Have Scarf Will Travel. Part 1.

Dublin 2019 chair James Bacon and scarf.

By James Bacon: Two cons one weekend.

I have undertaken to do two conventions in one weekend. It is quite the endeavour and I am excited and petrified. Mike has kindly agreed to publish some words as we proceed.  I have arrived in Chicago via Boston, travelling over from London.

CAPRICON. The Westin North Shore in Wheeling, IL, home of Capricon, offers me a warm embrace, greeting me like a friend; distant enough that I don’t see them that often, but familiar enough that when we meet, it’s just the same as ever. A comfortable and familiar space, its large lobby is full of fans while the long high-ceilinged bright glass corridor, stretching the length of the front of the hotel, is abuzz with people setting up tables and going in and out of the many function rooms.

It’s a similar feeling I get when I walk into the Camden Court Hotel in Dublin, home of Octocon, or the Westin Boston Waterfront, home of Arisia and Boskone ,or the imperial College Student Bar in London, for Picocon. Relaxed, amongst friends, some yet to be made. Excitement, anticipation, and indeed expectancy of a good science fictional weekend to come.

Dealers Room

Doctor Who books

I feel I don’t deserve to that warmth. Why should I benefit, while so many here work so hard and have worked so hard? Con chair Terrence Miltner has been everpresent in my Facebook feed and at tables promoting the con. But then, isn’t that why he, and the con committee, and the volunteers, have worked so hard? They want to welcome people. Terrence greets me in the lobby in person.

I could never have imagined, in the late years of the 20th century, that I would be an irregular visitor Chicago for a February convention. And here I am for Capricorn 38.

I am looking forward to this con. I have packed books to be signed, booze to be imbibed and odd looking biscuits to be tasted. Books, Booze and Biscuits.

Capricon is an amazing convention. It fuses what I would consider to be a fun con with an excellently thought-out, engaging programme unafraid to discuss any subject, with an incredible guest line up and potentially the best party scene I have come across.

Today I have a lighter schedule: only four commitments, three of which are Dublin 2019 related. Meetings flood on my schedule, and I do want to get to the Blade Runner 2049 discussion and  Artist Guest of Honor Sarah Wilkinson’s live art session. In true con style, I get roped into helping, first with setup and then with some party prep, and I manage to miss both of them–although my first Dublin meeting goes exceptionally well, so one has to be grateful.

I visit the dealers room. It’s packed with the variety of dealers that one would hope for at a con. I take some time at Greg and Dave R’s book tables, checking out what are in my mind great bargains for classic works. The dealers room is full: new authors, clothing, games, vintage paperbacks, amazing T-Shirts from Off World.

I meet Author Guest of Honor Timothy Zahn at his table. He has a wide selection of books for sale, and it is lovely to chat to him and his wife Anna. Both are exceptionally welcoming and pleasant.

Timothy Zahn

Sarah Wilkinson, like Zahn, has already been on programme by the time I see her outstanding table with her partner Nigel Sade, and their fellow artist Sin. Sarah has done a picture of Princess Leia as part of her live art programming. It is beyond beautiful, and so cleanly done.  I am stunned.

Artist GoH Sarah Wilkinson

I help Tammy Coxen, the Head of Programming, set up her party, and make my way to Opening Ceremonies. It’s great fun. Terrence shares the stage with a pair of goats, who in true Star Trek fashion swing from side to side and keep the packed house laughing. Then the Guests of Honor are introduced, and we all head out to enjoy the evening.

Terence Miltner

Next: the parties.

[Extra credit to Will Frank, who stepped in as copy editor, and to Pablo MA Vazquez as “special drinks holder.”]

Both Sides Seek to Overturn Verdict in San Diego Comic-Con v Salt Lake Comic Con Lawsuit

Following a jury verdict that left the San Diego Comic-Con (the nominal winner) and Salt Lake Comic Con dissatisfied, both have filed post-trial motions seeking to have the result set aside.

