These Curious Times Interview with Brynnmck

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Interviews by Fans
Title: These Curious Times Interview with Brynnmck
Interviewer: curious
Interviewee: Brynnmck
Date(s): June 26, 2016
Medium: online
Fandom(s):
External Links: online here
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These Curious Times Interview with Brynnmck ("It Was a Bitchin' Party") is a 2016 interview with Brynnmck.

Part of a Series

See These Curious Times Fan Interviews.

Excerpt from the Introduction

It took me three tries over a span of six years before I finally made it to Bitchin’ Party. I’d first heard about it back in 2008 or 9, maybe from a SlashCast podcast episode, my memory is hazy… but what I learned at the time was that there was a multi-fandom con taking place every other year, not too far from Seattle, and everyone had a blast there. Count me in! Where do I sign up? I then proceeded to miss them like clockwork, remembering only during off years until finally in 2016, I got my shit together and signed up....

Some Topics Discussed

Excerpts

Curious: Yeah, I really like the format [of Bitchin' Party]. I love that the attendees suggest the panel ideas and vote for them. Was that something that you set out saying, I want this to be as democratic as possible?

Brynn: I can’t take credit for the panel format–I did, especially in especially the first year, take the idea of how to set up a panel structure and all that from Muskrat Jamboree. I really tried to get a sense of people’s interests, and it helped that I knew a lot of the people who were coming because the first time you do something like this, it’s mainly a lot of people you know, and people they know. The degrees of separation are pretty small, I think, initially, and so it was easy to just be like, “What do you guys want?”

Even down to the food and some of the stuff like that–I polled people on, what kind of juice do you like the best? What kind of soda do you like the best? Which in retrospect was probably not necessary, but I have a really strong hostessing thing. I get really invested in that, and it’s really important to me that people feel comfortable and they have a good time.

We try to do some community building stuff too. We haven’t been able to do as much the last couple years because the fandom has dispersed so much to so many different places, but we used to do a thing a month or two before the con called ‘Bitchin’ Buddies.’ I’d set people up with an anonymous buddy, and they were supposed to go their buddy’s LJ or whatever, and leave them something anonymous once a week for a month–like a comment on a fic, or a gif, or a picture. That was one of the ways I was trying to help people feel connected. And we do the Getting To Know You post the week before the con, to try to get people talking and excited to see each other.

Curious: How do you feel the con has changed in, you’ve been running it for eight years now?

Brynn: Yeah. Well, there are more people coming now that I don’t know, which is really cool. It’s really fun to see people make connections, and to just have input from a broader range of people, and to meet new people, too. Every year I meet at least one new person that I’m really glad I met, and probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.

I think there have been more people doing their own thing within the con, which, as somebody who wants everybody to get together and talk about their feelings, initially I had a hard time with that. I was worried that people weren’t having a good time because it was more small groups of people than big groups of people doing stuff. That really started maybe the third time or so, and so, at first I was like, “I hope this is still going to work,” but then over time, I’ve really come to see that, oh, people are having a good time, they’re just having it differently.

It’s also felt harder to get people engaged leading up to it, to get people to suggest panels or vote. I think part of that is just because people are all over the place now. When everybody gets here, they’re here, but I think the community of fandom has really changed, and it is maybe more like small groups of people than like a big group of people too. Or maybe it’s just me! It’s hard to tell.

Curious: I’ve been reading a lot about sports fandom, it’s really interesting to see the parallels, the passion, the emotional investment. It seems very similar.

Brynn: Yeah, and a lot of these people are nerds too, like sci-fi nerds or comics nerds or film nerds or whatever, and so I think that’s part of where it comes from. Mostly what I’ve seen is not a lot of derision. They’ll talk about fan fiction, and they usually mean it jokingly but not mockingly. Like there was somebody on Lookout Landing, which is the Mariners blog that I read, and at the beginning of every season, they write a post that’s essentially fan fiction about if the Mariners go to the Playoffs this season, and they will totally acknowledge it as fan fiction.

I don’t do a lot of RPF for baseball, though. I don’t know why. It took me a while to even think about that as an option, and I’ve read a few baseball fics, but I’ve never really felt that pull, either reading or writing (though I’ve worked baseball into a lot of my fics in other fandoms). But it’s interesting because baseball become my primary fannish investment, and in some ways it’s the way that I’m used to doing fandom, but in other ways not. I’m finding more and more women in sports fandom, which is amazing.