ConneXions 2017

ConneXions2017

This was my first time at ConneXions, and I had a blast! It was a great group of attendees, though light in attendance on Friday and Sunday. I felt extremely lucky to have such a great slash con so close to my home. Still, I got a hotel room so I didn’t have to worry about traveling to and from every day. I was especially glad for this when a panel I suggested and offered to mod was accepted.

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Raffle Baskets:
The con accepted donations of raffle baskets (and, in fact, made it into a contest where the best donated basket won a gift card). I ended up making three baskets: Tea & Reading, Supernatural, and Hamilton. I took advantage of Hot Topic hot cash and the exhibit hall at AwesomeCon as well as Etsy to buy a few things for the baskets. But mostly I just had a ton of fun making them (and my girls helped me pack them into a box to take to the con).

RaffleBaskets11

Friday, Day 1:
I left a little earlier than I probably needed to, wanting to give myself enough time to check one of my bags at the hotel desk and register before the panels started. I also offloaded the raffle baskets, not wanting them to get hurt in my hot car. Then I got my bearings. The rooms were labeled The Village, The Forest, and Grandmother’s House. There was also a Con Suite labeled The Castle. As a fan of fairy tales, I felt right at home already.

TheVillage TheForest GrandmothersHouse

YuriViewingAs I waited for the welcome ceremony to begin, I chatted with some of the attendees. I did my homework before arriving and watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Wonder Woman, and Yuri on Ice in the past 2 weeks. One of the attendees was a fellow Yuri on Ice fan and had all the dubs and subs on hand. We had just enough time to watch the first episode before the event started. So I got to see it in dub form for the first time. The voices took a little getting used to, but I quite liked the accents. It was fun watching with someone else and starting off the con squeeing over the adorableness of the characters. She also brought some buttons for fans to have and I picked out the Makkachin for myself.

Friday Panels:

  • 12:00PM–12:55PM: Guardians of the Galaxy: Any Hope for Polyamory?
    We began by listing characters and their pairings of various sorts (friendships, slashings, and frenemies). The well-prepared mods came with handouts listing characters with images that were a helpful reference. We shared a few good recs as we came upon various pairings. I discovered I definitely want to find some Kraglin/Star-Lord fics now. When we brought the Avengers in, idea of Tony/Rockey/Bruce science bro fics also appealed greatly, as did Rocket and Clint getting into facepalmy trouble together. We all also decided that Groot sex pollen stories were a thing we all needed in our lives (and were pleased to discover 11 on AO3 already).
  • 1:00PM–1:55PM: Sherlock
    My two favorite quotes were “Sometimes the people who start something are the worst people to continue it” and “Elementary is very much ‘On CBS.'” We covered a lot of ground, from what we thought of Series 4 to the availability of fix-it fics coming in waves to the idea of Sherlock being one of the first fandoms and fan movements. The idea of a crossover with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell seemed pretty appealing to me as well.
  • 2:00PM–2:55PM:
    I misread the schedule and ended up missing a great panel. Luckily, the notes were posted! I did get into some great conversations with fellow fans at Grandmother’s House
  • 3:00PM–3:55PM: Reviving Older Fandoms
    We started out by definging what “older fandoms” were (about 10 years before you were into fandom feels old to each of us) and some of the problems with reviving them (including accessibility, lost content, copyright issues especially with music, format, and quality). We also talked about whether reboots are useful for reviving original content (sometimes) or helpful in contributing to canon (not often). Additionally,
    we discussed fanwork accessibility and the ways beautiful creations have been lost to time. I found the topic of trying to get people interested in older fandoms especially interesting–it’s hard to get people interested when some early episodes are not as good and sometimes selecting episodes based on the viewer works,
    though other times it doesn’t.
  • 4:00PM–4:55PM: Grantchester: A cop and a priest walk into a pub…
    This is a new fandom for me, so I was glad to get a chance to discuss it with people. Unfortunately, only one other person in attendance had seen it, so it was less fangirling and more explaining how amazing it was to the people who hadn’t seen it. The panel was up against StuckySquee, so it wasn’t well attended, but I still had a great time talking about Geordie and his Sidney. “Let me set you up with a girlfriend and then go with you on the date!” I love those two. We discussed the various social issues covered in the show (which are many). I also realized I really, really want to read fics where Geordie and Sidney bring Leonard in to teach him a few things.
  • Grantchester
  • 5:00PM–5:55PM: Sex Vocabulary in Fanfiction
    Unfortunately, the mod didn’t quite understand the content of the panel. Instead of talking about sex vocabulary (which would have been useful to me) we just discussed various internet terms and acronyms.I did learn a couple new terms like SI, AH, UTC, Crosscast, and Fanpoodle. I was sad to hear that the terrible term “Taco Show” was started by Remus Lupin in a fanfic! Oh Remus! I also learned that Robin Williams was apparently into hentai. So even though I didn’t really learn anything that will help me write sex scenes, the hour wasn’t a complete loss.
FandomIndivisible

