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SMOF News, volume 2, issue 22
The bewildering world of con admission terminology, and news in brief.
How To Convention: Memberships, Tickets, and Badges, Oh My!
You’ve just purchased an admission to a geek convention. It could be a membership. Or a ticket. Or something else entirely. Why do cons insist on using different words for this sort of thing, and is there any real difference?
The first layer of explanation is that different terms may have different tax consequences. But the word a convention chooses to use also signals something about the way it wants to market itself, the kind of convention it is, and the kind of relationship it has with fans.
Ticket is the term of choice in media-oriented conventions where there is a clear line between the audience and the celebrities on stage. Buying a ticket implies that you just need to show up and be entertained.
Membership is preferred by many nonprofit conventions which want to emphasize the community of fandom. Getting a membership implies that you’re not a passive viewer but an active participant in that community.
There is one case where buying a convention membership genuinely means you’re a member of an organization. The World Science Fiction Society, which is responsible for the World Science Fiction Convention, is comprised of people attending the next Worldcon. It used to include all Worldcon members, but now many Worldcons include membership categories that do not confer WSFS membership.
Badge, to mean purchased admission and not just a badge you can wear, has emerged as a more neutral term in recent years. It continued to spread during the COVID-19 pandemic, somewhat ironically as the one thing you are not buying with admission to a pandemic-era virtual convention is a physical badge.
Beyond the basic terminology, there are many ways of subdividing the attendees. Discount rates may be available for young adults, students, veterans, retirees, or those from disadvantaged backgrounds. VIP is a standard term for a more expensive admission which may include priority seating and bonus experiences.
It used to be common for membership-type conventions to offer both attending and supporting memberships. A supporting member did not go to the con, but got copies of the program book, at-con newsletters, and so forth. A few conventions such as Worldcon still retain supporting memberships for people who won’t be there in person but want to participate in activities such as Hugo Award voting and future site selection.
While supporting memberships have nearly died out, hybrid conventions now offer online or virtual memberships for those taking part only via computer.
Bids to host Worldcon, and cons with similar bidding mechanisms, also use the membership metaphor when soliciting donations to help fund bid campaigning. Most bids allow you to pre-support, although it does not necessarily lead to a supporting membership the way the name implies. (What does inevitably result in a supporting membership is the fee for site selection voting, which converts to a membership in the convention the winning bid runs. The fee is technically an advance supporting membership, though hardly anyone calls it that.)
Fannish ingenuity and silliness has led to a whole world of names for higher bid support levels. One semi-standard higher level is Friend of the Bid, which usually converts to an attending membership if the bid wins. The adversarial nature of bid competition has led some bids to offer a pre-opposing donation level, which naturally was soon followed by Enemy of the Bid.
A recent trend in bid donations has been to depart from these terms entirely and offer levels with theming appropriate to the convention’s location. The bid to hold the 2023 NASFiC in Winnipeg offered levels named for local wildlife, and the Seattle in 2025 Worldcon bid is currently offering “A Tip for the Barista”, “Tall”, “Grande”, and “Triple Shot”.
The Summit expansion to the Seattle Convention Center, the planned facility for the Seattle bid for the 2025 World Science Fiction Convention, has been completed. According to GeekWire, it will also be the new home of Emerald City Comic Con (March 2-5) and Sakura-Con (April 7-9).
ATL Comic Convention (Atlanta, Georgia, February 24-26) has added Lauren Cohan, Jodi Benson, Raphael Luce, Seth Gilliam, IronE Singleton, Tom Payne, and Corey Feldman as guests.
Indiana Comic Convention (Indianapolis, Indiana, May 5-7) has added Charlie Hunnam, Jodie Benson, Dee Bradley Baker, Curran Walters, and John Glover as guests.
