A-Kon 1997 report

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davemerrill
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A-Kon 1997 report

Post by davemerrill »

there's no Project A-Kon this year, but you can soften the blow by reading the report from Project A-Kon 8 back in 1997 as only Let's Anime can report it - including beer, fistfights, and the Tale of The One-Legged Cigarette Bandit Of A-Kon 8!!

https://letsanime.blogspot.com/2020/04/ ... es-in.html
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look at those nerds

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mbanu
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Re: A-Kon 1997 report

Post by mbanu »

Great report!

I had heard or Ani-Mayhem, but not Japanimayem; not much on the internet except a listing on Board Game Geek and a Yahoo Japan auction.

Those cool shirts, on the other hand, are still on sale from Kimono My House -- gotta check their Ebay store, though, it looks like their old web address was bought by a sex toy reviewer (^_^;)
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Fireminer
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Re: A-Kon 1997 report

Post by Fireminer »

Reading this report makes me want to ask: How big and active were the Trekkies before the 2000s? You makes it sounds like Star Trek is somekind of common language of nerds.

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Captain_EO
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Re: A-Kon 1997 report

Post by Captain_EO »

Trekkies practically invented fandom as we know it today. Fanzines, fanfiction, large-scale science fiction conventions, etc. were all spearheaded by them. In the Next Generation era, they were also very prominent on BBSes, Usenet and the like. I'm sure Dave can go into more detail, but Star Trek is basically where modern fandom began.

runesaint
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Re: A-Kon 1997 report

Post by runesaint »

Fireminer wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 7:43 pm
Reading this report makes me want to ask: How big and active were the Trekkies before the 2000s? You makes it sounds like Star Trek is somekind of common language of nerds.
Basically, from the sixties and seventies, Star Trek was -the- common point for science fiction fans. Yes, there were people that had read the Dune novels when they started in 1965, and beginning around 1970 'Lord of the Rings' was popular enough among fantasy fans (yes, it originally came out in 1955), but while not everyone had read LotR or Dune, everyone had seen at least an episode of Star Trek. Then, from 1977-1983, you have not one, but FIVE new masses of fandoms - of 'Star Wars' trilogy (SF), Dungeons and Dragons(Fantasy and Gaming), and Starblazers (SF/ANime), as well as Superman the Movie (Comic books), and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy...
Then for the latter half of the 80s you have Robotech, the Conan movies, Star Trek movies, etcetera..
Then AKIRA in Anime, Batman movies and more comic books stuff, Vampire the Masquerade and Shadowrun in gaming, Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda in Fantasy and computer games...Babylon 5 and Star Trek (Next Gen, then DS9, etc)...
Basically, even if someone was not a fan of Star Trek, at any point over the last several decades, it was pretty much always one of the top 'groups', and you would know -about- it even if you were not -in- it.
Now, around the year 2000s, there were enough other things - and Star Trek entered a nadir for about 2 decades, television wise there was Farscape and Andromeda and Stargate SG-1, anime was more common, available in Walmarts and the like...an explosion in tabletop gaming with the release of the 'd20' system...

I would greatly appreciate general thoughts from others?

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Re: A-Kon 1997 report

Post by davemerrill »

SF fandom was definitely a thing prior to Star Trek, but it was Star Trek - specifically the letter writing campaigns to keep the show from cancellation in its third season - that built a media fantasy fandom that was new and different. When the show went off the air, there was a network of fans already in place, with each other's mailing addresses - this meant Star Trek fandom would share fanzines and fan fiction, and would gather for conventions that even in their early days were as large as, if not larger than, the literary SF conventions.

It speaks to the show's quality that none of the other contemporary SF television shows built that kind of fandom.

There was friction between the Trekkies and the literary SF world at the time; the literary SF fans saw Star Trek as this dumb TV show for illiterates who weren't sophisticated enough to appreciate the written word. Of course, there was a lot of crossover too, and eventually the written SF fans and the Trekkies became pretty much the same group of people.

