M was totally my backup on all of this, which was a good call especially in the beginning when a lot of my fannish social circle wasn't around first thing Friday morning and I didn't really know anyone except maybe vaguely knowing the names. It's really hard especially when everyone seems to know each other and you don't know any of them and you're maybe a little intimidated because you've seen their names around and maybe you liked that one fic you liked but you've barely interacted at all. I'm also still not used to saying "thedeadparrot" out loud, btw. It just sounds super weird. Annnnnnd super creepy.
The ice-breaker was fun, except I wasn't sure what to say or how to deal with people or anything at that point, and the all the other talking in the room was so loud conversation became really difficult. I met various people who I didn't share any fandoms with and didn't really interact with again during the con. Which I do regret! They were cool! It was just the way the sorting of social circles worked out. In the future, it would probably be worth it to go to room parties in order to have more unstructured socializing, but nothing particularly grabbed me this year, and I didn't get a hotel room since it was so easy for me to get to and from the hotel on public transportation. Next time this con rolls around, I will totally do that, though.
A lot of time, social interaction with strangers or acquaintances feels like work to me, but I discovered that talking with fannish people is super easy because you don't need to struggle as hard to find common ground.
The panels were a lot of fun, too. It would have been really wearying if this was a monofandom con, but as a general, more meta con, it was nice to look at overall trends and to bring in experiences from various different parts of fandom. I did take some notes on a couple of these panels, but they kind of suck, and I eventually stopped bothering.
Leverage - very chill and fun, lots of discussion of what we love about the show and which characters we love and why. Lots of Hardison love, which is always key for a Leverage panel. There was a minor digression on how the show gets Boston really wrong sometimes, which was pretty funny while the Boston natives were trying to explain to the out-of-towners just how small Boston is, and especially how small the downtown/cultural centers are.
Fandom off LJ - We went over the history of fannish interaction from zines to mailing lists to archives to journaling to various new types of fannish platforms like twitter and tumblr and the AO3. There was a discussion about how the social aspects are getting split from the fic itself again, and how twitter/tumblr content is very ephemeral. Also, the AO3 is awesome and it now has subscriptions. Whee.
Crime Dramas - I was somewhat worried that this would be a panel that would zoom in too closely on some crime drama fandoms that I don't know about or don't care about, but it turned into a cool examination of crime dramas as a whole, which types of crime dramas are out there, why we watch crime dramas, and how certain crime dramas frustrate us. Everyone wants more undercover-at-a-gay-bar, btw. Rizzoli and Isles has apparently done this, though.
How Others See Us - Fairly interesting, though it didn't cover much new ground for me. Lots of discussion of particular types of media coverage of fandom, but it turned into a conversation about how fans interact with showrunners and how fandom can appear to showrunners. (Hint: Leverage does it a lot better than SPN.)
Sexuality in fandom - A lot of discussion about the appeal of m/m slash to people who don't identify as straight. There was a lot of talk of bodies and how alien female bodies can seem when written, how male bodies can be seen as metaphors rather than literal things, how much m/m slash disconnects us from our bodies. There was also a lot of talk about gender/sexuality dynamics and how when people were discovering slash, a lot of the het tended to use romance novel tropes and how it was nice that the characters were free of gender expectations. A lot of people talked about how the sexual identity crises they read matched their own. There was definitely that hoary old chestnut of whether or not slash should be considered feminist. A lot of people had lots of different ideas.
The vid show was awesome. I saw a bunch of them before, but a few of them made me tear up. YES, THE HARRY POTTER ONE ESPECIALLY. The concomm has helpfully put up a list with links. Brb, watching some of my favorites.
Community - This was also a fairly chill panel with some interesting tangents on Pierce's characterization, on where this show is set, on what sort of genres we'd like to see them take on next. (I am so very down for the soap opera one. I think it's the kind of thing they'd nail very easily.) Also, we all have a crush on Abed. Seriously. Maybe I'm just projecting on that one. We also discussed how the show is portraying Shirley's pregnancy, how Chang is not being utilized well, and how Abed and Troy are being set up as the moral center of the show (not sure I agree with this, but I can't quite articulate this well). There was also some fun Troy/Abed squee where we talked about how Abed totally knows he's weird and is okay with that, and how Troy totally doesn't get that Abed's weird at all and that half the time he's not in on the joke, but that's okay.
