CopCon

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Convention
Name: CopCon
Dates: October 21–23, 1983
Frequency: once
Location: Claremont, CA at the Howard Johnson Motor Inn
Type: fan run
Focus: Starsky & Hutch, other media cops
Organization: Donna Hutt
Founder:
Founding Date:
URL:
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cover of the program book, by Signe Landon

CopCon was a Starsky & Hutch and other media fan convention that was held in Claremont, CA in the fall of 1983. Approximately 40 fans attended.[1]

The Guest of Honor was Karen B.

According to the program book, there were thirty registered guests, and twenty-seven fans who did not attend, but were "support."

program schedule
video room offerings

The con's charity was "Children of the Night," a program that assisted runaway children and teens.

Donna, the con's creator, explained in the program book: "Way back around Christmas last year I was talking with Diana Barbour about Zebra-Con. Or really, the lack of Zebra-Con. [Karen B] was taking a vacation for a year. What a wonderful opportunity, I thought, for a STARSKY & HUTCH convention in Los Angeles: Plans were made, permission given, people gathered together, a charity picked and away we went. At the beginning, COP-CON was to be a STARSKY & HUTCH convention. However, I quickly discovered that not only did I have other interests, so did everyone else. Thus, the multi-genred format was created. Most of our policies are taken straight from Zebra-Con, and most of the traditions remain — the intensely social nature of our fandom, in particular. We truly are a family, with all the various personalities, spats and hugging that goes on in any family."

In the S&H letterzine #37 the Z-Con organizer discussed handing out Huggy Awards at CopCon, as 1983 was the one year that Z-Con did not take place.

I've heard that Donna Hutt is planning an S&H con for next fall, and I wish her well. Anything I can do to help, Donna, just ask. But don't anyone confuse CopCon with ZEBRACON, please! They are two separate entities. I think it's a good sign that our tiny fandom can support three conventions. The Question of what to do about Huggys for '83 has arisen, and Jean and I have tentatively decided this: Deadline for eligible zines will be August 31. Ballots will be mailed out with the letterzine probably in July, and must be returned -- to me -- not the l/zine, and if CopCon takes place (as I sincerely hope it will!) attending winners will be presented their certificates at that convention. None of this is totally definite yet, so I'll let you know.[2]

One notable event: It was at this con that Nancy Arena, a fan who'd been running the US Pros Circuit Library,[3] agreed to transfer materials and "ownership" over to Karen B.[4]

Con Reports

This con, according many fans, was not a success:

This con has the distinction of being the worse con I have ever attended. I'm not sure what the Con chairperson had in mind when she decided to organize this con, but the result reminded me of one of my ten-year-old's endeavors. Jumping into a project, wanting to do it, but not having the knowledge of the amount of work or responsibility and when it falls apart, yelling "Mommy, help." Well, there comes a time when 'mommy' isn't around to bale one out and the responsibility for the failure of CopCon as a con must rest solely on the shoulders of the lady who planned it.

The L.A. area is a wonderful place full of marvelous restaurants and terrific hotels/motels. These days all kinds of groups are holding conventions where people of similar interests can get together, have fun, and exchange ideas. Hotels are catering to these groups. The Howard Johnson in Claremont is not one of them. While this place was clean, efficiently run, and suitable for over night accommodations, it was not designed for conventions and frankly didn't know what to do with us. While the motel might have been convenient for the Con chairperson, it was most inconvenient for many of the attending members.

The banquet — and I use the description loosely — did not take place in one of the thousands of wonderful restaurants in L.A. of which Chez Helena is only one; it took place at a Mongolian Barbecue (if you don't know, don't find out). To begin with, the place was a good twenty minutes from the hotel and with the directions we were given, we ended up at the wrong one. (Yes, dear God, there is more than one of these dreadful places.) I don't like to wait on myself when I go out to eat; I can do that at home. I also don't like to have to go into the kitchen to find a waitress to refill the coffee cups and the wine glasses. I assume the presentation of the First Annual Fuzzy Awards was humorous, but the acoustics in the room were so bad that I couldn't hear a word spoken by anyone— except [Karen B] . It's very difficult to pay attention to a speaker when you can't hear him or her.

Dealer's room. Was there one?

Art Show/Auction. There wouldn't have been one except that [Jean C.] and [Karen B] stepped in and handled the work, the auction, and the organization. The one thing these ladies couldn't control was the non-payment to the artists by the con committee. While I understand this is the policy at certain cons (however tacky it might be), the policy of a con regarding payment to artists for sales made at the art auction should be in writing to artists along with the rules of the art show.[5]

It seems a shame that the Guest of Honor of a con should have to work just to keep the con limping along, but even worse to be criticised for her efforts.

All in all, the con was a failure as a con, and that responsibility must be assumed by the person running the con.

