August Party

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Star Trek Convention
Name: August Party
Dates: 1975-1985 (?), with some later anniversary relax-a-cons (see talk page)
Type: fan run
Focus: Star Trek: TOS
Organization: Maryland Association of Star Trek
Founding Date:
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The first media fan con (i.e., run by fans, for fans, with no guest stars) was August Party, in August 1975, chaired by Rich Kolker. Mary D. Bloemker ran registration, and Dusty Jones was a co-chair.[1]

A Fan's Description

This con is run by fans for fans, the guests are just big name fans, and this is what is known as a relax-a-con. The dorm rooms are available cheap, and the entire cost is low. There are stoves in the rooms, so bring your own food. It is a good group. So go and enjoy yourself. Beat the crowds and lines, and meet the real fans: true trekkers. [2]

Its Inception

Rich Kolker (1995):

It was at the 1975 Febcon I was motivated to start August Party. I was trying to get my room key to work when Stu Hellinger dragged me to a party of fanzine editors and such (I was editing a fanzine at the time, so I qualified). Somebody there said that they wished someone would run a con with no actors, no guests, and just a chance for the fans to get together at low cost and have fun. I went back to the recently-created University of Maryland Association of Star Trek, and the first August Party was run that summer (we're having a reunion this summer, 20 years later).[3]

The Roddenberry Phone Calls

From Boldly Writing: "The August Party convention was held in Maryland starting in the 1970s. It always featured a long-distance call with Gene Roddenberry, and the information would then be passed along to the rest of fandom, often by way of reports in various zines."

from the 1979 program book, "The Roddenberry Phone Call," illo by Cory Correll

The Roddenberry Phone Call is an example of TPTB's Involvement and Interference.

See: The Roddenberry Phone Call.

The Sundae Show/Skits and Games

Peter David was a committee member and one of the major players in some "Sundae Shows". Some fans believe that in some of his stories, he used names of other committee members for characters, but this is merely speculation.

One of the main features was the "Sunday Show", which was a stage play sort of thing involving a parody skit of various movies and TV shows, with scripts written by Peter David, who went on to write for Nickelodeon and (I think) Marvel Comics. These skits were not always Trek-oriented. For instance, one year it was "Star Feuds" (a game show starring the Empire Family (Darth, and 3 generals and admirals) vs. the Rebel Family (Luke, Leia, Han and Yoda). Han Solo was dressed as Indiana Jones, but in the "Cabonite" pose from the movie, and squeaking out a weak "oil can...." when addressed. Another year it was "Return to Jedi, Address Unknown", and another time it was "Battlestar Ponderosa". These sometimes started off with a "squad room" bit parodying Hill Street Blues, but with characters from the movie being parodied in the main part of the skit. The Sunday Show also had other parts, such as the "Chairnak" routine, which was a parody of Johnny Carson's "Carnak"...envelope to the head, divine the answer, open the envelope and read the question. For example, answer: Dagobah, question: "What do da sheep say?" [4]

Some 2015 Description and Reminiscing

From a 2015 Facebook series of posts by Rich Kolker:

Q. Did you ever have any of the actors at August Party?

A. We never brought any actors to August Party, which we always thought of as a conference of fans. A group of fans brought Nick Tate, one of the actors from Space 1999, to one of the early August Parties, and he was a very nice guy and didn't disturb the "vibe", but it didn't lead us to change our policy. At one point during the con (still being held at the Maryland Student Union at that point), I was hiding out in the second floor lounge to get a five minute break and Nick, who was either doing the same or just exploring the building showed up. We had one of those nice conversations you'd always like to have with an actor on one of these shows, but it never possible because of the crowds.[5]

Q. How did August Party influence ST:TNG before it aired?

A. A bunch of the AP committee was sitting around a small convention when the idea came up of creating a ST:TNG fanzine immediately, prior to ST:TNG being on the air, or even beginning shooting. It was debuted at Boskone, where David Gerrold got hold of a copy and brought it back to the ST offices. The following Monday I started getting calls they were angry at me for leaking some information I had gotten about the format. When I called the ST offices to beg forgiveness, I was told it was not an issue except that they only had David's one copy to pass around the office. I sent some more, along with a couple of pages of notes I had on the format, as I understood it (cheeky, wasn't I?) The result was that a couple of my suggestions made it into the writers' guide (and many didn't :)), and I got an invitation to see the sets, which turned out to be on the first day of shooting on-set (they had started on location). Later on, some AP committee members would have even more influence, but that's another story.[6]

Q. What did it cost to attend the first August Party?

A. It depended if you wanted to eat [wink emoticon], but membership was $2.50 in advance and $4.00 at the door. You could get a dorm room for $4.00 a night, although it was without A/C, and "August Party Weather" didn't become a thing for no reason. That first (and most of the) cons featured 90+ degree temps and 90+ percent humidity (and a pollution alert). The meeting rooms in the Student Union were air conditioned, thank goodness! [7]

Q. What role did the AP mailing list play in starting Shore Leave?

A. We loaned our mailing list, which at the time was stored on 3x5 cards (kids, ask your parents) to the Shore Leave folks the first year when they were getting their convention started, so they'd be able to publicize their first con to people in the area. It was returned in a timely manner and all was well. Shortly after that we transferred the mailing list from cards to typed formatted forms which could be photocopied directly onto labels. Its final format was on a computer located at the University of Maryland (one of the early PDPs as I recall), where it was lost after we stopped running cons. It never made it to PC format.[8]

Q. Why did you stop?

A. We were tired. We graduated. We didn't want quality to go down. Fandom started to change. The hotel market started to change. Pick two smile emoticon. We've looked at doing conventions on anniversary dates (as we did on the 10th), coming as close as signing hotel contracts and distributing flyers, but it just never came together.[9]

Q. Why did you telephone Gene Roddenberry instead of inviting him to the convention? Why were the calls always on Friday at 7pm?

A. Because we couldn't afford airfare [smile emoticon]. Seriously, expenses was one of the reasons. We did ask Gene later on when we were a little more flush with cash if he wanted to come, but he declined. Why 7pm Friday? Because it was the end of business hours in LA, and most convenient for everyone. Since we knew some folks would miss a Friday night event is why we started transcribing and mimeoing the phone call during the convention. .[10]

Q: Is the shuttle [the con's logo] flying into the sun or out of the sun in the logo?

A: Depends on what kind of day you've had smile emoticon. Seriously, it was just silhouetted against the sun, we never determined which way it was flying. The AP logo didn't appear until the second convention. At the first convention, flyers featured a shuttlecraft copied from the cover of the AMT model box. The logo was created cooperatively by the committee one day in our office in the Student Union. We started with the Enterprise silhouetted against the sun, but changed it to a shuttlecraft since we were a small convention.[11]

Q: Why is it called August Party?

A: It is named after a party held on the Star Trek sets to celebrate all the cast and crew birthdays that fell in that month (see The Making of Star Trek). We decided to hold the convention in August because we were all college students, and that was when we had the time, and the University had space.[12]


cover of the 1975 program book

August Party 1975 was held ().

Joan Winston was the guest of honor, her first con as such.

The August Party is especially designed for Star Trek fans -- the purpose is not to meet stars, or see panels, or films. This is a con where you can meet your friends. It is being advertised only through fannish channels, to keep it small and non-commercial. The August Party will be held at the University of Maryland at College Park just a 'stone's throw from Washington, D.C.' There will be a huckster's room, but only for zines and clubs; there will be also be an art show, a memorabilia auction (bring your own!) and a film room showing many amateur ST and SF films that have bring made... The August Party will be held August 1, 2, and 3. Registration, which will be limited to 750 people, is $2.50 in advance and $4.00 at the door... Room rates will be $6.50 for a single and $11.00 for doubles...[13]

Some 1977 Description and Reminiscing

The quotes below are from Phoenix.

[Rich Kolker]:

The August Party was my baby. My idea, my headache, my joy, my ulcer, my ego. I conceived it, nurtured it, kicked it in the ass to keep it going. The story of the first August Party is the story of three months of my like, culminating in three days of triumph, tragedy and madness. The story of a group of people without one real hour of convention experience between them, putting on a Star Trek convention, the monster of all such undertakings. It is the triumph of the "I think I can" mentality taken to its illogical extreme. Star Trek conventions have been bigger, more organized, better planned; I doubt any have been so much fun, for both committee and members. None of us took notes for these Articles. The chronology is necessary fuzzy, facts may come out of order. But the book fits the convention, not necessarily organized, but we hope it works.

What to do was simple. I wanted a small convention of old time fans. I was sick of the way Star Trek cons had been becoming too impersonal. The old fans were coming to the cons to see friends, not the stars. So I planned fannish panels, parties, a huckster room for fan groups and an art show. Maybe we'd throw in someone from NASA to kill time, and some movies for fun.

It didn't work. About half a dozen memberships came in. We panicked, the convention changed, now we wanted people. Actually, this happened over about a four week period. Another mailing went out. Two news releases. Phone calls to TV and newspapers. Membership slowly crawled upward, then stalled at about 25.

As the concept of the con changed, we realized we needed programming.

I hung around the New York con committee at Disclave (Washington's SF convention) and found out some might be coming down for the con. So I wrote Joanie (who I didn't know at the time) asking that if she came, would she talk about Star Trek Lives and answer questions. An exchange of letters and phone calls confirmed it. Joanie was our guest of honor.

[Rich Kolker]:

Then my million to one shot paid off. I had sent a letter to Gene Roddenberry through Helen Young of the ST Welcommittee asking if he would speak to the convention by phone. He accepted. So for nothing but the cost of a phone call (or so we thought) we get the great bird of the galaxy for an hour.

Then there was great dream number two, the USS Enterprise, all 11 feet (don't argue, I measured) of it. Paramount don't got it kiddies, the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian does and we wanted it. We wanted it bad! This, even more than Gene, was the first that could put us on the map. No convention had ever had the original Enterprise.

We didn't either. You see, when the new National Air and Space Museum opens, the big ship is going on permanent display, and Paramount had abused it. It was in pretty bad shape and was undergoing renovation. But, they asked, "would you like the Klingon Battle Cruiser?" Need they ask? Also a couple of original tribbles, the Enterprise in a block of lucite from "Catspaw" and some scripts. Our good friends at the Smithsonian provided us with a first time only Star Trek exhibit.

[Rich Kolker]: People crawl on their hands and knees to be allowed to huckster at Star Trek conventions. They pay outrageous prices, they do all kind of disagreeable things. At least for other conventions. We couldn't get a huckster if our life depended on it. And if the convention rolled around and we didn't have any, it just might. As of June 30 we had two hucksters, one of them us. We decided to cut down on the size of the huckster room.

[Kathy Davis]: And one reason the committee turned green was Ralph, Ralph was a person, and I use the term loosely, that Mary and Juanita, and I met at the New York Con and have, alas, been acquainted with ever since. I suppose Ralph cannot help being the way he is: loud, pushy, obnoxious, and embarrassing. And Ralph chose to spend his vacation at the August Party. Ralph was amazingly dependable. You could always depend on him to be underfoot when you didn't need him, and nowhere in sight when you did. It was equally certain that he would totally mix up the lunch orders and then blame the girl at McDonald's for the mistake. Wandering away from the door he was guarding, bring in beer despite the no-drinking edict, and generally be lovable.

1975: Con Reports

Although I have been a STAR TREK fan since the first, I had never been exposed to conventions. In fact, I had only learned of their existence a week before, after reading the new book "Star Trek Lives" — Joan Winston's chapters had me hooked. Imagine my excitement when I discovered that not only was a convention being held in my area, but that Joan Winston was the guest of honor!

