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14 August 2007 @ 07:28 pm
Con Report Part 1: Wherein TFV Learns Valuable Lessons  
Oh my god. Vividcon.

Yes, I have thinky thoughts to post here (including ones on Where This Journal Is Going), but I just got back from the most social weekend of my life (no, I am really not kidding) and now I'm getting some kind of plague. Coherence isn't going to be happening today. This is just my wow report, plus a few notes that I may forget as normal life returns.

Right now, though, I'm going to get out whatever reactions I can manage while being grimly stalked by a dog who apparently cannot believe that I left her again, despite her clear indication that she prefers me to be present at all times, ideally with food on hand. The last time I left her (in the excellent care of Best Beloved, let me note - this dog is not abused, no matter what she may tell you; she is a filthy, filthy liar) this resulted in serious sweet potato action. God only knows what the price will be this time. (I threw away the lone sweet potato we had before I left for VVC. Fool me twice, shame on me.)

So. I had a blast and I'm planning to go back if I possibly can, which - look. For all you fans who have been saying, "I am not a con person," there's a lesson here, and it is: if I can go to a con and have fun, maybe you can, too. It's worth considering. I am not the Fan Least Likely To, but I am very nearly that person, and I went. I had fun. I'm still capable of typing in mostly complete sentences. I am living proof that people who don't have social skills can still have good cons!

I'm not going to talk about who I met; I'd leave people out. But I do want to thank all the people who talked to me - you made the con work for me, seriously, because one thing I should have mentioned is that I lack the ability to start a conversation unless I have a direct question to ask. (No, really, do not say, "Just say hello!" Trust me, this is not useful advice in my case.) And I really want to thank the concom for inviting me, and being so nice to me. And, you know, all of VVC for being awesome. And, um - I'm getting sniffly. I mean, more sniffly. (I wasn't kidding when I said I was sick.) I probably need to stop before I'm openly weeping and clutching my con DVDs to my bosom, which might void their warranty.

Actually, I can't clutch my con DVDs to my bosom, as I've been re-watching them pretty obsessively, so there will probably be a Vids from VVC post coming up, likely long after everyone else has posted theirs.

In the meantime, here are nine things I learned at VVC.

  1. There is no good way to explain to outsiders what, precisely, Vividcon is. Attempts to try will end in heartbreak, and that's even if you're not currently sitting next to a missionary singing for your soul in Korean. (True story. You don't want to know.) Three conversations that prove this:

    At the Airport on the Way There:
    Person who has been scrutinizing my t-shirt: Viv-id-con. What's that?
    Me: It's a convention about fan-made music videos.
    [Pause]
    Person: *gets up and moves to a different chair about 15 feet further from me, as though I had said, "It's a gathering of people with highly contagious fungal diseases"*

    Checking into the Hotel:
    Checker-in person: So, you're here for...vivid dot com? Is that what it is?
    Me: Vividcon.
    Checker-in person: Right. All the girls together.
    Me: Well, it's actually - see - okay, yes.

    (This was the concept all the hotel employees seemed to carry away from it, actually: lots of female-type persons, together. The hotel shuttle driver said, "Was that the party with all the dancing ladies?" Spinelessly, I agreed. There were ladies, there was dancing: close enough. Plus, I liked the mental image this gave me. The hotel employee who asked me why there weren't any men at our party was a bit more of a problem. "There are," I said. "No, there aren't," he said. I did not say, "Then I nominate you to deliver the bad news to some people who genuinely seem to believe that they're guys," but in retrospect I should've. Or maybe just posted a note on the con suite board: "Hey guys, you're girls. Just FYI!"

    After a while, I found myself wondering if the men attending the golf course managers' convention I once shared a hotel with - and, seriously, if you get to pick, I would not recommend golf course managers as party fun time companions - got remembered mostly as "the group with all the men." (I myself remember them as "the convention of guys you could pick out at fifty paces because a) they wore clothes that most people would don only as penance for something really bad, like maybe killing their father and marrying their mother, and even then lots of people would probably choose to put their eyes out instead, and b) they all hit on me." Keep in mind that I was 16 at the time.))

