TunnelCon (Beauty and the Beast con)

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Convention
Name: TunnelCon (also "Tunnel Con," "Tunnelcon")
Dates: 1990-1994
Frequency: every two years
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Type:
Focus: Beauty and the Beast
Organization:
Founder:
Founding Date: 1990
URL:
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TunnelCon was a Beauty and the Beast convention in Las Vegas that was held 1990, 1992, and 1994. Its chairperson was Betty Neiswender[1]

Con Zines

See Tunnelcon.

TunnelCon Meta

In 1993, an anonymous fan wrote a speculative con report for TunnelCon 5 (which did not occur). The report was meta and encapsulated what she hoped was a bright future for Beauty and the Beast (TV). See 'Nonny Miss, New York: August 1998, Tunnelcon V.

TunnelCon 1

a March 1988 flyer for TunnelCon #1
Tunnelcon I tote bag
Tunnelcon I tshirt. Artist name is illegible but may be Deborah P.

Tunnelcon I: A Beauty and the Beast Celebration was held July 20-22, 1990 in The Sahara Hotel. At the convention winners were presented with the Beauty and the Beast Fan Quality Awards, awards that were sponsored by the Beauty and the Beast International Fan Club or BBIFC) (not to be confused with MediaWest's FanQ Awards.) A convention report, discussing the the awards can be found here. More memories and photos can be found here.[2]

Guests were Jay Acovone (Joe Maxwell), David Greenlee (Mouse), Armin Shimerman (Pascal), Irina Irvine (Jamie), Ritch Brinkley (William), Victor Lobl (director of many of the best episodes), and Robert John Guttke (writer of "When the Bluebird Sings"). According to a January 1990 blurb, Ron Koslow and George R.R. Martin, Roy Dotrice, and Howard Gordon were "tentatively scheduled to appear," [3] but these four invitees ultimately did not attend.

One of the guests, Ritch Brinkley, commented in a 1991 article in Starlog:

While working on Beauty & the Beast, Dotrice spoke to Brinkley about the show’s fans and conventions. Dotrice wanted Brinkley to accompany him to Tunnelcon I in Las Vegas. Not knowing quite what to expect, Brinkley went even though Dotrice was unable to attend due to last-minute scheduling conflicts.

“Perhaps I learned my concept of ‘fandom' from Dolly Parton,” says Brinkley. “She knows that without her, fans, there wouldn't be any Dolly Parton. That's who makes you somebody other than a fan yourself. So, no matter how busy she was, she would stop [to sign an autograph].”

Thinking that he should bring something with him, Brinkley wrote a poem to read at the banquet. “I thought, ‘These people are flying me in and putting me in this room. I really ought to have something with me.' That’s why I made a costume the week before out of my own: resources and why I wrote the poem. It had a much better reaction than I dreamed! There was a tremendous amount of sharing and warmth in that room — like what they call the ‘fourth wall’ in theater — everybody stood up and cheered. You could have killed me and sent me to heaven and I would have been happy. Victor [Lobl, director of many episodes of Beauty & the Beast] leaned over and said, ‘You can have the whole country right now.’" Brinkley pauses, savoring the memory, and adds, "I've accepted several invitations for conventions because of that experience.

[...]

While Brinkley thoroughly adored the fans’ eagerness, “sometimes, I would be overwhelmed [by fans at Tunnelcon] and couldn't get away. I told Candice [Bergen] the next week, 'If you ever need help sneaking out of somewhere or someone to run a detour. I'm your man. I now know how you feel 24 hours a day'."

[...]

Bringing home the point that fans are fans, whether they’re in the entertainment industry or not, Ritch Brinkley says that with Beauty & the Beast fans, “you’re dealing here with mature, professional, highly creative people. To me, it feels like meeting a group of pen pals for the first time." The actor believes that being a fan of Beauty & the Beast “is a great creative outlet for many people. All of the intentions, points-of-view of the show are good. It’s for an alternative society where basic values of goodness, selflessness, are the values that we wished existed in our own society.

“We desperately need people to keep that kind of dream alive, especially without a show. Unless people do keep that interest alive, those values will certainly die and be forgotten."[4]
From the September 1989 issue of Beauty and The Beast: The Newsletter:

Rose Badgett is the Art Show Chairman, write to her for art information at PO Box 2948, Beverly Hills, CA 90213. Mic-Hal Emerald is in charge of door prizes and raffles. Donations are being accepted now! Her address is PO Box 83, Cataumet, MA 02534.

The Tunnel Con room rate at the Sahara is good three days before and three days after the convention. So take a vacation - see Hoover dam, visit Vegas, enjoy a good convention for your vacation next year. When making your reservation at the hotel - please be sure that you stress you are with TunnelCon! This is so you can get the special convention rate.

The Summerfest Banquet is included in your admission price of $50. Extra banquet tickets (for your significant other/friends who are not attending the convention itself) are $25 each.

There is a Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah during the time of our convention. The people running the con would be glad to send you information on this festival if you want to attend it either before the convention begins or after it ends. It is not associated with the convention - they are merely promoting tourism in the area. It would be neat if we could get a couple of busloads to go up!!!
the con video
the con video

TunnelCon 1 Awards

Novel A.V.Wilde for The Promise
Short story Kathy Cox for "Visions of the Heart"
Filksong S.D. Nym for "Jingle Vincent
Crossover story Sheryl Tribble for "Shadows of Light"
Letterzine Jeanne Cloud for Once Upon a Time... Is Now
Overall Fanzine Kathy Cox for Destiny II
Novella Cynthia Hatch for "The Bridge"
Vignette Kay Simon for "Vina's Story"
Poetry Cynthia Hatch for "Words"
Artwork Beth Blighton for cover of Destiny II
Newsletter Stephanie Wiltsie for "Pipeline"
Overall Artist Beth Blighton

Con Reports: TunnelCon 1

The Sahara is like a grand old dame gone to seed. The rooms are older and adequate but this isn't sleek clean motel-land - more like peeling wallpaper and loud paintings on the wall. Our first sight of fans were two ladies walking from the registration area covered in buttons - serious commercial adventurers here! To get to B&B registration you had to pass by shops, the wonderful outdoor pool, restaurants, and most significantly the whole casino - a 24 hour affair. We must have been like pink elephants to some of these hard-bitten gamblers! The registration area was heralded by a "Beauty and the Beast Fan Convention" sign and a picture of Vincent. The escalator took you upstairs to the Grand Ballroom. On Thursday night this consisted of people in T-shirts of every size and description behind a long desk at which we collected our envelopes and signed up for the creative T-shirt contest, costume contest, and writers' workshop. After picking up the envelopes we could gather a decorated cloth bag containing our registration badges, a rose bookmark, the terrific Tunnel Con zine with the better authors and writers contributing, a Tunnel Con button, and the schedules.

The Tunnel Con I guests were Jay Acovone (Joe Maxwell), David Greenlee (Mouse), Armin Shimerman (Pascal), Irina Irvine (Jamie), Ritch Brinkley (William), Victor Lobl (director of many of the best episodes), and Robert John Guttke (writer of "When the Bluebird Sings"). The production team were noticeably absent. The biggest disappointment was that Roy Dotrice (Father), who was previously a confirmed guest, was not there - but he made his presence felt (more later)....

It was immediately obvious that the convention was well organized and those responsible received an enthusiastic reception. Tunnel Con was the brainchild of two rather grandmotherly members of The Beast Connection, the Las Vegas fan club. Convenor Betty Neiswender outlined the background to the con, which started with a registration limit of 350 and grew to 690 with people coming from as far away as Germany. "We are," she said, "something that has never been before." She received a standing ovation.

MC Steve Black, resplendent in a black Elizabethan tunic and tights, was a comic delight. He drew a cheer by saying that Jay Acovone, who was late in arriving, was "on an airline that has merged with CBS" and pointed out that most B&B fans had started out as "Star Trek" fans.

Debbie Hensley (?), an editor from Illinois, lauded the fans who came on their own, adding that editors love them because if they are determined enough to come with no one to meet, they'll buy lots of stuff! She said the indication of whether you have a good time at a con is if you come back broke!

