Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Kandy Fong and Marnie

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Kandy Fong and Marnie S
Interviewer: Franzeska Dickson
Interviewee: Kandy Fong and Marnie S.
Date(s): February 2012
Fandom(s): Star Trek
External Links: This interview is archived at the University of Iowa
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

In 2012, Kandy Fong and Marnie S. were interviewed at Escapade as part of the Media Fandom Oral History Project.

The interview length is 1:28:26.

This interview was conducted in February 2012 and transcribed in November 2013.

For more information about the origins of this interview, where it is housed, contact information, suggestions regarding future interviewee candidates, and how to become volunteer interviewer, see the Media Fandom Oral History Project page.

Some Topics Discussed

  • the beautiful thing that is a long, long cord on a phone, one that reaches all the way into the kitchen
  • nursing a baby at two in the morning and thinking of the plots to slash stories
  • the origin of the orphan zine table
  • the fiasco that was Ultimate Fantasy: George Takei buys cold cuts and salad, William Shatner hops a plane at the last minute carrying only a tiny bit of luggage, tales of personal disaster
  • The Captain's Woman as a zine gateway to one fan's discovery of fandom
  • reading Cosmic Fuck in loose-bound form, complete with the author's notes in the margins
  • the origins of IDICon
  • description of a big house in Houston that housed many of the W.H.I.P.S.
  • Marnie's x-rated pinatas and napkin ring holders
  • the origins of the Dancing Penises and some detailed crafting descriptions (confetti! foam couch cushions! silicone! tinsel!)
  • the origins of Kandy's slideshows, including What Do You Do With a Drunken Vulcan?
  • Kandy's invention of the con tape
  • riding in Mark Lenard's limo on the way to a con and going through the Burger King drive-thru
  • having Walter Koenig ask Kandy why his character, Pavel Chekov, got so little slash action


Regarding the dancing penises

KF: Now, of course the four of us are flying in from Phoenix to Houston, because it's a long, long drive.
MS: (giggling throughout KF's speech below)
KF: And, they put these things in refrigerator box, okay, 'cause they're— I mean those foam is just—
MS: Can you imagine trying to get that through today, through the Homeland Security and the TSA? (laughter)
KF: So you have them in this huge refrigerator box, and we've got into Houston, and it's the last— it's at night, and the airport's closing down. The taxi guy goes, "Lady, I can't get that in my car." You think, "Okay, fine," so we open it up and take them out— (laughter)
KF: —and we put them in the car— in there with us. We don't want to put them in the trunk where they'll get dirty.
MS: Yeah.
KF: The last thing we need is dirty cocks. (laughter)
MS: Like they're not dirty enough already.
KF: So we get to the hotel, we're gonna go head in, so what— I just had to be brave. I just take it and sling it over my shoulder— (laughter) —walk up to the desk, and check into the hotel.
MS: Yes!
KF: "What am I carrying? I'm not carrying anything." (laughter) "Oh this? This old thing. Just found that in a closet." What the heck.

Regarding the initial mad rush for the dealers' room for zines

MS: We had to literally chain the doors shut, to keep people out, and when you said— When you opened it the Pon Zine was like— everybody raced into the room. Because there was trouble getting stuff through the mail.
KF: Oh, yes.
MS: It wouldn't necessarily come. And so people had the opportunity— If you could buy it in person, you always gave someone money when they were going to a con, if you couldn't go, to pick up zines for you.
KF: "Anything new from this thing, anything new from that."
MS: And some of them, especially the first year, some of the authors were really concerned, and they didn't send a lot— and those sold out, and I had to be really strict, because nobody from Starbase Houston was allowed to buy anything, or even any of the con committee, before the con. Because, otherwise there wouldn't be anything left to put out for people. So it was, it was just insanity.
KF: It was.
MS: Absolute insanity, because that's all there was. There were no other tchotchkes, there were no other dealers going around and selling jewelry or mementos or photos or anything. That was it. Your sales were all zines. And people then, the first hour was like craziness, and after that this enormous hush would settle down over the hotel, and everywhere you walked, every place on the floor, against the walls, everywhere, in rooms people were sitting and reading. And reading. (laughter)
MS: And reading. And reading.
KF: My roommates and I would immediately rush to our rooms and make our own individual pile, and then read the other person's stuff. Because you could take your stuff home.
MS: Yeah. If they had anything you didn't have, then you had to read it quick while you were there, which meant of course you didn't get any sleep, either.
KF: No. No. It was a very— Well, we were young.

