Weekend in Sherwood
|Name:||Weekend in Sherwood|
|Dates:||1992 was the first year|
|Location:||Novi, Michigan, US|
|Type:||gen and het|
|Focus:||Robin of Sherwood|
|URL:||con photos and schedules|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Regarding Dealer's TablesFrom a 1992 letter sent to dealers by Peg Kennedy and Bill Hupe in advance of the con:
Adult material may not be sold. This is the Guest of Honor's request.
Price per table: Pro Dealers: $60
Price per table: Fan Dealers: $50
Number of tables in room: 30Number of tables remaining: 25
A typical Weekend in Sherwood schedule looks something like:
- 09:00 - Registration opens
- 09:00-10:00 - Fan Panel
- 10:00 - Art Show & Dealers setup
- 10:00-11:00 - Fan Panel
- 11:00-12:00 - Fan Panel
- 12:00-17:00 - Dealers Room, Art Show & Sale, Video Room, Hospitality Room
- 13:00-14:30 - Opening Ceremonies featuring Guests of Honour
- 15:00-16:00 - Autograph Session
- 15:30-16:00 - Costume Contest Meeting
- 16:00-17:00 - Photo Session
- 17:00-? - Pavane Practice
- 19:30-21:30 - Banquet & Pavane Performance followed by Costume Contest
- 23:00-? - Filksinging
- 9:00-14:00 - Art Show & Sale
- 9:00-10:00 - Fan Panel
- 10:00-11:00 - Fan Panel
- 10:00-18:00 - Dealers Room, Art Show & Sale, Video Room, Hospitality Room
- 11:00-12:00 - Guest Panel
- 12:00-13:00 - Herne Jr. Archery Tournament
- 13:00-14:00 - Workshop
- 14:00 - Art Show closes
- 13:30-14:30 - Photo Session
- 14:30-16:00 - Charity & Art Auctions
- 16:00-17:00 - Workshop
- 17:00-18:00 - Fan Panel
- 18:00-19:00 - Autograph Session
- 19:00-21:00 - Entertainment
- 21:00 - Mixer
- 23:00-? - Filksinging
- 10:00-11:00 - Workshop
- 11:00-12:00 - Major Oaks Presentation
- 12:00PM -? - Closing Ceremonies
- 14:30 - Art Show pickup
- 18:00-20:00 - Gofer Party
Weekend in Sherwood 1 was held August 7-9, 1992
- guests: Richard "Kip" Carpenter (Series Creator), Mark Ryan (Nasir)
flyer for 1992
Weekend in Sherwood 2 was held July 2-4, 1993.
- guests: Richard "Kip" Carpenter (Series Creator), Mark Ryan (Nasir)
Weekend in Sherwood 3 was held August 5-7, 1994.
- guests: Ray Winstone (Will Scarlet) and his daughter Lois
1994: Con Report
It started for me Thursday afternoon, when I arrived at the Sheraton Oaks Hotel in Novi, Michigan after a 6 hour drive from Chicago. I started seeing familiar faces right away and it was not long before I saw Chris and Denise. They told me what was happening that night and then I checked into the hotel. After determining that two of my friends were there but otherwise occupied, I was on my own for a couple hours. (The calm before the storm, as it were) I ended up going down to the restaurant around 6 to have dinner, then at 8 we started gathering by the boardroom for a staff meeting cum party. Ray came in a bit later, and plopped down right next to me. So, although I did not initiate any conversations with him-I am so shy-I was in on a couple discussions he had with other people. He smokes, so he asked around to make sure it would not bother anyone, and the polite person I am, said no (even though it did). Helen Avry, who with Laura Blunk is half of the team who edit the fanzine ALBION, also smokes, so she and Ray became smoking buddies starting on Thursday night. It became sort of a running gag throughout the weekend. Rays 12 year old daughter Lois was at the con, and came into the party after about an hour (she had been swimming). She immediately began sketching a portrait of Ray (with a cigarette hanging from his mouth-she is trying to get him to quit) which turned out quite good. It ended up in the Art Show, but was marked NOT FOR SALE. She is very creative and was often seen making things out of play doh or drawing something. I guess she has done a few plays in school too, so we may end up seeing the name Lois Winstone in lights one day. I left the party around 10:30 or 11., not being one who enjoys partying all night, and went to bed.
