Guest Bios

Heather Borean – Consonance 2000

I grew up surrounded (among other things) by books and music. Discovering filk was for me like coming home, even more so than regular fandom. Oddly enough, I was introduced to Wayne (my husband) and filk on the same night, at the same party. Corny as this sounds my life hasn’t been the same since. Toronto filking has changed quite a bit in that 15 years since I met it. I think it’s safe to say we’ve developed our own style. I learned to play the guitar partly in response to the changes. In 1990 I asked(?) coerced(?) bugged(?) (choose one) several friends into helping me put on a Filk Convention. The result was FilKONtario. Being an Interfilk guest has been the biggest thrill of my filking life; I don’t expect that I’ll ever top it. In non-filking terms, I’m a wife and mother. Wayne and I have three children: Mike 14, Ian 13 and Vicky 10. I am a teaching assistant in Mississisauga, and am an active member of my local ward with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I mention this to round myself out; music, my family, church and working with kids, are who I am.

The excitement levels were getting pretty high in the week before the con. I was in the middle of a two week placement for a teaching assistant who was out for surgery and the placement was not going really well. So, I was looking forward to some time away. The week previous I’d been e-mailed about pick up at the hotel, a Thursday night dinner with the Con Com and other guests and sound checks. Every e-mail seemed to add a little oomph to my excitement level. So Wednesday dawned bright and early (I woke up at four and couldn’t get back to sleep). We were at the airport in plenty of time and I nervously checked my guitar. The gentleman at the odd shaped luggage was quite nice, he promised to take good care of it.

Being met was cool (hey I’ve never done this before, little things mean a lot to me). Then, on Friday, Lynn Gold (who is Chair for 2001, and Interfilk guest for Conterpoint) offered to fulfill one of my desires — to see the ocean. She drove us through the hills that surround San Jose and to Santa Cruz. As the hotel was really dry, I spent lots of time drinking (water) and hoping that my throat would be ok on Saturday. Me nervous?

How did it go? I’ll let you know when I’ve seen it!

Reality was hard to go back to. It was nice being a guest. I don’t remember when I’ve had a better weekend. Thanks, Interfilk!

Interfilk is many things to different people. So is the filk community. I have always enjoyed filking, and filkers and the filking community but it wasn’t until September 11th that it hit home how much the community means to me. All the New York filkers I know were a big part of what I was thinking about those first few days, and then in the aftermath watching the community, once again, pull together. It has done so many times for many different reasons, and Interfilk is a part of that community. I have benefited from Interfilk as a guest, as a convention organizer, and perhaps most importantly as a listener, by being able to meet and hear people I might never have had the chance to see and meet. And that of course is Interfilk’s mandate. Thanks again Interfilk!

“Downtown” Freddy Brown – Conterpoint 2001

I started playing the guitar about 38 years ago. I have played all styles, over the years, but my favorites are Blues, Jazz and Folk. I like to write and perform my own original music more than doing covers and have written well over 200 songs. One day I was invited to go to a Star Trek Con (Toronto Trek V) and stumbled across a roomful of guitarists saying they were playing “Filk”. They told me what it was and then on hearing I had a guitar in my room (never leave home without it) invited me to go and get it and join in. Since some Filk music involves parody and comedy, I even had a couple of songs that I had written that I didn’t even know were Filk songs! I enjoyed myself so much I continued to go to Cons and filks in my area.

I was extremely happy to hear I had been chosen to be the Interfilk guest at Conterpoint 4 in Maryland last year. It was a real hoot! I felt like royalty as I was giving my concert. The audience was extremely attentive and supportive. I had a good turnout for my Music Theory class too.

It was good to meet some new filkers including Michael Longcor who was also a guest performer at that con. It was also good to see some of the filkers who come up to FilKONtario from the Washington area. I felt right at home and why shouldn’t I? Filkers are the kindest, most accepting people on the planet (and beyond?). I urge everyone to get involved.

Gary Ehrlich – Consonance 1999

I discovered the filk community at my second con, through the “final” (at the time) Clam Chowder concert. But it took until Phrolicon ’91 for me to make my filk debut, helping Joe Neff premiere our co- written “The Dalek Song” (parodying the “The Lumberjack Song”). From there, I rattled off a string of parodies (such as “Donuts, Donuts” and “Ghost Pirates in DC”), before settling down (well, at least a little bit; I still engage in frequent wordplay) to craft a new string of energetic and optimistic originals, and the occasional quiet, sentimental number. Armed with twin six- and twelve-string Seagulls, I ply the Northeast Corridor, with side trips to FKO, OVFF, and I’ve even been known to turn up on the West Coast every now and again. A structural engineer by profession, I often work architectural themes into my songs, be it designing whimsical hotels (“Hyperion”), or dreaming of future cities (“Builder’s Song”).

Interfilk sent me to Consonance 1999, where I joined GOH’s Clam Chowder and TM Cecilia Eng on the bill, a bit of appropriate scheduling since, as my bio mentions, Clam Chowder was my first introduction to the world of music at conventions, It thrilled me greatly to have been sent to Consonance, as I’d gotten to know many of the regulars through trips to west coast Worldcons and a pair of well-timed business trips, and I enjoyed hearing and playing with them once again. The highlight of the weekend for me came when 1 closed my concert set singing Tom Paxton’s “The Honor Of Your Company” with the Clams and Cecilia backing me with wonderful harmonies.

Cecilia Eng – OVFF 1998

Cecilia Eng has been writing and performing science fiction/fantasy music since 1985. Her first album, Of Shoes and Ships, was first published in 1988 by Off Centaur Inc. and is still available on cassette together with Cecilia Eng Live! from Firebird Arts & Music. Her latest album, Harmony in Practice was published on CD by Firebird in 1998 with the help of her favorite British musician/arranger, Emrys Atkinson. She has also contributed to a number of albums based on the writings of fantasy writer Mercedes Lackey as well as doing behind-the-scenes MIDI arrangements for some of Michael Longcor’s CDs. On the latest CD, Owlfight, she has for the first time been able to have real live musicians play some of her virtual MIDI arrangements — an experience which has been a true joy for Cecilia and a (literally) breathless experience for some of the musicians (real wind instrumentalists have to breathe??)!

For the last 10 years, she has been bringing music performers to OryCon and other conventions in the Pacific Northwest through the non-profit association, Friends of Filk, and can often be found raising money behind their dealers tables at conventions in the area. She has also been a featured music guest at Dreamcon (Everett WA), Congenial (Racine WI), Tropicon (Palm Beach FL), Boskone (Boston MA), OVFF (Columbus OH), and Consonance (San Jose CA).

One of the reasons that Friends of Filk was organized in the Pacific Northwest, was that all too many of us have not got the budget to travel to other areas of the country to hear the science fiction/fantasy music we love. The music from other regions is so varied that Friends of Filk began raising money to bring musicians from other regions to our local science fiction/fantasy conventions so we could hear new music and perhaps have music from our region travel back with our special guests.

It was therefore with great delight that I accepted Interfilk’s invitation to be their guest at the Ohio Valley Filk Fest — an event 1 had always wanted to attend but never could quite scrape up the funds for air tickets and hotel rooms. I think the existence of OVFF is one of the reasons there are so many excellent songwriters and performers from the Midwest, many of whom I was able to hear in person for the first time.

One of the things I’ll always remember from OVFF is standing at the back of the main performance room while sound checks and things were happening. I was chatting with friends waiting to go on stage and had finished off a plastic cup of water. Midway through a conversation, suddenly the plastic cup shattered in my hand, strewing pieces on the floor around me. Stage fright? No, why would you think that??? It did help to break some of the tension and we all had a good laugh over it.

