Unicon (California convention)

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For other uses of the term, see Unicon.

Convention
Name: Unicon
Dates: there was one in 1989, and one in 1992, perhaps others?
Frequency: ?
Location: California
Type:
Focus: science fiction and fantasy
Organization:
Founder:
Founding Date:
URL:
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Unicon was a science fiction and fantasy convention held in California.

From a fan in 1993:
Cons with actors, like Shore Leave, Farpoint, Visions, Unicon, Anglicon, including professional for-profit cons such as those run by Creation. People may sell slash there, usually 'under the table,' but there (probably) won't be panels about it. [1]
From a fan in 1994:
UNICON has been in the Bay Area of California for several years now. They are a "media con" in that they focus on media fandom, but they are very "star" oriented, and therefore there are not as many zines (and almost no slash) sold there. [2]

1989

  • June 24 and 25, 1989
  • Sheraton Hotel, Concord, CA
  • confirmed guests: Paul Darrow (Blake's 7), Janet Lees Price (Klyn: Blake's 7), Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Terry Nation, Michael Keating, Richard Arnold (the guests listed in the program book were: Richard Arnold, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Paul Darrow, Richard Hallock, Michael Keating, Brin-Marie Landerman, Dr. Christoper McKay, Linda Siller, Michael Simms, Kevin Standlee, Dr. Carol Stoker, Thomas Talley, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)
  • the con had many Blake's 7 guests of honor, and was held at the height of The Blake's 7 Wars -- this was addressed [Unicon (California convention)#A Statement from a Fan: 1989|here]]
  • the 22-page program book had cover art by Melody Rondeau
  • Videotape footage from the 1989 and 1992 conventions can be found as part of the "S. Hereld Collection of Blake's 7 Fanzines and Fan Fiction" located at the University of Iowa fanzine archives The footage was shot with an 8mm telephoto lens
    • There are 3 tapes associated with the Sunday June 1989 convention:
    • Opening of the convention with Michael Keating and other Blake's 7 cast members
    • "Heroes and Villains" (panel in 2 parts) with actors Michael Keating, Paul Darrow, producer Terry Nation and Claudia O'Keefe
    • "Liars" (panel in 2 parts) with actors Michael Keating, Paul Darrow and producer Terry Nation
    • Blake's 7 (panel in 2 parts), 20 minutes recorded with wide angle lens, duplication of a duplicate made on an RCA portable VCR which was a duplicate from an original camcorder transferred in June 1990
    • "Gore" (panel in 2 parts) with Paul Darrow, ??, Claudia O'Keefe and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
  • B7 fans performed the skit "Conventional Warfare"
  • there were "science panels" arranged by "The Planetary Society" and featured: Dr. Chris McKay (NASA/Ames Research), Carol Stoker, Michael Simms
  • George Sampson of KTEH Channel 54 was to attend
  • activities were: open gaming, Japanese animation, dealers room, music videos, charity auction, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, TSR Games, Steve Jackson Games, filk singing, costume contest, art show, art auction, 24-hour video room
  • the con charity was the Diablo Chapter of the American Red Cross

1989: A Statement from a Fan

A fan felt it necessary to publicly comment on one of the guests of honor (Paul Darrow) and the controversies swirling during The Blake's 7 Wars. From a progress report:

I have worked in science fiction conventions for almost fifteen years and in that time I have worked with and come to know many of the stars of the genre. Recently my friend Paul Darrow has come under a very vicious attack in certain fan publications. In my experience, Paul Darrow is one of the best people in the business. Paul has consistently tried to be accessible to his fans and has given a great deal of his time and energy in efforts to meet as many of his fans as possible. He does not do this for financial gain, he does it because he loves his fans. He is one of the least demanding and hardest working performers I have ever seen. Paul and Janet wanted me to thank everyone from the bottom of their hearts for the support they have received. I want to thank them for being the wonderful people that they are. I hope that all of you will get the chance to meet two of the kindest, most decent, and most loving people around. I know that my life has been enriched for having known them. -- Michele Wilson, Supreme Commander

1989: Flyers

1989: Con Report

I had the good fortune of being able to attend Unicon in Concord, California at the end of June. Despite a number of difficulties in organization, Unicon was a fantastic experience because everyone, fans and guests alike, pitched in to make the con work. I am especially impressed with the B7 guests, Paul, Michael Keating, and Terry Nation. All three worked above and beyond the call of duty, even going so far as to auction off breakfast with each other for Sunday morning, to help raise money to keep the con finances from disaster.

The auction was a scream, well worth it for the entertainment value, even if you had no intention of bidding yourself: Paul and and Michael auctioned off Terry, who went for $80; then Paul and Terry auctioned off Michael, who went for $450 (with Paul occasionally exclaiming during the bidding, 'Do you know what you're doing'); and last but certainly not least, Terry and Michael auctioned off breakfast with Paul, who needn't have worried about the competition: he went for $750.

I made the long drive to Unicon primarily to see the Paul and Michael Show, and was definitely not disappointed! The two of them are obviously friends, and seem to trust each other totally. I watched in awe as Paul kept (quite unconsciously, I'm sure) handling Michael lines to zing him with. And Terry aids and abets, as it turns out. Really, he eggs the other two on, so it is absolutely hysterical.

There were quite a number of panels, including a standard Q&A session with all three of them; a panel on gore in sf with Paul (I missed that!); another panel with Michael I missed; autographs; the masquerade (small but fun, and the San Diego group's presentation of 'Conventional Warfare' is not to be missed); the aforementioned auction of breakfast; a panel called 'Heroes and Villains' which ended up with Paul, Terry, Michael, and a lady writer who was never introduced as far as I know; a Liar's Panel (great fun!); the art and charity auctions (done by Paul, Michael, and Terry); and more autographs. My friend Meg and I left about 3:30 Sunday afternoon, having decided that despite the certainty that the auctions would be wonderful to behold, we needed to be home before 4:00 A.M. -- and as it was, after driving back down the center of California, I got home around midnight and had to be at work at 8:30 the next morning. But I had nothing to complain about -- I came home with a weekend of wonderful memories, because Paul and the other guests worked so hard to make Unicon fun for the fans!

By the way, this was the first time I have seen Paul in person without his hair being Elvis black, and I must say, the lighter natural color (gray and all) is much more attractive. I kept finding myself staring absently and wanting to touch. [3]

1990

Unicon 1990 was held August 11-12, 1990 at the Sheraton Hotel in Concord, CA

Kandy Fong was listed as a guest with her "comic music videos"

1992

Ray Sharkey (Wiseguy) and Jim Byrnes were guests of honor.

Con Reports: 1992

Regarding Sharkey & Byrnes at Unicon, they were really neat. Regarding Sharkey knowing about slash, I don't think he knew anything at all about it. What Ray Sharkey *did* know was how to please an audience. He was very receptive to questions, personable, and really lively. At one point (the discussion had been about women and how well-or not- they were portrayed, a question was raised, "as well as the show handled women, it didn't seem to do the same for other minorities, particularly homosexuals." The questioner was going on a little, giving examples, and Ray Sharkey jumped in saying, (this part's paraphrased; the latter part's verbatim) "Oh yeah, I know what you guys wanna see. You wanna see Vinnie bein' hit on by all the studs. You wanna see him in leather pants at the bars, doin' the cruising thing." The crowd went wild, and *that's*, in my opinion, what incited Sharkey to keep going. He's a crowd pleaser, and he's willing to be wild to get the audience off. So he continues, "Yeah, you guys wanna see Vinnie hittin' *all* the leather bars, and you want uncle Mike tellin' him where they are. Yeah, I know what you guys want." The crowd's going wild at this point, so Sharkey keeps riding with it. "Yeah, you wanna see Frank askin' the Uncle how *he* knows where they all are. You wanna see Vinnie callin' Frank and sayin', (in a good, seductive Vinnie voice) 'yeah Frank, I'll be right up.'" At that point one of the panelists got her breath back and steered the conversation to safer topics. (I was personally terrified that somebody'd yell "YES! OH YES!!" and hold up Vinnie/Sonny slash art work, or something.)

And that was the main "homosexual and/or slash reference" he made. It was a joke. A *good* joke, but still a joke. He never went into the dealers' room, and he never saw slash as far as I knew (and I was sticking pretty close to him and his handlers). He was there for like, ten hours, and that little schtick he did was the only homosexual reference of any kind that he made, to my knowledge.

Both he and Jim Byrnes were really cool as far as being accessible, friendly, and personable. I have a million stories that I won't inflict the entire list with--but if anybody wants to hear them, just let me know. The guys were great.

This is, by the way, a pet peeve of mine about how rumors get started. Did anybody else who was actually at Unicon here another single word? Did anybody see him looking at slash? I don't think he did. Not once. [4]

References

  1. ^ comments by Sandy Hereld on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (April 23, 1993)
  2. ^ comments by Megan Kent on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (March 2, 1993)
  3. ^ Pressure Point no.12
  4. ^ from Michelle Christian, posted to Virgule-L, quoted with permission (November 25,1993)