I joined a group for dinner. We ended up at beer place, but luckily there was something on the menu I could eat. We spent the dinner talking about fandoms. I got some good Discworld book recs. I also got treated to some amazing Yuri art including the recent rash of tentacle porn (based on canon when Yuri gets possessed by a local Squid Demon because he’s so full of anxiety, poor baby). It was the sort of dinner you can only have with fellow slashers, and thus it was fantastic for me.

Game Night:
MatchGameWe got back a little late, but because our group was so large, they waited to start group night for us! So sweet of the con organizers! Two teams of 4 (I wasn’t brave enough to volunteer for those) played a series of games inspired by Hollywood Game Night. I was glad to see none of them were the Popcorn Game. Some games were easier for the teams than other. The Memory/Concentration game took a LONG time and went kind of slow for us because neither team had a strategy, just choosing at random. But it WAS a really neat idea to be making slash matches. It was neat seeing a few of my favorite pairings represented! I think I might adapt a few of the games for upcoming Harry Potter Meetup Group events, so it was definitely useful to me as well as highly entertaining. C’mon people! It’s called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them!

Bedtime Stories:
Attendees took turns reading some sort fanfiction pieces. There was some humor, some heat, some sweetness, and some cats. This was a fun time, though next time I wish I’d had a blanket and PJs to snuggle up with.

RoomPartyRoom Party:
A few people were hosting a viewing party in one of the rooms that night. Chocolate Moose and I attended (I thought he would make a good companion to bring along considering Due South was on the viewing schedule)! We started off by watching the first four episodes of Yuri (which included two of my favorite moments, GUH!). It was neat watching more of the dubbed versions. It was also SO much fun to watch with people who had never seen any Yuri on Ice at all. I don’t think we were meant to spend so much time watching Yuri. It was past midnight by the time we switched to Due South. I was exhausted but managed to stay awake all right for the two-parter. I hadn’t seen any Due South since its original airing. It all came back to me pretty quickly though. We watched Mountie on the Bounty parts 1 and 2. There were so many great moments like Buddy Breathing. heehee I didn’t get back to my room until after 2AM. I showered and got into bed but was too hyped up to turn fangirlness off. I kept coming up with great fanfic ideas, so multiple times I got out of bed to go type them up before I forgot them.

Saturday, Day 2:
My alarm woke me up at 9:00AM, and I read some beautifully angsty Hornblower fanfic over breakfast. I headed down a little early and put some raffle tickets into boxes. Most of my tickets went toward the multifandom basket. Having brought 3 of the raffle baskets, it was nice to cut down on my options–I’m so bad at choosing. heehee! I also ordered lunch. The hotel was kind enough to bring over a menu from their restaurant that we could order from. They would deliver the meals at lunchtime so we could eat without missing a second of our panels. I’d brought plenty of protein bars and snacks, but this was such a convenient service and my nutrition levels during cons are usually so bad that I took advantage and placed an order just before the deadline.

