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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
StrowlerCon, post the first. 
16th-Oct-2010 11:24 am
Hearth
(Stayed home from Rhinebeck, much as I wanted to go, because I wasn't physically up to it and I hadn't had time to do so many of the things I've been needing and wanting to do here at home, and that was stressing me out. So. While the family is off in town and I have the internets (please wireless router arrive soon!), I begin StrowlerCon postings.)

sindrian said at some point, "This con is like a swan - beautiful and graceful, but beneath the water, kicking madly." (I paraphrase.) It is true. This con happened in spite of so much, y'all. Too short a time to get things done adequately, hotel issues, performer dropouts, being scheduled against seven other major events (at last count), et cetera - but we improvised madly, as befits strowlers, and we pulled it all off magnificently.

Magnificently.

(I thank my lucky stars for cluegirl and aquila_dominus, for aelscha and the tech crew, for everyone who was rapid-fire competent and excellent.)

As slipjig said, this con pulled off something amazing: it created a community. Everywhere I turned, we were becoming strowler family and fast friends. I've never seen that happen at a con. The size had something to do with it, but a lot of it was the people - we had such a fantastic bunch of attendees.

When you run a first-year con, you find out what kind of con it is; no amount of prep can tell you what that con will become once it actually starts happening. Some things we now know about StrowlerCon:

* There's really no barrier between performers and attendees. This was the con where the bellydancers and fiddlers in the hallway were better than the onstage performers at other festivals! And this was the con where the pros maintained no artificial barrier. It was a con of equals, and of immensely talented people in general.

* StrowlerCon is active! Next year, more workshops, fewer panels; the panels we had were fine, but strowlers want to do, not listen. This goes back to equal footing. Numerous times I saw workshop leaders taking part in other people's workshops, just because cool, new thing!

* StrowlerCon is safe space for everyone. As you know Bob, part of what I do is talk about sexual harassment et cetera at cons. There was none of that. (From our attendees, at least. Ask me about the drunk guys from the sports bar sometime.) And no one grabbed pregnant kythryne's exposed belly. And it was a safe space for all manner of gender-variant folks. LOVE it. Such a good space!

* Strowlers are excited! All the time! The con energy was fantastic. <3 And flirtiest con ever, my goodness!

It was completely amazing, especially knowing how nail-bitey we'd been behind the scenes, to see everyone having the time of their lives. I heard "Best con ever!" a lot. The guy who did the contact juggling wants to fly me out to Dallas and put me up so I can run a StrowlerCon there.

Me: "You should talk to K; he can give you everything you need to start a strowler event there -"
Him: "No, I want you!"

I will take that as a sign that I did a good job. :)

This was a con of amazed glee. Honestly, I can't sum it up for you. It was magic in the happening. Completely remarkable and unprecedented. And I *know* that everyone there will be coming back next year. And that they'll tell their friends. O my darlings, this is but the beginning of something great.
Comments 
16th-Oct-2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
I think it went splendidly as a first convention, and I hope to see more like it.
16th-Oct-2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
You will. :)
16th-Oct-2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
From what you and everyone else have said, I think I will put the next StrowlerCon high on my list to attend if I can. I get overwhelmed/overstimulated at most cons, but this sounds like one I would really enjoy.
16th-Oct-2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
Yay! And yes, its size really worked in its favor; no one was overwhelmed that I knew of.
18th-Oct-2010 01:30 am (UTC)
Well, *I* was frequently overwhelemd. ;) But that should not be taken as a representative experience.

Also, 'song, I just read all your posts, and just wanted to mention that you are fantastic and I am all full of the warm and fuzzy again.
18th-Oct-2010 01:31 am (UTC)
! :)

So are you!
16th-Oct-2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
As someone who doesn't go to cons much, and who is notoriously bad at community, even *I* could see how well things were going even as it was being wildly spun out of straw by the Spindle of Necessity.

(I mean, dear lord, I can't even watch myself on the live feeds because it is so clear how unprepared I am and just wildly making up stories as I go.)

As far as "Strowlers Do", I think the Origami Incident pretty much sums that up. (Don't get rid of all the panels, though.)

I'll trust you on the community thing, I didn't see it, but then I'm bad at community.

And flirtiest? Other than bombardment with Lee flirting, I can't say I saw much of that, which makes me sad. (I'm glad you got your flirt on, though. ^_^)
16th-Oct-2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
You handled yourself well, while there was some moments (and only moments) where you seemed "not prepared", they came off like you were doing quick processing of "OK, I need to stall for 2 more minutes than we'd planned on, what haven't I used yet?" instead of "Oh god, what do I say now?!".

Overall, I was impressed. You really seemed like you'd been doing this forever.
16th-Oct-2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
I believe I told you this already, but allow me to repeat: When I heard you'd been brought in as emcee (I forget if it was 'Song or Catt who told me), my immediate reaction was, "Oh, that's perfect." And you did not disappoint in the slightest. Thank you for taking it on, good sir.
16th-Oct-2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
wildly spun out of straw by the Spindle of Necessity.

Ha! Well-said. :)

You did a fantastic job! And no, we're not getting rid of panels, but we'll see about them being more participatory.

Re: flirtiness:
* I still find it hilarious how people go about figuring out if I'm poly and if therefore I would be Open to Attentions. It can be such an intricate dance.

* Dude, a long-haired German rock god in leather pants and a frock coat waltzed me down the hall and kissed me. 14-year-old metalhead 'song is still squeeing in the back of my head.
16th-Oct-2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
I thought you did great! :) Both funny and poised.
16th-Oct-2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
I am usually PAINFULLY con shy, and here I felt so swept up in all the wonder and awesome and this... exquisite mutual admiration. Yes, that's what I will call it. It was a con where creativity oozed out its pores.
16th-Oct-2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
Yes!
16th-Oct-2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
I /so/ hope Strowler Nights comes together as well over here. *crosses fingers*
16th-Oct-2010 07:57 pm (UTC)
Want to go. So. Bad.
16th-Oct-2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
* There's really no barrier between performers and attendees. This was the con where the bellydancers and fiddlers in the hallway were better than the onstage performers at other festivals! And this was the con where the pros maintained no artificial barrier. It was a con of equals, and of immensely talented people in general.

Sounds like one of the better UK filkcons. =;o>
16th-Oct-2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
Lordy if there were to be a Strowlercon in Dallas I'd be totally verklempt and would have to figure out how to go. If there were to be a Strowlercon in AUSTIN ... I'd have to figure out how to participate. *wink*
16th-Oct-2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
Yaaagh! You already have me swayed to Wiscon in May. This sounds just as awesome, if not more, but in different ways. T_T
18th-Oct-2010 04:16 am (UTC)
If you have a StrowlerCon in Dallas, I will do my DAMNEDEST to attend.
18th-Oct-2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
Right on. I am back with bells on for next year.
20th-Oct-2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
I hope to make it out there for StrowlerCon at some point! (I'm really looking forward to Strowler Nights at the moment.)
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