MediaWest*Con/MediaWest*Con 1991

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Convention
Name: MediaWest*Con 1991
Dates: May 24-27, 1991
Frequency:
Location: Lansing, Michigan
Type: fan run
Focus: multi-fandom
Organization:
Founder:
Founding Date:
URL:
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Some Facts About the 1991 Convention

  • The Lansing Holiday Inn West failed to honor their contractual obligation to provide "all function space" to MediaWest*Con by double-booking two weddings in the main ballrooms. The convention was forced to hold a banquet and the Masquerade in the humidity of the "Holidome" pool area.
front cover of the 1991 program book
excerpt from the back of the 1991 program book
"Emergency Progress Report" #1, first page -- due to its nature and late date, this was tucked inside each program book, not mailed
  • by all accounts, this was a very stressful con; the hotel pulled the rug out from the convention in terms of promised space, forced the banquet into the hot and humid pool area, curbed and reneged on all sorts of agreements, and were about as nightmarish as one could be in all other areas. Lori Chapek-Carleton wrote a long letter to Comlink #49 describing the events in detail, and said the convention was looking into legal action
  • the first progress report had at least 1600 attendees listed by first name, last name, area of residence, and each member had a number: "Memberships between 1-99 constitute Staff, 100-299 are Apocryphal, 300-499 are Supporting, 500-699 are Gofer, 700-999 are Other, 1000 & Up are Attendees."
  • In the second progress report, a fan, Patience Sibeal, wrote that she is "taking a multi-media class working as a beta-tester with a new computer program that interfaces laserdiscs, vcrs & cds; if there's anyone at the convention who can lend her a videocamera or help her tape some of the convention for one of her projects, she'd be grateful & and would send them a tape of the final version. Or if anyone would like to show their fannish videos as part of her projects, drop her a line -- there's a possibility her work in this class may be shown at a national computer education conference in June."

Fan Q Awards

For specifics, see 1991 Fan Q Awards.

first page of the first progress report -- it was fourteen pages long

Skit

From the first progress report: "If you have a play you'd like to perform, we must approve your completed script beforehand, and you must specify anticipated running time, special effects required, etc. If you need to advertise for actors, send the info in time for inclusion in the next P.R.."

The second progress report listed two con skits in the planning: "The Last Temptation of Kirk" (from Ken Keisel and the "Not-Ready-For-Rehearsal-Players") and "The Phantom of the Enterprise" (from the Pittsburgh Entourage).

"The Last Temptation of Kirk" was performed Saturday night, and "The Phantom of the Enterprise" was preformed Sunday afternoon.

Fan Fund

This year, as there were not enough nominees to require a 1991 ballot, a cash award was made to Susan Clarke who was the sole nominee, and her name was carried over the the 1992 Fan Fund ballot.

From a progress report:
The Fan Fund enables the winner to attend a convention s/he otherwise would not be able to attend—the only requirements are that the nominee be a fen, and need the money. Nominations are free, but votes cost $1; the Fan Fund raises the money it awards the winner through these votes, and through auctioning donated items. You must be an active fan to nominate, and the nominee must also be an active fan. Deadline for nominations is March 1 (postmark). There must be competition for the Fan Fund to occur (i.e., at least two nominees are required to have a ballot), and a fan needs only three nominations from three different people to be eligible for the Fan Fund ballot. Include phone number and address of the nominee with your nomination, and include a s.a.s.e. for the final ballot. If you don't want to nominate, but do want to vote, send Deb a s.a.s.e. and $1 (minimum contribution). The Fan Fund has been dormant, due to either largesse on the part of fandom, or simple apathy, and has not awarded in the past couple of years. PLEASE PARTICIPATE - THE FAN FUND DOESN'T EXIST WITHOUT YOU! Cheek out the Fan Fund Auctions—both the silent bid auction in the Fanzine Reading Room, and the regular Auction held during the convention. The old, the weird, and the truly bizarre is commonplace; contributions of money or items for auctioning off are gladly accepted; please make prior arrangements with Deb when donating fan material so transportation arrangements can be made.

Party Suite and Other Gatherings

From the second progress report:

"Melea & Mark Fisher once again will host the Rebel Alliance Breakfast from 9-10 a.m. Sunday. Tickets are $2 and will be available in the dealers' room."

