2009 Annual Gathering of American Mensa

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Program book cover

The 2009 Annual Gathering of American Mensa, "About Mensans For Mensans (AM/FM)", was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Omni William Penn hotel from July 1-5. Mary Lee Kemper and Marc Lederman were co-chairs, and attendance was 1813. Radio host Doctor Demento was the keynote speaker on Saturday night.

In order to avoid people standing in line, and to ensure sufficient quantities of everything, Hospitality food was not intended to be complete meal replacements, but rather "Nosh" (though, as usual, a number of AG-goers grazed hospitality in place of going out to eat, which was anticipated). Hospitality (the "Nosh Pitt") included some Pittsburgh foods such as kielbasa with sauerkraut (which at one point was being served during breakfast hours), pierogie, and Isaly's Chip Chop Ham. WPAM Hospitality Chair Caren Bachman ran the the Concession Stand from morning until night - Mensans consumed over 5,000 hotdogs! AG Hospitality didn't run out of anything until Saturday - there was lots to nosh at any given time (including ice cream, hard cooked eggs, cheese, plain tuna, hummus, salad, veggies, dip, fruit, and nachos). Hospitality did not announce serving times, which turned out to be a good thing - everything took longer to get out than planned, and the Hospitality crew had more than a few "kitchen impossible" moments in that process. Virginia Boatman Plottel and Bob Osterman logged long hours in the kitchen - she heating and serving soups, and he slinging kielbasa/kraut, chip chop ham in BBQ sauce, and anything else that needed done.

Dr. Demento was the keynote speaker, and signed autographs afterward in Hospitality.

Events were spread out over a number of different floors in this classic old hotel, requiring a lot of use of elevators (which were in multiple banks, with some of them not going to all floors). Hospitality was up on the 17th floor, while the games room was down in the floor below the lobby. There was, however, a modest "Satellite Hospitality" on the William Penn level near the games room, which was run by AG 2010's Hospitality Chair, Desiree Sagray.

Events included a Texas Hold-Em tournament, the Trash Bowl trivia team quiz game, an Old Time Radio comedy show hosted by Dan Gilmore (with other Mensan performers), a talk by a Holocaust survivor, and much more. The Annual Business Meeting discussed the recent expensive trademark lawsuit between American Mensa and a pharmaceutical company, and showed a film of mentions of Mensa on television that was prepared (but never used) for showing the jury in that trial as evidence of Mensa's fame.

Registration and hotel fees

Registration for the 2009 AG was $65 by 9/30/2008, $75 by 12/31/2008, $85 by 3/31/2009, $95 by 6/26/2009, and $110 after. The per-day rate was $30. Young Mensans were free up to age 3, $30 for ages 4 to 12, $50 for ages 13 to 20, or $15 per day. There was a 3-meal dining plan for $99. The hotel room rate was $89.

External links

Official reports

(require American Mensa member login)

Meeting reports

(require American Mensa member login)

Preceded by:
2008: Denver
Annual Gathering of American Mensa
Succeeded by:
2010: Detroit (with Mensa Canada)