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What is "Filk"?
In the near future, you will find an attempt at briefly defining the words "Filk" and "Filking" . You will also see a set of links to other pages on the Web that attempt to define "Filk" and "Filking". You might even come across the Wikipedia entry on Filk. Meanwhile, you'll just have to put up with quotes from other filk related websites.
Commonly thought of as music based on science fiction or fantasy themes, filk evolved over the last fifty years into "anything sung by filkers." This music genre encompasses a broad range of styles, talents, and performers, from solo artists to folk/rock bands to choirs. Sometimes parodies of popular tunes are "borrowed," but more often filk songs are original compositions. Poetry, short fiction, schtick, ose (more-ose), and even improv theatre appear from time to time. No holds barred when it comes to topic.
website "What Is Filk"
Filk is a living folk cultural category with its roots in science fiction fandom, poetry, storytelling, and especially music. Like science fiction, it is an odd superset of all other cultural categories, existing on the fringes of many. Strong themes include parody (some would say homage), lyrics only, of the sort you'd find in Mad magazine, and science fiction, fantasy, and the kind of stuff you'd find littering the lives of fans, such as computers, the space program, cats, the Society for Creative Anachronism, and stuff that is stranger than you CAN imagine. The predominant musical format is folk, but there are well-executed instances of practically anything else. As in any living folk culture, all the members can participate, though not all do, and their skill and involvement levels vary widely. Set in the modern multi-cultural matrix, it eclectically adopts elements (e.g., songs) from the surrounding culture that seem to filkers to resonate properly within their communities, which show considerable regional variation and even controversy over what their boundaries should be.
Readers may also want to check out some other pages that deal with this issue, including:
History of Filk
Don't know nothin' 'bout filkin' history, but some people do. Karen Andersen, Lee and Barry Gold, and Margaret Middleton are good sources.
Filking Awards and Honors
Besides OVFF's own Pegasus Awards, there's the Filk Hall of Fame, run by FilKOntario. In the UK, there's the Sam award, and there are probably others as well.
In this location, you will find a brief description of the charitable Filk organization Interfilk, along with a pointer to its website
- GaFilk, a Filk "relax-a-con",
is held every January in Atlanta, GA.
- ConFlikt, held in January in Seattle,
- The floating UK filk con
changes name and location within the UK every year and is held each February.
- Consonance is held at the beginning
of March every year in the California Bay area.
- FilKONtario (aka FKO) is a convention
held every year around the first of April in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
- DFDF held near Hannover, Germany
starting in May, 2009.
East Coast Floating Con Troika, consisting of:
- Concertino is held every few
years in the vicinity of Boston (most recently Worcester), MA.
- Conterpoint is also held every few years in the vicinity of Washington,
- Contata is the New York/New
Jersey area member of the troika. And it's being held THIS YEAR!
- Concerto is/was the Philadelphia, PA area member of what is now the
troika. It has been on hiatus for many cycles, but may revive some year
and make a quorum of the troika.
- HarmUni is held also in England
occasionally, in late Summer.
- Conchord is the LA area filk con,
and will next happen in September, 2009.
- FilkContinental is held
in a castle in Germany every autumn.
Though they aren't specifically filk conventions, the following are known to be very "Filk Friendly":
- FenCon in Texas in the fall has an aggressively good filking program.
- Marcon in Columbus, Ohio, on Memorial Day weekend, has a long history of hosting a great collection of filkers from all over the region.
- Balticon in Baltimore, MD, on Memorial Day weekend generally has a wonderful filk track.
- Duckcon in Chicago in June is a good place for filk.
- Windycon in Chicago in the fall is also good for filk.
- Capricon in Chicago in February has had some very good filking in recent years.
- ChambanaCon in Springfield, IL on Thanksgiving weekend
- Orycon in Portland, Oregon, is rumored to have excellent filking.
- Conclave in Michigan in October has a strong filking history.
- Confusion in Michigan in January is a traditional winter filking event.
- Confluence in Pittsburgh in the summer has an excellent filking program.
- Westercon on the West Coast
- Boskone in Boston in February is NESFA's annual Science Fiction convention, and has a strong filking program.
- Arisia in Boston in January, a rival to Boskone, also has a strong filking program.
- L.A.Con IV, This year's World Science Fiction Convention, in Anaheim, California, August 23-27, 2006. (The article on their website that covers early plans for the filking at L.A.Con IV is here.)
Perhaps I ought to check out the Science Fiction Convention Webring ...
This section will point to other filk resources on-line -- lyrics, BBS's, message boards, blogs, and so forth.