"Robin L. Belyea will host a WISEGUY party Saturday night around 10. Contact her now or look for flyers at the convention listing room number/further info. Theme will be the fishing trip; attendees should provide their own flannel shirts & fishing caps, hip waders optional. Robin is also looking for fans interested in forming a fan club for actor Jonathan Banks (Frank McPike -- WISEGUY). Please send a postcard with your name & address or see her at the con. She'll be working in the Fannish Video Room. She wants to know if there's enough interest to make this a viable venture."

"GHOSTBUSTERS fans! Who ya gonna call for a frightfully good time? Pam, Sandy & Barb, at their REAL GHOSTBUSTERS Room Party on Friday night of Media WestCon 11! Food, fun & fungus will be there, why not you? Come & see your favorite episodes, talk with fellow R.G.B.fans, share story ideas! If you'd like to bring any thing, or have any special ideas, let us know! Write Pam & Sandy [address redacted]."

"Watch for a SHERLOCK HOLMES Party to be held Saturday night. For further info, or to volunteer help, contact Sharane McCurry [address redacted]."

"Phantom Notes will be hosting a Champagne "Broadway Block Party" Sunday 2-4 p.m. Come as your favorite Broadway character! There is a $5 refreshment fee. Send to Jenn Bills [address redacted] or at the con. Costumes optional."

From the program book:

There was a Sherwood Forest Feast on Saturday night.

Forces of the Empire held a Star Wars auction.

Auriette Hahn had a special preview of the Sci-Fi Channel.

There was a Twin Peaks scavenger hunt.

A fan aired Star Cops "for anyone interested in seeing what the fandom is all about."

Dr. Angela-marie Varesano presented "'Operas of the Phantom's Era'" for anyone interested in finding out what melodies echoed throughout the Paris opera houses during the lat 19th century."

Janet D'Agostino-Toney and Terry Neill held an informal filksing.

Regarding Rumors

From a progress report:
Remember, Lori and Gordon are the only two people to contact concerning the truth (or tack of it) pertaining to the annual MediaWest*Con rumors. Re this year's rumors, the convention has not been cancelled, we have not yet reached our Attending membership limits, nor have we been kicked out of the hotel. It's true we always reach our membership limits, but we're seldom sold out as quickly as everyone seems to think. And contrary to one rumor, you needn't be a fanzine writer to attend) IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT ANY ASPECT OF MEDIAWEST*CON, CALL OR WRITE LORI OR GORDON. Accept no substitutes!

Photocopiers Must Be Registered

From a progress report:

'Zine piracy seems to be a serious and growing problem, and we've been reliably informed that at least one attendee brings a xerox machine to MediaWest*Con for the express purpose of pirating 'zines. Other dealers are selling obviously unauthorized copies. Dealers must be the publisher of the 'zines they are selling or have written authorization from the publishers. If the dealer does not have a letter of permission to sell, then the copy will be considered a pirated 'zine. Questionable 'zines will be withheld pending contact with the publishers. If piracy is proven, convention membership will be revoked and dealer space denied without refund. Because copy machines are an on-site problem, MediaWest*Con now requires all such copiers brought to the convention to be pre-registered. Send Lori and Gordon your name, make of machine, and the reason it is at the convention. If you aren't willing to provide this information, then why are you bringing the machine? We are sorry about this, but reports of piracy are on the increase, and 'zine piracy increases the costs of all 'zines and hurts the honest 'zine publisher. Since MediaWest*Con is known primarily as a fanzine convention, we're trying to protect the integrity of fanzines everywhere.

The local copy shops have been warned to check for copyright I.D.s on all 'zine printing requests.

Regarding Some Sneaky Hotel Tricks

From a progress report:

Apparently the problems experienced last year with the Holiday 1m unable to honor guaranteed reservations were largely caused by devious fans who, when told that there were no rooms available for the weekend, accepted rooms for one or two days earlier. Once installed, they refused to leave. We will be working with the Holiday Inn this year, and if we find any at tendee pulling this trick again, will eject them from the convention.

The Food!

From a progress report:

Saturday dinner: SHERWOOD FOREST FEAST. Hunter Stew, Rock Cornish Game Hens, parsleyed potatoes w/pine nuts, wild rice, baby carrots, green beans, fruits & cheeses, vegetable tray with dips, salad bar, assorted desserts (including Black Forest cake), rolls & butter & beverages, all for $23. What ho!