Stephanie Wiltse of "Pipeline" fame brought us up-to-date on the latest news. The bad news is that all the sets have been dismantled. The good news is that Ron Koslow says the emphasis is now on producing the feature film, and that the studios and major financiers are interested! His main worry is coming up with a script that will satisfy the interests of all fans (no kidding). Once a script is accepted, six months are required to set up, three to four months to shoot, and six months for post-production. When "My Life and Times", his other show, finishes in October, he will look at scripts. It was emphasized that we fans from outside the U.S. are responsible for financing the movie, since the studios look for something that has a demonstrated international interest!

Mark Hartman of the Helpers' Network then addressed the convention (his wife Kimberly was at home awaiting the birth of their child). He said that the show is now "in the hands of the fans". He mentioned the very positive reaction from psychologists who use the later episodes for helping patients deal with grief. He said that B&B is "a world-changing show" and "it tells us that people who are determined to do good cannot be stopped". Alluding to the current split in fandom, he urged understanding because "both sides of the argument are searching for truth". The Helpers' Network Literary Compendium for the third season is now available, and beginning in November they will publish a quarterly fanzine review. He finished by saying the Helpers' Network is "very optimistic" about the future, and received a standing ovation.

It was a rousing start!

As we left the opening ceremonies, we found David Greenlee holding court in the reception area, as charming as ever for those of us who remember him from Tunnelfest in Toronto last year. Everyone then descended en masse on the huge Dealers' Room. This is, in fact, the hub of activity of a convention. It is where we meet the writers and other contacts and where, fulfilling Debbie Hensley's prophecy, we become happily broke. The energy level is high and the urge to participate obsessive ("I'm just going back in for one more zine!"). The merchandise consisted of zines galore, T-shirts, artwork, jewellery, and other souvenirs. It was frantic and it was fun and we won't tell you how much we spent.

In addition to the opening remarks and display and art rooms, a group from Northern Indiana did a skit which we missed as even fans have to eat. As well, the media room was open all day and the most-requested shows - "Bluebird" and "A Happy Life" - were running alternately with the "missing" episodes - "The Reckoning" and "Legacies". Fan clubs across the country had also prepared videos by splicing together scenes from shows to the tunes of "Somewhere" by Barbra Streisand, "Children of the Night" by Richard Marx, and "Diary" by Bread.

With arms and bags full of books, we joined a late night party thrown by the Linda Hamilton Underground, watching more show promos and the Bryant Gumbel and Florida interviews with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. The group were not happy any time Ron Koslow's name was mentioned. We learned more about Linda's departure from the show, which was due primarily to a personality clash between her and Mr. Koslow. One member explained that Linda and the two female writers, Linda Campanelli and M.M. Shelly Moore, had met with him several times over the lack of romance in the second season (he was adamantly opposed to a kiss), the increasing violence, etc. Mr. Koslow apparently refused Linda's request for a reduced role in the third season to accommodate her pregnancy, and therefore she had no choice but to leave. It seemed obvious that he wanted to save the show at all costs, and one of them was Linda Hamilton. Needless to say, some strong lobbying regarding the feature film's main characters will be necessary to return Catherine to the storyline.

End of Day One!

We began Day Two by attending a writers' workshops at which Robert Guttke spoke. He was very entertaining and congenial, and full of interesting stories. He explained the background to "Bluebird", emphasizing that it was autobiographical and the first (and last) story he had ever sold. An interesting revelation - he had originally written the episode as a ghost story, but George R.R. Martin told him that there could be no ghosts in B&B because Vincent was supposed to be the only fantasy! Therefore the script was deliberately left ambiguous in order to get it past Ron Koslow, who did not approve of fantasy. Mr. Koslow's view was that Vincent was supposed to be content within himself and not suffer angst. Obviously, that attitude changed by the end of the second season!

[...]

Robert was not happy with the third season. He related how Ron Koslow made an "Abraham Lincoln" speech about the "dream is still alive" at the invitational screening of "Though Lovers Be Lost". Robert and Jo Anderson watched from a dark corner. At the end there was absolute silence and Robert just left. Later George Martin called him and the conversation was: G: "What did you think?" R: "What did you think?" G: "I don't think there'll be a dry eye in America." R: "Uh, huh. Well, gotta go. Bye." Robert loved "Walk Slowly" and liked a lot of the action and the character Snow. He said the producers did feel that CBS gave them a good run.

We met with some of the Toronto Rogue Beasties group for lunch and then dashed off to see the afternoon panelists.

Jay Acovone and Victor Lobl came in to wild applause and proved to be a wonderful comedy team. Victor is a quiet, serious man who had never been to a con before; he listened attentively to everything and seemed genuinely impressed by the proceedings. His comments were insightful and he drew high praise for his work. He said that "Orphans" was particularly satisfying to direct and that anything George Martin wrote was a nightmare to direct. He called B&B an "unusual experience in serious television".

Jay is an extremely effervescent, energetic man with a ready grin and quip, and there was continuous good-natured bantering between him and Victor. He was asked for a funny story about Linda and told how she ran into Ron Perlman's arms at the mouth of the drainage tunnel (in "A Happy Life"), knocking both of them down. He named that episode, the pilot, and "Bluebird" as some of his favourites. His only comment about the third season - "what the hell were those rings all about?" - was greeted with laughter. When asked if it was his eye we saw at the peephole in "The Watcher", he cried "NO! I'm not a pervert!" When asked if Joe would ever meet Vincent, Jay explained, "Unfortunately, there was a rule. You meet Vincent, you die!" The threat of being introduced to Vincent was held over him whenever he misbehaved. If a feature is ever made, he said, "I would perhaps like to get a woman, I would like to be the D.A. - and I still don't want to meet Vincent!" He kept the delighted crowd in stitches with his charm and good looks; without a doubt, he was the star of the con.

On the possibility of a blooper reel, they explained that this was unlikely because the producers felt it would be outside what they were trying to do. Jay then asked Victor about the "unmasked" hand in "Masques", but this episode was directed by someone else.

At last the question was asked: where was the consummation scene? Mr. Lobl frankly admitted that this was a real embarrassment to him. Apparently he fought to shoot the scene properly (i.e. with some physical contact) but the final decision was not his. He left us with the definite impression that what we saw was Ron Koslow's choice, based in part on a fear of the possible negative reaction from the moral majority to something more specific. Jay admitted that he was stunned when he learned that Linda was unhappy in the show, and that he didn't think the show would work without her.

Victor addressed the issue of continuity problems in filming B&B, particularly the famous "costume changes" as Vincent tears around the tunnels. He explained that because Ron Perlman's makeup was too difficult to do for just one brief scene, they were often forced to use stock footage instead. It was, therefore, a conscious decision. Another confession - he admitted that Ron was sometimes used as an extra in crowd scenes!

[...]

Saturday evening featured the big Summerfest banquet. The cocktail hour and costume judging coincided and this is where the little procession through the casino on the way to the main hall raised the most eyebrows. Costumes were judged on Catherine, Vincent, juvenile Vincent, couple, tunnel dwellers, and best of show. Most people went as tunnel dwellers or in very beautiful costumes from "Masques", but some of the more original were the costumes from Germany (best Catherine and Vincent), a woman with a lantern, a Catherine from "Temptation", and best of show - a couple dressed as the original Beauty and the Beast. We were treated to a Las Vegas high school group called The Madrigals in medieval costume who did a Tunnel Con tape, including music set to Sonnet 29 and to Shelley's poem "She Walks in Beauty".

The banquet began with a moving candle lighting ceremony from "Dead of Winter" ("Each year, we begin this feast in darkness ...") and we linked hands for grace. Armin Shimerman and Ritch Brinkley read prepared blessings and after an excellent buffet meal we heard more from The Madrigals, who were enjoyed especially by the guests at the head table. The guests were presented with leis from a Hawaiian fan and the costume awards were then given out.

Jay Acovone and Victor Lobl spoke first. Jay said he had done about seven cons, mostly Creation, and that this was the "classiest". Victor said he had no idea what to expect and had a lot of fun. He was amazed at the enthusiasm and was happy that "Jay and I got to try out our act together!"

