I have written about my issues with CONvergence, the largest Scifi convention in the Upper Midwest, mainly back on my myspace blog and perhaps even on the livejournal I kept. But even then, that was many years ago. Let's see:
I know I 1st attended CONvergence along with the Renaissance Festival around 2002 or 2003. Maybe 2004 was the 1st year I finally made it to Ren Fest. I forget exactly, but I do recall that I had never attended either until about 10 years ago.
And the 1st year or 2 I went to both, I really enjoyed both. Actually, with Ren Fest, I only have 1 or 2 memories where I didn't enjoy everything that happened. Why that is? I think part of it is, the people at Renaissance Festival aren't stressed out and frankly, anal douches.
But with CON, the 1st few years I went, I really dug many things, namely:
-The Karaoke ..which the 1st few years, you would be able to get a song in at least every hour, sometimes the wait time would take 20 minutes or less. My friend John and I would sometimes stay there until 4 or 5AM (or he would even later)..the last few years at CONvergence, and I recall even MarsCON, the wait could be up to 2 hours or more, lol. What's the point? and if I recall, the last year I went to CON, in 2011, there was no Karaoke room.
-the Bellydance room and drum/spin jams. Back in the day of MiniCON, I guess some of the drum/spin jams were awesome. But then this 1 chic made it her agenda to limi/monitor the rhythm patterns people were drumming to, and it got really lame. But I want to say around 2008 or 2009 the drum/spin jams stopped happening altogether or at least they became *exclusive* to certain level of badge holders. I recall in 2011 or maybe even 2010, trying to get into the area on the 2nd floor where they were held, and that entire section was TAPED OFF to badge holders.
But the biggest beef I and many others have had with CONvergence is the BADGE ENFORCEMENT. The 1st and foremost.
I attend CONvergence and some other CONs many times, I'd guess at least a dozen or more, really without anyone having any issue with demanding a badge. Why?
a) I would come to the CON at 8 or usually closer to 10 or 11PM, and would stay until 3 or 4AM..sometimes later. But I would leave by Sunrise, if not earlier
b) I wasn't needing access to all the *exclusive* rooms, but I recall around Midnight or 1AM, they really didn't monitor NOR CARE if you went into some of the CON suites because IT WAS LATE and all the planned events WERE OVER. And that was totally justifiable. But I'd guess around 2008 or maybe 2009, they started making a huge stink about those areas, even in the middle of the night when the activity and planned activities/events were over/dead/quiet..
c) The Badges are WAY TOO FUCKING EXPENSIVE. And even if you were to buy one far in advance (like before January 1st), you still have NEVER been able to purchase DAY PASSES (like MarsCON)
at the Door, unless you're not an adult, there is only 1 rate for a "Membership" and it's $100. ONE HUNDRED FUCKING DOLLARS, LOL. For myself, who spends 5-8 hours sometimes only 1 night, but at most 2-nights.
Everyone who buys a badge spends what potentially up to 72 hours or more there? and me, maybe 10-15? yeah, THAT MAKES SENSE.
If I spent even 10 hours at the CON, I would be spending $10 a fucking hour to be there for that. WASTE.
If I registered before December 31st for next year's CON, it would be $60, or approx $6 per hour. To do Karaoke and people watch in what is now a lame event that the hipsters have hijacked.
If I waited and bought my "membership" at the door, it'll be $120 for 2014. $120??? uh, and they wonder why people try and "ghost" even more now. With the size of the CON, I can only imagine that'll give people even more motivation to.
A party with delusional security measures, and an uptight, stressed out atmosphere. Yeah, that's what I always enjoy experiencing.
An event that I once didn't have to spend anything but a bit of a sleep cycle altering and I estimated about $12 in gas to drive back in forth 2 evenings.
Why can't they set up day or even HOUR passes? because they don't have to, but it would be much more reasonable for people like me.
I don't plan my YEAR around this event. I don't HANG OUT AT THE PANELS. That shit often is boring. Unless the guest they get are worth hearing, but those also happen much earlier, often during the day on Saturday anyway.
If only it were a bit more like KFAI's lot, the cost of paying to park there IN THE EVENING is MUCH LESS. Why the fuck the morons who run this CON and MNSTF don't consider changing the badge or "membership" format and options is only explained by how lame the CON has become altogether and how it's become this media event that the Hipsters have tried to claim as their own. I bet most of those hipsters don't even like or know Babylon 5 or Deep Space 9, lol.
So this year (2013), it's become so pathetic, people are having to wait in-line to spend $100 on a badge, for 2.5 hours.
I saw their tent at Pride last weekend and some woman was asking people "Do you like Star Wars or Star Trek?" and I said "Yes, but I don't attend CON anymore, sorry."
CON could be cool
-I wanted to setup a Movie/Album synchro room a few years back. I went to one of the meetings for registering Party Rooms, and they ASSUMED you had all these things planned out and setup as far as fire regulations and the cost of removing the beds. Duct Taping wiring.
They also gave me the realization of the COST of paying for THE ROOM for up to 3 nights. Getting Food for guests. And of course the whole pathetic process of SHOWING A MOVIE at a public event, there are legal issues that come up. I'm not sure how anyone would be able to pursue some kind of lawsuit with the CON or hotel if someone did. What would be the point? greedy people in Hollywood who have nothing better to do.
That all being said, i talked to Scott from Cinema Apocalypse and was possibly going to be able to do a movie/album synchro thing (not just Dark Side of the Moon/The Wizard of Oz), but the 1 year it could have been done, the people in the room next door were WAY TOO LOUD, that it would have been pointless. The next idea was at MarsCON, but Scott and his partner stopped doing it I guess, and so I gave up.
1 year I even brought a dvd player and stereo in and tried to set it up in the middle of the 1st floor near the pool after actually askiing "OPS" about it and I'm pretty sure they told me it wouldn't be an issue. That was on Friday night, but when I brought the stuff in on Saturday they flagged me down telling me I couldn't for INSURANCE reasons or some other bullshit. Although even at 11PM or whatever it would have been, it likely was too loud in there to really have it work effectively.
Damn, but that's water under the bridge. The best bet to do something like that would be either at a private movie theater like the Parkway Theater (or maybe even the Trylon, although that would require some serious convincing I imagine), or just at someone's home.
there's more to this, but this will have to do for now. FTR, I still for the most part love Renaissance Festival, and while I think MarsCON make something of Badges, they don't like CONvergence.
I also would love to attend San Diego Comic-Con of course, but that would make CONvergence seem like a Ghost Town.
The hipsters and often personality/nature of people who run these things always have to suck. When something is underground, it often is not. I guess the best lesson to learn is, not to always talk about these things so in detail. But then again, the hipsters are making "Nerds" mainstream, which is kind of a dichotomy.