I’d like to thank everyone from Interfilk and all the folks who contribute money and auction items to the Interfilk fund for this wonderful chance to attend OVFF!

Cat Faber – OVFF 1997

Cat is the offspring of a sasquatch and a space alien, which gave her a unique perspective on things like sports and religion (if those can be said to be separate subjects). Her taste in music is likewise unusual, combining a love for the folksong style with an interest in subjects like science and magic. This made her such a natural for filk that it is astonishing she didn’t discover it until she was nearly full grown. She sang from babyhood, though her sasquatch parent maintains she was tone-deaf until about the sixth grade. In 1996 she hooked up with Arlene Hills to form the filk duo Echo’s Children.

In 1997 Interfilk kindly offered to send me to the Ohio Valley Filk Festival. I’d always wistfully thought of going, but had never been able to, so I jumped at the chance. Callie Hills and I had been singing together as Echo’s Children for some time, and were working on our first CD; we made herculean efforts to have it ready in time for the Con, and the first box was shipped out from the factory to arrive at Diana Huey’s house (if I remember correctly) Friday afternoon. Callie arranged to come to the con with me so we could perform together. I was bowled over at how friendly and helpful everyone was. It was the first filk con (as opposed to a regular con where filking happened) I’d been to, and I remember thinking a bit mournfully that there was just no way I was going to be able to hear everything.

I was amazed at the size and interest of the audience that showed up for our concert. I had to leave my guitar in Portland, since I didn’t dare check it, but Diana loaned me hers, a gorgeous little Seagull with a sweet and mellow sound. The concert itself melds into a happy blur in my mind (concerts tend to do that) but I remember at the end we announced that our first CD had just come back from the manufacturer, and we were- “mobbed” is the wrong word; people were polite and patient — but “surrounded” describes it pretty well as soon as we got offstage. My major regret about that OVFF is that I wish we’d taken our commercial transactions outside to let the next concert go on without distractions.

I’ve made it to another OVFF since, but I might not have done it if I hadn’t already known how much fun they are. Echo’s Children has also been invited as filk guests to a generous multitude of other cons; many probably because people heard us at that OVFF. Thank you, Interfilk!

Lee & Barry Gold – OVFF 2000

Barry and Lee Gold met each other in 1967 at her first LASFS meeting, when he bought her fanzine and sang her first filksong. They got married two years later. Barry started filking in 1965 and he’s been singing ever since – a wide variety of songs: serious and funny, uplifting and political, folk and filk – to anyone who will stand still and listen. But he didn’t buy a guitar until 1973.

Lee’s best-known filksong is probably “You Bash the Balrog”, originally published in her monthly roleplaying game magazine, Alarums and Excursions, back in 1976 and reprinted in Westerfilk II. She writes songs about many different subjects, especially her favorite F&SF books. (One of her favorite of her own songs is “Let the Birds Fly”, about Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart.) She can carry some tunes in a bucket if the bucket is big enough, but doesn’t lead them because Barry is willing to lead her songs for her as well as singing the many other filksongs in his repertoire. She does sometimes recite Tom Digby’s poetry (and edited an anthology of Digby’s writings when he was an Honored Guest at the ConFrancisco Worldcon).

Lee publishes Xenofilkia (a bimonthly filksong fanzine which has come out on time since October 1988) and Filker Up, collections of her favorite, previously unpublished songs by herself and acquaintances. See for details.

Lee created the “Poker Chip Bardic” style of filk circle, an attempt to find a happy medium between the Bardic and Chaos styles of Filk Circle, to allow for followers and themes, but still ensure that even the shyest filkers get their turns. The Golds are used to Southern California and Boston styles of Chaos and Bardic circles but understand that Midwest Chaos is a different herd of cats.

Together, Lee and Barry were inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in 1997.

When we got to Columbus, Lee counted up our luggage: two suitcases (one full of songbooks and issues of Xenofilkia), a guitar, and an under-the-seat bag. We took a taxi to the convention hotel, arriving around 8 PM Thursday. The taxi driver was about to go when Lee counted the luggage again – and found the guitar wasn’t there; it was still on the front seat. We got it out and went into the hotel to check in.

We were given a wonderful room on the first floor, very close to the program rooms. It even had a refrigerator. (I’m told many of the rooms at this hotel did.) The concom and Interfilk disclaimed responsibility so perhaps it was just that we registered early and arrived early.

We hosted a Fantasy filk, a Reform & Conservative Sabbath morning service (led by Solomon Davidoff), which allowed me to say Kaddish in memory of my father who died three years previously. I’m deeply grateful to all the people who showed up so we could have a minyan of ten plus.

Barry’s concert went fairly well, I think. Translation: he didn’t mispronounce any words and stayed out of his booming bass lower range during Jan Kelson’s “Forever Melody”, and my newest “A Poet is a Maker” also went well; Barry says I sang an acceptable variant of the standard melody on my lines in “They’re Singing Rudyard Kipling in the Circle”.

Either this night or the preceding night, one of Lee’s stranger Muses had dropped by and said, “Five hundred Miles. Just think about the implications.” She told Barry and Maureen O’Brien about it, but didn’t get around to writing it till last weekend (and when we sang it at San Diego, Karen Rodgers cried out at us, “You are Evil!”)

Sunday? We sang in the con suite till Barry realized we had to go to bed even with late check-out at 1 PM. Monday morning, we hung around the lobby for awhile talking to people as they left, and then leaving ourselves for the nightmarish trip home.

It was incredibly wonderful – except for the airplane part. If we ever come again, we’ll take an airline.

Lynn Gold – 2000

I was creating and performing filk music long before I knew the genre existed. The Columbia University Science Fiction Society “discovered” me when they saw my guitar with me in the computer room (I played with the school’s Marching Band) and saw my lyrics on the school computer.

I came out to California as one of the first “Net romances,” and after becoming one of the first “Net divorces,” I connected with the filk community. Eventually three of us formed a group called “N Strings Attached” which gave me a chance to perform and to do lots of arranging. As our musical interests diverged the group disbanded, and I’ve been performing and writing as a solo act ever since.

I also got involved in running filk conventions. I’ve served in various positions for Consonance, including Con Chair, Programming, Publications, and Webmistress, and I’m President of Fanfare Music, the parent organization for Consonance. I was also an advisor for Conterpoint Too!

Even though I’d been to all the other previous Conterpoints, there was something different about being an Interfilk guest. I felt a sense of responsibility to my local filk community and made sure to bring with me songs by filkers who I knew didn’t get exposure elsewhere.

One of the highlights for me was doing Fred Capp’s “Mindwipes”, a song about a person who wipes out people’s minds for the CIA, and then being told we were ten minutes from CIA headquarters! Another was doing the song I’ve submitted, “Not the Man”, which is loosely based upon a true story, because I knew the guy running sound for the con (Scott Dorsey, a.k.a. “Kludge”) knew at least one — if not both — of the parties involved.

Harold Groot – 1999

Like many other filkers, Harold was filking before he discovered fandom. He started in High School chemistry class, writing songs like “Good Titrations” (ttto: “Good Vibrations”) and “Secret Reagent Man” (ttto: “Secret Agent Man”). He got introduced to organized fandom and filking in the mid-’70s with the NYC Trekcons. Settling in Pittsburgh after college, he was able to travel to cons both on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Back then there were very few songbooks available and no tapes. He found that the songs known in one area were often unknown in the other, so he helped cross-pollinate songs in the two areas. In the early ’80s he moved to Northern California (San Jose), bringing his library of songs and trading with West Coast collectors. He met the San Diego group Windbourne and joined as an absentee member, getting tapes by mail and working out his part from them. When Windbourne made their first tape he flew south to join them in the studio, and shortly after he moved to San Diego to join up full time. He left Windboume in the late ’90s when family matters brought him back north to San Jose. He was surprised and very honored to be a Interfilk Guest and had a wonderful time in Toronto. Along with singing at SF conventions, he currently also sings with the folk group Quarter Moon.

