I sing my songs of human rights,
Of love and hope and fear.
I'll sing a song that lasts too long
That no one wants to hear...
I'm an Old Folksinger,
.................... Duck's Breath
So you may have heard about filk from somewhere maybe a friend sang Banned From Argo for you, or you heard D.C. Fontana and Lynn Barker doing some of their media filks at a convention panel and you want MORE.
HOW TO FIND THE FILK:
For live music the best place to start is your local Science Fiction Convention. You will want to steer clear of most big media convention because your odds of finding filking there are very slim. Once you are at the convention check the program book for anything listed as a concert during the day and filking at night. If you can't find anything listed you go to the dealer's room and look for some CDs and Tapes.
You ask the filk dealers for advice, listen to a song (the good dealers will have a CD player and earphones so you can test-drive) and buy one CD to take home. You ask about the filking that night. If it's not listed in the program book and there are no signs, the dealer will know towards the end of the day.
If none of that works start looking around after the masquerade. As you wonder around try to move away from loud parties and any rock and roll dance that might be going on. Soon you should see a gathering of people in a function room or the lobby. Nine or ten people are already there, huddled in an approximate closed ovoid of chairs, and there seem to be mikes, extension cords, recording machinery and guitar cases everywhere. Someone is strumming quietly and singing (sounds like a love song, till you catch the word laran). You take a seat, applaud when the person's over and feel good about yourself for finally finding the sing.
WHAT TO DO ONCE YOUR AT THE FILK.
If you are in Southern California, odds are that the circle is going slowly around, each person getting a chance in her turn to sing or request something. Eventually the ring will get around to you. You grin, explain that you are new, and could you please hear Banned From Argo? For the reaction to that request, see Appendix B, BANNED FROM ARGO. You're shocked at the reaction you got. You don't know any other filk songs!
Then some kind soul will say, Pick a topic! Something you're interested in. Heartened and grateful, you babble Er, uh, Isaac Asimov! And someone will sing a song about Isaac Asimov. Then the round goes to the person next to you.
In the Mid-West, you will be exposed to a more freewheeling, anyone- chime-in style (see Glossary, Appendix A, MODIFIED CHAOS). Unless you are brave and/or the Demi-ghod is a good one, chances are you'll be passed over for a while. Try to find out who's being Demi-ghod, and catch her eye if you can. She may point her finger or stick at you and say, That person in the back who hasn't said anything you want to pick a song? THEN you go through the Banned From Argo Isaac Asimov routine. A good convention filk lasts through the night and a small, loyal band who keep singing until the coffee shop opens for breakfast at 6 a.m. Sometimes, though, a filk may peter out early around midnight to 2 a.m. As a newcomer, you are free to stay up all night, and if you have the stamina, you will find some of the best stuff to be that sung between 3 and 6 a.m. People will leave eventually, here and there, but there is a filk going on as long as two or more filkers are gathered together.
Does the above description sound a bit crazy? Well, you see Filking has had a long history of being a participatory event. Unlike a concert where everyone but the performer is passive, at a filksing there is a certain level of participation expected of everyone. Please don't be intimidated by this, the people around you are not going to attack you, the group is just trying to be inclusive. New people who are trying to learn to play the guitar are just as welcome as old pros. Because of this expect a wide range of music and quality of singing and just remember that some of those beginners have turned into some of the best filkers out there.