Muskrat Jamboree

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Convention
Name: Muskrat Jamboree
Dates: 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015
Frequency: biennial
Location: Boston, MA
Type: fan-run
Focus: slash fandom
Organization:
Founder: Brooklinegirl
Founding Date: April 2007
URL: community livejournal
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Muskrat Jamboree was a fan-run multi-fandom slash convention in the Boston area. The first Muskrat Jamboree was put together in just three short months, originally described as a "semi-con" - perhaps because founder brooklinegirl was trying to keep things simple, or keep expectations low. It quickly grew into a popular East Coast slash con, although its membership was limited to 150 people. Fans had to be at least 18 years old in order to attend.

As many of the organizers were in due South fandom in 2007, the con was named after a small-town festival in Inuvik: "Every year Inuvik hosts the Muskrat Jamboree. It's a variation on any of the thousands of community festivals held across Canada each year."[1] This name was initially offered to prospective con-goers as a joke, but it was overwhelmingly the most popular option, so the organizers took it and ran with it.

MJ 2007

Canadian Jeopardy
LJ icon for Rat Jam '07

The first MJ took place in March of 2007. It featured two days of panels[2], a party, and a vidshow[3]. While the con was going on, those who weren't able to attend were invited to participate in Rat Jam, an online discussion forum at livejournal. [4].

Among MJ 1's unexpected highlights were the goody bags that were given to everyone at the con, which featured all kinds of Canada paraphernalia, maps of the Northwest Territories, temporary tattoos of rainbows and hearts and the Canadian flag, and individualized dogtags printed with each con-goer's name. There was also a game of Canadian Jeopardy (see image) organized by helleboredoll.

The MJ 2007 vidshow premiered the wildly popular Pretty Boy vid by strangecobwebs -- focusing on the many faces of Paul Gross; described as "Paul Gross Is His Own Damn Fandom, Thank You Very Much".[5] That vidshow was temporarily delayed by technical issues, but the attendees happily amused themselves singing "Barrett's Privateers," a song well-known to many due South fans because Paul Gross sings part of it in a pivotal episode of the show.

The concom shared a hotel suite, which also served as the con suite the first year. On Saturday night of the con, the party in the con suite got so loud that hotel security showed up.

2007 Con Reports

MJ 2009

The second biennial MJ took place April 3-4 2009. (In alternating years, the concom encourages congoers to attend Con.txt in the Baltimore area instead.)

Weird Sex and Snowshoes posters

2009 panels included fandom-specific options, such as:

  • "Tinhatting McShep" (Stargate Atlantis)
  • "Mutual of Omaha!: The Middlepanel" (The Middleman)
  • "Making it New and Making it Last (aka: Hello, it's been fifteen years since they aired the Due South pilot! And Fraser? Still delicious!)" (Due South)

These were mixed with meta panels including:

  • "Little Black Dresses and Why We Love Them"
  • "The Linguistics of Fandom"
  • "It's Alive!: What Keeps Closed Canons Open to Fandom?"[9]

There was also a panel called "Weird Sex and Snowshoes" (C6D -- see image.)

In a retrospective post about MJ, Brooklinegirl wrote:

For MJ 2009, we upgraded both budget and hotel, and had an actual con suite with actual food and an actual bar! We had more fangirls, an equal amount of fun, and possibly more booze![10]

The 2009 con featured a vidshow [11], a dance party, and an outing to Jacque's, a local drag bar.

2009: Con Reports

Seriously: friendliest con ever, and this is as a huge fan of the "Someone just made a Paul Gross joke somewhere behind me! Who is this person that I may yay at them?!" aspect of cons. And there were just so many people whose badges made me flail because omg I totally knew that name and that name meant AWESOME!

soupytwist [12]

My panel was earlyish Friday, which, thank God, because I was having a minor heart attack every time I thought about it, and at least I got it out of the WAY.[...]

And then I was free to enjoy PANELS! I attended a lot of great panels, and especially enjoyed the Psych panel, which was full of people with good opinions, and the RPF panel, which was full of people telling Pete Wentz to get off our damn lawn. [...]

