A week ago I was in Kansas City where they were sort of running a Smofcon. I took a bunch of pictures -- with my Olympus, because the Canon hadn't turned up when I was half-heartedly cleaning up from Loscon. I sat in the audience for a couple of panels, but not very seriously. There was a lot of smoffing going on in the socializing areas of the convention, and I didn't do a lot of that either. I was there primarily because in 2003, at the Smofcon in Chicago, I'd purchased a membership to the 2004 Smofcon in Washington D.C.; when I couldn't attend that, I had someone take over my membership and buy me a replacement for the 2005 Smofcon in Portland OR. The same thing happened that year, so I resolved that I'd use my membership this year. And Kansas City usually runs some friendly conventions, with hot and cold running redheads as I've mentioned before. (No, really, they do: they have local redheads, imported ones, male, female, natural, bottled, gay, straight, other -- they've got all kinds of redheads at the K.C. conventions.)
Well, there was drama at the Fannish Inquisition -- where the various Worldcons, bids for same, and Westercon bids take turns explaining themselves and taking a question. But to understand the drama, you have to know that on day one of Smofcon, the program schedule wasn't available, because it wasn't done. And also you should realize that the 2002 Smofcon in San Diego and the 2003 one at the Embassy Suites Rosement O'Hare in Chicago had excellent socializing opportunities -- the con suite overflowed out into a large public area, adjacent to the program rooms used, so at any given time you were either in the same room as everyone else, or in a place adjacent to anyone you were trying to find.
Smofcon is partly about the panels and discussions, but largely about the networking.
(I realized at this Smofcon that I wasn't really that interested in either right now, so I spent most of my time trying to figure out who I was going to go get some barbecue with.)
The Smofcon in Kansas City was spread out over at least three floors -- program rooms on two floors, and a too-small con suite on another. So they lost points on the large socializing adjacent spaces. And not haviing the program together in time lost them more points.
The question came up at the inquisition, or so I've been told, along the lines of "If you can't handle running a Smofcon, why should you run a Worldcon?" And the K.C. bid chair (who was also the Smofcon chair) fielded the question badly. Much drama ensued, with one camp saying that K.C. had lost their 2009 bid right there and then, and another camp saying they could still have a chance if they instituted damage control measures immediately. (This split wasn't on geographic lines, either; I heard both points of view from L.A. people, for example.) I didn't run into anyone who said that K.C.'s bid wasn't in trouble. Big drama, the emotional peak of the convention, and I missed the moment because I blew off sitting in on the panel.
I did get some good barbecue in K.C., at Arthur Bryant's. I only went twice; Christian went three times, and knew what the cab fare should be, and got steamed when the guy we took on our way back Sunday went a block or two out of his way to bump up the fare a dollar.
And it was cold out there. Really. Below-freezing temperatures; Sunday morning it was 25 F. And I flew home through Denver where it was 15 degrees by the time I got there in the evening. (It was after dark, though.) I slipped and fell on the ice once, on Megan's midnight Mountain Dew march -- she wanted Mountain Dew, and I thought it might be fun to tag along. About 8 blocks to get to a convenience store, and then back, and there was ice on the sidewalks. I said (half seriously) that I'd never seen so much snow in one place before, which earned me a dirty look from Iowa-based Megan. But then, I was collecting dirty looks from midwesterners (and easterners) all weekend by exclaiming about the strange inhospitable weather they had out there...