IDICon

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Star Trek Convention
Name: IDICon
Dates: 1984-1986, 1988,
Frequency: yearly
Location: Houston, TX (USA)
Type: fan con
Focus: slash, Kirk/Spock (TOS),Star Trek: The Original Series
Organization:
Founder: W.H.I.P.S., ("sponsored by Tex-Zines, Obsession, Unrepressed Press, Atavachron Press and Only Trek" -- an ad in Not Tonight, Spock! #1)
Founding Date: 1984
URL:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

"“Remember IDICon and twenty-six women in a hot tub?" [1]

IDICon was the first convention created specifically and purposefully as a slash con. It was founded by members of W.H.I.P.S., and located in Houston, TX, where it grew out of local house parties. This con was begun, in part, due to the restrictions imposed at Shore Leave (and other cons) on adult/explicit art and zines. See: Banned from Tulsa.

The first year's con had about 70-80 attendees, with attendance growing to 130-140 in subsequent years. Con programming included panels, vid viewing and duping, convention skits, and filking. The IDICon Song Book was published to assist filking at IDICon. The con was also very important to attendees as a place to obtain zines, which were the main medium of fic exchange.[2] At least 4 conventions were organized under the name.

The con sponsored merit awards, which were called the K/Star Awards.

This is the con where the orphan zine table was invented.

IDICon 4 was the first slash convention to attract the attention of academic scholars Constance Penley and Henry Jenkins. [3]

This con was succeeded by Koon-ut-Cali-Con. [4]

See Fanlore Live/J notes.

On the Origins

Shortly thereafter Shore Leave that year, Pam Rose and Lezlie attended Tulsa, a Star Trek convention in Tulsa. They brought some of their K/S zines and had to hide them under the table whenever security walked through the Dealer’s Room. It was then that they decided they needed a convention of their own. [5]