The vid show and dance party on Friday Night were pretty damn fantastic. [...] They played "Guilty Pleasure" first which was the wisest of all possible moves since it got all the bandom girls, who, let's face it, are used to being shameless, out on the dancefloor and excited. There were more people dancing than I expected, and the mix was fabulous, and everyone was dressed to the nines, and I loooved it. I hurt my thighs so badly getting low while Flo Rida told me about boots with the fur that I spent the entire rest of the con bitching about them. [...]

Oh, and I forgot to mention, there was a craft table! The craft table was a DEFINITE highlight of last MJ, and it had only gotten better this time around with the addition of Pete Wentz and about sixty more glitter pens. [...]

Saturday night was Jacque's, the drag bar, and it was indescribably amazing. We had the entire floor area reserved (because the con comm is amazing and they can do that) and it was just a sea of fangirls in various levels of sparkly sluttery. [...]

I think the truly wonderful thing about this con for me is the way I feel right here and now (in, uh, Detroit). Two years ago, I was emotionally wrecked on Sunday, weeping and devastated and feeling like I had just lost something incredible I'd never get to find again. Today, I feel sad it's over, but mostly - those people I thought were so great? They're part of my actual life now. They're not just internet friends, they're straight-up FRIENDS. I'm going to see them again, I'm going to talk to them, and in two years I'm going to get on a plane to Boston. MJ 2007 felt like once-in-a-lifetime. MJ 2009 felt like this is my life. And I'm so fucking thankful for that.

kalpurna [13]

Vid show was FANTASTIC. I loved all the vids even for fandoms I wasn't a part of or knew nothing about. Skullcrusher Island was so fun and I've never watched Lost. But dude, No Handlebars for Ten? PERFECT pairing. You must watch! And the inclusion of Care Bears in the Yuletide panel was full of laughing for dayse, fayemeadows, and myself [...]

Sunday was breakfast at the Theater Cafe and saying goodbye to fangirls. I'm always sad when I say goodbye, but really, I know I'll see so many of them in 2011. MJ is just so much fun. It's really just a happy weekend where yes, you can get thinky, but mostly you get to hang around with so many people like you who will squee and hug and *get* you. It's just wonderful.

When I went in 2007 I didn't know anyone except raveninthewind (who I missed a lot btw) and libitina. I walked away from that con with new friends and a lot of silly hope for the next one. Which lived up and then some.

bironic[14]

MJ 2011

The third biennial MJ took place on April 1-2, 2011. Registration for MJ 2011 took place on October 23rd, 2010 and was limited to 150 people. The registration fee was $93 via Paypal, $90 by check.

The 2011 panels, announced on February 18, 2011, were suggested and then chosen by con attendees. They included (among others):[15]

  • "Is That A Muskrat You're Jamboreeing With, or Are You Just Happy to See Me? (Due South Diaspora)"
  • "We need a cool panel name. Like Strike Force. Or Hawaii Five-0"
  • "Rodneysaur, Dolphin!John, MerPatrick, WereRay, Hugh Dillon's Wings, Gerard's a Girl, and Pete Wentz as a Paisley Lamp: Fandom and the Transformation Trope"

The 2011 con featured a vidshow[16], a dance party, and a return outing to Jacque's.

2011 Con Reports

Some con reports are linked from the muskratjamboree livejournal community here, Archived version.[17] Including:

*tunes harmonica*

Oh, wait, I have no voice to sing from shouting at drag queens all night and laughing with ALL OF THE INTERNET for three days.

<333

fayemeadows [18]

Dear Roommates, (yes, all of you), do let me know what you think of the starting episodes ofthe shows I hooked you up with. I'm really interested in what you make of them, for good or for ill. Feel free to tell me if you hated them and why! Of course, loving them would work too...

Dear Drag Queens I went to see at the con who are not reading this, I love you.

Dear All Muskrats, all of you were great and I enjoyed everyone I talked to. You rock! Fellow fans just make life so much better. How are you doing? Did you make it home without disaster? Talk to me!

grey-bard [19]

I bring all that up just to reflect on (and celebrate) the fact that I felt absolutely safe at Muskrat Jamboree. Basically, everything was fangirls and nothing hurt. Hands-down one of the best experiences of my life. I am exhausted and physically aching and SO GLAD I have a day to recuperate before I go back to work and there is a huge pile of laundry to do and I am SO HAPPY. ♥ [...]