Friday morning, we had a staff meeting at 8am, mainly just to make sure everyone had everything covered and did not need any extra help. I was really amazed at how everyone had their responsibility well in hand, and at least from my perspective, everything went very smoothly. Since my duties were over, (I had been handling publicity for the con since last November) I volunteered to help with the Spirit of Sherwood table in the Dealers Room. So, after the meeting, I helped Chris and Denise set it up, and although the dealer room was not scheduled to open until noon, it was open right away. I stayed to watch the table so that Chris and Denise could see to the con itself. (Much appreciated-grin!!!-C&D) While I was in the Dealers Room a few Fan Panels were held: Ethics in Sherwood and Glitches in Sherwood-both sounded really interesting. Also that morning, was a workshop on Storytelling. One of my roommates, Laura, arrived that morning too, and got herself ensconced in our room.
At 1pm, I close the table to attend the opening ceremonies and the first guest panel with Ray. Mark Ryan was scheduled to come, but at the last minute had to bow out because he is working as the Assistant Swordmaster on the movie FIRST KNIGHT starring Jasons dad, Sean Connery and Richard Gere. He also has a small part in the movie, but I guess he gets killed in the first scene or something. Anyway, Mark felt really bad that he could not make it, so he sent along a taped message for us which was played during the opening ceremonies. It was really garbled, so I could not understand exactly what he said, but I thought that was really sweet of him to do that. A lot of actors would not care enough about the attendees to a con enough to send a personal message. I think he has been invited to Visions and I believe shooting on the film will be done in the first part of November, so hopefully he will be able to make it.
(TRANSCRIPTION OF MARK'S MESSAGE: Hello everybody! (in a kiddie voice) Hello Uncle Marky! Come on, hello Uncle Marky! Yeah, I'm here and you're there. I hope you're having a good time. I'm working very hard, as you know-I'm back in harness, swords swinging, swinging about in the trees, lots of horses, crashing about into wild stuntmen, all that kind of stuff. It's like being 10 years back. Terry Walsh, who swears I've stolen his job, Dinny Powell, Nick Wilkinson, Stevie Dent, all the boys, the same guys-even the same horses! Even Fury, would you believe?! Fury of course recognized Terry Walsh straight away and stomped on his big toe, so he's running around with a big black toe and we're just getting stuck into it, it's great fun. Of course, we're waiting for "BIG SEAN" (doing Sean Connery imitation now-) Who's got the biggest Winnebago on the set and of course he flies everywhere in a helicopter! Anyway, I don't know if I'll get to do any fighting with him, but I don't want to anyway! What can I say? I'll miss it! I mean, I'[l miss it, this is the first time, so...Have a good time! Everyone have a large Jack Daniels and coke on Raymond. I'm sure he won't mind spending lots of money. Try and keep Lois out of trouble. In fact, forget that-Lois will get you all into trouble but have a good time, enjoy yourselves, lots of singing 'round the pool, lots of Wallyball or whatever...Love to everybody, I'm really sorry I can't be there but unfortunately, what can I say? I'm working! (Laughter) It comes as a shock! It comes as a surprise! Anyway, God bless, look after yourselves and NOTHING IS EVER FORGOTTEN!!! Bye!)
Back to Ray. This is the hard part, trying to remember all the good bits that he talked about. He did talk more about Robin of Sherwood than I remembered Mark and Kip did last year. I think maybe because this was his first con over here in five years and people wanted to know HIS side of a lot of the stories we have heard. Like, the fact that during the filming of The Greatest Enemy, he and Mark had a contest as to who could kill the most Normans! Mark has always told us that he won, but we wanted Rays story. Ray says that he won, because he was killing Normans off camera too!! You know, the grip, and the sound man and all. People asked the typical questions about how much input he had on his character. He said he based Will Scarlet on a soccer hooligan he knew as a kid back in East London, who would go completely, stark raving mad at football matches. He also said he also wanted to show, throughout the series, that there was a reason behind his psychotic behavior. (I think he succeeded in showing that, dont you?) He discussed the fact that Kip, as he got to know the actors, would write parts of their own characteristics into the scripts, and how he admired him for doing that. Just like all the rest of the Merries we have seen at cons, I got the sense that he truly enjoyed his time with Robin of Sherwood, and has a great respect for the creative people who were involved with it.
Lois came up with some great questions for her dad, too. I guess Ray will not let her watch one of his first movies, SCUM, but she had a poster from the movie in her room. So she had to ask him questions about a certain scene that was portrayed in the poster-Dad, you know the scene where you have the snooker balls in the sock and you hit that guy with it, how did you do that? Were there real snooker balls in there? Ray jokingly answered yes, then no and tried to quickly get on to the next question. Lois was also making things with Play-doh during the panel, (I assume they do not have it over in England) and would present her creations to her dad. By the time the second panel was held on Saturday, she was up on the platform with her dad, answering questions along with him...This is a question for Ray and Lois...