In Legacy, some fans recorded a series of memories about the convention:
IDICon was hosted by K/S fans from Texas, and boy, did they know how to throw a hoedown. A great hotel, K/S panels, a trip to see strippers, art work you didn’t have to hide from meddlesome eyes, and a stage performance that stopped the show. We were all in the thrall of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and emotional. Of course, two six-foot-tall dancing penises (pink and green respectively) made the audience run for Depends. IDICon being one of the first totally K/S conventions, it remains a favorite memory to this day. I remember there were at least three 3 IDICons and a possible fourth. The third IDICon was memorable as it offered the K/Star Awards, which was a reflection of our irritation at Shore Leave (a very large fan-run Star Trek convention in Maryland) not allowing “explicit male art,” when artwork displaying female breasts was definitely allowed. Ah, well, at any rate, each and every IDICon was a K/Ser’s wet dream. [6]
Kathy Resch remembers:
...they created [a] little room out of bedsheets in the art show….You had to go inside this bedsheet room to see the adult artwork. [7]
Also from Kathy Resch:
And there was the first slash convention, IDICon, in Houston in the 80s. I'll never forget the time a hotel employee came in during the art show to do something with the air conditioning. The auctioneer flung her body in front of the explicit art being auctioned, and "filibustered" until the guy left. Then there were the pink and green penis-shaped piiiatas (ouch!), the "dancing cocks", the creatively- named alcoholic beverages. I still don't know what was in the drink called "green Vulcan cum", but it sure was good! [8]
Marnie S. described this con in a 2012 interview:
We knew the pitfalls! But what happened was, in the interim then after this monstrous mess, the following year... various members had gone to other conventions. We'd gone to Shore Leave. Where, which was it? You know, it was open to the public, and the art show had some slashy or explicit art, but of course they had to mask the naughty bits, as they said. They covered them with cardboard. Or, cordon off an area for adults only, because you had a lot of little kids running around. Then the final straw was the convention up in Tulsa, where they had been invited by the Great Broads to come on up. And Pam and Lezlie had just put out Out of Bounds and took it up there, with Mary and Katherine who had a print shop, and they had printed it up. We'd had huge collating parties and — Those were nice. Lezlie would read us bedtime stories, while we were collating. To make us feel good. And (laugh) anyway, they went up there, but all the K/S, you're talking Tulsa, Oklahoma, headquarters of the Bible Belt. And everything had to be under the table, and somebody had called the police, and, yeah. It was a real mess. The Great Broads kind of rescued them, and anyway. When they came back, it was January I guess, of '83, the end of January or beginning of February, and Pam — I think the original idea was Pam. I'm not sure, but she's the first one who spoke, when we all got — the WHIPS all got together. We used to get together for birthday celebrations, and more or less once a month. And she came, y'know, "Let's all put on a show! Let's all put on a con! We can do a better job than this!" And! We were going to do a con that was specifically slash. Where it could be explicit. It was a K/S con. No young kids. Everybody had to be of age, and know what they were getting into. But we were gonna do it. And of course Houston was not fertile ground for a con. They'd never had a big con. The only attempt at a big con was the Ultimate Fiasco. We were used to the little cons in the empty grocery stores, with a hundred people. Where, y'know, you knew everybody who was coming, pretty much. But, we all did it. Everybody thought it was a great idea, we were all crazy, and just jumped in. I mean, fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Everybody just kind of— Okay, Lezlie said, "All right. I will work on writing some, y'know, doing some entertainment." And Terry said, "Okay, I can write filk lyrics. And Cynthia said, "I will help you." And I said, "Okay, I can— Most of us sang, so we said, "Okay, we can do this." We had been playing around with singing, and the Great Broads were filkers and we'd had association with them. We said, "We'll do it!" And then we came up with the idea of the orphan zine table, because at that time the mail was iffy. There was no internet, there was a lot of problems with censorship. Zines were being confiscated going in or out of Great Britain, Canada, whatever — That's where things like "In a Plain Brown Wrapper" came up, because they couldn't show any explicit art. There was a lot that you had to deal with. So we — I think the idea may have been mine. To offer an orphan zine table, because I got stuck with it. That was my, that and registration, were my two biggest responsibilities, and coordinating. Since I was the only one who wasn't working, I was home with two young kids, I was the communications person. My husband brought me this enormous long cord, because our cord had gotten so stretched out. You had no cordless phones. (laugh) So in the kitchen, it was everywhere. I would be on the phone [laughter] - until my ear was ready to fall off. We also had a computer, because my husband was an engineer, and we had prototypes at home, before the PC was even developed. So, I wound up putting out a lot of the communications, because I could print out, and our little dot-matrix printer would be chugging away for two to three hours with a progress report, chunking it out. Ba-fala-bum, ba-fala-bum, ba-fala-bum. And there's be a pile of stuff this high, and I would put notes on everything and send 'em all off to people. [9]

You Mean There Will Be Women? Doing What? (The Gender Gap)

IDICon logo for the second convention combining the IDIC symbol with the great state of Texas

One of the issues the convention organizers faced was explaining to the hotel that, as a women run convention catering exclusively to women, there needed to be additional security, more restaurant staff and non-smoking rooms. Marnie S explains: "They were used to things like oil company conventions and electronic shows. And they figured the men go to their conventions during the day and they take their rental cars and go out on the town at night. They’re not there. And we kept on saying, no, the women will stay in the hotel."

The disconnect between hotel staff and the convention continued after the convention began: "... the hotel staff just did not know what to make of us. At all. We’re trying to put on the entertainment and we look at the back of the room and there’s half the staff watching. There had been raids on the Chippendales type of clubs, so there was a very strong worry that we could be raided. The Houston police were notorious at the time. They were very straitlaced." [10]

Jade Pagodas, Piñatas, and Dancing Penises

The convention was also a place to celebrate and embrace all aspects of the Kirk/Spock relationship which led to multiple forms of artistic expression.