Saturday Panels:

  • 10:00AM–10:55AM: Changing Terminology in Fandom
    We made a useful chart of old and new terms. Some concepts had equivalents, but others did not. For example, squick really needs to come back because Trigger isn’t at all the same thing. And the way we used to write pairings as name/name and now name smushes are more prevalent. One problem lately is that everyone mixes platforms now so it’s hard to establish a consistent vocabulary. One of the attendees FINALLY explained to me why people put their comments in tags on Tumblr, which I find almost impossible to find and read. I was thrilled to get an explanation that actually made sense; I still don’t like it. We diverged from the topic a few times, talking about the change lately in the way fanfic writing isn’t looked down on compared to professional writing as much as it used to be and how fan artists get paid but fanfic writers don’t.
  • 11:00AM–11:55AM: Stargate (SG)
    We started off with some Stargate: Universe hate (I was possibly the only one that didn’t hate it, though I definitely didn’t love it the way I did SG-1 or Atlantis or even the movie). We went around and shared how we got into the SG fandom first and I was THRILLED to get to rec Xanthe’s Stargate Atlantis BDSMverse stories to someone who hadn’t read them yet (having read them more than a half dozen times, I decided I had better actually watch Atlantis LOL). We shared some of our favorite recs, of course. But the mod (who was AMAZING) led us toward answering the question of what to do with SG now that there hasn’t been new canon for so long. The answers included encouraging good writers to write more, offer to beta for writers, post our own pieces we’ve been hesitant about to get more content out there (“If you post it, they will come” and “Every fandom has a resurgence”). Speaking of resurgence,
    we learned during the panel that there WILL be some new content soon! A prequel digital series is planned for the future, following the adventures of Catherine Langford. SQUEE! So we had to change the subtitle of the panel–new content is on the way! We also went around and said our favorite characters. At first, I thought it was a cruel and unfair question to ask, but then my mind went “Uh, Daniel obviously!
  • 12:00PM–12:55PM: What to Do With Wonder Woman
    I was a little bitter going into this because the description of the panel had spoiled the ending of the movie for me before I’d been able to watch it. *sigh* And then the mod started out making sure we’d all seen the movie. Too late! I was already spoiled! Oh well. But, of course, I’d seen the movie now. And someone said a friend on Twitter summarized it well:
    Everyone: Diana, no!
    Diana: Fuckin’ watch me!
    LOL We talked about everything from Diana’s costume (“Fuck this no pockets crap!”) to Steve (the embodiment of #NotAllMen) to the diversity of the cast (yes, people of other races DID exist then) to what we would like to see more of in a second movie (pretty much everything). And, of course, we shared recs. I also loved the observation one attendee made that by setting the movie during WWI, it puts the blame on humans alone for WWII.
  • 1:00PM–1:55PM: Recasting in Reboots
    No, it’s not as easy as just flipping pronouns! There are certain concepts and expectations of characters who are women or people of color, but it’s important the writers not fall back on stereotypes either. I liked the statement that gender and ethnicity should inform but not define a character. Some other thoughts included: what if Tony Stark had been born dirt poor, what if Harry were mixed race and child services had actually been called, the difference between doing it right and having token characters, to what extent are actors’ personal experiences relevant in their portrayals, and how there are lots of weird male characters but few likable weird female ones. Writers need to ask themselves: how would this character be different if they had been this way from the start?
  • 2:00PM–2:55PM: Sense8 DIY
    This is what I had really been looking forward to all day. Just a chance to talk about the show with others in the wake of its cancellation was SUCH a treat. Only one person in my life seems to really love the show, and he hasn’t seen season 2 yet. The discussion was everything I had hoped it would be. We talked about reasons why it was cancelled and how if its themes of queerness and created families didn’t appeal to you, you weren’t going to stick with it. We talked about the differences in subject matter between seasons 1 and 2 and how by the end they were frequently using all eight minds to think out their plans. I adored one attendee’s likening the way Sensates listen to each other is like seeing thoughts go by on a Twitter stream–you can just let them roll by or you can choose to click and react. We also talked about what we’d like to see in a final movie/episode.
  • 3:00PM–3:55PM: Steve Rogers the “Little Black Dress” of the Avengers?
    Having missed the Stucky panel yesterday, I made the tough decision to choose this over Star Wars. I had a great time at the panel. I even got to mention my favorite Steve pairing: Tony/Steve/Logan! We listed SO many favorite Steve pairings and decided Stark Spangled Banner was the best ship name of them all. There was a ton of fic reccing
  • 4:00PM–4:55PM: DCTV
    This was also a tough choice for me, as it was up against another great panel. But I’m glad I chose this. I haven’t talked about the DC shows with fellow fans since Shore Leave a few years ago, before I had properly watched Arrow or watched any Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, or the Flash. Apparently, I should be watching Preacher. Barry Season 1 was our favorite, because he was free to be slashed with anyone and his immature unrequited love was something he could have grown out of (also, Iris was a more complete person then). We talked about how good having Wentworth and Dominic together again was (YAY!). And we declared that Winn was the DCTV’s little black dress. Straight pairings are written so badly at times, it gives us even more reason to slash. And DC shows feel like a full ensemble show (despite their being named after a single superhero) because, in them, team is family. Once again, lots of recs!
  • 5:00PM–5:55PM: Do We Still Need Slash?
    Quick answer: a resounding YES! Just because there are gay characters doesn’t mean we agree with those pairings or don’t want to see more. We started out by listing shows with canon gay pairings, though many of them involved side characters. And we talked about the sorts of fics we still like to write: backstory, futurefic, AUs, fill in the gaps, etc. Slash explores where we as writers were culturally (in the ’70s, we wanted to see people as equals, for example). After a discussion of how Don’t Ask Don’t Tell affected many of our fandom writings, I got a good Starsky and Hutch rec I can’t wait to read.

