Spectrum (Maryland convention)

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Name: Spectrum
Frequency: every year for three years
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Type: fan-run fan con
Focus: multimedia
Founder: April Valentine, Marion McChesney and Nancy Kippax
Founding Date: 1988
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Spectrum is a multimedia fan-run con. There were three of them, the first in 1988.


The first Spectrum was held November 11-13, 1988 at the Embassy Suites in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

The con took place just a few months after The National Enquirer broke the story of Paul Michael and Elizabeth Glaser's devastating loss regarding AIDS, and the con raised $705 to send to the newly-formed Pediatric Aids Foundation. [1]

1988: Descriptions from Flyers

From the flyer inside The Fix:
"We're going to celebrate the infinite diversity of fandoms, encompassing but not exclusively: Starsky & Hutch, Star Wars, Blake's 7, Simon & Simon, Dr. Who, The Professionals and Star Trek! Whatever your thing, we'll provide the entertainment. There will be a lot of participatory programming and the main thrust of the convention will be on fanzines -- for sale, for discussion, for fun... Our confirmed Fan Guest of Honor will be Connie Faddis who needs no introduction to most media/Trek fans. Connie is being honored for her achievements in revolutionizing fanzines."
From the flyer inside The Fix: In charge of the con:
"A trio familiar to many fans from conventions such as Shore Leave, ClipperCon, and The Paul Muni Special. Marion McChesney, Nancy Kippax and April Valentine are heading the committee which will include many active Baltimore area fen."
From a flyer inside Tell Me Something I Don't Know #10:

PROGRAMMING: Panels topics so far include the following: a "do you remember" series on TV in the 50's, 60's and 70's; Brothers or Brotherhood -- Biological vs. Brothers of the Soul; Blake or Avon -- Who is More Ruthless?; Beauty & the Beast -- A New Yorker's Viewpoint; Writing Media -- How true to Aired Episodes must you remain? -- "Going that Extra Mile"; Publishing in Small Quantities; "The Fifth of July" (play by Lanford Wilson -- video to be shown at Spectrum) -- A Quote for all Seasons; S/H, Robin of Sherwood, The Professionals, Simon & Simon; For Artists -- Capturing an Author's Image; Poetry -- Is None Better than Bad?. To volunteer for panels (please, please!) write Nancy Kippax (address below). Connie Faddis will be conducting an editing panel; if you'd like her to critique a story, send it to Nancy's address by October 15 and we'll include the info in the next P.R. You can "dress as your fandom" at the Get Acquainted party - and we mean it! Use costumes seen on the show, or create a literal translation for an outfit (dress as a Scorpio, for example, or a Zebra, a zine or a slash!).

FILMS: There will be two video rooms and films will run as continuously as possible. We will schedule films to show before or after the panels that complement them, such as the Showtime video of the play "Fifth of July" - and if you're a relationship fan and haven't seen this yet, you're in for a treat! We have episodes of Trek, Simon & Simon, Blake's 7, Starsky and Hutch, Beauty & the Beast - we need the loan of other media to include it. Write to [Martha B] (address below) to arrange for the showing of your favorite episode of whatever, also to have her schedule your songtape or blooper reel.


The art show will -- we hope -- reflect the diversity of our attendees' interests. Art is the other half of zine production, so we'd like to see as much of it as possible in the show. Artists -- bring your works to display and auction! There wiil be no hanging fee. Ten percent of the sale price of a piece will go to the con. We cannot arrange to sell the art of non-attendees.

1988: Flyers and Progress Reports

1988: Convention Reports

The Embassy Suites is a really great hotel,and Spectrum was a fantastic, laid-back con. I found a Torino (about a foot long, made of plastic) that has a flashing mars light and a working siren. Unfortunately,the engine is out of commission, but I hope to get it working soon.

I met GOD, whoops, I mean Connie Faddis (same thing, anyway.) I was on the same team as Connie to play Win,Lose, or Illo. Connie, Suzanne and I were the winning team, I might add. Connie came up to my room on Saturday night with a bunch of SH fen to watch some songtapes (I'm So Excited by Pam Perry, and Nights, Winters, Years and People Will Say We're in Love by Martha). She seemed to enjoy them and stayed around to talk on many subjects, including the work that she's doing in education right now. She's also doing some professional writing, so we probably won't see her back in fandom. But she's a wonderful person, and it was fantastic to get to know her even a little bit. [2]


From the flyer inside Communications Console vol 3 no 3:
"SPECTRUM 2 - Celebrate the diversity of fanzines with us again this year on Veteran'S Day Weekend, November 10,11,12, 1990 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Hunt Valley (near Baltimore), Maryland. Many fandoms represented, lots of discussion groups on zines, lots of videos, dealer's room with loads of zines. Memberships are $25.00 in advance, $10.00 per day at the door. Dealer's tables are $15.00. Send to April Valentine,[address omitted].


  1. ^ from April Valentine in Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #18: "I was glad to see the letter Marian sent to the PAF and the response from Elizabeth. We raised $705 at my little media con Spectrum in November and I've sent that amount along to her, too."
  2. ^ from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #11