aethel: (dalek [by mirnell])
[personal profile] aethel
Right, so a week ago I attended Muskrat Jamboree, a biennial slash convention held in Boston. The con ran for two days, Friday and Saturday. It was my seventh fan convention, fourth fan-run convention, second media fandom convention, and first slash convention! At least, I think it was my seventh; those Creation cons all sort of blur together. (I was a baby fan, and I really liked Star Trek: The Next Generation--MORE THAN I'D EVER LIKED ANYTHING EVER BEFORE OR EVER WOULD AGAIN. Ah, young love.) MJ was excellent and very different from any of the (few) cons I'd been to before--for starters, only 150 people were there. Mostly fangirls, and in fact, I only noticed one lone fanboy. The programming consisted of (very enthusiastic) panel discussions. I tried to go to all the panels, which I think I will not do next time: I was worn out by Saturday afternoon. But yes, I shall go again if I can.

I took notes during the discussions because that's just how I am, but I'm looking at my notes now and they're not terribly illuminating. Observe:
canon discussion
were-swans, were-seahorses

Mysterious, yet intriguing. Anyway, here is what I can remember of the con: On the first morning of the con I got up bright and early to a blizzard. Undaunted, I struck out and arrived in Boston only half an hour later than I expected to, just in time for the first panel.

The first panel was Fandom Mart, where some well-spoken and enthusiastic fans tried to entice the rest of us into their fandoms. It turns out that I need to watch a 1970s BBC show called Raffles. I also need to read Iron Man/Captain America fic, even though I don't know anything about Captain America.

Next up was the DUE SOUTH panel, where people talked about how it was a positive show--unlike a lot of procedurals, someone commented--and how the fandom was full of nice people. The fandom has never died, and there are 17 years worth of stories. Missmollyetc said that the show ages well, and Shay? said that the fandom had the advantage of a closed canon that ended successfully. Other people remarked that it didn't end successfully for people other than Fraser and Ray Kowalski and there was more to Frannie than babies. A Canadian said that the show made her realize that Canada is awesome. Bethbethbeth said it was a fandom she felt okay sending people to. Someone else said DS was a good gateway fandom. Others said: "People who come out of DS know how to do fandom right" and called it "fandom finishing school." Other points:
-people who got into the fandom because the fic was so good
-Scrabble and anything else by Speranza is comfort fic
-the show and the fic complement each other
-DS set up the infrastructure for fandom on LJ
-Ray/Ray fandom_wank post (??)
-lots of things to write fic about: Fraser's parents, Chicago, Inuvik
-downside of long-lived fandom: fighting against established fanon when you disagree with the fanon characterization
-on the Ray/Ray wars. someone (Shay?) [ETA: actually [personal profile] reginagiraffe] said "I was in DS in 94, wandered off to Sentinel for a gallon of milk, came back and was like, did something happen?"
-the issue with the new Ray was like what Doctor Who fans face. Someone else replied that we need a story where Ray regenerates!

Next: the SHERLOCK panel! What people said about why the show is awesome: Sherlock is the perfect modern AU. The show writers used the canon and twisted it. Queue? Q? said there was lots of meta in the show, but it wasn't condescending. The charisma of the actors. Impressed with the color palette, post-production, the texting overlays. It was nice to see a smart John Watson who was actually an army doctor--some disagreement about whether John's characterization was close or far from canon. Microft was the most different from canon, but it totally worked! Discussion on how someone with Microft's canon job would have to be a bit creepy. Microft seemingly interacts more with other people, doesn't belong to the Diogenes club, BUT watches people through security cameras. An argument over the sexiness of Martin Freeman. Shay said Mrs. Hudson was the most jarring, pulled her out of the story. But a necessary change given the changes in society. Perhaps jarring because no one had ever bothered to change Mrs. Hudson in previous adaptations. Everyone agreed that Moriarty was much creepier. Ellen Fremedon said that most Holmes adaptations keep the signifiers and change the characterizations, but Sherlock does the opposite.

Other points:
-People commented that Sherlock has a more Victorian aesthetic than the Roberty Downey Jr movie, which has a modern aesthetic (despite its Victorian setting).
-The awful second episode: characters were OOC, 1930s racism.
-Sherlock: sociopath or not? He clearly isn't. He cares about Mrs. Hudson. Does he want people to think he is? Characterization was different in the unaired pilot.

