smallville vids to the song. I think such a vid wouldn't work; in fact, I don't think any Superman-universe vid to it would work, but Smallville would be particularly bad, since the concept "kryptonite" hasn't even been formed in that show yet, as far as I understand; they're just "weird meteor rocks" with a scary and mysterious effect on Clark. "Kryptonite" is a metaphor in this song, and wrenching it back to literal would bring it thudding down like sludge. (Okay, bad mixed metaphor there.) But using it for I-Man was terrific, because I-Man *has* that superhero tinge to it, and the characters *have* potentially fatal intrinsic weaknesses. (I love it when vids set something up in the first section that make me think, "Hm, what will they do for this in the second section?" and then pull it off beautifully.)
  • BEHIND BLUE EYES (Buffy) shalott: Giles/Ethan is one of those pairings that I can understand how people see canonical support for, but that I have no interest in pursuing. So if you had told me about this vid ahead of time, I'd have been vaguely apprehensive; and yet it sold me, largely by its excellent parallelism. I was a bit startled by the song's being cut; I know it well enough that I expect the "And if I swallow anything evil" verse, and mentally stumble a bit when it doesn't come. I suppose this is a risk you take when you tinker with a well-known source!
  • BABYLON (ST) Don C. and Taselby:
  • SORROW (HL) Taselby: Around here, I started suffering from superimposition overload in a big way. The constant doubled images bothered me less in Babylon because the clips seemed less context-dependent, somehow, so not being able to focus clearly on them was less of a problem; but in Sorrow I was just lost. Katherine/Devil Child said that one vid actually made her motion sick, and I wonder if it was this one, because it dizzied me, certainly. If there was a reason for them, I couldn't follow it.
  • BY WAY OF SORROW (SG) Sandy: I thought this was a beautiful look at Daniel, and I especially loved that his "destiny," his joy and "days of laughter," was his work as well as his relationship with Jack. Like stories that never let the guys get out of bed or stop cooing at each other, endless romantic slash vids can grow tedious, and this treated Daniel as an adult whose work is as important to him as his love life is.
  • EVERYTHING (SV) Minotaur: This vid didn't work for me, because the visuals didn't seem to be connected enough to the music and lyrics (and God knows the pairing is a tough sell); unfortunately, I can't remember specific details of what did and didn't seem to fit. Sorry!
  • TRANSPARENT (Buffy) Laura Shapiro: I liked this vid (okay, Willow is a way easy sell for me <g>), although it seemed to work more against the lyrics than with them toward the end, and I couldn't follow its intent. I'd like to watch it again, several times, to figure out if and how it works.

Eliade posted two reviews on her blog: one for the Friday night vid retrospective show and one for the Saturday night show.

Friday:

"Friday vid show--crappy sound, but otherwise very good. A lot of vids I hadn't seen, some I had, including Lynn's fabulous Stargate vid, "In Your Eyes." Luminosity had some kick-ass vids this year, including a few Krycek ones that felt very fresh, maybe in part because there are now new clips from eps I haven't seen. She showed "Wrapped Around Your Finger" at Friday's show. Beautiful. Concept of Krycek being wrapped around CSM's finger, doing his bidding, and finally turning the tables. My vid vocab is poor, but I liked the use of black screen to segue between clips--that, along with the song choice, made it feel very smooth and detached, like her characterization of Krycek. I don't know how else to put it. She also used clips in restrained ways that surprised me nicely--like, when Krycek shoved CSM down the stairs, we only saw the shove and then him stepping around the body, no overly dramatic shot of CSM tumbling down."

