Two Weekends, Two Conventions

The following has nothing to do with the overall subject of the blog yet everything to do with the continual maintenance of the owner of the blog.

The past two weekends were occupied with either attending and/or working two widely different yet strangely similar conventions. (And thanks to the WordPress scheduling system, I was able to complete my posts ahead of time yet publish them on a regular schedule.) As someone who used to attend maybe 6-8 conventions a year when I could afford them, getting to more than two that aren't local is more than a little depressing. Still, it was good to get out to them, if only to remind myself to have a good time.

CONvergence

CONvergence is a regional-sized SF convention in Minneapolis: I have now attended three, one a couple of years ago when it featured authors Mercedes Lackey (who I know as Misty Lackey from reading her fan writing before she went professional) and her husband Larry Dixon, both of whom rarely do conventions because of their busy schedules and involvement with outside responsibilities, then the last two because of invitations from a very good local friend who let me stay at her place instead of needing a hotel room.

This year I went with the purpose of having fun, and fun I did, both at the convention and with my friends outside of the convention. Because I love to do panels, and despite the lateness of my request, I was actually able to even be on two panels, one on the Legion of Super Heroes and one on Bond gadgets, and the other panels I attended it seemed as it I should have been on them, anyway, given how much I contributed to them.

What I find interesting is the very vibrant fan community in the Minneapolis / St Paul Twin Cities area, to the point it can support at least two SF conventions, an anime convention and a gaming convention, as well as a number of regular fan community activities. Its a community I could like being a part of.

IkasuCon

IkasuCon is a local anime that is a transplant from Cincinnati: the convention committee was disappointed in their local convention facilities and looked around the general area for better facilities, and when they came here, they found an excellent facility (and were given cookies, too!) Many of the staff still live in the Cincinnati area, but gradually a number of locals are "infiltrating" the ranks, including myself as the local marketing representative, which means that I walked around the convention a lot, carrying my camera and taking pictures of individuals. I found several excellent costumes in evidence and took a number of pictures that I call "money shots" that are destined for my fannish display book.

What I find interesting here is the very active local anime fans, many of whom are ardent costumers. That stands in counterpoint to the seeming lack of any kind of local organized fan community: as the second largest city in the state, there should be enough support to have its own SF convention and be otherwise active, yet there isn't the support for an SF con, and the local gaming convention is slowly fading into oblivion. That's why I find the anime convention so different that I hope it will be the focus of more local fannish activity.

Similarities

The similarities between the two conventions is the energy that permeates them. Its rather breathtaking for someone whose been in various fandoms for over 30 years to see the people there, many of whom are maybe ⅓ of my age: Having watched a number of the fraternal organizations my parents were a part of start slowly fading away, I have been concerned the same thing happening with SF fandom. These two conventions remind me that fandom is still a thriving culture: Perhaps not thriving in the same areas (anime, for instance) than when I started, but thriving nonetheless.

In short, attending both of these energetic conventions was like refueling: I am a social animal yet I don't have the resources to get out as much as I would like, so a weekend (or two) like this will have to suffice.

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