1997 Annual Gathering of American Mensa

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Program book cover

The 1997 Annual Gathering of American Mensa, Southern Comforts AG, was held in Birmingham, Alabama at the Sheraton Civic Center. It lasted from July 2nd through July 6th. Steve & LeAnne Porter were the AG chairmen. The attendance was 1223.

Since Birmingham, England has also hosted British AGs, "Birmingham AG" is ambiguous.

This AG's hospitality suite was large, well-stocked with food, and centrally located. However, some of the programs, and the SIGs room, were in far-flung locations on different floors or even different buildings. At one point, people from Cincinnati ran a hospitality "feeding frenzy" to promote the following year's AG, serving the distinctive Cincinnati dish of Skyline Chili on top of spaghetti.

The Carnelli session was, oddly enough, in the morning (this game is more often played late at night). Speakers were varied and interesting, including Ian Randal Strock on how to get rejected by science fiction magazines. Registration was well-run, open long hours and not subject to long lines. The registration packets were very professional, with a full-color cover on the program book, and a cloth bag included. Since no "Get Acquainted" matrix was included this year, somebody saw fit to create a "parody" one with odd categories like "Practices cannibalism", and allegedly there were actual members fitting in just about all of the boxes in this form.

At the Annual Business Meeting, a proposal to remove the "None of the Above" choice from ballots (which had been added a few years earlier by another member proposal) was approved to be sent to the voters as a bylaws change.

The neighborhood of the convention center had some interesting things to see if people wished to venture outside the AG; there was an exhibition of Smithsonian artifacts next door, and a civil rights museum was a few blocks away.

Birmingham would once again host the American AG ten years later.

Preceded by:
1996: Houston
Annual Gathering of American Mensa
Succeeded by:
1998: Cincinnati