    On the Airplane Home:
    Woman next to me: So you went to Chicago and you stayed near the airport and you didn't leave the hotel? Why?
    Me: I was at a convention. It was in the hotel. I was busy.
    Man in the aisle seat: There are lots of things to do in Chicago, you know.
    Me: Well, yes, I'm sure, but I was there for a convention, and -
    Man: What kind of convention?
    Me, warily: A fan-made music video convention.
    [Long pause.]
    Man, trying to sound upbeat: There are lots of great things to do in Chicago! Museums, the aquarium, art, you name it. Lots of heritage stuff, too.
    Woman, apparently helping to sell the argument: There's shopping, eating, clubs - incredible. You can have a lot of fun in Chicago.
    Me, quietly: I had a really good time.
    [Another pause.]
    Woman, obviously trying to be kind: Next time, honey, just stay downtown.

    Lesson learned from this: Next time, I'm going to tell people I'm going to Chicago for a lesbian sex party.

  2. There is nothing quite like watching vids in the company of large groups of people. I seriously wish I had a recording of the room as people watched Another Sunday, by jescaflowne. (I also wish I had a recording of everyone around me muttering, "barkley, oh my god, that's so obviously barkley" during one of the challenge vids. And, oh, lots of other things.) If you ever have the chance to go to a vidshow, go. Just for that.

    Lesson learned from this: I'm going back to VVC. Oh, yes, I so totally am. (Someone remind me I said this next year, please.)

  3. If you have hair that requires any kind of maintenance at all, by the second day of the con, you will have Con Hair. (Also known as "Oh, fuck it" hair.) Sensible people shave their heads prior to cons; those of us who can't do that just have to bring lots of ponytail holders and hairsticks. I suspect this is why they do Club Vivid on the first night, when we're all still capable of dressing up nicely.

    Lesson learned from this: Next time, when my clothes should fit again, I'm dressing up for Club Vivid.

  4. Naps are key. Going to a con is sort of like regressing in age a lot: you have snacktime, you have playtime, you spend all day with your friends and having fun, and then suddenly you find yourself deeply cranky and distractible and prone to bursting into tears. This is a sign that you need a nap. Take one. In other words, don't fall into the Disneyland trap, where you convince yourself that this is such a fabulous event that you must, must, must see and do absolutely everything. You can tell the people who think this at Disneyland: they're the parents with the sobbing kids and the couples who aren't speaking to each other. I didn't see anyone crying or fighting viciously at Vividcon, but then, most of us succumbed to the Need to Nap before disaster struck.

    Lesson learned from this: Next time, I'm going to try to plan to nap, so I won't feel awful for sleeping through the panel I most wanted to attend. Making a schedule for myself before I left that included where I should be during every moment of the day and yet did not include nap time - um, that wasn't brilliant.

  5. iPods are key. Because, okay, you may think to yourself, "I'll be watching to vids all day! What need will I have for extra music?" And, see, yes, precisely: You'll be watching vids all day. And it is inevitable that the song you like least out of all of them will get stuck in your head. In fact, it will sign a lease on valuable brain space (as in, you may forget your own phone number), settle in, and begin prospecting for a roommate. (You will not like the roommate, either, and you will really hate the mashup of them that appears in your head after they've spent some time together.) Only carefully selected music fully under your control can save you.

    Lesson learned from this: Next time, I'm bringing my iPod. Also, I might make a playlist called For the Prevention and Treatment of Earworms. Actually, I might not wait until next VVC to do that.

  6. Cons are noisy. Or, more specifically, large groups of women in small spaces produce a specific kind of noise; conversing over it is an acquired skill. If you talk a lot, don't expect to have a normal voice on the last day of the con.

    Lesson learned from this: Bring throat lozenges. Possibly just bring a whole bunch and dump them in the con suite.

  7. Everyone at the con will be smarter, prettier, and more talented than you. Or, to invert that concept, a lot of people are just as intimidated as you are. You will look at people's nametags and swoon. I thought I'd be surrounded by rockstars, and oh, I was. But these rockstars were, mysteriously, very nice to me. A lot of them seemed to know who I was. It was like attending an Oscar party and having people walk up to you and say, "Oh, hi! I like your posts!" (Only without the existential horror that actually being at an Oscar party and having someone say that would produce.)

    Lesson learned from this: Vidfans are awesome and surprisingly kind.

  8. In a con of 110 people, it is entirely possible to miss seeing 75% of the people attending. (I suspect this is more true when you spend half of your con time in the dark.) By Sunday, people had begun to doubt my existence; fortunately, I had marycrawford to swear that I a) existed and b) had existed right along. (I mean, at VVC. My mother can swear to my existence over a more protracted period of time.)

    Lesson learned from this: Next time, I'm setting up dinners and lunches in advance. I may also look into the purchase of a large light-up hat with glowing letters that spell THEFOURTHVINE.