I kind of want to recap EVERY SINGLE PRECIOUS MOMENT in EXACT CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, but I think that is technically unnecessary. Though I will be more than happy to squee over precious moments in the comments! But let me see if I can distill some things.

- Fangirls are CAPABLE. I cannot BELIEVE the concomm and the volunteers and how smoothly everything went -- how much there was to do, and how organized, and how fun.

- Fangirls are beautiful. Fangirls are not only beautiful, they are beautiful in a quadrillion different ways, which led to my feeling the least self/body-conscious I have ever felt in a public gathering. Just -- I saw a lot of people who had obviously taken care to look their own personal best, and all those bests were different, and all those bests were the best, and everyone appreciated the bests. If you know what I mean, jelly bean.

- Fangirls are sweet. I cannot tell you how many conversations with people I did not know I ducked into with little more than, "I heard you say 'bondage', what are we talking about?" and I was welcomed with open fangirl arms. People in general were the happiest to talk and squee and make room. And it was maybe the easiest it has ever been to believe that people acting like they liked me were sincere and would not change their minds when they found out a Big Secret about me, since fandom and queerness are pretty much my Last Big Secrets IRL that everyone in MJ knew from the start.

- Fangirls are fucking smart. PANELS, guys, oh my goodness. [...]

Fandom saves lives, seriously. I talked to a couple of people about how extremely straight (as in not only disinterestedly heterosexual, but also detached, noncommittal, vaguely Liberal, and unimaginative) many of my non-fandom/civilian friends are, and how it is like being able to BREATHE again when I surround myself with people who speak my language. Thank you, you guys. My heart. I cannot even.

amazonziti [20]

MJ 2013

Muskrat Jamboree Logo 2013
con program 2013

The 2013 convention was held March 22 and 23 in Cambridge, MA, at a new hotel -- which was substantially classier than where the con had been in previous years.

Panels included:[21]

  • Slash Pictionary,
  • "COME HERE WATSON I NEED YOU" (Sherlock Holmes)
  • "Tumblr: Best Thing Ever or the Death Of Fandom As We Know It??"
  • "Avenge ALL the things!" (Avengers)
  • "The takeover the motherfucking break’s over: the end of the Fall Out Boy hiatus" (Fall Out Boy / bandom)
  • "Fourth Wall Not Found: Fandom in a Social Media World," (meta)
  • "I’m Obsessed With Knotting :("
  • "For Reasons That DO Need Exploring In This Juncture: (Nearly) 20 Years of due South" (due South).

Other events included a raffle (to support Doctors Without Borders), a vid show (see the 2013 vid show line-up, Archived version),[22] and a dance party.

Coincidentally, My Chemical Romance broke up on the Friday night of this year's con, leading the con's substantial contingent of bandom fans to do a lot of hugging and crying.

2013 Con Reports

Fan reaction to the 2013 con was overall positive. giddygeek wrote:

There's something truly special about sitting in a room with people who are this mix of bright and quick with a joke and deeply thoughtful and silly and earnest, and just talking out all these ideas about canon/fanon/fandom--it's brilliant. I love it. Can we do it again tomorrow?[23]

And Kass wrote:

Having gone from the panel with the sex toys ("show and tell") to the crafts table ("arts and crafts") feels entertainingly like, you know, preschool, only NOT. :-) ...Anyway: it's been a lovely weekend, full of neat people and good conversations and sparkles and wine. [24]

More Con Reports:

MJ 2015

con program 2015

MJ 2015 was held March 20-21, 2015, in Cambridge, MA. Brooklinegirl announced on livejournal in January that it would be the last MJ:

Eight years after the very first MJ, it's time to say goodbye. There are personal reasons of course - the time and effort that goes into throwing this con is enormous - and the shifting landscape of fandom is part of the reason, as well, but the larger truth is that it's become more and more difficult to throw the kind of con we want to throw, in a city as pricey as Boston. The economy has changed, the hotel industry has changed, and it's just not financially feasible any longer.[25]