PorkCutletBowlFor dinner, five of us headed to a sushi restaurant. It was filled with a lot of good and bad. Again, the company of fans made discussions lovely. And I got to see Katsudon, a pork cutlet bowl (like they eat in Yuri on Ice). And even though they were out of one of the things I wanted, they did have multiple vegetarian options which tasted yummy. However, the parking garage was especially hideous (the worst I’ve ever seen) and the waitress/cook got the order of one of our attendees (the driver) so incredibly wrong TWICE. Then we couldn’t get out of the parking garage (it wouldn’t take the ticket). It was a nightmare.

RaffleBaskets1

Raffle Drawing:
I was really excited for the raffle drawing. I ended up winning the multi-fandom basket that I wanted so much (YAY!!!), and I got to see the winners of the three baskets I donated (I even got to pull the name of one winner out of the box). AaronBurrSir won my Hamilton basket, and I was thrilled to see such excited (I love that people other than me fangirl the Federalist Papers now. LOL!). Among my winnings were magnets of some of my favorite characters and pairings (Jack and Ianto kissing, Wentworth Miller, and more), Grimm playing cards, and two journals–one Yuri on Ice and the other multifandom slashiness. I plan to use the latter as my con journal for next year.

MyRaffleWinnings

Vid Show:
There were a few technical difficulties, but no one really minded at all. Some of the fanvids were good and others were amazing. My favorite was probably the Sherlock vid set to Ed Sheeran’s “Gallway Girl” because I adore that song. There was a Malec video with some pacing that didn’t speak to me, but the vid was done beautifully and the imagery was to die for. It was a good variety of fandoms, pairings, upbeat vids, and slower ones. Highly enjoyable. I even spotted a Peter Wingfield in one of the multi-fandom vids. Squee!

Bedtime Stories:
We were running late, so we headed up to the con suite for bedtime stories. After a racy and utterly hilarious Twin Peaks story and part 1 of a delicious Garak/Bashir story, we devolved into conversations that ended up with us watching Samuel L. Jackson’s last scene in Deep Blue Sea. It was a very strange night. Oh! And the con organizer counted the votes and I won best donated basket for my Tea & Reading basket! It was a great honor.

RaffleWin2

I headed back to my room to pack up (I barely ever get unpacked in hotels, so that didn’t take long, really). I went to bed after midnight, wanting to get a somewhat decent rest because the panel I was modding was the next morning!

Sunday, Day 3:

I woke up a hundred times during the night, worried I’d miss my alarm. I ended up getting up a few minutes before it went off at 8:30AM. I read one of my favorite fanfic writer’s Yuri fic during breakfast. Then I took a load of luggage to my car and ran into the winner of my Tea & Raffle basket. I hope that she enjoys it! She was especially happy to get a copy of American Gods which was a last minute addition of mine (along with a copy of Outlander) because she was reading the book but her copy was a signed one and reading it made her nervous. So now she has a copy she can read and relax around. I also managed to lock myself out of my hotel room, so I had to get a new key and get a parking pass from the office. Then I got the rest of my things and checked out. The con let us store luggage at Grandmother’s House, which was SO wonderful. So I could put my suitcase there instead of drag it around morning panels (I didn’t want to store things like my computer or medicine in my hot car). I was wearing my MacLeod Antiques t-shirt and ran into a fan wearing a dramatic!Methos shirt, so we were able to team up briefly to slash our shirts into a pairing. LOL!

