Mindscanner Issue #82
Spring 2012

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There are many elements to running a good party.  We of the Scarlet Shield Quadrant have thrown a couple of rocking parties recently and here's how we did it.
Party Graphic
One of the first things you need to throw a good room party is to find a party friendly convention, held at a party friendly hotel.  It should have a party floor, so you won't get shut down early or have noise complaints.  Making sure people know where and when your party is is always a good thing.  Having an eye catching sign with clear details of when and where is important (we were lucky enough to find an artist to make a sign for us) [Editor's note: Party graphic at left].  Good places to post your sign are near registration, near or in hotel elevators and near function space (make sure to take them down the next day).  

Set the stage for your party.  Decorations are good, but not so many as to interfere with the flow of the party or that may get knocked over and broken.  We used our fleet banner, and posted Klingon sayings and toasts (with translations) on the walls.  Our big cauldron of bloodwine was certainly a centerpiece.  We also threw an animal pelt over the couch.  Cover or remove the television if you can, and hide the phones.  In a room party, music is not always a good idea, because you want people to talk and mingle.

SkullsoupgaghNext, the food.  Remember that some of your guests may not appreciate the tangy flavors that Klingons enjoy, so have choices available.  We are a well traveled race, and there is nothing wrong with incorporating some of the dishes that we have seen in our travels.  At our recent room party at SFContario (local Toronto convention), one of the more popular choices was the tribble meatballs (tip: the meatballs were cooked in advance, and reheated in a crockpot at the hotel).  Don't just see the Star Trek Cookbook as your only source of inspiration; look to the wide variety of party books and magazines and cookbooks that are out there as a source of things that can be made in advance or can be easily be reheated in a hotel room.  A hotel room with a microwave and a bar fridge is useful.  

Many people like to use the bathtub filled with ice for drinks; I prefer, if a big cooler is available (you can use it transport the food), to fill it with ice and beverages so the bathroom is available for guests.  There are many recipes out there for bloodwine, but my favorite tip to add "blood clots" to your bloodwine is to use a food processor to puree frozen strawberries or raspberries; ideally keep them frozen until you add them to the punch.  The bloodwine we served at SFContario was one of the most popular things about our party.  We had both alcoholic and non-alcoholic bloodwine available.  The non-alcoholic was served in the cauldron, and the alcoholic was served in pitchers we borrowed from the hotel, and clearly labelled.

Another important element is getting help.  If you can, have someone to help set up, and someone else to help clean up afterwards.  Prepare as much in advance as you can, so all you have to do is set things up.  We used two crock pots, and had made some homemade dips.  We had "Trek" names for all our foods (this is where the Star Trek Cookbook comes in handy).

MerleDrKrikorThese were some of the elements that made our first room party at SFContario a success.  Holding the party on a Friday night also meant that we had less competition and more time to enjoy the rest of the convention because our party was out of the way.  It's also a good time to throw a party because that's when you have the most energy.  A good thing to remember is that being a party host is like being at Camp Khitomer: at a room party at a convention, there might be someone who might make your hackles rise, but a good slug of bloodwine will cover the urge to reach for your disruptor (which has been safely tucked away in the other room).  We measured our success in that every guest of honor came to our party, and one of our honoured guests was Dr. Lawrence Schoen, head of the KLI, who wsa at the party most of the evening regaling us with stories, and much to my chagrin (and delight) correcting my Klingon pronunciation. 

Thanks to good advertising the party was packed from the moment we opened the doors until the bloodwine ran out.  We created a facebook page for the event as well and invited most of our facebook friends to attend.  On the page, we tempted them with the impending delights that would be at our party.

CakeThe next party I took on was the 11th annual KAG Feast.  A party of that size needs a plan of attack.  While a little dull, lists can be your friend.  They help you keep track of serving dishes, menus, what to shop for and who will shop for it, and so on.  Our feast has the tradition of three courses and many dishes.  Most of the cooking was done ahead and frozen over a number of evenings and weekends to make it easier.  The availability of two large chest freezers was very handy.  A lot of the same things that go into a room party also apply to a a feast.  The difference is a lot more food, which means more preparation space, more help, a large party room, more time, and ideally a good clean up crew.  Setting a budget is more important, so you have an idea of what your cost per person will be.  It is also important to set a deadline for RSVPs so you can plan how much food to make.

Our feast is not just about the food.  It has become a tradition to invite members of several other clubs, so we also have an explanation of Klingon culture and a trivia competition (with prizes donated by a local comic shop).  The feast is also a good time to give promotions and honour those who have made contributions to KAG (I was very excited to get my vestai at the feast), and it can't be said often enough, a chance to recruit more Klingons and a chance to have fun.

ScarletShieldFor the feast and for the room party we set up Facebook pages for the event and invited everyone and encouraged people to invite their friends.  We also put up flyers about the feast at the room party to connect the two events.  Even before the feast happened, we knew we had outgrown the space we have been in for so may years and decided to look into a rental space, and started planning for a "KAG Fest" next year: a full day celebration of fannish culture and food, with workshops and displays from the various clubs as well as the food and entertainment.  We are expecting enthusiastic support from other clubs and fannish organizations.

SFContario AER: http://comms.kag.org/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=115
KAG Feast AER: http://comms.kag.org/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=90

qIjtoQ vestai jechwI'-TawI'yan
XO and Chief vutwI'
IKV Crimson Talon