  9. There is nothing quite as wonderful as the sight of fans having fun. Club Vivid was worth it even for someone medically forbidden to dance at the time (and aesthetically forbidden to dance always), and not just because jarrow dressed up in an actual pimp costume with a cape and everything. People were just - really really enjoying themselves. It was amazing, and it makes me smile every time I think of it.

    Lesson learned from this: Cons are fun. VVC is fun. And I mean that both in general terms and for me. I <3 VVC forever.
 
 
 
grime and livestock: sobercofax7 on August 15th, 2007 02:34 am (UTC)
Oh, yay! I'm so glad you had a good time! VVC is a blast, and yes, naps are necessary for con.
tried to eat the safe banana: Yay!thefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 06:57 am (UTC)
I'm still kind of stunned by how much fun I did have. VVC is delightful.

naps are necessary for con

This should probably be prominently featured in some kind of Fan Cons 101. Someone needs to write that. Yup.

*looks around for volunteers*
(no subject) - cofax7 on August 15th, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Cellicelli on August 15th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
*beam*
tried to eat the safe banana: Smilethefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 06:58 am (UTC)
It was awesome to meet you, even if it was way too brief.

*beams back*
Kat Allisonkatallison on August 15th, 2007 02:43 am (UTC)
Huge, huge love for you and for this entry, which caused me to make whooping noises of glee and reminiscence. (I too was wary and dubious before my first con, and left filled with love and elation and laryngitis.) I wish I'd taken more opportunities for actual conversation with you, as opposed to adventitious moments of: Me: OMG you are TFV! Allow me to fangirl you shamelessly! You: Um. Er. OK. Help. Next year, perhaps. In the meantime--so lovely to have met you!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 08:47 am (UTC)
I too was wary and dubious before my first con, and left filled with love and elation and laryngitis.

That's it! Exactly! If you'd just posted this earlier, I wouldn't have needed to write a con report.

You: Um. Er. OK. Help.

No, no, that wasn't it. What I was thinking was: Don't you know who you are? You're Kat Allison! You so outrank me in the fannish hierarchy I'm not sure I'm even allowed to talk to you!

But fannish hierarchy be damned, because I loved the conversations I did manage to have with you, and it was wonderful meeting you.

Next year, perhaps.

Oh, I hope so.
Kass: kayleekassrachel on August 15th, 2007 02:44 am (UTC)
OMG is it not amazing? I love vividcon with a mighty passion. Which was honestly a little freaky for me at first, because the first year I went I didn't think I liked vids all that much; I was just going because there were some people I really wanted to see. Only then it turned out to be the best weekend imaginable, and it turns out I'm a raving vid fan deep down, and also fans are the coolest people in the world. And also there's the peanut butter fudge in the con suite. And Club Vivid. And karaoke. And did I mention the fans and the vids? And -- God. Yes. Is it can be next August now pls?

:-)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 08:54 am (UTC)
I love vividcon with a mighty passion.

Oh, god, me too. I was so scared before this, but it was just the best con imaginable. <3!

and it turns out I'm a raving vid fan deep down

I really hope that next year (when you'll be there, yes? And I hope to be, too), we get to do the vid audience (Don't Vid, Don't Wanna) panel that Kat Allison suggested during Calls from the Public. (I want to do that one so much that I nearly lost my mind and volunteered to moderate it.) Because it is an interesting thing being a raving vid fan as a watcher only, isn't it?

And also there's the peanut butter fudge in the con suite.

I was more of a chocolate fudge girl, myself. Yay Amy!

Is it can be next August now pls?

Seconded.
Katie M.katie_m on August 15th, 2007 02:46 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, I totally envied your hair at lunch. Of course, that was Friday.

Next time, I'm setting up dinners and lunches in advance

See? See? Was I crazy? I was not.

I'm so glad you had a good time.
Morgan Dawnmorgandawn on August 15th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
a big me too - setting up lunches and dinners (with room for people to tag along) is the best way to meet people. in fact, I try to meet people I have never met before (puzzles over this last sentence and then bravely moves on).

as for this: "Lesson learned from this: Next time, I'm going to tell people I'm going to Chicago for a lesbian sex party. "

yes!!!!
(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 08:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melinafandom on August 16th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 08:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
Destinadestina on August 15th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC)
It was nice to meet you. :)
tried to eat the safe banana: Smilethefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 08:59 am (UTC)
Nice meeting you, too!
Laura Shapiro: yay!laurashapiro on August 15th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
Lozenges!
What a great idea! They would have made a nearly-perfect weekend totally flawless (not unlike Zoolander) for me. My voice was almost exhausted by Friday. Not that I could shut up even then.

