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Minicon 40 After Action Report

You know things have changed when someone cracks the joke, "This is the worst CONvergence ever!" and the con chair takes it as a good-natured compliment...actually, the real first sign was when Greg Ketter and Lisa Freitag made the rounds of the local SF conventions, inviting all the fans who had felt crapped on by the HRMP a decade ago* to come back. The second sign was the con committee announcing that they were going to do some things that hadn't been done at Minicon in a while, namely, a video room and some programming devoted to anime and manga. Those panels (one on Hayao Miyazaki and another on graphic novels v. manga) were well attended, but the anime/video room suffered from the fact that since I was running the anime part of the program and wasn't really able to do much until Detour was over, I couldn't settle on a list of videos until it was too late to get the schedule into the program book, and so attendance was spotty. Maybe next year.

More stuff about Minicon 40 follows...
So...announced attendance was ~560, which is up from last year. Minicon apparently did day passes this year (another innovation) and I'm sure having Terry Pratchett as GoH helped some. Greg said that financially Minicon was a success, which is good.

As for me, it was an okay convention. I didn't get to see that much of it, since most of my time there was spent spinning AMV, playing DVDs, or fighting with the equipment. Thanks are due to Lauren and stuckintraffik for swinging by on Saturday morning with the Room Party Kit after miscommunication put me in the unequipped and half-empty Atrium 4 instead of the largely ready Plaza 4. The sound box came in handy since otherwise doing sound for the AMVs off the laptop would have been a no-go. Aside from the video room and the two panels I was on, I spent most of my time Saturday night hanging out at the consuite until phoenixalpha started whimpering about wanting to go home and sleep. Kids these days. They're all worthless and weak. Obviously I have failed to train her properly in the ways of our ancestors. ^_^

Closing ceremonies were Sunday at 3, very well attended, much thanking of volunteers by name, random silliness (some of it amusing, some not) including Geri Sullivan doing a rain of small plastic frogs, at which point I muttered to Scott, "If she starts throwing little bags of blood around, knives out and follow me." We left for home, and I went back around 10 PM to check out the dead dog. Didn't find Ken Fletcher, and the consuite was infested with folk musicians including my ex, so I hung out in Krushenko's with Eric Heideman and Dave Christensen and qob and Erica (Stark?) and some dude whose name I still haven't gotten who is apparently Erica's husband or boyfriend (whatever) watching Dr. Mordrid and The Killer Elite, the latter of which I'd been wanting to see for about 25 years. That kept me up past 3 AM, at which point I decided it was time to leave since Eric had fallen asleep and Dave looked ready to. So I motored home, having resigned myself to getting a short nap instead of a decent night's sleep on account of wanting to crank this out.

So was it worth the $35? Yeah, probably, if for no other reason than seeing the handful of MNSTF members I actually don't mind seeing, plus the added benefit of being able to hang out and watch a buttload of anime on a big screen. I might do it again next year if Greg asks. We'll see.

Addendum: This is also worth looking at. Many pictures.

*Some idea of the impact of the HRMP on Minneapolis fandom can be found here.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 28th, 2005 02:46 pm (UTC)
If i had known they were going to do day passes I would have gone to just get autographs from Lois Bujold, Jane Yolen and Patricia Wrede - all of whom I didn't know were going to be there until Thursday when I decided to look at the minicon website!
Mar. 28th, 2005 11:58 pm (UTC)
I had no idea myself or I would have mentioned it to you on account of the Pratchett thing.
Mar. 29th, 2005 05:25 am (UTC)
My cousin would have gone if she had known about the day passes. She was all bouncy about getting to meet Pratchett at the DreamHaven signing but didn't want to blow $50 on a con she may have not enjoyed.

They need to promote that more next year, but the cousin isn't so hot on seeing Harlan Ellison. XD
Mar. 29th, 2005 05:31 am (UTC)
Understandably so. He was an obnoxious little shit when I met him thirty years ago, and from what I hear, he ain't mellowed a whole lot. Hell of a writer, though. Got to give the man his propers.
Mar. 28th, 2005 02:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, the High Res" committee! dang I had happily forgotten "the troubles" The thing is most of minnesota fandom doesn't need minicon anymore, it's really matured in the last 7 years. Minicon was the be-all and end-all of conventions, it was the only one and everybody had to be there. Now with Marscon, Anime Detour, CONvergence out there, there is more variety. Probably CONvergence is closest to what minicon was at it's peak, but without the particularities that made minicon so frustrating to work with. I spend 20 minutes or so in a nice conversation with Lydy Nickerson (an old archenemy!) Saturday afternoon and once we both realized who each other were, the lack of animity was refreshing. I can't see myself getting invested in minicon again, I have too much fan-life as well as real-life now, but I think if finances allow I will buy a membership next year.
Mar. 28th, 2005 11:54 pm (UTC)
Sorry to remind you about that, it's a bad habit us historians have of digging up the past even when it smells so bad.

