Con Report - IlluxCon 4

I took a trip last weekend out to the wilds of Pennsylvania for IlluxCon 4.  This convention bills itself as a symposium on Fantastic Art and I think it lived up to the billing.

Thursday K. dropped me off at Hobby bright and early for a Southwest flight through Chicago to Pittsburgh.  I did not manage to get an exit row seat for either of the legs, but I survived the flights anyway.  Upon landing in the airport, I picked up a rental car and drove East to Pittsburgh (the airport is about 30 minutes from the city proper).

I then spent the next hour or so driving around the city trying to find a restaurant from "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives".  I was trying to find Nadine's and spent most of the time on the North side of the river when I should have been on the South side.  Once I figured that out, finding the place was not too tough.

Opening the door, I was met with a wave of cigarette smoke as the place was a bar with a bit of a food menu.  If I had not spent as long as I had looking for the place, I would have turned around and left.  It was obvious that the folks in the place were all regulars and that Guy Fieri's recommendation does not bring in tons of extra business on a Thursday afternoon.

I took a look at the menu, and Guy's comments on the poster of him that hangs in the place and chose the Roast Beef sandwich with gravy fries.  Matt, the barkeep, quickly got to work on my order.  My neighbor at the bar commented that he would order the gravy fries by themselves when he's in the mood for food.  It didn't take too long for my order to be ready and be placed in front of me.

I ended up being disappointed in the meal.  It was ok, but not anything special.  If I'd found the place more quickly, it might rank higher, but given the smoke and the hour search, it was not worth it.

Leaving Nadine's, I caught 376 and then 22 into Altoona.  Most of the time I just had to assume I was on the right route.  There was no indication that the road led to Altoona until I was 22 miles out form the town.  Given how much luck I'd had with Nadine's, I was quite concerned that my navigation skills were still on the plane somewhere far behind me.

I got settled at the Ramada and then attempted to find the headquarters for the con.  My navigation skills were still missing, and it took me a while.  After finding the place, I got my badge and other paraphernalia and wandered around.

I was amazed.  The number of outstanding artists was just amazing.  A comparison with the usual World Fantasy Art Show would probably have the WFC coming in second place.

I ran into Vincent Villafranca, said hi, and promptly decided that his table would be my base of operation for the weekend.

From there I went back to the hotel and crashed.

Up in the morning for breakfast at the hotel and then on to the con.

I spent the day wandering around, handing out business cards and trying to encourage the artists to come to WorldCon in 2013, attending some of the panels, and drooling over the art work.

I also made some decisions as to which pieces were coming home with me:  a Micheal C. Hayes, a Daren Bader, a John Jude Palencar and a Bob Eggleton.  The Eggleton was a watercolor.  The rest were inks or sketches.  I almost came home with an Eric Velhagen, but it was out of my price range for the con.  I hope to acquire it after the tax refund comes in.

I met up with Janey (sp?) and Andrea, folks I'd met at cons earlier this year and joined them for dinner.  Us three and the Weinsteins went to dinner at Aldo's Italian restaurant just east of Altoona.  It was quite a nice meal.  I had the cheese stuff shells with meat sauce and tiramisu for dessert.

From there we all returned to the hotel for the evening Showcase.  This expo was an additional 40 or so artists set up as they would be in the main show.  So, I spent a bit of time wandering around this handing out my business cards and promoting Lone Star Con 3.

The next morning was breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then on to the show.  This was a repeat of Friday with more glad handing.  Dinner was at Jethro's with the Zipsers, Janey, and Andrea.  Jethro's was just an ok place.

Sunday morning I woke up and went into downtown Altoon to eat at Tom and Joe's diner.  This was pretty good stuff.  Better than Cracker Barrel.

From there, back to the hotel to pack and check out.  Then on to the show for a final bit of glad handing and then off to the airport.

I managed to get an emergency row seat for the leg from Chicago to Houston.  That made it quite pleasant.

I'm trying to decide whether to go to IlluxCon 5.  I know I won't be going to Illuxcon 6 as it will be too soon after WorldCon.