Mos' Eastly Con

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Convention
Name: Mostly Eastly is just one variation on this con's name
Dates: 1980, 1985, 1990, 1991
Frequency:
Location: New York, New Jersey
Type:
Focus: multimedia
Organization:
Founder: Joyce Yasner, Devra Langsam and others
Founding Date: 1980
URL:
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Contents

This is a media con run by Devra Langsam, Joyce Yasner, and others. It was one of a series of cons which eventually became Media West.

"The name, Mos' Eastly Con, showed the growing influence of Star Wars. Organizers evenly split the panels between Star Trek and Star Wars; the remaining panels covered general topics (such as "the art of editing"). [1]

Paula Smith talks about these cons here, in a 2010 interview with Transformative Works and Cultures.

Cons in the Series

Other Cons that Riffed on the Name

There was also a Starsky and Hutch (and other fandom?) con called Mos Westly Con, mentioned in a 1980 issue of S and H. There is mention of "MediaWestEast*Con" in issue #21 of S and H. It is unclear if they are related.

Some History

"This January, Anne Elizabeth Zeek, Joyce Yasner, Lee Orlando and I and a cast of thousands -- well, dozens -- ran Mostly Eastly Con (The Third in a triumphant line, the first two having been Most Eastly and More Eastly... Previously, we had run the Eastly cons once every five years: the first replaced MediaWest in 1980, and the second one was given in 1985, the year Worldcon was in Australia. Worldcon is in Holland this year, and we'd planned to run our Eastlycon on Labor Day Weekend... but things got weird, so we chose Martin Luther King Day as a substitute... So, we're running Mostly Eastlycon Release 4.0 (The User Friendly, Interactive Media Con) on January 18-20, 1991." [2]

1980

cover by Hans Dietrich

Mos' Eastly Con was the first con. It is sometimes referred to as "Mos Eastly," as well as a number of other variations. It was held May 23-36, 1980 at the Sheraton Inn near LaGuardia in New York City. It "replaced" MediaWest that year. The organizers, Devra Langsam and Joyce Yasner described it as "fifth in a series of Star Trek-what-have-you relaxacons."

  • Linda Deneroff (Fan Q Awards), Hans Dietrich (t-shirt, program book, progress report), Theresa Renner (art show), Allyson Whitfield (dealer's room), Steve and Elyse Rosenstein (lent the stapler)
  • panels included: "Starting a Fanzine," "Politics in Star Wars," "The Art of Editing," "Role-Playing in Star Wars," "Antifeminism in Treklit," "Fringe Fandoms (Starsky and Hutch, Space: 1999, Battlestar Galactica, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Man from Atlantis, Dracula, and Doctor Who), "Erotic Literature (Airing Your Naughty Bits with Panache), "How Not to Take Star Trek Too Seriously," "What's a Jedi Knight?," "K/S: Do They or Don't They?" "Who's a Mary Sue?," "Pro-Publishing," "Medicine in SF," and "Star Trek's Attitude Toward Mechanical Intelligence"
  • there were 300 names listed in the con program as "attending" and 22 names listed as "supporting members"
  • the program book listed all of the nominees for the Fan Q Awards

Notes about the 1980 Con

Devra Langsam announced that the annual convention for fanzine readers, editors and contributors would leave Michigan in 1980 and take place instead in New York (where it remained for one year). It was to be sponsored by Devra, Joyce Yanser and Elyse Rosenstein. [3]

Fandoms and the Fan Q Award: "Organizers evenly split the panels between Star Trek and Star Wars; the remaining panels covered general topics (such as "the art of editing"). The Fan Q award winner for best author was Mary Lee Cascio and Lois Welling for "Executive Privilege," a Star Trek story; best artist award went to Hans Dietrich, and Lori Chapek-Carleton won the award for best editor. In the Fan Q discussion afterward, participants reached a consensus to add even more categories, and to change 'best' as in 'best author' to 'favorite' as in 'favorite author.' Many fans also wanted to divide the awards into genre categories (Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.) because many fans only read one genre of fanzine, but Fan Q administrators did not implement that idea until later." [4]

