WONDERLAND AND ICFA
We stayed overnight at Wonderland, which I call a "Bed &" not a "Bed & Breakfast" since they had a breakfast that was microwaveable or cold. It was a weird place--relaxing and yet creepy at the same time. The overlay of pink in the room and the paintings on the wall (literally on the wall) intended to be, I guess, romantic, were really Trying Too Hard. My favorite moment was when at the breakfast the very nice proprietor said that the pancakes were "handmade by chefs" but then shrink-wrapped "because of all the poisonings." Which she then explained was a reference to the Tylenol poisonings, which apparently changed the rules for B&B's in Florida and every bit of non-packaged food had to be shrink-wrapped? I still do not understand.
Anyway, after Wonderland we made it down to ICFA just soon enough to moderate the first panel of ICFA, the Visual Arts and the Fantastic, with panelists Charles Vess, Joe Haldeman, Judith Clute, and M. Thomas Inge. At first, things went a little awkwardly as my fake question "What is your favorite color?" was received more favorably than my real first question, "The panelists have been introduced, but to get to know them on a tactile level, I'd like them to tell us what medium they most enjoy working in, and if an artist, what that means in terms of types of paint, types of surfaces, etc." or something to that effect.
After that it picked up, with all of the panelists sounding quite knowledgeable about how the visual and written arts collaborate, what challenges face fantastical artists, what kind of approach to portraying the fantastic is most preferable, and how one goes about allowing the viewer/reader to be interactive with a visual as opposed to written text. I'm a little knackered right now, so forgive the lack of direct quotes. It was a good panel. Everyone did a nice job. Charles Vess is a very laid back and personable guest of honor and I thought Joe Haldeman did heroic duty with lots of relevant observations even though visual art is often at the periphery of his creative experience. Judith Clute's observations were always very specific and tactile, while Inge offered his considerable experience as a writer of nonfiction about these topics. Like me with fiction, Inge believes that all art is fantastical in a sense because none of it exactly replicates "reality".
Caught up with a few people--John Clute, David Hartwell, Kathryn Cramer, Farah Mendelsohn, Mr. Morse, and others. We're back at my inlaws to have dinner and then will go to the reception later tonight.
Tomorrow I do a reading with Patrick O'Leary and Elizabeth Hand in the morning and then the Ambergris Rough Guide presentation at night. I'm going to read two bits from Shriek in the morning. Some of which I've never read before anywhere, so I'm very excited. And the rough guide is very fine-tuned and polished and the people here really know what they're doing re the tech side.
Ann shot video of the panel, so will put that up in the next week.