Conventions & Faire
I never really thought about SciFi conventions, although I’d heard of them, until I first did that Starfleet jumpsuit and needed rank pins. I went to a local convention, wandered through the dealers room, popped my head into the auditorium, couldn’t really figure out anything else to do and left.
Fast forward a few years to that convention in San Francisco. We met folks who were like us and lived nearby. They started telling us about other conventions, especially Baycon, and CreationCon in Pasadena. I thought that might be fun. At about the same time, I was also volunteering at our local PBS station, and was running a TV camera. Another volunteer also suggested I attend Baycon, and help with their on-site video/tv station called BCTV.
One thing led to another (as it usually does), and I went from staff in 2000 to department manager to division director for Programming to Vice-Chair in 2009 at Baycon. I ran both Event Services (Program, Gaming, etc), Member Services (Registration, Marketplace, Gallery, etc), and the website for Con-Volution between 2012-2017. And have now worked at several different Worldcons: in Reno (Renovation), Chicago (ChiCon 7), and London (Loncon3). And Westercon 66 in Sacramento. And the list continues to grow. I was the Masquerade Co-Director for Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, and the Program Division Head for Worldcon76. I’m Stage Manager for the Masquerade in Dublin (Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon).
A group of us were die-hard enough to go camp out at the local theater when Star Wars: The Phantom Menace opened. We had a variety of themed costumes (Jedi, Darth Maul, etc), as well as other outfits appropriate for Ren Faire and SCA. I was invited to guest with a group at a local Ren Faire, and met my husband. My best friend decided that she loved fencing (which is how she met her husband). We ultimately created our own guild, St. Michael’s Salle d’Armes, in 2005. The focus is on the various European martial arts, and we attend events in Northern California.
All of this is volunteer work gives us some interesting experience not found in our day jobs. In addition to creating a program schedule for a 2000 person event, I can analyze a hotel contract, create the BEOs for hotel staff, build a presenter and staff database and a variety of other things.