Fred Duarte Honored with Grant to DisCon III’s Capitalize! Fund

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.”

DisCon III Publishes Apology About Fanhistory Error

DisCon III today announced on Facebook and Twitter an apology for overlooking Fred Duarte’s role as the first Latinx Worldcon Vice-Chair, signal-boosting the correction already made to the original press release.

The Facebook version reads:

An apology and correction:
We mistakenly identified Lauren Raye Snow as the first Latinx to serve as Worldcon Vice Chair. This is incorrect, as Fred Duarte served as a Vice Chair of LoneStarCon 2, the 55th Worldcon. We sincerely apologize for our error.

“I’m saddened that my announcement as the first Latinx VIce Chair of a Worldcon was incorrect and overshadowed the brilliant legacy and work of Fred Duarte,” Lauren Raye Snow said. “I sincerely hope my work can carry the banner raised by Fred forward for Latinx fans.”

Karen Meschke, chair of LoneStarCon 2 where Duarte was a Vice-Chair, had previously asked DisCon III to correct the fanhistorical note in their press release about their own vice-chairs and also announce the update in social media, which now has been done.

Facebook: (See full text above)


DisCon III Corrects Press Release to Acknowledge Fred Duarte

DisCon III has updated its “DisCon III Announces Vice Chairs” press release with the correction requested by LoneStarCon 2 chair Karen Meschke in her guest post of October 19 “Meschke Calls on DisCon III to Correct Fanhistorical Note in Press Release”.

This is a screencap of the added note (click for larger image):

Meschke Calls on DisCon III to Correct Fanhistorical Note in Press Release

Guest Post by Karen Meschke, Chair, LoneStarCon 2 (1997 Worldcon): DisCon III made a major error in their Press Release (dated September 3) by overlooking the contributions of Fred Duarte in announcing their new Vice-Chairs (“DisCon III Announces Vice Chairs”) and that Lauren Raye was the “first Latinx Vice Chair.”  Fred’s son, Matthew Duarte, and I wish it to be acknowledged and corrected.

Fred Duarte Jr. (d. 2015). Photo by Mark Olson.

I privately contacted Randy Shepherd the day after the above referenced news (September 4) was released as he is one of the DisCon III Advisors. Randy and Fred both served as Vice-Chairs at LoneStarCon 2, the 1997 Worldcon, as did Bill Parker. This is the Worldcon that I chaired in San Antonio, Texas.

This is the gist of the first email I sent Randy:

“Could the wording be changed to first female Latinx Vice Chair and Fred be added as a footnote? Don’t mean to make a fuss but to ignore Fred’s contributions to fandom for decades is just wrong. I do not wish to make this a public issue, not my style or Fred’s. I want fandom to honor Fred’s accomplishments and leave his son, Matthew, the real legacy of his dad’s life, not history rewritten.”

Initially, he agreed that it should be fixed and he would see what he could do. Randy has not responded to subsequent emails since September 24.

So on October 4, I reached out to Patty Wells the other DisCon III Advisor. Patty asked Randy what was going on with a well-deserved apology, and his response to her was “it’s in process but slow.” Patty stated “she would find out more and would not let it go though.” This response was sent by Patty on October 5.

It has now been almost two weeks, and I have still received no responses or updates from either Randy or Patty.

My observation is this is slowly slipping through the cracks, and the final solution appears to be to simply include Fred as a footnote in the DisCon III Program Book in their list of former Worldcons for historical information.

This is situation has been ongoing since September 4 and it needs to be corrected sooner rather than later.

Fred’s role is documented in the LSC2 Program Book on page 7.

First Copperhead Award Goes To Duarte

Fred Duarte Jr. Photo by Mark Olson.

Fred Duarte Jr. Photo by Mark Olson.

The convention-running group ALAMO, Inc., the Alamo Literary Arts Maintenance Organization, debuted the Copperhead Award at Smofcon last weekend.

Fred Duarte, Jr. (1957–2015) is the first winner of the new award, voted to him posthumously by the ALAMO Board of Directors.

The Copperhead Award will be awarded “on an occasional basis to an individual who has made an extraordinary impact on Texas Fandom.”

Fred made an indelible impact on Texas Fandom as a conrunner, a fan, and most importantly as a friend. As a conrunner, Fred had a deep resume. He chaired or co-chaired two World Fantasy Cons (2000, 2006), four Armadillocons (1987, 1988, 1992, 1995), a Westercon (1996), and Smofcon 13 (1995). He ran the WSFS division for LoneStarCon 3 (2013), was vice-chair for LoneStarCon 2 (1997), and headed the “Program ‘Oops’” department for Noreascon 3 (1989).

The Copperhead Award trophy will be designed and cast by Chesley Award-winning sculptor Vincent Villafranca of Wise County, Texas.

[Thanks to Scott Zrubek for the story.]

Fred Duarte Passes Away

Fred Duarte Jr. Photo by Mark Olson.

Fred Duarte Jr. Photo by Mark Olson.

Fred Duarte, Jr. who died October 3, was one of the many Texas fans who have worked hard to earn their region an enviable reputation for hospitality.

I remember as fan GoH at Armadillocon 11 in 1989 that Fred and con chair Karen Meschke, to whom he was married, collected me from the airport and gave me a view of the Texas capitol illuminated by night as we made our way to the hotel.

Also, George Alec Effinger gave them a shout-out in the dedication of The Exile Kiss — “And special thanks to Fred Duarte and Karen Meschke for hospitality above and beyond the call of duty, while my car was in a near-fatal coma during the writing of this book.”

As a conrunner, Fred had a deep resume. He chaired or co-chaired two World Fantasy Cons (2000, 2006), four Armadillocons (1987, 1988, 1992, 1995), a Westercon (1996), and Smofcon 13 (1995).

He ran the WSFS division for LoneStarCon 3 (2013), and headed the “Program ‘Oops’” department for Noreascon 3 (1989).

Fred found fandom in 1981when he moved to Austin from Kansas City. He met Robert Taylor and Willie Siros after seeing an ad for ArmadilloCon in the back of Analog. His first Worldcon was ConStellation in Baltimore (1983).

He contributed to Pat Mueller Virzi’s fanzine Pirate Jenny. He also helped with the hotel contract and negotiations for Corflu Quire (2006), hosted in Austin by the Fandom Association of Central Texas.

Late in life he was fan guest of honor at the 2011 Armadillocon.

Fred’s passing shocked Pat Cadigan – as she wrote on Facebook:

In mourning for Fred Duarte until further notice.

Fred asked me to be the Toastmsster at ArmadilloCon, back in the day. It was my first ever TM gig and ArmadilloCon was a great place for it.

I’m sorry, this news has really shaken me. Today is cancelled.


Bill Parker and Fred Duarte in 2013.

Bill Parker and Fred Duarte in 2013.