"And, oh god--the real stand-out vid of Friday, I have to say, was "Only the Good Die Young" by Merricat Kiernan, and Killa, a Wiseguy vid (Vinnie and Sonny). This caused something of a nostalgic furor among old WG fans, and I sucked in people to rewatch this in our room several times. (It's on one of the recently released WOAD tapes.) It was just fun and fabulous, and proved the exception to the rule that you should never do a m/m slash vid using a song that has feminine gender lyrics. It just worked so fucking well here. On the first line of "You Catholic girls start much too late," for instance, we see Vinnie walking out of the penitentiary; later, we see Sonny pinching his cheek. And then there's name "Virginia." Why these things work, I think, is for a couple of reasons: first, "girls" is a common term in wiseguy teasing, e.g., your buddy snarks, "Hey, you girls done fighting yet?" And "Virginia" can be read like a nickname (Vinnie = FBI = Virginia), or as a mockery of the name "Vinnie" itself, or as a play on virgin. If the girl's name had been "Francine" or "Betty" it just wouldn't have clicked. But man...this was so damn good that I can look at the lyrics and remember almost every clip. And that's rare for me. (Money shot: the clip of his OCB card on "cross of gold." Sigh.)"

Saturday

Skipping la-la-la ahead to the Saturday vid show: Best. Fucking. Show. Ever. It was unbelievable. Digital computer vidding is beginning to solidify into the revolution it is--the source for most vids was shockingly clean and the cumulative effect of seeing that much vidding technique just blows me away. I'm just going to go into gush mode now, by the way, and list some of the standout vids.

