So how did SwanCon 2011 stack up?
1. A well lit bar/restaurant/lounge area where I can sit and chat with people and buy them the occasional drink.
The Hyatt scores pretty well here, but the advantages of the Conservatory are offset by the prices. General accessibility issues for the hotel as a whole were also an issue. stephbg, firvulag, and emma_in_oz (among others) have all covered the accessibility issues.
2. A gaming room with a community of gamers who welcome new people into games with a variety of games on hand.
I'm sorry but this was a bare pass at best. The gaming foyer was not a good solution, and it meant that no one was comfortable leaving games there. Overall it was tolerable, but not much more than that.
3. A fun auction where there is a good vibe in a room filled with laughter and raising money for good causes along the way.
Oh yeah! Much fun was had, even if my feet hurt a lot by the end.
My shiny new pocket watch is cool, and getting Ellen Datlow to snark at Justin Ackroyd when she signed the advance proof of Naked City was also amusing to all concerned (and, yes, that includes Justin :) ).
4. Entertaining panels like Trailer Park where the snark is fabulous.
Whose Line Is It Anyway was almost enough to make the convention for me. With one exception (me), this was an entertaining effort from all involved. Many thanks to dalekboy, Paul Kidd, angriest, rdmasters, and leecetheartist for getting it started in a fabulous way that never stopped as others got involved.
5. Other panels on a variety of topics that interest me.
There were a a couple of standouts here including Ready, Steady, Genesplice and both of angriest's presentations.
6. Doing panels on topics that interest me.
I only did one panel (other than assisting at the auction) this year but Anime Tropes: The Sequel was again an interesting panel to do, with many thanks due to my co-panellist Steveg. We'll be offering to do it again , but next year we may focus on positive tropes that we enjoy when we see them (and that we never see enough of). Working Title: The Tropes Strike Back. :)
Given that Steven Brust's Tiassa just came out I may also be looking to do a Dragaera panel again next year.
7. A quick look at the masquerade
Oops. Kinda forgot. The photos I've seen so far (thanks anysia) look really good so far though.
I'm also going to add a few extra things to score against in the interests of balance:
8. An academic and writer focussed stream that reaches beyond the SwanCon community.
This doesn't really interest me, and I'm rarely (if ever) likely to attend. However by all accounts it was a massive success this year and I fully support the inclusion of such in future years.
The only thing I warn about here is don't overbalance the program with it. I've been to conventions where it is 90% angst about how hard it is to be a writer, oh woe is me, and frankly I'm just not that interested in seeing the sausages get made.
9. Kids Programming
Something else of little to no interest to me that I fully support. Apparently another major success this year and I offer congratulations to all involved.
Despite some tendencies towards an unbalanced program, and some issues with the hotel, I had a lot of fun this year.
I'd like to thank the Convention Committee for doing a great job and wish them many hours of sleep in the weeks ahead.