Regarding x-rated pinatas

MS: What the heck. And then it was after that that Lezlie saw those and asked me— No— Yeah, it was— I think, no, Elaine asked me to do Starsky and Hutch, which she took to the next Zebracon, the Z-con. And she entered that in— She took 'em on the plane, and some of the little hairs which were ribbon, in gold, k'now, yellow and brown had been individually glued on. Well, they had come loose on the—
KF: Were they pipe cleaners?
MS: No—
KF: No, they're hairs.
MS: —no, I thought also that the clear silicon made a perfect little drop at the tip.
KF: Ah. (laughter)
MS: Anyway, they were entwined, and she called me, and asked me, what am I gonna do? And I said, "Just get some Elmer's glue and glue the ones that fell off back on." So she hung it in the closet, on a hanger, and left it to dry. Unfortunately she forgot to tell the maid not to go in the closet. And when the maid came in to make up the room, she opened the closet door, and screamed, because there were these two gigantic cocks hanging in the closet. And the other maid on the floor came running in, of course, and the word got through the hotel in no time at all. But the girl who won it at the auction, the charity auction, then didn't know how she was going to get it home— (laughter) —or what she was going to do with it when she got it home. But she took it anyway. No but I did all the— That was when I did the collection of the bread-dough cocks, the cop— Spock's cocks, all the different—
KF: Oh, yeah, you did the—
MS: —universes, the napkin rings?
KF: —napkin ring cocks.
MS: Mm-hmm.
KF: You did the (unintelligible) —
MS: The cock rings. They were little cocks curled around—
KF: (laughter) —
MS: —you could put your napkins through. That was a prize. I did the collection of all the different Spock's cocks according to the different universes.

Regarding Kandy's slideshows

KF :The Beatles did a music video for "Strawberry Fields." Where they were doing things like jumping out of trees, and then this long piano, that went up— the strings went up into the tree, and they were doing all sorts of things. They weren't standing there and playing instruments, which was all the music videos you'd seen to date. And I thought, duh. This guy I'm dating has the cigar boxes full of little pieces of film from Star Trek. I'll betcha I could put those together and tell a story.
MS: Off-cuts, yes.
KF: And, because the local Star Trek club in Phoenix, which is the longest-running fan club in the world, United Federation of Phoenix — thank you, I named it— (laughter)
KF: Umm— needed entertainment. I figured, well, let's put together a little show. So I said, "Hey. Hey, best friend. Hey, hey, future husband— (laughter)
KF: —let's get this idea, and put together a show.
MS: [name redacted] had no idea what he was getting into.
KF: I know. That was his dowry. The three cigar boxes full.
MS: (laughter)
KF: As well as the fact that he had all the episodes on three-quarter-inch tape. Professional one-inch tape. (unintelligible)
MS: One-inch tape. So you knew he was a keeper, then.
KF: Yeah. Definitely. So, I decided that let's do a thing there, I did a funny little thing where, uh, "What Do You Do With a Drunken Vulcan," I did a little thing of that.
MS: Yes, I remember that.
KF: Then I did a little story about Ensign Fong aboard the Enterprise—, a very Mary Sue story. Y'know, very little story, I just illustrated it. And as a club we were all gonna go over to the very last IDICon Film Con that Bjo Trimble was doing. And her husband was going to be coming to Phoenix for something with his job. And I wrote to her, and said, "Hey, I have this thing I'd love to show at your convention." And she says, "Well, hey, I'm going to be coming in town with my husband, why don't you show it to me?" So I did. She says, "Cool." I ended up taking it to the convention and they put us in this little room at the bottom. And she says, "Oh, I'm sure this'll be a couple of people will want to see it." Well, it had only like thirty-five people I think that could fit into the room. So they ran it in a loop, for eight hours. People would see it, get out, go back in line again, and then stand in line for an hour and a half so they could see the seven-minute thing again. And so that's— I knew there was a hunger for it. So, I had met Gene Roddenberry previously, 'cause he was in Phoenix giving a speech and I was president of the Star Trek club, so I got to meet him. It's complicated, I'll tell the story another time. So, when he was there, I kinda say, "Hi! I'm glad to see you. By the way, would you sign my, y'know, my club badge, so I'm officially a fan of yours," and he did. And he— and I says, "By the way, I have this idea of putting together a slide show." He goes, "Oh, that's a great idea. I've been trying to convince Paramount that there's enough fan interest in a movie." And I said, "Great." So I'm writing to him eventually, and he ended up writing back to me, and oh, I have it in writing, that I can do these slide shows. And in fact, in the future years I ended up visiting a couple of times at Paramount. And he gave me actual slides that were publicity shots, et cetera, from the various sets, so that I could kind of expand my slide shows, and show more....
KF: People liked it. And it was a way for me to get to more conventions, because I had very little money. I mean, I'd go and I'd work a second job just to be able to afford to go, to fly to a convention.
MS: Well, that's what you did all this work for. My husband was amazed at the hours we put in, y'know, for absolutely no compensation. But the thing is, the egoboo you got. And the reaction of the fans who came. We had fans who sent us flowers and wrote beautiful letters, and stuff. After. And the thing was, that after the convention is over you're never ready to do it again. We would always say, people would be begging to sign up for the following year—
MS: —and we would say, we've got to take at least a month off, or two, to see if we are ready to do another one. And then we would start getting all this stuff in, and the next time we got together we'd start reading all this stuff. And, inevitably, we would say, okay. We'll do it again. [1]

KF: And since a couple of my, ah, shows, had a little bit of a slash point of view — of course I had it subtle because I was showing it at mixed media, y'know, all kinds of fan conventions. I started talking to them and they started telling me about this convention. And I thought, "Really? A convention that we could go to and really talk about slash? Really!" So I decided I was gonna go. And, I wrote— they had a little flyer there, and I wrote to the flyer and they wrote back—
MS: I brought it to the next group meeting of everybody, and, "There's the woman, named Kandy Fong, who has a Trek slide show that she wants to come bring with, and y'know," ta da da da. They said, "Well, sure. We can use some entertainment. That's fine. We'll give her a slot. No problem. I don't remember, you asked if in return for registration. We said, "Well, we can't do that, we have to pay our own registrations. This was a completely— We had no kitty to start out with. We were starting from nothing. In fact, those of us who had houses, which was primarily me, were on the line. We were on the bank account, we had to get a DBA, which is when we actually came out as the WHIPS. Women of— We had to come up with some kind of a excuse for the acronym, which wasn't— We couldn't tell 'em whips and chains.”

An introduction to fanworks

MS: And I had devoured those [few pro works], and they set off all kinds of bells and whistles in my brain, and story ideas were rumbling around up there, and, y'know, you have nice little imaginings, especially if you're nursing a baby at two o'clock in the morning, and your mind goes off and playing here and there. But that was the first fanfiction. And like a lot of zines at the time, at the end there were some addresses of people you could contact. And other ads for other zines, and I started finding my way through that way, to get into contact, and trying to find other information. And Star Trek Lives, I read that, and that had information about the Welcommittee, and how do you get a hold of these things, and I read about classic stories, and went, I want to find those stories. So, then I began tracking down the editors, or authors, and writing them, and asking if they had zines still in print, if they had stories still in print, was there some way I could get hold of them, could I copy them if I could find a copy, because some of them wrote, y'know, they're out of print. You can't even get them any more. But if you can — Many of them said, "If you can find someone who has a copy, you have my permission to photocopy it." And then I ran into [Gayle F] — haahh, bless her. She, of blessed thought, who wrote, and I had asked her about her CF, for Cosmic Fuck, series, and she, which, y'know, because already the sprouting ideas of slash were rampant in my brain. And she said, "Of course." She said, actually, "It's out of print. I don't plan to reprint, but I do have copies of the stories here, that I used, if you don't mind having my scribbles and marks as far as editing goes." So and I said, "Are you kidding me?" (laughter)... the [slash] thoughts were there [in my mind already]. Because the first fan fiction I read was Captain's Woman, was total Mary Sue. There was no slash even remotely involved in it. No, that came out of my own little brain.... When Gayle's copies came to the house, they were in the mail. I opened the mail and saw them, I put [my baby] down for his nap. They were loose bound, you know, they weren't even bound, and I knelt on the floor next to my bed so I could keep everything in order and turn the pages. And I didn't even move until he woke up, and read straight through. And I could hardly stand afterwards. No wonder my knees are bad.