Sunday lunch: THE LEAP HOME LUNCH. Homestyle cooking in the Midwestern style of Mom Beckett: meatloaf, fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, macaroni & cheese, mixed vegetables, corn w/diced red peppers, apple pie, rolls & butter & beverages, Al for $14. Oh, boy!

Monday breakfast: THE TWIN PEAKS BREAKFAST. Twin towers of doughnuts, scrambled eggs with bacon or sausage, hash browns, whole fruits, assorted muffins & assorted juices & beverages, including damn fine cups of joe, no fish, owl for $8.

The Fanzine Reading Room

From a progress report:

Jan Gosnell once again heads the Fanzine Reading Room. The Fanzine Reading Room Rules will be posted in the roan, or anyone can request en advance copy by writing Jan. Do NOT send a s.a.s.e. unless you can include Canadian stamps or 50 cents Canadian or American moneyI As always, Jan is seeking loaned 'zines for the Fanzine Reading Room. Please contact her immediately if you plan to loan 'zines. If you or a friend can't transport them, mail them to Lori and Gordon, marked "Attention: Fanzine Reading Room." if the 'line is to be returned to you, include a s.a.s.e. with sufficient postage. If you'd like to donate the 'zine to the Fan Fund, please notify Deb Layman as well. 'Zines submitted to the Fanzine Reading Room fall into three categories. 1) REGULAR LOAN (for the duration of the convention). 2) FAN FUND LOAN (the 'zine is displayed and used in the Reading Room and then auctioned off for the Fan Fund). 3) PERMANENT LOAN (the 'zine is still the owner's property, but remains in the care of MediaWest*Con's Fanzine Reading Room until such time as the Reading Room is discontinued, after which it is returned to the owner or auctioned for the Fan Fund, at the owner's choice). For each 'zine loaned, Jan needs the following info: title, year of publication, rating (G, PC, PG-13, R, X, etc.), which fandom(s), "slash" contents or not, if it's a Fan Q nominee, the category, a general idea of contents (story titles, well-known contributors, etc.). Readers select which 'zines to request from the information contained on file cards. If you are bringing "repeater" 'zines, please mention this, as most of the file cards from previous years have been kept and can be reused. Please do not send Jan lists of 'zines you have available for loan and ask her to choose--you choose. The Reading Room accepts any and all 'zines: classic, current, letter, filk, fringe fandoms, multi-media, etc..

It helps Jan considerably if she receives all information on loaner 'zines as far in advance of the convention as possible. The best times to reach Jan by phone are between 7 p.m. end 10:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

Video Programming

From a progress report:

Videotaped programming is provided to creatively further the interests of society through the study of techniques used in television, film, and other media. Videotapes are used productively to further interest and self-expression through the visual arts and literature, and we believe this to be a fair usage not intended as any form of copyright infringement. Congratulations to the 1990 MediaWest*Con Fannish Video Awards winners from MediaWest*Con X:

ORIGINAL: "Pressure" (Sterling Eidolan and The Odd Woman In) [of California Crew]
INTERPRETATION/SINGLE MEDIA: "You Can Call Me Al" (Sterling Eidolan & The Odd Woman In) [of California Crew]
Honorable Mention: "Nobody's Side" (Bunnies from Hell)
MULTI-MEDIA: "We Need a Little Christmas" (California Crew)
CONSTRUCTING REALITY/SINGLE MEDIA: "If You Asked Me To" (I.C. Oranges) [of California Crew]
CONSTRUCTING REALITY/MULTI-MEDIA: "One Night In Bangkok" (Frozen Treats) [of California Crew]

