Notes on a Fandom is a column dedicated to lesbian/bi fandom in its various incarnations. It also feature thoughts and comments from you, the fans. Follow @DanaPiccoli on Twitter and Tumblr to keep up with the latest topics and questions.
Fandom is a vast universe of people and mediums, and the internet makes it easy for all of us to connect and share in a way that wasn’t always possible. However, before there was Twitter, Tumblr or even email, fans convened to share their mutual love for their particular fandom in the only way they could. In person. Fan conventions have been around for decades and remain a vital part of the fandom experience. Even major Hollywood studios recognize the power of in-your-face fandom. I’m going to give you the lowdown on the major players, as well as some small, yet mighty conventions.
Big Bads (in a good way)
The granddaddy of multi-fandom conventions, Comic-con has been around since 1970. Over the years its grown from featuring comic books and sci-fi, to a whole gamut of entertainment, including video games, books, movies, and television. Comic-con features exhibits, lots of comic books, Q & A’s and autograph sessions, cosplay, and panels. Some of your gay inclusive favorites like Glee, True Blood and Buffy had panels and actor appearances last year. In fact, Comic-con has become an integral part of the promotional process for television and film in recent years. Getting actors and writers in front of Comic-con fans and press can generate a lot of buzz for an upcoming project. Comic-con even has its own independent film festival and art show. Fangirls be warned: Comic-con does attracts over 130,000 attendees, which means a lot of long lines. Plan your trip wisely and be prepared to possibly strike up a conversation with someone dressed as Princess Peach, while waiting to get into the Walking Dead panel. If really big crowds and lines aren’t your thing, there are smaller regional Comic-coms all over the country and Canada. Here’s an exhaustive list.
Comic-Con International: San Diego
Fan Expo is the largest Con in Canada, attracting nearly 100,000 attendees. Like Comic-con, the event features celebrities, actors, artists and writers of your favorite comic books and sci-fi geared television and movies. This year, the genre of sports will be added to the Con. Fan Expo also offers workshops and seminars in various subjects. The 2013 schedule has not been released yet, but we do know that Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) and out actor George Takei (Star Trek) are already on the roster of guest stars. Five bucks for the first person to shout, “You’re a wanker Number 9!”
Fan Expo Toronto
While large scale events like Comic-con certainly attracted the big crowds and celebrity guests, niche Cons really speak to the DIY aesthetic of fandom itself. While production companies put some of these cons on, others are organized by dedicated fans themselves. These Cons give fans a chance to really connect and discuss their favorite shows, books, etc., right down to the bones. Star Trek still has conventions on the regular.
Here are a few niche conventions that may appeal lesbian fans:
The Official Xena Convention (XenaCon if you’re nasty) has been around since the late nineties, and was supposed to perform its swan song in 2012. Just like Xena however, it was resurrected in January of this year and there are plans for a XenaCon 2014. Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor have been repeat special guests. This past Con offered some really fun, unique events including a cabaret evening featuring performers from Xena, a session with stunt woman extraordinaire Zoe Bell, and my personal favorite, a yoga class with Hudson Leick (Callisto). Holy shit! I’d be flailing too much to downward dog.
XenaCon – Burbank, CA