Saturday, March 19, 2011

What is an All-Con?

Following recent posts, a reader has asked, "What is an All-Con?" Reader must have sci-fi conventions explained to her, as she has recently moved to the land of the Big Chicken, just down the street from Atlanta. Atlanta, of course, will be home to Dragon Con in September, and she'll need to know stuff in order to decide whether to attend it or get the frak away from it. (And in case you didn't know, frak means f**k, in some other language, long ago in a galaxy far away where machines have taken over and decided to wipe out the human race.)

Okay, first off there are professional cons and fan run cons. "Professional" doesn't mean better, it means that it is someone's job and they expect to make money from it and keep doing it on a regular basis. Some fan run cons are very good. If there were not some very good fan run cons out there, it would never have occurred to anyone to start companies to have professional cons. See?

Okay, the professional cons I am most familiar with are Creation Con and Vulkon. On the one had, most of the cons I have been to were Creation Con. On the other hand, most Creation Con events I have been to were a bit on the boring side. I know that sometimes in other parts of the country, Creation Con has really big events and that they sometimes work with fans to do something different, but for the most part they don't do that here. At a Creation Con you have a star (or maybe stars plural), an actor from Star Trek or Stargate or whatever you are a fan of, and you go to hear that actor talk and maybe pay extra to get his or her autograph. You hear the actor speak in the main auditorium, and while you wait for that there are other things going on in the main auditorium, but if you aren't interested in that your only other option is to visit the dealer's room and maybe buy some t-shirts. There is nothing else going on, just programming in the main auditorium and shopping in the dealer's room. Sometimes the dealer's room is just the back of the main auditorium, so it's all just the one room. And, if all you want to do is hear the actor speak and maybe buy autographs and t-shirts, then you're fine with that, and Creation Con is just what you want.

Vulkon was a lot like that, except that they had two other rooms for fans to do stuff. So if you weren't interested in whatever was going on in the main room, you could go to another room and play a game, hear Klingon poetry readings, or watch a makeup demonstration. And of course, there was the dealer's room.

More recently I have been to another professionally run con. I don't remember the name of it, and I guess I've been ignoring it for years thinking that they only did Star Wars and comics. It was somewhat in between Creation Con and Vulkon. There's the main auditorium and an autograph room and a photo op room and a dealer's room. There was no fan run room when I went, but there were at least fan tables set up to promote local clubs. Creation Con and Vulkon usually have a costume contest (though it is usually short), but I don't remember this other group having one, though last time there were plenty of people running around in costume.

Fan run cons are usually different. There's always something going on in five or six different rooms, and you have to get out the schedule and figure out what is most interesting to you. You might even go to the con for some reason other than to see the actors. There are movie screenings, writing workshops, makeup demonstrations, model-making demonstrations, costume workshops, singing, and sometimes even children's programming. And there's usually a big costume contest, followed by a dance, and lots of parties. At the end there might be something called the Dead Dog, which I have never been to, as it sounds like a lot of people getting really falling down frakking drunk (but I can't say for sure, cause I have been, see?).

Some of the conventions are mainly for fans of a particular thing, like Star Trek or Star Wars or Babylon 5 or some animated shows from Japan. Or, some cons try to have a little bit for everyone. Some of the cons have gotten very big, and have just everything for everybody, like Comic Con in San Diego.

Dragon Con is sort of like Comic Con's little brother. Only it's getting bigger. Really Big. It's taken over four hotels and the underground. And there's a parade. A big parade, with costumes from just about anything you can think of.

Dragon Con is too big for me. My friends say that it's great and I have to go, but I don't think that I ever will. I don't really like crowds. And I can watch the parade on YouTube.

Okay, so what is an All-Con. All-Con is a fan run convention. It is not a big convention. It is more my speed. I liked All-Con the one time that I went, though not everything there is for me. Like, I did not watch the performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (I'm still thinking that there might be a prize for the oldest virgin). But, there are five or six rooms, movie screenings, workshops, parties, a costume contest, a dance, etc....

After a while, all the cool con names are taken. You have to call it something. Since this was one of those cons that tries to have a little bit of something for everything...All-Con.

This year's main guests at All-Con are Richard Hatch (of Battlestar Galactica, not the naked guy from Survivor) and Anne Lockhart (of the real Battlestar Galactica, not the recent re-imagining). But if that doesn't interest you there will also be Stormtroopers, Browncoats, people fighting ripe produce with swords, etc...

Okay, I hope that explains. If you like, I'll try to find some YouTube links for you.

I'm not going tomorrow. I don't know if my friend is going either, she might still be too upset about the whole ticket situation. I already have Anne's autograph. I would like Richard's, but the ticket price, plus another thirty or so for the autograph, plus standing in line, plus I can't tell from the schedule even when I would be standing in line. Now there's a $15 Sunday only ticket, but on Sunday there's no costume contest, no Battlestar blooper reel, and I'm not sure when or if Richard and Anne are going to speak. At this point I'm going with my original decision. No $20 or less Saturday ticket, so I don't need to go.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

Pretty funny that too many people think of the devious naked man from Survivor instead of the Battlestar guy when they think of Richard Hatch. And he seems like a great guy for his work in both shows, and his work in between in trying to revive BSG.

Well, I really want to go to a real con, someday.