The guests were then presented with individual pillows similar to a beautiful hand-made quilt which formed the backdrop to the head table. Irina Irvine's pillow was embroidered with "I'm Catherine's friend, too"; Armin's with "You give of yourself"; Victor's with a list of the shows he directed; and David Greenlee's, of course, with "Okay good, Okay fine". The quilt was organized by Sally Newman (see your Helpers' Network directory). It was composed of patches sent in by the international fan community and was to be presented to the creators of B&B later as a token of appreciation. Sally spoke of the show as helping to create a more literate nation and of Vincent as the most sensitive man since Cyrano. This presentation was very emotional as some of the pieces came from wedding dresses, christening gowns, and a dress of a friend who had died.

The quality zine awards followed. Best novel went to A. Wilde for "The Promise"; best novella, Cynthia Hatch for "The Bridge"; best short story, Kathy Cox for "Visions of the Heart"; best vignette, Kay Simon for "Vina's Story"; best poetry, Cynthia Hatch for "The Word"; best crossover zine, "Shadows of Light"; best art, Beth Blighton; best letterzine, Jeanne Cloud for "Once Upon a Time ... is Now"; best newsletter, Stephanie Wiltse for "Pipeline"; and best zine, Kathy Cox for "Destiny".

[...]

Special awards were presented to Mark Hartman and Stephanie Wiltse. We then heard an audio tape of the very sincere message that Roy Dotrice sent the con. He was very sad that "your dear old Dad" couldn't be with us as he was filming a special in England. From what seemed to be a poolside filled with children, he teased his friend Ritch about eating all the food - to which Ritch later replied, "He's remarkably intact for an old guy!" On a more serious note, Roy addressed the differences of opinion over the third season and said he hoped that we could win over dissenters back into our fold. He hoped to be at Tunnel Con 20 by which time, he said, his wife may allow him to play at the roulette tables! A former New York Opera singer then sang "The First Time I Loved Forever".

Perhaps the most moving part of the evening came when we stood and joined hands around the table and raised them high as we listened to Vincent's words from "Orphans": "We are something that has never been, and our journey is one that none have ever taken. We are just now setting out. We must go with courage, and we must go with care". This was followed by Father's speech from Winterfest when the circle was formed ("The darkness almost engulfed us this year ..."). At that point everyone in the room was in tears. We felt as if we had entered into the show and were in that circle; we were the tunnel people sharing the warmth and love in a special community, fighting for something we needed to save and holding on to a very important feeling as we held the hand next to us. The candles were blown out and a very lucky person at each table took home the centrepiece Summerfest candle and yellow roses.

Last day of Tunnel Con I - hard to believe! As we lined up to get autographs a reporter from a local CBS affiliate interviewed some people in line. We saw this later on the 6:00 news; unfortunately, the story was typically condescending and disappointing.

The art auction began shortly after poetry reading by zine writers, with 41 items going for prices ranging from $12.00 to $260.00. This was followed by door prizes including zines, unicorns, T-shirts, artwork, videos, and mugs.

[...]

Auction items included (comments in quotations are from David and will give you some idea just how charismatic and persuasive he can be): Robert Guttke's cap ("the last cap he'll ever wear") for $300.00; David's B&B sweatshirt "worn but not washed" (proceeds from this item would go to David's charity to help bail out people who had chained themselves to church pews to protest the lack of funding for AIDS research) for $180.00; a quilt project pillow with "We are something that has never been and our journey is one that has never been taken" for $210.00 (after David told the "casino losers in the back" to "go have a cup of coffee, then come back and bid"); Shakespeare's "Sonnets of Love" signed by all Tunnel Con guests for $125.00 (with a picture of Vincent, whom David described as "some weird guy who needs a haircut - someone should tell him the 60's are over"); Armin's working first draft of "Labyrinths", with "blues" and "pinks", for $180.00; several zines and promotional posters for the third season video, all of which David signed, for $40.00 to $70.00; Victor Lobl's final draft of "Though Lovers Be Lost" for $235.00; a piece of the tunnel blown out by Snow ("bastard") for $70.00; an illustrated B&B fairytale which David bought himself for $35.00; Vincent's christening picture according to Father, inscribed "This is the first photo of my dear son taken at this christening by his loving Father" (it was a picture of a baby gorilla which Roy's wife and daughters had once given him), for $70.00; and Ritch's copy of "Sticks and Stones" with a shooting schedule and stained with cooking oil for $165.00. These items were followed by many of Roy Dotrice's donated and signed zines and scripts. There was a picture of Vincent "looking pretty woofy", and David coined a new phrase - "fuzzy zines" - to describe the kind we hide in brown paper wrappers. The final item was Roy's own inscribed copy of "Ashes, Ashes", which went to an Ottawa Tunnel Dweller for an undisclosed price.

As David left, he stopped to talk briefly with us and we recalled Tunnelfest. He was thanked for his contribution to that event which was fondly remembered and appreciated. His face lit up and he said he'd had "a blast" there, one of the best times he'd had!

[...]

All in all, Tunnel Con I was very successful and lots of fun. Some of the organizers whom we got to know told us privately that Ritch Brinkley impressed them as their favourite guest; Irina Irvine was a "trooper"; and David was, alas, "temperamental" (he threw a tantrum in the Dealers' Room when he discovered someone selling unauthorized photos of him). There were a few behind-the-scenes problems - the art show set-up, the Dealers' Room, some personal conflicts, etc. - but these did not detract from a generally positive and surprisingly non-confrontational atmosphere. The only major problem was the organizing of the autograph sessions, since not all the guests were present at the scheduled times, which caused tempers to flare.

This con was trying to tell us something. The third season was rarely brought up and when it was, it was commonly referred to as the "absurd season". Diana's name was almost never mentioned, and there was no reaction at all to the "missing" episodes which were shown. The only person heard to express a preference for Diana over Catherine was Stephanie Wiltse. Ironically, Ron Koslow often emerged as the "bad guy" as it became increasingly clear that he had kept the show under tight control, rather than let it grow (especially romantically) in response to fan reaction. The message clearly given by this con was that the majority of B&B fans wish to ignore the third season and bring back Catherine.

Tunnel Con II is already being talked about, again in Las Vegas - but this time, it will be held in October and not in the summer heat! ?? [5]
TUNNELCON — an event that was long-awaited by almost everyone in fandom, with varying opinions as to what would happen there. On the whole, I felt that it went much better than expected! There are bound to be some disagreements, some anger, some lack of true communication in such a diverse group of people, but these things did not dominate the situation. Mostly, what we did was have fun, meet all the people we had only known through letters, and spend money! What a dealers' room! It was intoxicating to see a room that large filled with almost nothing but B&TB zines and merchandise — as I said earlier, I really outdid myself in shopping (and those who know me know that that is no small accomplishment). We all circled and circled the room, gathering up every treasure we could carry; some people told me they had been saving up for months! The art show was wonderful; the guests who were able to join us were fantastic: Jay Acovone, Victor Lobl, Robert Guttke, Armin Shimerman, Irina Irvine, David Greenlee, and Ritch Brinkley. I was not able to attend the talks that the guests gave (all I heard was that Victor Lobl was very dissatisfied with "Though Lovers be Lost" and called it an "embarrassment"—can any of our readers give a more complete account?), but I did see them at the banquet Saturday night, where they were all warm, wonderful, and full of fun. Ritch Brinkley was a delightful surprise for most of us — we were thinking of the often-gruff William — a warm, outgoing man with a knack for storytelling that charms your socks right off. At the banquet, he read aloud the poem you will find on our inside back cover, and was dressed in as close an approximation of his costume on the show as he could devise (he had said earlier in the day that he felt he owed that to us—what a doll!)- Catherine Edwards of Overtures had a breakfast for all her subscribers Saturday morning (which Ritch attended), and we all shared our expectations of and experiences at TUNNELCON, getting to know each other a little bit better. Elsewhere in this issue you will find the results of the Fan Quality award voting, which went very well for its first year, according to Jackie Paciello and Deb Hense. But mainly we spent a lot of time just partying, staying up all night and talking, putting people and names together for the first time in a lot of cases. I wish you_all could have been there, but I did get to meet so many people, it was just wonderful. That's what.1 go to cons for: to see my friends, and to make new ones. And even though I wouldn't have minded if there had been more panel discussions, I think the TUNNELCON committee did a great job in pulling this one off — what about next year, guys? [6]

TunnelCon I was my first convention. I was impressed! May I share some of my observations?

