Guild Con commemorates The Guild Hall's official grand opening from Sept. 19-21.
Since the May "beta launch," when the hall opened for business, organizers have been busy expanding and offering new services the community wanted. To celebrate, The Guild Hall decided to craft a weekend packed full of live entertainment, free classes and performances under the moniker Guild Con. We had a chance to meet with co-founder and "Lord of Guilderos" Clegg Ivey to find out more about Guild Con.
Please tell us about The Guild Hall official grand opening party, Guild Con.
Ivey: After a summer spent in an "Open Beta" (a term generally used in the software industry when you let the customers try out the software before it is actually finished), we are finally ready to launch The Guild Hall. But try as we might, we just couldn't fit all of the aspects of The Guild Hall into a party lasting a few hours on a Friday night. So, we decided to throw Guild Con, which starts at 6 p.m. Sept.9 19 and continues for 53 straight hours of gaming, live music, tournaments, classes, comedy, panel discussions, art exhibitions, burlesque, Nerf wars and various other activities.
Throughout the weekend, Savannahians can get a full sense of the creative community we are trying to create with our six guilds: Gamers, Designers, Makers, Coders, Performers and Storytellers. Obviously, some of the events will offer an overlap of more than one guild. For example, the CosPlay Ball is a combination of Performers, Makers and Storytellers, unless the person is dressed up like a character from a game, in which case it also might reflect the Gamers Guild.
The Guild Hall is a new kind of "thirdspace" unlike anything in Savannah, or anywhere else. It is a combination of many things: gamerspace, hackerspace, design collaborative, co-working space, performance venue, rehearsal space, makerspace, costume workshop, game store and honestly, more than a simple list like this could describe. But The Guild Hall is not just a geographical location, it is also a community of creative people who support each other, play games together, collaborate on projects and participate in a creatively charged free flow of ideas, inspiration and fruitful interaction. Ask me what The Guild Hall is and we'll tell you: It's a vibrant community of amazingly creative people of all kinds.
Most of the time, the Guild Hall is for folks 18 years and older, but we do offer classes, shows and game tournaments that have no age restriction. We open every day at 11 a.m. and stay open until 11 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday; Thursday-Saturday, we stay open until 2 a.m. or later (depending on whether people are at The Guild Hall and still having fun, in which case we sometimes stay open until 5 or 6 a.m.).
What has changed since the initial launch to the grand opening?
Ivey: Ask what has changed since our soft open in May and I am tempted to say, "everything." When we initially conceived the idea for The Guild Hall, we assumed everything would be limited to a single building (classes in this room, PCs in that room, console games over here and a stage where we would have to suspend gaming during shows).
But now we have a campus with four buildings, so we can have a show in one building while people are gaming in the second, and taking a class in the third, and working with the 3D printer in the fourth. When we started our Open Beta, we had only four guilds, but have since added the Performers and Storytellers guilds. We started with only three part-time employees and we now have over 30 employees, both full- and part-time. So, yeah ... a lot has changed.
As your website states, what is Guild Con (and why should I care)?
Ivey: Guild Con is your chance to get involved in Savannah's newest and most exciting creative community. Come play some games. Or enjoy a bunch of great shows. Learn how to write software at one of our Coders Guild classes or try making something with our 3D printer. There isn't any other place in Savannah where you can indulge your creative side with so much variety. Not without paying tuition to attend SCAD, that is.
And it's free. What do you have to lose? There is no charge to get into Guild Con, so you can wander around and check it all out. Almost every event is either free or in the case of some of the classes, a nominal charge necessary to cover materials. Ever wonder what a "makerspace" is? Well, we have one. Come check it out.
What is some of the entertainment people can expect at Guild Con?
Ivey: We have a variety of local bands playing at Guild Con, including Artificial Fear, Pridemeat, Choking Hazard, Solomon's Ghost, Forgiarix' Revenge, Scincission and others.
Odd Lot improv comedy team will do a show, and we'll have two burlesque shows - The Dirty Dolls on Friday night and The Sweet Tease on Saturday night - and Phil Keeling, who has been instrumental in helping us build up The Performers Guild.
We'll have a shadow cast of Rocky Horror and an MST3K/Rifftrax style showing of the movie "Face/Off," starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage at their scene-chewing best. Guild Con will also feature an exhibition of local artists, a CosPlay Ball and a dozen or so board game and video game tournaments.
Bruce Cordell will be appearing at Guild Con and hosting a session of the new tabletop roleplaying game that he co-wrote with Monte Cook, called The Strange.
Cordell was one of the original folks at TSR who later went to Wizards of the Coast and helped produce the third edition of Dungeons and Dragons that revitalized the entire tabletop gaming industry in the mid- to late '90s. He is going to be at Guild Con, game mastering a session of The Strange with a bunch of Guild Hall members as players.
Will Guild Con be an annual event? If so, this year's Guild Con will set the bar high. What will you do next year to top it?
Ivey: If people have a good time and the community appreciates the event, then I think we will do it again every year. Considering we will have an entire year to plan the next one (as opposed to month to plan this one), I can't even imagine the ways in which next year's event will top this one.
Most likely, next year's event will feature more of the kinds of guests and events that you need serious lead time to coordinate. For example, we were talking with Monte Cook, one of the most important living designers in the world of table-top RPGs, about bringing him to Guild Con, but we just didn't have enough time to get the plans in order. Same with the band The Protomen. They were stoked to play Guild Con, but had already booked tour dates elsewhere. Who knows what we'll be able to do with 12 months to plan?