For example, at the first IDICon, Marnie S. created napkin rings that showcased the various shapes and sizes of Spock's penis: "... the Kraith, the tendrils, the spike, the pagodas, the whole nine yards." Later, she designed penis shaped piñatas that were auctioned off. Finally, Kandy Fong and her friends staged a dance skit to show their appreciation for the IDICon organizers: the Dancing Penises. As Kandy Fong explains: "None of us were very good singers, and heaven forbid, we couldn’t dance, so we sat around drinking this bottle of really bad wine, and I said, why don’t we reduce it to the basic elements, just two penises, right?" [11]

Delicate Vocabulary

Kandy Fong talks about the delicate translations she had to make regarding interested fans and content/vocabulary:

KF: Because I was doing registration, I had to get across the message that this was— At the time, there was not even a name for slash. People didn't even call it slash. It was K/S, because there was no other slash fandom, per se. And, trying to get this idea across to people who wanted to attend was not the easiest thing, and that fell to me, to tell the little fourteen-year-old or fifteen-year-old boy that this was not a con that he could attend. Or to tell the little— Not everybody was a little old lady like [R B] or [D O]. let's face it. KF: Who were about twenty years older than most of us. MS: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, [R B] was older than my mother. So, yes, definitely. But they were most, definitely, perfectly comfortable with it, but a lot of people had no idea. They just heard, Star Trek, and the names Kirk and Spock, and then, "Oh." Or, "What is K/S?" And you have to explain what K/S is. It was not— It was a delicate matter, and trying to— And then you get some really strange letters from people that you just knew, this was not a person you really, really wanted to let in to your more private entertainments.

KF: Yes.

MS: Ahhh. There were some very weird people out there. Very weird.

KF: Yes. Even before the days of the internet there were weird people.

MS: There were plenty of weird people. But there were a lot of people whose eyes were opened and who— The thing was that we reached out. Because the core group was relatively small and most people in the WHIPS were really busy with other things, so they had very little time to devote. We did reach out to other members of Starbase Houston, who were cool with the idea of slash. They might not be slash fans themselves, like [P]. But they were willing— Or [C], who was not particularly a slash fan. Mostly she was into Star Wars rather than Star Trek. Who were willing to help because they were science fiction fans, because they enjoyed, and they wanted to see it succeed and they knew us personally. [12]

A Fan Who Was There "By Accident"

In 1987, a fan wrote about ending up at IDICon without full consent of it's focus:
I didn't even realize I was going to a con. A friend, you know, now that I think about it, it was Bev Lorenstein who invited me. Anyway, we had been corresponding about a Star Wars zine she was doing, and she told me she was meeting some friends who were into SW in Houston, and could I come too. I had never been to a media con before, and had never even heard of "/", so you can imagine my surprise when I walked into the the hallway where registration was going on and saw that "thing", or rather, "those things" hanging over the signup table. [13]

Two Fans Remember These Cons

Kandy Fong and Marnie S talked about this con in a 2012 interview:
KF: And since a couple of my, ah, shows, had a little bit of a slash point of view — of course I had it subtle because I was showing it at mixed media, y'know, all kinds of fan conventions. I started talking to them and they started telling me about this convention. And I thought, "Really? A convention that we could go to and really talk about slash? Really!" So I decided I was gonna go. And, I wrote — they had a little flyer there, and I wrote to the flyer and they wrote back —

MS: I brought it to the next group meeting of everybody, and, "There's the woman, named Kandy Fong, who has a Trek slide show that she wants to come bring with, and y'know," ta da da da. They said, "Well, sure. We can use some entertainment. That's fine. We'll give her a slot. No problem. I don't remember, you asked if in return for registration. We said, "Well, we can't do that, we have to pay our own registrations. This was a completely. We had no kitty to start out with. We were starting from nothing. In fact, those of us who had houses, which was primarily me, were on the line. We were on the bank account, we had to get a DBA, which is when we actually came out as the WHIPS. Women of— We had to come up with some kind of a excuse for the acronym, which wasn't— We couldn't tell 'em whips and chains....

KF: Well, I remember walking into the dealers' room. The first thing. First you have to go run to the dealers' room and it's immediately, I call it, fanzine Pon Farr. I mean, just, y'know, fanzine. Oh my god, there's fanzines! And, oh my goodness, look at— Oh oh! Oooh, art, art, art! And it was so, so freeing.

