MediaWest*Con/MediaWest*Con 1983

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Name: MediaWest*Con 1983
Dates: May 27-30, 1983
Location: Lansing, Michigan
Focus: multi-fandom
Founding Date:
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front cover of 1983 program book
back cover of 1983 program

Some Facts About the 1983 Convention

  • The theme that year was: "MediaWest*Con Take 3: The Return of the Midwest"
  • The con program book ncluded a letter from Maureen Garrett thanking fans for their involvement in fandom and in zines: "On behalf of LucasFilm I want you to know how much we appreciate your enthusiasm, support, and incredible talents regarding the STAR WARS Saga which you so lovingly share through your fanzines. We consider you our friends -- and mind you even the best of friends disagree occasionally." This is in reference to Open Letter to Star Wars Zine Publishers by Maureen Garrett.
  • There was a Georgette Heyer Tea and Dance.
  • Many folks went to a movie theater to see "Return of the Jedi." "Return of the Jedi had premiered just 63 days before [the start of MediaWest*Con 1983]. There were some Trek panels, but those were few in number. Most panels were generic or devoted to other "media" fandoms. This year the Fan Qs were divided into the interest categories Star Trek, Star Wars, Starsky and Hutch, Doctor Who, and Other ("other" was a catchall category including multi-media fanzines or media fandoms not large enough to merit a separate category)." [1]
  • The convention organizers submitted a long explanatory letter to Interstat # 63: "Contrary to popular rumor, MediaWest*Con is not a "closed" convention. Membership in the past has ranged from the 300's to the 5OO's, and we prefer to have the convention remain as intimate and friendly as possible. We have not set a final cut-off number of attendees yet, but are waiting to see if there is a natural limit. We will not, however, take any memberships at the door, and thus memberships will be cut off by date (as of yet unspecified), if not by number of attendees.We welcome feedback on this. In the past, we've had waiting lists, but have always been able to offer those on the waiting lists an attending membership at the con. MediaWest*Con is a multi-media convention, with emphasis on STAR TREK and STAR WARS fandom. No fandom is excluded, and all are welcomed....As of the end of October, we have over 200 attendees signed up already."
  • Some fans felt there was a "grudge-match" going on between MediaWest*Con and Altercon, a convention scheduled around the same time. Both convention organizers wrote letters to the Jundland Wastes denying this (see that page, issue #13).

Fan Q Awards

For specifics, see 1983 Fan Q Awards.


The con play was "S*M*A*S*H".

Masquerade Awards

  • Best Humorous: Doctor Pooh (Bobbie Pallone)
  • Best Original: Thall (John Drouillard)
  • Best Group: Royal Family of Amber (Laurie Farkas & Co.)
  • Best Non-Star Trek/Star Wars (tie): Aroree (Diane Scott) and Sark (Melody Womack)
  • Best Fantasy: Mrs. Beaver (Mary Gross)
  • Best Apocryphal: Ewok (Missy Mitch)
  • Best Star Trek: Joachim (Ken Keisel)
  • Best Star Wars: The Emperor (Mark Hyde & Co.)
  • Best In Show: Red 4 (Jenny Hiza)
  • Best Cheap: Generic Fan (Tim Blaes)

Art Show Awards

  • Best Star Trek: "Straight On 'Til Morning" by Joni Wagner
  • Best Star Wars: "Why Didn't You Tell Me?" by Scott Rosema
  • Best Non-Star Trek/Star Wars: (tie) "If You Believe in Faeries, Clap Your Hands" by Joni Wagner and "Queen of Thieves" by Frank Liltz
  • Judge's Choice (Lori Chapek-Carleton): "Octagon Fantasy" by Genevieve F. Saylor
  • Judge's Choice (Gordon Carleton): "Queen of Thieves" by Frank Liltz
  • Popular Choice (ballot vote): "Eclipse" by Barbara Fister-Liltz

Vid Show

We are looking for any info on the pre-1998 vid show winners. Also information as to when the first fan vids were shown at MediaWest*Con and when the first Video Show was held.


Some panels: "Women's Roles in SF/Media -- in Print and Screen," "Morality in Fandom," "SF Literature -- Also a Medium," "SW Fan Universes," FIAWOL/AWAL: Once a Fan Always a Fan?", "Neo Orientation," "Fen Vs. Fans: the Important Difference," Japanimation," The Empire and Imperial Point of View," "The Perfect Man for a Fannish Woman," "Real Fen Don't Eat Quiche -- The Rebuttal," "Going Pro in Medialand," and "Zine Publishing."

Convention Reports

MediaWest 3 was the first con I went to, and I was surprised at the lopsided ratio of women to men. It's less so at non-media cons, of course; in fact, I've been to some where there are more men than women (list available on request ...but you might want to think twice about it!). [2]
To those who missed MediaWest Con: It was at once educational, enjoyable, zany, profound, and even edifying. The camaraderie was infectious; the good humor unmatched by any I'd ever experienced. The panels, in particular, were fine examples of shared opinion without hurting anyone's feelings. I learned that ethics and morality in fandom are important elements; that the novelizations of the SW Saga are only supplements to the film (the final authority) and not necessarily written in granite. I have found mediafen to be open, warm, intelligent, creative and great fun. The costume competition and art auction were revelations of creativity and imagination mixed with fun and laughter. We attended ROTJ en masse—about 500 of us. Even though the film was delayed due to mechanical problems and we didn't return to the hotel until 3 a.m., no one complained. When the panel gathered the next day to share comments and/or brickbats, most (about 90%) agreed that the film was a joy and quite satisfying. The Ewok Chorus was charming, enchanting and delightful. Like the film, the chorus members shared a true "Celebration of Love." I never expected to enjoy myself at a Con as much as I did. I made new friends, took lots of photos and was inspired to write my first story for a zine. [3]


  1. Joan Marie Verba, Boldly Writing page 63.
  2. Fan convention report from Southern Enclave issue #4 (1985).
  3. from a new fan in Southern Enclave #2