Day one... The first star to shine on us was David Greenlee. There were 300 or so fans gathered together on the mezzanine for the T-shirt judging and other events. (Over 600 fans attended the convention from ALL over the world; not everyone had arrived yet.)

After it was over, David Greenlee just walked right into the crowd, just as if he were one of us fans. Of course, everyone crowded around him, leaving him plenty of room in the middle, and talked to him and asked for pictures with him. (No one smothered him. WE AREA CLASSY FANDOM.) I took my video camera; I wasn't going to miss any of this convention. (Although I did learn, later, to bring back-up batteries .. .NEXT TIME.) This was also my first time using our video camera. I took my mother with me, and I motioned to her to go over to him so I could film them together. (She's the gutsy one.) He was so accommodating to everyone. From the moment he entered the room, he acted like all these people were old friends. I was impressed! He was one of us! He acknowledged my recording of hea nd Mom, so he started talking to us and took my mom by her waist and danced with her. It seemed like everywhere we went in the hotel and casino he would run into us or us into him. He was always warm, friendly, happy and funny. In fact, he gave us a little teddy bear which he signed at one meeting. He really enjoyed himself during the course of the weekend.

The discussion periods with Victor Lobl, Jay Acovone, David Greenlee, Ritch Brinkley, Armin Shimerman, Irina Irvine and Robert Guttke were great and very informative. (I think Edward Albert was invited to be there. 1 read in one of our fanzines before the convention that Edward didn't think there was that much interest in his character, so he thought he may not go. He didn't. If this is true, we better all get out the writing paper and pens and write. I know he's greatly admired.) No way can I relate everything that happened there, but I will paraphrase some of what was said: Jay... Said the network execs give notes to the writers and the writers have to abide by those notes. He also said that they had no feeling for the show (that accounts for the third season). He said he didn't know if Linda Hamilton would do a B&TB movie or not. She has been very busy making movies lately- Terminator II next.,. August or September.

Victor... Said the network execs have guidelines for the show in terms of rating numbers. Writers had to satisfy network guidelines... (Don't you feel by now WE have learned enough about networks through our beloved show that WE can run a successful network of our own?)

Ritch ... "Ron's the biggest kidder just before a heavy-duty scene." Ritch told us a story of what happened just before one of the last scenes in "Brothers" (I think it's when Vincent is talking to Charles in the brick spiral stairway and Devin and Catherine are listening unobserved ... a heart-warming, serious scene). Just before they rolled the scene, all four of those guys were in a can-can line, kicking up their feet, their arms entwined (can you picture it?). Having a gay old time-. . Ritch asked Ron his reasoning, he said, "I have watched you. I have profound respect for your technique. Is this a technique of playing against the actual emotion of a heavy-duty scene coming up, so, as you're getting close to,it you go in the opposite direction to kind of clear your emotional state?" Ronsaid, "No, Ritch.I liketohavealotoffun." We all roared with laughter.

Irina . . . Mentioned the food fight during their waiting around to shoot the Winterfest scene. She said they were beating Roy with grapes. She said, "We were good at it; pissed HIM right off." She said he'd be talking to someone and all of a sudden a grape would go flying through the air and hit him and he'd jerk around to see where it came from. Everyone acted so innocent She said it took so long to shoot that scene that, "They had to do something."

Robert Guttke was a wealth of information. He was great and extremely popular with us fans. (During the auction, his baseball cap went for, I think it was $200? Someone correct me if I'm wrong.) This is where my video camera's battery ran out, sol didn't get his time in the spotlight. Therefore I hate to quote him by memory. IT went several years ago. He told us he wanted to do a sequel to "When the Bluebird Sings," but the execs said no. I hope someone can give a full account of all he said because he had some priceless things he told us.

Ritch ... During the Summerfest banquet... told a story of a Halloween party in Hollywood for the Writer's Guild, and the theme was to come as your favorite sci-fi character. "My favorite sci-fi character isME. So all through the night people were congratulating me because I made such a terrific Friar Tuck." Armin. .. "There's a scene where Pascal is supposed to jump off a ledge. That wasn't acting! I'm terrified of heights, flying." (The comment was made that he drove to Las Vegas.)

At the Summerfest banquet, Sally Newman brought the quilt that she and all the helpers worked diligently and painstakingly on. It is absolutely beautiful! They made pillows for all the stars present with inscriptions on them from the show.

Zine awards (Eds.: listed in TTK6) were given at the banquet. Each winner was WELL-DESERVING.

Jay made the comment that he'd attended seven Creation conventions, "And this one is the classiest one I've been to!"

Ritch's poem was RICH! It has to be quoted to our TUNNELTALK friends who were not able to attend the convention. If you print none of this letter, please print Ritch's poem. It's too good not to share. (Eds.: Again, Ritch's delightful poem appeared in TT#6, but thanks, Jerri, for reminding everyone of it!) Roy Dotrice took the time to tape a message for us. I'm sorry, but I couldn't make out most of it, so I can't quote it. I'd love to know what he said, if someone out there can print it up and send it along.

For the piece-de-resistance... The closing ceremonies of the Summerfest banquet . . . Only candles burning, we were all directed to stand up, hold each other's hands, raise them up high, and a recording was played over the loudspeaker, of Vincent's and Father's words from "Orphans" and "Dead of Winter." There was NOT A DRY EYE IN THE HOUSE! To think, WE ARE TRULY A PART OF THIS AMAZING TUNNEL COMMUNITY AFTER ALL!

So much more to relay but I've taken too much space already. EVERYONE . If you have the chance to go to a B&TB convention ... GO! [7]

How was TunnelCon 1? There are so many answers to that question that no one issue of "Pipeline" could do it justice. In a word TunnelCon was, beautiful. What an incredible job, first time or not. As organizer Mike Smith put it,"We had no idea how to do it or what we were getting into." Maybe that's just the way to go about it, kudos and thanks to our hosts from the "Beast Connection" and all the other organizers from around the country! Where are your plaques & presentations might I ask? Is it any wonder everyone's already pestering you about a Tunnel-Con 2?

The Sahara Hotel was very impressed with how quiet, well-behaved and good-natured our group was and officially left an open invitation for a return event. This was very nice of them, but understandable, if you compare us with yet another group that holds its convention there. Run by "Soldier of For tune" magazine, its attendees have been known to practice rappelling down walls from off the roof or out their hotel room windows ...and often come with their own arsenals bulging conspicuously from the luggage.

For the first couple of days it looked as if all our attendees had backaches from bending to read each other's name tags. Like being in a room full of free electrons, the mezzanine was filled with the energy of friends meeting face to face for the first time: ...Recognition, "YOU!" ...Reaction, screams of delight. "So that's what you look like?" ...Hugs (molecular bonding). This happened over and over and over again. I have never in my entire life been hugged or been hugged so many times, what a wonderful pummeling. It got pretty rowdy. Just ask any of the dealers after Friday night's "feeding frenzy." Not everything went totally as planned, scheduling was a little sketchy, some panels were disadvantaged or canceled. The art show was still being firmed up as of the orientation meeting. Costume and T-shirt contests suffered for lack of a raised- stage upon which to parade. And an experimental way of shortening the autograph lines by doing it in sections determined by people's convention badge numbers wound up neither workable nor equitable. There just doesn't seem any way around it; some people are bound to get sore feet and other people are just guaranteed writer's cramp at these affairs. Well, now we know.

[...]

No one attending the banquet will forget pro opera soprano Celiarose Varner's stunning performance of "The First Time I Loved Forever" or the Clark High School Madrigal Singers' a capella rendition of Shakespeare's "Sonnet #29." In "The Music of TunnelCon" these strolling players have made available an audio cassette of the selections they performed at the banquet and as an extra bonus filled the 2nd side with Christmas carols. (Perfect for holiday gift giving!} The purity of tone, clear enunciation and co ordination of these young artists has to be heard to be believed, and the tape itself is also of excellent quality. It's $10.00 plus $3. shipping & handling ($5.25 overseas) payable to Clark High School Madrigal Singers [...] Note: because this is a school project no personal checks can be accepted, money orders or cashier checks only please.