We arrived shortly as the temperature climbed, The first thing we saw as we entered the convention was a perfect mock-up of the transporter being carried into place. (The irony of this appealed to me.) After purchasing our memberships ($4 seemed a bit expensive to me, but I was willing to reserve judgment until I had seen more) we observed the main convention area, the lobby of the student union building. An interesting character whose neon nameplate proclaimed him as "Filthy Pierre" was sitting at a piano singing some of the most interesting science fiction oriented songs I've ever heard. (Some of the lyrics were spectacular... "The Caves of Steel" to the tune of "She'll be comin' round the mountain" ended with the lines, "As a friend I can't repay you/ by the Asimov that made you/ You're a better man than I am, hunk o' tin!") I bought one of the songsheets he had for sale, but the lettering was almost too small to make out.

My friend soon became interested in a "Kirlian photography" display, and we spent the next few minutes (and dollars) having our personalities read by a strange, halo-reading camera. Fascinating. We also signed a 4-foot high birthday card which we were told would be sent to Gene Roddenberry at the end of the end of the convention. I heard that there was an art display at the end of the hall, so we wandered down to look. Not many people were there, and not much art either, but the complete Star Trek uniforms hung on the wall were pretty interesting.

After examining the hall displays from the Smithsonian Institution's collections (the original Klingon Battle Cruiser and some real tribbles) we discovered where the rest of the people were when we entered the ballroom. About 600 people sat listening to Dick Dyzel, a local TV personality from channel 20 famous for his portrayal of "Captain 20", a pointed-eared spaceman in a silver jumpsuit. He was currently engaged in an argument with a woman who accused him of plagiarizing Spock. We stood around for a few moments enjoying the air conditioning, then got fidgety and left. We managed to find our way to the "Huckster's room", a marketplace of the most wonderful merchandise I'd ever seen! If you had any need of a Spock lollipop, rubber pointed ears or Star Trek comic books, this was the place to be. I had purchased my first Star Trek tee-shirt and a button which read, "I've got a one-Trek mind" when I noticed a small crowd of people in one corner. It turned out that Joan Winston, author of my favorite chapters of "Star Trek Lives", was signing autographs! Kicking myself for not bringing the book, I bought a second copy and held my breath while I had it signed. Joan Winston was simply marvelous, and when I told her I'd read her chapters aloud to the other campers at camp, she gave me a hug and a kiss. We made our way out past a local camera crew.

We tried to step out to eat, but the heat and pollution felt like hitting a brick wall, so we staggered back inside and settled for what we could find in the automatic food vending room in the basement -- white milk was all that was left, so we gulped it down and went hungry.

As it neared evening it became increasingly evident that we were not going to make it home by dinnertime, as my mother had requested. Seeing on the schedule blackboard that the famous Star Trek Bloopers were to be shown at 9 pm, we quickly called home and convinced Mom that we simply COULDN'T leave without seeing them. Reluctantly, she agreed that we could stay long enough to see the bloopers, but no later. Meanwhile, we ran into the ballroom where a massive "Star Trek Trivia" session was being held. This turned out to be just about the most fun I have ever had. A slide would be shown, and everyone would have to yell out what episode it was from. (You haven't lived until you've heard 600 people all yell, "FOR THE WORLD IS HOLLOW AND I HAVE TOUCHED THE SKY!" as fast as they can, which sounds like so much gibberish.)

The pollution was taking its toll on my mountain air-spoiled lungs, as I had lost my voice and developed a hacking cough, so I curled up on the floor for a nap while they showed "THX-H381 The Electronic Labyrinth", a rather dull SF film. My brother and friends wandered off to amuse themselves. (I was amazed no one stepped on me in the next hour...Star Trek fans turned out to be very thoughtful people.) I woke up on my group's return in time to see "K-9000: A Space Oddity", a hysterically funny cartoon satire of "2001". The girl sitting next to me, I discovered, had returned early from a vacation in Germany in order to make the convention. Talk about dedication!

The bloopers, we soon found out, were late. Hoping Mother wouldn't be too upset, we made the decision to stay until they arrived. While waiting, it was announced that the long-awaited Star Trek movie would be out at Easter, and everyone cheered the news. Joan Winston stood up and did a fantastic job of ad-libbing for well over an hour. The audience one-liners were flying freely, boy couldn't understand why serious fans would want to watch bloopers, which are really mistakes made in filming; "It's to pacify the crowds, kid," was the reply.

As my brother and I got increasingly hysterical about what Mom would say, the time dragged on, and still there were no bloopers. We finally made another desperate phone call, SWEARING we would leave the moment the bloopers ended. Finally, at 11:30, the runner entered with the film! We burst into frenzied cheers! The bloopers turned out to be even funnier than they were rumoured to be, and I found I missed several lines because I was simply laughing too hard to hear. True to our promise, dizzy with laughter and carbon monoxide, we made our way home sometime after midnight (the latest my friend and I had ever been out).

The next day, lacking a voice and several hours' sleep, we returned for the final convention activities. People in costume wandered the halls, and I was amazed to discover that many of the fans had actually spent all night at the convention, and some were even from as far away as New York!

All too soon, the festivities were drawing to a close, and the people thinned out as the different activities shut down. I spent the last few hours frantically writing names and addresses of newfound friends and marveling at the number of people in my own area who loved the show as much as I did. (I had always envisioned myself as a lone freak!) About 10 minutes from the official end of the convention, I found the film room where continuous SF movies and Star Trek episodes had been shown during the whole convention. (Just a bit late.)

Wearied from the heat and bad air, tired from continuous activity, and totally and completely happy, we finally left the convention. Never have I felt such total acceptance and friendliness in a group of people before. Joan Winston had said during her pre-bloopers ad-lib that love was "bouncing off the ceiling", and I think she was right. The atmosphere of love lingered on long after the convention was over, and I know that if I never get to another one, I will remember the August Party as two of the happiest days in my life.[14]

This was a very big event for me. It was the very first time I was an invited guest at a convention! Hey, hey, folks!

Rick (Kolker) called me a month or three prior to the Con and asked me down. Rick, I'm going to confess something now. I knew your name, but it wasn't until I arrived that Friday evening that I connected the face. Please forgive me. Anyway, back to the Con. You made me feel so welcome when you met me at the train that I felt like one of the stars coming to one of the Committee's conventions. We went to Denton Hall, and you introduced me to the crowd. I heard this hissing noise, and thought I'd die. Then I realized they were all whispering, "Joanie Winston, Joanie Winston." Whew. I met many great fans that evening, if I start mentioning names, they would fill up the entire article—well, that's one way out!—but you all know who you are. Anyway, we talked Star Trek into the late hours and it was heaven. A very hot heaven, since there was no air conditioning. The next day, I took time out from selling Star Trek Lives! and signing autographs, (don't stop, I love it, can't believe it, but love it) to appear before a large crowd that I am delighted to say, filled the hall. No speeches, just questions and answers about the stars, the conventions, the committee, the movie, and other assorted ST stuff. The audience was very kind; they even laughed (out loud).

Here's a funny, I think. Later that evening, the man bringing gone films got lost or something and I filled in on stage for a short spell, As I fielded the questions from the audience and the fans seated on and around the stage, I felt a tug on my Levi's. I looked down, and a young man looked up at me quizzically and asked, "Who are you?" What do you do in a case like this? Underwhelm him with, "I'm Joanie Winston"? I could hear him saying, in a loud clear voice, "So what?" Fear being the better part of valor, I asked him, "How long have you been at the convention?" hoping he would say he had just arrived. No such luck, he had been there the whole day. "Oh," I said. "Well, why don't you ask someone to tell you? I'm too embarrassed. Next question." Well, after all, Star Trek Lives! had only been out a month and he had probably never heard of the Committee or our cons. I'm glad it happened though. If the Winston head was about to expand, that young man put a quick stop to it. Because no matter what happens, I am a fan first, and I'm proud of it.[15]


front cover of the 1976 program book
back cover of the 1976 program book
Rich Kolker and Larry Price at the 1976 con -- "Filking on the old electronic keyboard. Guess we couldn't "borrow" a piano at this con." [16]

This year's con was billed as the "Not Quite" August Party, as it took place July 30-August 1. The venue: the University of Maryland, College Park.

The con committee was Rich Kolker - Chairman, Dusty Jones - Co-chairman, Bill Ruvinsky - Treasurer & Huckster Room, Dennis Bailey - Art Show, Tracey Dougherty - Films, Mary D. Bloemker - Registration, Kathy Davis - Programming, David Weaver - Exhibits, Pat Paul - Costume Call, and Ira Kroll - Security.

Read a newspaper account that mentions this gathering: 'Space: 1999' Star Is Trekkie Favorite.

1976: The Program Book

The program book contains 20 pages.

The program book: "Our thanks to all the members of t.he media and random too numerous to name vho helped make this convention possible. The AUGUST PARTY is a gathering of fans to have fun, no more, and no less. It is not a show, it is a convention. Presented with love by members of the University of Maryland Association of Star Trek."

1976: The Panels and Programming

  • Herb Frey - Returns with another discussion of the Universe.
  • Dick Preston - The first Enterprise? and O'leal's Space Colonies.
  • Dick Hoagland - Space... the past, the present, and the future.
  • Dr. John O'Keefe - NASA Expert on tektites. Where are we going?
  • Panel - "The Future of Space"
  • A new, never seen episode of "Space 1999" Never seen before anywhere. See the changes made in the second season. Did it help? Hurt?
  • Gene Roddenberry - The Great Bird, Live from L.A. Ask whatever you like. (The Roddenberry Phone Call)
  • Filksing - Song Contest winners will be announced and a giant singalong follows.
  • So ya wanna start a club... The pitfalls and problems of getting a ST or SF club together.
  • Conventions...Memories of the Past - Joan Winston, Thom Anderson, and Devra Langsam talk about their experiences at past Star Trek conventions.
  • Conventions...Visions of the Future - Joyce Yasner, Dana Anderson, and Janice Scott Preston discuss where Star Trek conventions are going. Big cons or small? Fannish or pro? Where are we going?
  • Special Guest - We don't know who (at press time) but somebody will fill this slot.
  • Nick Tate - Alan Carter of "Space 1999" in his first con appearance. Here is the chance to find out why what was done, was done, and where the series is going.
  • Star Trek Lives - Joan Winston and Jacqueline Lichtenberg on the book, and anything else you can think of.
  • Costuming - Dana Anderson (NYSTC Costume call boss), Connie Faddis, and Monica Miller (both multi- winners at conventions) put together a costume on stage and discuss ST, SF and fantasy costuming.
  • Fanzines - Connie Faddis, Carol Ann Lee, and Devra Langsam on how to put one together (and make no money).
  • Joan Winston - "The Star Trek Conventions, or, How to throw a party for 12,000 of your most intimate friends."
  • Ya Shudda Been Here Last Year! - The misadventures of August Party '75 or "Hey kids, lets put on a conI" Rich Kolker, Joan Winston, Kathy Davis.
  • What is a Trekkie? - Janice Scott Preston, Thom Anderson, Monica Miller, Joyce Yasner.
  • Federation Follies - The Vaudeville Show of Trekdom (see above image for program)

1976: Con Reports

At August Party '76, I'm introduced to other fanzines - and it's a little scary, because people are really serious about this stuff! At our dealer's table, I'm sitting right next to a very nice lady who gets pretty weird when she starts talking about being "inducted into Kraith." I know nothing about this, and I'm starting to edge toward the exit. Then I meet Mary D. Bloemker, and discover the world of media fandom. My life will never be the same.[17]

I can remember asking, "What's an August Party?" and being told it was a small fannish convention, back in the early summer days of 1975, but I didn't get to attend one until the following year...