All MediaWest*Con video equipment is VHS format, unless someone brings a Beta machine and makes it available. MedisWest*Con end the video room staffers are not responsible for any videotapes chewed up by the video room equipment, but to the best of our knowledge, no serious damage has occurred in the past. Sheryl Adsit is coordinating the Fannish Video room; anyone interested in scheduling their fan-produced videos should contact her. There is a 15 minute per PERSON limit on the amount of videos entered in the Fannish Video Competition; anything entered over that 15 minute limit could still be shown at a time other than Friday night and any other "competition" re-runs, but would not be eligible for prizes. Group entities are entitled to 15 minutes of video for each person making up the Group. Entrants in the Fannish Video Competition will also have to designate what category each video is entered in; Sheryl is designing an entry form for each video-producing entity to use to register the videos with her, somewhat akin to the Art Show's requirement of pre-notification of participation. This procedure will make it easier for audience members to identify the videos, end will also clarify the categories. Those interested in entering the Fannish Video Competition should send Sheryl a s.a.s.e. immediately for rules and regulations. Those interested in voting should check out the Fannish Video Viewing room at the convention (added hint: read the entire contents of your membership packet as soon as you pick (t up at the convention!). Fannish videos aired in previous years are also encouraged to be re-run; check with both Sheryl and with David Grono for availability of scheduling places and times, or arrange viewing parties out of your own hotel rooms. David Grono requests the following on video for the Video Room: episodes from the TV series LOGAN'S RUN, PLANET OF THE APES, MAN FROM U.H.C.L.E., and MAD MAX (the unfubbed Australian version of the movie), and announces that DARK SHADOWS episodes (the first series) are already scheduled to be shown. Please write and tell David what you'd like scheduled for viewing. Lori and Gordon vote for screenings of the delightful TINY TOON ADVENTURES.

We encourage people to utilize designated posting spaces to advertise special video screenings they plan to show in their guest rooms.

Selling Your Stuff from Somewhere Else Than the Dealers Room

From a progress report:

Mary Ritter is once again coordinating dealers working out of their Holiday Inn hotel rooms in the official Dealers' Hall. To participate, you must first make your room reservation directly with the Holiday Inn. Then you must contact Mary to request space on Dealers' Halt. You must pay $10 to Mediawest*Con (sent to Lori and Gordon); this will include your participation in the official Dealers' Hall Program Book ad listing your name, merchandise, and room number. This service is only open to Mediawest*Con members.

MediaWest*Con has no policy against individual attendees selling out of their hotel rooms, but emphasizes this is NOT part of Dealers' Hall, we collect no fees, and we provide no services.

Masquerade Awards

We are looking for any info or photos of the Masquerade contest and winners.

1991 Winners

  • Best Young Fan: Jacklyn Rose Keeler, "Princess Beldaran of Riva"
  • Most Humorous/Best Cheap: Ken Keisel & Ralph Overton, "Fish Slap Dance"
  • Most Clever: Kristin Small, Sue Van Dalen, Pippin, Heidi Harbaugh, "A Special Report"
  • Most Elegant Original: Serena D. White, "Princess Sin"
  • Best Characterization: Mike & Rachael Maley, Jean-Marie Dewey, Julia Scott, Rebecca Nelson, "The Marriage Market"
  • Best Historical: Linda Busse, "Cheyenne Woman"
  • Best Presentation: Sandy Williams, Janet Paderewski, "Phantom Finale"
  • Best in show: Mary Jean & J.R. Holmes, "Doc Emmett Brown & Clara"

Workmanship Recognition:

  • The Marriage Market, for Best Floral Arrangement
  • Cheyenne Woman, for Best Ethnic Techniques
  • Phantom Finale, for Best Makeup
  • Doc Brown and Clara, for Best Workmanship

Door Decoration Awards

We are looking for any info or photos of the Door Decoration contest and winners.

Door Decoration Gallery

Art Show Awards

Art show winners were selected by popular vote.

Winners

Judges's Choice:

Vid Show

It is unclear whether there was a vid contest that year. In the 1991 Post-con Progress report, there is no list of winners and a brief notation: "No entries, no results."

However, in another progress report the following info was printed:

1991 MEDIAWEST*CON FANNISH VIDEO AWARDS

HUMOROUS

  • Honorable mentions: "The Addams Family" by Thumper (one vote behind the winner)

SINGLE MEDIA INTERPRETATION: "I Dreamed a Dream" by Thumper

MULTI-MEDIA INTERPRETATION: "Riders to the Stars" by California Crew

MULTI-MEDIA CONSTRUCTIVE REALITY: "California Earthquake" by California Crew

Acknowledgments

  • Co-Chairs: Lori Chapek-Carleton & Gordon Carleton
  • Programming Scheduling: Darlene F
  • Fan Quality Awards/Gofers: Jeanne Sullivan
  • Fanzine Reading Room: Jan Gosnell
  • Fan Fund: Deborah Laymon
  • Dealers Room: Lori Chapek-Carleton
  • Room and Hall Dealers: Mary Ritter
  • Orphan Zine Sales: Peg Kennedy and Bill Hupe
  • Video Programming: David Grono
  • Art Show: Gordon Carleton, Jesse Susan McClain
  • Blood Drive/Scuba Class: Kim Dyer
  • Masquerade: Seth Bonder
  • Fannish Video Programming: Sheryl Adsit
  • Security: Seth Cutts

