Welcome to GAFilk 2017!
Guest of Honor
Kristoph Klover & Margaret Davis
Margaret Davis and Kristoph Klover have been terrorizing/delighting the Northern California filk community since 1989, when they met, fell in love, determined they didn't know any of the same music, or even any of the same styles of music, and of course decided to play together. The resultant stew of Grateful Dead, Medieval French, Celtic, Tolkien, filk, folk, and more aims to delight and inspire you on Celtic harp, 12-string and 6-string guitar, flute, octave mandolin, recorders, tin whistle, and yes, male and female vocals.
Margaret & Kristoph have recorded 14 CDs, as a duo and with their bands Celtic rock band Avalon Rising and Celtic/Medieval trio Broceliande; they are signed to Sugo Music for digital distribution. Their Tolkien CD "The Starlit Jewel" is actually authorized by the Tolkien Estate, and in 2008 they appeared in the Disney movie "Bedtime Stories." Their latest CD, just released this May, is "Snow White - The Mirror's Revenge" -- an all-original new musical with lyrics by Jay Hartlove and music written and primarily performed by Margaret & Kristoph (think Snow White and Prince Charming). They have been guests at many conventions and both are on the Consonance concom. And oh yeah, he's a great engineer and she's an awesome calligrapher. Come visit them at www.flowinglass.com!
If you’ve been attending GaFilk since, well, ever since the first one, the first face you probably saw was Myra’s. Now that she is safely retired from running registration, we’re proud to have her as our toastmistress for GaFilk 2017.
Myra got her start in filking in the early 80’s when she stumbled into a circle at Necronomicon because there was nothing else on the schedule. After listening to Ann Morrison sing about all the different crazy things filkers sing about, she started collecting her own songs and getting involved in the Florida filking community at Necronomicon and Oasis.
Sherman Dorn took her to the 2nd GaFilk, back when the whole convention could fit inside of a Waffle House. Since then, she’s been at every GaFilk and for most of them as the head of registration.
Why registration? Better to let her tell the story of how she got the job, but she stuck with it for so long because she gets to meet everyone who comes to the convention. She also loves talking to the people who come up to the table wondering just what this filk stuff is all about. In many ways, Myra is the face of GaFilk to new visitors, always ready with information about our hobby and culture, or answering when the 2x10s sheet is going to be up.
When she’s not behind the desk, you can find her with her baritone ukelele and her slim book of songs she loves to sing, sitting in circles late into the night. She loves to introduce new people to filk, and hopes to start running neo-filker circles now that Harry has taken over the position. And if you get her telling stories, watch out! She can bend your ear for hours.
A second generation geek and con-goer, Peter has been attending filk cons almost since they began in the UK, attending his first in the early '90s (before he was 10). He began writing songs not long after, and rumour has it that some of his first are still held over him for future blackmail purposes. He has not yet been able to destroy the evidence but is optimistic that there is still time. He plays a variety of different instruments, all for given values of 'plays' including harp, mandolin, guitar and bagpipes.
Outside of filk he is a keen board-gamer, LARPer, and crafter, making leatherwork and metal armour.
I am a woman who wears many hats, although perhaps that’s not the best idiom since I rarely wear any hats at all let alone several at once. I would say I’m a juggler with many balls in the air but I have terrible hand-eye coordination which is why I’m rubbish at video games. I’d rather tell you I’m several people at once, but in the end it’s really only me: this one woman who does much.
I love the art of storytelling so I’ll start with this:
Once there was a girl who had a mind no one understood, not even herself, until at 34 she learned she was an Aspie. Suddenly humanity made sense to her in that she now knew why it had never made sense to her. A wonderful moment of crystallized knowledge in time that was, and it changed her life for the better.
Once there was a girl who sang as soon as she spoke (at 13 months, in complete sentences) and never stopped. In her early 20s she left the choirs and the bars and the studios behind her and chose to only sing for herself. She sat in the dark and played the piano imagining herself blind to train her ears and her fingers to pay attention and to find that elusive silence in song.
Once there was a girl who grew up with books on her shelves and under her bed. She read about bog bodies when she was 14 and became a Celtic scholar. She read terrible teen romances and medieval mysteries. She found Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood and Philip K Dick and so many more. Now she plans to write children’s books.
That girl read folktales and fairytales, myths from cultures that span time and geography. She became a teacher who taught children the art of storytelling: how to listen, how to follow the tale, how to question well. She nurtured wonder by living wondrously. Ghosts and demons, faeries and gods, she drew them in and breathed them out.
Those girls became the woman I am now and the woman I’ll be one day. I find beauty in the natural curve of the world and I’ve always known how to listen. Songs come to me to be written, and stories to be told, that I feel honour-bound to share. They want to be heard and they tell me I’m the translator so I find myself speaking for more than myself more often than not.
I find myself speaking for women, for children, for girls, and for those on the fringes of acceptance. I find myself growing stronger as they raise their voices with mine. I want to paint a sonic spectrum of what it is to be female, every shade and tint of grey that make us who we are. We’re not always strong, we’re not always right, we’re not always a shadow. We’re so many pieces of glitter and gloom self-governed.
So I write The Wanderlings. I write about redheads and aliens, colours and the moon. I write about nightmares, heartbreak, wonder and rage, and I never flinch from the truth. Nine albums later and I’m still writing so to all of you who listen, thank you. A bard is no bard without a community. Thank you for being mine.
Super Secret Guest
Alex Bledsoe grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (birthplace of Tina Turner). He's been a reporter, editor, photographer, a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman, and a very successful writer of urban fantasy and sword and sorcery. Now he lives in a Wisconsin town famous for trolls, writes before six in the morning and tries to teach his three kids to act like they’ve been to town before. He is the author of the Eddie LaCrosse novels (The Sword-Edged Blonde, Burn Me Deadly, Dark Jenny, Wake of the Bloody Angel and He Drank, and Saw the Spider), the novels of the Memphis vampires (Blood Groove and The Girls with Games of Blood) and the Tufa novels (The Hum and the Shiver, Wisp of a Thing and Long Black Curl). He also writes the Firefly Witch short story chapbooks. Alex is a genuinely good guy and lot of fun to talk to. More info at AlexBledsoe.com.