Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry


On Saturday night, Rhea asked me why we do open room parties at conventions. Or more precisely, why we would even consider doing open room parties at conventions.

Well, part of it is because we're trying to promote our Costume-Con, but that's only a small part of it. I would do room parties even if we weren't running a con in a few years.

For me, room parties, and particularly open room parties are an important part of convention culture.

My introduction to fandom was through the SCA, a very do-it-yourself group. There were events put on by volunteers, and after the events were usually "post-revels;" parties with relatively open invite lists that happened at participants' houses. It was just part of the process of winding down after a long day.

My first convention was Minicon 28, and back in those days, Minicon was a party convention. Nearly every suite in the hotel and nearly every room surrounding the pool hosted an open room party (and it was in a really big hotel; there were literally dozens each night). I went to Minicon for 6 years, and then it changed so I stopped going. But while I went, I went with groups of people who hosted parties and sometimes helped. Most of the other conventions I went to at the time were also big party scenes, and I met other people who ran parties.

At WorldCon, I discovered "The Costumers' Suite," a privately run open hospitality suite. At NASFiC in Los Angeles, the gal running it got roped in at the last minute, so we looked at things and said "In San José, we can do better." We put together a schedule of events, with groups hosting 4 nights and 2 afternoons, and a private-ish party Monday night at the end. We learned a lot about decorating and transforming a room from some of the people who came in; both the Klingons and the GBACG Faeries did a beautiful job making the room look like something other than a hotel suite parlor.

That was also about the time that we and the A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. gals decided to do a BayCon party together, this quickly split into the "Evil Geniuses" party on Friday night and the "Den of Propriety" party on Saturday. The "Evil Geniuses" party quickly became a great format to get visibility and help us promote our Costume-Con bid.

So it all comes back to fandom being a do-it-yourself group. I don't really want to be a con staffer all the time (even though I do take a staff job once in a while). I can be a good panelist and moderator. I can throw a good party. I think those are important contributions back to con-going fandom.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 24th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
I agree. As much as throwing parties can be a pain in the ass, they are fun, you can do them cheap if necessary, and they're a great part of fandom. Hell, the first Gaylaxicon I ever attended was in Philly, and I couldn't afford a membership - all I could do was hit the parties. Then I ended up doing a G'con of my own. You never know where the next generation of SMOFs is going to come from...
Jan. 24th, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC)
Times like this I envy you folks your larger population base and more reasonable hotel culture. We barely have enough folks here to both run and populate a masquerade, and parties at hotels are ridiculously expensive unless you do them on the sly and risk getting thrown out.
Jan. 24th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
Well, you've got the real ale pubs if things go well, the pub made the Interaction "dead dog" party at the fan lounge one of the most fun and broadly-attended dead dog parties I've been to in years.
Jan. 25th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
I agree. The parties add immeasuably to the conventions. I rarely help with parties but that's mainly because I've worked every convention I've ever attended except Interaction.
Jan. 25th, 2006 05:58 pm (UTC)
Hear, hear! It's disheartening to me to see that related "fellow traveler" conventions (FanimeCon comes to mind because it's local, but there are others) don't think parties are important (sometimes they actively discourage them or prohibit them), and more importantly, the attendees don't seem to think they're important. To me, room parties organized by various groups -- not just "official receptions" or catered events provided by sponsors -- are a key part of the "do it ourselves" culture of fandom.

This also reminds me of the people I encountered at conventions I attended while promoting Bay Area 2002/ConJose who were completely boggled that someone would travel, at his own expense, to some place far away (read: beyond commuting distance, or some place you'd have to fly) to promote a fannish event. They'd never do something like that. Maybe if you paid their expenses. Maybe if you paid for their time.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )