Friday, June 01, 2012

Dragon*Con & Worldcon 2012

A while back, I was invited to contribute a perspective on "Gender Parity on SF/F Convention Panels" for the forthcoming issue of JOURNEY PLANET. It's caused me to consider my own role as a panel participant at conventions, and as an artist at convention art shows.

I've written my essay on the subject, and I'm proofing it right now. Will submit it to JOURNEY PLANET very soon here. More on that in a minute.

In the meantime, I've got some good news.

Many of you already know that this year's Dragon*Con and Worldcon both happen on Labor Day weekend. So theoretically, pros and fans have to choose one or the other to attend, right?

Well, as it turns out, I've chosen both. I'll be attending Atlanta's Dragon*Con all day/night Friday, August 31, and the initial part of Saturday morning, and then I'll jump on a plane, gain one hour in the process, and attend Chicago's Worldcon for the last half of its run, until it closes.

Hellacious? Yes. Suicidal? Let's hope not.

Anyway -- that's the plan. Two major cons in one weekend. Why? A lot of reasons, both professionally and personally. I've regularly attended Worldcon around the world for many years now. I have many, many friends there and love seeing them. Meanwhile, Dragon*Con is a much larger event, and I wish to continue building a professional presence there.

It's unfortunate that both events occur on the same weekend, but I've decided it's best to try to attend both this year.

In my essay that will soon be published by JOURNEY PLANET, I've announced that I'm foregoing all programming participation and art show presence at this year's Worldcon. By doing so, I hope it opens up my chair, and my art show space, to new female artists who will hopefully present new viewpoints and perspectives. The call for "Gender Parity" has been a controversial one as seen here and here. Admittedly, I'm still unsure to what degree my gender and participation on sf/f panels and art shows has prevented females from participating in the same. Did I have opportunity that they did not because I'm male? Did my gender, and not my fifteen years of hard work, make the programming directors and the art show directors select me over an equally-deserving female? It seems more than a bit far-fetched, to be honest. But that being said, I've heard the discussion, and I'm willing to think beyond myself, and offer a self-imposed experiment. Let's trust the process and see what happens.

In the spirit of big-picture thinking, I'll offer my chair for one year at Worldcon during Saturday and Sunday's prime programming real estate, and see if this outcry for new female voices produces new blood, and if/when it does, I think we all win from that. And that goes for the art show too. Hopefully this will be a proactive and positive step toward allowing more female artists into Worldcon discussion panels and into its art show. I'm confident that the powers-that-be of Chicago's Worldcon, and the advocates of this process, will capitalize on this opportunity.

Do I think all pros should follow suit and do the same? I wouldn't say that. I think what I'm doing is a gesture and an experiment. I want to see what happens. I'm curious. It's my choice -- not a mandate imposed upon me, or a choice that I expect anyone else to follow.

So there you have it -- good news all around. And definitely some frequent flyer miles that weekend. :)


Blogger Adrian Johnson said...

I was going to do only one day at Dragon*Con this year. I guess I know which day I'm going now.

See you there, John!


9:28 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

See you there, man. As the date approaches, let's holler so we get some hang time.

3:46 PM  

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