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Name: AllianceCon
Dates: 1990, 1991
Frequency: at least twice
Location: Italy
Type: fan-run, no celebrity guests
Focus: Star Wars
Organization: Alliance in cooperation with ItalCon
Founder: Gian Paulo Gasperi
Founding Date:
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1991 Con Report: Some Excerpts

Written by aFan Guest of Honor, Maggie Nowakowska and printed, along with photos, in Southern Enclave #29:

In size, ITALCON 17/ALLIANCECON II resem-bled an American regional con. By the end of the event, we were assured by a visitor that this year's can represented the ideal "Eurocon" very well. Registration and the dealers' areas for both cons, and all ALLIANCE activities, took place in the Teatro Turismo on the hillside below the walled city; ITALCON panels, the art show and the model show were held in the old city's library, Biblioteca di Stato, amid medieval splendor.

The presentations and the program were professional all the way. Information on both cons' activities were combined in a single, Worldcon-quality program book, complete with dramatic comic, articles, art and schedules. The posters - ITALCON's circular maze representing its theme this year, The Labyrinth of Fantasy, and the ALLIANCE Yoda logo - came in two versions: one simply announcing the cons, the other printed with the full con schedule. They were easy to read and everywhere for quick reference. I was delighted when the ALLIANCECON II opening cermonies began with a computer-graphics logo that was absolutely first-rate (a short bit of animation: as Gian Paulo explained, these things are expensive). It was clear that these fans had a great deal of respect for themselves and their special interests.

Registration for both cons was on-going, with zines for sale, posters displayed, and a selection of over 60 American fanzines tracing the entire history of SW fanzine publishing available for on-loan examination. ITALCON's dealing area consisted of books, books and more books, and posters and flyers; the ALLIANCE room dealt mostly in magazines, models, comics and photographs from the movies.
A difference 'tween here and there: In Europe, most zine activities seem to take place in clubs; zines are published by a club as part of membership. We had a bit a trouble at first explaining how American zines are put together and distributed. The singularity of zine projects, and the isolation of most American fans was seen as a difficulty to be overcome by getting together with other fannish friends. On one hand, I agree that we could use more cooperation in our fandom. On the other hand, Cheree in Texas can't very well give Ming in California or Catherine in NYC a call and ask them to hop over to Garland for a weekend to put together the next SE.
Another difference in cons: Events in Italy went on far longer into the late afternoon than at American cons. Whereas in the States, a major panel or pre- sentation would be held at 1:00 or 2:00PM, in Italy, lunch began at 1:00 and programming didn't resume until 3:00 with the Big Show more likely to start at 4:00. (As for dinner, restaurants don't open until 7:30!)

Friday's major panel, The International Situation of SWFandom, included me and the non-Italian fans, Craig, Jason, and Frank. Gian Paulo sat as moderator, with Elisa Brandi helping with translations. Isatontwopanelsduringtheconandinboth,the main focus became how better communications can both help everyone to know that other fans exist and assist in better interaction among fans who have different areas of interest within the SW universe.

I've already mentioned that European fans are organized into clubs; I can add that they have some of the same problems we have regarding lack of active participation, keeping correspondence current and the way differences of focus in fandom can keep indi- viduals within a club apart. Frank mentioned the deadly phrase, consumer fandom, and said that the unwillingness of many people to write letters, let alone contribute, was a major reason he decided to put his club/zine on hiatus.
I was not convinced that I should be on the second panel, SWRole-Playing: the Last Frontier of Fandom? I don't role-play, I protested; don't worry, I was told, we're sure you'll have something to contribute. And much to my surprise, most of the conversation revolved around the integration of role-playing into established fandom. Even arguing over the accuracy of the information on the SW universe in the role-playing games proved relevant to all fans. Basically, the question was one of What defines the STAR WARS universe? Whose universe is real? The world of the original fan who lived through the 6 years between ANH and JEDI? Or of the fan who comes to SW with all the collateral material he or she could want available right now? Or the world of the role-player who has volumes of West End Games data on SW at hand and who is pushing the limits of what defines SW as described in the role-playing game documentation? And how do these different fans talk to each other if their SW "facts" and impres-sions are not, and cannot be, the same?
Various annual awards were given out that evening in the Teatro. There is more overlap between the SF world and the fanlit world in Italy, which we were glad to see. May it someday be more so here.