With the booth stripped down, the cover sheets washed to remove incriminating evidence, the plants put back to bed, and the show equipment all lying in a big pile in the living room to annoy the Czarina, All-Con 2013 ended as it began. Namely, with an immense sense of self-satisfaction. All-Con isn’t as big a Triffid Ranch show as, say, Texas Frightmare Weekend, but any show where the local fire marshal insists that no more people can fit into the hotel by any technique other than pureeing qualifies as a big one. The best endorsement of the shenanigans out here: as of this time next year, I have been attending science fiction and media conventions of all sorts for thirty years, as an attendee, a guest and lecturer, and as a vendor. Maybe it was due to the number of high school and college students getting an early start on Spring Break celebrations, but this had to have been the most enthusiastic crowd I’ve seen at a Dallas convention since 1985. And since that show involved, among others, a soon-to-be-defunct hotel where convention participants were firing model rockets armed with explosive warheads from a handmade rocket launcher into the swimming pool, I’m glad that this one was much less rambunctious.
Since All-Con coincides with the bare stirrings of most temperate carnivorous plants from their winter dormancy, a lot of interesting species weren’t available this time around. To compensate were a lot of flytraps, purple pitcher plants (with a few Canadian attendees who could appreciate the provincial flower of Newfoundland and Labrador), and a few surprises. Of particular note was the popularity of my old friend Euphorbia flanaganii in a miniature garden arrangement. Yes, that Spartan can handle himself, but for how long?
Likewise, one of the best things about the wave of new attendees was being able to share very recent news about carnivorous plant physiology. Between sharing how Nepenthes ampullaria pitchers serve as frog nurseries and Nepenthes rafflesiana elongata pitchers as bat rookeries, nobody was bored.
And then we had fun with succulents. A gigantic hand-fired guacamole bowl just begs for a miniature garden arrangement with Crassula muscosa, doesn’t it?
More photos to follow: it was an interesting weekend.