A federal jury ruled in December that Salt Lake Comic Con infringed on a trademark held by San Diego Comic-Con by using the words “comic con” in their name without permission. However, the jury did not award the $12 million in damages sought by San Diego Comic-Con, only $20,000, finding no willful infringement of the copyright by SLCC.

SLCC organizers Daniel Farr and Bryan Brandenburg are asking U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia for a new trial, arguing that the court precluded important evidence and gave the jury improper instructions. (Read their motion for s new trial here.) The Hollywood Reporter adds —

They’re also renewing a motion for judgment as a matter of law on the issue of genericness. Battaglia in September indicated the mark may have become generic, but left the matter for a jury to decide, and he denied a similar motion made at the close of the trial. Now, Farr and Brandenburg are again asking him to reconsider and decide the issue himself.

(Read the motion about genericness here.)

SDCC seeks to overturn the jury’s decision for reasons of its own, unhappy that the jurors found that the infringement wasn’t willful, and awarded paltry damages. They are asking Judge Battaglia to either issue a judgment in their favor as a matter of law or, alternatively, to grant a new trial on the issues of wilfulness and damages.

SDCC attorney Callie Bjurstrom described the arguments to The Hollywood Reporter:

“SDCC argues that in view of the documentary evidence presented at trial and the testimony of Defendants’ witnesses, the only reasonable conclusion the jury could have reached was a finding of willfulness,” she writes. “SDCC further argues that rampant mistrial conduct by Defendants and their counsel, including impermissible and highly prejudicial statements made in opening and closing statements, as well as consistent evidentiary missteps that violated numerous prior Court orders, Defendants prevented the jury from reaching a reasonable conclusion on the issue of willfulness.”

Bjurstrom also says SDCC is asking the court to enter judgment as a matter of law that it is entitled to an award of the disgorgement of the Salt Lake event’s profits.

SDCC also wants a permanent injunction to bar Farr and Brandenburg from continuing to refer to the Salt Lake event as a “comic con.” (Read the motion here.)

And SDCC wants the court to award $4.5 million in attorneys’ fees and costs, because of the strength of the evidence presented about its trademark, and to punish the “unreasonable manner in which” Farr and Brandenburg defended themselves:

“Defendants admit they were aware of SDCC’s registered marks prior to selecting the infringing marks,” writes Herrera. “Defendants admit they never bothered to seek legal advice regarding the significance of SDCC’s federal trademark registrations. Defendants looked around and saw that others were using ‘comic con’ with and without a hyphen and assumed they could too.”

A hearing on the motions is currently set for May 3.

[Thanks to Dave Doering for the story.]

My Life at Loscon, Episode 44

By John Hertz: (reprinted from Vanamonde 1277-79) Loscon XLIV (“Los Angeles s-f convention”, our local con; sponsored by LASFS the L.A. Science Fantasy Society) was held on United States Thanksgiving weekend, this year 24-26 Nov, at the L.A. Int’l Airport Marriott Hotel in its ongoing renovations. Pro Author Guest of Honor Carrie Vaughan; Graphic Artist, Howard Chaykin; Mass Media, Jane Espenson; Fans, Kevin Roche & Andrew Trembley. Attendance about 900.

The Rotsler Award, named for Bill Rotsler and given annually for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the s-f community, is announced at Loscon, with an exhibit of the winner’s work in the Art Show. The current judges are Mike Glyer (since inception, 1998), Sue Mason (since 2015), and me (since 2003). Tech wizard Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink helped me build an exhibit for this year’s winner, Jeanne Gomoll.

We included some of her work for Janus and its successor Aurora; Chunga; the Tiptree Award. The Rotsler is sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests (yes, that spells SCIFI; pronounced “skiffy”).

I led three Classics of S-F book discussions, trying to rouse consideration of the books, letting go for the moment their “messages”, “relevance”, politics, authors’ lives, which need no help from me, and can even constitute a distraction. When you’re trying to grow wheat, a rose is a weed.