Weekend of February 3-5
Capricon 43: Eternity Awaits..., Wheeling, Illinois, USA
ScotiaCon (anthropomorphic), Glasgow, UK
Running GAGG 27 (gaming), Geneseo, New York, USA
CaptainCon (gaming), Warwick, Rhode Island, USA
Rocket City Gamefest, Huntsville, Alabama, USA
Winter War 2023 (gaming), Champaign, Illinois, USA
WeebCon Year 3 (anime), Allen, Texas, USA
SSA+S Toracon (anime), Sarasota, Florida, USA
Anime Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Karachi Anime & Comic Con ‘23, Karachi, Pakistan
East Bay Comic Con, Concord, California, USA
Geek Days Rennes (media), Rennes, France
Creation Dallas (media), Plano, Texas, USA
My Hero Convention: Texas (My Hero Academia), Irving, Texas, USA
Weekend of February 10-12
Atlanta Steampunk Exposition: Steampunks in Space, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
DualCon (gaming), Charleston, West Virginia, USA
Game On! 2023, Bellevue, Washington, USA
AmberCon NI 2023 (diceless RPGs), Belfast, UK
Kami-Con Season 14: Darkness Rises (anime), Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Animangapop (anime), Plymouth, UK
Savannah Animazing Con (anime), Savannah, Georgia, USA
Brick City Anime Festival, Ocala, Florida, USA
SWFL-AnimeFest, Fort Myers, Florida, USA
Zipcon 2023 (anime), Akron, Ohio, USA
Farpoint 30 (media), Hunt Valley, Maryland, USA
Mumbai Comic Con, Mumbai, India
Capital Sci Fi Con (media), Edinburgh, UK
Weekend of February 17-19
Boskone 59, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Radcon 8C, Pasco, Washington, USA
Life, the Universe, and Everything (symposium), Provo, Utah, USA
DunDraCon 46 (gaming), Santa Clara, California, USA
Polar Vortex 7 (gaming), Lisle, Illinois, USA
Con of the North 2023 (gaming), Bloomington, Minnesota, USA
Orccon 2023 (gaming), Los Angeles, California, USA
LVL UP EXPO (video games), Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Williamsburg Muster (wargaming), Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
Decepta Con (social deception gaming), Atlanta, Georgia, USA
J-Popcon (anime), Copenhagen, Denmark
ExpOtaku Logroño (anime), San Millán, Spain
Anime STX, San Antonio, Texas, USA
Katsucon 2023 (anime), National Harbor, Maryland, USA
Animefest 2023, La Jolla, California, USA
Con Nooga (media), Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
Fan Expo Vancouver (media), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Fan Expo Portland (media), Portland, Oregon, USA
SD Rocket Con (media), San Diego, California, USA
Hickory Con (media), Hickory, South Carolina, USA
Boston Sci Fi Film Festival 48, Somerville, Massachusetts, USA
Gallifrey One 33⅓: Long Live the Revolution (Doctor Who), Los Angeles, California, USA
Weekend of February 24-26
MystiCon, Roanoke, Virginia, USA
Ret-Con, Cary, North Carolina, USA
Total Confusion 37 (gaming), Marlborough, Massachusetts, USA
Plattecon XXXVI: Year of the Haunt (gaming), Platteville, Wisconsin, USA
CalCon 29 (gaming), Kalmar, Sweden
SoRCon 14 (boardgames), Basildon, UK
Gamicon Gallium (gaming), Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
DualCon (gaming), Charleston, West Virginia, USA
LootFest (gaming), Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Festival International des Jeux (gaming), Cannes, France
K2 Convention (gaming), Dungarvan, Ireland
GenghisCon (gaming), Aurora, Colorado, USA
Fire and Ice Convention (gaming), Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA
Escape Winter Con 2023 (gaming), Orlando, Florida, USA
TantrumCon (boardgames), Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
PrezCon 2023 (boardgames), Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Kawacon (anime), San Antonio, Texas, USA
Fanime Expo (anime), Pasadena, Texas, USA
Japan Expo Sud 2023: Ready to Investigate? (anime), Marseille, France
Anime Crossroads 2023, Plainfield, Indiana, USA
Nerd Fest (media), Swedesboro, New Jersey, USA
Alaska ComiCon, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
Shawicon (media), Shawinigan, Québec, Canada
StocktonCon (media), Stockton, California, USA
Wilkes Comic Con, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, USA
ATL Comic Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Weekend of March 3-5
AggieCon 52, College Station, Texas, USA
CoastCon 45, Biloxi, Mississippi, USA
Cleveland ConCoction, Aurora, Ohio, USA
Roscon-2023, Moscow, Russia
VancouFur 2023: Beyond Furmageddon (anthropomorphic), Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Fur the ‘More 2023: Time Travelers' Reunion (anthropomorphic), Arlington, Virginia, USA
Cardboard*Con (cardboard sf costuming), Atlanta, Georgia, USA
BashCon 37 (gaming), Toledo, Ohio, USA
Dice Tower West (gaming), Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
SaltCON Spring (gaming), Layton, Utah, USA
CincyCon 2023 (gaming), Hamilton, Ohio, USA
Tennessee Game Days Spring 2023, Franklin, Tennessee, USA
Intercon U: Ultraviolet (LARPs), Warwick, Rhode Island, USA
FreeCon 19 (anime), Tallahassee, Florida, USA
Tora-Con 2023 (anime), Rochester, New York, USA
PeoriaCon 2023 (media), Peoria, Illinois, USA
Middle East Film & Comic Con, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Hill Country Comicon, New Braunfels, Texas, USA
Hall of Heroes Comic Con, Elkhart, Indiana, USA
Emerald City Comic Con, Seattle, Washington, USA
Sunrise Comic Con, Sunrise, Florida, USA
Cult Classic Convention (media), Bastrop, Texas, USA
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