MS: Not censored. Not censored. It was all zines.

KF: And, you actually had a room set up with a few of these very precious and few video machines. Where we could pick a copy of something.

MS: The very first IDICon, each of us brought our VCR to the con. In fact, we brought them in the day before. And unfortunately, we had help from the staff. We put them all in the room. The next morning they had been stolen. In fact, most of the equipment had been stolen. And that all came off of our insur— our own pockets. My brand-new Beta! The best Beta I ever had. Was stolen. So that meant we had to scramble for second back-ups, so the quality and the number was not there. But that was also something which was brand new. People could sign up for slots, to copy or watch tapes. And there were people in that room round the clock for the entire range of the convention.

KF: Back when you're young, you go, "Oh, boy, I got the room from four to six a.m."

MS: The first IDICon I got a grand total of two hours of sleep the entire weekend. That was it. And I didn't see a single panel. Because I was so busy. There weren't that many of us, and we were all extremely busy. That was also the year we were in the hotel, and there was a Houston thunderstorm. We thought—

KF: And some of the rooms leaked.

MS: More than that, the air conditioning unit on the roof was hit by lightning. And so the air went out in the middle of the con, and everybody was laughing that it was the Wrath of God coming down upon us! (laughter)

MS: We were also scared because we had male strippers, and we were showing all this stuff in the open. This was Houston. They were raiding Chippendales at that time, and hauling the dancers off in handcuffs. So, it was, actually, there was a real possibility that we could have been raided. But, it was very interesting. The hotel staff was extremely interested. (laughter)

MS: Many of them showed up especially for the entertainment. You looked up, if you were in the front of the room and looked out, the back of the room was filled with staff, watching. Especially the female staff.

KF: Oh, yeah.

MS: They really, really enjoyed that. That was a lot of fun. And they were like, "Woah!"... I 'member, it was four to a room, in a hotel room. You brought a loaf of bread and some peanut butter and jelly, so you'd have something to eat for the weekend. I mean, when I was saying, "Hey, if give you two hours worth of entertainment, can I get a free membership?" it wasn't because I was being cheap or anything, it's because—

MS: Nobody had any money!

KF: —I didn't have any money.

MS: Nobody had any money. It was really tight. And the thing was that we, well we decided, okay, we're gonna do con survival kits. We got together goodie bags.

KF: Yes. MS: And I remember everybody— We scrounged for months, whatever we could get, to put in the goodie bags. There were Band-aids and there were aspirin, and there were tea bags —

KF: Little notebooks, little golf pencils—

MS: —and sugar and notebooks, pencils. All the things that you might need at the last minute or that might help you get through the con. Some candy, whatever, for energy, cough drops. We had these, one whole night, one of our group gatherings, we just went around, and round and round and round the room, dumping stuff in every bag. And got those. The t-shirts that were— We had all kinds of help from people and everything was voluntary and everything was yanked in there and it went off quite well. [14]

A Review of The Convention Tape 5 Years Later

In 1994, Sandy Herrold posted a review of the 1988 IDICon convention tape to the Virgule-L mailing list. Convention tapes, unlike songvid tapes contained more than just the vid show - fans also recorded the convention skit and plays and other fannish entertainment. The review is reposted here with permission:
After watching the Revelcon songtape, we found a con tape from Idicon '88 - -not a songtape, but a contape, something slashcons no longer do. There was a beautiful play (probably by our own Lezlie),[15] memorializing the beginning of Micheal Praed/Robert Plant fandom...! among other travesties. Famous quotes "I write with a view, and mine is 'let them screw.'" and later, "IDIC sure covers a lot of territory." "But these stories aren't even well written." "People are going through fandoms like toliet paper..." Still in the play, someone asks Pam Rose (more or less playing herself) why she's been into so many different shows ..."It's not my fault I keep changing fandoms; it's my name: Pam doesn't stick to anything." Also a beautiful sales pitch for the "Search and Destroy Word Processor" that allows changing your story to fit other fandoms, 'and for you Beauty and the Beast fans, there's even a pronoun switcher.