Sunday Panels:

  • 10:00AM–10:55AM:Yuri—We Call Everything On the Ice Love
    I was already a little overloaded on Yuri this weekend… but it’s kind of impossible to have too much of it. We started the panel by watching the Japanese figure skating pair who are using Yuri’s long program as their short program; it was amazing watching their interpretation of the song (they also train in Detroit, so that’s extra neat). Despite talking about YOI all weekend, I still learned a lot, including some good places to find merch and doujins (take my money!). We talked about how amazing it is to have this set in an AU world with no homophobia. It’s a show that decimates a ton of tropes, shows a healthy romantic love, and doesn’t make it into a fetish object the way lots of yaoi does. We talked about what skaters inspired the main characters and how the show is in turn inspiring real skaters and fans of ice skating. And, of course, we mentioned some fics. I have a burning desire to write some Strip Rock-Paper-Scissors aftermath fic.
  • 11:00AM–11:55AM: Too Soon!
    This was my panel, and I forgot to take a photo of the notes—stupid me! I did bring some fannish tissues, though, because watching our shows go can be a sad experience (and fannish tissue boxes is always something I have on hand anyway LOL). I started us out by listing the shows we felt were cancelled too soon. It filled up a whole piece of paper. There was everything from The Get Down to Kindred: the Embraced. I got to talk about Forever Knight for a minute or two. And there was even a fellow John Doe fan in attendance–squeeeee! We talked about things like badly done recent adaptations (Gilmore Girls, X-Files… “Dead things should stay dead!”) and even how good ones don’t always feel the same (Twin Peaks). We talked a little about what we think of expanded canon (a mix of both good and bad) and of course how we cope with cancellation (FIC! Vids!). I proposed this panel because I was having a LOT of feels over the cancellation of Sense8, but it felt good being in a room of fans who GET what it’s like to give your heart to a show and then have it end. Extremely cathartic and also just plain fun to revisit some of these shows we all loved and missed.

    TooSoon
  • 12:00PM–12:55PM: Stony in a Stucky World
    Due to sudden illness, our wonderful mod had to leave unedpectedly the night before. So we had to self-mod. Most of us had just moved from my panel to this one LOL so someone said I should mod because I’d done a good job at the last one. Awwwwwwwww! *blush* I didn’t take up the lead, but I think we all teamed up just fine without a leader. We shared a ton of recs and discussed a little about what we thought was so special about Stony. For many of us, we came to Stony long before Stucky, which was an interesting difference. Of course we discussed the tension of Civil War and what we thought might happen in Infinity War to our pairing. My favorite moment was when someone asked something like “when do we get the time of the sidekicks?” I would love to see sidekick movies.
  • 1:00PM–1:55PM: Where Do You Fan?
    I went to a panel like this on the last day of CONfabulation as well, I seem to recall. But this one was equally as good. We talked about not just what platforms we used but HOW we used them. Like using Dreamwidth for organizing challenges/fests/exchanges but AO3 for posting the content of those. I’m not sure I’ve been convinced to use Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram as primary fannish accounts yet.
    But the fact that Bear from Person of Interest had an Instagram account makes me super happy to hear!
  • 2:00PM–3:00PM: Dead Dog
    It was nice that I’m local so I was able to stay to the very end. I had such a good time, and it was amazing that the whole ConCom was only two people! They did an excellent job,
    and there was hardly anything to complain about. We mostly discussed different things that went well that we’d like to see again and why we didn’t do certain things this year that happened in the past.

After this, the few of us who remained began to say our goodbyes. And I suddenly found myself in a conversation with one attendee (who helped start the con many years ago) who had been on the HWW Paris trip with Peter Wingfield. She told me stories and, GAH, I am so jealous! So wonderful to hear how great a person he was with his fans in even more detail. What a great experience that must have been. And ending the con experience getting to talk with someone about my FAVORITE fandom of all time was just icing on the cake. Truly magical.

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