Then we broke for lunch, and I went to the Fanlore wiki editing party, where I connected several names with faces, but there were more faces in the room than I could keep track of. Uh, I met [personal profile] kass and [personal profile] celli and [personal profile] xenakis and [personal profile] faith_girl222, and I think [personal profile] the_shoshanna was there.... There was also pizza and OTW temporary tattoos. faith-girl222 was kind enough to show me how to transfer the tattoos since I had no clue.

Fanlore: one thumb up!

OTW is hot!

OTW: We Can Do It! (Yes, those are my penguin pajamas)

So that was fun.

After lunch I joined the Vampires & Werewolves panel mid-session. People were talking about what tropes they enjoyed that are connected to vampires & werewolves. The only tropes I wrote down were smelling, psychic connection, and "the one human who can control the monster." People briefly discussed class issues--vampires are often represented as upper class, werewolves as lower class--and speculated that this was related to longevity. Vampires have longer to amass wealth; being a werewolf is hard on your body, so you die younger. Some books to read: werewolf novels by Kim Harrison, Nightworld? by LJ Smith, Gingersnaps. Someone noted that Bandom was a were/vamp friendly fandom, there's lots of vampire!Adam Lambert fic, and the vampire trope is appearing in Sherlock fandom.

Next: [personal profile] wneleh's panel on mainstream media perception of fanfic. She started the panel by reading a particularly bizarre example: Annie Proulx complained that gay men were sending her fanfic of Brokeback Mountain, and from this, she made generalizations about who wrote fanfic and why. We were all astonished and speculated as to whether the author had misidentified the gender and/or sexual preferences of these fans. The fans who sent fic to her probably didn't know about fandom; they wanted to share their stories with someone and assumed the author was the logical choice.
Other points:
-Teachers colleges now teaching about fanfic as a tool for teaching kids
-teachers and librarians do fandom-related programs for teens
-their encouragement is problematic b/c fanfic writing community is adult, contains Adult Themes
-second-generation fans' attitude toward fanfic
-whether pro-fic can be called fanfic; pro authors think it's different
-men who make money on fanfic
-American culture: have to monetize everything
-There was a lot of discussion about nonfans' failure to understand that fanfic is a hobby. Fanwriters reported that they had been asked why don't they write real novels and make money? Why don't they use all that free time to cure cancer? etc. Yet, there are lots of other hobbies people don't make any money on and no one says they should be curing cancer instead. One person said, "I don't want to write a book; I want to play in this universe." General agreement. Someone else noted that some skills required for fanfic are not needed in original fic. Example: Maya's "Drop Dead Gorgeous" which had a lot of meta and reacted to the HP books (the monster in Harry's chest, etc.)

So that was a fun panel! (I probably could have mentioned, but didn't, that I, too, had experienced an impromptu lesson on fanfiction in library school. A readers advisory librarian showed us how she used Delicious to keep track of sources to help her recommend novels to patrons. Included were two links to fanfiction archives--one was, and one was a random abandoned fansite with a similar URL /o\ If there are any library patrons out there asking librarians for fic recs, I would dearly love to hear about it.)

Last panel on Friday: HARRY POTTER. It was fun, but I didn't take many notes.
-Bethbethbeth said, "Let's talk about how I'm married to Snape on the astral plane!"
-HP as a gateway fandom for kids these days.
-Lots of HP fic branching off at different points in canon--from different books; we don't see this in other fandoms.
-HP is actually several separate fandoms. One person said she read lots of complaints about BNFs, but she'd never heard of them, because they were BNFs for a pairing she didn't read.
-HP has a lot of novel-length fic. The time between each novel encouraged longer fic.
-mustache HP tumblr??

After the panels, I went to [personal profile] aerye's room for a viewing party--the unaired Sherlock pilot. Since I had nowhere else to be, I arrived a little early and loitered in the hallway with [personal profile] bathsweaver. Watching Sherlock with other fangirls was so much fun! And we commented on the change in Sherlock's characterization, as well as the hilarious scene where Sherlock stands on a roof under the full moon for no good reason. Afterwards, four of us--aeyre, bathsweaver, hagiologic, and I--went out to dinner and talked about fannish things.

Then the vid show happened, or at least it tried to. The vid show initially experienced some technical difficulties, and while we were waiting, one person jumped up and started singing "Barrett's Privateers". And then everyone else in the room joined in. I only knew the chorus, but some people knew every verse, and the song just kept going and going. It was hilarious.