After the guest panel, I went back to the dealers room to mind the table. As the Autograph Session was about to begin, we did brisk business. And a lot of the other pictures we had for sale went quickly too. They also had WEEKEND IN SHERWOOD III T-SHIRTS for sale, which a lot of people had to buy, including me. I was relieved from duty around 4, just in time to get my photo taken with Ray.
After a few hours off to relax and get dressed in my long dress, I went down to the ballroom for the Medieval Banquet. Before we ate, the Pavanne dance from Hernes Son was performed by about a dozen folks, led by Julianne Toomey. It was done very well. The banquet itself was relaxing and fun-good conversation and good eats! Following the banquet was the Costume Contest, and although there were only about 5 contestants, they were all very good. The best presentation award (and the funniest costume I have ever seen!) went to Lisa Halsey (a.k.a. Guido) for her take on our favorite saracen...except that she was called BRASSIERE! Suffice it to say that Madonna would have been very jealous of this costume! The topper to the costume were electric propellers on the bustiere! There was a baseball tournament going on that weekend, and when some of those baseball players came by the ballroom that night and saw Guido running around with her propellers...they just lost it! They were coming in and taking pictures, we invaded the bar, it was wild!
Later on that night was a time for Filksinging, and I guess Ray and Lois both participated by singing some songs. I missed it, although I understand that it was captured on video, so when the videos from the con are released, you can hear Ray singing Harry Connick Jr. songs.
On to Saturday...(All that just for one day? Oy. I hope this goes quicker ) Saturday morning began with fan panels. This time entitled YOU CAN'T PLEASE EVERYONE-which was about the precarious relationship between editor and artist, and editor and writer. The second one was called IN SEARCH OF SHERWOOD, a research panel, but I missed it because my good friend Dawn Blake finally arrived and I wanted to get her situated in the room. Also, the dealer room was opened by that time so I sat in there awhile until the Guest Panel at 11. I have already talked about the guest panels before-this was the one that was THE LOIS AND RAY SHOW! They were adorable together! In the afternoon, there were two workshops scheduled-Medieval Dance 101 and Getting Into Character, but I did not attend either of these. (Dealer table duty again!) I did break away long enough for Dawn, Laura and me to make total fools of ourselves getting silly polaroid pictures taken of all three of us with Ray.
At 2:30 we closed down the table so that we could participate in the Art and Charity Auctions. They were great fun , as always. I ended up getting a poster for Michael Praeds recent play, September Tide, (I always end up picking those posters up! I guess because they are usually the only things within my price range ) and a piece of art that did not go to auction. (What was it of, you ask? Why, Loxley, of course, I reply. ) Unfortunately, we had to get out of the room by 4:00 and so did not get to all the charity auction items. They said something about trying to get to them at closing ceremonies on Sunday, but they never did. I somehow missed the Puppet Show, and then while the Gofer party was going on, Dawn and I went out to dinner at a place appropriately called Red Robin. At 8pm was the Herne Jr. Archery Tournament, which was really fun. The idea here is you use a toy bow and arrow and aim at pictures of our favorite bad guys sitting on a table. The person who hits the most pictures with three arrows, wins! I did fairly well, but about 12 of us had to go to a shoot-off, and I totally blew it. Nancy Thalblum did well, and ended up winning the contest. All those who were in the shoot-off got very nicely embroidered pouches. Nancy got a silver arrow pin. After the archery contest, I went to the video room to make sure I saw Mark Ryans Heinz Ketchup commercial-it was hilarious! He is dressed up like a cowboy and sings through the commercial, punctuated occasionally by a very enthusiastic YEE-HAW! You gotta see it sometime! Unfortunately it is only shown on TV in the UK. Those athletically inclined went to play Wallyball at this time. Laura and I caught up with Denise in the bar who was ordering drinks for a bunch of people out in the courtyard, so we joined them. Ray was there, and we talked a bit about soccer, (I loved watching World Cup Soccer this summer) and then music. Laura was really impressed by all the bands from the early 80s that Ray knew from his East London days-like the Boomtown Rats, Madness, and Gary Newman. That was really fun to just talk to Ray like that and from what he said, he enjoyed being one of us, instead of that guy up there on the stage. I got to bed that night relatively early, at 1am.Sunday went by really quickly-started off with another Fan Panel-Men in Tights, or Why We Really Watch the Show-, then the Major Oak Awards for Excellence in Robin of Sherwood writing and artistic achievement. Rache always writes a very entertaining sketch and this years presentation was no different. We had Loxley (Mick Spencer), Marion (Kitty Gamarra), Sir Guy (Karen Campbell), Meg of Wickham (Linda Furey), and Herne (Helen Avry) present the awards. Oh yeah, and then Huntingdon showed up, too (Mick again after a quick costume change!) Karen Campbell who played Sir Guy was great-she did not crack a smile once- did the whole thing with a straight face. Even when Ray, who was presenting the Gold Certificates, refused to take the certificate from Sir Guys hand, doing his best Will Scarlet scowl! Everyone involved did a fantastic job. Then came closing ceremonies-presentation of archery contest awards, the caption contest, and then saying goodbye-always the saddest part of the con. All in all, a fun-filled weekend, which went by all too quickly... 
