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Lady Pennywhistle - Back with a vengeance! [for a certain, limited value of Vengeance; actual amounts of Vengeance may vary] Started conversation May 3, 2014
Just some thoughts that I thought of writing down back around Passover, and only got around to doing so now:
First, a bit of an introduction:
Israel has a smallish but fairly active geek community, and so we get a number of geek-cons each year. The biggest one is I-Con, a 3-day event in Sukkot (around September/October), followed by the 2-day Olamot in Passover (around April); both are in Tel Aviv, and are more 'general issue' cons, covering many sub-geekdoms. Then you have a few smaller, single-day ones, like Meorot in Hannukah (Around November-December) in Jerusalem, which is more strictly science and sci-fi, Mythopia in the summer which is more fantasy-oriented (organised by the Tolkienians and Potterists), and the more geekdom-specific cons like Giborim (roleplay gamers), Harukon (Anime/Manga), StarCon (Star Trek), Buffyfest (Whedonists, obviously), and probably some others I can't remember offhand.
It's really quite impressive, for how small we are!
(There are also some internal politics between and within the different organisations, about cons - some of which even got to litigation at some point - but I am NOT gonna go into that stuff, because it just gets me , seriously.)
Over the last few years, I've become a bit more immersed in the Israeli geek community, and the local geek-cons. I've sorta been, before: back in 2006 Neil Gaiman was a guest at I-Con, and I went to hear him speak and get a copy of Good Omens signed, but wasn't really interested in anything around that; then a few years back my brother broke his leg and needed someone to drive him to Olamot, and being the most geek-inclined member of the family I was the one to do so, and happily spent some time there, but afterwards didn't really consider going back. Then, maybe... three years ago? Four? I'm not really sure - anyway, I stopped by Meorot, because it sounded interesting (there was a HHGTTG talk, I remember, about the significance of 42!), and was right here in Jerusalem, so hey, why not.
And that, my friends, was my gateway-con.
Because I met people there, see. I made friends. And then, come Passover, I suddenly found out that some of my new friends will be giving talks at Olamot, and figured that hey, I should go see them.
And then I made _new_ friends, and it just snowballed from there...
It's fun. It is _so much_ fun.
(I don't go to all of the cons, of course; just Meorot, Olamot and I-Con, and that's plenty enough.)
And one of the things I like about it is that, unlike what I know of some of the cons abroad (from the one I visited in London, and from what I've seen about the big US ones like SDCC or NYCC or whatnot), the Israeli cons are very content-oriented. Sure, you have some merch stalls, and you can see some neat cosplayers (more and more every year, and some of the costumes are very impressive), and you can just walk around and hang out with your friends; now and again a con will even have some big-name special guest, and you'll get the standard Q&As and signings and so on.
But what it is all built about is the talks and panels. It could be anything from a discussion of gender in scifi, to an analysis of different military models in Lord of the Rings, to halakhic problems for Jewish space-travellers, to a bunch of science/engineering people nitpicking bad science in movies (all events that I have been to and enjoyed). And almost always, the people speaking will be _from_ the Geek Community. People who simply find a subject they care about, and decide to give a lecture about it.
So the main feeling - and the thing that I absolutely love about these things - is that it is all 'For the fans, by the fans'. It's people you know, doing things they enjoy because they enjoy them, not out of any commercial interest (although at this point things veer dangerously close to the internal-politics issues I mentioned above, so let's stop here).
And... that's it, really. I don't think this journal has much of a point, other than just sharing my thoughts on this stuff (hopefully it wasn't too boring a read ). Have any of you been to geek-cons where you live? I'd love to hear about different experiences from different events/communities.
Oh, and another thing that occurred to me:
There are, as I mentioned, many various sub-geekdoms; and while I've never felt excluded, in any of the cons, I sometimes find it kinda odd that I don't really belong in any of them.
I've read some scifi (and, mostly thanks to Dan, most of the scifi I read was just the good stuff), but hardly enough to ever consider myself one of the scifi-ists - I just don't know enough.
I read a nice chunk of Tolkien (Hobbit, LotR, Silmarillion, even some of Tree and Leaf), and since my brother is a big-time Tolkienian I have some connection to that community, but I'm definitely not a part of it. Nor am I a Potterist, although I read and enjoyed the books.
I'm sorta generally interested in comics, but only in a vague way (reading about things on Wikipedia or TV Tropes), and other than the few webcomics I follow I've never really been 'into' it very much.
I played a bit of AD&D back when I was young (when my brother DMed games for me and my sister and some neighbour kids), but I'm definitely not a gamer of any sort - roleplay, tabletop, videogames, those worlds are quite far from me.
And I'm definitely not a Whedonist (yeah, I saw some of his works, here and there, but that's kind of an intimidatingly _intensive_ fandom), or a Trekkie, or an anime kid (again, saw a few Miyazaki films and so on, but that's all, and in general it's just not my scene; also, another intense sort of fandom). Or... what else is there that I'm forgetting? Whatever it is, I'm not actually a part of it.
I'm just... there.
It's a lot of fun, like I said. You don't need to be into any specific thing to enjoy the talks or the people or the general atmosphere.
It's just a bit odd how, the more I find out about all those different communities, the more I realise I'm not actually inside any of them, just hovering around the edges.
Milla, h2g2 Operations Posted May 3, 2014
Wow! I've never been keen on going to any con's but you have me almost wanting!
And also, I think there's an entry to be written here! it seems you have all the basics already, just polish it up and submit it!
Hmm, that's an idea... althuogh I'll probably feel like I'm missing things - there's quite a bit of history for these, by now, and I know very little of it.
Still, maybe that could be a good idea, sometime.
Gingersnapper+Keeper of the Cookie Jar and Stuff and Nonsense Posted May 4, 2014
Gingersnapper+Keeper of the Cookie Jar and Stuff and Nonsense Posted May 4, 2014
Malabarista - now with added pony Posted May 5, 2014
We have Q-Con in Belfast every year. Mostly gaming, although the Anime is taking over more and more, but if you avoid the cosplay kiddies, it's good fun.
I remember last year sitting at a table in a room full of tabletop gamers, when I looked up and thought "wow, there must be 200 people in this room and I bet there's not a single one that wasn't bullied in school!"
Interesting to hear how your cons have local colour with topical issues being debated. I find these gatherings to be refreshingly inclusive - gender, age, disability, etc - but the Belfasters do poke fun at themselves. There was a game being run last year about a zombie uprising in Belfast that turned out to be less of a problem than people thought, because the Catholic zombies fought the Protestant zombies...
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- 1: Lady Pennywhistle - Back with a vengeance! [for a certain, limited value of Vengeance; actual amounts of Vengeance may vary] (May 3, 2014)
- 2: Lady Pennywhistle - Back with a vengeance! [for a certain, limited value of Vengeance; actual amounts of Vengeance may vary] (May 3, 2014)
- 3: Milla, h2g2 Operations (May 3, 2014)
- 4: Lady Pennywhistle - Back with a vengeance! [for a certain, limited value of Vengeance; actual amounts of Vengeance may vary] (May 4, 2014)
- 5: Gingersnapper+Keeper of the Cookie Jar and Stuff and Nonsense (May 4, 2014)
- 6: Gingersnapper+Keeper of the Cookie Jar and Stuff and Nonsense (May 4, 2014)
- 7: Malabarista - now with added pony (May 5, 2014)
- 8: Elektragheorgheni -Please read 'The Post' (May 6, 2014)