Words and music aside, the image which will linger for this editor is the sight of all nine-and-a-half feet of the quilt towering over the dais at the banquet, lit by ever more candles as Ritch and Armin (aren't you glad you brought a flashlight?} read 'Father's' Winterfest speech. Beauty and the Beast has many symbols that have become synonymous with it, but there is no symbol more apt for this fandom itself than this patchwork quilt — many fabrics, colours, patterns all sewn together by a common thread, drawn in con cert by ideas and ideals loved in common. The remnants from this composite of hearts and minds, pillows lovingly presented, can't be had by just anyone. But Sally Newman has had 6" by 9" postcard portraits of the quilt printed up, complete with a copy of it's dedication (which was sewn into the back of the finished needlework). They're 6 for $5. payable to Sally N. Not exactly a swatch, but perhaps one of the best of souvenirs indeed for wee Beasties like us. [8]

I was surprised upon returning home to find the first question on everyone's mind concerning Tunnel Con was not what happened, but how it had gone: Had there been any unpleasantness, any civil strife? Unless protests were secreted somewhere else in the building out of sight and mind, none was in evidence.

This had been a concern for some attendees prior to TunnelCon. The rumour mill had created quite a scenario where the "Michigan B&B Community" or some similarly allied group would either picket the hotel or create a disturbance while attending. Granted, its representatives at the con that I spoke to were wearing "Catherine's Commandos" buttons, but that was as militant as it got. There were no "Diana's Dreadnaughts" badges to do battle with. Another group made their own statement by wearing pho to-buttons of both 'Beauties' on their persons at all times. Truth be told, artwork, photos, crafts, & 'zines featuring either heroine were displayed side by side without singeing one another, and by dealers' ac counts sold well without incident. Most other reps that I talked to were far more concerned with getting group publications or special activities up and run ning, though all seemed rather proud of how any differences between their members had been or were in the process of being resolved amicably.

As to badges, there were sale flyers on the freebie table for a collection of anti-3rd season buttons (also from Michigan) which were witty, but hardly conciliatory. Apparently this "Nay-Sayer and Proud of it!" (thank you, glad you approved of the appellation) along with "Damn you, KOSLOW" and circle/slash "Diana" buttons felt "Who says we gotta give her a chance?" ...which about says it all. In Michigan's defense (and a few other groups net worked across the U.S.), I must admit that after a year's worth of their being extremely vehement & aggressive both in public and in print, this editor could easily believe almost any statement or activity attributed to them. And so I gm biased ...and proud of it When four Michiganians caught up with me at a rare, quiet moment at TunnelCon, I leveled that I was somewhat suspicious of'em. It was obvious that that was mutual. Rumours had been particularly rife about this year's multi-genre fan gathering, "MediaWest." The rumours of various nastinesses escalated in the months leading up to TunnelCon. (Pipeline had received first-hand accounts that literally canceled each other out, apparently the MediaWest event was both wonderful and terrible depending upon your point of view.) According to these Michigan group reps., other fans had already taken a member or members of their group to task, based, the group felt, on past and/or these present rumours. Rumours which they wanted to go on record as being unwarranted, unfair, and nothing short of harassment. The implication or should I say the rumour being that I or one of B&B's stars was personally involved in the mongering. A little ironic considering how long and hard I've protested against such things and how removed (thank God] anyone with the show has been from fan politics, but par for the course (or am I just getting paranoid).

[...]

Now let's put my broom to more good use and nip a few other fabrications in the bud, this time about TunnelCon itself. First, the celebrities at hand were very happy campers, conventionting most of the day and painting the town most of the night (111 never forget the sight of so many fans in the wee hours Monday morning, leaning up against walls in the Sahara lobby, trying to drag themselves back up to their rooms. They'd learned the hard way that you can't get all of Las Vegas in in one night, certainly not after conventioning for 3 days!) Second, those ce lebs who had hoped to attend but could not, were ab-sent because of professional commitments, not be cause of n^ative fan reaction, nor because of bad re lations with con organizers etc.. Far from it.

In answer to another rumour, Roy Dotrice was not involved in any "planned 'skit' for the banquet that went awry, etc.," actually the Dotrices had planned something totally different. They had hoped to secretly cut their stay in England short, send a videotaped greeting as planned to TunnelCon, then sneak into Las Vegas, even stay at another hotel, and make a surprise entrance at the banquet. Wow, would that have ever made a stir — like a Caesar returning to Rome. In the meantime, however, Roy was cast for a part in an 8-week serial for British television which required him to really be on-location all over England during his entire Vacation.' More's the pity, but we can't regret a new project too much can we? (You were missed though.)

[...] [9]
FROM THE TUNNEL CON MEDIA ROOM: To all those people who were unable to see something they especially wanted to see (and that includes virtually everyone at the convention - staff and celebrity guests as well) my sincerest apologies. And my heartfelt thanks to all the disappointed people for being so gracious and understanding about it. I would also like to thank all those fans who brought their music videos and allowed me to show them. They displayed a staggering amount of creativity, invention, and plain hard work. I suspect that there will be a new award category at Tunnel Con II. If you have any suggestions, comments, or ideas; or if, for some reason, you want to write to a 38-year-old, tall, thin, balding, B&B fan, write to Mike Smith [address redacted]. However, I must warn you I am the world's worst at answering letters. So if you don't get a reply I'm not inconsiderate - just extremely lazy. A phone number would considerably increase your chances of getting a reply. [10]

TunnelCon 2

tote bag

TunnelCon II: A Carousel Fantasy was held June 12-14, 1992 in The Stardust Hotel. The guests were Ritch Brinkley and Ron Koslow. An image of the fans nominated for the Beauty and the Beast Fan Quality Awards is below.

Con Reports: TunnelCon 2

Sandy Chandler journaled during the convention and that report has been recreated, along with her art. See Chan's First Con, Archived version.

If you're a pragmatist like me, you go to a national B&B Con with modest expectations. That way you avoid the risk of disappointment and the good times are a gift. The best times are surprises, totally unplanned. Tunnelcon II was chock full of surprises and gifts of Hope were distributed as generously as nog at Winterfest. I marvel at how each national con has surpassed the last in the personal enjoyment factor for me. OK, OK, there's only been three so far, in my book anyway, but that puts us on a roll!

Tunnelcon - I had nothing to compete against, but its magic and success set a standard for other cons to strive for. South of Oz went one better, giving us PERLMAN, DOTRICE and ACOVONE on stage together, a landmark reunion that had us flushed with excitement. I wondered what TCII could give us to top that!

Well (dot, dot, dot), how about the good news that two more B&B albums will be produced? One of them will be geared for children, which all of us childlike fans will snatch up as enthusiastically as the more adult oriented "Love & Hope." This news from the horse's mouth, Artie Ripp, producer of L&H, "mystery guest" at the banquet.

Then, Ritch Brinkley proposed marriage to his lovely lady [11] at our banquet in a poem that orchestrated her "YES" to complete the rhyme! What a beautiful moment to share with 600 plus romantics. What's in store for 1993, Ritch? A birth announcement?

But I venture to guess that no one, including our venerable Chairperson, Betty Neiswender, anticipated or dared to dream that Ron Koslow would wake up that Saturday morning and be "overcome by the desire" to come to Las Vegas and be with us--to thank us for our support, to acknowledge our bond with him and each other, to take our questions, confirming our expectations and validating our hopes for a Beauty and the Beast movie!

Permit me the small conceit to mention here my personal high point of the convention: I was asked to present Mr. Koslow with a T-shirt I had been selling in the Dealers Room. Under the legend: Beauty and the Beast: The Movie, it depicts Vincent and Catherine on the big screen in the pose made famous by Rhett and Scarlett in GWTW. It's apparently a shirt whose time had come because I'd sold out of them by Saturday morning. Fortunately, I had one left, the display model tacked to the wall, but I'd have tear one off somebody's back to make the presentation.

I presented the shirt to Ron Koslow with the sentiment that, "This represents our hopes for the future of Beauty and the Beast." Unheard by most of the audience, I pointed out the GWTw theme and told him, "Please know that we DO give a damn!" He knows, and I believe he's shown us that he does, too If Beth will indulge me in another plug here, the T-shirt illustration, by Gail Streigle, originated to accompany my short story in Margo Ann Quigley's fanzine, The Garden: a worthy addition to anyone's B&B library.

