Escapade/Escapade 1997

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Convention
Name: Escapade 1997
Dates: February 7-9, 1997
Frequency:
Location:
Type:
Focus: slash
Organization:
Founder:
Founding Date:
URL: http://escapadecon.net
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Contents

From an ad in Media Monitor #34:

  • ESCAPADE 7: Multimedia adult/slash Slumber Party
  • Santa Barbara, California, February 7-9, 1997.
  • Hotel: The Santa Barbara Holiday Inn (located in Goleta, Ca, 6 miles north of downtown Santa Barbara)
  • Featuring: Art Auction, Dealer's Room, Complimentary Sunday Breakfast, Panels, the Escapade Party, Music Videos and much more.
  • Memberships: $32 through November 15. Include 2 SASE's to receive your PRs.
  • Please note: This hotel is not wheelchair accessible. The staff will carry wheelchairs up stairs as needed.

Program Book(PDF)

Con Reports

In 1997, more and more fans were getting online and talking about their convention experiences. As a result, we have a rare glimpse of Escapade from multiple points of view. For an amusing meta convention report inspired by Escapade 7, read Sylvia Bond's Post-Con Depression.

Letterzine: DIAL #1:

In the first issue of DIAL #1, an online convention report was reprinted anonymously.
"I thought this might interest you, as a description of an American slash con. Escapade is unusual in the wonderfulness of panels it has but ZebraCon would be much the same format with a play and a party on Saturday night (and a traditional group singing of "The Rose," which has some arcane S/H significance).

Overview: "Short version: I had the best time at this convention that I've had at any con in, um, a longtime. Long version: Escapade continues to uphold its reputation for terrific panel discussions... This year provided no earthquakes, rainstorms, or drunken Mafiosi, only a portly middle-aged gentleman who tried to crash the Sunday breakfast buffet and, upon being informed that this was a private function, told the fans that he was a convention member but had lost his badge. Oh, yeah - like we couldn't tell."

Panels:

  • "My Fandom's Okay, Your Fandom Sucks." Although that [title] may sound intimidatingly hostile, it wasn't at all; when I got there a few minutes late, the room was happily engaged in sorting fannish shows across a grid of which the quadrants were labelled 'Smart and Cute," "Smart and Ugly," 'Stupid and Cute," and "Stupid and Ugly."
  • "Cuddly vs. Nasty: Fitting Story to Show," in which we sorted shows into Cuddly and Nasty based on the emotional texture of the relationship(s) between the primary characters, and discussed the way we write and read stories across the line. Many of us enjoyed nasty stories about cuddly shows, but were a little more dubious about cuddly stories about nasty shows; many many of them are written (just think about Pros) but they don't always confront the nastiness of the show before arriving at the cuddly ending. I was surprised at how many fannish shows we listed under Cuddly [about two-thirds of the ones we considered], especially since the room seemed to be pretty full of Nasty fans - er, that is, fans of Nastiness in shows and fanfic."
  • "When Shows Are Bad and We're Fans of Them Anyway." ... We started by sorting shows into Mediocre and Defies Explanation (and wound up creating a Really Really Defies Explanation category, though I don't remember what show necessitated it) and went on to talk about kinds of shows that generate fandoms, and what it takes to make a show good (we all seemed to agree that a well-thought-out coherent background was necessary, though not sufficient), and other things. I don't think we reached any other conclusions, though."'
  • "Kink and the Wave Theory of Slash".... This was in part a follow-up to a panel at Virgule last fall, at which we had tried to see if we could incorporate kink with the waves, matching each wave to its particular kink. (In first wave, the relationship itself is the kink; in second wave, you get rape h/c stories and emotionally meaningful threesomes; in third wave you get orgies, and in fourth wave you get s/m. Sort of. Maybe?) This group had a higher percentage of fans who had arrived in fandom via the net than the Virgule panel had, and a couple of them said that they had written fourth-wave stories first and then sort of moved back through the waves."
  • I had skipped the 'Net Fiction and Print Fiction" panel, but I found this interesting. We talked about how Lezlie's theory was intended as a description of how slash (primarily K/S) originally developed, but that for more recent fandoms it doesn't really work as a chronological description - witness the netfans' experience, and others - and is perhaps only a way of sorting kinds of stories that all exist and appear in each new fandom, more or less simultaneously. We also kibitzed about flaws and factual errors in the theory itself, and were all firmly given to understand that M. Fae Glasgow does not consider herself a fourth-wave writer as defined in the Wave Theory, and resents being so labelled. Yes, ma'am. As the conversation moved toward whether and how we write our kinks, one woman said that she had begun a story with the intention of writing her kink, and then her 'inner writer' got hold of the thing and began equipping it with a plot & characterization, and all of that until at the end she had a fully-realized story, which had not been her first intention. It was four o'clock by then, but this was too good to let drop; we shifted location into the con suite, retitled the group the dead-dog party, and went on with a discussion of the interaction of the 'inner writer' with what J grinningly christened the 'inner wanker.' Again, we didn't reach any actual conclusions, partly because as the party went on, food was ordered and arrived, and other people drifted in and out the focus was lost but it was a lot of fun. I particularly enjoyed talking to a netfan about traditions and themes in the different bodies of G/B Garak/Bashir fanfic we had each read, and how that affected our senses of what was an appropriate story in the fandom."

