Wednesday, May 27, 2020

An Online WisCon

The con must go on. This weekend, instead of heading up to Madison, Wisconsin, I sat in front of my computer to watch panels and presentations on YouTube and chat with others via Discord.

The virtual format allowed me to attend events that I don't normally have a chance to watch, such as the Thursday night reading by the guest of honor and the speeches on Sunday night. On the other hand, there were only a few hours of programming instead of the normal all-day affair, and the choices were much more limited. I wound up watching more readings and academic presentations than I normally do at WisCon. For the first time, I even watched the "Not Another *#?! Race Panel," which is a staple at WisCon. This is a panel where people of color discuss anything other than race. Normally I would pick a more focused panel dealing with something I wanted to learn about, but I enjoyed this panel more than I expected. I learned about an awesome Filipino bakery in Chicago, and the discussions about bad Star Wars parents and how the Harry Potter characters would handle quarantine were funny. Would I attend the panel next time I'm at WisCon? It would depend on what else is scheduled at the same time.

I have to admit an online Dealers Room and Art Show don't have the same draw, and even though there were a lot of subject-specific channels on the Discord, I didn't feel like I had anything to add to the conversations. I missed attending Farmers Market Saturday morning, listening to readings at Michelangelo's Coffee House, and shopping at the Soap Opera. When you've been going to a particular event for so long you expect to run into a past self in the elevator, any change feels strange. Hopefully next year the con will go on in person. But if for some reason I can't attend, being able to watch at least part of WisCon online would keep the connection alive.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

For the ones I've been to, the draw is the people, the attendees. Without people wandering around in costumes, it wouldn't seem like a con.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

An online dealer's room just isn't the same though. Some things just sell themselves and others, like books, need to be hand sold. I've lost two cons already and while I've gotten an author involved in an online one, that's a lot of books we won't sell this summer.

Site Meter