When I got into organized fandom in the mid 1980s, Star Trek had been a fixture of the general SF fandom scene for a very long time, and the fan activity around Star Trek - write your fan stories, draw your fan art, dress up like your favorite characters, acquire toys and merch, gather in conventions - was the template used when we started putting anime fandom together.

Star Trek was pretty much the common language of fandom at that time. The original TV show was re-run constantly, the movies were in theaters on a regular basis, every major city had at least one Star Trek convention, and every fan convention of every kind had Star Trek events, whether the fan convention was about SF or not. I've done a bit of research on the fan conventions in Atlanta in the 1980s, and it's amazing to see how, for instance, the Star Trek Blooper Reel was screened at every single fan event in Atlanta from 1979 until at least 1986. It was assumed that if you in any way interested in science fiction, in comic books or cartoons, in gaming, or any related field, that you'd also be into Star Trek.

Trek fandom had become so well known that it was a cliche, even in the late 70s - the image of the Trekkie in a TOS outfit with Spock ears, nerding it up all over the place, is sort of a pop culture fixture, even if most Trekkies didn't dress up in costume.

At the time - the mid 1980s - I was a snotty teenager, and naturally I was going to be opposed to whatever the generation ahead of me was into, and Star Trek was SO INESCAPABLE that I think my distaste was fully warranted. My feeling was that people who liked Star Trek were well served by Star Trek events and that we needed to carve our our own territory where we could focus our attention on other things, without some bellowing guy in a Klingon outfit shoving his ample gut into our faces. I still feel that way, I guess.

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Drew_Sutton
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Re: A-Kon 1997 report

Post by Drew_Sutton »

A good write up - not really of the convention itself admittedly, but it captures a universal theme, I think, of when people have had too many bad or disappointing conventions. The bad travel, the cramped rooms, dumb fights and binging alcohol for a weekend - it speaks to me and where I was about a decade and a half later. Even an anime con shifting away from anime programming is something that's more universal than it might sound for people who haven't been around the block a few times with fan conventions.
davemerrill wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 10:21 am
Star Trek was pretty much the common language of fandom at that time. The original TV show was re-run constantly, the movies were in theaters on a regular basis, every major city had at least one Star Trek convention, and every fan convention of every kind had Star Trek events, whether the fan convention was about SF or not. I've done a bit of research on the fan conventions in Atlanta in the 1980s, and it's amazing to see how, for instance, the Star Trek Blooper Reel was screened at every single fan event in Atlanta from 1979 until at least 1986. It was assumed that if you in any way interested in science fiction, in comic books or cartoons, in gaming, or any related field, that you'd also be into Star Trek.

Trek fandom had become so well known that it was a cliche, even in the late 70s - the image of the Trekkie in a TOS outfit with Spock ears, nerding it up all over the place, is sort of a pop culture fixture, even if most Trekkies didn't dress up in costume.
Yeah - not only was Star Trek the cliche of 70s and 80s fandom, it was pretty much the de-facto reference for mainstream pop culture, too - as evidenced by one of my favorite Saturday Night Live sketches.
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Akage
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Re: A-Kon 1997 report

Post by Akage »

Your report reminds me of what conventions have largely become for me - An excuse to travel to the opposite side of the country to hang out with friends - and less meeting guests, attending panels and being introduced to new anime. I didn't start attending conventions until 2009 (parents would have totally killed me if I had tried while in school..), but comparatively, I had far more fun (and sleep) at those earlier conventions than I do now. Conventions didn't feel like they were controlled by the industry so much back then. Even at Anime Expo where I'd share pricey hotel rooms with loud roomies to keep costs low, I'd get a full night's sleep. But now...? If I even wanted a chance at an autograph, I'd have to start waiting in line at 11pm for tickets to be handed out at 8 am the following morning.

