Last year I attended and/or was a guest at a number of really excellent genre conventions. I learned several lessons. Made some good contacts. Enjoyed lively discussions. I even played Cards Against Humanity in front of a crowd and danced to the John Scalzi’s mesmerizing master mixes. But the one thing that I got out of all this convention attendance that I hold most dear was a handful of new friends.
This year my convention attendance will drop dramatically. I can’t afford plane tickets or hotel rooms and still be able to buy a house. And right now, from this rather uncomfortable stool at my local cafe, a house seems like about the only thing I really want. If everything works out I’m headed to WorldCon, it is a mere day’s drive away, and if my budget is too tight I can camp.
So while I’m looking forward to WorldCon it’s sort of a great big question mark in my mind. Could be fun, might be stressful, and I might learn something valuable, but not “Whaaaaahooooo, I’m going to attend a convention jam packed full of strangers!”
That said, my favorite convention last year was by no small margin GeekFanExpo. It was small enough that I got to spend a lot of time intimate time with creators and fans alike. There didn’t seem to be a raucous or immature “party till you puke” sort of vibe that grew from the dark recesses of the hotel until it overcame the whole affair sometime after midnight. And, the best part, I made some pretty awesome friendships while I was attending.
This year they’re trying to do it all again. It takes a lot of effort, time and money to make something like GFX happen at all. Contracts must be negotiated with multinational hotel conglomerates and mom and pop vendors alike and everything from site security to harassment policy must be taken care of well in advance of the opening ceremony.
Personally, I’d love to see this happen again. GFX was an awesome time last year and we all could use a second chance at awesome. Right now the shows creators have put up a Kickstarter which they’re using to fund the seed money to make the convention a reality. If you’ve got the spare nosh consider plonking it down for a most excellent celebration of all things geek.