I had a good time at DemiCon 29 this year. It’s an intimate convention, about 500 or so attendees, and as with all science fiction convention experiences, each person’s reaction may differ. The things I look for in an sf con tend to be networking opportunities, a good Art Show, and interesting panels (to be on, and to attend).
|The Iowa Writers’ Panel featured readings by (L-R) Rachel Aukes, Lettie Prell, Adam Whitlatch, and Shannon Ryan.|
Since it was a smaller convention, there weren’t as many attending writers and artists as one tends to see at larger cons. This can be both good and bad. It’s a chance to get to know a few of one’s fellow “pros” better because of frequent interaction–but you make a limited number of contacts. Since I get along well with most people, I generally find at least a few people with whom to have a good conversation.
Smaller conventions also are great if you like more interaction with fans. The panel discussions tend to be more interactive, which offers an opportunity for delving deeper into ideas and information a given audience wants to explore. You never know who you may meet, or what areas of unexplored expertise or new ideas they may have.
|Christine Mitzuk, the Artist Guest of Honor at DemiCon 29, gave a painting demonstration, and talked about her career.|
Smaller conventions often have smaller art shows, but DemiCon had a pretty good representation of “the usual mail-in suspects,” including Sarah Clemens, Theresa Mather, and David Lee Pancake, as well as attending artists. Smaller conventions are places where local artists and talented beginners can gain a better showcase. The Artist Guest of Honor was Christine Mitzuk. I enjoyed interacting with her at programming events, and having a chance to see her beautiful work.
|Sunday’s Creative Process panel at DemiCon 29 featured (L-R) Christina Henry, Author Guest of Honor; Jan S. Gephardt; Christine Mitzuk, Artist Guest of Honor; cartoonist and writer Daniel Mohr; and writer/historian Rob Howell. (Photo by Tyrell Gephardt)|
I would have liked a somewhat wider range of panels, but as I gathered (after the fact), to get a panel scheduled, one of the would-be panelists had to suggest it beforehand. If I’d figured that out sooner, I’d have suggested several more ideas, myself! I’m used to a different system–but never mind. I enjoyed the panels in which I did participate.
I especially enjoyed the readings, though I unfortunately had to miss the readings by Lettie Prell. I did get a chance to hear Adam Whitlatch, Rachel Aukes, and Shannon Ryan. I also had a chance to do a reading–but unfortunately, they scheduled mine opposite the Masquerade (DemiCon is WAY into costumes and cosplay). I had a small but enthusiastic audience of one (and he wasn’t even related to me! My son Ty was scheduled for something else opposite my reading).
One highlight was the chance to work on several panels with Rob Howell. I’d met him earlier, and I’ve been on panels with him before. He brings a sense of humor and a rich depth of knowledge to every discussion.
|The Trans-Iowa Canal Company takes a curtain call at the end of their humorous DemiCon 29 Opening Ceremonies performance.|
DemiCon offered a range of other activities besides panels, readings, and the art show. As noted above, there was a Masquerade, there were room parties every night, and Opening Ceremonies, as usual offered a new performance by the Trans-Iowa Canal Company, or TICC, a group of comedic actors who present skits with an sf or fantasy bent.
|Assorted visions from DemiCon 29: (L-R) Susan Leabhart, Fan Guest of Honor, with friend; the laser-light show at the Karaoke party Friday night; Something you just don’t see every day, a giant pink inflatable flamingo in the hotel lobby.|
IMAGES: All photos except the one with Jan in it (which is by Tyrell Gephardt) are by Jan S. Gephardt, taken with permission where applicable. If you wish to re-post them, please don’t alter them, but do please give an attribution, and embed a link back to this post. Thanks!