Art Show. "The art show seemed small this year, though looking at my records I see that we had the same number of pieces as last year (103), although the auction, with only eleven, was the smallest Escapade auction yet I'm still hoping to repeat the 1992 show's performance, with 198 pieces, of which 25 went to auction. Although small, the art show had some beautiful work, including three new Suzan Lovett MUNCLE ...They did not go to auction, much to my disappointment but I'm sure to the pleasure of the women who nabbed them at one bid."

Vid Show. " Saturday night at Escapade, starting with a songtape showing. One minute before they were to begin, Sandy Herrold had a brainstorm, grabbed a pile of pens and paper, and asked fans to write a few comments on a couple of the vids, so that their makers could get feedback. I thought this was a terrific idea, and I bet the vidmakers did too. There seemed to be a much higher percentage of gen vids than is normal at a slash con."

Fan Play. After the vid show "came a performance of three fannish songs, and then the Fan Pairs Game, in which fan pair volunteers answered questions about one another a la the Newlywed Game. The audience roared, the fan pairs blushed, and everyone got chocolate in the end."

Morgan Dawn

In 1997, Morgan Dawn posted the following review to the CI5 Mailing List. It is reposted here with permission:

"This year's Escapade had a somewhat dream like quality - I think it's because it didn't' rain, leaving Santa Barbara looking like something from a Caraveggio painting.

I liked the fact that all the function space was on one floor - the con suite was very roomy, was stocked with an amazing array of food, and proved to be very social. Unfortunately, the hotel lost the bar - bad timing because for the first time I decided that I really needed a drink to watch Babylon 5. The good news is that the hotel is within walking distance to an incredible array of restaurants, 2 ice cream parlors, a chocolate store and a grocery store. And on Thursdays until 7 pm, a farmer's market sells organic fruits and veggies. So we had to make do with strawberries and champagne for Babylon 5.

The first panel on Friday was fun - 'My Fandom Sucks, Your's Is Okay' (well, it started out as my fandom's okay, your fandom sucks but we happily began discussing the (ahems) joys of watching bad shows with cute babes). What made this even more amusing was that we temporarily shared space with a military religious group (think Salvation Army) who kept craning their necks trying to figure what all these woman were so excited about.

Can we talk about the bedtime stories [readings]? I loved Gayle F's reading of the spermy excerpt from Moby Dick. I will never be able to watch a whale movie with a straight fish (oops I meant face) again.

And so many new Pros zines - I had thought there'd only be one - but I saw "Guilty Pleasures", "Journey West," and "PtoP 5" all sitting next to each other on one table. What more can you ask for (don't' answer that - it's a hypothetical).

The songvids - so many this year that they actually split them into 2 groups. The "never shown befores" lasted 1 1/2 hours. Then we had a break for 45 minutes a delightful "Fan Pair Newlywed Game". I can't thank the Fan Pairs enough for all the entertainment they provided. Ironically, the prize (1 lb Sees chocolate) did not go to a long term fan pair, but went to 2 new Pros fans - Maiden Wyoming Brondos and Christina P. Runner's up had to make do with only 1/2 lb chocolate.

And then there were more songvids. The large screen TV was a wonderful idea. And Sandy's impromptu "let's give feedback to the vid makers" was brilliant. The comments ranged from: "Who was that guy again?" to "OOh, I can feel another fandom coming on."

Finally, I wanted to talk about the panels - this is the best con for fun panels, interactive panels, and thinking panels. I participated in 2 panels: one called 'Bodie vs Doyle' where we used a easel and began by writing down everything we liked and then disliked about our Lads. We came to the conclusion that it's really not Bodie vs. Doyle. Nor is it: Bodie and Doyle. It's Bodie + Doyle + Fans = Magic. Well, no one said we had to be original on these panels. I also had the great pleasure of sitting in on the 'History of Fan Socialization' panel with Marian Kelly and Kathy M and got an overview of what fans have been doing over the years. I had no idea!

And what I really regret - missing the 2 late night showings of The Chief. The first night I actually fell asleep. The second night I was strung out on pain pills after getting my hand caught in the car door rushing back to see the songvids.

As always, I had too much fun, too little sleep, too much food and then I had to come home.}}

Sandy Herrold

In February 1997, Sandy Herrold posted the following convention review to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
Wow, what do I say. The ability of the fannish community to entertain me, energize me, and make me think, never ceases to amaze me. There is something about face-to-face communication that exceeds anything this list (which, of course, I love), or the phone, or chat lines, or letters or anything else can give me. OK, I'll try to calm down and include some details.

Santa Barbara was (as always) beautiful, and the weather was *gorgeous* all weekend (No Rain!) The hotel has been remodeled, and the new function space (Con Suite right next to the panel rooms--yeah!) was great. I love Escapade, I admit. Most years, it is my favorite con of the year--big enough to get lots of song vids to show (about which, more later), plenty of zines to buy (I bought more zines this weekend than I have bought in a couple of years--I'm so glad that Pros zine fandom is having a resurgence!) and lots of variety in the panels, but small enough that I know (at least by sight) most of the people. ...This was "audiovisual" con. There was a flip chart in one panel room, and a whiteboard in the other, and I was amazed how many panels made good (or fun) use of them. There was also a VCR and TV in one room, which was enormously handy for the *two* songvid panels (I was in fat city.)

It was also, the year of METHOS. After 3 years of coaxing, "Comes a Horseman" couldn't have been better timed. I hung 4 of the beautiful Peter Wingfield Fan Club color 8 x 11 photos over the Media Cannibals table, and couldn't believe the number of people who asked me if they were for sale. (The Fan Club does sell them--I can't find the URL for the fan club, but any search on Peter Wingfield will find it. They are a little pricy--$35 for 7 shots--but ooh, he's pretty.)

As at Virgule, I did a "Computer for Fans 101, or 'How to turn netfic/text into nicely laid out stories." I actually ended up doing it twice, as a number of people either missed the first class, or wanted to drag a friend to watch it. There's nothing like spending a couple of minutes building a quick and dirty 'recorded' macro, and then hearing the 'aaahs' as everybody watched it 'magically' clean up a library story. (And watching Jan Levine doing stuff with macros--I learned at least as much as I taught.)

The Rape panel was a LOT of fun. At first I questioned Charlotte Hill's decision not to have an 'anti' on the panel: then I decided it was genius. For the first time in a long time, we were *all* rape fans. We didn't have to defend it; we didn't even particularly talk about *why* we were rape fans. It felt a LOT like the first time I was in a room full of slash fans at a gen con, and for just that hour, I didn't have to justify slash. I haven't heard so many "now *what* was the title/what zine was that in?" comments in a *long* time. Virtually everyone that attended the panel was a longtime rape-story fan, and it was great to watch someone just start to give a plot synopsis and have 5 women immediate say, "Oh that was...". By the end of the panel, we were considering trying to start a rape database of 'good' (for some value of good) rape stories in all slash fandoms.

The songvid panels were both very interesting. The first was on Choosing Appropriate Songvid Music--the other was an open critique of 5 of the vids that showed for the first time in the songvid showing the night before. In both panels, vidders made general comments, such as

  • You shouldn't use Country and Western for Blake's 7;
  • You should always use the original 'radio' version of a song vs. you should choose the version of a song that seem to reflect the character(s) best;
  • Lots of black at the beginning or end of a vid makes it seem unfinished;
  • A tiny bit of extra video or black at the end of a vid makes it look accidental;
  • A vid should never change POV more than once.

And for *each* of these assertions, there were at least some other vidders there who *strongly* disagreed. But it was great to have the conversation, and there were some things that *most* of us agreed on, or we agreed that (as in writing), the 'rule' should be followed unless the vidder had a very good reason to break the rule. (After the criticism panel, most of the vidders took the chance to look at the comments from the crowd at the showing. I admit that I thought of the idea of trying to solicit comments only minutes before the show started, so it wasn't well thought out. I am very grateful that my fellow vidders didn't get upset at having this foisted on them, but rather were happy to have another way of getting feedback on their work.

And while I'm chatting about vids--the show Saturday night was *wonderful*. As (I think) DJ said, the level of beginning vidders is amazing these days, and the old-timers keep getting better.

  • Jill and Kay as usual bought intense, wonderful vids to unusual (but catchy) songs. I'm been humming both 'Mood Swinging Man '(Mulder-XFiles) and 'You've Got a Strange Effect on Me (But I Like It) ' (Duncan/Methos) ever since the con. (Please ladies, get that vid collection out!)
  • Stacy's forte is for humorous vids, and the two Muncle ones she brought were among her best.
  • Gayle and Tashery had three lovely complex vids that really repaid the close attention they required. One was "Hero" for Sandbaggers, and the line, "the hero killed the maiden, with his kiss" was heartbreaking.
  • Christina Pilz had some lovely Pros--my favorite was "I, Huckleberry Me" (yes, I can love a Bodie vid...)
  • The Media Cannibals were very gratified at the viewer comments: one of the vids we brought was for a fandom that is incredibly small--and yet many of the comments were very favorable. I love that fans can give their attention to something so far away from most of their interests.

Oh boy, there were many other good ones, but I don't have a list handy, so I am blanking out on them. As far as I know, about 2/3rd of the vids (except the Media Cannibals, Jill & Kay, and Tashery & Gayle) will be on the con tape--Kandy Fong's address is in the Virgule FAQ if you're interested.

Enough about vids... On to Zines. About 1/2 the Cannibals showed up to sell our new zine, Guilty Pleasures. We'd never really done a dealer's table before (just borrowed a corner of other people's to sell old zines or circuit stories), so feeding frenzy was a-MAZ-ing to us. We sold 90% of the zines we sold all weekend in the first 2 hours. (And most of the remaining 10%, in the last 2 hours. Now I know why they close the dealer's room for hours Sat. afternoon--why not?) We had a great time.

I brought a bunch of netfic for the women who still aren't online, or don't have good printer, and it went fast. There were more interesting zines at Escapade than I've seen at a con in a couple of years. Oblique had a couple, (the new Paean--almost 50%/50% Pros and Due South--and Maiden Wyoming's Pros novel--very prettily published). Elizabeth Holden had a fascinating one (three connected stories all based around Wild Justice), a new Due Frisky was out, two new copies of Pure Maple Syrup....!