Friday at 1:30 p.m., a reading-aloud session with Will Morton. He and I had done this before and agreed to do it again. He thought we might as well read from this year’s three Classics, to which I’d no objection. Few present had read or heard of them; none had looked at the con Website or here to see what they might be: we asked; people said they’d come to our reading-alouds before, or had heard they were fun.

Will and I took turns. Between excerpts we talked of this great but now somewhat neglected art. From the audience, “I’m a teacher; I read to students; I’d never thought of reading to adults” who were quite capable of it for themselves.

Four p.m., Herland (C. Perkins Gilman, 1915; my note in Vanamonde 1242 is reprinted here). Some folks had copies of the book in hand.

In it three men find a land populated only by women for two millennia; a woman bore a daughter parthenogenetically, which bred true: we were willing to suppose that plausible as of 1915. The visitors keep discovering that various “natural” customs or tendencies are treated otherwise or don’t exist: men’s nature, not human nature.

Did the author make a story of this sermon? If so, how? There isn’t much conflict, but there’s event; there’s looking for this led us to look for that and we tried this which didn’t work so we turned to that; there are distinct viewpoints; the characters change; and there’s a light, sometimes comic touch. As I’d hoped, women in the discussion were very helpful.

Regency Dancing, which always reminds me of I learned much from my teachers, more from my students. Sometimes I can open the door of dance for those to whom it seemed closed; as a fan I’m fascinated by cross-cultural contact: John Campbell and Larry Niven have both said the heart of s-f is Minds as good as you but different.

This period two hundred years ago, a short span in human history, is different enough from us that trying to dance as in its ballrooms (why? see e.g. my article in Mimosa 29 “The English Regency and Me”) amounts to meeting aliens. Its ideal was the co-dominium – Jerry Pournelle had to coin this word because condominium meant something else – of elegance and ease, to us so nearly unimaginable that we instinctively throw one or the other away.

Just before, while I was amid costume adventures, was the Ice Cream Social. The con committee scheduled a filk concert by Lee & Barry Gold. This while a fine idea in itself was also a ruse to bring Barry where he could be presented suitably with the Evans-Freehafer, LASFS’ annual service award. Lee had been given it some years earlier.

Saturday 11:30 a.m., a memorial to Pournelle, Len Wein, Milt Stevens, whom I list and whom we considered in their order of departure. Niven said Pournelle “was the shaping guy when we wrote together; I just came up with stuff.” That was not the time for me to say False modesty is not a virtue. Pournelle used to say “Niven writes better, I plot better.”

Laura Frankos told of sharing with Wein a love of Broadway musicals, a tribute from one whose knowledge of them is almost measureless. I told of Stevens’ career in fanzines. Nick Smith in the audience said, with him the art of conversation was important. I seeing Craig Miller about to hand over the microphone begged “Will you please talk about co-chairing a Worldcon with him?” False modesty is not a virtue.

Milt Stevens and Craig Miller, L.A.con II the 42nd Worldcon, 1984

Half past two, Citizen of the Galaxy (R. Heinlein, 1957). From the audience, “It’s fast-paced.” I asked, how does he do that? Another: “It’s really four novellas.” We discussed whether there was a single story; as A.J. Budrys used to say, Always ask “Why are they telling us this?”

The vividness of the slave market illumines Leda’s relationship with John Weemsby when she tries to tell Thorby there isn’t any slavery. Although she can’t be called the protago­nist, it is she in whom a change is pivotal. The author shows Thorby’s adolescent failure to understand women, leaves for deduction what disturbs the orbit of a girl who’s got everything.

Does the book end? Or does it, in the besetting sin of s-f, build a world (or worlds!) then trail off? Will Morton said, Thorby’s character is completed, which is the end. To have present Keith Kato, President of the Heinlein Society, was an honor.

In the Art Show at Westercon LXX (West Coast Science Fantasy Conference; Tempe, Arizona, 1-4 Jul 17) I’d seen prints of remarkable pictures by an artist exhibiting as “Voit”. Pos­sibly at my recommendation the Loscon XLIV Art Show got in touch with him; he brought seven originals over his full name Vadim Voitekhovitch.