The vid show itself was excellent, and I saw several vids that I had never seen before. The vid show program is here. Of the vids I hadn't seen before, I think my favorite was I've Been To A Marvelous Party by charmax, but I'll have to watch them all over again just to be sure.

And then I skipped the dance and went home because I have a phobia about subways and cities at night. A completely justified phobia!

So, on Saturday there was no blizzard, so I arrived much earlier and ran into [personal profile] meri_oddities! We talked about HP conventions and Fanlore. Then I had a crazy notion that I wanted to go to ALL THE PANELS instead of hanging around to chat. I wound up completely by accident in the anal sex panel instead of the RPF panel I meant to go to. (yeah, right, you say.) The anal panel was fun, though. There were some real life personal recollections, but I only took notes on fandom trends:
-some of the realities of anal sex (fecal matter) are glossed over in fic because they are not erotic/eroticized.
-tropes relating to guys who thought they were straight having anal for their first time gay sex and loving it
-Parhelion said, "Anal goes in and out of popularity." :D I think she was talking about sex in real life?
-Adam Lambert is canonical dominant, but not kinky.
-Lots of girl anal sex [pegging] in Star Trek Reboot fanfic because of Gaila; fanon is that she's born comfortable with all kinds of sex and shows the humans how to enjoy it, too.

Next: Ladies, Please. Focus on femslash and female television characters:
-Canon lesbians: the British do it right.
-The Good Wife has good female characters
-Discussion about Willow/Tara. There were compromises, but the pairing wasn't just for show. It showed the development of a relationship realistically. One person commented that she could see aspects of her own relationship in Willow/Tara, that she had had the same kinds of conversations, etc. People commented on the double standard for showing het sex vs. fade to black for gay sex on TV.
-There's an asexual character on "Huge."
-Xena/Gabrielle. The show could never admit that they were dating.
-Parhelion said something about three waves of lesbian representation on TV--three different approaches, none of them represented the whole person.
-canon lesbians on Deadwood? [I stopped watching too soon.]
-A 6 min short film with Zoe Saldana called After Sex.
-Angela/Roxy - done for sweeps, but done well.
-bisexuals as "diet gay"
-Annoying tropes: women don't like sex, f/f sex not "real", gay? no take-backs [you're not allowed to reevaluate a queer label once you decide it fits]
-I need to watch "Community," "Rissoli and Ives" and a Swedish movie? called "Show Me Love"
-Sam/Janet from SG-1
-Discussion about TV not passing the Bechdel Test as a reason for not writing more femslash. But sometimes TV DOES pass the Bechdel Test, yet there is no femslash - one person said she felt she was getting sucked into the fannish hive mind, which shipped something else.
-One person said that all her fandoms had only one girl.
-Supernatural is a misogynistic fandom
-femslash written as the consolation prize to free up the OTP slash pairing. Example: Merlin/Arthur and Gwen/Morgana.
-Parhelion? said that the numbers for published original slash were telling: m/m slash 8 times more popular than f/f. We say we want more femslash, but we're really more interested in boys.

Better Holmes and Watson panel:
-"you can be bi-Watsonal" said somebody. I didn't write down who.
-RDJ Holmes movie had call-backs to many other Sherlock Holmes adaptations. The tinted glasses are a reference to the Russian series.
-That movie with the dinosaur is so bad that you should watch it.
-Discussion of RDJ Holmes movie vs. Sherlock. The two adaptations represent different points in the relationship between Holmes and Watson.
-RDJ does fit canon because he is bohemian and doesn't act in socially acceptable ways; the different interpretation highlights different aspects of Holmes's character.
-Someone commented that they hadn't seen a Victorian AU of Sherlock (yet).
-There is an excellent yaoi doujinshi of "Charles Augustus Milverton." Thought bubbles showing all the gay things Milverton is actually blackmailing people for.
-mysteries as a queer genre
-Holmes slash has a long tradition. Someone reported that an older gay man told her that when he was in prep school, they wrote and passed around Holmes slash!
-The real reason Watson is represented as stupid in the adaptations: growing discomfort with the intense relationship with Holmes as depicted in the original stories.
-Love the Jeremy Brett version b/c he shows affection for Watson.
-Russian Holmes is kinder to his Watson.
-We love Martin Freeman!