I was bummed that Concup wasn't ready, but they're saying it will be out before MediaWesCon, so that isn't too long to wait. Shoshanna already mentioned the "When Good Fans like Bad Shows" panel (or whatever it was called), but I wanted to say a little more. The more I think about it, the more irrelevant it is to me whether my fannish show is any good or not. Sure, it is easier to get other fans hooked if they like the show, but there are people who hate "aired" Professionals, and still call themselves Pros fans, and own every decent Pros zine out there, so it is not essential. What most fans need in a fandom, is a show with two guys whose relationship appeals to her. That's it. If the writing sucks, do cliptapes of the good stuff, and just watch that. If the show makes no sense, fast forward through the plot. We are here for the relationship. (Otherwise there would be more Homicide fanfic, and less SAAB fanfic.) Or in otherwords, don't waste time being defensive about your show. Just point out what you like, and move on. It's not like the fan you're talking about your show with, hasn't at one time or another fallen for something that they look back on with horror...

And speaking of horror: I can't even begin to describe what it was like, being one of the contestants of the Fan Pair Game--a very clear take-off on the Newlywed game. (The scariest part may have been at the end, when Megan Kent and Charlotte Hill admitted that they had lots of questions that they decided were *too* personal. Considering what they *did* ask, that frightened me.)

Which reminds me of the fan-pair panel. This one was supposed to be "The Dark Side", but only ever lightly touched on some of the issues--somewhat to the annoyance of those who have some real reservations about the way that Escapade (as a con--not just Megan and Charlotte personally) promotes the fan-pair concept. Sure, it started as a joke, but as a gay person in our society, I understand the power of a validated relationship. Some objections to the f-p concept: it promotes the pairbond, in a place that many women come to get away from that whole concept; it makes some women hard to know, because you can never get them away from their (possibly louder) omnipresent partner; it makes fans who'd like to have a f-p feel jealous and leftout. On the plus side, by recognizing the strength of the relationship, we validate women's non-sexual relationships--a rarity in our culture; and we recognize the pain at the ending of one of these pairings... This review is rambling all over the place--my apologies to those still reading. There were a LOT of comments about netfans, and netfic; so many that I'm going to start a separate (and hopefully) clearer post on the role of the Internet at the con. In long, I can only say, I had a great time; I spent very little money; and I don't understand why more of you weren't there."

Shoshanna

In February 1997, Shoshanna posted the following convention review to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
"Short version: I had the best time at this convention that I've had at any con in, um, a long time. Long version: Escapade continues to uphold its reputation for terrific panel discussions.

This year's con started off, after a new-this-year yummy complimentary lunch, with a topic guaranteed to get fen's adrenalin flowing: moderated by Rachel Sabotini and Jo S., it was entitled "My Fandom's Okay, Your Fandom Sucks." Although that may sound intimidatingly hostile, it wasn't at all; when I got there a few minutes late, the room was happily engaged in sorting fannish shows across a grid, of which the quadrants were labeled "Smart and Cute," "Smart and Ugly," "Stupid and Cute," and "Stupid and Ugly." I don't remember what shows ended up where, but I know I was rooting for S:AAB in the "Stupid and Cute" category. I had to leave early, though, to convene the art show staff meeting, and art show kept me busy for the next few hours.

On Saturday Jane Mailander and I co-moderated a panel on "Cuddly vs. Nasty: Fitting Story to Show," in which we sorted shows into Cuddly and Nasty based on the emotional texture of the relationship(s) between the primary characters, and discussed the way we write and read stories across the line. Many of us enjoyed nasty stories about cuddly shows, but were a little more dubious about cuddly stories about nasty shows; many many of them are written (just think about Pros!) but they don't always confront the nastiness of the show before arriving at the cuddly ending. I was surprised at how many fannish shows we listed under Cuddly (about two-thirds of the ones we considered), especially since the room seemed to be pretty full of Nasty fans -- er, that is, fans of Nastiness in shows and fanfic. One woman did cop to being a Cuddly fan, but she was crocheting a pink afghan at the time, so she really had no choice.

I hovered on the edges of this year's Fan Pairs panel, which covered "Fan Pairs: The Dark Side," and also on the edges of "The History of Fan Socialization," but since I was also doing art show stuff during them, I can't say more than that they sounded interesting, and I would have liked to hear more. The S:AAB panel was small (last year I didn't go, and I think the room was full!) but we had a good time, talking more about the fandom of the show than the show itself, I think.

After that I went to a discussion on "Fat, Fans, and Fitness." It's one of the things that I have always thought is so wonderful about fandom, in fact: that as far as I, as an able-bodied thin girl, can tell, fandom is not prejudiced around weight or ability issues. That's one of the things I love fandom for. The discussion didn't actually talk about fans or fandom as such, though, but about weight prejudice and fat hatred and misogyny generally in our culture, and people's personal experiences, and was a wonderful, powerful discussion. I was the thinnest woman there and felt a little conspicuous--I'm a white upper-middle-class woman, and it's rare for me to feel like a minority. I felt a little like I should thank the other women there for letting me be part of the discussion. But of course this is an issue that concerns all women, not just big women.

On Sunday I was too wired from the art auction to sit still in any panels until the 2:00 one I was moderating with Sandy Herrold, on "When Shows Are Bad and We're Fans of Them Anyway." I originally proposed this topic, as one under which I could discuss S:AAB, and asked Sandy to join me as a Highlander fan. We started by sorting shows into Mediocre and Defies Explanation (and wound up creating a Really *Really* Defies Explanation category, though I don't remember what show necessitated it), and went on to talk about kinds of shows that generate fandoms, and what it takes to make a show good (we all seemed to agree that a well-thought-out, coherent background was necessary, though not sufficient), and other things. I don't think we reached any other conclusions, though.

