Conventions and Conferences

Next week, I am going to Atlanta for a CDC Conference on cancer, oncology, and reporting.  It’s a big deal and I’m quite excited.  It’s also the first major con I’ve gone to that wasn’t entertainment-based.  That is, it’s not an anime or video game convention.

I don’t recall what year my first convention was.  I want to say 1994 or so.  It was SciCon 17 in Virginia.  It was an eye-opening and amazing experience and cemented my love of conventions.  After that, I attended maybe a dozen more as an attendee.  Then, in 2002, I attended MAGFest as a guest, the first convention I ever guested.  From there, my convention career took off.

Conventions have evolved a lot during that time.  It’s been amazing to see the social elements change, to see the draws change, to see the nature of the fandom change.  Before Cosplay was the dominant artistic force, it was the web comic, and before that, the AMV (animated music video).  Before that, it was the dealer’s room exclusively.  Guests were few and far between because the art form was still in its infancy in the US.

But whole articles, papers, books, and even careers have been devoted to conventions and convention culture.  Yet that’s just entertainment conventions.  There’s a whole host of cons out there that your average anime fan can scarcely imagine.

I’ve always considered music festivals conventions of a sort.  The draw may be different, so too may the layout of the convention, but its ultimately similar.  Yet a professional convention is something new.  I’ve known they existed and I’ve been to a few, but they always seemed ‘too small to count’, if that makes sense.  A few dozen people in a single room at a somewhat nice hotel for a state volunteer organization doesn’t seem like a big deal.  But this is the CDC.

I’m excited to see how different it will be.  What will the vendors’ room look like?  What will the schedule be?  After all, anime cons start late and go late, whereas many sci-fi cons I’ve attended were the opposite.  And some comic book conventions basically run non-stop the whole weekend.  What sorts of panels and panel topics will they have?  It’s all very new and very exciting.

So yeah.  This means there probably won’t be an update next week as I’ll be busy looking for oncology cosplayers…and boy, I hope that’s a joke.

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Author: Robert V Aldrich

Author. Speaker. Cancer Researcher. Martial Artist. Illustrator. Cat dad. Nerd.

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