PhenomiCon

The roughly mid-90's and earlier (generally pre-Toonami, pre-anime boom) era of anime & manga fandom: early cons, clubs, tape trading, Nth Generation VHS fansubs, old magazines & fanzines, fandubs, ancient merchandise, rec.arts.anime, and more!
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davemerrill
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PhenomiCon

Post by davemerrill »

This was in no way a Japanese animation convention, but back in the early 1990s I was part of "Atlanta's Most Dangerous Convention", PhenomiCon, which was a gathering of hackers, gamers, UFO kooks, conspiracy nuts, fake religionists, and deep thinkers, all bouncing off each other for two conventions that were more of a subcultural success than a financial success.

https://atlantafantasyfair.blogspot.com ... r-con.html

I learned a lot from PhenomiCon, both what to do and what NOT to do when starting a small fan convention, and I think if you have any interest in the fandom of 30+ years ago you might find it interesting.

Fireminer
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Re: PhenomiCon

Post by Fireminer »

davemerrill wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:34 am
This was in no way a Japanese animation convention, but back in the early 1990s I was part of "Atlanta's Most Dangerous Convention", PhenomiCon, which was a gathering of hackers, gamers, UFO kooks, conspiracy nuts, fake religionists, and deep thinkers, all bouncing off each other for two conventions that were more of a subcultural success than a financial success.

https://atlantafantasyfair.blogspot.com ... r-con.html

I learned a lot from PhenomiCon, both what to do and what NOT to do when starting a small fan convention, and I think if you have any interest in the fandom of 30+ years ago you might find it interesting.
It's rare to read anything like this, so thanks a lot, Dave! But why in the same article are there two different font sizes?

Also, may I ask if you remember back there seeing anyone of the militia or Nazi type attending these two conventions? I've recently read a book about how these people were among the first people to jump on the Internet bandwagon.

davemerrill
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Anime Fan Since: 1984
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Re: PhenomiCon

Post by davemerrill »

Some of PhenomiCon's guests and attendees were probably white supremacists, racists, or various degrees of fascist or Nazis, but none of that was on public display at the convention. One of the guests, Milton William "Bill" Cooper, wrote a book that has been described as "the bible of the militia movement," but at the time the militia movement was not as prominent and his work was mostly known for the alien / UFO material (which was all nonsense, but whatever).

My personal experience with most conspiracy nuts - JFK conspiracy fans, flying saucer contactees, Illuminati nerds, whatever - is that sooner or later they go full-on antisemitic Nazi. There's always a sinister conspiracy behind everything, and it always winds up being The Jews. Since PhenomiCon, I've tried to keep my distance from the whole field, though I still enjoy reading books on those topics.

I think Blogger changes the font size every time there's a link in a paragraph. It's really annoying and it's on my list of Things I Need To Fix.

Fireminer
Posts: 241
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:42 pm
Anime Fan Since: 2012

Re: PhenomiCon

Post by Fireminer »

davemerrill wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:13 am
Some of PhenomiCon's guests and attendees were probably white supremacists, racists, or various degrees of fascist or Nazis, but none of that was on public display at the convention. One of the guests, Milton William "Bill" Cooper, wrote a book that has been described as "the bible of the militia movement," but at the time the militia movement was not as prominent and his work was mostly known for the alien / UFO material (which was all nonsense, but whatever).

My personal experience with most conspiracy nuts - JFK conspiracy fans, flying saucer contactees, Illuminati nerds, whatever - is that sooner or later they go full-on antisemitic Nazi. There's always a sinister conspiracy behind everything, and it always winds up being The Jews. Since PhenomiCon, I've tried to keep my distance from the whole field, though I still enjoy reading books on those topics.

I think Blogger changes the font size every time there's a link in a paragraph. It's really annoying and it's on my list of Things I Need To Fix.
Yeah, I've been meaning to ask you about Bill Cooper. That man's book "Behold a Pale Horse" is still being read in conspiracy circles nowadays. Actually, you'd be surprise about how many old stuffs does QAnon recycle from 1990s conspiracy theorists. These people seriously lack imagination.

Anyway, Blogger is a pain to use. My friend has this old blog which he abandoned years ago. When he came back to check it, Google had automatically made a bunch of garbled posts on his blog without his permission.

Fireminer
Posts: 241
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:42 pm
Anime Fan Since: 2012

Re: PhenomiCon

Post by Fireminer »

Also, why is it always a Holiday Inn or a Days Inn when it comes to conspiracy nuts making a statement or organize a meeting?

davemerrill
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Re: PhenomiCon

Post by davemerrill »

the small hotels by the interstate off-ramps will rent their meeting rooms to anyone who can put down a deposit. The Castlegate, in particular, was Atlanta's destination hotel for every kind of meeting you can think of. Indian weddings, hemp advocacy conventions, gun shows, comic book shows, stamp shows, record shows, radio shows, Boy Scout meetings, Star Trek conventions, anime conventions, religious gatherings of every conceivable denomination and faith, gaming conventions, children's beauty pageants... they didn't care who you were or what you were about, as long as you paid.
But most cities have small or medium-sized hotels with meeting rooms that need filling and a catering staff that could use the work. In areas without VFW or American Legion halls, National Guard armories, or other large rentable community spaces, these hotels become community centers themselves. Up here there seems to a good number of "banquet halls" that fill the same sort of need.

I don't recall how we came to get Bill Cooper as a guest; one of PhenomiCon's advisors was a guy named Ron Bonds who was at the time publishing a wide variety of conspiracy-themed books, and he might have put us in touch with him. Cooper wasn't as crazy then as he later became, but I do remember he and some of the other UFO speakers being annoyed that the rest of us didn't seem to be taking them very seriously.

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