We got to Cushing Library about 6:00, signed in at the VIP table to get our badges, and met up with our friends who were there on the first floor of the library, where the pre-exhibit party was. There were about a hundred people there, mostly people who had bought the tickets to the fundraiser portion of the event, plus staff and university officials and special guests (me!).
The whole thing was catered by Chef Tai, who had made food based on the Song of Ice and Fire cookbook. The food was pretty incredible. (For the party, I think it was almond-chestnut soup, chicken meatballs with cumin and yogurt sauce, and steak and onion skewers. There was also wine but I didn't have any because I didn't want to spend the rest of the night falling down stairs.) We went upstairs to look at the exhibit, and I took some photos, before my stupid camera battery failed:
set 1: http://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/4598
set 2: http://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/4598
set 3: http://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/4598
John Picacio had given permission for them to use his artwork for the Song of Ice and Fire Calendar, and you can see some of it displayed on the walls.
George R. R. Martin got there at about 6:30, and chatted with people and took pictures, and I don't think he got to see the exhibit. At 7:00 we all walked to the MSC for the dinner, which was held in one of the ballrooms. There were a few brief speeches about the history of Cushing, the SF/F Special Collection, how George decided to choose it as a repository for his papers, but it was mostly about the food. I don't think I've been at an event with food this good before. It was a buffet, with several different vegetables, three entrees, salads, potatoes, a little lemon tart cake and a blueberry cream. I'm not sure what all I ate. It was sort of like you got to the three entrees and panicked because they all looked good and you wanted all three but that seemed greedy.
Tonight is the VIP autographing, and then the free lecture and screening of the first episode of season 3. (It's free, but you had to get a ticket in advance, because it's in Rudder Theater which only holds about 750 people, and I think all the tickets are gone.) The food truck will be there with more Song of Ice and Fire food, which is where we're planning to have dinner. I've recharged my camera battery, so I should have more photos.