Here is the key information that came out of DisCon III’s publicity webinar today.
DUARTE HONORED. The legacy of the late Fred Duarte, a LoneStarCon 2 (1997) Vice-Chair, has been remembered with a grant to DisCon III’s Capitalize! Fan Fund, which is helping fans, staff, and program participants from marginalized communities to attend this year’s Worldcon.
DisCon III chair Mary Robinette Kowal announced that, working with the board of ALAMO, Inc., the 501(c)(3) corporation that hosted LoneStarCon 2, Capitalize! has received a $3,000 grant that commemorates Duarte’s work for fandom.
Kowal also repeated the correction to a DisCon III press release about their newly-appointed Vice-Chairs that mistakenly overlooked that Duarte was the first Latinx person in that position. She added, “I come out of live theater and we have the saying that ‘If you can’t fix it, feature it,’ and we cannot fix the mistake that we made, but we can feature it by using that error as an opportunity as a platform, to make more people aware of Fred’s legacy and to help us bring more people to Worldcon who deserve to be there. We’re also going to be having some more information about him in our program book so that more people know who he was and the amazing work that he did for fandom.”
OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONIES. DisCon III’s Opening Ceremonies will be hosted by Ulysses Campbell, a creator with a local DC television show Fantastic Forum, which digs into different aspects of science fiction and fantasy media. The Worldcon will be able to showcase DC talent as well as the area’s connection to science fiction and fantasy.
Closing ceremonies will feature Raks Geek, a company that does flow arts and belly dance, in cosplay. They’re a Chicago-based group, and their performance will symbolize the transition to next year’s Worldcon in Chicago.
A FAN-RUN CON. Kowal emphasized that in contrast to corporate-run conventions the Worldcon is entirely fan run. Everybody is a volunteer.
She was joined on the webinar by two of those volunteers, her Vice-Chairs, Marguerite Smith from Ireland, and Lauren Raye Snow from Texas. Smith is helping lead the preplanning for a Dublin in 2029 Worldcon bid. Lauren Raye Snow explained her entry point to Worldcons was as a Mexicanx Intiative selectee attending WorldCon 76 in San Jose (2018).
COVID POLICY. A question about DisCon III’s Covid policy was responded to with a reminder that the con has a COVID Policy webpage with full information. A high level overview of that policy is that two things are mandatory: they require proof of vaccination, and masks must be worn. Something recommended in addition is downloading and installing the DC Covid tracker app that periodically checks all the random IDs associated with positive COVID-19 cases against its own list and If there’s a match, the user will receive a COVID-19 exposure notification, with further instructions from DC Health on how to keep themselves and the people around them safe.
Another thing the con has done is purchase clear masks, in order to make sure that while panelists’ faces are covered, anyone who needs to see their lips for lip reading can do that.
DisCon III is also modifying the con suite into a grab-and-go area, repurposing one of the larger rooms to be a sitting area where people can take their food. It’s a designated eating area. The room is very large and it has good air circulation, and people can spread out a little bit more.
WEISSKOPF DECISION REVISITED. Curt Phillips, recalling that Toni Weisskopf was removed as a DisCon III Guest of Honor earlier this year by the previous chair, asked whether the current administration had considered reversing that decision and reinviting Toni, or would reconsider it?
Mary Robinette Kowal answered: “I know that it absolutely broke the former chair’s heart when making the decision to reverse that invitation. And I don’t see any reason to second guess what was a very long and difficult conversation. So I’m going to trust his judgment and let that decision stand.”
INVITATION EXTENDED. Kowal closed the session saying that it’s important the Worldcon is hosted in different places: “It’s a great event. All of us who are volunteers are here because we love it. We want other people to love it too. I want people to come to this Worldcon and think not just, ah, I went to the 2021 Worldcon, but that they experienced the DC Worldcon. If you are familiar with wine, there’s a sense of territory, that the place that grapes are grown influences the wine. And even though none of us are speaking to you from DC, we have so many in DC volunteers and creators involved in it. I want you to come. I want you to experience DC, and I want you to experience the wonder of science fiction and fantasy.”