My fandom done me wrong - I like to think of this as the 'one hour hate,' but man, I so loved it. Basically, it was a long discussion about what makes you fall out of love with a canon, with a fandom, and the reasons why you might hang on despite deep resentments. I mentioned House, personally, but there was also discussion of super hatey RPF shippers, the Chris Carter effect, and how some showrunners need to get the fuck over themselves. I don't remember much of the other specifics, but man, the hate was so good.
Crossovers - This panel started up awesomely, with the room split up into six groups and each group had to take two different fandoms out of a hat and then come up with a crossover for it. Our group got Doctor Who/Torchwood and Inception, so clearly we all went with Jack Harkness and Eames have lesbian sex in a dream. Also, I desperately want that Community/Leverage crossover, so someone should write it. We then had a long discussion about the different types of crossovers (universe crossovers, fusions, etc). There was also talk about what things we like and dislike in certain tropes in crossovers or how much we will read any crossover because it exists. One thing that came up was trying to find an audience for crossovers, but I think that it's not really an issue? I don't know. You just have to trust that people will find it if you make it available (like on the AO3!)
Narrative kinks - About 90% of this panel was just a humongous listing of all the narrative kinks we like and some of what we like about them plus some recs. The id in the room was strong and all on display, which was pretty amazing to see. I'm used to id being displayed all over the internet, but seeing it in person was great and very liberating. We like making white dudes have feeeeeeeelings is all I'm saying. One of the greatest moments for me was when someone was trying to articulate why she liked some sex pollen stories and why she didn't like others. Someone else yelled out that there wasn't the proper amount of shame involved and the collective room went "yes, that's exactly it!" We also did get into what sort of categories and types of tropes we enjoy, and also how to handle/discuss/explore tropes we know are deeply problematic but still push our id buttons anyway.
Playing with gender in fannish tropes - This one was handled very well, I thought. It's a tough topic, especially when the majority of the room seemed to identify as cisgendered female. We covered a lot of stuff that made us uncomfortable in things like genderswap and sexswap and we also covered what people find appealing about it and what sort of issues we can explore in these environments. Best moment was when we were talking about a particular sex swap fic in Social Network fandom and the most ridiculous thing about Eduardo getting female body parts and trying to deal with the dissociation he felt was that Mark was supporting and sensitive about it. AHAHAHAHA. Yes. We didn't talk about transfic as much as I would have liked, because I feel like transfic is a reaction to the sort of 'traditional' genderfuck fic and trying to tear open that sort of binary that 'traditional' genderfuck assumes.
Threesomes and Moresomes - This also started out as a giant, giant list of fandoms that have obvious threesomes, and then mostly turned into a White Collar pimping panel, which very much amused me. We didn't get as in depth into various topics as I would have liked, but we did brush on (a) various types of poly relationships, (b) what we like about these particular poly relationships, and (c) what sort of historical barriers there were to writing poly fic in the days of yore, when you could be shunned by both the het shippers and the slash shippers simultaneously.
After that, M and I mostly chilled in merisunshine36 and amazonziti's room along with ninhursag and just squeed, bitched, and rambled about fandom for a bazillion years.
Overall, it was a lot of fun, and it was a great way for me to replenish fannish energy. I've been feeling disconnected from it lately since work has been very cyclically grueling and I'm not feeling like I belong to any particular fandom lately. Hopefully writing stuff for people as part of help_japan will also help get back into the fannish swing of things. I do love fandom, you guys, and this weekend really showed me how much I do.
Also, Boston fangirls: we definitely want to do an outing to the Taza Chocolate Factory, y/y? (Even if you weren't at MJ and want to go!) It's not very easily reachable by T, but it is very reachable by buses from Davis, Porter and Central square and there is limited parking nearby. Let me know and I can start up an epic e-mail thread about when people can/want to go. There is a factory tour! And free samples! And the chocolate is super delicious. Seriously.
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