Weekend in Sherwood 4 was held July 5-7, 1996.
- guests: Mark Ryan (Nasir), Jeremy Bulloch (Edward of Wickham)
Weekend in Sherwood 5 was held August 1-3, 1997.
- guests: Michael Praed (Robin of Loxley), Mark Ryan (Nasir), Jeremy Bulloch (Edward of Wickham), Robbie Bulloch (Edward's son Matthew)
1997: Con Report
As anyone who was there will tell you, Weekend in Sherwood V was a blast. We had old hands and new faces. We had Robbie Bulloch performing at the filk session, Mark Ryan conducting his Greenwood Tarot workshop, Michael Praed beating all comers at the pool table and Jeremy Bulloch reviving his portrayal of Boba Fett behind a cardboard standee of the character at the charity auction. We had the wildest bar stories, the latest nights and the best time ever.
Although Weekend in Sherwood V, sponsored as always by Spirit of Sherwood, did not change venues, it was held for the first time at the Novi Doubletree in Novi, Michigan, after taking place four times previously at the Novi Sheraton Oaks. Simply put, this is because the hotel changed management between Weekends 4 and 5. At least it still has a tree in the name, so as Much would say, "That's all right, then."
Although the con doesn't officially start until Friday morning, for con staff, things really get underway on Thursday. This is the time when various department heads frantically run around the shopping malls in the vicinity of the hotel, glomming onto items that either wouldn't fit in the suitcase and/or were forgotten in the general rush of packing. Con staffer Chuck Sloane made the first (and second, and third) of many runs to the airport in his truck to pick up attendees who needed transportation. This is also the time when con chairperson/Spirit of Sherwood topper Christine Haire usually picks up our guests. This year we had more guests than ever before: Mark Nasir Ryan, returning for his fourth year, Jeremy Edward of Wickham Bulloch, returning for his second time (but his first full weekend - due to a previous commitment, he had to leave Weekend 4 halfway through), Robbie Matthew of Wickham Bulloch, attending his first con as an adult and his first American con ever and first-time Weekend guest Michael Robin of Loxley Praed. Father-and-son duo Jeremy and Robbie arrived early Thursday afternoon from London without a hitch. Mark and Michael, traveling together from Los Angeles, California (where both are currently living with their respective families at present) were supposed to arrive at 7:30 PM on Northwest Airlines. This is when the first of several pianos fell out of the sky onto our collective heads.
In Los Angeles, the plane Michael and Mark were supposed to board developed electrical problems. This necessitated a change of aircraft. Unfortunately, the new plane not only had a stopover in Minneapolis, it lingered there for hours, which meant the two gentlemen didn't arrive at Detroit Airport until 1:30 AM. Atsuko O'gawa, an attendee and brilliant artist who came all the way from Japan(!), got in at 11 and waited with Christine, Kate Raymond and Morn Geiger (Kate & Morn run Michael's fan club, MPNN) for the guests to arrive.
Weekend in Sherwood V officially got underway bright and early at 9 AM Friday morning. Gofer chieftain Helen Avry and her associate Lila Bess opened con registration so that attendees could pick up their badges and schedules and with Joan Ludlow made sure there were enough munchies in the hospitality suite to satisfy any and all hungry outlaws who might stroll in. Photos - donated this year by Donnalyn and Lorraine Mumaw - from past conventions are also set out in the hospitality suite. During the course of the weekend, attendees are encouraged to write down suggested captions for the photos - the caption that gets the most applause during closing ceremonies wins, and its author gets to keep the photo in question.
