August 16th, 2004

wombat

Diversicon 12

Went pretty well, although tempers got frayed at a couple of points. Thanks to tokenfanboy for helping load out the party supplies from the apartment and to stuckintraffik for coming by the hotel , setting up the Room Party Kit Friday night and returning Sunday afternoon to tear it down and affix tags to the cords & plugs so setup will go smoother next time. tokenfanboy also printed up a bunch of flyers for the room party and photos from the con, which latter were used to help decorate the room some. Jeff also showed up on Friday and Saturday to help run the room party, which was very much appreciated.

Diversicon has always had fairly low attendance, bumping along from year to year with a warm body count around 100 most years, and this year was no exception. GoH S.P. Somtow (perhaps better known to older fans as Somtow Sucharitkul) was flown in from Bangkok and was very charming & entertaining. Or so I'm told; I'm not familiar with his books at all, and was largely busy with other stuff when his panels were on. Considering the expense involved, I'm not sure we wouldn't have been better off with just Mark Rich, who seemed equally charming, multi-talented and entertaining. In any event, the post-mortem feedback from people was that while there were certainly a lot of panels and other programming, a lot of it was very thinly attended. The political polarization panel drew about a dozen people, as did the fan history panel "There Goes the Neighborhood", starring yr. humble Wombat, ancient MNSTF member Blue Petal, and New Kids On The Block revolutionaryjo and Lori Fischer. On the other hand, a lot of panels drew half a dozen people at best, and some panels had only one or no people in the audience.

The attendance also had an effect on the energy level at the con, which was pretty low and sluggish, partially because so many of the members are middle-aged or even older. I'd like to see more anime fans show up at Diversicon, because it has an extremely strong set of writing panels/workshops featuring professional authors, and there's definitely strong interest in writing among anime fans. Some AD staff people did show up, and it scares me a little bit to think that without them the warm body count would have been under 100.

Diversicon needs to do a better job of publicity, especially in terms of reaching out to the aspiring fantasy/SF writers and the anime fans. It's not an anime convention per se, but it does have anime content and deserves more attention than it gets.
wombat

Who knew?

Overheard in the Diversicon con suite while en route to a panel:
"You know, the Republicans' first priority this year is to stop gay marriage."

Boy, the things you miss when you take a year off from going to the caucuses.