I was delighted to be asked to be the Interfilk Guest at the 1999 FilKONtario. After the usual “pick the jaw up off of the floor” response, I managed to send off an affirmative and started planning for the trip. Friday, I got to moderate a panel on West Coast Filking styles. Bardic Circles (in various forms) tends to be the favorite out here, but it is seldom used in Toronto.

Saturday, I got to be the announcer at the Song Writing Contest, and then there was the Interfilk Auction to which I had contributed a couple of items. I had a copy of the Windbourne Songbook that I had made for us to use on stage. (Only a few copies were ever made and they were never sold.) I also donated a single copy of the first tape put out by my new group Quarter Moon. Anyway, I was delighted and amazed at the prices people bid for these items. Hundreds of dollars to Interfilk! It’s not like you can’t go buy these in stores…. oh, wait, it is like you can’t buy these in stores. Maybe someday… Until then, hooray for people who collect rarities!

Sunday had two big events. The first was the Filk Hall of Fame Concert, and of course you can easily guess that this included some really great stuff. After that came the Great Canadian Filk Preserve, which is an open jam session. I really like the open jams at the end of filk cons — it’s a great way to interact and relax at the same time. Everything else is done, and since I wasn’t leaving until the next day I could just immerse myself in the music. Wonderful stuff.

Ju Honisch & Katy Dröge – FilKONtario 1998

Ju or Yooh (Juliane) is from southern Germany (Bavaria). She became interested in music early, learning to play recorder, piano, and later guitar, tin-whistle and finally snare drum for pipe bands. She has sung in many choirs, loves close harmonies and used to play Irish and Scottish music, alone and in bands. When not listening to filk she likes classical music (Renaissance, Baroque and Early 20th Century are favorites). She works for a publishing company which edits marketing and business law books and does print and Internet promotion for German industrial companies worldwide. She writes songs, poems and stories, mostly science fiction and horror. Currently she is working on a neo-gothic romance which she hopes will grow into a novel. She enjoys filk for the music and the lyrics, but most of all for the wonderful and creative people. She lives in hope to have more time to spend on her creative endeavors. A day is never long enough.

Katy (Kerstin) was born and raised in North Germany, where people are supposed to be cool, quiet and reasonable just like the weather — but who ever believes a weather report? The beginning of her fannish life had been dominated by Star Trek fandom — then she discovered filk, which invaded her life and never let her go again. Her musical career before filking included choir singing and playing the piano-accordion in an orchestra. This particular skill enables her to play Yooh’s synthesizer while lying down underneath it and reaching up, a very filkish thing to do. Her main instrument now, however, is her Ibanez guitar which she tends to play standing up. Apart from music she’s interested in traveling (naaahhh, it doesn’t show at all *g*) and computers, loves dogs, likes reading (mostly fantasy) and going out to the cinema or to pubs, and collects dragons and extraordinary silver jewelry. She loves walks along the sea shore and is addicted to ice cream. In her “other life” she works in product planning/marketing for microelectronics.

Katy: My Interfilk experience: What can I say? You got me hooked on overseas cons :). I never expected not only to find new friends, but basically a new family. The filk community has become a big part of my life and I can’t thank Interfilk enough for bringing us. We, and also the German filk fandom, would not be where we are now without your help.

Ju: Interfilk opened the world for me. That sounds a bit like a can opener. But really it was more like a dimensional gate. There was this world beyond the ocean that we thought was so far away. So totally beyond anything that was reachable for a weekend. It was full of names we knew from cassettes and CDs, full of voices that we had listened to again and again in our living rooms. And it seemed quite impossible to get there, so far away. I should have believed my Tolkien “Still round the comer there may wait a new road or a secret gate…”. The new road got us to Canada, the secret gate to FilKONtario. And suddenly people we had never seen before welcomed us, hugged us and turned out to be friends. Family. A whole new continent of family.

Interfilk makes distances vanish. Among all other achievements of Interfilk that one seems to me to be the greatest. More Tolkien: “We still remember, we who dwell in this far land beneath the trees, the starlight on the Western Seas.” And we keep returning.

Diana Huey – Consonance 1998

Having grown up as an army brat constantly on the move, Diana had no choice but to be hopelessly shy or a totally social person. She is not shy. She has been a music major, an English major, an employee in fast food, the creative support person for a large firm, a better-than-Martha-Stewart craftsperson and a conchair or concom for OVFF for many productive years. She is the official debutante “mom” of filk (“elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, wrist, to the pearls… and rest”). She has won at least one songwriting contest and crafts songs that deliciously blend all of her talents. She has progressed from novice on the guitar to an extremely gifted finger picker. Temporarily she is in happy retirement as chatelaine of Casa Huey, as consort of Robert, and as Tavo’s Mom.

Having served as a fine guest at Consonance and shown qualifications like the above (especially the Mom part), Interfilk immediately conscripted her to serve as director for the Midwest when that post became vacant. – Judith Hayman

Consonance ’98… I’m not sure I can even begin to convey the excitement, the thrill, or the sense of wonder I felt as their IF guest that year. The warmth of the welcome I received has yet to subside, and I try to be ever mindful of the great gift I received that weekend. At that time, I was having a great deal of difficulty with CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome); I wasn’t even certain I’d have the hand-strength to chord or strum. As it happened, the very understanding concom discreetly arranged my concert in fifteen-minute sets (the length of my endurance), with the Interfilk Auction occurring during the breaks. The support of IF & Consonance sustained me through a troubled time, and I count myself very fortunate to have had the experience.

Heather Rose Jones – FilKONtario 1994

I’ve been active in filking roughly since the early ’80s — I’d done a bit of songwriting before that, but finding an interested audience both in fandom and the SCA was a  significant spur to my writing career. I tend to think of myself primarily as a song-writer (although I also love informal jamming). I struggled for a long time with paralyzing stage fright, and the only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that it was the only way people were going to hear my songs. Getting past that was largely due to people like Judy Gerjuoy at Darkovercon who kept shoving me up on stage and demanding that I sing. Over the last two decades, I think I’ve done a little bit of everything in filking: publishing songbooks (both my own, and working with Bob Laurent on projects for Wail Songs), doing recordings (including some instrumental backup for other people), being on the Consonance committee— finally (in a burst of insanity) actually chairing the convention one year, and of course lots and lots of hanging around at general filks just singing and playing. For the better part of the last decade, my activity has dropped significantly due to being in graduate school but, rather interestingly, that period of invisibility is being bracketed by guest appearances: being the Interfilk guest at FILKONtario just when I was plunging into the depths of academia, and now being asked to be the GOH at OVFF just as I’m about to break the surface again.