Programming

Friday

  • Yessir, That's My Baby: Feminism in Media, are there any strong role models?
  • Cute as a Button, How to Make Your Own Aprocryhal
  • David & Goliath: The Relationship Between Fans & the Studios/Networks, how to make them listen and understand
  • Phantom of the Opera: Turn Your Face Away: The Attraction of POTO
  • For Those of You Who Just Came In, an overview of information/services available to fans
  • To Review or Not to Review, That is the Question, does critiquing belong in fandom?
  • Wild About the West, has the Old West become fashionable again?
  • War of the Worlds: They're Baaaack...
  • Atten-hut!, a look at military series
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Engage"-ing, ST:TNG comes of age
  • One Out of Ten? Gay Characters in Media
  • Isn't It Just Loverly?, the attraction of British shows
  • Critter Con'91, Time to let your aprocryphals cut loose!
  • Quantum Leap: Homeward Bound, The Leap Home and its affects on Sam and Al
  • Sherlock Holmes: Elementary, My Dear Watson, the staying power of fiction's premier sleuth
  • Who Are These People? Special Problems in Writing Fanfiction, alternate universes and original characters
  • Robin of Sherwood: Where Are the Outlaws Now?, what the stars are doing now, including info on Praed's new vampire movie
  • Alien Nation: Love With the Proper Alien, Matt & Cathy, should they? Could they?
  • One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, the growing trend of turning fannish shows into graphic novels (comic books)
  • Surely You've Heard Of..., aficionados of small fandoms unite
  • You Blockhead! How to cure writer's block
  • Who Was That Masked Man? Heroes with Hidden Faces
  • Two Steps Behind, 2nd Bananas and Their Role in Media
  • Everything Old is New Again, paganism, witchcraft, crystals and other "New Age" concepts
  • We Still Don't Get No Respect: Fans of Sitcoms Strike Back!
  • The "Cartwright Syndrome" or, why the love interest must die before the ending credits
  • Oil and Water: or Knowing When to Cross Your Universes
  • Beauty and the Beast, Tunnel Vision, does the last season really count?
  • Writing, Don't Worry, It's Only a Flesh Wound, medical accuracy in fanfic writing
  • Dr. Who, can it survive without the Doctor?
  • Sticks 'n Stones May Break My Bones But it Takes a Stake to Kill Me, why we're "batty" about vampires
  • Discussion groups: Northern Exposure, Wiseguy, Jap/animation, soaps ("the hidden fandom"), Dinosaurs (the series), space exploration, British shows, bad guys we love to hate, Simon & Simon, Twin Peaks, the lure of Pern, Outer Limits

Saturday

  • Bridging the Big Pond, American vs. British cop/spy shows
  • Publishing: Cleaning Up Their Act, how to edit without alienating your contributors
  • That's the Spirit! Ghostly Aberrations Among Us
  • Star Wars, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away, the future of the fandom
  • Costuming: Patterned for Success, how to put together the right look
  • ST: TNG Official Technical Manual, a "sneak peek" at the book due out in July 1991
  • Blake's 7: And Then There Were None, did anyone survive the final episode
  • Twilight Zone: Submitted for Your Approval, the enduring appeal of the series
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation, why we love it!
  • Writing: How to Tell a Better Story
  • I Can't Help Falling in Love with You, Series Romance, or can't men and women work together without ending up in bed?
  • Sonny Crockett: The Lone Ranger of Miami Vice, "Vice" as a modern western
  • ST: TNG: Lust in Space, relationships aboard the NCC 1701-D
  • Shh, Quiet Pleas, taking time to research before you write
  • The Center of the Universe, are we alone or are "they" out there?
  • Blaster Battle Basics Training by Forces of the Empire
  • Harrison Ford, We're Just Wild About Harry
  • Art: A Sheer Stroke of Genius, choosing the right material for your work
  • Stephen J. Cannell: Judge for Yourself, an overview of his impact on television
  • Beauty and the Beast: Speculations & Reflections, what is Vincent, what will baby Jacob grow up to be?
  • The Professionals: Still Growing Strong After All These Years, Why?, an introduction to the fandom
  • Writing: That's an Anatomical Impossibility!, how to write realistic sex scenes
  • I'd Give It a B+, 50's and 60's Sci-Fi Movies
  • Discussion groups: My Life and Times, live theatre

