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Name: Westercon
Dates: 1948-present
Frequency: annual
Location: varies from year to year; voted on two years in advance by membership
Type: science fiction
Focus: science fiction
Organization: Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society
Founder: Walter J. "Doc" Dougherty
Founding Date: 1948
URL: http://www.westercon.org/
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Westercon is a general science fiction and fantasy convention held in western North America, usually on or around the U.S. Independence Day.

program book for WESTERCON 25/MYTHCON 3 (1972) 5 1/2 x 8 3/8, 52 pages. Front cover and back cover by Tim Kirk. Profile of Poul Anderson by Bernie Zuber. Art by George Barr.

1975: Con Report

I am sorry to say that from all of our reporters who attended Westercon we received the same sort of comment - "a bummer." Perhaps we have been too spoiled by the competent and interesting programming of other science fiction conventions to appreciate a convention oriented more towards science fantasy with just a little science fiction thrown in, unlike some other fiction conventions where every minute there are two or three events happening and it is a major decision which one to attend, Westercon had people sitting in the lobby waiting for something to happen. The costume competition was not very well organized. At a Westercon held in San Francisco a couple of years ago at the St. Francis Hotel there were about 50 entrants and they were not seen before coming on stage. At the Oakland convention you saw all of the entrants before they got on stage and after seeing the first two or three that were of any interest — much of the audience just up and left — except for those who wanted to stick around just to see the nude girl in the black chiffon cover, which didn't cover anything. The best costumes were worn by David Gerrold and D.C. Fontana. Gerrold wore an ornate blue and silver costume somewhat reminiscent of that worn by men in the Renaissance. D.C. wore a flowing and very feminine toga-like garment. Fran Evans, a Los Angeles artist and costume designer created their makeup which consisted of coppery skintones with handpainted green designs (there was a disagreement as to whether they were leaves or veins) Also, both had lights placed in front of their eyes which gave an effect similar to the Morlocks in the movie THE TIME MACHINE. Another interesting costume was worn by Kathy Bushman. It was a beautiful gold lame dress and to match it she wore a gold headdress, face mask and was carrying a golden whip. Most of the other costumes lacked imagination and creativity. The sad part was that when the awards were given out-there were seven plaques, all the same, to each contestant. The costumes worn by David, Dorothy and Kathy were given no special award for their obvious superiority over the other "winners".

The art show was very crowded and badly illuminated, making it more of a hassle than an enjoyable exhibition to attend.

Finally, I feel the Lemington Hotel was far too small to hold a convention of this type. Hopefully the next one will be better. [1]

1993: Con Report

Well, I'm a con-going novice. My experience is limited to 'Bimbos of the Death Sun', and con reviews in Locus. So maybe what I saw at Westercon is normal these days.

One masquerade act was two guys from the USS Raging Queen, dressed in ST:TNG uniforms - in pink and fuchia. One had pointed ears, and was called Spock, and he called his companion Captain. They didn't lisp, or droop fingers. Their sketch was hilarious, and they called themselves gay. The Captain threw the Vulcan over his knee in a passionate kiss, and they ended the sketch with a condom and admonition: 'use this to live long and prosper'. The audience loved it, and was mostly on its feet cheering by the end.

Later, Greg Bear (the EmC) was struggling to fill time, and he asked the audience what K/S for Klingons was called, and asked if anyone had read or written anything with Worf, for example. When someone up front asked what K/S was, he replied, "And you call yourself a fan, and you don't know about K/S? Well, Kirk and Spock are an item," or words to that effect. He was going for a laugh here, but after all the stories about homophobic SF fans, much less homophobic media fans ("Why do they hate ST so much?") I was surprised to hear it mentioned aloud. On the one hand, being a subject for ridicule is not better than a subject for condemnation, but being a subject at all seems to me to be interesting.

And [ Rachel Sabotini ] was telling me that the presence of media fanzines in the dealers room (for sale, and as a library for browsing) was new. All due to a fuss she kicked up at Norwescon. Good job, [Rachel Sabotini]! I also saw, for sale, on a zine pile at a table with various media items, a K/S zine. It said K/S on the cover. [Rachel Sabotini] found several in a box at the zine tables, too, (well, those folks worked on Virgule).

So are gay skits common at masquerades at "mainstream" SF cons? [2]


  1. ^ from Bellerophon v.1 n.1
  2. ^ comments by Nicole V at Virgule-L, quoted with permission (July 5, 1993)