1984

IDICon 1 was held in 1984.

1985

IDICon 2 was held on April 19-21, 1985 in Houston, Texas. It was subtitled "Sloppy Seconds."

flyer for the second IDICon in 1985, click to read (from the letterzine Between Friends #3

From an ad in Datazine #32: "We're gonna do it again... Once again, it will be a ADULTS ONLY convention because / fandoms will be out of the closet (zines too!)."

This was the first IDICon where vids were shown. [16]

1986

IDICon 3 was held on April 11-13, 1986, in Houston, Texas. It was subtitled "Conage A Trois, or "Who Came First?"

cover of the third con's program book

From an ad in Not Tonight Spock! #11 "A personal fan convention, it stresses Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. ST & media fans welcome. Membership by preregistration, adults only, limited to 250."

About the con skit: "There's no escaping it! Yes, they've taken the beloved musical (Ok, the almost well known musical) 1776 and turned it into a lurid, fand-infested, smutty travesty of the original. See the musical that opened on Broadway (so, it was the corner of Broadway and 4th St. here it Houston). It was a blockbuster."

The con committee was Cynthia L, Beth A, Kathy N, Marnie S, Astra T, Terry M, Candace P, Paula S, Barb L, Lezlie S, and Polly B.

a notice about photocopying

One notice from the convention program book: "Copies! Copies! Copies! Enough about unimportant things like where to find lifesaving drugs. It's time to talk about the necessities of life. Of course, I'm talking about where to copy those all those stories that will hopefully be floating around the convention. In the under ground ALPHAGRAPHICS is the only choice. They are normally closed on Saturdays, but they will open especially for us from around Noon till two. They charge 10 cents per, but you can take home your very own copy and not wait for lazy, shiftless friends to mail them to you. If you have, a car, there is a KINKO's just down the freeway."

1988

IDICon 4 was held on October 28-30, 1988 in Houston, Texas. It was subtitled: "The Forbidden Fruits."

flyer for IDICon #4, click to read

References

  1. ~ Robin Hood, remembering how IDICon was used as a battle cry to encourage other fans to host K/S conventions, quoted in Legacy vol 1.
  2. See Fanlore Live/J notes for notes on Marnie's memories of IDICon, dated 3/7/09
  3. Cultural Studies by Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, accessed April 14, 2011 and 'Escapade 1993: A Blast From the Past (Part One)' by Henry Jenkins, dated Feb 17, 2010.
  4. "The executive committee of Koon-ut-CALI-CON (Alayne Gelfand, Wendy Rathbone and yours truly) decided that we couldn't let IDICon die. And since the WHIPs told us at this year's IDICon in Houston that they would not be doing the convention next year due to a lot of the gals moving out of the area, we decided (in our inebriated state) that it was our turn to step forward and stick our proverbial heads on the chopping block just as the gals from Phoenix did a couple years back. So... when one of the WHIPs announced our intentions at the Saturday night entertainment in Houston this year... we were committed..." from On the Double #9
  5. ~ Legacy, #2, The Legacy of K/S in Conventions: Convention Memories
  6. from [R H] in Legacy #1, The Legacy of K/S in Conventions: Convention Memories
  7. from Kathy Resch
  8. Kathy Resch -- My Thirty Years in Trek Fandom
  9. Marnie S. from Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Kandy Fong and Marnie S
  10. ~ Legacy, vol 2. "The Legacy of K/S in Conventions".
  11. from Legacy, vol 2. "The Legacy of K/S in Conventions".
  12. from Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Kandy Fong and Marnie S
  13. from The Pop Stand Express #15
  14. Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Kandy Fong and Marnie S
  15. Katherine Scarritt later confirmed on Virgule-L that Lezlie and Linn co-wrote the play and that she (Katherine) had done the stage direction.
  16. "Mary Van Deusen brought a bunch, and we began showing videos I think at the second IDICon... Yeah. I think it started with the second, and those, when you look back now, of course, the technical quality is like totally, totally different. But, yes. They began. They were starting right then and there. Yeah. It was the second IDICon." -- Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Kandy Fong and Marnie S
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