I agree that Minicon isn't really necessary for local fandom (and would add Diversicon and Arcana to your list) and to be honest I wouldn't miss it if it died out after Minicon 41. (Hell, I didn't miss it for 20 years, why would I start now?) Which I think is what will happen unless a bunch of younger fans move in and take over from the folks running it now, but either way it's not really my problem. If I want to have a serious discussion of SF/fantasy/film/anime, I can go to Arcana, Detour, or Diversicon; if I want to party like it's 1699/2099 I can get down at CONvergence.
Mar. 28th, 2005 11:57 pm (UTC)
And speaking of Ms. Nickerson, I came across this and this while I was researching the HRMP sometime ago for Anime Twin Cities. Illuminating, it was.
Mar. 29th, 2005 02:01 am (UTC)
Yup, I read this stuff back then and responded to it then. Frankly I have neither the time nor inclination to re-fight old battles.
Mar. 29th, 2005 05:04 am (UTC)
Believe me, I have no intention of sucking you (or anybody else) into it. Part of the reason I discuss the HRMP Wars in the first place is because a lot of the people who read my LJ weren't here when that was going on and don't understand the context as far as local fan history goes. I think it's important for people (especially the people involved with Anime Detour) to understand the history because it's a big reason behind many of the things that Anime Detour does in the way of organization and policy. We want to avoid the mistakes of Minicon that led up to the HRMP Wars and the Balkanization of local fandom.

I do not, do not, do not want to reopen old wounds. I'm sorry if I did.
Mar. 28th, 2005 11:29 pm (UTC)
*Some idea of the impact of the HRMP on Minneapolis fandom can be found here.

Hmm... The only part that seemed to have anything to do with the HRMP was the bit about Reinconation being started to revive "...the best parts of what Minicon used to be...". Seems odd, because if I remember correctly it started before all things Miniconical went bad. Hell, I recall being on a Reinconation con-com with Val Lies as the chair.

(It's kind of funny, I had a very sideways invite to the Tor party at Minicon, and got into a huuuuuge wrangle with a friend when I said I thought my going would be a reeeeealy bad idea.)
Mar. 28th, 2005 11:48 pm (UTC)
Well, I meant that link as a springboard to other discussions about the HRMP, not as the one-stop shop for all the tsuris that went down. You have to thrash around a bit in the MNSTF online archives to get the full measure of all the spleen and bile...or spend a lot of time talking to people who suddenly found themselves on the outside of what they thought was their club and their convention.
Mar. 28th, 2005 11:50 pm (UTC)
Ohhhhhhhh. (Thwapt to the forehead)

Mar. 29th, 2005 12:03 am (UTC)
Well, I could have been more clear, too. No thwappage necessary.
Mar. 29th, 2005 02:05 am (UTC)
But I live for thwappage!
Mar. 30th, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
I just scanned the 30 page pdf linked to at the end of your post. I had a couple reactions. Back when they hoped for 2000 people at minicon instead of 4000, I predicted that minicon would shrink to roughly the size of Diversicon and that the replacement cons would out draw minicon, I was roundly told I was full of it. Heh. Then the idea was put forth in the pdf of giving minicon to the Nokomis! Reading this, I realize it has kinda happened. Marscon has been run essentially by the Nokomis leadership! Looking back from 8 years of fanac it looks like the insurmountable problems they had/have simply needed a new set of people working on them. I think the con scene in the twin cities is incredibly healthy
Mar. 31st, 2005 02:21 am (UTC)
I think you're absolutely right. Somewhere in the MNSTF Board minutes I came across the suggestion by some well-intentioned person that the Board (and also the Minicon Exec, IIRC) get management training, but this was rejected - wasn't something they wanted to do. There were a lot of proposals flying around at the time, and as things turned out, just about all of them (with the exception of Fred Haskell's suggestion to just kill Minicon off and have done with it) have been enacted, if not by MNSTF.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )



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