That was followed by a discussion of "Kink and the Wave Theory of Slash" (NB: Lezlie Conch originally posted her Wave Theory here a few years ago; I believe it's available in the list archives). This was in part a followup to a panel at Virgule last fall, at which we had tried to see if we could incorporate kink with the waves, matching each wave to its particular kink. (In first wave, the relationship itself is the kink; in second wave, you get rape h/c stories and emotionally-meaningful threesomes; in third wave you get orgies, and in fourth wave you get s/m. Sort of. Maybe?) This group had a higher percentage of fans who had arrived in fandom via the net than the Virgule panel had, and a couple of them said that they had written fourth-wave stories first, and then sort of moved back through the waves.

I had skipped the "Net Fiction and Print Fiction" panel, but I found this interesting. We talked about how Lezlie's theory was intended as a description of how slash (primarily K/S) originally developed, but that for more recent fandoms it doesn't really work as a chronological description -- witness the netfans' experience, and others -- and is perhaps only a way of sorting kinds of stories that all exist, and appear in each new fandom, more or less simultaneously. We also kibitzed about flaws and factual errors in the theory itself, and were all firmly given to understand that M. Fae Glasgow does *not* consider herself a fourth-wave writer as defined in the Wave Theory, and resents being so labeled. Yes, ma'am. As the conversation moved toward whether and how we write our kinks, one woman said that she had begun a story with the intention of writing her kink, and then her "inner writer" got hold of the thing and began equipping it with a plot, characterization, and all of that, until at the end she had a fully-realized story, which had not been her first intention. It was four o'clock by then, but this was too good to let drop; we shifted location into the con suite, retitled the group the dead-dog party, and went on with a discussion of the interaction of the "inner writer" with what Megan Kent grinningly christened the "inner wanker." Again, we didn't reach any actual conclusions, partly because as the party went on, food was ordered and arrived, and other people drifted in and out, the focus was lost, but it was a lot of fun. I particularly enjoyed talking to a netfan about traditions and themes in the different bodies of G/B fanfic we had each read, and how that affected our senses of what was an appropriate story in the fandom. All in all, excellent panels once again.

The art show seemed small this year, though looking at my records I see that we had the same number of pieces as last year (103), although the auction, with only eleven, was the smallest Escapade auction yet. I'm still hoping to repeat the 1992 show's performance, with 198 pieces, of which 25 went to auction. Although small, the art show had some *beautiful* work, including three new Suzan Lovett MUNCLE pieces that had me simply salivating ("I want to bite his butt like a *peach*!"). They did not go to auction, much to my disappointment, but I'm sure to the pleasure of the women who nabbed them at one bid. My art show staff was lovely and, as always, seemed at times to know better than me what was going on. [D], the only new one on my staff, was the one who got to cover for my Dumb Mistake of the Year, for which I thank her. (No, I won't tell you what it was. But I've corrected the form, so it won't happen again.)

The Friday night bedtime story reading was fun, although less so than in previous years. Jane Mailander read another of what seems to be her traditional guess-who-these-characters-are stories; I could guess some of them, but didn't really want to do the work that evening. The second reading was a set of excerpts from a Pros novel premiering at the con. I want a complete entertainment experience at the story reading, and this felt a little too much like a commercial instead: a long back-cover blurb. Nor were the excerpts that were read particularly slashy; the whole thing didn't feel appropriate. On the other hand, I certainly have a new perspective on Respectable Literature now, after that entirely-unedited chunk of Moby Dick was read. The traditional M. Fae story was also read and was traditionally sweet and fun, and the last reading was complex, intricate, and also fun. I didn't go to the post-story-reading party, so I don't know what it was like. Saturday night is the big entertainment night at Escapade, starting with a songtape showing. One minute before they were to begin, Sandy had a brainstorm, grabbed a pile of pens and paper, and asked fans to write a few comments on a couple of the vids, so that their makers could get feedback. I thought this was a terrific idea, and I bet the vidmakers did too. There seemed to be a much higher percentage of gen vids than is normal at a slash con. After that came a performance of three fannish songs, and then the Fan Pairs Game, in which fan pair volunteers answered questions about one another a la the Newlywed Game. The audience roared, the fan pairs blushed, and everyone got chocolate in the end. I didn't stay for the next game, or the showing of more songtapes, but went back to my room and crashed out with a zine.

The hotel has been remodelled since last year, so that all con function space is now on the ground floor. Having the con suite right off the lobby, in what used to be the bar, was especially nice. The new panel room, carved out of a corner of the restaurant, was okay but a bit stuffy, and the wall between it and the restaurant was totally unsoundproofed; a couple of panels were moved to the con suite on Friday because there was some sort of business function going on in the restaurant and nobody really wanted them listening to us discussing "Rape: The Virtues of Non-Consent." As always, the front-desk staff were incompetent (although the evening guy was indeed cute as a button), but everywhere but the front desk the staff were, as always, unfailingly friendly and helpful. This year provided no earthquakes, rainstorms, or drunken Mafiosi, only a portly middle-aged gentleman who tried to crash the Sunday breakfast buffet and, upon being informed that this was a private function, told the fans that he was a convention member but had lost his badge. Oh, yeah -- like we couldn't tell.