If you're a veteran Con-goer you know that good times flow as much from the company you keep as from the events themselves. Our enjoyment and our memories are enhanced by sharing them with friends. Go to B& B cons with your friends and with an open heart and had to make new ones. The good times happen, not just in the banquet hall, at the guest speaker segments, within the costume and art competitions, at the auctions and workshops, but over breakfast, lunch and dinner, in the lobby, in your room at night when you've talked yourself hoarse and, Oh yeah (!), at all those private room parties, many of which I probably WASN'T INVITED TO!!! (Please note for the future, I am available for any and all parties!)

I DID have the pleasure of attending [[Turkey Read|a "Reading" in somebody's suite the night of the banquet. This is where a shamefully irreverent, wryly humorous orator (in this case, our own Beth Blighton) reads aloud sexually explicit B&B fanzine stories, accompanied by sarcasm, improvisation and audience-participatory sound effects]]. A lot of moisture involved here. You laugh so hard, you cry (dot, dot, dot), and this can be especially hazardous to those with a weak bladder.

In the "friends" department, nothing could have been sweeter than sharing all of this with my pen pals from "Down Under": six B&B fans who came all the way from Australia to be a part of TCII! These "mates" are far from lacking in a sense of humor. They presented me with a T-shirt that proclaimed, "Vincent's BIG Down Under!" Take that as it's intended. Three of them, Sue Portier, Kathy Fridge and Sandra Elliott, went on to spend ten days with me on the East Coast after the Con, but that will have to wait for another essay titled, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation."

It was a joy to spend time (not nearly enough) with old friends: Sue Lennon, Dorothy Cestaro, Connie Moller, Margo Quigley, Diane Mussat, Shirlea Hatcher ... and newer friends, Lee Minoff and Linda Smith. And then...and THEN ...

I found myself in the thick of discussions to organize the next national Beauty and the Beast convention in 1993. This all during Saturday's guest speaker segment, where our nasty, filthy habit drew some of us more strongly than the presence of Jay, Armin, Ritch and David. It started with just the question of WHO would throw the next con, for none had officially come forward at this point. We were all agreed that the momentum could not be lost; a year could not go by without a B&B national con, and if no one else was crazy enough to do it, we would!

Within hours, we were getting backlash about among other things, just what KIND of con this would be, the old "Classic/Third Season" debate raising its ugly head again. I'll be honest with you: it was a SMOKERS' CON we were conspiring to organize!!!! Smoking allowed EVERYWHERE! In the Dealers Room, the Media Room, the Banquet Hall...we figured it would give everything a nice, misty "tunnel" effect. The theme would have been, "Shades of Grey".

Well, we and the rest of you were rescued from this fate worse than coughing up hairballs by Teri Johnson and her Texas group, who came forward with their own enthusiasm to throw the 1993 B&B national convention in Austin. We happily, even gratefully, passed the reins to them. I understand that they've already adopted the theme, "Great Expectations." Flying in the face of my pragmatism, I can't help but have them. [12]

TunnelCon 3

tote bag from Tunnelcon 3, 1994
cover of the Tunnelcon 3 program book

TunnelCon III: A Family Reunion was held July 8-10, 1994 in The Stardust Hotel.

See flyer here.

Among the entertainment offered was a skit performed by fans wherein fan writers force Catherine and Vincent to repeat the same romantic balcony scene with many twists and turns. Watch the video Passionate Kisses.

nominee list for the 1992 Batb FanQ awards, click to read

TunnelCon 3 Awards

See Beauty and the Beast Fan Quality Awards.

Below from The Helpers' Network GAZETTE - June/July 1994, a monthly newsletter for friends of "Beauty and the Beast".

TunnelCon III Roundup

The art show was splendid, the guests informative and entertaining, and as a whole it was a delight and a success. It featured our first-ever naming ceremonies (two) for new children of attending fans, and a proposal by one of the better Vincents, Stu Sheff, accepted by another prominent fan, Debbie Martin of Martin Enterprises. This has nothing whatever to do with Stu, in full and splendid Vincent makeup, subsequently appearing on stage in a G-string.... After all, according to the zines, Vincent does that all the time, doesn't he?

The zine awards: Best misc. item: Rebecca Marcus for "Unspoken Guardians" in the Great Expectations zine Best newsletter: Once Upon a Time is Now edited by Jeanne Cloud & Loreen VanderKraats Best interior illus.: Sandy Chandler Shelton for Dancing Lights GE zine Best zine cover: Sue Glasgow for When the Phoenix Sings Best dramatic story: Rosemarie Hauer for "The Wish" in White Cover ed. by Trish Kehoe Best Humorous story: a tie: Lucy Green "Female of the Species" in Circle of Light Adele Turner "To Dream" in Perchance to Dream Best Poem: Lynette Combs, "Dear Mr. Koslow" in the Great Expectations Zine Best anthology: Perchance to Dream by the DreamSeekers ed. Adele Turner Best digest zine: a tie: Lynette Combs, O Sweetest Song II; Linda Mooney, Lucy Green Old Souls Best zine: Great Expectations, A world of Dancing Lights. ed. by Roxanne Shearer Koogler

The art awards: Journeyman Division Wearable: Karen Wuattlebaum for a cape; Sandy Shelton, "Wanted"; JoAnn Grant, Crystal Rose Logo. 3D: Sandy Shelton, etched goblet; Jean Tranum, "Together Below"; Renee Long, Vincent's Window B/W: Sandy Shelton, "No Fear"; Sally Perkins, "Contemplation"; Inez Brown, #25 Color: Sally Perkins, "Dreams of Beauty"; Inez Brown, #1; Dragon, "Innocent Eyes"

Masters' Division

3D: Kerin Houseburg "And Do We Not Live in Dreams?"; Bill Seltzer, necklace, Vincent 'n Roses; Kerin Houseburg, "Father" B/W: Barbara Gipson, "Ozymandius"; Barbara Gipson, "All The Men I've Loved Before"; Dragon "Wishes and Dreams II" Color: Claire Siefert, "Someone to Watch Over Me"; Beth Blighton, "Acquainted with the Night"; Jamie Murray, "Triangle" People's Choice: Claire Siefert, "Someone to Watch Over Me" Honorable Mention: Jamie Murray, "Triangle"; Beth Blighton, "In Truth a Heart of Gold."

TunnelCon 3 Flyer

Dear Friends:

It is our great pleasure to invite you to join us for TunnelCon III, the fifth international Beauty and the Beast Convention, to be held July 8-10, 1994. We have chosen as our theme "A Family Reunion" to symbolize the family unity of B&B and it's fandom. It will be held at the historic Stardust Hotel, in their newly constructed convention space and tower. TunnelCon III will be a full three days, with set-up on Thursday, July 7, 1994. We're inviting a lot of guests and are planning many special events and activities. Your price for all this will be $85.00.

Room reservations may be made by calling the Stardust's toll-free number, 1- 800-634-6757. This number is good for the continental United States, Canada and Mexico. Be sure to ask for the TunnelCon III room rate! They've arranged a special split rate for us of $49 per night Sunday through Thursday, and $69 Friday and Saturday; this is for single or double occupancy, with a $10.00 per person charge for extra persons. Also, motor-in guest rooms will be available for $39 and $59, ask hotel staff for any further information. These rooms are detached from the hotel, but are within easy walking distance of the convention area. It is necessary to secure your room reservation with a one night fee deposit, or a credit card. Room registration cut off will be June 6, 1994. Please, make your reservations before that date.

Our charges for the convention space will be based on the number of sleeping rooms that are booked. So, please be sure to mention that your are with TunnelCon III when making your reservations. Also, let our registration committee and the Hotel know if you have special needs.

The Hotel renovations have made things very accessible to people with physical problems. The convention area is located on the ground floor, immediately behind the registration desk and guest room elevators. There are only a few steps and ramps are provided. There aren't any escalators or long walks required though the casino! There are six restaurants on the premises, most very reasonably priced. The Stardust is located midway on the Strip, with several shopping centers and other hotels within easy walking distance. We expect the weather to be a bit warmer than it was in mid June, 1992.

We will have over fifty tables of unique merchandise in our salesroom and, of course, the traditional art show and auction. We will be featuring the talents of as many of the well known Beauty and the Beast artists as possible on fliers, buttons, badges, t-shirts, other souvenir items and our Souvenir Book, which will again be edited by Carol Kyne. If you are making things to sell in the convention sales room, we request that you not label them "TunnelCon III" or "A Family Reunion", as we would like to reserve these for the official souvenirs.