Unfortunately, getting there was another story. That year the AP was neither in August nor, for me at least, could it be called a party. It felt more like a July disaster. Don't misunderstand. It wasn't the con's fault that a four or five hour drive turned into a 26-hour nightmare. Cynthia Levine, Frances Zawacky, myself, and another girl who shall remain nameless, were driving down from New York City, Our nameless friend, however, took carsick somewhere in the wilds of Jersey, near Trenton. We asked an attendant at the rest stop to call emergency aid, never thinking that that meant the local ambulance service to take us to a hospital "nearby". (We didn't know where exactly we were until later.) While I rode in the ambulance with our friend, Cynthia and Fran were scrambling into the car and following behind, barely stopping for a toll booth. Real fun. By 1 a.m., the hospital had decided to admit said friend for the night, and we had to find someplace to stay. I want to thank Holiday Inn; the clerk in one gave us a room and charged us only for a single. The next morning, before returning to the hospital, we called Rich Kolker, fearless chairman of August Party, and asked him to deliver a message to some friends who were waiting for us. We told him: "Our friend has gotten sick and we are in Trenton, New Jersey, We will be at the con later that evening."

Wow, I have to explain that the owner of the car was the person in the hospital (naturally!), who kept insisting that we take it and leave her there. Stubbornly, we kept insisting we would wait until her parents arrived, which was not until the middle of the afternoon since they had to come from Connecticut. They insisted that we take the car, and so we went on our merry way.

Fate, however, was not kind to us. We had no sooner crossed over the Maryland border when a state trooper stopped us for speeding. Try explaining to him that you didn't hear the siren because you were singing filk songs at the top of your lungs. Hah! We paid the $35 fine and kept going. Not to make this article too long, we walked into [18] We quietly found seats and waited for the masquerade to end. When it did, we found our friends, I can't tell you the welcome we got. Well, let me put it this way: somehow our message to Rich had been transformed Into something like "We've been in a car accident, we're dead, but we called ahead to let people know."

Per the remaining fifteen or so hours of convention time, I must admit we had a ball. We met Signe Landon, Connie Faddis, and all the AP crew, as well as Nick Tate from Space: 1999. The convention was held on the campus of the University of Maryland. The events took place in the student centre, but at night we roomed and partied in unairconditioned dorms. Oh well. We made it back to New York in one piece, and our friend recovered as well.[19]

There were things going on behind the scenes at August Party '76 that made it less than a joy for me and the committee. The best I can tell, only one person noticed (at least that told me), so the memories most people have are Nick Tate, the Costume Call, and the infamous Federation Follies, The last of those was a miracle, Try writing a show during a convention, getting through about half a runthrough and then putting it on, I remember grabbing TJ out of the audience and making her the whole band (as I sang, out of key and breath), Dave Klapholz reading the weekend update (and getting the biggest laugh of the night with his "quick flash"), and flailing away at a helpless tribble. The biggest surprise I got was the laugh received by what I thought would be a throwaway gag (in the Olympic falling competition, the scores, USA 5.9, USSR 5.9, England 5.7, East Germany 3.0...okay, it loses in the translation). I sometimes think I will do one more of these things just to pull out all the old Olympic and Election jokes from '76. The tribble sketch is going to show up again this convention. Chuck Payne will not. He won the SF category at that con, and has been a regular ever since. But Chuck's in the Army, and now he's in Germany. And the convention will feel his absence.[20]

There was a con suite, to use the term loosely. In the center was a long table, about three meters by one, around which were chairs, and on which were several loaves of bread, a cooler filled with ice water and cold foods, a six pound jar of peanut butter, and a CB transceiver. People came in and out every minute, and slumped in the chairs or screamed for helpers. The whole place was a pigsty within half a day, and never quite came clean after that.

There was a rewrite session for Federation Follies. Anything that was with the group that had split (don't ask -Ed.) had to be deleted. Instead of a music hall parody, we took off on "Saturday Night Live". In particular, we took off on Chevy Chase's newscast, with our charming announcer, Silver Spring.

Here were some of the boners we had:

"Here is a bulletin. Klingons threaten to destroy Earth at 8, details at 10."

"Commodore Decker is still continuing in his valiant fight to remain dead."

"And now for a quick flash." And he did.

Well, it did turn out to be one of the better sets of jokes.

Then, after improvised rehearsals, we managed to put on a fair show. The music and the acting were conspicuously absent, but we did get laughs.

So ended the second August Party. Like the second man to visit America, go into space, and the vice-president, we have been quickly forgotten by the writers who have showered lavish praise on the first, but, that's the way the tribble bounces.[21]

...Unfortunately, August Party II just wasn't the same. In trying to make it bigger, the committee brought in "Space 1999"'s Nick Tate, which also drew the trekkie-boppers and marginal fans into what used to be a close-knit hardcore gathering. The hassles of providing security put the entire committee in a bad mood, and some of the less experienced gofers were downright rude. The general feeling seemed to be that everyone would rather have been home watching the Olympics. Attempts to make it the same friendly situation as the year before, such as the filksing, failed dismally. The costume show was better than expected, though (Yours truly took best in performance and grand prize for a tearful rendition of "Am I Blue?" introduced by Ruk the Android) and the Sunday night play "Federation Follies" was fun enough to bring back memories of AP I. But the goofs piled up--many of the guests failed to show, and there were sometimes three hour spans with nothing to do. Worth noting, however, were Tim and Denny Pace's Galileo mockup (Tim and Denny were responsible for the EXPO, as well as the transporter mock-up previously mentioned), a FABULOUS exhibit, complete with inside furnishings! A few of the veterans from AP I who tried desperately to keep it friendly: Nick Tate, who was a superb guest, and the advance showing of "The Metamorph" (which got more laughs than the follies).

If only AP II had been a little less restrained, it wouldn't have been so disappointing. Fortunately, Rich reports that next year's will be a "back to basics" con (the committee's last) and hopefully the same abundance of love ("bouncing off the ceiling," as Joanie put it at AP I) will return.[22]

[excerpts from It's Madness by Darlene Palenik, originally written for the Nick Tate Fan Club


cover of the 1977 program book
illo from the 1977 program book, Cory Correll is the artist

Registration was limited to 1500.

From an ad in Scuttlebutt #2: "August 5–7, takes place at the University of Maryland... Registration is $3.50 in advance, $5 at the door... Make checks out to U.M.A.S.T... Events include the 1st Annual Federation Gong Show, a Costume Call, and an Art Show. There will also be a 'Write Your Own Zine' room for the talented/ambitious/energetic. Tales are available in the Huckster Room for $10/fans and $15/pros."

The committee staff: Chairman - Rich Kolker, Programming - George Laurence, Registration- Gail Pittaway, Dealers - Mary Edwards, Helpers - Theresa Renner, Security - Brian Whiting, Films - John Ellis, Treasurer - Carol Ann Lee, Exhibits - Greg Kennedy, Costume Call & Gong Show - T.J. Burnside, Publicity - Molly Clark, Art Show - Utpala Desai. "Other folks who helped early and often: Rosy Ianni, , Malcolm Burnside, Greg Baker, Kathy Davis, Chris Bloemker. And Pat Paul, my roommate and a committee member even though I forgot his name above. He did rooms. And to the folks too numerous to mention who kept telling me what a rotten idea it was to cancel this year's August Party."

The guests of honor were Gene Roddenberry (via The Roddenberry Phone Call), Joan Winston, Jean Lorrah, and Jacqueline Lichtenberg.

1977: The Program Book

The program book has 24 pages.

Some excerpts:

The August Party - An Informal History

In the spring of 1975, a group of sttdents at the University of Maryland together to form a Star Trek organization. Now, when you put together an organization like this you need something to do. We decided to build a full scale mockup of the bridge of the Enterprise. Now it takes a bit of money to do that so we decided to hold a convention.

August is the birthday of many people connected with Star Trek, among them Gene Roddenberry. So every year on the set there was an August Party, hense the name.

Now, none of us had any convention running experience, or for that matter, did the club have any money, but that wouldn't stop fans.

The convention as originally conceived, was to be a small gathering of old time fans who were getting sick of the overcrowding at large conventions. Unfortunately, a lack of response forced us to open the first convention to everyone we could get.

August Party '75 was about 95 percent neofans discovering that there was a larger group of Trekkers. Joanie Winston was GOH, Gene Roddenberry spoke to us by phone and somehow it all worked. For more details read Phoenix II, that was a plug.

Having been trapped into saying we were going to hold another monstrosity, we plunged into August Party '76, totally ignoring the Bicentennial. A couple of Space 1999 fans, one of whom was on the Committee, paid to bring Nick Tate over from England. He was our special guest. Joan arrived again, Gene spoke by phone again and a whole mess of BNFs helped out on panels ranging from costuming to the future of conventions.

Each committee member made a solemn vow never to try anything like this again.

So, of course after a few months of wavering we flew into the breach again. Here we go, August Party '77. The end of an era really, this is to be the last we hold in our Student Union digs. Starting in 1978 we're going to run this foolishness out of a hotel somewhere. That doesn't mean prices will go up, or that the size will be convenient to have your program rooms and bedrooms in the same building.

You may have noticed I ignored the heat at the first two August Parties. I couldn't then so I figured I would now. It was hot, nuff said.

My thanks to the anonymous committee member, I think it was Stu Hellinger, who found me in the hallway in the Commodore and took me to a party where we concluded that fandom needed a small fan con. All that chance meeting cost me was grades, money, and sanity.

Do you know that I haven't made a cent off this con?

No, we are not bidding for the first World Star Trek con, are you crazy!


The time has come to put Star Trek fandom back in the hands of the fans. More and more we're getting pro-books, and pro-cons and unfortunately the fans are getting left out.

There are only a few fan conventions left and these are for the most part small. Therefore I propose the formation of the World Star Trek Society, whose purpose it viII be to hold a yearly World Star Trek Convention.

This is all quite obviously based on the World Science Fiction Conventions, the 35th of which wiII be held this Labor Day weekend.

So why not? What do SF fans have that we don't. Right now they have control of their gatherings, we don't. Here is the proposal. A proposed World Star Trek Society constitution is circulating at the convention. Copies will be printed in "A Piece of the Action" and other news outlets to fandom. It's based on the one adopted at the last Worldcon so it shouldn't be too far off.

Each year a convention would be held Washington Birthday weekend at a different site. The convention committees and sites would be picked two years in advance so they have plenty of time to get the convention set. The first tvo year's conventions would be held at sites picked from those submitted by a panel of fans put together for that purpose. After that, the attendees at a con pick the site for two years hense [sic].

More details are in the constitution, but the important thing is that random would be put back in charge of what we do.

Let's do it.

