ZebraCon/1981

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ZebraCon 3 (1981)

Zebracon 3 was held in November 1981 in Kalmazoo, Michigan.

Co-chairs were Paulie Gilmore and Karen B.

Other volunteers: Joanne Papin (art show and auction), Rich Curth (security chief), Rodger Gonder, David Massie, Fritz Kurz, Pat Watson, Glen Chappatta, and Nikki and Zort (security/gopher squad).

Worries About Attendance

Membership had been capped at 125. In the end, there were 71 attending members and 33 supporting members and raised $350 for the charity.

Before the convention, there were worried about low attendance:

From a letter written by one of the organizers in S&H #27:

That's it for last issue [of S & H letterzine], but I have a few well chosen (I hope) words to every person who gets this L/zine, concerning Z-Con. I'm very, very, very disappointed in the turn out this year, and by what I interpret as a general lack of interest and support from fandom. Last year 92 people attended Z-Con. As of today — Oct. 18 — we haven't even reached 80. And at least half a dozen of those who planned on attending this year have dropped out. Now, I know things are tough all over—hell, if I wasn't running this damn thing I couldn't afford to go either. And getting to Kazoo is a bitch, for sure. But I can't believe money and transportation difficulty are the only reasons people aren't showing up. So what's wrong? I've heard some nasty rumors to the effect that some people are staying away because they're afraid rhis is going to he a S/H con. Well, bullshit. My personal views regarding S/H are just that—personal. They have nothing to do with Z-Con. I have bent over backwards this year to be absolurely fair to all fandom— to keep this con from being slanted in either direction. Why haven't more of you become supporting members? Last year there were almost thirty. This year I have fourteen. Every single one of you out there who can't make it to the con should be a supporting member. For only 25.00 you can prove you support the con. People wonder if fandom is dying—well. Zebra Con is the only convention we have. And if that goes ——

Understand, I'm not bitching because I feel like all my hard work isn't being appreciated, or anything like that. I know those people who are coming appreciate it all, and I'm grateful to them for coming. No, I'm bitching because it seems to me that the majority of fans just don't care about Z-Con anymore and that saddens me.

Am I wrong? OK, show me. Become a supporting member—there's time. All you people in England—what about you? I know you have your own con, but some of you at least can afford the five bucks, I'm sure.

This is the last Zebra Con Paulie and I will do. The last one in Kazoo, as well. Right now the future of Z-Con is very much in doubt. I'm willing to keep on running it—in Chicago, and slightly earlier in the year—for as long as the fans want it. But I'm not going to do it for just a few people. It isn't worth it. Do you want a Zebra Con IV? Okay—show me you support this one, and there'll be another. It's all up to you.

From the Program Book

the program book cover, by Jean C.
From the program book:
Starsky and Hutch fandom has come a long way since the first ZEBRA CON was held in July, 1979, in Chicago. The letterzine had barely begun, there were only a couple of zines, and 50 people showed up for ZEBRA CON I. By the time of #2, last November in K'zoo, fandom had practically tripled in size, the number of zines had doubled, the letterzine was was tripping merrily along, and almost 100 people attended the Con. A good year for fandom! 1981 hasn't been quite as terrific, though. The number of zines has dropped, and so has the number attending ZEBRA CON. We've had more than our share of troubles [1] but fandom is still hanging in there. Let's hope that the good feelings and camaraderie generated by a successful Con will go a long way towards turning this fandom around -- and making it fun again. ZEBRA CON is for all fandom -- the one chance we have to celebrate the beautiful reasons are are fans.
From the program book:

The Costume Contest is the only event scheduled for Friday evening (though the Video Room will be open most of the night, of course!) Afterwards the program is open - this is the time to have a room party, or go to one, or maybe catch a little sleep! The hotel has asked that we not leave the doors wide open, so if you're having an open party just leave your door cracked slightly.

If you're arriving Friday night, you must wait to register until Saturday morning, but Security will be informed and you should have no trouble getting into the Costume Contest or the Video Room.

FAN FUND: Last year, for ZEBRA CON 2, Paula Smith ran a very successful Fan Fund to bring Marian Kelly to Kalamazoo. This time Kendra Hunter and Marian are running it, and the recipients are Diana Barbour and [Melanie R]. The Fan Funds are privately handled, not by ZEBRA CON, and need not necessarily be for the Guests of Honor.

