AlterCon

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Convention
Name: Altercon
Dates: Memorial Day Weekend 1983
Frequency: one time
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Type:
Focus: multimedia
Organization:
Founder: Beth Bowles, Ann Cecil, and Julia Ecklar
Founding Date: 1983
URL:
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AlterCon was a one-time multifandom con held in 1983. The concom consisted of Beth Bowles, Ann Cecil, Julia Ecklar; Rusty Westbeld; Becky Walker; Susan Voll; Dick Hansen; Richard Vorpe; Peter Zale; Connie Buckenroth; David Manship; Cindy Manship.

About

From an ad in a letterzine: "ALTERCON '83-a new multi-media convention, celebrating all the alternative universes of media fandom. Attending: $15 + 3 legal-size SASEs. Supporting: $5 + 3 legal-size SASEs. Memorial Day weekend, Sheraton Hotel (downtown), Dayton, OH. Convention rates are: $30/night single, $36/clouble. Planned: mms, video room, dealer's room (of course!), filks &: all other normal convention activities as well as some special things unique to AlterCon. Plans being made for interested con members to attend a screening of RETURN OF THE JEDI... Memberships limited to 250 attending, so get your money sent in fast." [1]

Controversy

It was AlterCon's timing that riled some fans.

"I want to express my dismay and anger over the announcement of "AlterCon" being set up in direct competition with MediaWest*Con. I know there has been friction between the concom of MediaWest and certain fen, but this is NOT the way to solve it, and can only hurt all of fandom. People don't go to MediaWest to please the concom; they go to meet other fen, and the greatest thing about it was that MediaWest was THE yearly con where you could expect to see nearly everyone connected with zine fandom and talk to them. I don't want to see this issue become a political infight for the selfish ego gratification of either side. Why drag everyone into it and force us all to take sides whether we want to or not?" [2]
"I want to add that I agree with [name redacted] feelings about the Memorial Day media con. I've been thinking about it for months, wondering if (assuming my finances are sufficient) I should go to either Lansing or Dayton, or just sit them both out. I didn't want to seem to be partial to one "side" or the other. I've finally decided on MediaWest*Con because of the two, I feel that that con would have less of an atmosphere of "Let's spite the other side" than Altercon. I've deduced from what I've heard (I wasn't at MWC last year, so unfortunately, it's all second-hand) that the raison d'etre for the Dayton con is to express dissatisfaction with the MWC's concom, so that is bound to color Altercon's social atmosphere. I also agree with [name redacted] that I will regret not seeing all of media zine fandom at MediaWest." [3]

From Lori Chapek-Carleton:

"Neither Gordon or have received direct communication from any "disgruntled fen," rumors do continue to fly, and we are usually the last to hear them! As many fans" can attest, I always encourage people to keep the lines of communication open, and we try very hard to make MediaWest*Con as enjoyable as possible for its attendees. I don't want to see any issue become a political infight for the selfish ego gratification of either side," or any side-fandom should be fun, and we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously. I am not aware of any "grudge-match between Lansing and Dayton," though to be honest, it was only recently that Beth Bowles contacted me on behalf of AlterCon. The convention was to my attention via an early flyer a few months ago, and I was puzzled as to the motivations of the ConCom, but I am perfectly willing and happy to accept Beth's explanation and have written to tell her so. Beth was under a common misapprehension that we've encountered, however, that MW*C is an intimate, closed convention." It has never been closed, in the strict sense of the word. We have limited membership, as many cons do, but in the past, the only people who couldn't get in were those who were notified too late that space had opened up. We apologize for that. We can't take responsibility for people who become fans one week before the convention. After all, we do advertise in the letterzines! We do not, however, accept at-the-door memberships. We did try it in the past, and for the type of convention MW*C is, it simply did not work... We do plead guilty to being "intimate," however, and hope to continue to be so I'm bitterly disappointed that so many of last year's attendees remained only names on cards to me... We wish AlterCon and KC Con II only the best luck. But since we're unlikely to change our traditional Memorial Day weekend slot (assuming a MW*C IV in the future), we hope their next conventions will be on different weekends, so that we can hope to attend them!" [4]

AlterCon's concom has a response to the rumors of friction they have heard:

"There is no grudge match" between on and MediaWest*Con. The plans for AlterCon were made early last year. We assumed then that MW*C would continue to be an intimate, closed convention. As [name redacted] points out, media fandom is growing; we think there are more than fans to support several cons (KC Con II is May 27–30 also). We are in direct competition" with MW*C only because we are on the same weekend; the fact is that hotel rates are usually cheaper then. We're sorry to hear that there is friction between the concom of MediaW"est*Con and certain fen," but we're not trying to be part of it. We're hoping to help the world of media fandom grow even larger, by enabling even more flms to experience the excitement and fun in becoming active fen." [5]

Reactions and Reviews

From Boldly Writing: "As an alternative to MediaWest, Beth Bowles, Ann Cecil, and Julia Ecklar... ran Altercon in Dayton, Ohio, on the same weekend as MediaWest... Altercon was also a multi-media convention; it drew about 70 people, and I heard favorable reports about it. Those who attended seemed to have a marvelous time. However, Altercon expected to draw at least five times as many fans, and never repeated itself."

References

  1. from Jundland Wastes #13
  2. a fan from Jundland Wastes #12
  3. a fan from Jundland Wastes #13
  4. from Jundland Wastes #13
  5. from Jundland Wastes #13