1977: The Panels and Programming

  • "Make Your Own One Shot Room" - "This is a new idea in Trek fandom. We will provide you with 100 sheets of paper, two stencils, a typewriter and a mimeograph. You provide the rest. The best idea is to get together with a few friends, pool your resources and put out a one-shot. But please, since the materials are free, if you want to sell your zine, profits to the Welcommittee and one copy to the con archives, okay? We're located in room 1104."
  • Exhibits: "Are in two locations. The cases next to the huckster room, and in the basement exhibit room, next to programming 1, 2, and 3. We aren't locked in as of press time, but we should have a 6 foot model of the Klingon battle cruiser, the original cruiser, a 6x10 foot Landsat mosaic of the United States and much much more."
  • Huckster Room: "Located right next to the main ballroom, the August Party huckster room is known for having more fanzines available than at any other convention. As a matter of fact, the first six tables we sold this year were to fanzine publishers. That's more than you'1 find in a pro con with a room three times our size. And that's not all the zines we have either. Have fun, spend money."
  • Film Room: "Down the stairs, follow the signs to the Black and White Room. This year we have 11 Star Trek episodes, the bloopers in color, and SF films galore. A complete list is located later in this book. The film room will be open each day from 9:30 am until they kick us out of the building, except Sunday when we can't get in until Noon, and Saturday night for costume call pre-judging."
  • Costume Call: "Saturday night the strange August Party costume call, hosted this year by Obi-wan Kenobi if the air conditioning works, and Rich Kolker if it doesn't. If you can't participate, be sure to watch. Please don't take flash pictures during the contest, you'll have time later."
  • Art Show: "This year's Art Show should be the best ever. It's a little out of the way so go out of your way to see it."
  • The Federation Gong Show: "Instead of the performance category, almost live, it's the first Federation Gong Show. If you haven't thought up an act by now, don't worry. The real Gong Show has sets that are just as unprepared as you are. Think up something. Participation is the thing. But if the idea of being on stage makes you want to defect to the Romulans or Lost in Space, then join the audience and cheer, or boo, your favorite act on to victory. Remember, no talent is necessary, as a matter of fact, no talent MY be of benefit. This is the wrap-up of three days of madness and I think it fits. Gong donated by the University of Maryland."
  • Filksinging: "Helter Skelter in a summer swelter, the Dinton basement people melter, 110 above and rising faaaaast..." That is an excerpt from the August Party Story, one of the songs we'll be singing at the daily filksings. No great ability is needed, just enthusiasm, and if the inspiration hits you, feel free to write a song and we'll sing it. In addition to the three daily fests, there may be some other informal sings at other times. Join in, maybe you'll meet someone."

1977: Con Reports

The Other August Party Song, to be sung to the tune to "Macnamara's Band," written shortly after August Party 3 by Gregory A. Baker.
We are the August Party, we're the finest in the East
The ideas that we come up with are mushrooming like yeast
We hold a con in August and it's really just for us,
But if you come and pay the fee, then we won't raise a fuss.
Rich Kolker is the chairman and the leader of the con,
He's the only one on whom we raise our hopes upon,
He rants and raves through mid-July, by August he's a mess
Just how he keeps the con intact is anybody's guess.
The Quality Inn was where we slept if anybody'd sleep.
We'd stay awake until the dawn with partying too deep.
And though the maids were diligent, we stayed off certain doom;
We bribed them not to tell we slept a dozen to a room.
Roddenberry's on the phone, he speaks from Hollywood.
He only wants to tell us all the show is looking good.
They have the money, have the script, on Shatner they've a lock.
The show is set to go next spring, but please don't mention Spock.
Baker should be with the bus, so tell us where he went.
He's chasing Jackie down to show his journalistic bent.
He's also sneaking up with Dee to talk about a plot.
Although he's shown he's talented, reliable he's not!
Filthy showed up Friday with his oversized kazoo.
He helped to save the filksing when the music help fell through.
And then he led the marching band, the man could do no wrong,
I think he was the only act that didn't get a gong.
I'd like to sing some more because I think the subject's deep,
But half of you have wandered off, the rest have gone to sleep.
So write the gang in College Park who bring to you once more,
Another source for filksongs, or the August Party Four! [23]

"How's your sense of humor?" TJ Burnside asked me. "About as sick as the rest of fandom's. Why?" I replied. We were in a room in the basement of the Student Union at the University of Maryland in Collage Park. A growing mass of people surrounded us, all of them rehearsing acts for the fist Federation Gong Show on Sunday of August Party in 1977. "Well, you see," continued TJ, "My brother Jamie is going to play Nils Barris, the host for the Gong Show, and we need a whole lot of intros for these clowns, You're elected to help me write them." "Oh." I was also going to appear in the Gong Show, singing Allen Sherman's parody, "Automation", as far off-key as 1 could manage. It was about an hour and a half before showtime, my bit was all worked out, so TJ and I sat down cross-legged in a corner and began to hack out some jokes. Some were standard Gong Show stuff. "I really like this act...but then I like limburger." Others had to be tailored to the individual act. "Now we have three singing Psychons, As you know, Psychons can become anything they like. With any luck, these three will become gone." We were surrounded by contestant entry forms, scraps of paper,and oddly costumed (even for a Star Trek con) people. It seemed that every time we had an intro for every act, another one would show up. Some of them were pretty weird. Myra David gargled her way through the Star Trek theme. Finally, with less than no time left, we headed up to the main program room. Filthy Pierre and the kazoo band struck up the Gong Show theme and we were on.

By the way, my off-key rendition got gonged—by Joanie Winston. Her explanation: "Pat's a good friend, and I didn't want to see him embarrassed any further." [24]

GONNNNGGGGG! "Aw, gee, why did you do that to that great act?" "Well, it's all out there in black and white!.'" So, the singing Cheron left the stage, gonged into oblivion. Well, at least he didn't gargle the Star Trek theme, and he wasn't the Unknown Comic (I was). The first Federation Gong Show came off with a crash not unlike Donald Duck at the beginning of the Mickey Mouse club. The crowd was with us. The Comic was booed (even if Nilz Baris forgot to throw me off after I asked him if he wanted any nude pictures of his wife!, and Larry and his Lyre (I'm going to play my lyre,..) was also appreciated. The trained tribbles won, but Chris Gerkin, the deadpan kid, was the hit. There he sat, handing out props as the two girls on stage vamped their hearts out (I don't think they were gonged).

The amazing thing is that the whole convention almost didn't come off. After August Party '76, we all quit. I went to concentrate on winning the station manager's race at WMUC. I didn't, so we went at it again. We got out of the dorms for the first time (they were too hot anyway), so of course, the shuttle bus driver disappeared. Well, no August Party has ever come off completely without a hitch. But the present committee came together at AP '77, so if for no other reason, it was all worth it.[25]

That was my first introduction to August Party. But it was not to be my last. The following year, 1977, Cynthia, Fran, and I (our unnamed friend refused to tempt fate again) took Amtrak to the con. This time, while the convention was at the student centre, we took rooms at a nearby hotel, and the committee arranged a shuttle service, a van with the name of a shuttlecraft boldly emblazoned upon it.[26]

A small invasion force of Psychons took over a small portion of the August Party convention... the very same convention that last year gave you Nick Tate in person! The Psychons went largely ignored, however, as a new thereat swept ominously into the convention -- it was Darth Vader himself, leaving in his awesome wake dumbstruck and trembling humans and a few Vulcans here and there. Darth Vader's menace was quickly and bravely met by a stalwart band of rebels, led by General Obi-Wan Kenobi himself (alive and well, at least for the purposes of the convention). Darth Vader was eventually vanquished, to the relief and delight of all and in defeat retired to enjoy a movie and a pizza with Princess Leia and a Tusken Raider. Star Wars hit the August Party Star Trek convention in a big way, almost completely eclipsing Star Trek in many ways, especially evident during the Costume Call and in the huckster room. And curiously, no one was complaining. Especially not the owners of the local theater where the movie was currently playing. They were treated to the unusual spectacle of a fully costumed Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and Tusken Raider showing up to buy tickets... The full role call included four Luke Skywalkers, three Princess Leias, one Ben Kenobi (who was ably played by the convention chairman, Rich Kolker), one Darth Vader (in this person's opinion, a very impressive costume, my congratulations to the young lady who executed and wore the outfit!), one Tusken Raider (whatever he looks like under all that cloth!), one C-3PO, one Chewbacca, one Han Solo -- even Han Solo's sister, Diane, was represented. (No, I didn't know either!). And of course, a jawa complete with red, glowing eyes (he mentioned something about flashlight batteries) and at last, but not least, an Artoo unit. He ran on a cable from a remote control box, but he was the hit of the convention nonetheless...Special thanks from me to the gentleman at the table at our back in the huckster room for his showing of the trailers from first season Space:1999 on a portable screen -- it made for some very enjoyable moments.[27]


ad for the fourth August Party from A Piece of the Action #62

This con was held August 4–6, 1978. There is a transcript of the Roddenberry Phone Call in A Piece of the Action #66 and a short con report in #67 that "proved once again that a successful convention can be held without Big Name 'Stars.' Over 1100 fans attended and from all reports, had a fine time. There were panels on Fandom, films, costumes, a Gong Show, a busy Dealer's Room, but the fans themselves made it worth all the while."

Ann Looker was the winner of the Fan Fund and attended

1978: An Ad/Progress Report

ad from the T'Con program book

There was a two-page ad for this con in the first T'Con program book. The ad acted as an informal progress report.

REGISTRATION (LIMITED TO 500) $5 - until July 10 $6 - after July 11


Please send your money in advance as the convention hotel costs a lot more than the university facilities did in the past. And then there's printing costs...don't ask.

PROGRAMMING: There will be two program rooms this year (a big one and a small one). Panels and films will run in each as interest dictates. In plain english that means the more popular programming will run in the bigger room (it would be silly the other way around). Early plans include panels on pornography, K/S, is fandom dying, and filksong writing as well as the regulars on writing, editing, art, and costuming. Suggestions are always appreciated.

In addition there will be an improvisation session, where we will set up ST or SF related situations and have fans act them out. Of course, we'11 have the latest on the Star Trek film, series, or whatever from the best source of all, our annual phone call to Gene.

The AUGUST PARTY costume call is gaining a reputation for some of the beet costumes around. Although we don't get the quantity of some of the larger cons, who needs a dozen Luke Skywalkers anyway? And it has always been the policy of the AUGUST PARTY to have people who know something about costumer; judging the costume call, so the best made and most creative costumes win, and not always the naked women.

The (a bad drum roll please) second annual Gong Show will again feature the worst talent fandom has to offer, and you'd better offer it. After all, this year we have to top someone gargling the Star Trek theme. Work up your act, talent is not necessary, as a matter of fact, it may hurt.

And, the usual filkings, parties, discussions and a scavenger hunt.

BUT - There will be no Disco Trek, no Anniversary Call, no Vulcan Santa Claus and no Miss Galaxy Beauty Pageant ain't that too bad.


In spite of a small dealers' room (and it's smaller this year), the AUGUST PARTY has a reputation for having more fanzines on sale than any otner con around. We do this by keeping the prices low for fans, and soaking the pros, who can afford it.

$ 10 - fanzines

$ 25 - pros

We are going to keep careful track of which is which. Fan rates are only for those selling fanzines and possibly a small amount of other merchandise.

ART SHOW; No hanging fee, and there'll be an auction as well as a contest. Bring your stuff and share it with us.

FILMS: The film schedule isn't locked in yet (it's early) but we know it includes a bunch of episodes, the bloopers, and SF films from Flash Gordon to Bambi Meets Godzilla. If you've got anything, let us know.

ROOMS: Okay folks, now we need those rooms filled or it costs us a bunch more to get the programming rooms, and that money will have to come from somewhere else. So get those reservations in. We have two entire floors of the hotel blocked, and more if we need it, but it's important that you get your reservations in early. When you send your membership, you'll get a reservation card.

All rooms have two double beds.

Singles - $26

Doubles or Twins- $30

Triples - $32

Quads - $36

Send check or money order and SASE: Maryland Star Trek Assoc. P.O. Box 924 College Park, MD 20740

1978: The Program Book

The program book was a self-described "mini-zine."

cover of 1978 program guide
back cover of the 1978 program book
  • humorous biographical notes regarding the concom
  • editorial
  • panel descriptions
  • The Ultimate Fan by W.J. Sadler (A satiric self-insertion 7-page story some starring members of the concom.)
  • Murder on the August Party Shuttle (6-page skit in script form)
  • map
  • list and description of places to eat
  • information about the pay phones, radio stations, and television channels
  • a full-page flyer for Wish Upon a Star, a Close Encounters of the Third Kind zine
[the editorial]:

This program book is more of a mini-fanzine. It's got a story or two, some art, and an odd variety of odds and ends. Everything, as a matter of fact, but the program. That's elsewhere. As a mini-fanzine it also has an editorial (chairmantorial?) and folks this is it.