  • Busted (Smallville) by Merry Lynne & Katharine Scarritt-- One of two vids that stole the show, for me. This vid is so good you have to hate Merry, because it was her first one, damn it, but Katharine's incredible talent is also on display here. I got to watch this several times, because I saw it before the show and, after the show, stalked Merry unapologetically and made her replay it for me. And I could use a thousand words to try and describe this vid in detail, but my attempt would be lame. It's a bang-on match of clips to lyrics, gritty, breathtaking, edgy; unbelievably powerful--the concentration of Clark's and Lex's personal arcs into a vid framework makes them all the more potent and epic here. After the first viewing my immediate thoughts were: I never knew this show was so dark, its symbolism so rich, I never knew the cinematography was so beautiful, and oh MY GOD THE ANGST. Guh.
  • Language (Stargate) by Carol S -- An experimental vid, very interesting, with posterization of the source clips and overlays of scrolling words. As Jo pointed out in the vid review, it's very reminiscent of Peter Greenaway. It made me think of The Pillow Book as I was watching it. I was fascinated. Ultimately, it was too hard to "read" on the big screen--Carol herself said that it was meant to be watched on a small screen, and viewed several times for full comprehension. If I get that chance, I might have more to say. The real point was to see some of the potential that lies ahead for vidders in computer vidding.
  • Motorcycle Drive By (Buffy) by Lynn -- Words. Cannot. Describe. This was the show-stopper. This is like having my heart ripped out slowly, slowly, slowly. This is a Spike vid. No. This is the Spike vid. Check out the lyrics here, knowing that these in no way capture the affect of the song itself as heard, and can't even begin to represent what Lynn did to represent them visually. Now, I'm biased, I admit: I am utterly hopelessly loving Spike and Spike/Buffy. But, the brilliance of this vid blew everyone away--the toughest, most critical vidder I know was brought to speechlessness by this. The song blends seamlessly with the visuals and you feel it could only have been "written" like this, just this, in no other way, as this heartbreakingly anguished story of love. Behold the power of vidding--it slams into you like a freight train, more powerful than a hundred well-written, convincing Buffy/Spike stories, more devastating than watching the show itself, because again--as with the Smallville vid--when you compress and concentrate the story it can become more potent, a bullet right to your gut. Part of the wonder of this vid is how the song plays out, verse after verse, each one unexpected--it's a long song, and surprising, with each new twist driving the visual story deeper into you. Lynn gave me (gave me!) her copy of the vid to take home with me. I almost want to try to find a way to convey it in words, clip by clip, for those who might never get to see it. I realize that's insane. But it breaks my heart to think of this remaining inaccessible to so many fans. I'm just going to stop talking about this now. I need to breathe, and that's hard to do when I think about this vid.
  • I'm Not a Virgin Anymore (Highlander) by Luminosity -- A sharp, funny Duncan vid that paints him as quite the slut, historically speaking, and slowly braids in the Methos/Duncan courtship dance as the vid progresses. A crowd-pleaser. Luminosity is amazing. And in fact, I think I'm just going to mention out of order her other Highlander vid, "History Repeating," which was an Amanda vid. In-fucking-credible. Who knew? Who knew I could like Amanda? Who knew there were fresh HL clips I hadn't seen a thousand times before in HL vids? (Of course, as someone pointed out, she had her own spin-off.) This rocked--sharp, fast cutting and pretty, pretty shots, with a hot bisexy vibe running through it. And, you know, people like to say that there's all this self-hating misogyny in fans--you know, that women hate shows about women, hate women characters breaking up the OTP, etc. But when you see a femme-centric vid like this bring down the house, you really have to wonder. Is it misogyny, really, or is just that we usually see a bunch of crap representations of women in media and resist them? This is me stealing a riff from Maygra here, from her blog a few weeks back.
  • Kryptonite (Invisible Man) by Seah and Margie -- I had to watch this a few times before it really hit home for me (I saw it in draft form), but by the third viewing, on the big screen, I was blown away. What I originally resisted and then came to love were the POV shifts from Darien to Bobby--but man, Bobby deserved his turn to be crazy and kickin' some ass. There'd been talk for quite a while that someone should do this song for IM, and we were all right--it works really, really well. The visual dynamics of the show--how Darien and Bobby (or the actors if you want to go meta) riff off each other physically--comes across strongly here. I hope this worked as a conversion vid and people went home all jazzed up to watch the show and write some stories.
  • Friction (Stargate) by Kay, Kathy, and Jill -- Okay, see, this is the problem. I'm beginning to run out of superlatives, and my knowledge of vidding isn't enough for me to keep spinning out new twists of praise. This entire vid show was SO DAMN GOOD. I weep. I weep that all these vids aren't going to be together on a single tape. (Because you can opt out of the con tape and some people make their own collections.) So, Friction--a Jack vid, and though I suspect I've used the words "kick ass" several times now, this is truly Jack kicking ass. I want to take this vid and shove it in the faces of every Softy!Sappy!Jack writer out there and say, "Here! Here! Damn you! Write this, because you just don't get it--this is Jack, this is!" I think if I'd been a non-fan this would have electrified me--like, shit, who the fuck is this guy and why am I not watching this show? And is that Richard Dean Anderson? Dear Christ, that man's a hottie. And this vid showed him off, with sharp music and sharp clips and a lot of juice. Quiver.