Don’t get me wrong, but one of my stronger memories of being an Interfilk guest is of the sneaking conviction that Interfilk wasn’t getting their money’s worth from me. By nature, I’m fairly shy, and I have an absolute horror of blowing my own horn, so my approach to being a guest doesn’t tend to involve a lot of waving my arms and saying, “Hey, look at me, come listen to how great my music is.” With so many higher-powered and more outgoing performers at FilKONtario, I suspect that half the people there may not have even realized they had an Interfilk guest. I remember the dead dog (penguin?) session with great fondness — I’d hit my stride by then and got a chance to do some instrumental jamming. I wish I’d had a similar opportunity to participate in the grand ensemble finale at the convention itself, but the story of my life is that I never seem to hear about such things until they’re all over. If I had one piece of advice to offer conventions who get an Interfilk guest, it would be “Use us!” Often, Interfilk guests are relatively new to the experience of being a featured guest, and being relatively unknown is almost a part of the selection criteria. You may be lucky enough to get a natural showman and extrovert, but if not, a sink-or-swim approach is a little more hazardous than for an experienced GOH. There are times I really wish I could go back to my guest appearance and “do it right.”

Jordin Kare – Concertino 1995

Born 1956, Ithaca, NY. Graduate of Cornell (nursery school). Faked in elementary school. Found others did too at first con: Boskone 1975. Moved to California 1978. Published Westerfilk Collection 1980.
Founded Off Centaur Publications 1981. Ph.D. in Astrophysics 1984. Married Mary Kay in 1991, same day as Great Oakland Fire — not my fault! No kids, two cats. Interfilk guest, Filk Hall of Fame, Boskone Featured Filker 2000.
Two published albums: Fire In The Sky (1991) and Parody Violation (2000). Self-Employed Rocket Scientist, will build secret weapons for food. Mostly-retired Cybernetic  Necromancer. Has trouble writing in complete sentences…

Concertino in 1995 is most memorable as the place I premiered “Heart of the Apple Lisa.” Mary Kay insisted no one would get all those obscure computer references, but I went ahead and ended my concert set with it, and several people fell off their chairs. It got a standing ovation, with scattered cries of “We’re not worthy” (of what, I’ve always wondered…).

Kristoph Klover – Musicon 1994

I learned to play guitar when I was 9, and I didn’t get any good till I was 18 and worked at a summer camp as music director and started to write my own songs. My first recording experience was at my father’s church with a borrowed cassette deck and some mikes. In ’86 I started to work at Off Centaur; my first album there was The Grim Roper. At that time, I went to my first filk. By ’89 I had met Margaret Davis, and we formed our first band, Magic Fire. Soon after, we took out a loan, bought an 8-track and mixing board, and in ’89 made a Magic Fire cassette. Also in that time period, I started to work with Cynthia McQuillin, and Magic Fire helped back her album, Moonshadows. After Magic Fire broke up, Margaret and I made The True Lovers’ Farewell. In July ’93 we started Avalon Rising, bought more gear, converted our garage to a studio, and in ’95 made our first CD, the self-titled Avalon Rising. I currently play with the bands Avalon Rising and Broceliande. Broceliande helped make the filk album The Starlit Jewel — a Tolkien-approved Lord of The Rings CD, with many songs by Marion Zimmer Bradley and some by Margaret and myself. Avalon Rising is currently in the studio working on its second album.

I recorded and did sound for many filk conventions. During all these years, I’ve been planning to do my own album, but as you can see, I’ve been too busy.

Musicon 3, where I was Interfilk guest was a wonderful small con in Nashville. My favorite part of it was playing music until early in the morning with the Allen Street String Band, from Illinois. Bill Rintz, myself, the band, and Juanita Coulson stayed up late performing old bluegrass tunes and Grateful Dead numbers (some of my favorite material!).
On the last day, there was a Celtic jam in the hall that was loads of fun. My solo set (with bassist Brett Glass sitting in) was very well received, even though I’m not primarily a filker and mostly did folksongs and one or two of my own. I remember going out to eat on the last night before my plane flight and having a wonderful meal of baked beans and fried chicken, and passing dozens of Waffle Houses on the way, which I was never able to go to. Waffles are a big deal out there. We drove by the Grand Ole Opry and I was amazed and impressed at how large it was. The Southern hospitality was very much in evidence from the day I arrived until I left. I enjoyed meeting a lot of new faces from the East and the South.

Rennie Levine – Musicon 1996

I am a “New Yawker”, and proud of it — born in the Bronx, raised in Queens, and currently living in Brooklyn with my husband (and fellow filker) Mike Browne, and our 5-year-old son Liam Browne.
My very first SF Convention (other than a “Cretin Con” in college) was the 1990 Northeast filk convention, Concerto. There, I was exposed to much of the best filkdom had to offer, which made me set my standards high (although some consider my humor “low”…). I have been an incurable filkaholic ever since.
As co-dependant filkaholics, my family and I try to attend every filk convention that time and/or money allow. In 1996, Interfilk made it possible for me to add Musicon 5 to the list of filk cons I have attended (which, sadly, was also the last Musicon), by sending me to Nashville as their Interfilk Guest.

As Interfilk Guest, I was in intimidating company — for their 5′ anniversary, Musicon welcomed back all of their previous GOHs! Although I did not feel I belonged among all of those “BNB”, the Musicon committee were lovely, gracious hosts, and the members were an appreciative (and forgiving) audience. I had a great time— it was a wonderful con, full of delightful fen, and I shall miss it.
I had such a great time, in fact, that I didn’t even mind that we were “snowed in” for an extra day due to an unexpected winter storm — all the roads and airports were shut down. So, we had an extra-long, extra large Dead Dog — or, rather, “Sled Dog”. 🙂
I submitted this song because it best expresses what I feel about Interfilk. I hope they continue to help other filkers “…venture far from (their) vicinity…” and become closer to their fellow fen, for many years to come!

Karen Linsley & Lloyd Landa – ConChord 1997

Karen & Lloyd found filk in 1993 at Toronto Trek, following the sound of the music. They burst into the Ontario filk scene and we loved them from day one.

Karen is a Southern Ontario girl from a small town. She’s a musician formally trained in voice and guitar. On the other hand she’s also been known to make a fine display of belly dancing at an FKO Dead Penguin party. One of her memorable achievements was being nominated by RPM Magazine for “Best New Artist” in the Big Country Awards. She lost to Blue Rodeo.

Lloyd is an expatriate from Saskatoon. He would tantalize us with tales of his piano lessons — shared with no less than Joni Mitchell — and his days as a pro musician on the folk scene, sharing the stage with other big names. He was also a publicist and a very fine one.

In 1997 we proudly sent them to ConChord. They spoke often of the kindness of the people they met there, and their wonderful reception by the California filkers. Travel to distant cons didn’t happen often, but they managed one OVFF and one Consonance, each time returning with raves about the fans, and the music, and the fun.

As professional musicians the music scene was and is far different from the filk scene. Lloyd often said that the filk community gave him back some of the real joy in making music together.

Together Karen and Lloyd brought a new level of talent to the local scene. They were honoured as songwriters with a Pegasus for “Road to Roswell”, which I was deeply honoured to accept on their behalf. The CD, Road to Roswell, featuring Karen’s inimitable vocals and Lloyd’s keyboard was a wonderful showcase of their writing and musicianship. Later came the award for their song, “Pioneers of Mars”.

Their filk repertoire was small but grew regularly, with new interpretations of old songs, and their own new and wonderful pieces. The magic came to an abrupt stop in August of 2000 with the sudden death of Lloyd. Karen is recovering but the process is slow. At this writing she is having additional difficulties with keyboarding. So, she sends her apologies for not sending a personal note.