In his world of railroads, horse carriages, and great steam-driven airships, e.g. “The Road to Babylon” (oil on canvas, 2014), what impressed me most was his execution: he sets off detail with space, he paints what we know to highlight the strange, he builds on the levers our minds tend to give our eyes.

Vadim Voitekhovitch, “The Road to Babylon”

Richard Hescox, one of our best, had hand-ornamented prints with pencil drawings in the margins. Barbara Hambly brought eight gouaches on illustration-board, all Not for Sale but enriching the Art Show; focussed on their main characters (one of whom was Groucho Marx), free of the unmarshaled detail that has been perplexing many.

Mary Jane Jewell’s quilts are unusual: I can’t think of others in our field working with this medium. “The Menacing Empire” was strongly composed. I liked the big red bridge diagonally across “Images of Japan”.

One p.m. Sunday, Hard to Be a God (A. & B. Strugatsky, 1964). David P. Levine (I don’t expect David D. at Loscon) pointed out it took the shortest time of our three, all the world in a few days (or worlds; as Buckminster Fuller said, “Unity is plural and at minimum two”.)

Here was a Prime Directive two years before Star Trek, an idea of course millennia old, hence the title. Jane Shvetsov was particularly helpful, knowing Russian. I only had the new Bormashenko tr. 2014, so couldn’t ask her to compare Wendayne Ackerman’s 1973 (from Buchner’s 1971 German) which JS hadn’t seen.

From the audience, “Should Anton have been a merchant instead of a lord?” We thought he’d have had less freedom to move, and to lead – absent which his conflicting head and heart would have been harder to show.

The Soviet-era imagining of feudal folk – which for the authors’ health had better be politically correct – was fascinating, compare e.g. Twain’s Connecticut Yankee or White’s Once & Future King (including its deliberate anachronisms).

Loscon XLIV had hour-and-a-quarter sessions; we’d unexpectedly caught up with ourselves, so I asked “Anything else?” and someone said “I was hoping you’d read aloud,” gosh.

Right after (2:30), Charles Lee Jackson II moderating Andrew Trembley and me on “The Past & Future of Fan Publishing”. I cleared once & future kings from my mind, which hardly mattered because the three of us were it (not my mind – but that could be a story –). I was unsurprised; I knew, as apparently CLJ II and AT didn’t, that fanziners never attend panels about fanzining, and sometimes no one else does either.

But AT’s involvement in next year’s Worldcon was upon us, so we talked amongst ourselves about Progress Reports, Program Books which these days are sometimes Souvenir Books, at-con newsletters, publicity (Marty Massoglia quotes my sad “It was very well publicized to the people who were already going”), paper & electronics, and like that.

This kept us well occupied and must have been interesting because Dave McCarty dropped by and stayed.

I had lots of questions, some along the lines of “How hard can it be?” – remembering Indiana Jones having said that flew an airplane into a cliff (Temple of Doom, 1984) – also, speaking of 1984, I’d done the Progress Reports (which stank) and the Program Book (which I think still looks good) for the Worldcon that year, with much less powerful tech, more cumbersome? or less? ha ha ha. I’d better stop there.

Update 12/20/2017: Corrected to show the Jeanne Gomoll display.

Jury Decides in Favor of San Diego Comic-Con

A federal jury ruled today that Salt Lake Comic Con infringed on a trademark held by San Diego Comic-Con by using the words “comic con” in their name without permission. However, the jury did not award the $12 million in damages sought by San Diego Comic-Con, only $20,000, finding no willful infringement of the copyright by SLCC.

The case was tried in San Diego. Defendants Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg have said that if the verdict went against them, Salt Lake Comic Con would appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They have previously told the media the court battle will not affect their ability to put on the next convention, which draws more than 100,000 people to the Salt Palace.

Deseret News reporter McKenzie Romero tweeted some specifics about the jury’s determinations:

[Thanks to Dave Doering for the story.]

Salt Lake Comic Con Defendants Take the Stand

A federal jury has been hearing witness testimony this week in San Diego Comic-Con Inc.’s suit against Salt Lake Comic Con, accused of trademark infringement for using the term “comic con” in its name.