I managed to spend quality time with almost everyone I wanted to, and I bought a large pile of zines, which made me very happy as well. Thanks to everyone who made the weekend so terrific for me, and I hope to see you all there next year, plus the rest of you who weren't there this year!"

Michelle Christian

In February 1997, Michelle Christian posted the following convention review to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
"All in all I'd dub this con the Year of the Nipple: From Ray's paen (if you'll pardon the expression) to Fraser's lovely, pointy ones in Mfae's bedtime story to the rather, um, mesmerizing picture of Peter Wingfield the Media Cannibals had taped up over their table in the dealer's room and which I ended up dubbing the Nipple of Svengali since I kept finding myself drawn to it whenever I looked up from talking to anyone in there! Don't think that I am complaining, of course...

The panels were great, I got to see a lot of people that I always loved to see and talk to and got to meet a whole new batch of people from Bingo (boing, boing) to The One and Only Marion Kelly. Escapade is one of the few cons I regularly attend panels at, let alone actually sit on them. I have never known whether to really respect Megan Kent and Charlotte Hill or wonder even more about their collective sanity for actually putting me on a panel and basically *sanctioning* me to talk!

The two new panels I was on this year both went very well with quite a few interesting ideas. The one on "Reviews, LOCs and Editing" was good and went in a direction I didn't necessarily originally think about, much more of a 'how to' kind of thing, but I think--and we all seemed to agree--that it would have been more interesting if we all hadn't *agreed* about everything.  :-)

The other panel I ended up co-chairing was "DS: Fraser--Perfect Hero or Totally Screwed Up Guy?" which ended up being much more popular than I thought it might be. It also ended up being almost exclusively a discussion on "Victoria's Secret", which I was hardly adverse to. Lots of interesting ideas and cool discussion on various episodes.

It didn't hurt anything that the weekend was a great TV one for me from the B5 I saw on Thursday night to the X-FILES I saw on Sunday. Of course, what really took the attention of most everyone was a certain Really Old Guy showing his dark side. I was in a state of bliss when I saw it, I have to say, which was only compounded by the gleam I saw in a certain Scots' eye when she was leaving the video room after the main showing...

There also seemed to be more than one convert to the Church of the ROG by then end of the con at least in part due to "Comes a Horseman" and several Duncan/Methos vids in the video show. I didn't stay to hear the singing on Saturday night, but I did see the first batch of new vids. I really liked several of them, including Jill and Kay's XF vid to "Mood-Swigin' Man" and the 'dark Duncan' vid to a Depeche Mode song. My mind of course blanks on most of the other vids except for a far from successful Kiefer/Lou vid and a G/B vid to "The Spy Who Loved Me" which, while an obvious choice at first glance, could have been greatly improved by several more cuts. All in all, I had lots of fun and the con seemed way too short. Probably pointing out how good it was."

Jane Mailander

In February 1997, Jane Mailander posted the following convention review to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
"ESCAPADE 7: THE VIEW FROM ABOVE (Santa Barbara, 6-9 Feb 1997) by Jane Mailander

This was the first time I'd driven due SOUTH for Escapade; in the interim between this year and the last I'd moved from the L.A. area to the San Francisco area. But as my new job schedule meant getting used to rising at 5 a.m., I was out of Concord early Thursday morning and, pausing only for breakfast and a fill-up, I was checked into my room at the Goleta Holiday Inn just as it struck noon.

I stopped to greet other early-birds like Stacy D., Cherri M., Jessica R. ("Reality is where the pizza guy comes from"), and the unignorable DJ Driscoll. There were a good number of Escapade attendees already present -- enough to take the traditional Chinese dinner in shifts. We probably scared the regular diners silly; there's something inherently sinister about a boisterous mob of laughing women who enjoy their food.

I headed out to DJ's room and shot the breeze with the women there as they set up the Virgule doll display (Ken and His Pals as you've NEVER seen them in Mattel commercials -- but as you just might have played with them if you're a born slash-fan). I finally turned in around 10 p.m. Friday I drowsed in bed until 5:30 (sleeping in for me, these days), and headed across the street for breakfast.

One of the major draws of Escapade is the splendid array of restaurants within walking distance, and a 24-hour Carrows directly across the street from the hotel. A definite notch above Denny's, and busy all weekend with Escapade attendees. (Escapade isn't so much a slash-con as it is a spa for harried family women; after the holiday work in December and the bills, midwinter blahs and Superbowl in January, there's this long weekend of warm weather, beautiful scenery, great food, and hours of talk -- an oasis of slash.)

I returned to the hotel through a beautiful sunrise around 6:45, gave in to an impulse and went swimming. The pool was warmer than the air outside; I paddled in blissful freedom beneath a pure blue sky and palm trees just getting touched by the rising sun. The only other person outside was a hotel employee who walked by, grinning -- especially when I called out to him "Buenas dias! Estoy loca!" ("Good morning! I'm nuts!") Finished my swim, met other Escapade attendees in the con suite and chatted.

A vast improvement from Escapades past was that this year the con suite was on the GROUND floor, not upstairs; the Goleta Holiday Inn has no elevator, which made socializing extremely difficult for disabled slash-fans. I hit the local shops to pick up a few goodies -- comfy walking shoes from Payless, and my traditional contribution to the charity auction (a nearby chocolate shop makes a naked-man figure). More socializing at noon by the pool, to the accompaniment of long torpedo sandwiches, salads and drinks. I helped a few friends carry 5 boxes of zines to their upstairs room (slash fandom is good for the upper abs).

