[personal profile] tammylc
So, for those unfamiliar with the space, the ConFusion consuite is made up of a central hospitality parlor, and an adjoining room on either side. I made a few key changes to the space usage this year that greatly improved the flow. For the first time, we split the soda, putting the regular soda in the bathroom of the left hand side room, and the diet soda in the bathroom of the right hand side room. This meant we didn't have to stock tubs as often and could have a better variety at any given time. Also, the main room has a built in bar right as you enter. This would seem the obvious place to put beer, wine, etc, but it means you end up with a big crowd right at the door and people can't get into the room easily. So we moved beer and wine dispensing into the right hand side room. In addition to improving the flow, all of these changes also encouraged people to use the side rooms a little more than they had previously.

Another big change was in the space where the food gets laid out. I managed to get them to remove the big dining table, so we were able to create a U along the outside of the space with a cocktail round in the middle under the chandelier so people couldn't bonk their heads. We used a 6 foot table under the window, and 8 foot table between the seating area and the food area, and a four foot desk we moved from one of the adjoining rooms to fill in the space between the six foot table and the built in bureau. This gave us lots of space to lay out food and for people to be able to access it easily. Keith Kurek set up some computer monitors showing pulp magazine covers on top of the bureau, so we could have had even more room if we'd wanted/needed it.

We used the bathroom area in the main suite for prep and storage. There's a roomy hallway leading back there, so we put one shelving unit there and another in the closet. We stacked some boxes in the bathroom itself, used the bathtub for cold storage, and had a few things behind the bar in the main room. It was tight, but we managed, and there are other bits of furniture in the room that could have been used for storage if necessary.

The left had side room, with the regular pop, we coined the Beach Room. We had some ambitious decorating plans, but Chris ran out of time getting lights up, so we weren't able to do the patio lanterns in that room. But we did wrap most of the room in a 50 foot long, 4 foot tall, plastic sheet printed with palm trees and the like. Friday night we had a Beach Party in the beach room - we played surf music (thanks to Erik V Olson for burning me some CDs), Wyn and Matt mixed up blender drinks, and we handed out leis as the door. We ran it for just about an hour - it was a good party and got people in good spirits to start off the convention. It got off to a messy start when I knocked a container of drink mix off the table and it cracked open, spilling pina colada mix all over the floor. But we got it cleaned up in time, and the coconuty smell just added to the ambience, right?

The right hand side room, with the diet pop and the beer, we thought of as the bar. Cause, well, that's where the bar was. It had rope lights in different colors around the ceiling, as well as big 4 foot tall sillouhettes of jazz musicians. We removed the beds and most of the other furniture from the room, and put in 3 small cocktail rounds and chairs, as well as a classroom table along the wall for the beer. It was a little crowded, but mostly worked well. During the day on Saturday we used that room for readings. I had originally suggested to Jeff that we hold a couple of Literary Beers Saturday afternoon - basically a Kaffeeklatch with beer instead of coffee. What I ended up with was all of the readings for the weekend being scheduled in the consuite, which was NOT what I had in mind! We moved out the Friday night (do you see now Jeff how that just *wouldn't* have worked!) and the Sunday morning ones. The early ones on Saturday were okay, but as things got busier and noisier in the main room of the consuite, some of the authors were having a hard time hearing themselves read. But because half the soda was in that room, we couldn't just close the door. If we do something like this again next year, it should go back to the literary conversation idea, not a formal reading.

We had a couple of other events too. Saturday night we held a wake for Howard DeVore. I'd guess we had about 60 or 70 people crowded in to the main consuite to drink Jim Beam and tell stories about Howard. During the 45 minutes that was going on we closed the main door of the consuite, and routed people directly into the side rooms to get soda, which worked really well. Sure did get hot in there, though!

Saturday morning I scheduled a "Stitch and Bitch" and invited people to bring their needlework, etc and hang out for a couple of hours. It wasn't tremendously well advertised - it was in the program book and I sent it out to a couple of email lists before the con, so I was really pleased when 6 or 8 crafters showed up and worked!