Weekend V's scheduled events also began at 9 with a fan panel. For the uninitiated, fan panels are moderated discussion groups. The first fan panel was "Roleplaying 101: If You Were a Character in RoS, Who Would You Want to Be, and Who Would You Most Likely Be?", presided over by fan panel chair Laura Blunk, Helen Avry & Karen Campbell. This was followed at 10 AM by another fan panel entitled, "What, Me Obsessed?! Seeing RoS in Everything," with panelists Laura, Helen and myself, in which the topic was how we relate other TV shows, movies and even real-life events to elements of RoS. A third panel on "Costuming for Beginners," headed up by Kitty Gamarra and Julianne Toomey, came next, discussing various techniques of making and presenting costumes. All scheduled convention panels, both fan and guest - along with a variety of other activities - were preserved for posterity by our videotaping team of Lorraine and Donnalyn.
At noon, it was time for the opening of the dealers room, presided over by Jim Keith. This is full of goodies like RoS zines, jewelry, artwork, books, music, costumes, RoS photos sold by Spirit of Sherwood (yes, you can buy photos outside the con - see On Target address), Michael Praed photos sold by MPNN (you can also buy these outside the con). This year, MPNN had for sale - available for the first time anywhere - a tape of 10 songs performed and composed by Michael Praed (these are still for sale through MPNN). Spirit was supposed to have copies of Greenwood Tarot to sell but - one of those inevitable glitches - the tarot decks did not arrive at the hotel until a week after the con. The Tarot decks are, however, available at your local book store; if they don't have it in stock, they can order it for you. New zines for sale included: "Albion 11," a RoS anthology zine available from Laura Blunk, 1128 Pennfield Road, Cleveland Heights, OH 44121, "Kaleidoscope," an all-Michael Praed fanfic anthology available from Kate Raymond, MPNN, P.O. Box 516, Midlothian, IL 60445 - "Saxon Chronicles," a RoS anthology available from Georgia Fleming, c/o Fleming Multimedia, 220 S. Main St., Enterprise AL 36330, email and "Wildwood," a RoS anthology available from Rache (me), 1245 N. Kings Rd.
- 7, West Hollywood, CA 90069. If you're interested in any of the above, send a
SASE to the appropriate party for price information.
Noon was also opening time for art show run by Barb Johnson and Nancy Miller, featuring some gorgeous RoS portraits and other artwork by fans. Also on display in the art show were the items donated for the charity auction. These included a life-sized cardboard standee of Boba Fett (Jeremy's "Star Wars" character), a poster from the 1991 Dublin production of "Carousel" starring Michael Praed, caps and sweatshirts from "Hercules" and "Xena," autographed photos of various actors not in attendance at the con and all sorts of other goodies.
At 1 PM, it was time for opening ceremonies, which featured a question-and-answer session with our con guests. Among the topics covered: Jeremy's first experiences with archery on "Dr. Who," where he managed to alienate the resident archery supervisor by hitting a bull's-eye on his first try; the circumstances surrounding Michael's departure from "Robin of Sherwood" in order to take the lead on Broadway in what turned out to be a very short run of the "Three Musketeers" musical; Robbie's explanation of his relaxed attitude toward acting, which he always enjoyed because he knew he was not going to be relying on it as a career; Mark discussing the Greenwood Tarot deck, which he co-created with Chesca Potter. Mark also gave a dramatic recounting of the Holiday Inn story. Jeremy and Michael appeared shocked - shocked! - to find themselves associating with a man who had been involved in such a notorious incident, and both swear they had nothing to do with it. If haven't heard the tale live yet, you are encouraged to ask Mark about it, but here's the very short version:
One night while the RoS production company was out on location, Mark, Ray, and a few other cast and crew members decided it would be fun to strip Terry Walsh's hotel room down to the floorboards. They hid various pieces of furniture in different parts of the hotel, but had to dump the bed out the window. It landed in the parking lot. Deciding that a bed in a parking lot might be somewhat conspicuous, the merry band then tried to hide the thing under a tree. It wound up falling into a nearby stream. The hotel was rather unhappy about all this, to put it mildly. Michael and Mark also took turns relating their adventures in the Northwest lounge at the airport while waiting for their flight. Michael's description of Mark passed out on the hospitality suite table and being given a wide berth by his fellow passengers was particularly vivid.
After a brief break, the guests did autograph and photograph sessions. Then it was time to get ready for the Friday night banquet. At 5 PM, Julianne Toomey held a rehearsal for the pavane, a recreation of the dance at the banquet in "Herne's Son." It has been a WiS tradition from the beginning to perform the pavane at the convention banquet. Con attendees are encouraged to dress in medieval garb; most did. Participation in the pavane is open to anyone who would like to perform and is willing to show up for rehearsal. This year, about a dozen dancers took part. The pavane traditionally ends in a brief skit. This year, it featured Owen of Clun (Rolf Granlund) demanding that Marion (Kitty) dance again, leaving Robert of Huntingdon (Eric Bayrd) dejected - until Lord Owen offers to dance with him.