  • Behind Blue Eyes (Buffy) by Lady of Shalott -- Amazing Ethan/Giles vid. And let's just pause to contemplate the odds of that. The opening of this vid--a musical segue from Giles singing the song in the Espresso Pump in "Where the Wild Things Are" to The Who--had everyone talking. We got to see Ripper...kicking...ass. I know, I know. But really. There was a lot of ass kicking in this vid show. I can't think of a lot to say about this vid other than wow. Wow. Wow. 'Cause sometimes that's enough, okay?
  • By Way of Sorrow (Stargate) by Sandy -- Sniff. Well, I feel very proprietary about this vid. Gave Sandy the song, and saw it in progress, and feel very loved for the fact that she made this. And it's just so goddamn wonderful and beautiful and right. I think no matter what other vids I ever see, this will be the definitive Daniel vid for me, just like Lynn's vid is the definitive Spike vid. It captures the essential, underlying grief of his character, and his personal arc--his slow trajectory away from that grief, toward exploration and healing, and the hope of joy. Yeah.
  • Transparent (Buffy) by Laura Shapiro -- I need to see this again. Missed the chance because it was shown out of order in the vid review and I wanted to go to the blog panel, so I growled about that a bit. This one made me cry during the show (Lynn's made me cry later, but I was too caught up in the bigscreen glory to cry during the show itself). This is a Willow vid, showing how her sense of personal inadequacy and invisibility over the years (primarily romantic) led her to embrace the power of magic, a thematic story that makes so much more sense than the current "addiction" metaphor. And, as I think Laura herself mentioned to me, the canon can be read as contradictory to itself, since some of Willow's lines in "Wrecked" support her inclination to magic in order to be special, for attention, and not as an addiction per se. I was really wowed by this, at the angst, and how well the song worked well, and the clips chosen to show how she made her decisions to move from passive Willow to active, magical Willow. A few people said they had problems with the last verse, and I can't find the lyrics online--I don't remember it being jarring. The first build-up was kind of slow for me at first--simply because it did seem so passive, all of Willow's reaction shots, but when I got what the vid was doing, it really worked for me. Hence, pain and sniffling.
  • It Must Be Obvious (Stargate) by Lynn & Kay -- I'd seen this before, and it's fabulous. A Jack/Daniel vid. Fucking funny and effective, drawing out all of the subtext in their dynamic and tweaking it to the song to prove, yeah, hey, they do sleep together. Snerk.
  • Possession (Sentinel) by Remy -- The vidder actually has a last name, but it was left off the playlist; and I think there were co-vidders, but anyway. Whoa...okay, I think I said there were two vids that stole the show for me, but in truth, I'd have to say three. Part of the kick of this one was the sheer unexpectedness of it--it was a mail-in vid by an unknown vidder, wasn't on the playlist, used an overly familiar Sarah McLachlan song that's deeply associated with Due South, etc. And, oh my god, the entire room fell dead silent after the first thirty seconds and just drank it in, stunned. This was brilliantly different, and heartbreaking, using clips that few other vidders have used, and in a combination that was utterly fresh, and used--wait for it--stills. Stills, my god. With beautiful dissolves in between. And Jo, in the vid review, brought up the fact that she'd posted about the technique--kinestasis--on vidder a while back. I'd wanted to mention that but couldn't think of the name. So let me describe this impressionistically: we start with a pan across the city, with dissolves, shot of the rain on the window glass in "Remembrance," shots of Jim as a child, cut with shots of him in the jungle and in the Army, with these quiet, angsty, acoustic lyrics speaking of pain and loneliness and solitude and memory. Themes of his losses, of his angst with his father, of past loves and pains--and then we get to the first chorus and we begin to see shots of the loft--static shots, dissolving into one another--an empty couch, a softly shining lamp left on, the door to Blair's room open. Emptiness. No Blair. And you're thinking how new and different this is, and it's building into something haunting, and you're beginning to get it--where's Blair, this feels like a Jim/Blair vid, but where are the shots of him, the endless shots of him that any other vidder would use, has used, ad nauseum? There are none--and we segue to the second verse, and we get some of the old betrayals and confusions in Jim's life. And this is Jim's life, this is the mostly heavily possible Jim POV I've ever seen in a vid, and yet it's all building again to echoes of Blair; he's the haunting presence in all of this. And we get the line, "You speak to me in riddles" and we see that classic shot of Blair's sneakered feet in the pilot, walking toward the examining room, but here it's poignant and the detachment of that shot--no body--is totally in tone with the strange isolation of the song. Jim's isolation. And the next chorus, we get still shots again, except--oh, man--the stills start in the living room of the loft and slowly climb the stairs, from the center of the room, to the lamp by the bottom of the stairs, to the stairs themselves, to a view looking out over the loft from Jim's bedroom. It nearly makes your heart stop to watch this: this motion from motionlessness, the progression of imaginary seduction, so painfully sad. And...whoosh. I can't convey this vid. Not at all. Except to say that every fan in the room who was ever into Sentinel was just ripped apart by it. And we have differing interpretations of what it all means--it's complex enough for multiple readings. Was this about Blair's death, or was it just about Jim's loneliness and detachment, his inability to reach out for what's right there in his life? Anyway. I don't even know if this vid is on the con tape. I'll cry if it isn't.
So, that was the vid show--and not even half of it. I left out plenty of others that were damn good. And even the ones that weren't good were interesting. My mind bends just thinking about it." [1]

