Whence KC?
Page 1 of 1

Author:  PeterScott [ Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Whence KC?

Like everything else, the location of the convention was not a foregone conclusion. Its origins go back to 2003, at which time I had been working on the notion of a centennial convention for the Heinlein Society for a year. (Note that the convention was not mounted by the Heinlein Society but by a completely different organization... a story for another time. But in 2003, it was still being explored by the society.)

At that time, my thinking surrounding the location was that it should be a second-tier US city; second-tier because first-tier (e.g., New York, L.A., Chicago) convention facilities are prohibitively expensive and unnecessarily large for our purposes. Second-tier is like, say, Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, Kansas City... no slight intended if any felt. Seattle was in the running because of the Science Fiction Museum. Kansas City was in the running because of the birthplace. Locations near Heinlein connections in Hollywood, Colorado Springs, and Carmel were considered but never worked out. Kansas City had the geographical advantage of being darn near the centroid of the lower forty-eight, and the disadvantage of being sweltering in July.

The question would have revolved for some time had I not been approached by society member Dr. Alan Koslow, of Illinois, who had contacts in Kansas City and the enthusiasm to broker the contact. At Torcon, representatives of the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, there to promote KC's worldcon bid, met with society representatives and myself to make their case. I was pleased with what they had to offer, both as a city and the fan group's willingness to assist. The other society representatives did not, however, support a decision on venue one way or the other.

Fast forwarding past some politics left for another story, when Heinlein Centennial Inc. was formed, Alan and I came on board immediately. The location was our first order of business and the decision was easy. Shortly we added Tina Black of KaCSFFS to our inner circle and the link was born.

Kansas City was a terrific facility for our purposes and fortunately I only ventured outside for a few minutes :) The logistics was of course not without its headaches but at least one of the hotels was unfailingly cooperative and accommodating. In terms of what the location offered I couldn't ask for more (except, perhaps, more air conditioning in The Link - I had to run through that tube a few dozen times each day).

What you may not know... is that we had originally reserved a much larger space in each hotel. We figured it was easier to cut space than add it, an assumption that wasn't necessarily accurate. Now, you may look at how many simultaneous events we had going on and think, geez, what a lot of rooms. Well, for some reason, we had initially reserved twice as many, plus a few other giant ones. What exactly we could have done with them was evidently something we never considered until a lot later, because there was just no way to use them all. So, with a little, uh, negotiation, we excised some of the space.

Author:  JamesGifford [ Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Whence KC?

It all worked out well in the end, but I lost count of the times people said, "Kansas City? <significant pause> In July?"

IMO, the problem with the Link is that it was designed in a non energy-conscious era and was intended to be cooled by megawatts of chiller power. Now they can't afford to do that and can't afford to change the design to be more naturally shielded. So it's lovely, it has marvelous views and it's like walking through a quarter-mile-long microwave oven... :oops:

Author:  TinaBlack [ Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Whence KC?

And of all silly things, it was cool and pleasant for the first day that the committee was in Kansas City. That was probably a shock.

During meetings when I would talk about the hotels, I would mention the habitrails that connected the buildings. When everyone still sounded bewildered, I finally went out and took pictures of the glass tubes that connected the buildings and the mall and sent them to everyone from out of town.

Then the good hotel asked for pictures of all our VIPs so they could alert the staff to give them extra care. They actually made a book that contained those pictures. They said that they always asked conventions to do this, but that ours was the first to actually provide what they wanted. Of course most of our outstanding people were on the Web, and I had also met many of them over the years at conventions, so I had a good set to choose from. While I was doing this for the hotel, I gathered pictures of Cell B members to send to the KC Worker Ants, and took pictures of the KC people to send to Jim, Tim, Peter, Bill, Keith, and Alan.

Maybe when my other PC has been restored to health I'll be able to find the pictures and post one occasionally.

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 8 hours
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group