For information about the costume contest, art show, dealer's room or the Fan Quality Awards, please send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope to the appropriate addresses indicated on the registration form. Please specify what information you will need. Other contests may be announced at a later date. We will keep you posted.

Our "Summerfest" Banquet will be a sit down affair. Please indicate your choice of entree on your registration form. Seating for the banquet will be assigned by groups of 10 per table. Seating assignment arrangements for the banquet will be announced at a later date. Seating at all other events will be open, there will be no assigned or reserved seats except for our guests. At the present time we are planning for 700 people, so get your reservations in early! Help us to "Keep the Dream Alive", and to celebrate "Beauty and the Beast" as it was, as it is, and as it is yet to be!

Be Well!

TunnelCon III Committee [13]

TunnelCon 3 Video Tape Dispute

Last and probably least, a small tempest over certain footage in the TunnelCon III video. In a recent published letter, a concerned fan objected to this footage that involved Nan and a few other all-season fans discussing the state of tolerance in this fandom. The letter-writer didn't like such a discussion being made in so public a forum as a convention video (she took it to be part of the panel session concerning Diana). What the letter-writer didn't and couldn't know, with only the tape itself to go by, is that this was a private conversation among a few friends after both the panel and the following meeting of the Jo Anderson fan club were OVER. No audience was present. The room was empty except for 4 or 5 friends who rarely get a chance to talk face to face...and a videographer way off at the other end of the room, whom Nan, at least, had completely forgotten about by that time.

Although Nan is unapologetic about what was said and feels it's absurd to call the conversation "fan bashing" (as the letterwriter did) since no fan whatsoever was even so much as criticized (really, in all honesty, it's pretty dull, bland stuff with nil shock value), it's nevertheless unfortunate that the resulting footage was included on the tape since it's so easily misinterpreted, out of context. Phil Smith, like the letter-writer, assumed it was part of the session, found it interesting, and put it in; and, although surprised, Nan at first saw nothing wrong with it, not realizing it could be (and had been) interpreted as part of something public rather than one of the video's many miscellaneous "candid" sequences of fans "fanning," as it were. Nan has no criticism for Phil or his crew: they were doing what they were supposed to do, taping whatever was going on. It was only Nan's inexperience in such matters that's the culprit here, if culprit there be. She's not used to checking on whether or not she's being taped. Hereafter, at a convention, she'll try to do her own "fanning" more discreetly and more wisely. [14]

For more on this topic, see An Open Letter to Fans of Beauty and the Beast Regarding the Tunnel Con III Video and Beauty and the Beast: The Classic vs. Season 3 Fandom Split.

Con Reports: TunnelCon 3

A convention report can be found here.

Other photos, memories and videos from the convention can be found here; Tunnelcon III: A Family Reunion WebCite, accessed Feb 2, 2011. and here.

Now. I'm sure some of you have convention reports sent in already, but I have to say that Tunnelcon was wonderful! I came home and started watching episodes again, something I haven't been able to do, just for fun, in three years. I attribute this to the con; specifically, the fact that all the Unpleasantness seems to be dying away, finally.

I never in my wildest dreams expected to see the best fanzine award go to Roxanne Koogler and Lucy Green, two avowedly third season people, nor to see a story award shared by third season story and a classic story. And I was VERY happy to hear Mike Maloney of the California group say that they will consider inviting guests from all seasons of the show to the 95 con (which, BTW, looks to be absolutely killer.) I have to say that I wasn't planning to go to LA next year, and neither were many of my friends. But when I saw the presentation that the California group had put together, and read their flyer, I was so impressed with their dedication and determination that I signed up on the spot, and even volunteered to help. I sincerely hope that there will be none of this nastiness about threatening to boycott the con if third season guests are invited, as there was this year. If you can't bear to come if so-and-so is invited, fine. We'll miss you. Just don't take away my right to see them. (As you can tell, I feel very strongly about this. The Stephen McHattie flap nearly drove me out of fandom this year, and it is only because of the support of my Beast group that I stuck around for TCON. Now I'm glad I did! And the crazy thing is, every single person I've talked to about McHattie, classic and third season alike, said they would have liked to have heard him talk about

BatB.... [15]
On Friday morning, the opening ceremonies began. Unfortunately, I made it for the last five minutes. Oh well. The rest of Friday afternoon was full of workshops about different aspects of BATB. And, of course, THE DEALER'S ROOM, my personal favorite! Friday evening was the talent show and costume contest which started out with Edward Albert "auctioning" himself off for our designated charity, a home in Las Vegas for children with AIDS. The talent was wonderful, especially the Dreamseekers' skit, and the costumes were a hoot.

Saturday was the Q & A. David Schwartz (coordinating producer), David Greenlee (Mouse), and Edward Albert (Elliott) were all there and wonderful. Roy Dotrice was in England and wasn't able to attend. David Greenlee was better than expected (from earlier reports) and was very funny. Edward Albert brought his guitar and sang several songs and told wonder- ful stories about his life and life on the show. They were all very gracious. Edward Albert is just getting to know his fans, and fandom, after all his years in the business and I really think he (as were the others) was overwhelmed at all the love and support Beauty and the Beast receives. After the Q & A, it was autograph time. Luckily, I was one of the first 50 people in line. I got some wonderful pictures of the stars and, of course, those much prized autographs!

Saturday night was the banquet. Everyone in their finest and some in costume. Before the banquet was a cash bar where everyone met and talked. David Schwartz came over and spoke with me a while. We had met last year and had some wonderful discussions. After a few photos, we all went in and found our tables. Ours was one table back from the front, in the center. The stars ate on a dias at the head of the room. I had "met" a fan on America Online, Deb, and had signed her up for our table and it was great meeting her. Turned out we had alot in common <grin>. (She and I were in the hallway smoking and Edward Albert came out for a smoke too. I got a wonderful photo of him and Deb!) After a very moving candle lighting ceremony, we all ate. Two couples in fandom had just had children and we had a naming ceremony. It was so sweet.

Gwen Lord (Roy Dotrice fan club in England) then made a surprise announcement that Roy had told her three weeks earlier that he had heard from "reliable sources" that a Beauty and the Beast movie was in production! Then silence. It was so strange. (More about this later.)

After a few videos and talk about our charity (we had the cutest little girl mascot, Heidia), the Carousels and Caverns group played a fan made video. The first part was a song that Mike Maloney (our resident fox) wrote, produced and starred in called "Remember Love". Then they played a "teaser" for next year's con in Los Angles, "A Distant Shore - The Fairy Tale Continues". It was superb! ...

Sunday was the Art Auction and Celebrity Auction hosted by David Schwartz and David Greenlee. The highlight was a full sized stuffed Vincent being bought by pretty much the whole group. David Schwartz said he would try to get it in the Debbie Reynolds Museum in Las Vegas. We then had the closing ceremonies where the "con candle" was passed to Mike Maloney (who was wearing the original costume bought by fans last year). Sunday

night was very sad running friends to the airport and saying our goodbyes. [16]
Just a brief note (or perhaps not so brief <G>) from Tunnelcon III in Las Vegas, Nevada. So far it has been a wonderful convention with guests Edward Albert, David Greenlee and David Schwartz.

David Schwartz was his normal humorous self. He talked a bit about his new position here in Las Vegas, and reminisced about his days on the set. Edward Albert sang and played guitar. Boy is he musically talented. He also spoke fondly about his mother, when questioned about her career. He was very grateful to the fans for their support of his role on Dr. Quinn, and said that even though he did not get to be involved in the season opener for next year (due to some political squabbles) he does have another iron in the fire which he did not want to jinx by discussing.

He also mentioned a cause for which he is currently working. It involves the preservation of Native American sacred lands. ....

David Greenlee did not have a lot of time on stage, as they were running late as usual, but mentioned being a not so nice policeman in his latest film "Panther". He mentioned that the film was the cause of his wearing glasses for this convention as contact between a nightstick and his eye, caused him to suffer a minor cut and a good shiner. He is fine now, which I confirmed while in the autograph line.

There were some interesting things that happened both during the Masquerade and banquet. First there was another marriage proposal at the masquerade, from one of the contestants (dressed as Vincent) to another fan. (They are both part of Chesapeake Helper's Society, which is my local club.) At the banquet, we had the typical "summerfest" with the addition of a tradition also from the tunnels. We had a naming ceremony for two new "family members."