And the first panel of Escapade was a GREAT icebreaker -- "MY Fandom is Okay, YOUR Fandom Sucks." We talked about what guys we're attracted to in various shows, from Cute-N-Smart (Prime Slash Objects), Cute-N-Stupid (Babes), Ugly-N- Smart (Strangely Attractive), Ugly-N-Stupid (Sucks). What made "good" fandoms was bad writing/good acting, with at least one Cute-N-Smart guy; "bad" fandoms were bad writing/bad acting, with nothing but Ugly-N-Stupid guys. Lots of laughter and whooping -- in fact, we were forced to move because our meeting room's wall adjoining the banquet room was paper-thin, and a group of realtors having a lunch meeting didn't want it disrupted by us. Whatever the hotel paid for the renovations it was too much, considering the uselessness of the room. So we moved the panel out to the consuite and continued. Probably the best panel of the convention.

I picked up a few used books at the Kipling/Tyler bookstore, had an ice cream soda, and returned in time for the panel on why we write and read rape stories -- another great controversial topic! The Art show was just opening, the usual Escapade mix of resales and Suzi Lovett prints. Good new Lovetts, especially "Blue Harmony," a gorgeous Bodie/Doyle one involving arching male bodies, blue shading, and a string of beads (!).[1] It was beside its companion piece "Green Peace," the same characters, focus on another facial expression, green shading, and a peacock feather[2] Good X-FILES pieces, especially "The Crux" showing all the characters and symbolism of the show swirling around its center -- Mulder's and Scully's joined hands. (Unfortunately, Scully looked too much like an Ann Rice vampire.)

When the panels were done for the day, we split to get food. And then it was Friday Night -- Nanny's Story Time. I read a 3-page funny story I'd written for the con, Gayle F. read a short erotic chapter from Herman Melville's MOBY-DICK, Joan Martin read passages from a debuting Pros novel put out by Oblique Publications, Nancy B. read a DUE SOUTH slash story by M Fae Glasgow, and Sandy Herrold concluded the evening entertainment with a vignette from her new zine. After that was the Consuite Escapade party, with their famous margaritas and a computer set up to access Pros circuit stories -- and more and more talk. Finally turned in rather late.

Got up disgracefully late Saturday morning -- 7:15. My roommate Joyce and I breakfasted together -- her breakfast was a vanilla malt. Hey, it's a CON. I took a quick dip in the pool again. At 9 the Feeding Frenzy began -- the Dealer's Room opened. I got some new DUE SOUTH zines, a circuit story, a XENA script and the latest EROICA translation -- browsing lightly after the gorging hordes had done their work. I picked up a ROLLING STONE for Gillian Anderson's hilarious cover (almost as good as the Mulder-&-Scully-in-bed cover picture from last year) and it was a topic of amusement when I brought it back to the dealer's room.

Shoshanna and I hosted a panel on cuddly vs. nasty fandoms, and fitting stories to the correct milieu. For the panel's purposes, "cuddly" was defined as any show where the major conflict is outside the pairing, and "nasty" is where the conflicts are mainly between the characters. A startling number of our favorite fandoms fall into the cuddly category, considering that most of the panel-goers were Nasty fans. We talked about sweet BLAKE'S 7 stories, nasty STARSKY & HUTCH ones, and everything in between.

Another panel I attended later on was the effects of the Internet on slash and fan fiction. (Personally I think it's created hundreds of type-and-send fan stories that have no depth at all.) But there were a good number of brand-new Escapade attendees who'd been net-fans and for whom this was their first fan con, so this was a good opportunity to hook them on the GOOD stuff.

Had Thai food for dinner, and went back for the Song Videos. Some good interesting ones -- "Mood-Swingin' Man" for Mulder, "Our House" for SPACE: ABOVE & BEYOND, a hilarious "True Colors" for Doyle. Lots of stuff for HIGHLANDER fans (ever since the show added Methos its popularity with slash fans has skyrocketed), and some great new MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. videos by fans who weren't born when the show went off the air. (These days the slash torch is getting passed from mother to daughter!) This time we did not vote on the videos, but we made comments for the artists to give them something even more precious than an award -- FEEDBACK.

The evening's entertainment after the new vids was the Fan-Pair Newlywed Game -- four pairs of joined-at-the-hip women were grilled on just how well they truly knew their fan buddies. Howls of laughter ensued. After the official programming the evening was given over to showing nearly-new videos (only seen since Virgule or Friscon). By the time all the videos were over, it was 12:40 a.m. Needless to say, any plans to show a gay-themed movie fell through in the face of so many sore and tired behinds.

Because of the lateness of the previous night, I got up at a hideously late hour Sunday morning -- 8:00 -- but was able to get ready for the traditional Escapade Sunday Brunch at 0930. Beautiful weather this year -- no threat of rain as we've had in previous years -- so we ate outside with no qualms. Lots of everything that ain't healthy, pitchers of ice water, orange juice and coffee, and conversation. This year Shoshanna wisely wore a black-and- purple silk outfit--beautiful, expensive and irreplaceable --which prevented a return of last year's incident involving the pool.