The Ontario filk community is not complete without them.
—Judith Hayman

Dave Luckett – ConChord 2000

Born, gosh, that’s a long time ago now, in Sydney, New South Wales, and refuses to alter that, despite temptation. Came to Perth, Western Australia, by five different trains at a time when the West coast was no more than a device for tripping up Dutch navigators. (The last sentence, like the current government, contains several Australian jokes. Take no notice; nobody else does.) Has ten books of SF and fantasy out in Australia for younger readers and has now achieved first publication in the US. Married, with one child, or when the wind is right, two, including himself.

Interfilk, having lost its collective mind, actually wanted me to come and sing to them. Having heard the standard of filk at the Chicon room parties some three weeks earlier, I had gotten to the point of wondering whether self-injury was an option, considering my faulty self-taught guitar and primitive writing, when it occurred to me that opera, in which I was actually trained, might answer. I think I am right to say that I am the only person ever to have filked “Nessun Dorma”, which when you think about it, is an achievement. To my utter astonishment, the audience picked up the chorus, which says something about the audience. I finished the set shaking so badly I couldn’t pick up the necessary post-performance drink and had to put my mouth down to it, like a camel. Which says something about me, since the assembled had been kind to the point of benevolence, like everyone I met in America. I hope some time to come back. Does anybody know the three-chord version of “Vesta la Giubba”?

Paul & Catherine Mac donald – OVFF 1995

Paul and Catherine were very involved in filk — in fact, met because of it! He then carried her away to his own country where they had to travel great distances to do any filking at all. Eventually they couldn’t get away to anything and getting to be Interfilk guests meant a chance to see everyone again and sing songs they couldn’t sing anywhere else. Since their Interfilk attendance in 1995, Catherine has become the accompanist for a couple of community choirs and a number of voice students — and an Anglican church organist (!). Paul has gotten very involved in writing worship songs, both folk and rock based, and performing in a worship band. Christian filk, anyone?

“The Viking Song” cried out for Valkyries. I (Catherine) made the mistake of conveying that to Mary Ellen and Judith, who knew the cue for a conspiracy when they heard one. With OVFF being so close to Hallowe’en, MEW easily acquired three Viking helmets — horns and all. Right on cue MEW and Judith joined Catherine in a line behind Paul after he started the song. The picture on the Interfilk site was taken just after he’d finally turned around and gotten a look at what was causing the excessive laughter.

Steve Macdonald – ConChord 1993

Steve Macdonald is a filker from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since his spot at ConChord, he has been a Guest at numerous conventions, received four Pegasus awards, a SAM, a Golden Kazoo, and placed in four songwriting contests. In 2001 he sponsored the WorlDrearn; a project to foster a sense of community among filkers and create an additional revenue stream for the British and German Fan Funds and for Interfilk.

When I was asked to be an Interfilk Guest, I had only been in fandom a year and could count the number of cons I had been to (any con!) on one hand, including only two filk cons, OVFT and Musicon. I barely knew what to expect. I hadn’t really traveled outside of Michigan in my adult life — so getting on the plane in Detroit to go to LA was a particular thrill.
I was met at the airport by John and Mary Creasey, of Random Factors. Once at the con, I was introduced to Rick and Deborah Weiss and Nick Smith; the Conchairs. I was introduced to Dave Clement, the Guest of Honor; and we rapidly became nigh inseparable. Neat people, all.. 🙂
ConChord has an annual concert called “The Totally Tasteless and Tacky Revue” — the goal is to trot out all your stuff that you know you can’t do in public, and perform it here. Yes, I did do two numbers in the Revue. No, I won’t tell you what happened, besides noting that the numbers involved a loin cloth, woad, and a shotgun. Get me drunk, and maybe I’ll regale you with the tale sometime…
Oh, I forgot to mention. I don’t drink… 🙂
I came away from Conchord with a vastly expanded view of the width and depth of filk, and with friends I still have to this day.

Some lend their voices
Some lend their hands
Some who just smile and nod as they stand
Each one is a part of the moment at hand
A gathering of strangers, now a chorus of friends

Thank you, Interfilk. Pray, continue to create those choruses of friends.

Jane Mailander – Contata 1998

Jane Mailander has been filking since before she knew it had a name. In sixth grade her lyrics (to “I’ve been Working on the Railroad”) were used for a Catholic school pep rally. She grew up listening to folk albums — “I can’t tell you which bands were popular when I was in school, but I can rattle off all the verses of ‘Goober Peas.’” She attended a convention filk panel put on by D.C. Fontana and Lynn Barker, and fell in love. She attended her first con filk in 1982, her first house filk in 1983, and her first filk con (ConChord 1) that same year. Has been writing filks (knowing the name of the beast at last) since 1981. Plans to have a book of her filksongs out pretty soon now.

I was pleased to share the con with Urban Tapestry. During their concert set, at the end of their Xena song I let out a Xena whoop that must have made an indelible impression on them (since they asked me up on stage at Consonance 2001 during their concert to provide the same whoop at the end of the song).

This was my first visit to New Jersey. It was also the closest I ever got to NYC. I have a now- bittersweet memory of the one time I saw the World Trade Center towers with my own eyes as I was driven to the airport.

As a guest, I received several gifts. I loved my skeletal hand (received in connection with something or other); I also received a very nice leather belt containing pouches of fruits, nuts and flakes (’cause I’m from California, see); the belt has gone with me on several RennFaires ever since, sans the granola. I was treated like a princess by the con committee and attendees (and showered with magnificent chocolate-chip cookies courtesy of Count Spatula).

Unfortunately, despite the fun and the good singing that weekend, my ghastly flight home is still the strongest memory I took away from my Interfilk adventure.

Erica Neely – FilKONtario 2001

London, 1650. A small woman, clad in a dark cloak, the hood obscuring her face, ran through the streets. Just a few hundred yards up the cobbled hill and she would reach the sanctuary that the cathedral offered. Her only hope, her only chance. Her skirt caught under he shoe and she went down, her knees hitting hard on the granite cobblestones. And then they were upon her…

Erica Neely actually wasn’t alive in 1650. No, really, she wasn’t. But she has, in fact, been to London, and her songs do transport you far away from where you are (unless, of course, you actually happen to live in some of the places she mentions. This is fandom. Things like that happen.) Whether she’s singing of death on a battlefield, robots fighting for freedom, loves lost and found, inner demons, or even the occasional song in which Not Everybody Dies, Erica’s voice goes places, and when it goes it takes you along for the ride.

In person, she may surprise you. This big, bold powerful voice comes out of a shy young woman who’s very soft-spoken. These songs of tortured souls and pain come from someone who’s quite cheerful and upbeat. It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that she’s intelligent and charming and witty. That she loves to sing, by herself and with other people, is even more obvious. Sing with her and let yourself get taken along.

I remember getting the call saying that Interfilk wanted to send me to FilKONtario — to say that I was ecstatic would be an understatement! My involvement in filking had waned slightly, what with starting graduate school and moving to the middle of nowhere (central Illinois); being asked to be a guest definitely renewed my enthusiasm!

In many ways, FilKONtario was the perfect convention for Interfilk to send me to. As I understand it, the purpose of Interfilk is to cross-pollinate filk communities; they send relatively unknown filkers to conventions so that they may be heard and, in turn, take the music they hear back to the community they come from. It is a chance to hear new music and make new friends. I was looking forward to that. And yet, despite what many may think, I am almost painfully shy — I am not good in large groups of people I don’t know. Being sent somewhere I don’t know anyone could be somewhat nerve-wracking — which is why FilKONtario was so perfect. I didn’t know very many people — but I *did* know some. I had met Dave and Judith Hayman at my very first convention in the US (ConCertino). I met Urban Tapestry and Dave Clement at Digeridouze in England and was charmed both by their talent and by their friendliness — a trait I was to find in many more people I met at FilKONtario!