Vid Show Agenting Controversy

Note: Originally, copies of Escapade vid shows were mastered, duplicated, and mailed directly to convention attendees on behalf of the concom by staff member Kandy Fong. At one point, she supplied some of these high-quality tapes to Mysti Frank to sell at cons Kandy herself wasn't attending, but after learning that Mysti had inflated the prices and kept the profits, Kandy rescinded any permission for Mysti to copy, distribute, sell, or in any way be associated with Escapade con tapes.

In April 2014, it was discovered that Mysti had been making and selling lower-quality tape copies without the concom's or vidders' knowledge or permission, and also without including any of the vidder credits that Kandy had originally provided. Concom member Charlotte Hill then contacted Mysti and asked her to stop distributing tapes in order to protect the quality and reputation of both the vidders and the vid show.

The original information added to this page offering tapes for sale via Mysti's website is below:

The vid show was released on a songvid VHS tape and sold by Agent With Style. From the description: "The wonderful song vids shown at the Escapade convention in Santa Barbara, CA, each year are collected and presented here for your enjoyment through the auspices of Kandy Fong. Capturing every fandom you could think of -- and many you couldn't! -- these tapes are amazing and not to be missed! Available only in VHS tape."

Con Reports

This is the first, perhaps last, in an erratic series of con reports from Escapade, a slashcon held annually in California each February, at which a ripping great time was had by all in 2002. I apologise deeply for the overuse of the word 'explicit' below: it sort of came with the territory.

The con began with a bang rather than a whimper: 10 am on the Friday, and we were faced with the momentous question - whether to write that sex scene or fade to black. Ruth Gifford had originally suggested the topic; discussing it with her way back in October of the last year at Con*Script, I had said that I could only attend as devil's advocate, given the rather explicit nature of what I normally wrote. But since then, intrigued by the novelty of the idea, I had been toying with the fade-out method. Certainly, some of my favourite authors in 'Sentinel' were expert at giving just one or two details which the reader could build up in her own inmagination to something far raunchier than the original source. So I was looking forward to this panel, despite the fact that Ruth herself had fallen out of the loop and wasn't leading it.

That job fell instead to JIM, who admitted - as any good Sunday school teacher should - to having written her first sex scene with her eyes closed so she couldn't see what she was typing. She didn't seem to be alone in this, so let us thank heavens for the Mavis Beacon Typing Tutors. Certainly, amongst the audience at large a reluctance to actually *write* the hot and dirty was given as a common cause for fade-to-black. Ennui with the very concept of writing sex - the same old positions, the same old finger technique - was cited by the more jaded members of the f-t-b fraternity, leading to the impression of a bell-curve of sexual detail, with first-time writers and aged hacks at the flat ends of explicitness.

The question was raised as to what slash authors could learn from professional writers and *their* uses of f-t-b. Someone pointed out that, after reading slash, she often felt cheated when the pros failed to give the same degree of detail. This led into a discussion of the need to write to the community of fandom, and what their expectations might be. A very nice point was made about the way the author herself creates that expectation: a reader could judge from very early on in the story whether or not they were likely to get explicit sex, by the amount of physical detail the author included and the degree of sexual tension she sought to induce. There was general agreement that readers felt cheated not so much by the lack of explicit sex, as by the failure to deliver on a implicit promise that it would be produced. Other crimes included sex scenes where the author failed even the basic research requirement of counting the number of limbs available, and, most gallingly, the scenes perfunctorily written to get the sex out of the way. F-t-bs were viewed as infinitely more preferable than failed sex.

So, what functions can sex play, if the writer chooses not to fade away?

Obviously, it can be nothing more than a digression from the main story line, sometimes even to the point where it could be snipped entirely wihtout injuring the reader's understanding of what was going on. This point sidelined into the practice of posting the same story with NC17 material in one version, and an edit to R rating in another. (Apparently, the sex gets more feedback, which destroys my pet theory that I don't get enough feedback because people are too shy to comment on explicit sex. Sob.) In such a digression, the sex exists mainly to titillate - and here Maygra was eager to stand up for the glories of pure smut.

But sex could also be made integral to the plot. It could act to develop one or both of the characters, or demonstrate the intimacy between them - and, more painfully, the lack of intimacy. After all, sex can be described explicitly without being satisfying, on either a physical or an emotional level. This *emotional* development of the story was given as one of the prime reasons to include a detailed sex scene. I said that, for me, the only thing which made it difficult to write the sex was if I didn't know where the characters would be emotionally after the act. Once I knew what impact it would have on them, writing the sex scene was easy peasy. Someone brought up the concept of an emotional orgasm: the sentimental climax of a story, which could substitute for the physical climax (in a f-t-b), or embellish it, or be subsumed into it. My guess is that the audience consensus rated such emotional orgasms above the physical ones (though Maygra still held out for the joys of unadulterated smut).

