Legacy Interview with Victoria Clark
|Interviews by Fans|
|Title:||Legacy Interview with Victoria Clark|
|Fandom(s):||Star Trek TOS, slash|
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[At the second Townsley convention] Leslie Fish and Leslye L. and Sondra and Myrna had all these ideas [regarding a fan campaign to keep Spock in the next movie], and then people started leaving to go home. Sondra kept saying, we need somebody to be in charge of this; we have some good ideas. One of the ideas was an ad in the Hollywood Reporter, which we did. Another was sending telegrams and mailgrams to Paramount. There were lots of good ideas, and Myrna was writing them down, but Sondra said we need somebody to be in charge. As I sat there and people were leaving, I thought, “if you don't do something nobody will”, but I was very hesitant because I figured I was a nobody. Finally I timorously said, “Well, I live in Manhattan and I can be that person but I am new to fandom. I don’t know anybody; I’m a neophyte.” Sondra glommed on to me because she was so happy someone had volunteered. She said that it didn't matter that you don't know anybody, we'll give you our names and phone numbers. When I left people who didn't know me had given me $10, $20 as donations to the cause and I had a list of everybody’s phone numbers from Leslie Fish on down and a list of all the ideas everyone had come up with for getting Mr. Spock back in Star Trek. As everybody was leaving, Nancy M. and Barbara S. came up to me because they both lived in NY— Nancy in Queens, Barbara was staying with someone on the West Side—and they said, maybe we could help you a bit because we live in the same area. And that was the beginning of what would become, in a couple of months, a three way partnership that continued for quite some time and produced Nome.
After I read Star Trek Lives I sent off checks for 30 zines. When I got those 30 zines, most of them had listings/ads for other zines in the back. I saw an ad for Gerry Downes’ Alternative, and also the Obsc'zine. I found it (K/S) an interesting concept, but I wasn’t really pulled into it until that Townsley convention where I met Toni and Barbara and Nancy. They were really into it. They introduced us to Carol H. and Ellen K., who were planning Companion at that time. It was all around me, I was hearing a lot about it...
[In the fall of 1979] Carol told us that Bill Boggs had called Shirley Maiewski, who was the president of the Star Trek Welcommittee and told her he was having Shatner on his show. He wanted her to call some local fans; he wanted to pack the audience with Star Trek fans. Shirley called Leslye L. who lived on Long Island and asked her if she could call local fans and get them interested. Carol called us because she had gotten a call from Leslye and Leslye had asked her if she could come and if Ellen could come to the taping. Then Carol told us that Leslye had decided that here was an opportunity to present the fans in a much more adult manner. When she called Carol she wanted to let people know that if they wanted to come they had to dress nicely, look professional, speak nicely. No costumes! If you invited anyone, they needed to know these rules... We all congregated on the afternoon at about 4:00 for the taping. We were all dressed to the 9s—heels, hose, three-piece suits. We looked like a convention of upwardly mobile junior executives. We were all ushered into this big room and Bill Boggs walks in, stops dead and looks at the door—clearly thinking, “Am I in right place?” He looked at us and said, You're the Trek fans”, and we demurely said, “Yes, we are.” ... Shatner came out, and it goes as planned. Everything is fine until he starts using the questions Leslye and Juanita and Jean had developed. The first question was about slash. We were stunned. It was so incongruous because Leslye had been the one who told us all how to behave. Leslye was very opposed to slash; she felt that it was this terrible thing that had suddenly developed in Trek that might possibly destroy the fandom. She and several other people felt K/S was ruining the whole concept of the new frontier, of friendship. At the same time, she was a liberated woman, and even though she opposed K/S, she would always say that “I support your right to publish it.” We were all surprised when she did this, because it seemed so contrary to her feelings about this subject. This was the one thing you didn't want to bring up. The general public didn't need to know and we didn't need to embarrass Bill. We were all looking at each other; we couldn’t believe she would have done this to us. Bill handled it very well—as they always did, Bill and Leonard; they always handled it very well. Bill, when asked, “What do you think about this trend in fandom, where Kirk and Spock are more than friends?” Bill looked at him, laughed and said, “Well, they're gay, what do you think?” Boggs, not knowing how to react, laughed. We were stunned, but Shatner had broken the ice. Shatner went on to say, there’s this sociological thing in the U.S.—people are uptight about homosexuality. The fact that two men are close to each other can invite speculation that they are more than just friends. He handled it very well. I learned later that Carol H. called Leslye on the phone and Leslye insisted that they hadn't meant to tell him about it, it had just slipped out.
"All three of us – Barbara S., Nancy M. and myself - wanted to get more involved in fandom. The ways you could become involved in fandom was by doing a zine, writing for a zine, doing art for a zine. Zine fandom was a special niche.
Barbara, Nancy and I talked about doing a zine. I remember I came up with the name “Nome”, because we decided we liked the idea of having slash in the zine, but not limiting it to slash. “Nome” was the perfect name because it means “all things which make life worth living”. We wanted to combine different elements, different themes in “Nome”.
This only marginally worked because although we did have contributers who contributed stories that were not slash, a lot of people who were more the gen type authors and artists would not put work in a zine which contained slash. We did have some.