Sunday

  • ST:TNG: A Figment of My Imagination, the holodeck, a place for recreation or an addictive influence?
  • Kiss It and Make It Better, why we love to bash'em and smash'em with hurt/comfort
  • Forces of the Empire club meeting
  • Quantum Leap: Looking Before You Leap, what really happens when Sam "leaps"
  • Photography: Say "Cheese", how to take great con and "off-the-tv"photos
  • Underwater World of MediaWest*Con SCUBA Experience
  • Dark Shadows: Opening the Crypt, was the new series worth the wait?
  • Writing: Enough is Enough, the art of the short story and knowing where and when to stop
  • Ask M. Wizard: The Annual Science Panel, science in fanfic
  • Birth of an An Alien Nation, the series as social commentary
  • Art: Stamp Out Creativity, a hands-on panel, expressing yourself with rubber stamps
  • Divine Intervention: An Overview of Organized Religions
  • Twin Peaks, a Damn Fine Cup of Coffee, the attraction of the series
  • They're Heeerrre... The Alien Invasion, good (Alien Nation, ET, etc) vs evil (War of the Words, V, etc)
  • Publishing: Back to Basics, beating down the rising costs of zine publishing
  • Slanting Our Outlooks: Why Must We "Slash" Every Fandom?
  • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe: Don't Panic!, a hitchhiker's guide to the fandom
  • The Professionals: Professionally Speaking, a fandom overview
  • If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It, when writers "improve" series that were fine to begin with
  • Publishing: The Future is Now, how to use state-of-the-art equipment for fanzine publishing
  • Get a Life!: The Humanization of Androids, or, is a computer capable of having emotions?
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: Sex, Lies, and Videotape, the enduring appeal of the series
  • Star Trek: Can They Do That?, the prime directive (TOS) vs first contact (TNG)
  • Mel Gibson, wishing we were down under M.G.
  • Make'em Laugh, humor in fanfic
  • The Rainbow Connections, minorities in media fanfic
  • I Can Get It For You Wholesale, how to track down photos, foreign material, etc.
  • Star Trek: Silver Streak, the series celebrates its 25th anniversary
  • Tearing Down the Wall, does meeting the star(s) alter your view of the fandom?
  • My Buddy and Me, why we love'em in pairs
  • The Sandbaggers, an introduction to this fast-growing fandom,
  • Mythology in Miami Vice
  • Phantom of the Opera 1911-1991, Still Haunting After All These YEars
  • Star Wars Auction, held by Forces of the Empire
  • Buckaroo Banzai: Laugh While You Can, Monkey Boy!, not just a cult classic, it's a way of life!