SLCC’s Dan Farr told Facebook followers on Wednesday:

I have been pretty silent about the lawsuit that Bryan [Brandenburg] and myself are involved in but today we ended witness testimonies. I wanted to express the gratitude I feel for all of the love and support we have felt because of all of the thoughts and prayers sent our way. We have received so many messages from people expressing positive thoughts that I can say that it honestly has given me strength and courage that I may not have had otherwise. I sincerely thank everyone for this support. I was very proud of Bryan’s testimony today and feel that he did a great job of telling our story and supporting our position in this. Tomorrow we will hear closing arguments from both sides and then the Jury will deliberate and potentially have an answer for us by the end of the day. Regardless of the outcome, I am so grateful for all of the love and support from everyone and the hard work that has gone into this by everyone involved.

The Deseret News covered Bryan Brandenburg’s appearance — “Salt Lake Comic Con organizer testifies he saw no trademark barrier to ‘comic con’ name”.

Although a Court of Appeals lifted the judge’s gag order on public statements, with the jury out of the room, an SDCC lawyer read one of Brandenburg’s social media posts to the judge —

The post announced that Brandenburg would take the witness stand to show that “comic con is owned by the people, by all the fans that experience the joy and celebration of comic con in cities all over the world.”

[Judge] Battaglia prohibited such arguments in the trial based on objections raised beforehand by San Diego. He warned that if Brandenburg intended to make any such statements during his testimony, “tell him to bring his toothbrush with him.”

The same applied to any of Salt Lake’s other witnesses, Battaglia indicated.

“I will put them in jail if they violate this order. They are not to escalate this case into a war involving the world,” Battaglia said.

When the jury returned, lawyers led Brandenburg through questioning:

As he and his new business partner considered starting a comic and pop culture convention in Utah in early 2013, Bryan Brandenburg fired up his computer.

He reviewed websites of other events, news stories about their conventions and online industry forums discussing them all.

What he found, he testified in court Wednesday, was inconsistency.

Varied spellings, differences in website designs and functionality, and distinct logos and themes all led Brandenburg to believe the events spread all across the country were all independent of each other, and many identified themselves as “comic cons.”

“It led me to believe we could call our company Salt Lake Comic Con,” Brandenburg testified.

…On cross examination Wednesday, Callie Bjurstrom, an attorney for San Diego, questioned Brandenburg on whether he reached out to anyone at San Diego Comic-Con to confirm whether they took issue with the name when Salt Lake chose it.

Brandenburg confirmed he did not.

She also presented two emails from Brandenburg, sent in the early days of Salt Lake Comic Con, discussing the businesses’ plan to “hijack” the popularity of comic con. One of the emails went on to clarify, “Comic con is just the abbreviation for comic convention.”

“Mr Brandenburg, that’s what you have done here, isn’t it? You have taken something that isn’t yours and you are using it for your own purposes, isn’t it?” Bjurstrom pressed.

“No, it is not,” Brandenburg replied.

Bjurstrom also alleged that Brandenburg didn’t do the research he talked about until after receiving the cease and desist order from San Diego Comic-Con. Brandenburg replied that was “absolutely not true.”

Trial began last week – highlights of the opening statement made by SDCC’s lawyer were reported by Courthouse News, including “She claimed the Utah organizers identified their convention as a comic con was a way to ‘steal the Comic-Con brand.’”

The defense rested Wednesday. Attorneys will make their closing arguments on Thursday, then the case will go to the jury.

[Thanks to Dave Doering for the story.]

Worldcon, NASFiC and Smofcon Bidder Questionnaires Released

Smofcon 35, the convention for conrunners, taking place December 1-3 in Boston, asked Worldcon, NASFiC and Smofcon bidders, and seated Worldcon committees to answer a questionnaire. The responses have been posted at Smofcon’s website under Fannish Inquisition.

There will also be a Q&A session at the con – publishing these questionnaires in advance helps keep that time from being taken up with basic information. If you want to submit a question, see the information at the end of this post.