You may have noticed on the flyers and progress reports a statement of purpose of the convention that goes like this... "The purpose of the August Party is to bring Star Trek fans together in an atmosphere such that they can enjoy themselves. We believe a convention is a participatory adventure, not a show to be performed for unthinking masses. If you wish to be entertained, please do not come to the August Party; if you wish to have fun, participate, and maybe learn a little, please do. As befits a 'party', we provide the structure and background for people of similar interests to come together and interact. The rest is up to you." What I, and the committee, are trying to say is that the most important thing about a Star Trek convention is not guests, nor films, nor hucksters, nor art, it is the hundreds or thousands of fans that have gathered. Here is a wealth of fellow human beings with at least one, and perhaps many interests in common with yours. Use this "people pool" to your advantage. Talk, go to parties, get to know your fellow fans. We were all neos once!

There is never nothing to do at a Star Trek convention. There are always new people to meet, friends you don't know yet.

It seems that many fans have forgotten the meaning of the word convention. It is a gathering whose members have common interests or goals. This is why most conventions sell memberships, not tickets. They are not shows. Many fans misunderstand this and are there to see the stars or films. Procons have this as their purpose; the August Party does not.

We have brought you together. Take advantage of that situation.

Now that I have talked to the neos, let's go on to you folks who have been part of this crazy outfit for a few years. I have recently seen a nasty tendency among old time fans. It seem they have forgotten their roots. Just because someone has called them a BNF they are beginning to believe it, and act like it.

This "nose in the air" attitude has pervaded the last couple of Star Trek conventions I have attended. Parties are no longer open gatherings, but are closed to all but the select few. Old time fans run around in cliques. I have even heard of one fan being thrown out of a party with no apparent reason except who they were, or were not.

I remember how a few years back Star Trek fans felt themselves superior to SF'ers because at our conventions we were so much friendlier and more open. Well folks, you have fallen into the same stinking rut as they, and at the same time, veteran SF'ers are softening their position toward Trek. It is an ominous situation.

The August Party runs a party at every convention they attend. That party is always open, and it always will be, and neos are always welcome.

If infinite diversity in infinite combinations is to be more than a piece of costume jewelry, we must practice the Star Trek ideal we expound. Otherwise Star Trek as we know it will die, and it will not be the fault of networks or studios, producers or stars; it will be the fault of each of us who feels we are somewhat better because we were lucky enough to have heard the dream first. If it is a dream that will not die, then we must now reaffirm the ideals which brought us all together in the first place.

1978: The Roddenberry Phone Call

See The Roddenberry Phone Call.

1978: The Panels and Programming

1978: Con Reports

August Party is a fan-orientated Star Trek con held annually by the Maryland State University Star Trek Club. This year, as Margaret Draper and I intended to be in the United States while August Party was on we decided to attend. It wasn't easy, because many Americans just don't take enquiries from abroad seriously, as those of you who have sent for information on American zines will know! However, with the help of Linda M and one enlightened member of the con committee we finally got registered. Ann Looker joined us, clutching her Fan Fund award envelope and a registration numbered 'position 69', for some reason she kept looking at this and laughing. My registration number was Position 94 - which caused her even more unexplained hilarity... We arrived just in time to register and catch the last half of This Side of Paradise. Then we perused the calendar of events. We were surprised to see this item scheduled for Saturday afternoon - 'Panel, Star Trek Fandom in Britain'. We wondered who was on the panel. Ann enquired just in case we knew them - we did! Our worst fears wore confirmed. We were the panel. I had yet another nasty shock, Ann turned up for the panel wearing a tee-shirt bearing a very pretty picture of Spock establishing a mind-meld on her left breast! She informed me the picture was called 'The Groping Spock'. I couldn't under- stand why. For a while I thought l thought Margaret Draper wasn't going to turn up at all, her nerves having driven her into fleeing the country. But I had doubted her unnecessarily, she arrived just as we were about to start, wearing her fixed smile and a tee-shirt sporting the legend, 'I have abandoned my search for truth and am now looking for a good fantasy'. It appeared I was the only panel-member not equipped with a witty tee-shirt. Had I been the type to stick drawings or sayings on my somewhat ample chest I think I would have chosen "We who are about to die, salute you!' as being tho most appropriate. Anyway it wasn't as bad as we thought and we managed to fill seventy minutes on British Star Trek Fandom. If someone from America buttonholes you at Sea-con '79 and declares 'I've heard all about you British Trekkers' you can blame us, but I can't actually remember a thing we said! After that ordeal was over the rest of the con was great. I got to know a whole lot of people who were previously just names in fanzines. Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Devra Langsam, Leslie Fish, Trinette Kern and many others. We sold all our zines, but it didn't make any difference to our luggage because we bought as many as we sold! I went to a filk-singing evening, having 'lost' Ann and Margaret on the way, and was both flattered and embarrassed when everyone stood up and sang' God Save the Queen' at the end. I wondered if they'd got us confused, after all she's called Elizabeth too! [28]

At the first August Party, I ran it out of my pocket. By the second, the University (of Maryland) wanted a budget, so I gave them one. By the third they wanted a whole slew of forms filled out, and all the money passed through University accounts, and pre- and post-convention audits, and who knows what else. So, for August Party '78 we moved out (that'll show them, our sister sf con, Unicon, which started the same year we did on campus was forced off by the bullshit as well).

Off we were to the Sheraton-Silver Spring. Everything went fine until just before the convention, when we found out a) the hotel didn't have enough chairs to fill both our programming rooms, b) they didn't have enough six foot tables for the huckster room, and c) they rented out the one room we weren't using on the con floor to a singles group Saturday (costume call) night.

The solutions: a) people sat on the floor (we also stole some chairs from other parts of the hotel), b) creative use of eight foot, four foot, and who knows what other length tables, and c) the hotel took one look at us and had the singles group cancel out...that was a good move, I don't think a bunch of mundanes was ready for the flying flapjack.

And, speaking of the costume call, it was "attack the chairman" night. Maybe it was because I was wearing a bellboy outfit, or maybe because Pat O'Neill and I had delayed it to auction off stuff for the fan fund, all I know is it set a dangerous precedent, which later came back to haunt me at a one-day con when I landed on my head being chased by the same flapjack. Don't let anyone ever tell you this chairman stuff is easy! [29]

In 1978, we lost Fran who, because of commitments, couldn't get to the convention. I had arranged a lift with some friends, and Cynthia, because of her schedule, came down later by Amtrak. Since we were selling a fanzine last year, the amount of programming I saw was minimal. But the parties went on and on...

The people who traveled farthest to last year's AP came from England. Ann Looker had won the Star Trek Fan Fund and chose to come to August Party, bringing with her Beth Hallam and Margaret Draper, and some Alnitahs and Gropes. While last year's August Party had close to a thousand people, that is the exception that proves the rule. The AP is small enough for everyone to get together, and large enough to provide something for everyone. And boy do they.

Everything runs well, and if not smoothly, then with very few bumps. There are fannish panels on every aspect of Trek and Fandom, a very fine dealers room chockful of new fanzines every year, and evening entertainment in the finest of fannish tradition. It was the 1977 AP that originated Star Trek's version of The Gong Show, and before that, Jeopardy. Ghu knows what they'll come up with this year. But the highlight of any August Party is the long-distance phone call with Gene Roddenberry. Last year's conversation took place the weekend before shooting began on Star Trek - The Motion Picture. We're all looking forward to this year's call and hearing what news Gene can give us about the premiere this winter.

Rich, TJ, Malcolm, Theresa, Gail, Carol Ann, Molly, George, Pat, Mary, Utpala, Rosy and Larry. August Party has been the highlight of my Star Trek summers for the past four years, and I think I speak for everyone who's ever attended one when I say, "We'll miss you." Live long and prosper.[30]

I remember Leslie fish at August Party in '78 during a panel on whether or not they'd do it shouting "it's natural: animals do it and Kirk and Spock could do it. Back then, Leslie's arguments were mind blowing to most of us.

Back in the dark ages (re 70's or there abouts) most fans were virginal (so a lot of us lied!) and the idea that our heroes Kirk and Spock could possibly be closet faggots was horrifying. At least most of the Star Trek club I belonged to thought so. Hey this was college in the early years of Trek. Fortunately I was exposed to both sides of this raging controversy thanks to knowing some of the more published fans of the time. Rigel (Carol Ann Lee taught me about sexy Spock and Carol Frisbee (Thrust) taught me words my mother never would get to hear. Seriously, August Party was a proving ground for some real fights (arguments with real meaning!) about this new - at the time - idea. The traditionalists were waving the bible and the liberals were sneering and using Leslie Fish's clever retorts to state their case. We were not really the far seeing committee presenting the middle view. Ha. Most of the committee were opposed to slash and the rest or us were just learning to enjoy the sexual revolution in fandom. Fortunately we had [a] strong woman who could support their arguments with logic and reason.[31]


cover of 1979, artist is Corey Correll
back cover of 1979
a August Party photo: 1976 -- fans with Gene Roddenberry: "Q. In the photo on your home page of the committee with Gene Roddenberry, you are wearing squamish t-shirts. What is squamish? A. 43 man squamish was the official sport of the August Party. Originated by Mad Magazine in the 1960's, the rules are best explained by the original article...[32] Gene and Majel both received squamish team shirts." [33]

From the 1979 program book: Rich Kolker:

"Hey kids, let's put on a con!"

When you're 20, you feel you can take on the world. This is a dangerous feeling. Don't give into it, you can get in trouble. When I was 20 I made the mistake of sending out some flyers with the idea of a small, fan convention. It was called the August Party. It has been my curse and joy ever since. It has gained, and lost, me many friends. It kept me in college an extra semester at least. I've never counted the cost financially. Now it is over. I think I'm sad. I know I'll miss it.

Back to when I was 20. My total convention running experience consisted of attending them (ie. I had none). The rest of the committee had less. Well, Theresa (Renner) had been a helper (guess what she got put in charge of?). Now she and Pat Paul are the only ones to make five years with the committee. Anyway, it came off, with no help from us. It was the "love bouncing off the walls", as Joanie Winston put it, that made August Party '75. There were 1200 people, I think 1150 had never been to a con before. They didn't know they weren't getting what they got at a big con. Joanie was there, and Gene spoke by phone, and we all sat on the floor in inch deep, water in 110 degree heat watching Metropolis and Things to Come for the fifth time, and loving it. And we decided to do it.

1979: From Third Progress Report

In case you haven't heard, this is the last August Party. The old gang is spreading to hither and yon and we felt it's better to go out on a high note that to try to muddle along. On the other hand, since we don't have to save a "nest egg" of profits for the next convention, we can spend more money to make this August Party the best we can.

A lot has been made of the smoking/no smoking rules at the con. I never thought people would not attend a convention just because they couldn't smoke in the meeting rooms. Anyway, here's the solution. There will be a stroking lounge right outside the con's programming area, but still no sacking in the con area itself. That's the best we can do folks.

This year's program book will (hopefully) be a five year memory book of the August Party. To accomplish that, we need anecdotes, stories , and art relating to the con or conventions in general. Any photos, particularly those from AP's 1 s 2 are also needed.

Here's the list of panels as it stands now:
  • Professional Trek Fiction
  • L-5 (the space colonies)
  • Special Effects (how to)
  • Where is Fandom Going?
  • Comedy in SF (including the Mork act-alike contest)
  • Amateur Filmmaking (maybe)
  • Art
  • Dr. Jesco von Puttkamer will talk about the Trek movie, the US Space Program and how to get out from under Skylab.
  • Howie Weinstein will show Pirates of Orion and maybe read some of his new Star Trek novel
  • Hal Clement may or may not be there.
  • Special Program: Nuclear Energy/A Debate between Dr. Judith Johnsrud of the Governor's Energy Commission of Pennsylvania and an engineer.
  • Special Program: Not the Gong Show, will include HMS Trekastar, Battlestar Ponderosa, and a variety of other useless giberish [sic].
  • Costume Call, needs no explanation
  • Filk Concert -- Leslie Fish, TJ Burnside, Howie Weinstein, the chairman and more
  • and of course, the Gene Roddenberry phone call, with all the latest on the film
  • and films

Things are beginning to settle in. The fannish panels (you should have a pretty good idea what they are by now, there'll be a list next PR) have all the people we want on then. In addition, we have a few more goodies we've dreamed up. Like a debate on nuclear power (never say we don't keep current) and we've changed the format of some panels to a situation approximating the TOMORROW show, to keep one member from dominating them. In PR 3, we'll go into detail on everything. Until then, here's the big stuff...

GENE RODDENBERRY's phone call is confirmed for 7pm Fri day . As always, Gene will keep us updated on the movie, and you'll have a chance to ask him just what's goin' on. FLIK CONCERT follows the call. Nobody knows exactly who will be there, but good bets would include Leslie Fish, TJ Burnside and Filthy Pierre. More folks too....

COSTUME CALL is Saturday night. As always, we'll have people who know costumes on the judges' panel. Remember, the important thing about costume call is participating. There will be a performance catagory this year.

ART SHOW - We've doubled the size of the art room this year (actually, we got a bigger room, the old one's still the same size). That should help cut down on the crowding. The auction's gonna be Sunday in a main programming room. There's a 25¢ hanging fee per piece, a 10 piece limit, and the con's taking a 10% commission on sales (look 1t couldn't be free forever). If there's enough interest there will also be a sketch table.

RULES - Okay folks, once again with feeling this time. The reason we are doing this is to make things best for everyone. Unfortunately, a few morons have made it clear that voluntary self restraint isn't enough, and neither is a gentle hint, so folks, dis is duh law! Please. NO smoking anywhere in the con area, including hallways as marked. (There will be a smoking lounge,) NO badges will be replaced if lost, so please be careful. Badges are for a single person only and are NOT transferable. The convention committee reserves the right to revoke membership of any person in their opinion disrupting the convention. If you folks have any ideas, let us know.

THE AUGUST PARTY FAN FUND - All bids are final as of June 1st. On that date, the winner of the fund will be notified. Because of a total lack of nominations, the convention committee will decide the winner. You blew it gang! More fanzines, relics, and stuff will be auctioned off at the con, so bring your money.

1979: The Program Book

From Rich Kolker:

No, I won't do it again...I won't, I won't, I won't! This is the last August Party and that's that. That doesn't mean I won't be active in fandom. It doesn't even rule out the possibility that I might work on conventions. Just that this is the last of the series, and so be it.

This time is a crossroads for more than a bunch of people who put on a convention in Washington, DC, The new film is fast approaching and what shape fandom takes in the next few years will be decided soon. The question is, will these "film fen" be made welcome, as we all have been over the years, or will they be locked out as Star Wars fandom has been since the release of that film? Are they going to know what a fan convention, and fanac is, or just John Townsley's monstrosities and the plethora of professional purchases, much of it junk? I don't kid myself. Star Trek is big business and so long as there's money to be made the professionals will be there. But if we let them be the only outlet for these new fen's activities, then when the profits are taken and the pro's depart, there will be nowhere for the neofen to go.

There has to be a decision made, and made soon, that there will be an alternative to Townsley and Mego. The statement has been made that fans can't get together the money to run a con anymore. That's garbage, August Party has proven that. And there needs to be a recognition in fandom that form isn't substance, and a zine doesn't have to be offset and look like Interphase and cost 8 dollars to be worth buying. And first attempts at art and fiction and zine editing should be applauded and helped, and not discouraged or laughed at. We've all written first stories, most of them awful, and we made it through. And there's netting wrong with mimeo.

We've all gotten fat and lazy on success, and too damned pleased with ourselves to remember the days we were hungry and unwanted on the fringes of an SF con. So get out there and beat the bushes, and run a convention, and write, and draw, and put out a zine, and help others who are just starting and remember your youth and delight when you discovered the final frontier.

The film is not the end, it is the beginning.

1979: The Panels and Programming

  • PROFICTION: A discussion of professional Star Trek writing by those who have done it. How profic differs from fanfic, and how to get from one to the other (not necessarily in that order).
  • L-5 COLONIES: What is L-5? How do we get there? And what about Naomi? Members of the Maryland Alliance for Space Colonization will try to answer the first two questions, covering many facts about O'Neill colonies, Bernal spheres and the feasibility of space colonization.
  • SPECIAL EFFECTS, HOW TO: Knowledgeable amateur film-makers answer questions on animation, puppeteering and various aspects of filming.
  • WHERE IS FANDOM GOING?: A continuation of last year's "Is fandom dying?" panel. Whither the movie? How will the influx of new fans affect the convention scene?
  • DR. JESCO VON PUTTKAMER: NASA's head of long range planning, and technical advisor for the new Star Trek movie, Dr. von Puttkamer will be speaking three times during the con. His talks will include such topics as the future of the space program (what's really wrong with the space shuttle?), the new movie (find out all the inside facts) and other topics of interest.
  • COMEDY IN SF AND TREK: Do humor and science fiction go hand-in-hand? A discussion of such examples as "Quark", "Mork and Mindy" and general satire, as well as humor in fanfic.
  • AMATEUR FILM-MAKING: Previously-mentioned knowledgable amateur film.-makers discuss amateur film-making.
  • HOWARD WEINSTEIN: The author of popular ST animated episode "Pirates of Orion" reads from his upcoming novel, as well as entertaining questions on writing for Star Trek.
  • ADULT THEMES IN TREK-FICTION: Once again, we will try to define' *adult", and how this differs from "pornographic". A moderator will attempt to provide direction as three points of view are presented. (WARNING! This panel deals with mature subject matter, and you are under no obligation to attend.)
  • NUCLEAR ENERGY; PRO AMD CON: A serious debate on the advantages and hazards of nuclear energy, with qualified representatives of either opinion. One person will represent each side, and a moderator will preside.

1979: Con Reports

During the course of the Welcommittee meeting at August Party, I casually announced that I was attending my first con ever, although I've been an active fan and STW crew member since 1976. After everyone had recovered from their shock at my statement our chairperson, Shirley Maiewski, asked me to write a short article for APOTA about my impressions of my first con... I'm very pleased that I chose August Party as my first con. It was very pleasant and relaxed. I only caught one panel, a few films and of course the Costume Call, "Not the Gong Show," and Gene Roddenberry's Phone call!! Taking the cue from my more con-experienced colleagues, I mostly went to meet my fellow fans, especially those creative efforts in music, artwork, writing, and editing I've enjoyed so much since becoming a fan. I'd like to thank the August Party con committee for their fine job in programming since what events I did attend, I enjoyed. Rich Kolker with his big, lovable grin, was an outstanding MC at the costume call and "Not the Gong Show." I congratulate him for his great perseverance with the technical difficulties during GR's phone call. I would have given up after the fifth time the phone connection blew, but since Rich isn't me, we all got to eventually hear and enjoy Gene's voice and the latest news about the ST movie. I spent a good deal of time in the huckster's room learning to huckst(?). I lent Trinette Kern a helping hand at her table Saturday, and Lori Chapek-Carleton on Sunday, gaining valuable insight about fans who fork over all kinds of money for all kinds of zines. I was wondering what kind of jobs they had that enabled them to walk out with stacks of zines taller than they were? I left the con considerably richer in ST/SW reading material myself! In the hucksters room I met the most people. The delightfully enthusiastic Leah Rosenthal and Roberta Rogow, kept me entertained for hours with their very vocal selling techniques. The room parties at night were real high points of the con. At one we all sat around watching "Journey to Babel" at another I enjoyed listening to the filk and folk songs performed by the talented group there. I'll always look back on the last August Party as one of the highlights of my fannish life.[34]

Not everyone had a positive experience regarding this con:

( What follows is the text of [Judith H's] letter to the manager of Stouffer's National Center, Arlington, VA, where August Party was held this past summer. She sent a carbon copy to the Maryland State University STAR TREK Committee, and one to me.) -- I cannot begin to tell you how appalled and sickened I am to hear of the damage done to your lovely hotel by some of the attendees at the STAR TREK convention in August. It seems just incredible that one group composed of people such as college professors, authors, librarians, journalists, teachers and the like could be viewing films and holding discussions while another was indulging in whole-sale carnage.

Unfortunately, it seems to be just another part of the uncaring vandalism that everyone faces today. For some reason our society has produced a sub-stratum whose only enjoyment comes from the destruction of anything that is valued by anyone else. It seems possible that any large scale gatherings may become unthinkable in the near future.

It is especially ironic that the Maryland State University STAR TREK Committee has had to bear a large part of the financial burden as they are the ones who were most truly hurt by this ob scene behavior. It's always one group who has to pay for the outrages of another. In any case please accept my sincere apologies for the damage. Although a small minority must have been responsible, we all have to bear the burden. Your position regarding other STAR TREK conventions is entirely reasonable, although I do think it was not the nature of the group but the involvement of immature people who have no idea how to handle themselves that was at fault. Perhaps some day such people can be separated out in advance, but now there is no way of knowing.

Once again, apologies are due you. Everyone suffers from something like this and we can only hope that someday the climate that causes it in our society will be eliminated.[35]

Another fan brought up memories of poorly-behaved fans at this con:

Do [poorly behaved fans] show admiration and appreciation? Do they create? Do they acknowledge the rights and interests of others? Quite the opposite, I'd say. Opposite. These persons are opposites to everything the word fan stands for. Their word should show that. They aren't fans, they're NAFS. They oppose the ideals and interests of fandom. Those Nafs!

Now what to do about the nafs. One is tempted to believe, after reading Sue's letter, that there are more fruits and nuts, not to mention nafs, in the state of California, than in the other 49 states. I may not have Sonni's mileage but I've conned as far west as Kansas City and as far east as New York, and I've only seen one instance of the kind of behavior routinely reported by Sue and Sonni. That instance was at August Party '79. It didn't happen at August Party '81 because the con committee, 1) made an effort to keep trouble some Nafs from registering, and 2) patrolled the halls and public areas of the hotel, all night, every night, of the con. I'm sure it was a giant pain for them, but it worked.


1980 (no con was held)

There was no con held in 1980. See Augustrek.


August Party was held August 7–9, 1981 at the Rosslyn Westpark Hotel in Maryland. Membership was limited to 900. The theme of the program was "The Next Generation... What Can We Teach Them?"

The co-chairs were Rich Kolker, Theresa Renner, and Pat Paul.

front cover of the 1981 program book
back cover of the 1981 program book

In May 1981, one of the organizers had this plea:

August Party is in bad financial shape...I just had to kick in my income tax refund to keep it going. So we need memberships now. I know about the financial problems we're all going through, but if people plan to go to Washington this summer, could they please send in their money now. Even if they're not coming. We didn't plan to do this convention and emptied our account after 1979. Right now, there's less than $20 in checking. I hope this sounds desperate enough, because it is.[37]

1981: The Program Book

The program book contains 20 pages.

Rich Kolker wrote:

Welcome to the last STAR TREK convention.

I don't make that statement with the sorrow I once thought I'd feel. But the fact is—the STAR TREK convention as-we-know-it is gone.

Fandom is diversifying. I don't know if that's good or bad. If it means a growth, and understanding that whatever trail someone follows into our corner of the woods is as good as any other, then the diversification is a good thing. If it just means further splits and dissention as was caused by the K/S debate, or the Trek/SWars mutual lack-of-admiration society, then maybe we're losing something.