It was so entirely wonderful to get to meet you and talk to you in person, even if only for a few minutes. I hope my adopted stress about the projector meltdown at Nearly New didn't make me seem incredibly rude. I swear I wasn't ignoring you! I was just a bit distracted.

I am positively GLEEFUL to see that you had such a wonderful time and that you'll be coming back. ::squees forever::
JackieKjonojackiekjono on August 15th, 2007 03:58 am (UTC)
Re: Lozenges!
I wish I had known people were having these issues. I had a purse full of the darn things.

I feel like I was lax in my duty as pharmacist to Vividcon.
Re: Lozenges! - laurashapiro on August 15th, 2007 01:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Lozenges! - thefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
I fully support your secret meetings and things. - laurashapiro on August 15th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
flyingtapes: wizard yogaflyingtapes on August 15th, 2007 03:37 am (UTC)
I'm glad you had such a good time! I think VVC is probably one of the best-run cons I've ever (kind of) been to. Also, I'm sorry about your con flu, but don't worry, it'll go away before VVC next year. *g*
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
VVC really is awesomely well-run, especially given the complexities involved. I was amazed. (I mean, I've never been to another con; I have no basis for comparison. But it was so utterly perfect! I can't even imagine the kind of work that takes.)

And, um, were you at VVC this year? If so, I'm sad I missed you!
(no subject) - flyingtapes on September 1st, 2007 05:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
Cesperanzacesperanza on August 15th, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)
Sign me up for drinks next year! I want to see more of you than your hair, glamorously disappearing inot the crowd!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
Gladly! Although you will totally have to remind me of this next July, because I have a feeling this entire week is going to disappear in a post-con haze.

(Side note: OMG Rodney vid EEEEEEEE!)
Adorkably Profane: KK - Dirty Duckieway2busymom on August 15th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you had a great time! It was lovely meeting you & making sure you got glowsticks!

tried to eat the safe banana: Smilethefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
Yay! And thank you for the glowsticks, by the way - you were right, they were *entirely* necessary. (Also fun. Wheee!)
Zigismunda formosamelannen on August 15th, 2007 04:10 am (UTC)
.. I think I have to go pre-register for con.txt '08 now.
tried to eat the safe banana: Yay!thefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
It really is quite an experience. I mean, I don't know about con.txt, but VVC is - wow. I encourage all fans to experience cons!
Vass: happysingingjanisvassilissa on August 15th, 2007 04:11 am (UTC)
I did not say, "Then I nominate you to deliver the bad news to some people who genuinely seem to believe that they're guys," but in retrospect I should've. Or maybe just posted a note on the con suite board: "Hey guys, you're girls. Just FYI!"

I've seen this happen a lot in a group of my RL friends. cumbernotathome and zzirk are very, very used to being included in the collective term 'ladies' or 'girls'. My theory is that in a group where the majority are female and they're not giving the male group-members[*] special attention or space or deference, outsiders will tend to read the entire group as female unless the men throw out a really *huge* number of male cues/markers (I think you'd want shaved head, beard, gigantic biceps with tattoos of sailing ships and anchors on them, a singlet with sweat-stains and/or no shirt at all, and a big, booming bass voice.) (The two men I mentioned above have quiet speaking-voices, take up only as much space as they need, and are clean-shaven.)

[*] Phrasing deliberately cautious. Sign outside the Melbourne College of Hairdressers' student salon, c.1987: "We Are A Family Salon: Male Members Most Welcome."

After a while, I found myself wondering if the men attending the golf course managers' convention I once shared a hotel with [...] got remembered mostly as "the group with all the men."

You're really good at that. *stares admiringly*

they wore clothes that most people would don only as penance for something really bad, like maybe killing their father and marrying their mother, and even then lots of people would probably choose to put their eyes out instead

Possibly wearing said clothes had the same ultimate effect?

Also, I might make a playlist called For the Prevention and Treatment of Earworms. Actually, I might not wait until next VVC to do that.

If you make that playlist, please do post it.

(Only without the existential horror that actually being at an Oscar party and having someone say that would produce.)

...

