|Young Adult (17-21)||US$||$100|
Filk is a musical culture, genre, and community tied to science fiction and fantasy fandom. Although it was originally a typographical error for the word 'folk,' filk is not limited to just folk music, but comprises many styles.
Chicon has a rich history of great filk programs. Chicon 7 will provide lively themed and open filks, and a wide range of concerts and daily singalongs. Additionally, open filk will have a room for tuning and a room just for jamming.
Book: Tanya Huff; Music and Lyrics: Brenda Sutton; Musical Arrangements: Dr Mary Crowell
The Operetta Project started soon after editor/singer/songwriter Brenda Sutton republished Tanya Huff's harrowing short story "Choice of Ending" in the November 2006 issue of e-zine Mythic Passages . "Everything about the story engaged me on so many levels," said Brenda. In it, the Crone's avatar, a homeless hag named Mrs Ruth, pushes a shopping cart full of Tabasco sauce, empty Girl Guide cookie boxes, and telephone books through the streets of Toronto helping people. She knows things. She has answers, but an avatar can only respond if petitioned. Rules are rules.
As the story opens, Mrs Ruth's time as avatar is nearly over. The Gods are fed up waiting for her to hand over power to a new Crone, ready and waiting in the wings. They harry her from pay phones, cell phones, car radios, store-front television screens. "Put your things in order. This is your third and final warning." But Mrs Ruth is a stubborn old woman on a mission. A devious and deadly child predator stalks her territory, and she's determined not to lay down her duty until she's stopped the monster.
Tanya Huff's writing inspired several songs by Brenda Sutton over the years, and 'The God's Harangue' emerged as the first of many about Mrs Ruth. The tunes just kept coming, and soon there were enough songs to link them all together into what Sutton jokingly called an operetta. "I know it's not really an operetta, more a one-act musical, really. But I'm a fan of Gilbert & Sullivan, so I started thinking of it that way."
The project came together at WindyCon 2008 with Tanya Huff the Writing GoH, and Bill and Brenda Sutton the Music GoH. Dr Mary Crowell graciously provided sheet music transcriptions of the songs. Filk Director Jan Dimasi offered rehearsal and performance space. A cast and backup musicians were assembled from filkers attending the con. Tanya agreed to read the narration and, with one short rehearsal under their belts, the readers theater production of "Choice of Endings" took the stage. Reviews of the performance were positive, but the opportunity for another staging seemed slim to nil.
When Dimasi assumed the duties of Filk Director for Chicon 7, she approached Sutton about re-staging the operetta. Unfortunately, serious house renovations prevented Tanya Huff from attending Worldcon this year, and the project halted at the starting line. Halted, that is, until Dimasi suggested Seanan McGuire take up the role of Narrator. Varooooom, the show was off and running down the track once again.
Some very talented musicians are backing up the operetta, with Dr Mary Crowell (Three Weird Sisters) on keyboards, and Betsey Tinney (Tricky Pixie) on cello. The cast includes Bill and Brenda Sutton, Bill and Gretchen Roper, Joey Shoji, Jordan Kare, Adam Selzer, Erica Neely, Merav Hoffman, Char MacKay, and Dave Weingart.