Last Friday night I was at a party at the World Fantasy Convention in Albany, New York, when I happened to see the name "Ctein" on one of those nametags that everyone wears. I momentarily went into a state of shock not really sure if I was in a fantasy convention or a photo convention, but, looking around the room at the pirates (it was a pirate party after all) I managed to sort it out. (The "pirate punch" might have had something to do with my confusion as it was mostly pirate and not much punch.) I somehow managed to blurt out "Are you really Ctein? Why are you here?" which was undoubtedly rude given the fact that there really can't be more than one Ctein (which he pointed out to me! - see Turns out he is a long-time science fiction/fantasy fan (as well as a really nice fellow) and attends scifi/fantasy conventions regularly.

The next morning I managed to remember something of the night before and went down to the artist's gallery at the convention where Ctein had several prints from his "Christmas in California" series. (See I'm not sure if what I saw were dye-transfer prints, but they looked very nice to my untrained eye. I think the series would be titled more accurately as "High Wierdness at Christmas" though. Ctein manages to capture both the beauty of these outdoor displays as well as the feeling that they are somewhat out of place in the suburban desert of California, which seeps in from the edges of the frame no matter how high the wattage deployed to keep it out.

Also at the convention was Laurie Toby Edison - I saw her book on display but didn't get a chance to talk to her - hopefully next convention.

I also saw Beth Gwinn ( running around, but everytime I saw her she was moving very, very quickly in the direction opposite where I was headed and I stupidly never got around to setting up a time to talk to her. Beth has been making portraits of writers for a while now, as evidenced by the photo of John Crowley I found on the inside back cover of the new (to me) book _Novelties_ I picked up at the convention. She has a book available on Amazon right now -