I guess what I'm saying is, while we explore new worlds, we must keep our minds and hearts open, to others with other ideas, or even those (and they exist) who are just discovering STAR TREK, and feel what we did 5 or 10 or 15 years ago. An open mind goes beyond fandom, or course. The world seems to be suffering from a singular lack of open minds. Single issue political groups, left and right, are a classic example. Both the Moral Majority and No-Nuke demonstrators are equally guilty, seeing only what they choose to through glasses colored not by roses, but by preconceptions.

Open, questing, thinking minds are the guardian against tyranny, and a preventative for conflict. See yourself as others see you. look at their point of view. And the next time, before you make a statement of incontrovertible fact, that's really just your judgement, try prefacing it with, "I could be wrong..."

So enjoy the last STAR TREK convention. It's been a fun ride.

  • word from the chairman
  • ads for a Trek pro book, several fanzines, pro books by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, other merchandise
  • maps
  • programming info
  • rules
  • incomplete film list
  • an article: "The Planetary Society: Will Space Exploration Get Its Piece of the Pi?" by Howard Weinstein
  • a short M*A*S*H fic by Rich Kolker called "...hello again"

1981: The Panels and Programming

Below is the programming listed in the program book. The chairperson emphasizes that it was "far from complete or even totally accurate. You try typing this a month in advance."

  • Heavy Metal/Dark Crystal - Craig Miller talks about these upcoming films (This upcoming film? Will someone help the chairman out here?)
  • The Con Game - How to Run a Convention - Geraldine Sylvester (Shore Leave) , Lori Chapek-Carleton (Mediawestcon), Linda Deneroff (Lunacon), Devra Langsam (ST Cons) and maybe the chairman. The do's and don'ts, and believe me we've done them all. How to deal with hotels, pick a date, line up guests, find films, set up a program, run a con suite party, stay financially afloat, keep dealers off your back, keep the art auction a reasonable length, and so on, and so on. If you ever want to try one of these things, here is the place to start. Feel free to take notes.
  • Artists Panel - Members to be announced. How to draw for zines and for sale, assuming you have some talent in the first place. What can and can't be printed. Layout and lettering.
  • Copyrights and Wrongs - Members TBA. What is and isn't copyrightable of your stuff. What you can and can't use from your favorite show or movie. Is there such a thing as "common-law" copyright?
  • Is a Picture Worth 1000 Words? - Visual vs. Print SF - Somtow Sucharitkul, Howard Weinstein, Heather Nachman, Hal Clement, Mary Bloemker. The title explains all. A panel chock full of folks from both sides of the SF tracks. See five people try to share two microphones!
  • The Space Shuttle - Greg Kennedy. What's next for America's reusable space vehicle from a guy who works at the Air and Space Museum (and at one time was silly enough to be on the committee). Can it do what it was designed to? Can it do more? Will it do more?
  • Special Effects in Film - Tim Warner, Mark Chorvinsky, Allan Asherman. How they're done. How you can do even. Proper use of them (are we getting too many special-effects-only films?)
  • The Roddenberry Phone Call - As always, from the coast Friday night. Just what we can discuss will depend on the status of the writers' strike. There is work underway for a medium budget (whatever that means) Star Trek film. In addition, Gene is working on some other projects that may or may not be in the discussion stage. We'll see.
  • Filksinging - A filksing is scheduled for Friday after the Roddenberry phone call. Others are unscheduled, to be held haphazardly throughout the con, and during parties.
  • But Do I Have to Work Below The Bridge? - Howard Weinstein, Margaret Clark, Roberta Rogow. Dealing with characters other than the big wheels we see on Star Trek (or elsewhere) What do the other 420 odd people do? Why they're good folks to write about. Avoiding making your favorite ensign or lieutenant a "Mary Sue".
  • Costuming - Geraldine Sylvester, T.J. Burnside. It doesn't cost an arm and a leg to participate, or even win! What to watch out for when you design a costume. Making sure the costume fits your body and personality, Dealing with strange fabrics, materials. Creative costuming for the uncoordinated (ie. you can't thread a needle.)
  • What's Going on Up There? - An astronomy talk by famous SF author and teacher Hal Clement. Those of you who remember Hal's talks at the old Febcons will know just how good this can be.
  • What Do You Do When Syndication Ends? - Heather Nachman, Devra Langsam, Peter David. Keeping a fandom alive when there's nothing to watch on TV, Finding other fools with the same compulsion.
  • Fanzine Editing for Very Small Print Runs. - (I don't know what this is supposed to be about... who am I kidding?)
  • Heroes and Horrors: Role Playing - Role playing panels are always fun, as you know if you've sat in on one. This odd group of characters includes. Peter David as Dr. Who, Greg Baker as Captain Kirk, Joyce Yasner as Darth Vader, and Anne Zeek as Dracula. You ask the questions, they respond in character.
  • Supraman - a slide show by Gordon Carleton. The hilarious parody of Superman - The Movie (Number one) in hand drawn slides by one of fandom's most gifted (warped) comic minds. A must.
  • Dealing - To be held at an odd hour in a small room so the working dealers can be on the panel.
  • Marketing Your Fanzine, club, or whatever. - What will sell. How to set up a table. Everything you need to know to do it right.
  • Costume Call - Saturday night, hosted by the chairman. The prize categories have been switched around this year, to take heed of fannish trends. Get there early for a good seat. Further details on the Costume Call flyer and forms.
  • Art Auction - In two parts this year. A short auction late Saturday afternoon, and the big show Sunday morning. Which goes when will depend on popularity ( as shown on the bid sheets) and the Art Show director's discretion. If you'd like anything in particular to go Saturday, let Mary know.
  • Sunday Show - I'm not going to warn're going to have to put up with this yourself. All new material.
  • Has Fandom Warped Us Socially? - Gail Pittaway, Theresa Renner, Linda Deneroff. A wide ranging discussion by three of the more warped people I know.
  • Humor in Fannish Productions - Peter David, Howie Weinstein, Gordon Carleton. We can't tell you how to be funny, but we can tell you some of the things that are not funny, and what kind of comedy goes over at conventions. Perhaps mixed with bits and pieces of past silliness.
  • Readings - Reading for sure right now is Howard Weinstein from his soon to be published book. Other readings will be posted, All will be held in the downstairs programming room.
  • The Great Writing Test - Howard Weinstein came up with this idea and has volunteered to be one of the victims. Friday, members should put first lines or story ideas into the box at registration. Make them as crazy or off the wall as you like. Then, after the Roddenberry Phone call, the participants will draw a first line or story idea from the box, and will write a short story based on in during the convention. Readings will be given of the completed stories sometime during the convention. Although the lines or ideas can be as off the wall as you like, try to keep them clean. The convention (but not the writers) reserves the right to not use any first line or story concept we deem inappropriate (so there!)
  • Downstairs Programming - Down the big flight of stairs from most of the con is another programming room. This will be used for readings or small panels occasionally as posted, but for the most part it will be open. This room will be used for two things during the open times. One, as a gathering place for fans of various media based types, so they can find out they're not alone, talk a little, and maybe plan a zine, club or something. Two, as a place to show videotapes. The convention will be providing no videotapes, machines, or televisions, but folks are expected to bring them along. If it doesn't happen, we'll find another use for the room. Schedules will be posted by the room, and next to registration. By the way, please don't show feature films that might draw a big crowd in that room, it can't hold it. Try to stick to the unusual and special interest stuff people may not have seen.

1981: Con Reports

The con itself was a lot of fun, but getting there and back again way lot. My car blew its transmission about fifty miles from home… We had been making really good time until then. We finally reached Washington and the hotel at ten Friday night. We had left it nine Friday morning, and I had started on the trip right after working in eight hour shift. I wasn't even making sense by the time we hit the hotel lobby. We not only missed the beginning of the con, we also missed the Roddenberry call. We did enjoy what was left of the con, and I had the unique experience of going in the costume call for the first time in my life. It wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be. I also got to exchange a few words with Hal Clement (alias Harry Stubbs) and managed to remain coherent, a nice change of pace for me. August Party is really a nice, fan-oriented con, and I was sorry to hear that this was the last one. Of course, each one was supposed to be the last—this was the sixth or seventh—but I have a feeling they meant it.... Vida won an award for the most original costume when she showed up as an executioner from a Get Spock story, or, one of the writers from the new movie. She was wearing black leotards, tights, an executioner's mask, high-heeled boots, a green-stained sword, and was carrying a head of Spock.[38]








August Party, the Tenth Anniversary, was held August 2–4, 1985 at the brand-new Hyatt Regency Bethesda. "Come to the con that set the standard for ST/M fan cons!"

front cover of the 1985 program book, artist is TACS
back cover of the 1985 program book

This con was a relax-a-con.

The organizers:

  • Rich Kolker ~ He Who Runs the Show
  • Sheila Willis—Responsibility Shouiderer (Art Show. Programming)
  • George Laurence—Procurer (of Films)
  • Karen Townley—Pre-Reglstratlon
  • Ted Pauls—Dealers
  • TJ Burnside—Costume Call
  • Malcolm Burnside— Roving Troubleshooter
  • Robyn Kevelson Burnside—Program Book Editor
  • Tom Chaffin—Sundae Show
  • Mary Bloemker—Historian
  • Diane Thompkins—Registration Assistant
  • Larry Price—Film Bearer
  • Rosie Ianni—Con Suite
  • Pat Paul—Publicity
  • Gail Pittaway—At-the-door Registration
  • Laura Peck—Sheila's Assistant
  • Pat Cash—Art Show Assistant
  • John Flynn—Video
  • Pat Darby—Vldeotographer
  • Cam Nyphen—Vldeotographer Assistant
  • Kathy Hanson—Artist on Demand
  • TACS—Artist on Demand
  • Carl Zwanzig—Sound Technician
  • Fred Bauer—Sound Technician

1985: The Program Book

The program book contains 18 pages.

It includes:

  • "Chairmantorial, or, That Wolf Fellow is a Pretty Smart Guy"—an editorial by Rich Kolker
  • ads
  • programming
  • film schedule
  • a film parody
  • front and back cover by TACS
  • list of volunteers
  • a map
  • food availability
  • short essay by Thomas Chafin, who at age 15, was the very first August Party guest
  • "One Reality Deserves Another" by Robyn Kevelson Burnside and Sheila Willis, a short fic about a character ("Mary Sue") from the Enterprise who finds herself at a Star Trek con
  • "August Parties I Have Known, Or Why Do These People Keep Calling Me?"—a short essay by Howard Weinstin about his experiences at August Party in the past, mentions he's been a guest or attendee at
[from the con chair, Rich Kolker]:

"Let the word go forth, at this time and place . . . that the torch has been passed to a new generation."

Ok, now It's your turn. If there are going to continue to be conventions like August Party in the future, then new people will have to run them. I have learned that saying I will never run a con again tends to make me a fibber a few years down the road. But, the facts are, the people who make me look good, the con committee, all have other commitments now. So do I.

You can't go home again.

In the past, I have always harped on others for running conventions for all the wrong reasons: Money, hob-nobbing with the actors, trying to break into BNFdom. This time, I fell into the trap.

Hopefully, you won't notice the difference.

I was looking for a return to the "good old days," not all that uncommon in these "It's morning again In America" times. I wanted to re-create the times when August Party was one of the fixtures of Trek fandom that nobody missed, and when the egoboo flowed smoothly. (If I occasionally lapse into fannish, forgive me.)

It was a mistake. You can never, should never, look back. Returning to earlier conquests may look easier than attaining new heights, but it's cheating, and not even easier. Times change and so must we all.

My new project is even more of a long shot than throwing a convention with no money and no experience—especially ten years ago, when the sources for either were few and not forthcoming. A bunch of us are working on what we hope will be the pilot for a one-hour series for cable television. Trust me, you will hear more about "Circle of Friends" before this con Is over. I plan to talk about it plenty.

For most of you, running a convention is not something you have done. You may have attended cons, written, drawn, or edited fanzines, run a club, or put out a newsletter. You can write another story or draw another picture or have another rub at the prestype. Or, you can try something new—run a convention.

It's new, it's scary, it's a trip into the unknown. Gather your friends, work together, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Don't be afraid to ask what mistakes others have made—and how to avoid them.

And when you have succeeded, and done everything you can with the form... move on.

1985: The Panels and Programming

  • NASA—Current NASA programs and upcoming agency goals. Bring your questions, bring your shuttle models, bring your Uncle Jesco.
  • Why Did You Come to this Convention?—How Star Trek affected our lives, our society, our children.
  • Build Your Own Science Fiction Series—You think today's media science fiction is poor fare? Let's get together and build a science fiction series the way we would like to see it done...budget unlimited!
  • Ghosts—spectres and ephemerals, or why are we so taken with "Ghostbusters." "Topper," and 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir?"
  • Writing in the Trek Universe—Luminaries of the professional Treklit genre proffer pearls of wisdom. (Come on. folks, they were fen once, too.)
  • Talking Horses, Talking Cars, and Living Dolls—Those pseudo-science fiction/fantasy series of our past.
  • Times, they are a' Changin'—How fandom has changed, is changing, and will change.
  • "Down Under" Panel—In short: How we finagled two New Zealanders and an Aussie to travel half-way around the world to talk about a TV show that was cancelled 16 years ago. (P.S. We want the America's Cup back!)
  • Lizards—What "V" could have done, what "V" should have done, and what "V" didn't do. Or, what was going on outside the U.S.?
  • Who—Six down and who many to go? They're changing the TARDIS and the format. How much regeneration can we handle?
  • What Happens Next?—Where do Jimmy and the boys (and you too, Uhura) go from here? How can you top grand theft starship?
  • Niggling Questions—The obligatory Burnside family panel. In honor of this momentous anniversary occasion, the entire family has agreed to reunite for one hour only, and will answer all "niggling" questions. What they don't know, they will gladly make up.
  • Blake's 7—What is a "Blake," why are there "7," and are they related to dwarves.
  • S'Wars—We know the middle, how about the beginning and the ending?
  • "Marvel"ous Comics—Fernando regrets he cannot attend, but we have two Marvel Comics representatives who need a write-off for the weekend.
  • More panels, the Roddenberry phone call, costume call, art auction, performance filk, singing in the halls, singing in the Jacuzzi, singing in the shower, singing in the rain, opening ceremonies, closing ceremonies, and the dreaded, breaded "Sundae Show."


flyer for 1995

This con was a relax-a-con.

August Party 20th Anniversary, August 4–6, 1995. Washington, DC. Confirmed Guests: Guests, we don't need no stinkin' guests. We do have some interesting committee members though, like Peter David, Howie Weinstein , Dennis Russell Bailey and Lisa White. Possible Guests: Anything's possible, and we're talking to some interesting people, but if any Star Trek actors show up, it'll be a big surprise to us. Cost: $13 until 6/31/94, $15 until 12/31/94, $18 until 6/31/95 $19.95 after that and at the door. Dealers' Tables are 6' x 30" and cost $50 including 1 membership, limit 4 per dealer (we like a variety). Information: Rich Kolker ...

Information: It was at one of the original New York Star Trek conventions where the idea for August Party was born. At a late night party of fanzine editors, writers and artists, someone bemoaned that conventions were getting too big, expensive and commercial (this was in 1975!) and wouldn't it be nice if fans could just get together and celibate their common love of Star Trek? Six months later, the first August Party was held, in sweltering heat at the University of Maryland.

We eventually outgrew the University (and graduated along the way), but August Party continued. From 1975·79, then a year off and back in 1981, and a 10th Anniversary in 1985. After that, the committee scattered, as careers, families and burnout took its toil. But we stayed in touch, and stayed friends, and stayed fans, and decided it would be fun to see if we could recapture a bit of that spirit from the early days of Star Trek fandom.

The original starship Enterprise went on a five year mission, and fandom has had its share of five year missions as well. Through the years, we've fought to keep the show on NBC, protested its demise, forced animated and filmed versions of the original, and finally benefited from our years of work with new television series. We've written letters to NBC, Paramount and the Editor, published fanzines, and run conventions.

For August Party, we've broken it down like this:

  • Mission One (1966-1970) -First Flight
  • Mission Two (1971-1975) - A Quest, Not an Industry
  • Mission Three (1978-1980) - Triumph of the Will
  • Mission Four (1981-1985) - Holding Pattern
  • Mission Five (1986-1990) - A Generation of Change
  • Mission Six (1991-1995) - For ever, and ever, Hallelujah!
For each era there'll be a program discussing what was happening in Star Trek at the time, and what was happening in Star Trek fandom. Hear the real stories, of the protest at NBC in New York and Burbank the beginnings of Star Trek conventions, the story of how the first ST:TNG fanzine was written and published before "Encounter At Farpoint" had begun filming, and fanzines, video and audio tapes of convention programs, masquerades and shows dating back to the early 1970's. Of course, we'll have a dealers room, film (yes film) and video, filking performances and singalong, art show, open con suite and masquerade as well as the unforgettable Sundae Show, written as always (well usually anyway) by Peter David. We're open to ideas, and welcome the loan of materials or volunteering of help to make our look back (and forward) at Star Trek and its fandom the best and most fun it can be.[39]

"If you're a Trekkie

On the other hand, for the Star Trek fans out there... There was a time when all the Star Trek there was, was three seasons, 79 episodes. The show was canceled, and anyone you asked could tell you --

Canceled TV series never reappear.

This was the time in which Star Trek conventions began. There were no movies to discuss, no novels to criticize, no new episodes to watch. Nevertheless, fans gathered together to share their obsession. If there was no new Star Trek, they would make their own.

The fans didn't watch Star Trek, the fans were Star Trek. A fan built a copy of the bridge of the Enterprise. Fans invented a publishing industry for everything from anthologies to novels to the original Star Trek Concordance. And in 1972, fans gathered together for the first time simply to celebrate Star Trek.

A couple of years later, Star Trek conventions came to Washington (actually the University of Maryland). More than a thousand people spent the first weekend of August, 1975 together. They didn't need actors to make it a Star Trek convention, because the fans were Star Trek. And they still are!

Join your fellow fans at a convention like no other. Where the people who are guests at other conventions (like Peter David and Howie Weinstein) are on the committee. Where you aren't the audience...

You are the convention!
When: August 4–6, 1995
Where: Hilton, Gaithersburg, MD
How much:
$15 - until 12/31/94
$18 - until 6/31/95
$19.95 after that and at the door
(because no convention is worth more than $20)
Dealers' Tables are 6' x 30 and cost $50, limit 4 per dealer
Hotel Rooms $55

Star Trek fans come from a different heritage from fans of things like soap operas and rock bands. We gathered together to raise a television show from the dead, and we succeeded, beyond our wildest dreams. Join us to celebrate that heritage.

  • 30 years of Star Trek and fandom - our six, 5 year missions
  • The Space Program and Star Trek-the right stuff meets the final frontier
  • Teleconferences in the tradition of the Roddenberry Phone Call
  • Replays of past August Parties including Roddenberry calls, Sundae Shows, Costumes
  • Masquerade for costumers from beginners to experts
  • New Sundae Show production written by Peter David
  • Filksongs for listening and for singing
  • Miscellaneous astronauts, writers, congressional staffers, etc. who are also fans
  • Our open con suite for conversation and munching
  • Dealers, Art show
  • Film and video
Join us as we celebrate the real stars of Star"[40]


This con was a relax-a-con. See August Party 40th Anniversary Event Jul 31, Aug 1-2, 2015.


  1. ^ The following year, the American Midwest's first media fan con was held: SeKWester*Con (pronounced "sequester con") in Kalamazoo, Michigan -- from Boldly Writing: A Trekker Fan and Zine History, 1967 - 1987
  2. ^ from Cindi Casby in Captain's Log #2 (July 1976)
  3. ^ "I.S.T.C. - Al Schuster".
  4. ^ comment by Mike B. at WSFAlist at, May 2009
  5. ^ post by Rich Kolker at August Party 40th Anniversary Event Jul 31, Aug 1-2, 2015
  6. ^ post by Rich Kolker at August Party 40th Anniversary Event Jul 31, Aug 1-2, 2015
  7. ^ post by Rich Kolker at August Party 40th Anniversary Event Jul 31, Aug 1-2, 2015
  8. ^ post by Rich Kolker at August Party 40th Anniversary Event Jul 31, Aug 1-2, 2015
  9. ^ post by Rich Kolker at August Party 40th Anniversary Event Jul 31, Aug 1-2, 2015
  10. ^ post by Rich Kolker at August Party 40th Anniversary Event Jul 31, Aug 1-2, 2015
  11. ^ post by Rich Kolker at August Party 40th Anniversary Event Jul 31, Aug 1-2, 2015
  12. ^ post by Rich Kolker at August Party 40th Anniversary Event Jul 31, Aug 1-2, 2015
  13. ^ from The Halkan Council #8
  14. ^ con report by T.J. Burnside (14 years old), printed in the 1979 program book
  15. ^ From the 1979 program book: Joanie Winston
  16. ^ "August Party 40th Anniversary Event Jul 31, Aug 1-2, 2015".. Uploaded with the owner's permission and both fans consent to be identified.
  17. ^ from My Life in Fandom, Deb Walsh, accessed 8.24.2011
  18. ^ TJ Burnside (Clapp) is an award winning filksong artist and contributor of fandom. One of her fist performance was at the 1976 August Party Costume Call as "Dora the Andorian". This inspired a popular comic strip series in Fesarius fanzine.
  19. ^ by Linda Deneroff, from the program book for the 1977 con, reprinted in the 1979 program book
  20. ^ by Rich Kolker, from the program book for the 1977 con, reprinted in the 1979 program book
  21. ^ by Greg Baker, from the program book for the 1977 con, reprinted in the 1979 program book
  22. ^ by T.J Burnside (15 years old), from the program book for the 1977 con, reprinted in the 1979 program book
  23. ^ by Greg Baker, from the program book for the 1978 con, reprinted in the 1979 program book
  24. ^ by Patrick O'Neill, from the program book for the 1978 con, reprinted in the 1979 program book
  25. ^ by Rich Kolker, from the program book for the 1978 con, reprinted in the 1979 program book
  26. ^ by Linda Deneroff, from the program book for the 1978 con, reprinted in the 1979 program book
  27. ^ a con report by a Space:1999 fan: from Command Center July/August 1977
  28. ^ from STAG #31
  29. ^ by Rich Kolker, from the 1979 program book
  30. ^ by Linda Deneroff, from the 1979 program book
  31. ^ comments on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (July 29, 1993)
  32. ^ "Quiz Olympics". Archived from the original on 2022-06-26.
  33. ^ post by Rich Kolker at August Party 40th Anniversary Event Jul 31, Aug 1-2, 2015
  34. ^ from Carol Mularski in A Piece of the Action #78
  35. ^ from a LoC in Warped Space #43
  36. ^ comments by Beverly Zuk, see I'd like to comment, yet again, on fans and their relation to the stars. (1981)
  37. ^ from Interstat #43
  38. ^ from TREKisM #22
  39. ^ "ad at Gryphon". Archived from the original on 2020-10-21.
  40. ^ "August Party (w/date this time)".