THE HUGGY AWARDS: Be sure you turn in your ballot to Karen by 4pm Saturday. Because of the rather small selection of zines this year, we reduced the Huggy categories to only three. We'd like to hear from you - which way is better? Three general categories or nine/ten specific ones?
From the program book:

This is the last ZEBRA CON to be held in Kalamazoo, and the last one to be run by Paulie and Karen. If there is a Con next year, it will be run by Karen, and held in Chicago slightly earlier in the year - probably mid-October. But whether or not there is another Con is very much up in the air right now. We are very disappointed in the poor turn-out this year, and with the general lack of support for this Con that seems to be very prevalent in fandom this year. If fandom no longer wishes to support the Con, then it will die.

The Dead Dog Panel is Sunday at 1:00. This is the time to let us know what you liked - and especially what you didn't like - about ZEBRA CON 3. And to pledge your support for ZEBRA CON 4. The decision as to whether or not ZEBRA CON should be continued will rest mainly on what takes place this weekend.

The future of ZEBRA CON is in your hands.

Guests of Honor

There were three fan guests of honor, Melanie R, Diana Barbour, and Stephanie Dorcy. The program book had a short bio about each one of them.

Stephanie:

[personal info redacted]

She first got interested in fandom in '76 when she attended her first con, but she didn't start working at cons until '78, when she was asked to help escort one of the guests. She's been helping out at most of the cons she's attended since then. Her interest in S&H Fandom started with the program itself; then while attending a Trek con in Cleveland picked up a flyer for ZEBRA CON I. She came, helped out (a lot! - KB) and met some old friends as well as making new ones. She feels that since she doesn't write or draw, she can best contribute to fandom by helping out at cons. And she's sure been a big help to us over the last 3 years!

Melanie:

[personal info redacted]

She joins us at ZEBBA CON this year not only as Guest of Honor, but as co-recipient (with Diana Barbour) of the 1981 Fan Fund. Her stories, poetry and nonsense have been printed in various Trek zines, and her S&H material has appeared in ZEBRA THREE #3 and #4, ME AND THEE #1, CASA CABRILLO, and two issues of her own zine, THE PITS. In 1980 she shared (with Marian Kelly) the Huggy for Best Short Story (for "Any Major Dude"). She produced the 1981 Starsky and Hutch Calendar and this summer edited the S&H Letterzine. Other than writing, her favorite activities include singing, playing her dulcimer and 12-string guitar, camping, and man-watching. Her ambitions include finishing the two historical novels languishing on her desk, getting a permanent teaching position, and surviving this Con.

Diana:

[personal info redacted]

[Diana] is our Special Guest of Honor this year. Her background in fandom stretches back quite a way, her brother Michael was responsible for WesterCon 34, and her younger sister is very active in the S.C.A.. All three have their background in mainstream SF. Diana was part of Trek Fandom almost from the beginning. She founded Memory Alpha Federation Library and Bibliographic Center (a lending library for Trekfen) in the early 70's, and published four anthologies of Trekfic in the "Best Of "series.

Meanwhile, she was becoming more and more involved with Starsky and Hutch and the burgeoning fandom. In June/July 1979 she published the first letterzine - 20 pages of letters, comment, and criticism. Kendra Hunter joined her with Issue #8 and the two of them continued to publish the letterzine through 17 issues, until January, '81... Other interests include HILL STREET BLUES, Darkover, and GENERAL HOSPITAL.

A Raffled Parrot

the raffled parrot, from the program book

Remember Sugar, and the Green Parrot? Well, he (she??) is making a personal appearance at ZEBRA CON 3, for the worthy purpose of raising money for our charity, THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR THE PREVENTION OF CHILD ABUSE. Sugar will be on display at the Registra tion table and in the Dealers Room, and will be raffled off Saturday night at the Banquet.

Buy a chance - several chances at Sugar:

25¢ a chance. 5 for $1. Help a worthy cause!

Two Proposed Zines

These two proposed zines were advertised in the program book. Neither of them were ultimately published.

Watching Vids

While there had previously only been a handful of vids created, mostly by Kendra Hunter and Diana Barbour, this had changed over the year.

