Decongestant 4 Program Schedule

3D mascot

Note: Film titles will be announced at the con and in the print program book, but not listed online.


Noon — Consuite opens. By 5 p.m., we'll have soft drinks available and after Opening Ceremonies full snacky-service will begin. If you'd like to bring food to share, consider bringing some Spooky Snacks! [Consuite]

4–5 p.m. Perler Beads. Cheap tiny vacuum cleaner food pellets also make fun eight bit quality art! Materials provided. Please iron responsibly.  Emily Stewart.  [Board Room or Consuite — whatever room is available]

5–7:30 p.m. Supper Break. Go out to a nearby restaurant or opt in to a group order from Noodles & Company. Everyone will order individual dishes and we'll place one big order. There will be paper menus available, or you can look at their website. They have two different non-wheat noodles available. We'll take orders and money to cover them (cash or check) 4:30–5 p.m. You can also write sraun at ahead of time with your order. We expect the food to be at the con and ready to eat by 6:30 p.m. Coordinated by Scott and Irene Raun.

6–7:30 p.m. Film. Watch films while you eat. [Programming Room]

7:30 p.m. Opening Ceremonies. Greetings, announcements, etc. [Programming Room]

Time to be announced. Teen Room Movie Night. [Teen Room] # See note below.

8 p.m. – late Music in the Board Room. Open for a music circle or other spontaneous activities. Music gets first dibs. Bring your instruments and a copy of Rise Up Singing and/or Rise Again if you want. [Board Room]

8–9 p.m. Hammer Studio's Scary Science Fiction Films. From 1955 to 1972, Britain's Hammer Studios became famous for their full color gothic tales of horror, including their original takes on Universal Studios' "famous monsters".  But, Hammer produced films in other genres, including science-fiction.  A few deftly blended SF with horror elements as well.  A look back at some of these under-rated classics and why they're still fun today. Greg Larsen, Dwayne Olson, Scott Wyatt. [Programming Room]

9 p.m. Film. [Programming Room]

10:45 p.m. Film. [Programming Room]


Mascot sitting with tissue

11 a.m.–12 p.m. A Sesquicentennial Tribute to Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951). Arcana/DeCONgestant pays a sesquicentennial tribute to Blackwood, who worked a wide variety of jobs and spent much of his life outdoors, becoming a nature worshiper and mystic. He wrote journalism, plays, and children's fiction, several novels, and dozens of short stories, ranging from classic ghost stories to cosmic science fiction, notably "The Willows," "The Wendigo," "The Centaur," and "John Silence, Physician Extraordinary." A media pioneer, Blackwood told many of his stories out loud on radio and television. Eric Heideman, Roger Lasley, Brian Perry. [Programming Room]

12:30–2 p.m. Nature Walk in Hyland Lake Park Reserve. You may want to bring a camera, hat, walking stick, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle, etc. 10145 E. Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington. (763) 694-7687. Meet in the hotel lobby a little before 12:30 p.m. to join a group and carpool if necessary.

12:30–2 p.m. Film. [Programming Room]

1 p.m. until whenever. D&D. 5th edition, no materials needed. [Teen Room] # See note below.

2–3:30 p.m. Minicon Brainstorming. Come share ideas about Minicon programming. This is an open meeting and a membership to Decongestant is not needed to attend. Emily Stewart. [Programming Room]

4–6 p.m. The Dark Art of Steve Ditko (A Visual Presentation). Before and after he made his mark as the artistic visionary behind two of Marvel's most enduring heroes (Spider-Man & Doctor Strange) Steve Ditko created some of the most stylish and visually compelling horror comics of the 50's and 60's. Whether it was in his immediately recognizable covers and interiors for "This Magazine is Haunted" and "The Thing," or with his state of the art pen-and-ink and wash work in "Creepy" and "Eerie," Ditko consistently and convincingly rendered demon-plagued worlds, luckless pedestrians, and palpable dread. Steve and Rich show and discuss some of their favorite Ditko imagery, and note the curious arc of Ditko's behind-the-scenes evolution. Steve Fastner, Rich Larson. [Programming Room]

6–8 p.m. Dinner Break. Get together with some other fans and go out to a nearby restaurant or order in on your own. (If you order in, make sure to have some cash for tipping the delivery person. Emily Stewart will try to have some cash available if needed.)

6–8 p.m. Film. Watch films while you eat. [Programming Room]

Time to be announced. Teen Room Movie Night. Teens will vote on the movie. [Teen Room] # See note below.

