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Worst. Con. Experience. Ever.

You know how everyone always bashes Creation for their costs, the way the actors are kept away from fans, no personalizations, etc? Well, a worse situation is one in which the con leads on all the actors as well as fans, doesn't tell the truth, lets the fans spend their hard-earned money to get there, then actually SHUTS DOWN on the Saturday morning.

Yep, welcome to Fedcon USA, which has just canceled itself, apparently because the hotel wasn't getting paid and demanded the con vacate. The con organizers knew they couldn't actually pay their headliners to attend (Connor made it somehow, but not Paul or any of the others I believe, and Aaron Douglas of BSG was very public aboutt the shenanigans on the Fedconusa.com forum.)

John Billingsley (SG1: The Other Guys) has been a total hero, and his wife too. He took control of the opening ceremonies last night, hung out with fans at the early party, and spoke up for the audience this morning when the announcement was made they had to shut down.  He represented for the fans like crazy, ran around with the microphone until everyone got to ask their questions.

The fans are in shock but calm. No doubt this would be true in spite of the very large men the hotel had stationed around to prevent any violence. Ha!

Well, TJ from California and I are throwing a Beckett-lovers room party in a couple hours.  We'll try to salvage something.  A direct quote from her:  "I've been going to conventions fro 30 years and never seen anything like this."

They strung us along when they knew they were in deep trouble.  They never told the guests what was going on.  Yet they complain they have been working so hard.  Dude, hard work means nothing if you're not honest with anyone.

ETA: There is a story with a slightly different spin at SyFy Portal... Not sure I believe the organizer at all.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
aelfgyfu_mead
Jun. 14th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
Man, you've got my story beat! A number of years ago some of us went to a con called Timelord. We began calling it Crimelord. Half the promised actors didn't show, including Sophie Aldred and Sylvester McCoy, because they were assured their plane tickets would come, and they never did. Rumor had it at least one of the actors had actually gone to the airport and argued that his or her ticket must have been lost in the mail, only to be shown it had never been purchased. Anthony Ainley did make it, however, and a good time was had by those of us who were there; the con had half (or fewer) of the guests, but it went on.

We later heard--and never knew if it was true--that the organizer of Crimelord was charged with fraud.

It sounds like the organizers here may also be civilly or criminally liable; I'm not a lawyer, but I wouldn't be surprised if a fan or two there is! Mail fraud might even be a possibility, if the post was used to advertise and sell tickets. Cons always announce that actors may cancel at any time with or without notice due to professional conflicts, but clearly that's not what happened here, so you ought to be owed at least a partial refund (although admission was probably less than travel and lodging).

Cheers for John Billingsley and his wife! I hope you have a good party and can get some fun out of this!
never_at_home
Jun. 14th, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
Oh my!!!!!

I'm so sorry to hear this.

I hope the Beckett-Lovers Con goes well, though! ;)
tenaya
Jun. 14th, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC)
Oh my god. That's unbelievable.

At least you're having a bit a party anyway.

{{{{{Hugs}}}}

ETA: And now I think incredibly highly of John Billingsley. What a decent guy!

Also, how many people do you estimate were at the con?

And I am so sorry that you still haven't met Paul. This just sucks on so many levels.

Take care.

Edited at 2008-06-14 11:40 pm (UTC)
astrumporta
Jun. 15th, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)
Thanks, ladies. The Carson party has been going strong for nearly 7 hours now so that is some consolation. :) I'm going to go to the airport early and see if I can come home early. On top of everything, I'm catching a cold!
his_spiffyness
Jun. 15th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)
A bunch of us in the local club scene have been watching this disaster unfold the past few days on the Fedcon message boards. This is definitly the worst run con most of us have seen in Dallas. The closest thing was Uncommon Con back '01 which simply got cancelled a week before the show opened. One of the local con organizers stepped up, and was able to salvage the situation and allowed the dealers that came here to at least try and recoup their losses.
astrumporta
Jun. 15th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, I guess there were issues for a long time, but I wasn't paying any attention, mostly because I didn't realize FedCon Germany pulled out around January, while (stupidly) letting Tim continue to use the name. So yeah, I didn't start worrying until the forum started being very active this week, with Aaron Douglas openly telling what was going on. I had a feeling it would collapse, but I didn't want to miss the chance to see Paul if at all possible. Live and learn!
fencon
Jun. 15th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
My name is Michael Nelson, and I am part of the Executive Committee for FenCon (with an N), a Dallas-based, non-profit, literary science fiction convention.

Our organization - the Dallas Future Society, which holds FenCon (www.fencon.org) - is in no way, shape or form associated with FeDConUSA.

We first heard about that organization last year, and were somewhat taken aback that they had chosen a name so close to ours, seeing as we had been in existence for over four years at that time.

We are working on a press release which we plan to send to as many SF related information sources as possible to explain that this similarity in names should not reflect on our organization or convention.

FenCon prides itself on being a successful, non-profit, fan-run convention, which is operated in a professional manner. We always strive to show the highest respect to both our guests and members.

If you feel the need and have opportunity to spread this information to other SF professionals or fans, we would greatly appreciate the effort. As you know, a convention such as ours relies heavily on word of mouth, and any negative implications can be unintentionally damaging.