Smofcon Bids

Worldcon Bids

Seated Worldcons


Submitting Questions to the Fannish Inquisition

At the Fannish Inquisition, all questions will be asked by the Inquisitors. The Inquisitors welcome your questions. They will ask them (possibly edited and combined), leaving you anonymous. Before the convention, E-mail questions to fi@smofcon35.org. At the convention, there will be a drop-off point in the con suite.

AggieCon Will Skip A Year

Cepheid Variable, the Texas A&M University student group that hosts AggieCon, says university has requested that the convention take a year off. No explanation was given for the request.

The group, which says AggieCon is the oldest, largest student-run fan convention in the world, will host AggieCon 49 at the Hilton College Station & Conference Center over the March 22-24 weekend in 2019. The past two cons were held at the Brazos County Expo Complex.

They concluded, “Sadly, this means there will be no convention in 2018, but the good news is that this allows us to put together a bigger and better convention for 2019.”

Barkley — So Glad You (Didn’t) Ask: A Column of Unsolicited Opinions — #19

Burn The Witch and Shoot the Messenger – Windycon 44

By Chris M. Barkley:

Red crosses on wooden doors
And if you float you burn
Loose talk around the tables
Abandon all reason
Avoid all eye contact
Do not react
Shoot the messengers

From “Burn The Witch” by Radiohead

It’s not as though I seek out unpleasantness, it seems to find me. The latest round of is playing out this weekend at Windycon 44, in Lombard, IL.

I week ago, I emailed the programming staff of Windycon to inquire about the panels I was going to be on. I had filled out a questionnaire several months ago and had not heard back from them.

On November 4, I received several urgent emails from Louisa Feimster, the head of Programming of Windycon, apologizing because Mail Chimp had lost some emails and mine was probably among them.

Even though it was far past the deadline to include me in the program book, she sent me a link to fill out a new survey and programming application. Within 24 hours of doing so, I was inserted into several panels which had members drop out for one reason or another:

  • Friday, 5:00 pm, Geek Chic: We don’t have to hide anymore. When did it happen and how long will it last?
  • Saturday, 11am, Creature Comforts: What would you miss the most? Ice, TV, Chocolate, etc.
  • Saturday, 12 pm, You Know Nothing, John (sic) Snow: Game of Thrones is very popular but there is a division between show fans and Song of Fire & Ice reader fans. Can we bring peace to the 7 kingdoms or at least the two fandoms?
  • Sunday, 10am, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: A lot of today’s technology was yesterday’s science fiction. Join a discussion about that past and what might be tomorrow’s tech.
  • Sunday, 11am, The Obligatory Doctor Who Panel: Discuss fandom’s favorite Doctor.
  • Sunday, 12pm, Tutti Frutti Literature: With changing social norms and lifestyles, how is this affecting our literature?

On Friday, at 6:18pm, I received a tweet from author Jim C. Hines: “Damn…@cmzhang42 – any idea what the heck’s going on with this one?” (screenshot)

I had NO idea of what he was talking about.

So, I immediately went to my Twitter feed and found a post from @leeflower, who was complaining about the “Tutti Frutti Literature” panel:  (screenshot)

After thinking a moment, I decided to enter the fray by directly asking @leeflower, “Hello, I’m on this panel. Can you explain what your objection is, please?”

I immediately tweeted back to Jim Hines, @leeflower and @Windycon, “I have made an initial inquiry with the person who complained. Stand by…” To date, I have yet to receive a response from @leeflower.

In the meantime, the shit was hitting fan. All sorts of people piled onto to this haywagon of condemnation of the Windycon Programming staff, based solely on the objections on @leeflower.

[Editor’s note: Chris supplied these screencaps without indicating their order. Looked at Twitter and attempted to reconstruct it. The inconsistent order of the internal timestamps (e.g., “14h”) is due to not all the screencaps having been made at the same time. That said, they still might not all be in order.]