Immediately before the banquet, a raffle (also a WiS tradition) was held to determine which attendees get to sit at the high table with the guests. After the meal is completed, the guests come down from the high table podium and table-hop, so that everybody gets a chance to talk with everybody else. This also gives the costume contest participants time to change out of their banquet wear and into their formal costume entries. Garbed as Marion from the pavane in "Herne's Son," costume contest m.c. Kitty introduced the participants, all of whom made their own very impressive outfits. All four guests served as judges for the competition. Lisa Gay took a second place award for her costume as Marion from "The King's Fool"; Annette Vogel won third place for her costume as Isadora of Caerleon; Linda Furey got the Best Presentation Award for her "Marion, Warrior Princess" (think our Marion with a "Xena" attitude); Janet Van Meter was awarded First Place for her "Robin of Foxley" wear (modeled on the Walt Disney cartoon RH) and Robin Jones took Best Workmanship for her costume as Queen Elizabeth the First. All entrants received a silver arrow charm from Kitty and a kiss from presenter Michael Praed.
Following the costume contest, some folks went to bed and some went into the filking session in the con suite - filking is singing songs about a story (in this case, mainly RoS), either to original music or new words set to the music from another song. Amy Hull, bless her, has compiled two fairly thick songbooks of the better-known RoS and RoS-related filks, and distributed these to all who attended the session so that everyone could sing along with the words. A lot of con attendees headed into the bar to play pool and party with the guests.
Saturday morning came unspeakably early for all but the in-bed-at-a- sensible-hour contingent. At 9 AM, Laura was accompanied by a member of the living dead - well, okay, me - to do a panel on "What's New In Sherwood." For any important details of this, see the "A Little Bird Told Me" column in this issue of On Target. At 10 AM, Laura and Julianne held a panel discussing "Everyday Life in the Middle Ages." At 11 AM, it was time for another lively guest panel. After this, Julianne led a workshop in "Medieval Dance 101."
The art and charity auction was next, with our guests serving as auctioneers. When it came time to auction off the life-sized standee of Boba Fett, Jeremy stood behind it and issued dire Fett-like threats of disintegration if the bids did not increase. The proceeds from the charity auction go to the Sherwood Forest Trust, an organization dedicated to restoring the real Sherwood Forest to some of its bygone tree-filled splendor.
After a breather for all concerned, Eileen Scidmore presented her RoS puppet show, with hand puppets of Robin, Robert, Marion, Nasir, Will, Herne, the Sheriff, Gisburne and Edward of Wickham all speculating on what parts they could play in the new "Star Wars" films. She also composed a fairly unforgettable filk to the tune of Monty Python's "Lumberjack Song," which made rhyming mention of Jeremy's commercial for the Swedish post office, which he told us about at Weekend IV. It was then time for another autograph session.
The always entertaining Costume Turnaround panel, entitled "What a Bunch of Characters," features costumed con attendees answering - and asking - questions in character as figures from RoS. This year, the panelists were Will Scarlet's late wife Elena (Julianne Toomey), first/second season Marion (Kitty Gamarra), third season Marion (Janet Van Meter), Nasir (Linda Furey), Robert of Huntingdon (Eric Bayrd) and Robin of Loxley (Rolf Granlund).
In the evening, Mark Ryan held a workshop on his Greenwood Tarot deck, which was attended by about one-third of the congoers and lasted for four hours. The Greenwood Tarot differs from other tarot decks in several respects. Many of the symbols are reimagined and the cards have an order according to the wheel of the year. Mark first held a slide show displaying the major arcana, discussing the meaning of the characters and designs on each of the cards. After a break, the participants then returned to the room and each picked a face-down card from the major arcana. Mark then seated the participants in a circle in an order based on where each of our cards belonged on the year wheel. He then turned down the lights, instructed us to close our eyes and then gently narrated a scenario of exploring the mystic wood, guiding us through the landscape depicted in the deck and "introducing" us to its archetype, urging us to imagine having our own interactions with them. At the conclusion of the guided meditation, Mark brought the lights back up and asked each of us what we had seen and felt during it. There is no one particular emotion or insight that an individual is meant to have as a result of the meditation - Mark has said that the deck and the meditation are both tools for exploring our individual subconsciouses. Indeed, when we shared what we'd seen in our minds during the meditation, the images and sensations were often strikingly different from person to person.