During breakfast a honeybee flew into the orange juice pitcher at my table; I rescued it with a teaspoon, patted it dry with my napkin, and blew on it to free its wings from the sticky stuff. ("What did you do at that girlie-porn sex convention of yours, Jane?" "I blew a bee.") When it flew off, none the worse for wear, I confidently assured the other table members that now, if I was ever in trouble, a million bees would come at my call and attack the mugger.

The Art Auction was quickly done (11 pieces to auction); as expected, the gorgeous erotic "Blue Harmony" was the queen of the bids, selling for $275; a Doyle-elf by Lovett did almost as well at $200. One auctionee wore a great T- shirt: Scully and Mulder as tiny green antenna'ed things in silver lame with the caption, "Don't be ridiculous, m'Uldah -- there's no such thing as Big Pink People!"

After auction I bought a few more zines to polish off the corners. The noon DUE SOUTH panel was an animated and lively chatter about our favorite moments, the powerful male friendship that hooked us instantly, the hilarious (and tragic) writing, the throwaway bits and pieces that give the show its gay sensibility, and favorite lines of dialogue (including a chorus of "Fraser. Furniture. Embrace the concept!" from Gillian Middleton's fan-story In Vino Veritas). After that I had a poolside chat with a few fans (did that a lot this time), and Melissa D. and I played a few of our favorite filk bits for each other.

The last panel, "Kink vs. the Wave Theory of Slash," never really ended. It started at 3, with charts and graphs and 8x10 glossies with a paragraph on the back of each one about the varying degrees and intensities of slash fandom, whether you write to the kink or the kink fits the fandom. Since it was the last panel, we simply moved it into the con suite and kept talking even as we ordered in tacos and fried chicken for our Dead Dog Party (one attendee suggested that Tired Bitch was a better name for that party for a slashcon), and kept talking. Gradually, gradually, the talk tapered off.

I went with a small group to watch their new music videos again, and offered my only contribution to the video programming -- a 10-minute Firesign Theatre sketch, "The Mounties Catch Herpes." Everyone split up to watch X-FILES, I headed to DJ's room to shoot the breeze with a few other fans until about midnight, and headed to bed. I took off Monday morning after breakfast. And just as I was leaving the hotel, the first raindrops hit Santa Barbara. Escapade had completely avoided its annual rainfall.

-- MESSAGE ENDS --

Vid Show

Note: Vidder's names are not currently available.

SONG ARTIST FANDOM Vidder
"Nobody Does It Better" Carly Simon ST: Deep Space 9
"Play Me Backwards" Joan Baez Wiseguy Gayle F. & Morgan Dawn
"Hero" David Crosby Sandbaggers
"Made about You" Sting Blake's 7
"3 Days" Toni Childs The X-Files Morgan Dawn
"My Father's House" Joan Baez Name of the Father Morgan Dawn
"Looking for Myself" Jann Arden The Professionals Morgan Dawn
"Let the Day Begin" The Call Highlander
"Something to Talk About" Bonnie Raitt The Sentinel
"Dust in the Wind" Kansas Highlander
"One Clear Voice" Peter Cetera Due South
"Return to Innocence" Enigma Star Trek (TOS)
"Man with the Child in His Eyes" Kate Bush The Professionals
"No Green Eyes" Suzy Bogguss The Professionals
"I, Huckleberry Me" Big River The Professionals
"True Colors" Cyndi Lauper The Professionals Morgan Dawn & Justine Bennett
"Live and Let Die" Paul McCartney ST: Deep Space 9
"It's All Coming Back to Me Now" Celine Dion Star Trek (TOS)
"Still the One" Orleans The Man from UNCLE
"All for One" Bryan Adams Wiseguy
"Nobody Does It Better" Carly Simon The Man from UNCLE
"Let's Make a Night to Remember" Bryan Adams The Man from UNCLE
"Take a Look at Me Now" Phil Collins Star Trek (TOS)
"You're My Best Friend"  ?? Keifer / Lou
K. Southerland/Lou Diamond Phillips Interview n/a Keifer / Lou
"Born to be Wild" Stephenwolf Keifer / Lou


Note: Originally, copies of Escapade vid shows were mastered, duplicated, and mailed directly to convention attendees on behalf of the concom by staff member Kandy Fong. At one point, she supplied some of these high-quality tapes to Mysti Frank to sell at cons Kandy herself wasn't attending, but after learning that Mysti had inflated the prices and kept the profits, Kandy rescinded any permission for Mysti to copy, distribute, sell, or in any way be associated with Escapade con tapes.

In April 2014, it was discovered that Mysti had been making and selling lower-quality tape copies without the concom's or vidders' knowledge or permission, and also without including any of the vidder credits that Kandy had originally provided. Concom member Charlotte Hill then contacted Mysti and asked her to stop distributing tapes in order to protect the quality and reputation of both the vidders and the vid show.

The original information added to this page offering tapes for sale via Mysti's website is below:

The vid show was released on a songvid VHS tape and sold by Agent With Style. From the description: "The wonderful song vids shown at the Escapade convention in Santa Barbara, CA, each year are collected and presented here for your enjoyment through the auspices of Kandy Fong. Capturing every fandom you could think of -- and many you couldn't! -- these tapes are amazing and not to be missed! Available only in VHS tape."

References

  1. WebCite.
  2. WebCite
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