The next year, 1981, sixteen people showed up with vids they had made, and they were inviting people into their rooms. Diana remembers that this group included Elaine H. with Carol H. Linda B. and friends, and Jean C. H with Pam P. Everyone had their own style and own way of solving the editing challenge. [2]
I hope all of you are as excited about Z-Con III as Diana and I are. This gathering of fans has the potential of being the most exciting events of our time… Diana and I will be bringing our song tape. I will be shown in our room, 201. The schedule will be posted on the door. We are looking forward to seeing what others have done in this area. The grapevine says that new and exciting adventures are being taking into this medium of artistic expression. [3]
The con was underway. Rooms filled with laughter and cigarette smoke. Wine flowed with love. Zines and stories and song tapes took our time… a song tape was born. The reward was given this year as we watch the results of your hours of hard work. ‘What I Did for Love.’ ‘Another One Bits the Dust.’ ‘Just to Feel this Love.’ ‘Forget Your Troubles, C’mon Get Happy.’… [4] Give yourself a hand, Ladies. Your work deserves more. [5]

The Vid Room

From the third progress report:

Every episode, bloopers, plus (we hope!) a few surprises. The Video Room will be Room 210, and will be open most of the weekend. If you're bringing your own VTR to set up in your room and don't mind company, just put a sign on the bulletin board or on your door. As for cloning tapes, you're all on your own this year!

PLEA FOR HELP!

We desperately need a second Beta machine to use in the Video Room, because the one we've used for the last two years isn't up to the strain of non-stop use. Is there anyone out there who'd be willing to bring their machine to use alternately with ours - so that neither VTR would run more than 4 hours at a stretch? There will be a Security guard in the Video Room 24 hours a day, so you need have no worries there!

Some Food Details

From the third progress report: "Buffet Style. Menu: Baked Ham, Baked Chicken, Whipped Potatoes, Corn, Mixed Vegetables, Tossed Salad, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Relish Tray, Beverage. We will be supplying a special cake for dessert."

The Programming

  • Writers Workshop - Marian Kelley
  • Character Development on Starsky and Hutch - Connie Faddis, Jean C, Marian Kelly
  • Starsky and Hutch vs. Fan Lit - Paula Smith, Jan Lindner, Marian Kelly
  • Starsky and Hutch: Do They Have A Future?- Lorraine Bartlett, Teresa Librande
  • The S/H Relationship: A Discussion - Kendra Hunter, Melanie R, Amy Wisniewski, Pam Jensen
  • S/H Writers Workshop - Kendra Hunter, Karen B, Jean C
  • The Art of Editing - Melanie R, Karen B, Paula Smith
  • Starsky and Hutch Fandom: Does It Have A Future? -- Karen B, Jan Lindner, Michelle Ward, Teresa Librande, Pat Massie

Convention Reports

This fandom is like a family. We fight like cats and dogs — or maybe I should say sisters.— but we love as fiercely as we fight. Z-con III is the best example of this love I can offer.

The con was underway. Rooms filled with laughter and cigarette smoke. Wine flowed with love. Zines and stories and song tapes took our time. From an idea born in the middle of the night in the spring of 1980 — Kendra get out of bed. Now. I want to show you something. — A song tape was born....

...Saturday night I sat at my appointed table at the banquet, spread the large red napkin over the contents of my plate and prayed to any passing deity that real food would appear. There was no deity. However, there was a bar just across the hall.

Karen, darling, I love you, and you put on a marvelous can and crack a mean whip, but please, for the future of fandom, give up cooking.

Ruth, congratulations on all those art awards. I hope we see more of your work soon.

Congratulations also to Connie, best artist, and to Jean for their many awards. We have precious few artists and illustrators in our fandom. We need you and appreciate you. Please continue to create for those of us who can only stand back and look.

The highlight of the banquet, and, maybe even the con, was the performance by The Not Ready For Z-Con Players of "Graven Mirages." Paula, stand up and take a bow. Take several. You deserve an Emmy, an Oscar, A Huggy, A "Q". From a tiny acorn...

Best supporting role goes to Edith Crowe. "I lost my pen two weeks ago."

Special thanks to each of you for duty above and beyond the call. The play was a royal success even if it never makes Broadway.

Love can be exemplified in numerous ways. When the action completely overwhelms, the sensation is as rare and beautiful as LA from Mulholland on a clear night. Beauty sparkles as far as the eye can see. My two favorite nimnils, I love you.

Perfection continued in Chicago as I extended my vacation. The weather was warm and sunny, the streets vital and alive as only a city can be, Sinbad as sulky as my cat, Nancy's pizza incredibly delicious. Thank you. Thank you is so inadequate to express how I feel about this week and each of you who were part of it. The play, the champagne, the call from Nicol, the panels, the tee-shirt, the people, the love. Karen, whatever are you going to do for an encore? Vacation's over. Business at hand.[6]

It was a warm and wonderful experience, exciting and mellow by turns.