Amy started up the filking session, with the assemblage going through every last published verse of "Blessed Be" (Herne protect us!). When the Greenwood Tarot session broke up, some of us headed into the filking session as well, where we were joined by Robbie Bulloch. Robbie is part of a band back in London, Five Dollar Shake, and played two of his songs for us on acoustic guitar. He said this was the first time he'd played the compositions "unplugged" - they both sounded absolutely great, sort of a combination of Duncan Sheik and Gerry O'Beirne.
Many con attendees had assembled in the bar with Michael, Jeremy and Robbie, with Mark joining the group after the tarot workshop. Something happened that will surely live on in fannish lore. Your humble reporter was not present for this and is relying on anecdotal reports, so if anyone who was actually present can give a more accurate account, feel free to write into On Target with it. This is, of course, the famous Karl incident. For those who haven't heard this yet, here's what happened: Michael was at a table, holding forth with a number of fans. Three more fans, all female and attractive, were seated at another table nearby, chatting amongst themselves, when a strange man emerged from the gloom of the bar and asked what they were talking about. Sensing an attempted pickup in the offing, the women told the man they were talking about movies. The man introduced himself as Karl and asked what movies they were talking about. Hoping to discourage Karl, the one of the women said, " `Swords of Wayland'!" She then pointed at Michael. "He's the star."
"You're kidding!" Karl said. The women assured him they weren't.
"And you know this guy?"
"Yes," the women replied, which after two days at the con was perfectly true.
"How well do you know him?" Karl persisted.
It would take the forbearance of a saint to pass up a leading line like that. RoS fans are known for many fine qualities, but saintliness is not among them. "Oh, intimately."
"What?" Karl was amazed. "All of you?"
The women assured him that all of them knew Michael very well indeed. They then got every woman in the bar - even non-Weekend attendees - to "admit" that, yes, they had all gotten a lot more than an autograph from the "Robin of Sherwood" star. Robbie Bulloch and Chuck Sloane augmented the illusion by claiming to be Michael's bodyguards (after the con, Chuck came up with a name for the squad: Praed International Special Security Escort Division).
Karl, astounded that any man could get so lucky, finally asked Michael himself if this was true. Michael, not one to make liars out of a room full of admirers, said, "Oh, yes."
"But how do you get all of these women?" the flummoxed Karl demanded. "Is it because you're a movie star?"
Who could pass up temptation like that? "Oh, no," Michael asserted straight-faced, "it's because my d*** is huge!"
Somehow still undeterred, Karl then attempted once again to hit on the fair maidens at the table. Lori Zander finally put him in his place, at least temporarily. Karl surfaced again at breakfast - to introduce his wife and daughter to Michael, et al. At least he provided much merriment to the con- going merries.
[...] On Friday, the first day of Weekend, Mark Ryan's mother-in-law also passed away. The sympathies of all Weekend attendees are with both families. In Mark's case, this meant - again, quite understandably - that he could not stay for the whole con and had to leave early Sunday morning. Michael was accompanying him back to Los Angeles, which meant that he also was leaving early. As a consolation, at 2 AM Saturday night when the hotel bar closed, Mark and Michael, along with Jeremy Bulloch, led everyone who was still awake - about half the con - into the con suite for an impromptu question and answer session. Jeremy livened up the already wild proceedings by producing a super-soaker water pistol, getting himself and his fellow guests thoroughly drenched. Mark suggested that all three tell their favorite theatrical disaster stories. Jeremy talked about being in a production of "Conduct Unbecoming," a courtroom drama in which, during a very serious questioning scene, someone unfortunately broke wind just as they were supposed to answer. Jeremy and his fellow actors broke unto giggles so uncontrollable that the play's management threatened to bring them up on charges in front of Equity for disrupting the production. Michael talked about being in a production of "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui," in which he played one of several gangster's henchmen, whose role it was to surrender their guns to other gangsters, who would then shoot them. In one performance, a gun dropped to the stage during the hand-off and "fired" its blank. Michael thought that it would be a good idea to fall down as if he'd been shot. This might have worked if his three fellow henchmen had not had exactly the same idea. When all four of them realized they'd been felled by the same shot, all of them got up again. This made the actor playing the other gangster quite cross, so he snatched up the gun and shot all of them again. This brought on an attack of contagious laughter amongst the corpses (funnily enough, the theatrical term for cracking up while on stage is "corpsing"), so the armed gangster walked back and forth, shooting each of the dead men again every time one broke up - which did nothing to stop the fit of mirth. Finally, Mark described a production he'd seen of "Peter Pan" in which the flying mechanism went berserk, dragging the actors playing Wendy, Michael and John across the stage and repeatedly slamming them into the walls of the set. This was made at once funnier and more awful by the game performance of Jane Carr as Wendy, who kept saying, "Yes, Peter, I believe!" as she whammed into the side of the set yet again. Hearing the stage technicians cursing frantically as they tried to rectify the situation added greatly to the effect. They did finally get the flying mechanism under control, only to have the pirates' island catch fire later in the performance.
