Convention celebrating diversity in fandom abruptly cancelled

Universal FanCon was supposed to fill the Baltimore Convention Center with a celebration of diversity and marginalized folks in fandom, complete with big-name guests and an array of panels. Then it was mysteriously "postponed" without warning, days before it was to commence—a postponement that looks an awful lot like no-refund cancellation.

Attendees, vendors, exhibitors, panelists and speakers had already shelled out thousands of dollars to attend FanCon. People had taken time off of work to attend. I saw several panelists and speakers tweet that they’d actually turned down paid gigs to attend FanCon.

And that’s not even the half of it.

In late 2016, the organizers for Universal FanCon created a KickStarter to raise $25,000 dollars for the convention. It sounds like a very ambitious goal until you learn that they actually raised more than twice that amount.

That KickStarter received $56,498 in donations raised by 1,187 backers.

Grift was suspected by angry attendees, but it looks more like a tower of mistakes falling in on itself at the moment of truth. Raising $100k or so isn't going to pay for a convention center and a bunch of guests. It'll pay for a hotel, and a ballroom in that hotel. They let their ambitions go wild and nothing stopped them until it was too late.

Ah well. They didn't even get a ball pit. Read the rest

GeekGirlCon is an oasis of acceptance

Copywriter Nicole Dieker on how a convention creates a welcoming space with language

Help queer pop culture convention Bent-Con cover its costs

Bent-Con is an annual gathering dedicated to LGBT films, comics, books and geekiness, celebrating its fifth anniversary this time around. Having grown from 500 attendees in 2010 to nearly 3500 last year, they've set up a modest Kickstarter to help offset their costs. If it reaches the $15k target, they'll knock out 1/4 of the convention fees--but with 24 hours left to go, only half the goal is covered.

Here's organizer Sean Maker's description of the event:

It’s sort of an “A to Z” in creativity, networking, opportunity and fandom -- a place where everyone takes center-stage and showcases whatever they’re up to creatively, expressing and sharing with an ever-growing audience. I personally like to think of BENT-CON as an annual celebration that is a welcoming and safe place for anyone—fan or professional—who believes everyone has a right to see themselves reflected in the things they love.

Bent-Con takes place 7-9th Nov at the Los Angeles Burbank Marriot Convention Center and one-day badges start coming with pledges at $20 and up. Panels this year include women who write queer characters, gay gamers' love of RPGs, and race and class in comics. Check out this year's guests and exhibitors. Read the rest

"Tumblr convention" a total disaster

DashCon2014, a gathering of tumblr users and celebrities, "descended into chaos" this weekend, with the chaos including an alleged $17,000 friday night shakedown by the Marriott-owned hotel. Read the rest

Maggie at CONvergence, Twin Cities, July 6-7

Every year, CONvergence draws upwards of 5,000 people to the Minneapolis/St.Paul area for a celebrations of science fiction, fantasy, comic books, and general geekery. This year, I'll be one of them. I'm participating in several of the Con's science and skepticism-themed panels. On July 6th, you can catch me at 3:30 pm, talking about facts, controversy, and climate change; and at 8:30 pm, I'll be on a panel about the physiology of drugs and alcohol. July 7th at 12:30 pm, I'll be on a panel about climate change denialism in the classroom. At 2:00 pm that same day, I'll be talking about women in science and technology. There will also be a chance on Friday to buy a copy of Before the Lights Go Out, my book on electric infrastructure and the future of energy, and/or get your copy signed by me. Hope to see you there! Read the rest