I have far too many warm memories from FilKONtario to share them all, and I’m very grateful to Interfilk for helping to provide them. But the best of them must surely be the realization that, no matter where I go in the filk community, it only takes a few days to turn strangers into dearest friends.

Zander Nyrond – OVFF 1993


Zander Nyrond has now, as of January 2502, been definitively identified as a modified solar myth, arising from scholarly confusion between several similar “filker-figures” of the period. The alleged “historical evidence” for his existence has been quite convincingly refuted, and so-called contemporary accounts have been positively identified as later forgeries.
Nevertheless, some heretics still maintain that he went to Ohio in October of 1993, attended an excellent (and well-documented) filkcon where Duane Elms was the main guest of honour, and met about a hundred new friends with only a few of whom he managed to keep in touch. Kathy Mar’s album ‘Made By Magic’, on which he is purported to have appeared and which was in fact made around this time, has disappeared completely save for one copy which is sealed in an airtight chamber in the Hayman Filk Museum. The authorities have refused to release it for tests by the scientific community after the mysterious disintegration of the only other supposed Nyrond relic, the “T-Shirt of HarmonIX,” in a laboratory in Poona ten years ago.
Many songs formerly attributed to the mythical Nyrond remain unidentified as to provenance. A modest example precedes these notes.

Mark Osier – Harmonicon 1995

Mark Osier was born during Woodstock (the REAL one), but sadly not at it. This should give you an idea of where the beginnings of his slightly skewed view of reality came from. His first experience in filk was at a Marcon when he was 21, with the first two filk songs he ever heard being Michael Longcor’s “Rhinotelexomania” and Tom Smith’s  “Mucoidalperiodontia” parody. And he stayed anyway. This should ALSO give you an idea about his slightly skewed view of reality. While his music covers much of the spectrum found within filk, from bitter ose to satirical humor, he is perhaps best known for his  parodies, particularly of Urban Tapestry.
In “Real Life”, Mark is a Ph.D. Toxicologist living in Syracuse, New York. In 1995, he had the good fortune to be the Interfilk guest at Harmonicon, in Wichita, Kansas. And no, he doesn’t have a CD out, so stop asking. ;P

I have a lot of fond memories of being an Lilted-ilk guest, but two stand out most in my mind. First, I was entirely deaf in one ear for the whole weekend. I’d been sick as a dog all week, then got on a plane. The pressure built up in my right ear and I couldn’t hear a thing out of it. Kathy Mar, the guest at the con, was feeding me mega-dose Vitamin C tablets, which I was eating like candy. But they liked me anyway, so it must have worked. Secondly, I had the filk debut of the song “Two Sailors” there, and had the great fortune to be able to play it with Bill Rintz accompanying on the fiddle. This wasn’t too long before he had his stroke, and was the one and only time I ever got to play it with him. Somewhere, I’ve got a tape of that concert, and I listen to it from time to time to remember what a great combination the two of us made.

Puzzlebox – GAFilk 2000

Long ago, in the deep, deep primordial quagmire of time, space, and music (San Jose, California, 1997), a symbiotic entity known as Puzzlebox came into being. The tripartite presence was both male and female (Alisa Garcia, Taunya Gren, & Paul Kwinn), both short and tall, both blonde and bearded. Photo by Katy Droege-MacdonaldInto the celestial void, it sent signals, vibrations, declaring its presence, its intentions, its passions to the universe (they got together and started making music). And lo! The heavens were stirred (what a windbag), and found a place for the Puzzlebox. There amongst the people of passion for science and for fiction (once he gets going…)… Did you call me a windbag? (If the shoe fits.) The proper poetic mood, the dramatic presentation to stir the soul, are essential for (blah, blah, blah) Now see here.. (Nope, time to talk straight) But I’m the announcer! (You’re the windbag; be quiet.)

(Puzzlebox has been playing music together for four years, and Interfilk kindly sent the three of them to GAFILK in 2000. They play guitar, keyboard, and flute, and sing some nice harmonies. Their music has won some song-writing contest awards.) Ah, the glory of victory! (Shut up. They have traveled to cons all over the continent, and were recently guests of honor at FilkCONtinental 2001 in Germany. Alisa even met her husband Luis through filk.) Amore! (Look, I’m warning you… Their CD, “Assembly Required“, was released in 1999. They are very grateful to Interfilk for the guest shot, as well as to the filk community at large for their support.) A gratitude that knows no bounds! <Pow!> (I did warn you.)

Puzzlebox had the extremely good fortune to be chosen as Interfilk guests for GAFilk in Atlanta, Georgia, in January of 2000. We had a great time, and introduced a number of people there to our music. Gwen Knighton (of Three Weird Sisters) gave Taunya her first-ever harp lesson at the con. Most notable though, was the fact that, in spite of Alisa coming down with a severe flu at the con, Bill Sutton was not deterred: he brought a rendition of “Have Some Madeira, M’dear” to her room (starring Alisa in the role of the ingenue, of course), complete with props. The only “Madeira” to be found was actually straight Scotch and Brenda poured a big portion, thinking Alisa would sip it daintily to go with the song. But she was so out of it that she knocked the whole thing back and ended up coughing with her eyes watering. Thanks Interfilk! (And thanks Bill.)

Steve Simmons – ConChord 1998

Current bio, 100 words or less? Deep breath: born ’53, fandom ’70, guitar ’73, filk ’74, married Ruth ’78 (thank you!), daughter Kate ’82, son Rob ’84, four careers (computing, sysadmin, fandom, family), no divorces, no grandchildren, chaired Conclave ’78, once Interfilk guest (thank you!), Ad Astra Fan GOH (thank you!), current member DI, IEEE, GT, SAGE, USENIX, past president DI, SAGE, Waldo & Magic Inc, board of directors DI (now), SAGE (past), vote for me for USENIX board, musically influenced by (alphabetically) Beatles, Buffet, Dillards, Dylan, Eberhardt, Friends (mine), Ian (Janis), McLean, Ruth (wife), and Zevon. Dead eventually.

To be honest, my first response was shock. “Why *me*?”, followed almost immediately by “Oh my gawd, what am I gonna *do*?” Feelings of being undeserving and nervous persisted right up until the taxi hit the hotel.

Oh, but the con, the con. People made me feel so welcome, it was like an extra Christmas. Brunch with Mary Ellen and the vocal teacher. Hamburgers at a local shop with whole groups of new friends. Seeing (and hearing, and hearing) Leslie for the first time in over 10 years. Puzzlebox! How wonderful! Plus there were so many people whom I’d known only by name or reputation. Yes, I’d heard other people do their material, but so often the original is still the best.

Even my own concert worked :-). I’d been such a Midwestern provincial since the kids were born that most folks in California had heard neither my old stuff nor the new.

A number of old friendships and acquaintances got re-tuned, and many of the folks I met there became and remain important parts of my filking life. I’m still immensely grateful to the Interfilk board and the community for the (undeserved, undeserved!) opportunity, and hope we can continue to spread it far and wide.

Glenn Simser – GAFilk 1999

Growing up as the second generation of a musical family, it’s not hard to see where Glenn’s love of jam sessions comes from. Given the “tradition” that any musical instrument set down is fair game in a circle, he developed an early taste for anything with strings. What’s harder to understand is his love of recording media, although that may have started with his Dad’s old reel-to-reel at age 4.

