Minicon 34 will be different
"You can't step in the same Minicon twice; but then, you never could."
Minicon is a wonderful convention. Minicon is going to go on being a wonderful convention. But the way it's run is going to have to change, because Minicon has problems. Here's one: last year's Minicon lost over $5,000. Here's another: for years now, the convention has been burning out way too many of the people who run it. Minn-StF, the science fiction club that puts on Minicon, once had the sense to bid for the 1973 Worldcon in 1974. Now it's running a convention half the size of the Worldcon every year. This is not a sustainable strategy.
These problems aren't new. Over six years ago Minn-Stf chartered a "Long Range Task Force" to consider whether Minicon's size and complexity was becoming a problem. The task force unanimously agreed that it was, and the club chose to pursue "The Big Minicon" model for five years. Those years have now passed, and, unfortunately, the situation has gotten worse.
It's time to rebuild Minicon in sustainable form. You may have heard rumors about this. Contrary to some reports, we are not banning media fans, costumes, alcohol, or fun. (Criminently! Who thought that one up?) On the other hand, we really are doing away with the formal Masquerade, the drum jam, the in-hotel Minicon TV channel, and the Minneapolis in '73 Suite; and "Stonehenge" is deŽnitely off the playlist.
(A word about the Masquerade, since there's been so much fuss raised: It's the single most complex and expensive event at Minicon. It costs the convention over $10,000, requires the exclusive use of our largest programming space for most of Saturday, and eats up a huge number of volunteer-hours. See that big red target painted on its back? Run, Masquerade, run!)
Does dropping the Masquerade mean we don't want costume fans at Minicon? Nope. We're costume-positive, and we're already discussing alternate events for costumers. (Masquerade ball? Costume-encouraged reception? Fancy-dress parties? Hall costume awards? Interesting and challenging costume-related panels? Lots of options there, all of them fun.) A joyful freedom of dress is part of Minicon, and that's all there is to it.
In general, convention events and habits that require lots of people-time, lots of money, or both, are being carefully re-evaluated. Some will be dropped completely; others will be morphed into new and intriguing forms. But the unique things that make Minicon wonderful? Those we're keeping.
Minicon 34 will be the same
"We're the best there is at what we do. And what we do best is fun."
The Minicon we're planning will still be big and shaggy and full of fun and weirdness; it'll just be manageably big, shaggy, fun, and weird. There won't be a Minneapolis in '73 Suite, but there will be parties, and we're still bidding for '73. There won't be a drum jam, but there will be music. There may or may not be an official dance, but people will surely dance.
We'll have an art show, and art programming to go with it, and a terrific art auction. The hucksters' room will be selling all the books you can eat, plus a wide range of those trinkets and numinous artifacts so necessary to skiffy technogeek life. We'll be giving out the unique Mark Time Award for best audio SF of the year. Silly things will happen during (and between) the opening and closing ceremonies. There'll be blog songs in the corridors, parties in the suites, post-panel discussions in the corners, inscrutable signs in the elevators, trafŽc in the stairwells, and munchies and beer and conversation and music in the consuite. In short, it will be Minicon.
Minicon 34 will be fun
"The best special effects are the ones inside your head."
-David Ossman, Minicon 32
We're in favor of real live fun, not institutionalized fun. And we're going to bring it back out into the open where everyone can find it.
We want our programming to rock. We'll be emphasizing fandom and written SF and fantasy, though not to the exclusion of other interesting forms. That gives us a world of stuff to play with: all kinds of SF and fantasy, from literary SF to interesting movies and TV, from fanzine fandom to arcane conrunning theory to the craft of costumery, with perhaps a trivia bowl thrown in. Whatever the subject, we want its manifestations to be intense, rigorous, weird, and prone to creative silliness and silly creativity.
We're going to build a good bit of the program around our Guests of Honor, their works and strengths and interests. We want to emphasize participatory events: enough of this business of being divided into performers and audience; let's all go back to having fun together and entertaining each other like the friends we are. And we expect that Minicon will continue to spout strange spontaneous eruptions of grass-roots creativity - quite possibly yours.
Fandom has always played more than one game with itself, and encompassed any number of subgroups: fanzine fans, sercon fans, media fans, con fans, and fans of years' standing who claim they're not fans; young fans, old fans, and neo-fans of all ages. But whoever saw a fan who was just one of those things? Too often, these labels have becomebarriers that keep us apart. At Minicon 34, we'd like to focus not on our differences, but on what we hold in common.
We want you: your input, your programming suggestions, your vision of how to make Minicon even better over the coming years. We hope you'll join us - by suggesting new ideas, by volunteering to help, by showing up and having a great time. Because if our hearts aren't in it, what's the use? And if they are, what happens will be something wonderful.
The Minicon 34 council:
Alice Bentley, Steven Brust, Liz Cooper, David Dyer-Bennet, Beth Friedman, Laurel Krahn, Fred A. Levy Haskell, Susan B. Levy Haskell, Lydia Nickerson, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and Geri Sullivan.
Revised: May 10, 1998
by Laurel Krahn / firstname.lastname@example.org