No one in the Windycon administrative pipeline has responded in any way because…did I mention that Windycon was THIS weekend? And I might also add that as far as I know, NONE of the plaintiffs in this debacle are actually attending Windycon.

I happened to run into Louisa Feimster at the Saturday afternoon at the Art Show. When I outlined what was happening on Twitter in the past twenty-four hours regarding the “Tutti Frutti Literature” panel, she did a huge eyeroll and said, “You want to know what really happened? We were under a lot of pressure to come up with titles for panels and we kinda finished up in the middle of the night. Really, we didn’t mean to offend anybody, we were just tired.”

She also went on to explain that in her end of the BDSM world, ‘tutti frutti’ does not have a negative connotations and she thought it would be an interesting way to title a panel on the changing forms of literature.

So, there was no grand conspiracy to offend the gay community. While the choice of the term “tutti frutti” may be regrettable, it was NOT done in any sense of malice, at least from my point of view.

So, in every sense of the term, THIS was a witch hunt, but no actual witches were found. We only burned ourselves. (Author’s note: I in no way condone the burning of witches, good, evil or otherwise. It’s just a metaphor, OK?)

So at the appointed time, the panelists gathered; authors Cliff Jones, Ross Martinek and the moderator, Mari Brighe. Everyone had been briefed and I was looking forward to an interesting panel. The audience was rather sparse, it numbered no more than a dozen people.

Louisa Feimster was also in attendance, to make a statement about the controversy before the panel started. Her appearance seemed to annoy Ms. Brighe who asked if she still had control of the panel.

Louisa Feimster said she that she did, but wanted to make a brief statement about the title of the panel and to outline what the intentions of the the Programming staff was when they made the decision to title this particular panel. After eloquently stating her case from what she had said to me yesterday, she indicated that the panel should begin.

Then Ms. Brighe surprised me by asking if I wanted to make my statement then. Surprising to me because usually the moderator introduces themselves before the other panelists do.

“Some of you may have heard of a dispute that started on Twitter Friday evening regarding the title and subject matter of this particular panel, ‘Tutti Fruitti Literature.’ Someone with the twittter handle @leeflower has stated that the use of this term, in the context of a discussion about our changing social norms and literature is a slur against the gay community.”

I then went onto explain, perhaps a little too forcefully, that there was no intended slur and that in the big scheme of things, we had more to worry about than a perceived slight by people who were not attending the convention and did not know the context of how the phrase was being used.

“The main point is that damage has been done to the honor and reputation of Windycon because someone was offended.

“To which I respond : BIG DEAL!

“This is the double-edged sword of the pervasive use of social media; yes, when wrongdoing is detected and a bright harsh spotlight is aimed at targets like Wells Fargo, Volkswagen, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K., the world can be enlightened and warned about a situation.

“But when there is an angry, unwarranted attack, as this shows every indication to be, it does a huge disservice to the accused party and to fandom as a whole.

“To @ leeflower and other offended parties I say this; save your indignation and anger for the bigger issues and targets, like the social forces who seek to divide and demoralize us. Save it for the corporations who seek to pocket more of our tax dollars to support their businesses and interests. Save it for the judicial and police forces who oppress and kill our brothers and sisters every day. Save it for the politicians and lobbyists who are plotting and this very moment to suppress voting rights and subvert the Constitution of the United States. And most of all, save it for the current occupant of our White House, whose list of crimes and misdemeanors grow with each passing day.”

“We have plenty of enemies to worry about. Windycon is definitely NOT one of them.”

Now, I have to admit that during the latter part of my statement, I was channeling my inner Keith Olbermann, my voice filled with more than a little outrage and anger. Because, let’s face it, I was more than a little angered and outraged.

Well, I had hoped that this little outburst would rally the troops to my cause and there would be a large burst of applause as the cherry on top.

It was met with mostly silence and a few angry faces. And then came the kicker.

Ms. Brighe then took center stage and stated, in no uncertain terms, how she as a transgendered fan, was very disappointed in Louisa’s leadership with the Programming staff and with this program item in particular. She also stated that she thought that Windycon was not as progressive as they thought they were and that she still found instances of “micro-aggression and homophobia” at the convention and that as a consequence, she was relinquishing her responsibilities with this panel and was leaving.