Actually the first issue didn't have any overt slash. The second issue did. We always had a few non-slash things; we never turned a story down because it wasn’t slash if we liked it. We even had some stories with Kirk or Spock with a woman.It worked only to a certain degree - there was, especially in the first years of our entrance in fandom in 1978 and 1979, a lot of animosity toward slash. There were panels against slash. People at conventions would walk about buttons with “K/S” with a circle/slash through it (like the “no smoking” signs.) Then K/S got less controversial because it became established.
K/S Con was an invitation-only house party. Carol F. and Susan J. were in charge, and Ginna L. was the host, as she was the caretaker of the house where the parties were held. They were held in the fall, around Columbus Day weekend. I believe they ran for three years, in 1980, 1981, and 1982. Carol and Susan invited Barbara and myself. I asked about including Nancy, and she was invited as well. I will never forget my first K/S Con and this was true of room parties as well. A whole bunch of us went down. There were five people in a car, along with sleeping bags, clothing, and, because the house was empty, we had to bring everything—towels, soap— everything we needed for the weekend. The car was absolutely jammed; you could not have gotten another thing in that car. Bev and Nancy brought most of the food. They wrote a funny poem about the preparation for K/S Con and read it there... We played other parlor games like charades; or we had different titles for the episodes. We had a treasure hunt. Often we would just sit around and talk about zines and stories. There were a lot of well known fans. [L H] brought her husband the first time. He was the only male there. He was a nice guy and he liked slash. He fit in very well, but the next year they invited [L] but not her husband. [L] was very disappointed and asked me, “Didn't you feel he was okay?” I felt comfortable with him, but Carol F. said some people had felt intimidated because a man was there. There were about 25 people at the first K/S Con. There was the whole “Contact.” The second one was a bit bigger. Beverly Sutherland and Kathy Resch were there, as well as most of the people from the first one. At the second K/S Con, Carol F. addressed the fact that the party couldn't get any bigger because of the capacities of the house (plumbing, etc.)... There were music videos and showings of William Shatner’s “Alexander the Great.” At the first one people also brought male/male porn. Carol F. didn't care for this; the written word was okay but she didn't approve of visual images. She felt the porn was distracting people from the purpose of K/S Con, so she outlawed the showing of porn movies at the second party. At the third party, we had a male stripper.
I can't remember what the issue was but [Suzan Lovett] and Syn had a falling out. The result was, none of Suzan’s art was used in COH. Flora Poste got in touch with Suzan and said to her that if she wanted to send them to her she would write a series of poems for each of the illos and give them to Nome, and that's how Suzan’s “Courts of Honor” images were published in Nome.
Two weeks after I received my copy of Courts of Honor, Beverly called late at night, very disturbed. She’d just got a heartfelt, terrible letter from Syn. Syn just didn't know what to do. She was getting letters, but she didn’t have any copies left; she was living on bologna; she didn’t even have money for food. She couldn’t print any more copies of Courts of Honor. At this point she would have to declare she can’t do any more; she’d have to give up and admit that she committed fraud, and that she had no way to fulfill her part of this bargain—she said, “I can't handle it any more.” I was on the phone talking to Beverly for many hours. We came up with the idea that developed into “The Gang of Five,” with Barbara S., Beverly, Alta B., Flora Poste and myself. Alta was on the periphery, but she made a good spokesperson because she was not closely associated with any of the others. We announced this at Kandy F.'s Phoenix convention. [Called 4-Play, the successor to IDICon.] We had a flyer from the “Gang of Five” announcing the future of Courts of Honor. Even if they were disillusioned with Syn, Nome had a good reputation. What we decided to do, based on Nome’s reputation, was ask people on faith to pay for Courts of Honor again, even though they had already paid for it. We would use the money to publish it. We would then send out all copies.... Most people were extremely good about it. A few weren't. Not that many people didn't reorder. We were very anxious that we do this the right way so no blame could fall on Nome. I felt people were doing this because of our reputation and I didn't want to disappoint anyone. We tried to get the zines out as quickly as we could after they were printed. We then went to several conventions and did very well selling them. We ended up with some extra money. Also, Syn sent us a couple of stories, a novella she'd written (Starsky/Hutch slash). We published that as a little zine and sold that and raised some money. All of it went into the pot, and then Barbara and I flew up to Maine one weekend and sat with Beverly and went through volumes of index cards with all these different people who had ordered with all these prices. The first amount was $12.00, and the price went up to $15.00, $18.00, and finally $25.00. We developed a sliding scale.
We would often have people come up (to our dealer’s table) and say nasty things about the fact that [our zine] was slash. One Shore Leave this young guy came up and said, “You know this stuff is disgusting. Do you know what I think about this stuff? It makes me sick.” Barbara said, “If you're going to be sick, please step away from the zines.”... At that convention, this couple had come to the table. The woman wanted to buy a copy of Nome and the guy said “I don’t like this stuff; it's terrible you're doing this; what do you think the actors would say?” I said, “It’s not about the actors; it's about the characters.” She ended up not buying the zine. Leonard (Nimoy) was at that convention. That guy raised his hand and asked, how do you feel about this stuff they have here where Kirk and Spock are lovers? I cringed. Leonard just looked at him and said, “I don’t feel anything about it because it's not about me, it's about the characters.” Exactly the same thing I said!