My first fan convention

RoVaCon (the Roanoke Valley Convention) Seven was held at Northside High School on the other side of town from where I lived. Since I was only thirteen, and had neither a bike or many friends back then, I had to count on my dad for a ride there. (At thirteen, I was convinced that I couldn’t possibly stay upright on a bike for longer than a few minutes. Eventually, I figured out otherwise.)

I had read about SF conventions in books about Star Trek fandom, and this sounded exciting as heck – I wanted to go so badly. The advertising I’d seen said that the event ran for the whole weekend, but for reasons I can’t remember, my dad wouldn’t take me on Friday. He then wouldn’t take me on Saturday, either – I don’t remember whether there was a scheduling conflict, he didn’t feel well, or he was being obstinant; these things don’t matter when one’s an overeager thirteen-year-old fan. Finally, though, he took me to the con… on Sunday… at around 2pm. Yep, I paid a day rate to get into a con that was already shutting down. What a way to start my fannish life, eh?

The only guest I remember was Laura Banks, an actress with a small background part in that year’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I didn’t get to see her speak, she was already done for the weekend, but I remember her on the con posters – I was thirteen after all. I do remember seeing a fan who’d already obtained or constructed a “monster maroons” uniform.

The total con experience for me was seeing a few costumes in the halls, and wandering through the dealers’ room, in which I only remember Hitchhiker’s Guide LPs, Starfleet Battles miniatures, and exotic gaming dice, none of which my dad was in the mood to purchase for me. Crushingly aware that there was nothing else to see, I told my dad to go ahead and take me home.

Thankfully for the path I’d take in life, RoVaCon Eight would be much better.

Starfleet Vice – 1990

The RoVaCon 15 Starfleet Vice video, as threatened promised…

So, I’ll explain a little of what’s going on. I’m in the wheelchair because I’d been in a life-threatening car accident only weeks ago, but I was too stubborn to miss the con. Heather and Valerie are dressed in costumes from the anime Dirty Pair. Mike Allen represented KODRA, a ruthless Klingon-Orion terrorist organistion out to rule the Alpha Quadrant; while Markus… well, he had a lab coat, so we worked that in. And of course, Tom, Mike, and Beth were solely there to support our blatant swipe of Monty Python material.

I don’t remember the name of the dude working the camera… but he really liked the anime costumes.

A Fanatical Devotion to Admiral Maddox

Speaking of cons, tonight Starr and I were doing just that (speaking of them, that is). Thomas Atkinson friended me back on Facebook today, and when I told Starr that I had an old costume skit of his on VHS, she begged me to dig it up.

That tape, dating from RoVaCon 15 back in 1990, also contains one of the most elaborate Starfleet Vice skits we ever did. The performers for this installment included myself as officer Stubble, Heather McLaughlin and Valerie Brugh as “Dirty Pair” Kei and Yuri, time_shark as a KODRA Dreadlok, markush as Doctor Whizbang, Tom Monaghan as officer Paisley, Mike Layne as officer Harold, and Beth Lipes as officer Ruth. The camera operator for the con spent most of the skit focusing on the skimpy anime costumes Heather and Valerie wore.

Many of the jokes are esoteric, but some of them are still fairly funny outside of the late-80s Starfleet context. This little performance would be a good candidate for my first test of the new video-to-computer setup, right? I think we all want to see this posted.

Starr says I’m much better looking now than I was when I was nineteen. Any doubts as to why I’m in love with her?