With that she got up and left the room, leaving all us in stunned silence.

After a moment or two, Ms. Feimster picked up the moderating duties. We started with a discussion of what the hell just happened. One woman (whose name I did not catch) seemed to blame me personally for the walkout; she thought Ms. Feimster’s speech struck the right note by my speech was loud, noisy and did not take Ms. Brighe’s point of view into account.

Cliff Johns remarked that the whole incident appeared to be an unfortunate misunderstanding. I followed up by saying that this would have been a great opportunity to more understand her point of view, HAD SHE STAYED to moderate the panel.

Then Ross Marinek came to my aid by stating that he understood my point of view because he saw this attack on Windycon as an act of bullying. None of the people complaining were actually attending the convention and were triggered to make an assumption of the programming staff’s intentions without knowing the context of the offending phrase.

After this rather tense disacussion, we settled down to throwing out some examples of books, television shows and films that show how we as a society have progressed in the past 75 years.

In the aftermath of the panel, people online have proclaimed that I am a “puppy,” a bully and guilty of being homophobic myself.

The only thing I can say is that in my passion for defending the kink positive panel and Windycon, the LGBTQ community sensed a dog whistle that did not exist. If I was being overly assertive in defending a convention I dearly love and cherish, I apologize.

I may choose to do it differently next time, having learned from this experience.

However, I will always defend all of fandom, all of the time.

2020 World Fantasy Con Awarded to Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City will host the 2020 World Fantasy Convention (WFC). The announcement was made at the conclusion of this year’s WFC in San Antonio.

When the event comes to Utah beginning October 29, 2020, it will take place at the Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

“We’ve been working on this bid for more than a year,” said Dee Ann Larsen, Salt Lake resident and co-chairperson of the 2020 convention. “To say we’re thrilled is an understatement.”

Larsen and co-chairperson Ginny Smith will conduct the convention under the auspices of the Utah Fandom Organization, a nonprofit committed to bringing quality science fiction and fantasy events to Utah.

It will be the first WFC to be held in the Beehive State. “We’re excited to introduce the WFC members to our state,” Smith says. “And because Utah has a huge number of fantasy lovers, we think it’s a perfect match.”

The World Fantasy Convention will be held in Baltimore, Maryland in 2018, and Los Angeles, California in 2019. Memberships in the 2020 WFC will become available at the end of the Baltimore conference, at which time a website with more information will be launched.

[Based on a press release.]

WFC 2019 Awarded To Los Angeles

World Fantasy Con 2019 will be held in LA at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel from October 31 – November 3.

WFC 2019’s guests of honor are author Margo Lanagan, editor Beth Meacham, and artist Chris McGrath, with Robert Silverberg as Toastmaster.

The WFC board accepted the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, Inc’s bid to run the 2019 event. SCIFI, Inc. is past sponsor of three Worldcons (1984, 1996 and 2006), the 1999 NASFiC, and several Westercons.

The WFC 2019 theme will be Fantasy Noir.

Fantasy Noir is a relatively new genre and has gained significant popularity in recent years.  Sometimes described as “magical cities in decay,” noir’s combination of urban grime and sleazy glamour brings a realistic and deliciously nasty flavor to the fantasy genre.  Fantasy Noir blends the setting, characters and plot structure of a Hardboiled Detective/Occult Detective mystery story with the more colorful elements of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Noir heroes are often extremely flawed or bad people or – on occasion – an honest cop or hero figure whose morality is distinctly at odds with the way the world works. Flawed protagonists are often motivated by greed, lust, anger, and revenge as much as higher motives. When they do something genuinely noble, it can be with great reluctance. A hero’s honesty and nobility often results in horrific personal consequences for himself and others.

Current membership rates are:

  • Attending Membership: $150.00
  • Supporting Membership: $50.00

The Attending Membership Rate will increase on December 31, 2017.