The con security staff treated attendees like inmates to be herded and controlled, not like, say, fellow fans.
Some things never change :lol:

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Re: A-Kon 1997 report

Post by DKop »

Akage wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 6:52 pm
Your report reminds me of what conventions have largely become for me - An excuse to travel to the opposite side of the country to hang out with friends - and less meeting guests, attending panels and being introduced to new anime. I didn't start attending conventions until 2009 (parents would have totally killed me if I had tried while in school..), but comparatively, I had far more fun (and sleep) at those earlier conventions than I do now. Conventions didn't feel like they were controlled by the industry so much back then. Even at Anime Expo where I'd share pricey hotel rooms with loud roomies to keep costs low, I'd get a full night's sleep. But now...? If I even wanted a chance at an autograph, I'd have to start waiting in line at 11pm for tickets to be handed out at 8 am the following morning.

The con security staff treated attendees like inmates to be herded and controlled, not like, say, fellow fans.
Some things never change :lol:
Man I had that issue at AWA and Animazement, most of the time they don't bother me. I just laugh inside when some skinny dorky nerd wants to try and act like a badass, like come'on now man! :lol:

That's kinda how Animazement has become. Last year I only went because Robert Woodhead wanted me on his AnimEigo panel to be a talking head, so my cost for the ticked and hotel were covered, can't complain with that and very grateful for it. I felt like I barely got to meet with you when the year prior I was with your gang the whole time, it's just one of those things. It's nice that AZ got canned this year since it would be hard to go back since it was the last time I ran into one of my brothers old friends from our neighborhood, and he sadly passed away at ECU in late August 2019. It's just not the same without seeing him there accosting street preachers and trolling them, and then laughing about it and grabbing a Jimmy Johns in the plaza across the street and catching up for an hour or so. I get to see old friends when I'm in town and that's about it.

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Re: A-Kon 1997 report

Post by Akage »

DKop wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:05 pm
Man I had that issue at AWA and Animazement, most of the time they don't bother me. I just laugh inside when some skinny dorky nerd wants to try and act like a badass, like come'on now man! :lol:
You know what I do professionally. 18 year olds trying to tell me to respect their authoritay is never going to work with me. Though my favorite staffer has to be from AnimeFest the year the Yuri on Ice guests showed up. Said staffer told me they were going to call the cops because the lines were so chaotic and how I should be fearful because they have guns, and I was like "Hol' up...". And as an aside, after attending that Texas convention for several years, why is it that all the white boys in that area try to act like they're thugs?! Drenching themselves in Axe Body Spray is about the only thing fearful about them.

That's kinda how Animazement has become. Last year I only went because Robert Woodhead wanted me on his AnimEigo panel to be a talking head, so my cost for the ticked and hotel were covered, can't complain with that and very grateful for it. I felt like I barely got to meet with you when the year prior I was with your gang the whole time, it's just one of those things. It's nice that AZ got canned this year since it would be hard to go back since it was the last time I ran into one of my brothers old friends from our neighborhood, and he sadly passed away at ECU in late August 2019. It's just not the same without seeing him there accosting street preachers and trolling them, and then laughing about it and grabbing a Jimmy Johns in the plaza across the street and catching up for an hour or so. I get to see old friends when I'm in town and that's about it.
I've already been a blubbering idiot the past couple days about this and you want me to continue this here?! I miss the gang. I missed my 6 hour drive to Animazement after spending the week hanging out in Tennessee and learning that asking a butcher for ground chicken took some serious mental processing on his part. I miss the movie theater with the huge seats. And that diner you recommended with the man who drunkingly complained about his shoes. And WaHo and Cracker Barrel...curses...now I really want Chick'n Dumplings! I miss getting A drunk (approximately 2 small cups) to the point where he strips on the way back to his hotel room (but P's horrified expression was priceless and has convinced me to continue this tradition). And most importantly, I miss sharing my snackies and plum wine with you guys because y'all know I always come prepared.

No worries about last year. I knew you were working for Robert and if that would help your career, who am I to disturb that for shenanigans? Besides, T fell down the escalator and couldn't walk for the entire convention, so we watched a lot of Netflix, drank and then yelled at the young'uns to keep it down after 11 because, dagnabit, old people need sleep.

Now I'm just gonna have to drown my sadness in Japanese Yuzu Sake Kit Kats...

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