In part one of my fandom history, I relayed how I found where fandom was gathering. At this point I was still not part of the group, but I had found the tribe. Now I tell the tale of WesterCon 58, 2005.
Having found the community of science fiction and fantasy fandom in Calgary, and discovering that it is a participatory event I did two things.
1) I helped form the Calgary Star Wars Fanforce
2) I endeavoured to be as big a part of WesterCon 58 as I could
At the time, I didn't think that these were related but now that I form a mental time-line, the parallel effort and intent is more clear. For the first part, it meant gathering together all the individuals in Calgary who were sure they were an isolated Star Wars fan in the big city. This was done through regular meetings and events. It was great to be part of a big group for the premier of "Revenge of the Sith."
For the second part, I did all I could do at WesterCon. I got a room in the hotel, I had multiple costumes set out for the weekend, I entered the costume contest with a group of friends, I bought art at the art show, I drank, danced, and even hosted a panel. Being only one person, I did all I could do without bending space and time. At the end of it all I had a great time, though I still felt something was missing.
Perhaps the programing could be more catholic. There were plenty of local fan groups not represented, or under-utilized, and established and growing fandoms being sidelined. I heard many people say what I had said myself: "There is nothing here for me". It seemed that although the gathering and fellowship was a good start, much of the content of these local conventions skewed toward only a few of the many facets of fandom. Writing and publishing was well supported, though horror, anime, comics, furry fandom, most television and film fandoms were not well represented.
With my brief experience with being on a panel, and talking with a few more experienced con-goers, I knew that simply complaining about what I wanted improved was not the answer. These events are run by fans for fans. There is no external "other" putting on the convention for profit, but rather it was planned and staffed by people like myself for the good of the community.
With this in mind, I knew that if I wanted a better convention experience for myself and my friends, I had to step up and bring myself to the mountain, as it were. That fall I attended a planning meeting for the following summer's convention: ConVersion 22.
What transpired then, is a topic for another post.
Previously on Slashboing