Convention Reports

"As for MediaWest, it is a fan run media convention over the Memorial weekend (Friday through Monday of each year.) It is in Lansing, Michigan. Membership are $35, with none sold at the door (they usually sell out about in Feb/March.) It is zine heaven. Many people will get their zines ready to premire them at this con. There is an art show featuring art by fans (some of it damn good), 118 different panels ranging in subject from Alien Nation to X-Files (this year includes "Brisco County Jr.; More than just another western?" "The Man From UNCLE: How would these characters handle today's political changes?" "Westerns: Is the new crop of westerns a sign that we want to return to a simpler time?") The subjects tend to be TV shows, SF or buddy action movies. It is a weekend I spoil myself with, browse zines, talk tv with old friends and generally REALLY relax." [1]
I know the hotel had its share of problems (to put it mildly), but this was my first year at MediaWest and I had the time of my life! It was great meeting so many people whose writing and art I'd already come to admire through the pages of various zines...I felt like I'd stepped back in time to the '20s and was sitting in on the Algonquin Round Table or Harpo Marx's Thanatopsis Inside Straight and Literary Chili. For those unfamiliar with that elite club, it was a non-stop party of famous (and infamous) wits, artists, writers and talents. Conversations were outrageous, funny, unlikely, and a great deal of fun. That sums up MediaWest for me, too. I have only one complaint! I was "kicked out" of the SW party (I didn't realize payment was required in advance). I don't mean to sound sour (honest!), but the request to leave was abrupt and impolite. Being a newcomer to MediaWest and a relatively new SW fan, I admit to being a bit hurt and very disappointed. To add insult to injury, the person in charge asked if I was a mundane! Now, that's getting low! I'm really not trying to use SE as a forum for complaint, however, it might be a good idea in the future to handle such situations with a bit more decorum. Incidents like this could very well prompt a new fan to leave the fandom. But, as for me, exactly how does one go about paying for the party next year?! [2]
I was extremely lucky to be able to make it to MediaWest*Con this year. I was apparently one of the many fans who had a wonderful time in spite of the hotel problem: (My favorite comment on that: 'Nice hotel you've got here ... it would be a shame if something were to happen to it...!') I'm sorry I didn't make the SE gathering. Although its scheduling was probably perfect for most SW fans, I was working the art auction (I know, I know--every year I swear will be my last for working the art auction). I hope the SE gathering becomes an annual event; who knows--maybe next year I'll hang tough and not work the art auction, so I can attend it. [3]
The convention itself was a lot of fun. I was on six panels, my favorite being 'Lust in Space: Intimate Relationships on the Enterprise.' I also attended four other panels. MediaWest is a showcase for new fanzines and there were plenty of them... The masquerade was interesting in that there were several historical costumes presented. You'd think no one would do historical at a media con. 'Best in Show' went to a couple dressed as Christopher Lloyd and Mary Steenbergen from Back to the Future III. They were wearing the 1890s costumes from the final scene in the movie. [4]
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Lansing, Michigan, and Hellcon... er... MediaWest*Con 1991. For your enjoyment, we have lost your luggage, double-booked your hotel facilities with not one but two wedding parties of mmdanes, arranged for high heat and humidity, and set the hotel fire alarm so that it will go off repeatedly and without warning all weekend long. We hope you enjoy your stay in Hell! Egads! Was it that kind of weekend? You bet it was - and more! For those of you who haven't heard, there were major problems with the Lansing Holiday Inn West. The hotel ownership changed hands last year when the Hilton Inn was sold to the Holiday Inn people. Last year's con was normal but evidently this year the management decided that we were no longer welcome. Eight days before the con, they informed Lori Chapek-Carleton that we would have to vacate our already reserved facility space because they had booked in two wedding parties for Friday and Saturday nights. It was too late to make other arrangements, so we all made do with a frantic shuffling of activities, spaces and panels. Somehow, it all came off more or less on schedule, but I believe that Gordon and Lori are suing the hotel for breach of contract. At the very least, they've lost our business and MediaWest*Con will be moving to a new hotel next year. SASE Lori for more info. or all of that, it was a fun con and there were many SEers in attendance. It was very good to meet Judy Yuenger, Tina Bentrup, Cheryl Pryor, Leanne Wingo (welcome to SE!), and so many others. It was good to see Carolyn Golledge back with us, along with Ming Wathne, Tim Blaes, Wanda Lybarger, Barbara Anderson, Rebecca Carey, Cypher, Laura Virgil, Kathy Agel, Annie Wortham, and Leah Rosenthal. Apologies to everyone I haven't named here. I see so many folk; at the con, I can't remember who all I spoke with and who I didn't! First up on Saturday morning was the STAR WARS panel and it was a good one! One of the major topics of discussion was the fact that SW fandom has splintered and that each little group has become isolated from the others. The two largest groups are the SE group and the Forces of the Empire, led by Pat Grant Grunenwald and Seth Bonder. Other groups include Carolyn Frodsham's Sons and Daughters of the Force, the HIBERNATION SICKNESS readership, and lots of other groups that we're trying to discover. And, of course, there are the overseas fan groups in Italy, Germany, England and Australia. You'll find flyers for various groups in this issue. Judith Yuenger has volunteered to serve as a central contact point in an attempt to get all of us together. You will also find at the back of this issue a copy of the STAR aWARdS questionnaire. Please detach it, fill it out and mail it back to Judy. Sunday night at MediaWest saw our first annual SE gathering, which was fairly well attended, considering it was opposite the art auction. Thanks to everyone who came - especially to Tim Blaes and his kilt, Cypher and her blaster, and the Jawa with the Joy Juice (I believe that was Tina Bentrup hiding under there). We didn't get much business taken care of, but we sure had a good time sitting around and talking SW! See you next year, guys? And hopefully we'll have a better time and location. [5]
[from a Beauty and the Beast fan, who cites a panel by name that does not appear in the program book, called "What Can We Expect From The Movie?"]:

I had a great rime at MediaWest this past year. It was good to see many of my friends from all over the country. Unfortunately, if s always distressing when "incidents" occur at conventions. To even acknowledge these unfortunate incidents seems to somehow give credence to them, which is not what I wish to do. However, sometimes these situations need to be addressed so that perhaps there can be something learned from the experience. One such incident occurred during the panel discussion "What Can We Expect From the Movie?" There were approximately 40 to 50 people there in the room at the time, expressing various opinions regarding B&TB. My perspective from observing the panel discussion was that, initially, everyone was very cordial to one another in relating their ideas and feelings. Unfortunately, the last 15 minutes of the panel took a decisively negative rum through the efforts of whatl believe were just one individual. I felt from this point in the panel discussion, everything went downhill. The audience began talking at each other — not to each other. This same individual made comments to the effect that we went to the producers of B&TB and asked them what we could do to save the show .. . what right do we have to criticize the show's producers and writers because they didn't deliver what certain fans wanted to see? Another individual from the audience explained that fans did not go to the producers of B&TB; they came to us, and solicited our help to save the show. Atsome point in the conversation the person who had entered the panel late used a very inappropriate analog which equated the fans' efforts to save the show to that of a prostitute who didn't get what she expected for her services. I thought that was a highly inappropriate comment, and had no place in this discussion. Obviously, many others thought the analog was crude because there was a collective moan throughout the room. At that point the panel ended. What was equally distressing regarding this particular incident was that I found out after the panel discussion that the person that had made many of the negative comments in the room was not even a paying member of the convention.

I find that when attending conventions I only receive as much out of the experience as I put in. Whether or not I have a good time depends entirely on myself and the attitude I take into the situation. No one group of people, or one individual for that matter, can make the decision for me as to whether or not I am going to have a good time. Although I was somewhat disheartened by what was said at the panel discussion (by only one person), it didn't discourage me from having a great time for the rest of the weekend.

What I find unfortunate about all this is that I was deeply hurt on a personal level, because, as a person who has had her creative juices stirred by the beauty of B&TB, I had a great deal of respect for the work of the person who had invaded this panel. I hesitate to use the word intruder, but when someone participates in a panel discussion without paying to get in, what am I to think? My impression of what happened was that she had come to the panel on a self-appointed mission. I have no problem with anyone expressing their views, because this is what panels are all about, be it Classic or Third Season advocates; however, with life there are rules and regulations we must all follow, like paying for a membership to express our opinions and views.

[snipped]

Why do people feel it necessary to make disruptive statements which are totally inappropriate only to create additional animosity in our (and that includes everyone's) fandom.

Being relatively new to fandom, I am not always aware of the faces behind the names, and who was who at the time of the panel discussion. I heard afterwards the person who had expressed a great deal of negative comments did not have a membership to the convention. After hearing that, the only conclusion that I could come to is she came only to stir up and create controversy.

I can only express my opinion about what I observed at Media West in the panel room. I would like to hear from other fans who were there who may havea different impression of what actually happened. It really hurts me to see the true essence of the show lost in the bickering and rumor mongering of individuals who only wish to continue ongoing confusion in fandom. Please, lef s try and be more tolerant of each other's views, and respect each other's right to express these views. I myself have had to stop myself on occasions and put this whole controversy in perspective, because I also have a tendency to label people "good" or "bad" simply because of their preference for Classic or Third Season. Intolerance is not what our beloved show was about.

Well, back to the original reason for my letter. Except for the aforementioned incident that occurred at Media West, my conversations and meetings with fans of the show (from both sides, no matter what their varying opinions were) was a good and pleasant one. As mentioned earlier, let's learn to talk to each other—not at each other. P.S. Had a wonderful time at South of Oz, but that's for another letter. [6]

References

  1. from The Outlaw Trail #1 in a letter dated February 1991
  2. A fan's convention report in Southern Enclave #30 (1991)
  3. A fan's convention report in Southern Enclave #30 (1991)
  4. Comlink #49 (1991)
  5. from the editor of Southern Enclave in issue #29
  6. comments in Tunneltalk v.2 n.3 (May 1991)