AER: Space City ComiCon, 2016
Squeeze and I once again drove to Houston to share time with friends, fans, and the IKV Logh Veng. This time, however, the weather caused a 4 hour trip to turn into a 7.5 hour trip. Many roads were impassable to most vehicles. My Karmann had a couple of unnecessarily exciting events getting to the hotel. We made it intact. We did not make it safely as it was just scary as Grethor. We shall claim only that we made it intact in spite of the dangers.
I was there before there was a Space City Con. I got a phone call asking if I could put klingons at a new convention. This would be Space City Con Number One. I was there at the last Space City Con last weekend. The problem is that I believe that it was The LAST Space City Con. I attended all of them.
After each con, I would send the owner an AER. I would offer suggestions and solutions to issues that fans and talent encountered. I found that I was not the only one. However, mutual consensus is that we were heard but not listened to.
This was the second iteration at this particular venue. Issues went from bad to worse WITH the venue. Issues went from bad to worse AT the venue. I would suggest that anybody wanting to bring a convention to Houston should avoid the NRG. That venue and its staff interfered with what would normally be the duties of con staff and volunteers. The NRG was going to charge $5000 to move chairs to set up for an evening party event and would not allow volunteers to move the chairs! The NRG shut the vendor cargo doors on the vendors. The NRG shut down the after hours party early and without warning.
Suggestions as to the "militarization" of staff and volunteers was not adopted. I found that I was not the only person advocating a military command structure with delegated responsibilities and accountability. The con grew too big too fast to not have a command structure. RTX went from five hundred to fifty thousand in about five years. RTX has a bona fide command structure and the volunteers must volunteer for and survive a four day training period to work as volunteers. Space City Con was trying to breach twenty thousand hoping for thirty thousand based upon what I have found on the commo net. It was all still being run from one person. Nobody on the (paid) staff could make binding decisions. Nobody of the volunteers could make decisions nor communicate with somebody who could. Nobody was empowered to fix problems. There should have been a separate "fire brigade" just for problems.
A few fan groups managed to keep bugging (and that was what they had to do) to get panels. They got screwed with their fan panels landing inbetween major talent panels. They got nothing for their panels as everybody was going to the big ones.
The rest of the fan groups had no panels. Those who played nicely and relied upon the convention staff to do their jobs had no panels.
Coming back to communications, there just was none. Even for the talent, the printed program may say at X time in Y room. The phone app fans were EXPECTED to rely on would have Y time in Z room. Then, we see posters about Z time in A room. Who/what do you believe and how to you plan around this?
The IKV Logh Veng told of a terribly long line to check in at the back vendor door. Just one person with one laptop checking in all of the vendors. At some point, the NRG closed the bay doors forcing those on the wrong side to unload, pass through a 1968 standard door, and reload their carts while the rest of the line is waiting on them to do so. NRG and bad planning made things pretty grim for the exhibitors and vendors even before things went south.
The talent arrived to have their convention issued credit cards dishonored and had to pay for their own lodging.
The talent had their checks drawn on a closed account.
The AVI crew pulled the plug on some major panels for non-payment.
The talent would (obviously) not honor pre-paid passes or autograph markers.
The fans with these now had to pay a second time ca$h, and did not get the cancelled panels.
As fans were becoming belligerent and taking it out on the volunteers, the volunteers would understandably walk.
This left the con very understaffed.
This is ignoring that a "vendor" was selling pirated goods and was confronted by the original artist who was present selling original art.
Due to our personal plans and funding, we were actually wondering if we could afford to go to SCCC 2017. Now, it is a moot question.
If a convention arises in Space City Con's place, then I shall have to consider supporting my incredible klingon and other friends at the next whatever con.
I was not personally burned by this convention except for an incident with uneducated NRG staff.
My issues are with the NRG, not the convention.
I had a great time with the awsome IKV Logh Veng.
I had a great time with other Ships, groups, and fans.
Strength and Honor,
Captain Salek, Sutai
Ship's Brewer, IKV Melota