Some Events: Another event at Mos'Eastly featured a discussion of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Peter David, Martynn, and Trinette Kern were among the panelists, and Joan Verba. Verba writes that all of them disapproved of the movie but that when the audience was asked their opinion, about half gave it a thumbs up. [5] Verba also remembers, "Back at the convention [after an bus expedition to see The Empire Strikes Back], Peter David wrote and starred in a tremendously funny satire of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, presented as a one-act play after the Saturday banquet. P.S. Nim put on a slide show of her story, "Spock's Second Childhood [from Menagerie #15]." Another notable feature of the convention was that the K/S panel ("Do They or Don't They?") and the adult literature panel were deliberately scheduled at the same time, so that the discussion of adult literature would not turn into a K/S debate, as it had at the convention the year before." [6]

1985

More Eastly was the second. It was held August 30-September 2, 1985 and run by Devra Langsam, Joyce Yasner and Linda Deneroff. Also, Pat 'Neill and Karen River (art show), Lee Shenker (video room), Robert Rogow (dealer's room), Lori Dell and Lois Indelicato (registration), Susan Rotellini, (con zine sales service), Leah Rosenthal and Nancy Stasulis (artists), Mary Otten, Sharane McCurry, Joanne Belton, and Vanessa Bailey (refreshments)

flyer in the con program book for Media West #5
cover of con program, Nancy Stasulis
  • the con skit was called "Dark Side Story," and it was a fannish musical retelling of "Return of the Jedi" based on "West Side Story" and there was showing of Visitors: A Puppet Opera
fan badge
  • panels included "The Future of Fanzines," "Why is Media Fandom Overwhelmingly Female?," "ST: The Early Years," "Realism and Surrealism: What's the Appeal of Miami Vice?," "Really Off Broadway: Fannish Productions," "Coping with Mundane Attitudes, or Isn't that Dr. Spock?," "British Television: What's the Appeal?," Remington Steele: Teasers, Tags and Character Development," "Dr. Who's Companions: How Do They Affect the Series?," "The Use of Religion and Myth in Current Media SF," "Why are "/" Stories So Popular?," "Where are the Post-Jedi Stories?," "Hurt/Comfort: What Do We Have Against the Poor Shnooks?," The Future of Star Trek," "Doctor Who, Who Are You?," "The Darker Side of Fandom: Why are the Bad Guys Always so Good?," "Odd Couples: Why are We So Fascinated by Teams?," "Fanzine Etiquette," "Who's Scruffy Lookin?: Hunks Past, Present, and Future," "Keeping Zine Prices Down or, I Did't Know There Was a Staple Shortage," "Has Science Caught Up with Science Fiction?," "Where Do We Go from Here?: New Television Trends," and "The Use/Misuse of Violence"
  • there is an obituary for Sara Jane Campbell
  • there were about 230 names listed as "attendees"

Con Report (More Eastly - 1985)

Report from the Chairperson, Committee on Mundane Conversion Subject: Operation Mundane. Enclosed is an excerpted selection from the Experiment Committee's draft report. As you were all to some degree involved in either setting up or actually carrying out the experiment, the committee would appreciate any comments or additions or amendments you would care to submit.

Purpose of experiment: to place a mundane, or the closest approximation we could inveigle into coming, in a convention environment to determine the possibility of viewpoint conversion. Subject of experiment was carefully chosen to give the maximum possible results; subject had actually been present at very first Trek con in NYC and had had a sort of observer status at one or two Lunacons in the early '70's.