When sex is woven into the plot in such a way it is no longer optional: if the reader skims through it, she will lose the gist of the story. Sharon Marais pointed out that even a straightforward pwp which eschews character or emotional development was still playing on, and enriched by, the knowledge of both in canon which the reader brings to the fanfic. For that reason alone, slash readers respond differently to explicit sex in fanfic than they would to such sex in professional writing - a nice place, I thought, at which to end the panel.

I should perhaps add that Elke made some of the more telling points of the talk, despite my inability to credit her anywhere above; that there was a strong recommendation to read the 'Blake's Seven' classic, 'Fugue' (an url would be appreciated, if anyone has it); and that once again I was surprised by how many slashers are at heart rather shy about sexually explicit material. We aren't half an odd bunch! [2]
So, every year people like to track the trends, read the signs at Escapade to determine what is the hot new fandom this year, what is the old fandom that's having a surprising resurgence, what is the fandom that should have been big but isn't, etc. This year, hot new fandom was definitely Smallville. Eps were being shown in the A/V room and in hotel room parties, people were jazzing on the vids, everyone was saying things like, "I tried to resist, but I keep getting sucked in deeper," and there were passing, sheepish mentions of SV in panels dedicated to other fandoms. ("No, I'm not writing any Stargate, 'cause, you know, Smallville. The fandom that ate my brain.") LotR was visually present in the pretty programs, but I didn't hear a lot of talk about it. Highlander had a strong presence in the vid show as usual, but no panels. Invisible Man had a panel, but we all seemed to agree the fandom was doomed unless it became a sneaky cult hit over time. Stargate enjoyed a second or fifth wind, or something, with kick-ass vids and airing of brand-new eps in the A/V room (i.e., the ones shown in the UK, not yet aired in the US). Buffy was represented solely by Spike, I felt; the show is definitely dear to people's hearts, but doesn't come up much as a slash topic. Due South was on people's minds because of the new Duet zines for sale; everyone had a copy and was blissing on the fic. [3]
As usual the panels were excellent. I never go to Escapade (and I've been attending since 1996) without gaining insight and knowledge about random & writing by something said or done at the panels. This year the (to me) outstanding offering was Classic Slash by KS (Sorry - I've misplaced my program, so names will be abbreviated to initials.) Unfortunately she was preaching to the choir as most of the few who attended were elderfen. Which brings me to another point of interest: the generation gap in fandom was given a good deal of attention this year, and, to my surprise, I found myself among the elders for the first time. Having come in before net random and having been mentored in qualify me. Not years. Other good panels: SH led a spirited discussion on the topic of age with skill and humor... The "fandom and the media" was excellent as well. More examples of the outstanding panel offerings when I find that program... Being an elder in fandom and in RL I skipped the night events. Too weary by evening. Read reports of the youngsters for that arena. The dealers' room was fun though sparse. I bought a few zines, mostly reprints of old collections, but two (son of) new ones in Pros. No gigantic New Fandom Flavor of the Month. LotRs stuff, but no zines. It's my opinion that LotRs is suffering from "high quality original source material" in the same way West Wing did last year. If there is good fic out, it's on the Net, not in any line form as yet. Art was okay but limited and not much that I found exciting. I had to leave before the auction, which I hear was fun. Dang. Lunch on Friday was great- best food that's been served for the freebie, imo. I skipped out before the Sunday breakfast, but it was pissing down rain, so I imagine that got a bit messy. The weather was better than last year. Chilly, but pleasant. I'm hearing rumors that in 2003 the event will be in LA. Here's hoping the concom can find a con-friendly hotel. I won't go back to the one we used before! I like being in Santa Barbara and will have to be given very good reason to go where I can see the fucking air as I breathe it. The most important thing about the con, though, was seeing old friends and foes! That's the best part of Escapade.[4]

Gallery

References

  1. eliade's convention report Busted: Escapade, dated Feb 18, 2002.
  2. from gloriana Escapade 2002 convention report, dated April 6, 2002; WebCite for Escapade 2002 con report.
  3. eliade's convention report Busted: Escapade, dated Feb 18, 2002.
  4. from a fan in DIAL #21