Mark and Michael's early departure meant a few last-minute changes in the con schedule. The final fan workshop, a storytelling circle headed by Laura and Julianne, was still held at 10 AM, but the Major Oak Awards were moved to 1:30 PM. This was rather nice for us involved in the Oakies, as it meant that we could start dress rehearsal at the quasi-civilized hour of 9 AM (it would have been totally civilized if some of us hadn't been up until 5 the night before) instead of our usual start time of 7 AM. Chuck, good soul that he is, got up early to set up the art flats that constitute our no-budget set. The Major Oak Awards, first introduced at Son of Herne's Con in 1991 and a feature of every Weekend in Sherwood, honor excellence in Robin of Sherwood zine
achievement. (A list of winners is printed elsewhere in the zine.) Yours truly compiles the ballot during the year, seeking out as many RoS pieces as can be found. I then write the script and direct the presentation, with rehearsals squeezed in between the cast's other con activities (since almost everyone involved in the Oakies is in charge of a different con function, this may give you an idea of how hard the performers work at Weekend). For those of you who've never seen the Oakies, the presenters are a variety of RoS characters who stop squabbling with each other just long enough to present awards for writing, artwork and poetry. This year, our cast consisted of (in order of appearance) Rolf Granlund as Robin of Loxley, Eric Bayrd as Robert of Huntingdon, Linda Furey as Marion, Karen Campbell as Guy of Gisburne, Helen Avry as Herne the Hunter and Kitty Gamarra as that manly man, Lord Owen of Clun. Our guest presenters were Jeremy Bulloch and Robbie Bulloch, who both got into the spirit of things by briefly channeling Edward and Matthew of Wickham, respectively.
After the Oakies, it was time for closing ceremonies. This included the traditional voting on the photo caption contest, with Jeremy and Robbie reading off the captions. Kitty Gamarra presented awards for Best Hall Costume - that is, best costume worn at the con that is not officially entered in the Friday night contest - and each staff member thanked all those who had helped their particular department. We all owe a huge debt of thanks to Christine, without whom there would be no con, period. Everyone had had such a good time this year that it was no surprise when she announced that there will be a Weekend in Sherwood VI, to be held July 24-26, 1998 at the same location.
Some attendees had to leave. The rest of us took a meal break, then reassembled in the dealer's room where the rescheduled Herne Jr. Archery Tournament, coordinated by Eric and Linda, had been set up. Despite noble efforts by our guests Robbie and Jeremy, the ultimate victor was Annette Vogel. It was then time for the remaining con guests, staff and volunteers to cram into the con suite for the end-of-con gofer party. Many people reconvened in the bar yet again, while about 12 con attendees crammed into the room Amy and I shared for a final filking session that lasted until the wee hours.
And thus, with singing and drinking and hugs and laughter, another wonderful Weekend in Sherwood came to an end. Jeremy has described Weekend as being like a family reunion. If you were there, you know what he means. If you haven't been to a Weekend yet, come next time and Merry Meetyour RoS-loving kin! 
Weekend in Sherwood 6 was held July 22-24, 1998.
- guest: Jeremy Bulloch (Edward of Wickham)
Weekend in Sherwood 7 was held July 23-25, 1999.
- guests: Mark Ryan (Nasir), Jeremy Bulloch (Edward of Wickham)
Weekend in Sherwood 8 was held July 4-6, 2003.
- guests: Jason Connery (Robert of Huntingdon), Robert Addie (Sir Guy of Gisburne)
- Costuming for Fun: Kitty Gamarra and Julianne Toomey-Kautz
- Sherwood in Middle Earth: Laura Blunk
- Chainmail Workshop
- Christianity and Paganism in "Robin of Sherwood": Helen Avry, Julianne Toomey-Kautz, Rolf Granlund, and Diane Carey
- The Role of Archery in the Legend of Robin Hood: Janet Van Meter
2003: Con Reports
Weekend in Sherwood 9 was held June 24-26, 2005.
- guest: Mark Ryan (Nasir)