In order to make the experiment balanced, subject was induced to attend two days of con, one day being deemed insufficient for a meaningful sample, and three or four pushing our luck. The experiment: the technique of the experiment consisted in obtaining a usable mundane, inducing him to attend the convention and arranging for various supervisory and control personnel to insure proper observation. For the most part we were able to keep a microphone on him and those statements recorded within quotation marks indicate actual speech of the subject. We were also fortunte in having the services of the best esper in media fandom, a person whose name shall of course not be revealed. Those statements found within asterisks are the thought processes and ideas reported by the esper. As is always the case in telepathic communication, only the basic idea can be guaranteed as that of the subject. The words necesssarily are those of the esper and reflect the vocabulary with which her mind interpreted the thoughts of the subject. Subject approached the con with that degree of anticipatory anxiety commonly known as 'abject fear'. Occasional attempts by Deneroff [7] Assistant Chief Experimenter to reassure subject had expected effect: inducement of near panic.

Saturday Morning: the Dealers' Room—subject expresses disbelief at the 'amazing' things people will pay money for; the 'astounding' amount of money they will pay for the things; and the 'fantastic' larger amount of money Australians will pay for them. The choice of adverbs has led one of the researchers to question the mundane status of the subject, but the committee feels that this is mere coincidence. The subject's attempt to maintain a true mundane attitude in the midst of all this pressure was touching. Subject wandered all round the room and his sole purchase was a scientific text on the nature of illusions. Subject taken to art show; asked for badge which is under jacket due to special temperature setting arranged in courtesy to GoH from Pluto; subject states he doesn't want anyone to see badge; fan at door comments on mundane fever; subject announces "born and bred mundane". Does this mean experiment not working? Subject examines art works; typical comments for either fan or mundane; shows proper appreciation for works by Lybarger, Gordon and Stacy-MacDonald: expresses dislike for overly cute unicorns *not what unicorns look like*. May be making some progress after all.

In an attempt to integrate the subject more thoroughly into the con he was placed on two panels. One, on the attractiveness of the detective, was appropriate to his expertise. The other, on why is media fandom overwhelmingly female, was chosen by one of the committee in retaliation for what she deemed an uncalled-for comment vis" a vis* the topic. Normally this type of selection would have been overruled by the chief investigator, but in this case the selection was allowed to stand on the grounds that an outside observer might actually have something to contribute. Subject attends panel on filks, asks if term is "corrupt pronunciation of filch since the music is so often stolen". Friendly passing fan enlightens subject on derivation from typo. *Subject unconvinced.* Subject attends femaleness of media fandom panel; insists that the only relevant comment on the topic was made by Joyce Muscat who said that media shows lured female viewers because they showed pair-bonding in which sex was not the medium of exchange—a relationship women were familiar with even though it was not being shown as an aspect of female relationships on TV or in film. Subject may have been influenced by gift of Cagney and Lacy button from Ms. Muscat. Query: is there a Cagney and Lacy fandom building up among mundanes that could be tapped by media fandom? Subject comments on why no Cagney and Lacy fan stories, etc.; *censored thought on possible Isbecki fen*. Subject later confides own opinion as to solution of problem—showing remarkable survival instinct in not having mentioned it during the panel. States that sf fandom is just that—narrowly concerned with sf and, in some cases, only book sf with, perhaps, a little nod to fantasy here and there. It is not surprising therefore that there are more women in media fandom, since in contrast to narrow sf fandom, media fandom takes the broad view. Assistant Chief Investigator restrained from terminating experiment by terminating subject. In all fairness it should be mentioned that the act was motivated by outrage at pun rather than at his sexist attitude. Subject attends performance of Dark Side Story, expresses admiration for performances of all cast members; amazed at creative costuming for 3PO (Karen Mitchell); liked Obi-Wan's blue lights (questions whether these are same blue lights reported by Apollo and Gemini astronauts). Admits to prior knowledge of Luke's (Jean Stevenson's) singing ability—unaware of flair for comedy; also praises remarkably metallic and immobile performance of whoever it was that played R2. (This is a gross and damnable falsehood. I am well aware R2 was played bv a milk can. Besides, it moved twice...BILL VW.) Questions why writer of play placed Luke in such a dark light? Immediately removed subject from presence of C of F members who might make propaganda use of this comment.

