Star One (1991 Blake's 7 convention)

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Convention
Name: Star One
Dates: March 23, 1991
Frequency:
Location: Park Ridge, New Jersey
Type: fan run, celebrity guest, one-day con
Focus: Blake's 7
Organization:
Founder: Space Rat Press
Founding Date:
URL:
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Star One was a one-day Blake's 7 con sponsored by Space Rat Press and held in New Jersey, US.

Its guests of honor were Chris Boucher and Sheelagh Wells.

From a February 1991 ad:

Chris Boucher to New Jersey Con. Script editor makes first American con appearance. Cris Boucher, script editor of Blake's 7 for each of the show's four seasons and creator of Star Cops, will make his first American convention appearance at Star One, March 23 in Park Ridge, New Jersey.

The convention is sponsored by Space Rat Press. Convention memberships are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, with supporting memberships available at $5. All attending and supporting members of the convention will be eligible to win door prizes, and an auction and Win, Lose or Draw tournament are also planned.

Boucher will also be conducting a writer's workshop Saturday evening; the seminar is limited to 15 attendees and there will be an additional $20 per person charge.

A guest fund has been set up to bring a possible second guest to the convention. If $700 is raised for the guest fund, an additional guest will be invited; if not, all contributions to the guest fund will be returned. There will not be a contributors' party for those who donate to the guest fund. "Segregating our members into "haves' and 'have-nots' is not what this convention is about" said Space Rat Press publisher Joe Nazzaro.

Although Star One is a one-day convention, arrangements have been made for special rates at the nearby Woodcliff Lake Hilton. [1]

Con Report

Star One was an atypical convention in many ways. Instead of being sited at a convention center or hotel con organizer Joe Nazzaro set up this gathering at the Park Ridge Elks Lodge. Instead of having a separate dealers' room or hall, the vendors here were lined up at the back of the main room — make that the only room — of the lodge.

The highlight of the convention was the choice of guests. Boucher appeared nervous at first, but was quickly put at ease. His quick wit and humor surfaced often, and he seemed truly grateful for the enthusiastic response he received. I think the rapport would have been improved with a longer schedule. Wells, as always, was the consummate guest, always accessible and friendly to the attendees, despite some unfortunate circumstances (of which more later). I had never met her before, but within minutes, Sheelagh made me feel as if I'd been her friend for years.

Some of the faults of the con can be put down to the short time the schedule allowed — just over six hours from opening to closing ceremonies, including a break for lunch.

The rapid-fire schedule put a damper on the three panels — work on Doctor Who and before, Blake's 7, and more recent projects including Star Cops. In all three cases, it seemed that just as the audience was getting warmed up, and the questions were getting interesting, it would be time for the next event.

A one-day convention doesn't have to be rushed; I found our own con, Conniption, last August to be pleasantly paced, and I was on the concom! I don't know whether to blame Star One's rushed feeling on poor planning or just an overall awkwardness of the schedule, but I'd like to see a much longer schedule next time....

More panels followed, including a Star Cops panel which was dominated by questions from the few fans present who had seen the series. Hopefully the discussion will turn more fans on to the show when it premieres in New Jersey later this month.

Now the closing ceremonies. Boucher was given a Heinlein book signed by all the attendees as a belated birthday present. Wells was given an engagement ring by Joe Nazzaro, much to her protests (cries of "Don't you dare!" are dearly audible on my tape) and groans of embarrassment from the audience. She asked the audience if she should accept and only three of the 150 or so fans present agreed. The rest were ready to form varying degrees of a lynch mob. Eventually Nazzaro was persuaded to save this bit of personal business for someplace other than the convention dais.

Perhaps this display was meant to convince onlookers of the sincerity of the offer. Some may consider this type of behavior to be romantic. I consider it insolent disrespectful, and totally uncalled for. I can only imagine what Chris and Lyn Boucher were thinking on the other side of the room, and hope this doesn't reflect badly on certain people's civility.

Sorry. Off my soapbox now, and hack to the more pleasant .... [2]

References

  1. from Tarriel Cell v.4 n.3
  2. the first part of a con report from Joe Isham in Tarriel Cell v.4 n.4, the last part of this review is unavailable online