Depending upon what you were looking for, "Cuddle Con '81" had it all! There were two rooms of outstanding art, awards, pats on the back, applause, a play by Smith, laughter, and tears when Melanie sang "The Rose". Ideas were shared and encouragement was given. And, of course, the spirit of Starsky and Hutch was there to be immersed in and indulged in.

For me, though, the highlight of this gathering was the people. Fandom is alive and well! Your withdrawal from it, your disapproval, or lack of interest has not hurt it in the least. It certainly was something to see - people loving one another![7]

To all the wild and lovely people at Z-Con. Thanks for making my first Z-con a memorable one...who can forget Mel auctioning the PMG T-shirt — or the look on Kendra's face the next day when the "two nimnils" who bought it gave it to her..."Graven Mirages", by P. Smith and Co., bits and pieces of "Gemini", with untimely interruption by seeking husband halfway through, being able to confirm the existence of Diana by meeting the delightful lady first hand, and meeting many others I've known only through the pages of their letters...it was a beautiful weekend.

Ruth — Congrats on the art awards, my dear friend. You deserve them all.

Penny — That GI swept the HUGGY awards was no surprise, kudos to you, Dotty and Connie for one of the finest publications I've ever seen.

Karen — The T-shirts were breath-taking, as promised, and the con was well-planned and executed. The effort is much appreciated....[8]

[Memories of ZCon III]:...Setting up in the dealers room bright and early (well, anytime before noon is bright and early).

Smiles, hugs, greetings...more new faces matching up with names....

...Closing down for the writers panel...a must for all to attend. . . . . Marian's panel - what a wealth of ideas all rolled up into one beautiful lady!

all too soon the panel was over...but we were all benefited for it....

...The costume contest - Mr. M and Ty-Ty. Husky and Starch! Renko and Belken.

The Fairy (A FAIRY?!!) - we were late for that one!

...Private parties — song tapes...and more song tapes. [J] and I feeling our time and efforts put into our song tape were worth it -

...A couple hours break to take a nap...oh well, reading S/H is more important than sleep, isn't it? Sharing the same story with [J] — "Damn it, can't you read faster? — "OK, I'll read the sex scenes twice..."

Banquet time — it was a good thing lunch was big!

Congratulating award winners! enjoying "The Boy Can't Help It" sung so beautifully by [M] - nobody warned us she was so good!

Going into hysterics during the Not Ready For Con Time Players rendition of "Graven Mirages" It's amazing what a "Wouldn't it be fun... can do, isn't it, [K]?!

Moments to prepare for the Art Auction — Get out the vodka, this is going to be rough

Winning "Viking Lord" (Lord, Jackie, LORD) Co-bidding with [J] on Paul's T-shirt with secret intentions for it

The English language sure is a strange thing. I mean, where else could one find the meaning of heaven filed under "Z" as in Zebra Con III?I

The love emanating from those 80 or so people - people who had hither to been but names in the letterzine - was fantastic and may I here and now apologise to any I may have infected with my dratted cough. I am truly sorry, but then again, isn't sharing what fandom is all about? ((cough,cough, sure thing [W], cough,cough...mw)) At the risk of having this read more like a thank you speech than a con report, may I thank the following people.

[K]—for letting me fondle (several times) Paul's t-shirt (the one he wore). [K]—for letting me fondle the one he will wear. [P]—for the thrill of a life-time, a dream come true - a ride in her Torino. [P]—for taking pity on us and not reading any more from those S&H magazines at the auction. [C], [J], [L], {l}, {KS] — for delightful company at breakfast - even if you wouldn't try my vegemite, at least you didn't throw me out when I sprinkled bran flakes all over the table.

Paula again--for a truly inspired play on banquet night and to all the artists who played their parts so convincingly (?) I forgive you all my indigestion.

You'll all be fascinated to know (or perhaps you won't but I'll tell you anyways) that my arms are now about 6" longer. A legacy of too many visits to the dealer's room and going mad at the auction. Thanks to Ruth, Jean, and Connie for treating my eyes to some fabulous artwork. Thanks also to all who brought along tapes for the video room. The episodes I saw were wonderful, the song tapes - out of this world, and as for that blooper reel... I got to see it twice and words fail me as much now as then.

Somewhere in that blur of panels, workshops, dealer's rooms, art shows, auctions, video room, parties and endless talk, I heard what I think was, or rather used to be, a familiar word. Sleep. Trouble is, I can't seem to remember what it means because I sure as hell didn't get any between Nov. 13 and 15 in Kalamazoo.

As I said before, the English language is a strange animal. Apart from finding heaven under "Z", hell falls into another category. For me, hell means not being able to attend Zebra Con IV in Chicago in October. So, come on all you people, let's all get together and make Z-con IV the biggest and best Z-con yet. It's going to be awfully tough to top Z-con III, but if we all pull together, we can give it a damned good try. If I can make it all the way from Australia, surely some more of you can make it to Chicago - after all, Chicago is a lot easier to get to than Kalamazoo. Look forward to seeing you all there both (now) old friends and lots more new ones. Long live Starsky and Hutch, long live [Karen B], and long live Zebra Con![9]

Z-con was marvelous! It was great meeting so many of you who had been only names and addresses (or sometimes stories) before it was especially gratifying to discover what fascinating people are behind those printed pages. Despite the so-called interior decoration and the material which claimed to be food, not to mention several days with a minimum of sleep and an excess of smoke-filled rooms and wine-filled innards, it was an experience to be treasured. I particularly enjoyed the spontaneous collection in corners of small groups of Californians Anonymous, exclaiming to their fellows that they would kill for fresh fruit and wondering how long it takes to develop scurvy. ([C], is it true that you became practically orgasmic at your first sight of the produce section in an LA supermarket?)

Special thanks to the incomparable Diana and Kendra (who got us into all this in the first place, for which I am still not sure whether they deserve a hug or a right cross); to the Terrible Trio from Chicago (you know who you are); Paula (for her hospitality and for beginning and ending my theatrical career in one swell foop); [E] and [C] (for being such good listeners and encouragers); [M] (for just being herself and for providing one of the more interesting conversational afternoons in recent memory); Ruth (damn you, Kurz — another addiction I don't need! You now have 2 technical advisors for H/J— no, folks, not that part! San Francisco local color. Well, maybe that part after all...); and the incomparable [M], [M], and [C], etc, etc.

Karen -- thanks for giving us Z-con 4 to look forward to. Suggestions for next year: move it to California (a) it's true S&H country; (b) you can get real food there; (c) it's a great place to have an excuse to go to; (d) it will help keep me out of the poorhouse. Assuming you won't go for that, Chicago is a definite improvement. All flight paths lead to O'Hare, but have you eve r tried to get a flight to Kalamazoo? Part of the reason so many

people left earlyish may have been the limited choice of flights out of Kazoo. That might be- less of a problem in Chicago. I vote for Fri - Sun.[10]

For those of you who missed Z-Con III, for whatever reason, missed an experience of a lifetime—at least in our opinion and we were deprived of your company. The principle of IDIC run strong in S&H fandom even though we don't always sound that way. So, if you haven't secured a membership, do so today. And if you can't be there, become a supporting member. Your cats, kids, turtles, and teddy bears can also support this con. If you don't do it, it won't get done.

And speaking of things not getting done, let's talk about the fanfund. The response so far has been underwhelming. Fanfunds are a long standing tradition in fandom. Their purpose is to bring fans together. The recipient of this year's fund is Tabby Davis. For those of us fortunate enough to know her, there is no need to explain that having Tabby at the Con will increase the pleasure of the event; for those of you who don't know Tabby, you will have to trust those of us who do. While the money collected goes to help a fan, in this case Tabby, travel to a con; each of us wins because we will all get to spend time with Tabby.

The time to contribute, in whatever form, to the fanfund is now. It requires total support from each of us. Time marches on. See the art and other items up for auction in other sections of this issue. It is time for all good men to come to the aid oops, wrong universe; however, if each of us gave up that next hot fudge sundae, the fanfund will flourish.[11]

References

  1. Probably a reference to the in-fighting in the fandom's only letterzine, S & H, regarding the topic of slash and other discourse.
  2. From Morgan Dawn's notes from a 2008 panel on vidding history at Vividcon led by Kandy Fong and Sandy Hereld
  3. from S and H #26 (October 1981)
  4. Many of these vids appear on The Texas Tape.
  5. from S and H #28 (December 1981)
  6. S and H # 28
  7. S and H # 28
  8. S and H # 28
  9. S and H #28
  10. S and H #29
  11. S and H #30.