SUNDAY - Subject wins third runner-up in Penfold look-alike contest. Subject does not, in fact, bear much resemblence to hamster—suspect glasses, cowardly attitude and love of outrageous puns influenced judges. Subject manages to dominate 50% of conversation on detective panel with Chris Jeffords. Afterward claims best comments from audience—expresses concern that woman in third row pointed out discussion was on the figure of the detective, not the detective story itself—feels panel should have stayed closer to topic. "Subject observes fan in harem girl outfit; comments on wonders of science—*hadn't known velcro implants perfected yet*. Subject later views priapic portrait of Shatner/Kirk; has typical male ego slump re: *silicone implants*; notes however that only bid on this drawing has been cleverly hidden under top of picture below. Subject attends panel on religious themes in media sf, etc.; expresses idea that panels should last longer since this one barely started when over; expresses amusement at fan who thought it was slash panel and beat hasty retreat—apparently fearing coerced conversion.

The failure of the experiment did of course leave us with the problem of what to do with the mundane. We wish to reassure all concerned persons that we have not forgotten our duties to endangered species. The subject is currently undergoing deprogramming with the aid of a massive dose of detective movies, Dickens, Austen, mainstream and western fiction and should soon be capable of being reinserted into his normal, uneventful and boring (in short—mundane) existence. Reasons for failure; 1) subject did not spend night at con and was thus able to reenter mundane world, thereby removing beneficial effects of con to some degree; 2) subject spends unhealthy amount of time reading detective stories, thereby producing habitually suspicious state of mind; 3) subject's previous experience of cons may have given him forewarning of what to expect, thereby allowing him to "get set" for the con.

Suggestions; 1) future subjects should be made to spend whole weekend at con; 2) future subjects should be placed in the hands of a guide who can soften the shock and help them absorb the brainwas...er indoctrinatio... introduction to fandom with less trepidation; 3) future subjects should be selected from persons with no previous experience of cons; 4) future subjects should be screened to remove any with background in mystery, detection—both true crime and fiction. If the names Nero Wolfe, Ellery Queen, Peter Wimsey or Adam Dalgleish bring any response the subject should be rejected. A more complete set of guidelines will be forthcoming from the committee. [8]

1990

Mostly Eastly was the third con. It was held in 1990. There were 250 attendees, had an art show, a dual-video rooms, and panels.

1991

Mostly Eastlycon Release 4.0 was the fourth con. It was held January 18-20, 1991 in Tarrytown, NJ. "We plan to run a nice, friendly, argumentative media con."

A War of the Worlds fan wrote of her excitement about the panels:
(Oh, just received my flyer for Mostly Eastly Con... They have several suggested panels which eerily tie in with many of the questions posed: why is Ironhorse so popular (why are the 'second bananas' more popular than the main star?); TSI's dismal dark universe (why is the future envisioned by so many of today's movies and TV shows so dark and hopeless?); letter-writing campaigns and their loss of effectiveness; and hey, this is one all fan writers should attend: fatal attraction - the editor/contributor relationship frequently ends in bloodshed. What can be done to improve the situation? Whoa, nearly forgot this one: fan writers deal with the inconsistencies in WOW (and other shows). How? And why should we have to? And they've got a writing/ editing workshop, too. [9]

References

  1. from Boldly Writing
  2. from Masiform D #17
  3. from Masiform D #9 (August 1979)
  4. from Boldly Writing
  5. from Boldly Writing
  6. from Boldly Writing
  7. an in-joke from Bill's review of Time Warp #6/7, see that page
  8. "by" Bill VandeWater "2/3 Mundane" from Scoundrel #9 (1986)
  9. from The Blackwood Project #10
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