The MJ2015 Vid Show Line-Up!, Archived version

There was a scholarship to help attendees with registration costs. [26]. Six winners were selected in two rounds of applications. [27]

2015 Con Reports

Sad it's over, but happy to have met you all! This was a great first-fancon-ever experience for me. :)

[28]

Thank you all so, so much. Fannishness aside, having two entire days surrounded by so many bright, diverse women was so valuable for my mental/emotional health. In "everyday life" I hear so much body negativity and "I can't believe I'm being so BAD and eating this COOKIE" and I didn't hear any of that at MJ. Breath of fucking fresh air, I tell you. So much love.

wesleysgirl [28]

Aw, MJ! I have so many happy memories of them all - amazing outfits at dance parties, the sheer volume of fangirl conversations that get shushed during room parties, the smart and hilarious moments in awesome panels.

Thanks for bringing so many Excellent times and Fabulous people into our lives, Muskrat Jamboree! I will never forget you, even far in the future after I get all this $%&*! glitter out of my life.

<3!

ldthomps [28]

References

  1. ^ Caribou, the Jamboree, and Fire. Inuvik Journal (blog). Posted 15 April 2007. accessed October 25, 2008
  2. ^ Admin Post: Official Panel Schedule, Archived version. Posted to muskratjamboree by misspamela, 17 February 2007; reference link.
  3. ^ Vid Show Lineup, Archived version. Posted to muskratjamboree by Maya Tawi, 2 April 2007; reference link
  4. ^ Rat Jam lj community, Archived version
  5. ^ Paul Gross vid, Archived version, accessed March 1, 2013; reference link.
  6. ^ WebCite for The first ever Muskrat Jamboree.
  7. ^ WebCite for My MJ report.
  8. ^ WebCite for Muskrat Jamboree 2007.
  9. ^ Admin: PANEL SCHEDULE!!!, Archived version. Posted to muskratjamboree by misspamela, 3 March 2009; reference link.
  10. ^ With an arrow. pointing down.[Dead link], posted March 1, 2013; reference link.
  11. ^ Admin Post: The Complete Vid Show listing!, Archived version. Posted to muskratjamboree by mrsronweasley, 6 April 2009.
  12. ^ con report, Archived version by soupytwist. Posted 11 April 2009
  13. ^ nine by five, Archived version. con report by kalpuna, posted 5 April 2009.
  14. ^ Muskrat Jamboree!, Archived version con report by visionshadows. Posted 12 April 2009.
  15. ^ Muskrat Jamboree 2011 Panel Schedule!, Archived version. Posted to muskratjamboree by misspamela, 27 February 2011.
  16. ^ The MJ 2011 Vid Show Line-Up!, Archived version; reference link. Posted to muskratjamboree by mrsronweasley, 2 April 2011.
  17. ^ WebCite for 2011 Con reports.
  18. ^ comment on Con reports collections post, Archived version collected at the Muskrat Jamboree livejournal comm. Comment posted 4 April 2011.
  19. ^ Post-Muskrat Post, Archived version by grey-bard on Livejournal. Posted 3 April 2011.
  20. ^ MUSKRAT JAMBOREE. Con recap by amazonziti. Posted 4 April 2011.
  21. ^ Panel Schedule, posted February 23, 2013; reference link.
  22. ^ WebCite.
  23. ^ cons: still a delight, Archived version, by giddygeek, posted March 28, 2013, accessed March 28, 2013; reference link.
  24. ^ Muskrat Jamboree 2013 \o/, Archived version, by Kass, accessed March 28, 2013; reference link.
  25. ^ muskratjamboree: Important MJ Announcement, Archived version. LiveJournal post 2015-01-12.
  26. ^ "Post by ride-4ever on Livejournal". 11 February 2015. Archived from the original on 30 October 2020.
  27. ^ "Scholarships tag on the MJ Livejournal Comm". Archived from the original on 20 October 2022.
  28. ^ a b c brooklinegirl (2015-03-22). "To All Our Muskrats". Archived from the original on 10-20-2022. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |archive-date= (help)
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