Then we broke for lunch, but I sat in the con suite and edited Fanlore instead. In retrospect, this was a bad move, as I felt increasingly drained Saturday afternoon and had lost my enthusiasm by 5 o'clock. [Insert frowny face.] Otherwise, I might have been able to make plans for the evening instead of just going home early. My memory of the afternoon is also a bit vague.

Next: Crossovers panel. This was the best panel of the afternoon, if only because I hadn't yet succumbed to exhaustion and hunger. First, I had flashbacks to library school as we split into smaller groups to do an activity: each group had to pull two fandoms out of a hat and come up with a crossover story. Coincidentally, my group got Due South and any Sherlock Holmes. Our plot outline was as follows: Gladstone and Diefenbaker exchange love letters, and eventually they decide to elope; Gladstone boards a ship bound for Canada, and Holmes and Watson must track him down. Eventually, they find Gladstone with Dief, and meet with Fraser and Ray (Kowalski?). [This plot is free to a good home.] So that was fun. Then we all got together as a group to discuss the different ways of doing crossovers. There was also some question about whether fusions were a subgenre of crossovers or a completely separate genre.
Other notes:
-3 types of crossovers: crossover pairing [e.g. Gladstone/Dief], fusion [Gladstone is Dief], everyone in a third setting [dogs in space!]
-Shipping the universe = gen crossovers
-Ursula Le Guin's 4-person marriage fusion stories. [Coincidentally, this was mentioned in a recent post by melannen.]
-His Dark Materials fusion stories
-Different fans had different requirements for realism. Crack vs. detailed thoughtful integration of two universes
-One source of interest in crossovers is seeing a familiar characters from a new point of view
-But where to find and post these stories?

Next: Narrative Kinks. All I have is a list of some of the plots/themes/tropes that people mentioned enjoying:
-ensemble happy family
-AMTDI, especially when it's not clear WHY the aliens made them do it
-can't communicate like adults; conversely, when they CAN communicate like adults
-misunderstood character
-telepathy and bodyswap
-The Eagle slavefic
-coming out in high school
-the moment of self-discovery
-secret feelings, pining in secret, etc.; or when one character is just oblivious
-always-a-girl Kirk as a slut in Star Trek Reboot fic
-tragic past, manpain.
-"Freeport" by Maldoror
-bad things like incest treated realistically or at least taken seriously. Sam/Dean is not healthy--acknowledge this in your story!
-Conversely, some people want only fluffy stories for tropes that are problematic in real life--don't want to read realistic depictions!

Blurring Genderlines in Fandom. I skipped the C6D panel because it seemed like a good idea at the time. No, I love hearing discussions about gender. For the purposes of this panel, the moderators identified four types of genderfuck situations in fanfic: "genderswap" for always-a-girl/boy genderswap, "sexswap" for magical/sudden sex change, "cross dressing," and "transfic" for stories about transgendered characters.
-genderswap as a way to have more female characters in TV fandoms, or because we don't like the canon women
-Starbuck is a canon genderswap!
-a way to find out what is essential to the character regardless of gender
-don't get this trope outside of fic [Except for Starbuck]
-Genderswap as a way to avoid having your character labeled a Mary Sue
-In the past, this trope was used to pair up characters who were the same sex in canon [because no one realized they could just write slash.]
-stories where a single character's sex is swapped vs. "World Turned Upside Down"
-Sexswap sort of like a virgin kink; character learns how to use their new body
-an element of schadenfreude: making the male character female as punishment

And that's all I wrote down. I went to one last panel about Transformation tropes, but I took notes on my netbook, which I am not using at the moment. I don't think my notes made much sense anyway.

I will leave off with the two action figures I picked up at the swap table:

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-17 02:22 pm (UTC)
kass: kitten face (Default)
From: [personal profile] kass
It was awesome to meet you! I'm so glad we got to connect in person.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-05 11:08 pm (UTC)
reginagiraffe: Twin anime characters. "Regina. Shayheyred. One of us is evil... And so is the other. Fear us." (Twins - Fear Us)
From: [personal profile] reginagiraffe
"I was in DS in 94, wandered off to Sentinel for a gallon of milk, came back and was like, did something happen?"

This was me. But Shay and I are evil twins so I can understand the confusion. *g*


aethel: (Default)
æthel the aardvark

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