Announcements at the banquet included the Fan awards, where Out...In won for best letterzine. Lucy Green won several awards, along with Lynette Combs, Beth Blighton, and Cindy Shelton. The

Great Expectations souvenir booklet was best zine. The following information has not been confirmed, and rumors are conflicting, so use with a grain of salt. Gwen Lord read a brief section of a note from Roy Dotrice, who stated that he had from a reliable source that a Blockbuster/Witt Thomas group now planned to film a movie. However, what had been spread about prior to Gwen's announcement was that this group was responding to our request for new movies, by releasing additional episodes to pre-recorded tape. Time will tell which of these rumors is closest to the truth. [17]
The art show was splendid, the guests informative and entertaining, and

as a whole it was a delight and a success. It featured our first-ever naming ceremonies (two) for new children of attending fans, and a proposal by one of the better Vincents, Stu Sheff, accepted by another prominent fan, Debbie Martin of Martin Enterprises. This has nothing whatever to do with Stu, in full and splendid Vincent makeup, subsequently appearing on stage in a G-string....After all, according to the zines, Vincent does that all the time, doesn't he?

Fan awards info here

There was another award, a surprise, and the first one of its kind that Nan's aware of. A sort of Jean Hersholt award from fandom as represented by the convention committee. At the banquet, a special award was granted to Lyn Musaccio, of the New England B&B Hotline, and to Nan. The wording of the awards differed only slightly, given how long each of the two hot- lines has been running. Nan's framed certificate reads, "Certificate of Appreciation for Keeping the Dream Alive awarded to Nan Dibble of the Helpers' Network Hotline. In thanks for extraordinary service to the Beauty and the Beast Fandom. In the presence of fans, friends, and stars of Beauty and the Beast, you are commended for faithfully providing weekly information updates since 1991. May your good work continue for many years to come. Presented at TunnelCon III, Las Vegas, Nevada July 9, 1994." Nan was surprised, touched, and gratified at this recognition of what she, and now Lyn, have tried to do in support, praise, and love of this marvelous series and its fandom.

Betty Neiswender reports that $10,000 will be presented to the convention's chosen charity, the "Reach Out" program for Pediatric Aids, for which young Hydia Broadbent was such a charming and eloquent spokesperson.

VINCENT'S TOGS THE COSTUME (the one fans bought at Great Expectations) was indeed duly presented to Ron Perlman this past spring by David Schwartz at a going away party for David (he moved to Las Vegas after the earthquake, fires & floods stuck California). David said Ron was very flabbergasted at the amount of money raised for it and incredibly delighted and touched that in the name of work that he did for Beauty and the Beast, such a charitable and giving experience could have come from it...that 300-350 people in a hotel ballroom on a Saturday night last July in Texas would do this.... Ron was deeply, deeply touched by the fans' generosity, love, and commit- ment to continue keeping not only the dream alive, but the passion, and more significantly their understanding for helping others. It was modeled at the convention by Mike Maloney of the Carousels and Caverns Community (and very nice he looked in it, too). So the story of the Vincent costume has a happy ending, and it will surely show up at conventions to come.

Betty Neiswender reports that a set of 5 photos of this memorable presentation are available from her for $6.00. Send (and make check or money order payable) to "The Beast Connection," [address removed]. Two dollars of the price of each set of photos goes to "Reach Out."

TUNNELCON III VIDEOS Videotapes of TunnelCon III, including all the special moments, (Stu Sheff in the G-string; the 3rd season commemorative ping-pong ball and water pistol fight; the naming ceremonies; the celebrity Q&A's, and much more!) will be produced, again by the redoubtable Phil Smith of Helpers Above

Tulsa and his crew at NovTek, Inc. If you saw the extremely handsome video Phil did for Great Expectations, you'll know why the TunnelCon III video will be an absolute treat for both those who were and weren't able to attend the convention. A three-tape set, to be prepared and shipped this fall, costs $50 plus $4 s/h. OK residents add an additional $4. That's a reasonable price considering how packed these tapes were the last time.... and how underpriced. These aren't merely home movies but a three tape video produced and edited by professional videographers...and the difference shows. So send (and make check or money order payable to) NovTek, Inc. Video Productions [address redacted]. [18]

My memories of TunnelCon III are not as wonderful as my memories of last year's convention in Austin. First my husband came. I know I shouldn't complain, after all it was his overtime money that got us to Vegas to begin with, BUT last year Laura (yes, my classical friend) and I went together and we did nothing but Beauty and the Beast for three solid days. Going with a spouse, even one that is as considerate as mine, is not the sane as going with another Beastie (I love that word!).

Also, we did not stay at the Stardust. We got a package deal we couldn't pass up at another hotel, which was about 15-20 minutes walking distance. Having the extra days to spend together in Vegas was nice and the walk from our hotel to the Stardust wasn't bad, EXCEPT... when it was time for the autograph session, I realised I left my souvenir sine in the hotel room, 20 minutes away. A frantic search of the dealers' room revealed that all those great photos I had seen the day before, were gone. I settled on a convention T-shirt for the "Stars" to sign. Wot my first choice, but it was okay.

Saturday night, we arrived early for the banquet and were enjoying our second round of drinks when the announcement was made that absolutely no one would be allowed in without a banquet ticket. Guess who left their tickets in the hotel room, 20 minutes away?! Dave took off and I stayed behind watching EVERYONE go in. However, this even has a bright spot... 1 was half sitting, half leaning on the table outside the Great Hall wearing what must have been a very forlorn look on my face, when David Schwartz came up to me, took my hand and asked what was the problem. I explained that I was waiting for my husband to return from the Sahara, where I had left our meal tickets. With a look of understanding, he gave me a kiss and a pat an the shoulder. That was nice!

Poor Dave (my Dave) must have run both ways, because he made it in about thirty minutes. When we sat at our table, the waiters were just collecting the tickets, so we really didn't miss anything. BUT, not staying at the convention hotel is a real burner.

I also missed the decorations. Except for our T-shirts and a few "Vincents" running around, one couldn't tell what the convention was for. There was none of the neat stuff that was in Austin like the "Great Expectations" banner, the bigger-than-life Vincent cut-out, the "silhouette;" were these decorations not what is normally done? I don't know, Austin was my first convention.

My good memories: Every panel I attended; the talent/costume show; breakfast with Edward; the dealers' roam; the art show; the celebrity auction; "Be Our Guest"; Vincent in a loin cloth; David Greenlee, David Schwartz, Edward Albert, Myhr; the autograph session; the celebrity auction, and all the Beasties. I really did have a good time, the convention was well-planned, well-run. But it could have been better, believe me, I have learned from my mistakes... next year I'm staying in the convention hotel and I'm going with another Beastie! [19]

References

  1. ^ List of Beauty and the Beast Conventions
  2. ^ Tunnelcon I Con Report WebCite, accessed Feb. 2, 2011.
  3. ^ as per an ad in Pipeline v.3 n.1
  4. ^ from Cooking for a Beast (Starlog #163)
  5. ^ TunnelCon 1 Con Reports, Archived version
  6. ^ report by Barbara Storey in Tunneltalk (August 1990)
  7. ^ from Tunneltalk #7
  8. ^ from Stephanie Wiltse in Pipeline v.3 n.8/9
  9. ^ from Pipeline v.3 n.8/9
  10. ^ from Pipeline v.3 n.10
  11. ^ "Kathi Edrington a B&B fan on a B&B USA cruise, entered a "writing a story on a post card" competition, and won. Her prize was to hove guest Ritch Brinkley who played William the cook, to read her story. He fell for her, and they started dating and married. Ritch proposed to her at a B&B convention even!" -- from Chatterbox (June 1998)
  12. ^ by Kate Thomas in Lionheart #3
  13. ^ The Helpers' Network GAZETTE - February 1995, Archived version
  14. ^ The Helpers' Network GAZETTE - January 1995, Archived version
  15. ^ from Of Love and Hope #1 (1994)
  16. ^ from Of Love and Hope #1 (1994)
  17. ^ from Of Love and Hope #1 (1994)
  18. ^ from Of Love and Hope Vol 1 (1994)
  19. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #55