Howard Days 2011

Howard Days 2011 unofficially began Thursday night at Humphrey Pete’s, in Brownwood. That’s where the conversations that take the weekend to get sorted out begin. Most of the “movers and shakers” in Howard fandom attend. This year, Rusty Burke, Bill Cavalier (above), Dennis McHaney, Damon Sasser, Mark Finn, and several others were in attendance.

Friday comes waaay too early, but the show must go on. Rusty and Bill kicked things off (above) with a history of Howard Days itself. The brainchild of Burke and Vern Clark (I think), the first Howard Days was to be a one-shot deal. Good thing everyone involved saw the benefits to the affair; what would we all do in June if they decided once was enough?

The first panel was followed by a fanzine panel with McHaney, Sasser, and Lee Breakiron. Breakiron covered the history of fanzines (with samples), and our two guests of honor talked about their experiences as publishers.

I had some Foundation business to attend to, so I missed the “Howard’s Historicals” panel. While that was going on, Paul Herman was busily making sure that the high school theater was ready for Paradox Entertainment’s presentation. Above, Fred Malmberg and Leslie Buhler provided the backstory to the photos and theatrical trailer for the upcoming Conan film. We were the first audience to view the R-rated trailer. This was preceded by a personal video from Jason Mamoa in which he expressed his regrets for not being able to attend.

After a short Q & A session, those in attendance (above) handled a few movie props and took pictures. Then it was off to the Silent Auction and Banquet at the Community Center.

After dinner, our Guests of Honor spoke about the trials and tribulations of their Howard careers. The funniest moment was when Sasser told the story of his first Howard Days experience. During that trip, Bill Cavalier described Damon as a living legend. Sasser told his family, and he said “They didn’t know I was a living legend.” I guess you had to be there.

After a late Friday night in the pavilion, I again missed most of the panels on Saturday, but I didn’t miss the Foundation luncheon at Jean’s Feedbarn (above). We were joined by Fred Malmberg and everyone stuffed themselves. Legacy Circle members received The Hyborian Age, a collection of all the drafts of that important essay. Membership has its benefits.

After the “What’s Happening with REH” panel–during which we heard about the movie and comic book deals that Paradox is working on, as well as the next Foundation book in the pipeline: Spicy Adventures–we hopped in our cars and headed to the Caddo Peak Ranch for a barbeque. The line was longer than usual, which indicates that attendance was up this year.

After the traditional REHupa photo, we all headed back to the pavilion for one more night. Decisions were made and plans were schemed. Hopefully next year will be even better.