In the early hours of Sunday morning we hit upon a great event for next year - ToddlerFusion! Between about 8 and 9:30 am, 80% of people who came into the consuite had a baby or toddler in tow. I think it would be great fun to schedule it as an event and put out some toys for the kids to play with.

Date: 2006-01-26 04:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malawry.livejournal.com
I'm really enjoying these logistical reports about how you managed to refresh so many people in a short amount of time. :) It sounds like you did an admirable job managing the suite! I've never fed (snacked?) that many people like that, so your notes are helpful in case I ever get hired to do something similar.

Do you do some sort of needlework? I don't remember you posting about it before.

Date: 2006-01-26 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tammylc.livejournal.com
Nope, I'm not a needleworker, but lots of fannish folk are, so I thought it would be fun for them.

I expect you'll find the shopping list particularly interesting. I was hoping to get to work on it this weekend, but now it will have to wait until next week.

Date: 2006-01-26 04:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malawry.livejournal.com
Yes, I am looking forward to your shopping list. Actually I've had all kinds of questions about your shopping list, but I've been holding off until you have a chance to post it. :)

Date: 2006-01-26 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeffreyab.livejournal.com
I talked to a couple of authors about it and the noise level is a problem even for a discussion.

Also because of the tables people were using it as a sit down and eat room and were upset to have a reading in there at the same time.

On the other hand the lesser known authors could use the captive audience.

Maybe close the connecting door and use the hall door only?

Date: 2006-01-26 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tammylc.livejournal.com
Maybe close the connecting door and use the hall door only?

I think we should just say that the experiment failed, and not try to do it again.

Date: 2006-01-26 04:34 pm (UTC)
ckd: small blue foam shark (Default)
From: [personal profile] ckd
This sounds wonderful, and I wish I could have been there. (My "con suite" for the weekend: eating bags of snack food outside our new server room, which we were busily moving into.)

Date: 2006-01-26 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dlacey.livejournal.com
the coconuty smell just added to the ambience, right?

It really did actually. I wouldn't recommend breaking open a jug of pina colada mix every year but maybe a similar air freshener, or something along that lines, would work.

Date: 2006-01-26 05:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tlatoani.livejournal.com
You might put the toddler event in one of the side rooms, so bleary-eyed congoers staggering in for breakfast don't step on anyone...

Date: 2006-01-26 05:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] con-girl.livejournal.com
Can I have a copy of your budget? I am thinking putting my name in for next year's Arisia's consuite and need some different break-downs. Also volunteer numbers.

Date: 2006-01-26 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tammylc.livejournal.com
I will be posting the entire spreadsheet including quantities and dollar figures here asap. My total budget for consuite and smoking consuite was $3500, plus another $600 earmarked for Green Room since we were running all three of those under a joint Hospitality division. We spent somewhat less than that, but I don't have final numbers yet.

Date: 2006-01-26 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] con-girl.livejournal.com
How many people attend Confusion?

Date: 2006-01-26 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tammylc.livejournal.com
Around 750 this year.

Date: 2006-01-26 06:08 pm (UTC)
metalfatigue: A capybara looking over the edge of his swimming pool (Default)
From: [personal profile] metalfatigue
I really liked the new layout. You did an absolutely top-notch job in all respects.

Date: 2006-01-26 07:14 pm (UTC)

Date: 2006-01-26 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blorky.livejournal.com
I had a dream last night that you kicked me out of the Con because you were ENRAGED that I "didn't control the acidity of the tomatos". Perhaps I've been watching too much IC...

Separately, you might get a kick out of this: http://iamom.livejournal.com/319536.html

Date: 2006-01-26 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tammylc.livejournal.com
Tee-hee.

Thanks for the link.

Date: 2006-01-26 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rivka.livejournal.com
In the early hours of Sunday morning we hit upon a great event for next year - ToddlerFusion! Between about 8 and 9:30 am, 80% of people who came into the consuite had a baby or toddler in tow. I think it would be great fun to schedule it as an event and put out some toys for the kids to play with.

That sounds great. The worst part about Capclave for us was the early mornings. One of us would take the baby out of the room as soon as she woke up, so that the other one could sleep, but there was nowhere to go and nothing to do for quite some time.

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