*shivers*
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on August 15th, 2007 11:03 pm (UTC)
My theory is that in a group where the majority are female and they're not giving the male group-members[*] special attention or space or deference, outsiders will tend to read the entire group as female unless the men throw out a really *huge* number of male cues/markers

This was pretty much my theory - it's like, you know how when women are getting 30% of the time/resources/whatever or are 30% of a group, both sides tend to see that as "about half," and if they're getting (or are) 50%, that gets read as "way overbalanced in favor of the women"? This is the extreme of that: if it's, like, 90% women, and the men aren't in charge, the men just become...female. I suppose otherwise the cognitive dissonance induced in observers is too great? I don't know.

Possibly wearing said clothes had the same ultimate effect?

No, see, it was very obvious that those clothes were what hip, happening golf course managers wore when they were partying down. They bought those clothes special, for vacation, and they were delighted to be wearing them. Whee! But they definitely had the putting-out-your-eyes effect on the people around them. Way to transfer the penance to others, golf course managers!
Merry: N3 - So many idiotsmerryish on August 15th, 2007 04:24 am (UTC)
Dude! I was playing a huge game of "Where's Waldo" the whole con. People would come and report sightings to me. Margie was first: "Oh, I met her in the elevator! Just before I came in here!" and then I made her describe you to me, so I could check every face I didn't know to see if it was you.

Later, marycrawford reported to me that she had been talking to you and seeing you all the time! And you were going to come to MY VERY OWN ROOM to watch vids! But when I went early you were not there, and then I left for a bit only to return to a room positively swimming in people who were not you, and the news that you had JUST LEFT!

Then, in one vid show, I ended up sitting two seats down from you! I could see your name tag and everything! But I couldn't talk to you because, VID SHOW! And I determined that I would grab you to say hello and prove to you that we didn't need a large ficus in order to meet, but I got distracted and when I turned back around you were totally, totally gone.

The next news I had of you was that you had left the con. *sob* Clearly, events were conspiring against me. Or, possibly, you set up an elaborate warning system that allowed you to avoid me completely for an entire 72 hours. (If so -- well played, tfv... well-played!)

Anyway, I'm really sad that I missed you. Next time, I want one of those dinner or lunch slots!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV Katamari Damacythefourthvine on August 16th, 2007 02:58 am (UTC)
If I could make costumes at all, I would so totally come in jeans and stripey shirt and that weird hat thing that Waldo wears next year. Suitable for Club Vivid and it would make your game much easier, so, really, win all the way around. Except that I can't sew. At all.

But, damn, I'm sad I missed meeting you - and by such narrow margins. I think we needed lifesigns monitors and proximity trackers, all of us. Maybe I should've suggested that at Calls from the Public? ("Concom, please invent new technology for us by next year. ...What? I mean, you already work miracles on a schedule; this should be relatively easy.")

Or, alternately, I could just bring a plant. (Um, not a ficus, though. I have ficus trauma. ZOMBIE ficus trauma. It's very sad.)

Dinner! Or lunch! Next time!

*sniffles*

Oh, VVC, I miss you so much already.
J. M. Torresjmtorres on August 15th, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)
I saw you briefly! I have no idea what you looked like, though. My facial-name connection software is on the fritz.

Also: I learned about not trying to explain fannish conventions to mundanes the first time I went to Gatecon, which was so much larger and you know, had actors and people at it, so that I thought people in Vancouver might know about it, and yet I utterly baffled the lady at Customs.

So this time it went something like:

Hotel checker-inner: So, are you ladies here for business or pleasure?
jmtorres and niqaeli: *look at each other* Pleasure.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV lettersthefourthvine on August 16th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
I saw you briefly! I have no idea what you looked like, though. My facial-name connection software is on the fritz.

I remember your nametag and your Club Vivid outfit! *smug*

*look at each other* Pleasure.

Oh, god, I wish hotel-checker-inners would not ask this. I never have a good answer. (Once it was, "Funeral." That put a damper on the whole conversation. What, like there are no reasons other than business or pleasure why a person might travel?) But, yeah, I think in the future I will not try to explain what I'm doing when I'm traveling for fannish reasons. Although next year I'm still damned well traveling in a Vividcon t-shirt, and if people ask, well - "multimedia lesbian sex party" seems like a very reasonable answer.

(no subject) - jmtorres on August 16th, 2007 03:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV menorahthefourthvine on August 16th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
AHAHAHAHA OH GOD /o\

YOU UNDERSTAND. <3!

Also, ahahaha at your mother as existence voucher.

She was there! And she'd probably sign an affadavit if asked!