However, we were together and in L.A. and being a resourceful group of people, we had a really good time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We did Hollywood Boulevard, cruised the park, spent several hours in traffic on the Hollywood Freeway, got lost once or twice and had delicious, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Fandom can be wonderful even when surrounded by ineptness.[6]
Kendra's review of CopCon was to the point and perhaps a bit mild. In 13 years of con attendance I've never seen one run so poorly! It was a great weekend. I met folks I'd been writing to, which was FANTASTIC — but it was a dreadful convention. The few times I stuck my nose into the video-tape room, the "who are you and why are you here" vibes from the folks that seemed to spend the weekend there convinced me to spend time with more con genial people. I wasn't expecting those folks to greet a stranger with cries of joy, but I also didn't expect to get my eyebrows frosted either. Ah well, it was an interesting weekend, despite all. (And our group did Kendra one better — we ended up at two Mongolian BBQs before we found the correct one!) [7]
...a great big THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to the Fan Fund that got me to CopCon. Special hugs and kisses to Tabby, Paula and Marian for all their hard work. I had a great time in California and I could never have gone without all your help. In a year when I'm not producing a zine or a con, it's nice to feel appreciated anyway! [8]
CopCon was the worst con I hate ever attended. Fortunately, S&H fans are capable of entertaining themselves, and we were in L.A., and it was a nice excuse to get together, but there's just no substitute for ZebraCon.[9]
If Copcon was the worst con you've ever attended, your selection of of cons to attend must have been overseen by Gabriel and his horn. I've been at so-called professionally run Trek cons which were much worse, and we won't even discuss some of the last few World Cons (shudder).[10]

2015 Comments by the Con's Creator

Something that crossed my dash this week - and it’s still needling me days later, so I’m going to throw something new into the ether on it.

I was stunned to find out Fanlore had an entry on Cop-Con. David Lubkin​ had been so kind to pass some photos he’d taken at the banquet to me, frankly I hadn’t been in a frame of mind to care even if any were being taken at the time I hadn’t known there were any. That was about a year or so ago.

Since then, the Hanky Panky archives have been added, it would seem. That letterzine - by invitation, hush-hush-don’t-you-dare-TELL ANYONE - letterzine, is now public and available for viewing. Anyone in that, go tell Fanlore if you have any objections. I was never on that list, and never saw what they said about me.

I find myself rather nonplussed. *I* wasn’t happy about how the convention tailed out, to be blunt - but Paula Smith had been supportive, consoling me with ‘but it was your baby, and you did it in spite of everything - you can be proud of that.’

Annie Yeager​ and Dave Yeager​ came in at the last moment to staff the con when everybody poofed on me. They had neither interest or knowledge of the material, and they ran the dealers room and art show. Yes, we had them. We had *no* other staff, if someone needed a potty break, the room closed while we got one.

I ran the video room all by myself. Matter of fact, I had intended not to sleep so I could keep the videos going - when I found myself neatly tucked into bed - still in my clothes, still in the video room, with everything turned off - I was livid, apologized profusely and got things underway with the understanding that was not to happen again.

I was told to have things. Like a first night reception. My mother spent three days making baklava for me. I baked carrot cake one night - all night - because I couldn’t afford the catering - for a reception NOBODY CAME TO. I put the food in the video room and let people have at it.

I was approached regarding the art auction with “please, let us help you?” Of course I accepted, thanked them from the bottom of my heart and grateful? Seriously.

I happily drove Leslie Fish​ around Los Angeles after the con closed, she was the only one who took me up on the offer to go visit locations. She sang me so many wonderful songs. Very much the reward, sez I.

As far as paying artists at auction time - folks, I was the bank. I said no sleep. Also, I’d never participated in one of these before, and was completely caught flat-footed. When I got back to the ability to process checks/money orders the Monday after, those were the first things to hit the mail, even before I got reimbursed for my expenses. You know what? That’s on me. I wasn’t prepared for that. I was all alone.

I still managed to send $350 to Children of the Night. We’ve had a relationship since then, I’m proud to say.

I was barely old enough to sign contracts. Cop-Con was a month before my 23rd birthday. Terri Librande​ helped design the con, and Franny Moore-Kyle​ was one of the people who advised me (thank you both), but nobody local - except for Annie and Dave - came to my rescue to help run the con, and if people stepped up during the event? Relief, you have no idea. I accepted any offers with both hands and grateful beyond words.

Hanky Panky, by its nature, was never to be shared with the public at large, and folks truly thought they had the privacy to let fly at will. Looks like they had a lot of will, and without me present to defend myself?

Look. Go ahead. (Where the FH is Chez Helena? I couldn’t afford that, I was in college working two jobs and chewing water at the time. Sounds great. Where was the suggestion ahead of time?)

Yeah, it wasn’t the best time I had either, thank you very much. (And I’m holding back.) But none of this was ever brought to me, outside of 'you know, don’t say anything to so-and-so, they don’t like you very much.’ Nope, as Marian Kelly used to say, 'we eat our dead.’

Paula, I could use another hug.

BTW, if you want to show someone what a con run by one person looks like? Here you go. This, unlike recent events, actually happened. [11]

References

  1. Kyburg, Live Journal, posted May 15, 2009, accessed July 22, 2012
  2. from S and H #37
  3. founded in 1980-1981, see The Professionals Circuit for more info
  4. According to Karen B. herself, writing in issue 2 of The Hatstand Express, she became involved with The Professionals at Cop Con which was held in October 1983.
  5. In "Between Friends" #2, a fan writes that artists were indeed paid for their work; it just took over a month. "... I, and to the best of my knowledge, the others, did receive checks from con com. Let me say that it always has been and always will be the policy of ZebraCon to pay the artists on the last day of the con. My feelings about Cop Con's payment policy are fairly well-known so I'm not going to belabor the issue here. However, buyers please note: woe betide any of you who bounce a check to the ZebraCon artshow!"
  6. from Kendra H in Between Friends #1
  7. from Between Friends #2
  8. from Karen B in Hanky Panky #10
  9. from Hanky Panky #10, keep in mind this comment was by [[the creator and head of ZebraCon
  10. from Hanky Panky #11
  11. Cop-Con 1983, WebCite, November 10, 2015