Thank you for your attention.

Michael Nelson
astrumporta
Jun. 15th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
I understand your concerns, although I'm not sure what I can do to help other than carefully spell the Fedcon name. :) I will try to pass that along though. I'm sure Fedcon Germany is even more concerned than you guys are; many people don't know the two are not officially linked.
nialla42
Jun. 15th, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)
I'm not far from Dallas and yet somehow this con didn't blip on my radar at all. I'm surprised really, because based on who the guests were supposed to be, I would have gone.

Maybe references online weren't registering with me because I'm familiar with the FenCon name and didn't realize there was a con by a similar name going on this month. Which is why FenCon posted here and in their own LJ about the situation, because they don't want any confusion.

I only recall one Dallas con being cancelled before, and IIRC it was due to the hotel management deciding they didn't want the con folks scaring off their regular clientele but didn't tell the concom. They tried raising the rates at the last minute so the organizers would have to be the ones who broke the contract. Finally the hotel had to fess up, but it was way too late to change venues.

I'd like to see John Billingsley sometime, but definitely not under the circumstances you did. I've heard he's been good to fans, and it's nice to hear that he was standing up for them against the organizers. Most actors who regularly attend cons know how things are supposed to work and will do what they can to make them work for their fans.

I saw the SyFy Portal article about the time I saw your post and tracked back to the earlier articles. I was not-so-amused by the implication that Dallas is such a bad locale for a con (seriously, we are not located the ass-end of of the Hellmouth, it just feels like it during the Summer months), though I think it was more of a backhand to the organizers in which Dallas got hit too.

I was greatly amused by them calling early June in Dallas "high summer." Oh, hon, we haven't even hit 100 yet. Wait until around August/September or so, when we can go over 100 for a month non-stop. That's why they invented air-conditioning. ;)

Sorry your experience was so bad. Hopefully the con will at least refund their part, but I know that doesn't make up for travel and hotel costs. I wish I'd known it was going on and we could have at least gone out to a movie over at Grapevine Mills. Hopefully you at least got to meet some other fans while you were there.
astrumporta
Jun. 15th, 2008 05:09 am (UTC)
Hey there, yeah, I hope this doesn't discourage new DFW cons, because a lot of people here said they could never make it to a con on either coast. It was convenient to lots of folks, obviously.

I knew you live in Texas but not so near DFW that you could have come to meet us -- what a shame! Although if the con had gone as planned, I wouldn't have had much free time. Heh.

Meanwhile John Billingsley and his wife have been with fans in the bar all evening and are even now shooting pool. :)
nialla42
Jun. 15th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
A lot of cons happen on the coasts because it's more convenient for the actors and such, but not-so-much for fans. Especially for one who ends up on the "wrong" coast for a con they want to attend.

Dallas is central, but we haven't had a lot of "big" cons in recent years, and I can't figure out why. There's been some smaller cons, but they're often more lit-oriented than media cons.

Creation used to do quite a bit here back in the 90s, but they completely dried up for a time. They're going again, and even had one of the first official Stargate cons here, and a Supernatural one too, but not much else. I think the Supernatural one might have had more to do with the boys wanting to visit home turf (Jensen is from a 'burb of Dallas, Jared is from San Antonio) than Creation wanting to return here. The Stargate con was in an awful venue and they got a lot of complaints, and I fear they won't return because of it.

I can get to DFW in under two hours if the traffic isn't hellacious (stress on "if"), but I don't go down that way very often, just for special events and such.

I'm glad you're salvaging something out of the con. A friend and I have been talking about going to one of the "guest-less" cons, especially one that's slash oriented. We're not necessarily life of the party types, but it would be nice just to get away and be somewhere where you could talk slash without getting Those Looks.
aurora_novarum
Jun. 15th, 2008 06:44 am (UTC)
You haven't hit 100 yet?! Oh honey...(wonders if I can fly to Dallas).

You very well may get to enjoy some in July at Shore Leave at least. *evil grin*
nialla42
Jun. 15th, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
We haven't "officially" hit 100, but we've been flirting with it, especially with THI factored in. Once we do hit it, we'll stay at or above for at least a month, usually more. Much more.

Back when I went to Scotland for a vacation, the cab driver was complaining about the "heat wave" they were having. My friend from Colorado agreed it was hot, my other friend from Texas and I just shared a look. When we converted the temp, it was only in the 80s. Puh-leeze. A lot of people don't even turn on the a/c here for that sort of temp. But then my friend from Colorado has been visiting here before and says it should be illegal to have pre-noon temps in the 90s. Wimp. ;)
aurora_novarum
Jun. 15th, 2008 06:46 am (UTC)
Okay, so um...you can ignore that email I sent you. (That's what I get for checking yahoo before lj).

Poor Michelle. Only you can get con-crud at a cancelled con. Glad to hear about Mr. and Mrs. Billingsly being so gracious. But still...

Get home safely! [/fandom mom]
heyerchick
Jun. 15th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
Ouch!
So sorry the con itself was a disaster, but it's great to hear about the indefatigable spirit of the Carsonites :-) Kudos to Mr and Mrs Billingsley too, for being such stars. Hope you get home safely and speedily!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )