Convention Memories: Nancy Kippax: K/S Con

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Convention Memories: Nancy Kippax: K/S Con
Interviewer: Legacy
Interviewee: Nancy Kippax
Date(s): 2007
Medium: print, CD
Fandom(s): Star Trek: TOS
External Links:
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Convention Memories: Nancy Kippax: K/S Con is an interview with Nancy Kippax that was published in Legacy #2.

Similar interviews are Reminisce With Me/Back To The '80s and Reminisce With Me/Conventions.

Part of a Series Called "The Legacy of K/S in Conventions"

Some Excerpts

K/S Con was a unique gathering, and one that elicits my most fond memories. For those who may not know much about it, I’ll try to put down some info for the unenlightened. Don’t ask me about the years, because I’m lousy at that sort of thing. I believe it went on for five years, perhaps six in the early ‘80s.

It didn’t start out to be a “slash” con, but I think it gradually evolved into that. Another example of the burgeoning movement toward the sexual component of the relationship. The con was the brain child of a combined contingent from the Washington D.C. area and one from the Baltimore bunch. In Washington, there was Carol F., Susan K. J., Ginna L., and Merle D. In Baltimore there was Bev Volker, me, and Martha B. as primary coordinators. We dreamed up the idea, Ginna provided the location, and we were off. Ginna lived in a rural part of a Washington/Maryland suburb, in the guesthouse of a large estate with a huge old vacant house. This main house had something like seven bedrooms on two floors, a huge sunken living room, a mostly working kitchen (the cooks constantly cursed the old stove), two basement levels, and something like five bathrooms, any and all of which didn’t work. There was a fireplace in the living room which we were never allowed to use for fear the whole place would burn down! Backstory was that the current owners had the place up for sale, but it was such an old white elephant that it was highly unlikely that anyone would buy it. It would need about the purchase price again in repairs to get it livable. But it was perfect for our needs. K/S Con was essentially a giant weekend long pajama party for serious fans of the Kirk/Spock relationship, as it was then called.

Every year, we went over the weekend before the con (along with our families and anyone we could drag along to help!) to clean it out and set up. From our own homes we took furniture (folding chairs, bridge tables, a long table for the food) lamps, television, vcrs, and a ton of cleaning supplies, mops, brooms, rags, et al. Those who were invited were instructed to bring their own bedding (most sleeping on the floors—there were no inflatable beds in those days), toiletries, etc. The Baltimore bunch did the food shopping for the weekend—menus were prepared ahead of time—and that was a real experience! There were no Costcos or Sam’s Clubs or any such animals back then, so we’d go to a regular grocery store. I wish you could have seen the looks on the faces of other people in line and the cashiers when we checked out! We had supplies to feed thirty-five people for a weekend! Bev had worked at a day care center and knew all about how much it took to feed that many, so she was always the originator of the menu and shopping list. She also did most of the cooking over the weekend…. Foodwise, one of our most popular meals, repeated several years, was a noontime presentation that we called our “City Lunch”—after Kirk’s remark to Spock in “City on the Edge of Forever”—“Bologna on a hard roll for me, and assorted vegetables for you.” We had various cold cuts and sandwich makings, fresh hard rolls, raw veggies on a platter, and one year we made vegetable soup.

Each year the guest list could be no more than thirty-five including the seven organizers, because this was all the accommodations would permit. So as years went on, it became quite an honor to be invited. As people dropped off (usually couldn’t attend for one reason or another), new people would be invited. They had to be seriously K/S oriented because this was a very exclusive group, and in those days slash wasn’t openly acknowledged by mainstream trekkers.

One year the Washington contingent hired a male stripper to come out on Saturday night. He was instructed to wear a Kirk shirt and dance to the ST theme music when he first came out. No one outside the organizing group knew about it, it was a total surprise to everyone, who had just been told that we were going to play a “special game” after dinner on Saturday. We told everyone that they had to have their pocketbooks to play (usually these were left up in the bedrooms by the guests). We called it the “pocketbook game.” The reasoning being that they would need money to stick in his thong when he danced. He was really cute, but he started out kind of scared—imagine coming to this derelict old house literally out in the middle of nowhere (Susan and Carol had to meet him at a gas station up near the highway and have him follow them out to the house, because they knew he’d never find it in the dark on his own), where he was faced with this odd assortment of women (over thirty of them!), with no idea whether or not they were going to physically accost him or involve him in something truly horrible! Poor kid! But as he danced, and as he realized we weren’t going to jump his bones, he eased up and managed to have a really good time with us.

All writers were encouraged to bring their stories, works in progress, anything they wanted to share, and usually in the evenings we sat around reading stories. I remember that this was where Bev, Martha and I read our parody of Nightvisions—we called it Nightsounds. Instead of being blind, Kirk was deaf and we followed the story chapter by chapter, substituting the abject horror of not hearing with hilarious hijinks. Carol and Susan were lying on the floor, totally oblivious as we started. We watched them as suspicion dawned, then became totally horrified as they realized what we were doing. I think they wanted to kill us!

On the convention scene, the biggest venue was still New York City. There were basically two big cons a year—one in February and another in September over Labor Day weekend. Every serious fen flocked there if at all possible. The main attraction for many was the “room parties” held by various individuals. For Kirk/Spock fans, the ultimate room party was held by the Contact editors. Some years Bev and I packed thirty or forty people into that miniscule room provided by the Statler Hilton. On the years that we brought out a new issue of Contact, there was a huge sheet cake with the cover of the issue icing on top. We’d cart this up from Baltimore by car, with it riding atop all the luggage, costumes, food supplies, etc, praying that it made it without being destroyed.

We would arrive at the hotel after a harrowing morning of driving up—we usually formed a caravan of four or five cars, all leaving together and traveling up the Jersey turnpike. Every car was literally stuffed to the gills. Experience had taught us to take extra bedding and pillows, food to munch on and sometimes provide meals for breakfast and lunch—to avoid the expense of inflated NYC food. Sometimes we’d take hotpots or a hot plate and a pan. If anyone in the group was entering the Costume Contest, we had costume materials. And if a new zine was coming out, we’d have ten or more boxes of newly collated and bound zines to sell or give out preorders. All this in addition to our normal luggage. So here we were at last, pulling up in front of the hotel, vying for a luggage cart to unload all this stuff. We’d enter the lobby, aiming for the front desk to pick up our room keys. There would be lines at Registration and suddenly we’d spy someone we knew, or someone would wave or shout our name. Before you knew it, we were greeting old friends with hugs and kisses. A knot would form as others came over to join in. Everyone hugging and clutching at each other. Love was definitely in the air! This was what we lived for, what those fans who lived alone in the solitary confinement of their small home towns waited half a year to experience.

There were other, smaller regional conventions as well. Some were annual, some were one-shot affairs, but all shared that same excitement on a smaller scale. In Baltimore, we endorsed and encouraged the original founders of Shore Leave when they attempted to bring the convention scene to our home town. Later, when Marion McChesney decided to add ClipperCon to the mix, almost the entire Contact Crowd formed the committee and convention production replaced fanzine production for a number of years.