Glenn discovered Filk Music at his very first SF Convention, and was jamming by his second. There’s been no looking back. Today, Glenn melds these passions together into an unusual blend. Commonly he can be found at conventions, behind the soundboard doing live recordings of filk performances. That’s when he’s not behind his table selling filk products to an eager clientele. In the off weeks between cons, he can be found in his Annex to USB Studios, digitally engineering the raw recording into another filk album.

Stage Ninja, Sound Engineer, and Merchant, Glenn can sometimes be coaxed out to the other side of the microphone to showcase his own material.

It never dawned on me that I could be considered as an Interfilk Guest. I normally work the other side of the mike, and don’t usually think of myself as a “Performer”, so I was totally shocked to be asked to go to GAFilk. Being an Interfilk Guest was one of the most wonderful and terrifying experiences of my life. Wonderful because I got to meet so many new friends, visit a new city, and face new challenges. Terrifying because I have Stage Fright.

In the end that was the real reason I accepted the honour. I realized I had to face this fear head on, and overcome it. And, if I could stand up and do a full concert set of nothing but my own material, and not die, then I’d never be afraid again. You know what? It worked!

GAFilk’s mascot is a variation of the Darwin Fish, and for the first GAFilk convention they wanted a Name for the little darling. So they decided to make that the subject of their song contest. Now, as Interfilk Guest I didn’t think it would be fair for me to compete, but as I recall the conversation I had with Concom on the subject, Brenda Sutton said something along the lines of “Of course you can enter. You just can’t win.” Her tongue was so far in her cheek, I thought she was eating Toblerone. So, I submitted the song. Come the weekend of the convention, it was the only entry. I have the unique distinction of being the person who did “NOT win” the first GAFilk song contest. I did the tune in my concert instead.

Nick Smith – OVFF 1996

Nick Smith, longtime member of the L.A. Filkharmonics, chairman of ConChord for the last few years, former editor of Fantasy Book, storyteller. Brief enough? Oh, you probably wanted complete sentences, didn’t you…Sigh. [ed: there’s a lot of it going around]

My memories of the convention are many, but a couple of them stand out:

1) The con com putting up with my strange request to be taken into downtown Columbus and left there for a few hours, to look at strange wood carvings in the local museum.

2) Several well-known Midwest filkers joining me on stage for songs that required multiple voices or staging, especially on “The Woodbridge Dog Disaster“.

Scott Snyder – FilKONtario 2000

Scott makes his living as a “Sonic Architect” in the video game industry, currently serving as Audio Director for Infogrames in Santa Monica, California. He graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with a Master’s degree in Sound Design, qualifying him to do absolutely nothing, but he managed to land a job in his field anyway. He is happily married to the lovely Amanda, and is the proud father of Zoë Catherine Snyder, born August 29, 2001. Scott started writing “filk” songs years before he knew such a thing existed, and was introduced to the filk community at Westercon in 1994 by some good friends who threw him into the filk room and told him he couldn’t leave until he played “The Magic Song.” The rest, as they say, is history.

I first learned of the Interfilk Organization at the last Musicon (also known as SnowCon) where I met, and was subsequently snowed in with, Bill and Brenda Sutton. They told me about this great organization that sent folks to go meet other folks that they wouldn’t have otherwise met. It sounded like a great idea to me, and I’ve been a supporter ever since. Fast forward a few years, and I was honored and VERY pleased to be selected by Interfilk to attend FKO 10 as the Interfilk Guest. I had heard about how great a convention FKO was, and I have to say that the rumors are completely true. A good time was definitely had by all. An added bonus was that I met and befriended Tim and Annie Walker and Phil and Lissa Allcock at this convention, which made the whole thing an extra-bonus win for me, regardless of the rest of it. 🙂

I was incredibly nervous about the concert — I had my new “PC Cycle” songs to debut, and I wasn’t sure how well they would go over. Also, it was a long concert, and my first as a “featured guest” and I was mulling over everything that could possibly go wrong (typical performer’s disease). My wife Amanda saved the day by giving me a shot of Single Malt about 30 minutes before my set, and it did the trick to take the edge off my nerves. After a shaky first minute or so, everything clicked, and I think everyone had a great time. At the end of the set, we were tight on time, but the audience kindly wanted an encore — so instead of having me simply perform another tune, they ran an impromptu Interfilk auction, the winner getting to select what song I would perform as an encore. I was overwhelmed. The auction was fast and furious, but in the end Allison Durno and her co-conspirators won the day, and requested that Amanda and I perform “Rudy” — which we did — and the rest, as they say, is history. 🙂

PS: The rumors of a torrid affair between Rudy and Nessie have never been proven true.

Alan Thiesen – Concertino 1999

I met Alan Thiesen at Noreascon 3, but I really knew him long before that. When I was a little girl, only three years old at my first filk, Mike Stein played “Wishful Thinking” as a lead-in to his sequel. “Wishful Thinking” seemed to be written just for me. After all, the other kids *did* believe in Santa, and I *wasn’t* nuts. I didn’t believe in horses, but unicorns were real. I didn’t believe in alligators, but dragons flew in the skies, just look, you can see them!

When I went to Noreascon I was five and I knew who the greatest hero in the world was: the man who really knew what childhood was all about.

Well, now I am a big girl, but I know it’s not a lie. Alan is a big kid, too, and he still understands what being a child is all about. It’s OK that he doesn’t quite understand about grown-ups, they don’t really matter anyway.

After all, they don’t believe in dragons and unicorns, either. With love to my personal hero, Alan (because he was tired of being named after a body part) Thiesen. — Cacie Sears (at age 12)

At the risk of sounding incredibly sentimental, one of the great joys of ConCertino ’99 for me was watching the children (particularly Talis Love, Liam Browne, and Matthew Cochran) playing together. My wife Alta was three months pregnant at the time. “This is my future,” I said to myself. (Wow, Adam is 2 years old already. How time flies when you’re changing diapers!)

Another highlight was singing “Hope Eyrie” with the assembled filkers at the restaurant Sunday evening after the con. I wonder what the mundanes thought of us. 🙂

Many thanks to Interfilk, to ConCertino, and to my pre-con hosts, Persis and Spencer.

Timelines – Consonance 1996

Dave McConnell was a filker but doing it alone wasn’t much fun and that was  unsatisfactory for this long haired hippy chile Woodstock veteran. He wanted MORE.
At a con in Greenville SC in 1991 there was a ‘babe’ in black. She wore a wig and tight  pants and had a very FAT songbook. She also had a big mouth and carried her tunes  nicely. Dave perked up at this unknown and said, “I wanna record you!”
The Babe (Teri Wachowiak) looked at this long haired fellow of lusty demeanor and said, “Riiiight.” Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. An invitation was tendered. “Riiiight.” Coerced, she packed a chaperone, Barb Bowen, to allow a graceful exit (just in case.) Thoughtfully, Dave provided a chaperone of his own, and thus began regular visits to South Carolina.
Barb looked at the union and said, “It needs a bass player, I’ve just the thing.” And Brian Killian was thrown in the car the next trip up.
Dave was getting happier but not quite there yet, so Barb spake, “You need harmony,” and Russell Hall was thrown into the car. (There ain’t a whole lot to do in this home town.)
Barb fed them and watered them and wrote and edited for them and they grew into the filk group Dave wanted. They played together for three years and produced three compilations of songs (Timelines Takes Flight, Timelines Flies by Night and Timelines Flights of Fantasy) before college and the real world set them onto different paths.
Barb still writes songs, Dave still writes and performs tunes and Teri still has a big mouth and does likewise, also taking Barb’s stuff and happily making Barb known to the masses. Russell went on to a career in interior decorating and is contemplating opening a Trendy Bar. Brian is aiming for an SCA Throne.
For Teri, the huge honor of being an Interfilk guest was tempered with the realization that Delta had lost her luggage. She spent the weekend threatening to wear two tablecloths and a sign “Delta left me naked!” The fine folks in California graciously overlooked her eccentric wardrobe and gave Timelines a rousing reception — as well as a shirt for Teri! Something to wear besides a tablecloth! All memories were good, even with the lost luggage — she never did see that again.

Urban Tapestry – ConChord 1994

Urban Tapestry is a Toronto-based filk trio consisting of Jodi Krangle, Allison Durno and Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Their first performance at a filk con (in an embryonic form of UT) was at FilKONtario, 1993. They have two albums currently available (Castles and Skyscrapers & Myths and Urban Legends). They won a Pegasus Award for Best Performer in 1997.
But that doesn’t begin to describe the magic that is Urban Tapestry. Despite becoming an “overnight” success, they retain all their sense of the fun of filldng. They are often in the circle listening as hard as they can. As guests at a con, they are in the center of the action, helping to make the fun happen. At the Interfilk auction they ham it up along with the wenches. And at the end of the con they reluctantly return to their regular lives: Allison teaches, Jodi does marketing and Debbie works as a full time freelance writer. The Ontario Filk Community is tremendously proud of them. For more info, visit their website at

We still have wonderful memories of our trip to Los Angeles in 1994. Debbie’s husband, Jeff, took us on a whirlwind three hour tour of L.A. that included Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Sunset Blvd., the Hollywood sign (between buildings), the Walk of Fame, and lots of tacky souvenir shops that made us nostalgic for Niagara Falls. Two of us (Allison and Jodi) were celebrating our birthdays that weekend and the convention surprised us with birthday cakes, giant chocolate bars and t-shirts signed by several people at the convention. Debbie got half a t-shirt because it was six months before her birthday.
Our concert was lots of fun and we still remember the audience singing “Oh Canada” to us. We were also involved in our first “Totally Tasteless and Tacky Review” where Jodi wore a slinky red lace dress and we all wore fishnet stockings to sing “My Jalapeno Man”. We were blown away by the talent of fellow guests Joe Ellis, Dr. Jane Robinson, and Moira Breen. We also met Larry Niven face to face for the first time. Debbie was starstruck! We participated in a fun Request Circle Filk hosted by Kathy Mar, the Kazoo Awards (they made us an “urban tapestry”!) and a rockin’ Saturday night filk in the con suite, hosted by Dr. Jane.
We were very grateful for the warm welcome we received from the ConChord Concom and the California filk community. It’s especially exciting for us that we’re about to come full circle by returning to ConChord in August 2002 as GOH!

Dave Weingart – Consonance 2000

In a hole in the ground, there lived…well, it’s not important, since Dave’s not a spelunker. Now, if it was a beach or a snowboard park, that would have been a far more sensible way to start out a story.

Dave got his start long about the first of March, 1962, and his parodic start listening to his mom’s Allan Sherman records and the Dr. Demento show. He wrote a number of songs long years back, but he didn’t discover filk until he discovered SF fandom in the fall of 1980 during his freshman year. It was the start of a long, downward spiral into the depths of madness and degradation. Those earliest songs have vanished into the mists of time and the universe is likely a better place for it.

After two decades in filk, Dave’s been known to write songs on almost any subject, some of them are even singable in polite company. He’s run filk at regional cons and Worldcon, he’s won and lost song contests, he’s been nominated for Pegasus awards. He’s managed to filk at every con he’s been to, including Costume Con.

In his copious free time, he’s a senior programmer and systems analyst for a rapidly-shrinking multinational corporation. He lives in a thoroughly mundane split-level house on Long Island, New York, with his wife, the two cutest and most infuriating children in the known universe and five guitars. He speaks French very badly. http://www.liii.comi–phydeaux/

The reason I go to filk cons and why I love filking was best expressed at the very end of the convention, when I walked into the consuite for the dead dog and Merav Hoffman looked up at me, 3000 miles away from the New York area where we both hang our hats and said, “Welcome home, Dave” and both of us knew it was meant exactly as it sounded. Filk is home.

Consonance programming is very heavy on concerts, which is nice; you get to sit down and listen to all kinds of really amazing folks. This was my first trip out to a west coast filk con (thank you, Interfilk!)

For my set, to put it mildly, I was terrified.

But if there is a more welcoming audience than filkers, I’ve yet to meet them. They’re there for the music and the fellowship and together they make strong magic. By a few songs in, the magic worked through me and with me and fed me. Gary Ehrlich rescued me by bringing me some water, Steve Macdonald rescued me by re-tuning The Beast That Eats My Fingers (my 12-string), which had already taken two flying dives on the stage. And Urban Tapestry was wonderfully kind enough to sing with me on my last song.

All told, the con was a blast, even though I was (ta ta ta TUM) dead tired. Everyone was really nice. UT, I love the three of you, you know that? Mike Stein was an excellent toastmaster, really quick with a pun and a smile. And there are so many talented and creative and wonderful people. I can’t wait to get back home to it all.

Filk is home.

Mike Whitaker – Consonance 1992

There is no truth in the rumor that Mike gets to buy a new guitar every time Phil Allcock parodies one of his songs, although the fact that he seems to encourage Phil to do so, and the size of his guitar collection, may lend credence to the fact. In his Copious Free Time, Mike plays guitar in two bands, runs FilkNet (the pips IRC and mailing list provider for Filkdom Assembled) with Rob Wynne, co-runs NePALM Music and a small recording studio, and somehow finds time to look after three cats and a member of Phoenix: The Next Generation [son James — ed] Having recently had a cataract operation, he’s somewhat surprised to discover that his son is not a fuzzy blob, but that one of his cats still is.

Actually, I don’t remember much about the con at all. I do though have an excuse, namely that I proposed to Anne on Pier 39 in San Francisco the week after, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, that drove the rest of the visit from my memory. I do remember meeting Margaret and Kristoph, Dr. Jane, Lynn Gold, and heaven knows who else, and I do remember that my Interfilk Guest slot was a mere 20 minutes long, including Red Sun Rising with Anne playing a borrowed synth. [eds. note: both Interfilk and the various conventions have learned

Doug Wu – FilKONtario 1997

I’ve been hanging around cons off and on for twenty-two years mostly trying to fool people into believing I was somebody they’d want to come back, so imagine my surprise when Interfilk contacted me through Bill and Terri Wells and told me somebody did! (“You DO love me! You really DO!” Doing my best Sally Field impersonation. Okay. I won’t quit my day job.)

I’ve been writing songs for almost that long, (mostly during long commutes and when my boss isn’t looking), trying on the one hand to be an anthem writer for the future, but who can often be found in the back of the filking room scribbling on the backs of con flyers and giggling maniacally.

I was one third of Orion’s Belt, and later the Renaissance Faire harper known as Tam Timmorlane, who has since become my stage name (and occasionally on stage persona). I must be getting better, ’cause they haven’t shot at me recently for not playing country.

Currently I’m a professional singer/instrumentalist wherever I can find people I can fool into believing they want to hear me, which is extremely difficult in the determinedly mundane environs of Western North Carolina. This means I have to supplement my income by working as a Customer Service Operator, but I’m thinking of becoming a something else where the hours are better and there’s more self-esteem.

My Grodd, is it really four years already? Almost five you say? Well, what strangeness I say about FKO 97, but that I made a big hit with members of Urban Tapestry by playing some Partridge Family tunes on my Celtic harp for them in the area off the Con Suite? Who says filk music can’t be high art?