8–11 p.m. Music in the Board Room. Open for a music circle or other spontaneous activities. Music gets first dibs. Bring your instruments and a copy of Rise Up Singing and/or Rise Again if you want. [Board Room]

8–9 p.m. A Look at Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797–1851). "Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus" (1818), the global plague novel "The Last Man" (1826), "Transformation" and "The Mortal Immortal" are amongst Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's many fantastical stories in the genres which later became Science Fiction and Horror.  Besides her literary works, we'll touch on her family and contemporaries' influence, and delve into the rich theatrical tradition of Frankenstein, from the 1823 stage play "Presumption, or the Fate of Frankenstein" (a play that Mary enjoyed), through the many film adaptations, most notably those directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff, along with the novel's vast cultural and political influence. Eric Heideman, Greg Larsen. [Programming Room]

9–10 p.m. Classic Outer Limits: Dread, Fear, Creeps and Frights. Two anthology series brilliantly captured the zeitgeist of the scientific and technological explosion of the 1950s and 1960s, but in completely different ways.  Where "Twilight Zone" used irony couched in imaginary situations to serve social justice, "Outer Limits" combined both fear and wonder of the unknown in cautionary tales that gave us pause, yet inspired us to push ahead.  A discussion of why the original 1963–65 series was memorably not for the faint-of-heart of its time. Greg Larsen, Dwayne Olson, Sybil Smith. [Programming Room]

10 p.m. Films. [Programming Room]

10 p.m. Krushenko's (aka Eric Heideman's party). Inspired by a Manhattan bistro in Larry Niven's Ringworld, this space is for people who like to spend time at SF conventions talking about SF. It started at the 1983 Minicon, and now also materializes at MarsCon and Diversicon. Stop by for some good SF-related conversations. [Room 207, Eric Heideman's room]

11 p.m. Coloring Books and Mimosas. Casual conversation while coloring and drinking. Bring your own supplies or color along with provided materials.  Polite and vulgar coloring books will be available.  Emily Stewart. [Board Room]


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10 a.m.–12p.m. Beta Test of Hands-On Raspberry Pi.

At Minicon, we plan to have a hands-on Raspberry Pi event.  Let's first have a Decongestant programming item to figure out the structure of that event, and which of two projects is better suited to a larger group.  What can Raspberry Pi Do?  Learn hands-on with a small Raspberry Pi computer in a group setting, programming experience not required.  We'll build two simple projects, decide which one works better in a group setting, and discuss where to find resources to learn more.  Materials provided for up to 6 people.  If you'd like to keep your materials, you may reimburse us the actual cost.  If you'd just prefer to borrow, we will re-use the materials at future conventions.  The two projects we plan to test are:

  1.  Pirate radio broadcasting units, with magnets 
  2.  Scrolling text display (LED matrix panel)/ eye catching badge

Since there is limited space, we will choose participants by lottery. Rules:

Ken Koski. [Board Room]

12–1 p.m. The Future of Arcana. Arcana's last official convention was in 2017.  But, it's "not dead yet" and refuses "to go into the cart."  We have some ideas and potential plans we'd like to try, but most depend on your participation.  Have your voice heard as a participant in this open-ended discussion as to what you'd like to see Arcana become, and discover what it will take for those things to happen. Dwayne Olson, Greg Larsen. [Programming Room]

1–2 p.m. What Can You Do With an Instant Pot? Are you thinking of getting an Instant Pot? Do you have one you love? What does it do best? What not to do. What's your favorite recipe for the Instant Pot? Bring some paper copies or a web address for your favorite recipes. Bonus points if you bring samples of something you made in your Instant Pot! Dean Gahlon, Laura Krentz, Sharon Kahn, Scott Raun, others? [Programming Room]

2–3 p.m. The Good, Bad, and Ugly of SF Horror Films: From Alien to Zardoz. "Zardoz?"  Yup.  Our crack(ed) panel of amateur film critics discuss their yays, nays and possibly a guilty pleasure or two.  Cronenberg will be mentioned. Michael Kingsley, Greg Larsen, Brian Perry, Sybil Smith. [Programming Room]

3 p.m. Closing Ceremonies. [Programming Room]

6 p.m. Dinner at the Tea House in Plymouth. Sign up for dinner at the Tea House by 2 p.m. in the Consuite. Please indicate on the sign-up sheet whether you intend to meet us at the restaurant or meet in the lobby at 5:30 p.m. to carpool to the restaurant, and whether you can provide transportation if needed. 88 Nathan Lane, Plymouth, MN 55441. (763) 544-3422. Coordinated by Dean Gahlon and Laura Krentz

After dinner at the Tea House to whenever. Dead Dog Party [Consuite] (Gaming of course also continues in the gaming room!)

Thanks to Greg Larsen for Arcana programming coordination and video wrangling.

# Teen Room note: Kids under 13 are allowed in the Teen Room with parent/guardian permission. And people 21+ can be allowed to join in Teen Room activities as long as everyone currently in the room is ok with them and they don't break any rules. For details and other Teen Room Activities, stop by the Teen Room for a "Schedule of Activities."

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