has been involved in filk since the early nineteen-nineties. Although not a performer herself, she has become a major force in the filk community. Filk in the Chicago area would be very different, and almost certainly far less robust, without Jan’s tireless championship. To find the Chicago area filk community, “you just have to meet Jan, because Jan knows everybody.” Jan frequently attends local and regional housefilks, and, if time between events stretches too long, hosts them herself. She is a fixture at Midwest and more distant cons, where she lurks in the back of the filk room doing beadwork, yet creates a supportive and welcoming environment. . She listens intently and always has a huge smile, delighted laugh, and encouraging word for filkers both experienced and developing. Jan notices when filkers are cut off, and asks them to play. She provides reassurance to those with a limited filk repertoire or alternative musical styles with the comment, “If it’s played in the filk room, it’s filk.”
Jan has worked on her local cons, Windycon and DucKon, since becoming involved in the filk community. In particular, she has pursued her goal of expanding and improving the filk presence at DucKon with relentless determination. Frustrated with the limitations of convention budgets, Jan sought out new and creative ways to raise funds to bring additional guests to perform at DucKon. She recruited technical experts to record the performances and produce a number of high quality CDs and DVDs. The result has been a steady stream of world-class filkers as guests of honour, earning DucKon the title of “One of the best filk conventions that’s not actually a filk convention.” At Chicon 2000, Jan was in charge of the filk track. In addition to coordinating the programming, she organized a filk suite and the production of a songbook and a music CD.
Jan has two other claims to fame: her profession and her pet. Her “Magic Fingers” have massaged the aching back or neck of many a weary filker, listener, or concom member. Her ball python, Spot, has accompanied her to various conventions, where he has been seen draped around a number of well-known filkers and fans.
For these contributions to filk music and the filk community Jan DiMasi is inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame this tenth day of April, two thousand and ten.
Photo credit: Walter Korynkiewicz