The WSFA Journal, December 1989

The WSFA Journal

Yet Another
Exciting, Extraordinary, Adventure-filled, Amazing, Incredible,

The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction Association

December 1989                                           ISSN 0894-5411

Available from the secretary: Rachel Russell,
[address censored], Arlington, VA 22204

3 November 1989, 1st Friday

President Erica Van Dommelen called the meeting to order at 9:13 pm at the Gilliland's house.

Committee Reports:

Publications passed out yet another Exciting, Extraordinary, Adventure-filled, Amazing, Incredible, WSFA Journal.

Treasurer reported that we have money. About $4000.

Trustees said no.

Disclave Past: Evan Phillips turned in names for compensation. Other names of hard workers welcome. Once all debts paid about $3000 will be put into the WSFA kitty. It won't be painful.

Disclave Present: No news.

Disclave Future: Peggy Rae Pavlat, our new chairfan, had bronchitis. But she sent a message that she's interested in everyone's ideas for Guest of Honor.

Entertainment: Relaxacon postponed until the 1st weekend in March, details later. 5th Friday in December party will be at Jack Heneghan and Elaine Normandy's house. Remember, Dec. meeting locations are switched: 1st Friday is at Kent and Mary's; 3rd Friday is at Gilliland's.

The Committee to Spend A Lot of Money on Something Incredibly Expensive and Extremely Controversial wants to buy the New York Times so they can write chairfan John Pomeranz's paper. Susan Cohen suggested we buy Heritage Park. Presumably the suggestion was made so that fans who don't finish their papers have somewhere to go.

OLD BIZ: More correspondence with our Discontented Disclave Attendee. It will all be published in a Journal eventually.


ANNOUNCEMENTS: 3rd Friday meeting, in Nov. will be at Philcon. Find Erica and get the word. Steven F. wants a cigar box. Susan told everyone about the Woman's Rights Rally on the 12th. Kathi Overton and Robin Rissell have info about Cyclotronic video. I don't know what it is, ask them. Lance has info about DC/SIGGRAPH. This is a computer group. Talk to Lance or call 301/530-0262.

ATTENDANCE: Walter Miles, Alexis Gilliland, Matthew Ryan, Matt G. Leger, Jan Burty, Joe Mayhew, Tom Lebannd, Keith Olson, Winton Matthews, Sandstorm, Chris Callahan, Dick Roepke, Steven Fetheroff He Man, She-Ra, Michael Enoch, Samuel Schwartz, Dale Sharrick, Mel Scharadin, Steve Smith, Bill Jensen, Jack Heneghan, Terilee Edwards-Hewitt, Jim Edwards-Hewitt, Kathi Overton, David Lassman, Don Bienewicz, Nicki Lynch, Dick Lynch, Sheryl Birkhead, Ted Rosenberg, Elaine Stiles, Steve Stiles, Lee Uba, Brian Lewis, George Shaner, Irv Koch, Dan Hoey, FLAHSH, Bob MacIntosh, Robyn Rissell, Lee Strong, Erica Van Dommelen, the birthday girl, and Rachel Russell.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:36 pm.

17 November 1989, 3rd Friday

President Erica Van Dommelen called the meeting to order at 9:12 pm in the Executive Boardroom at Philcon (Adam's Mark Hotel, Philadelphia).

Committee Reports:

Publications: Nothing to report.

Treasurer: No. We suspect just about as much money as before.

Disclave Past and Present: Not there.

Disclave Yet To Come: Talk to Peggy Rae and share your ideas.

The Committee to Spend a Lot of Money on something Incredibly Expensive and Extremely Controversial: In the absence of chairfan John Poneranz, Jack Heneghan proposed we buy the next shuttle launch--payload to be discussed.

Entertainment: Brings you the con.

New Biz: Heneghan's relaxacon sometime in February in Frederick.

J. Heneghan proposed we amend the constitution. This was seconded, but in the ensuing uproar nothing happened. Jack was censured for proposing such a thing.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Evan has a halo! He has founded a new religion. We don't know what it is but Susan Cohen has already made obeisance. Susan Cohen has a job!! Admissions office at Notre Dame College, w/tuition remission. Wait 'til they find out. . . Dan Hoey has a new address: [censored], Berwyn Heights, MD 20740. Phone: 220-2345. GOT THAT?!!!

ATTENDANCE: No one can prove we were there, so there!!

Meeting was unanimously adjourned at 9:24 pm.

Joe Mayhew
Greenbelt, MD 20770
(301) 474-2110

Franklin [censored]
Roxbury, MA 02119-1438

October 19, 1989

Dear Mr. [censored]:

Your letter of May 30, 1989 was recently printed in THE WSFA JOURNAL, club organ of the group which sponsors Disclave, and I would like to discuss it with you.

You address it to the Disclave committee: each year the club elects a chair for the Disclave two years away, who appoints all others who will work on the con for that year, without the "advice and consent" of the membership. Thus the continuity of the convention from year to year depends to a great extent on the chair elected. The nature of the hotel, and the guests selected have some influence, but an old, established con is to a large part attended by people who, in a sense, bring the con with them. They come expecting a certain type of experience and to some extent bring it about. The Disclave is not unique in that it changes shape like an amoeba but remains the same animal. You may be right in not wishing to attend others, but you may have simply caught the amoeba in a less appealing state.

Mr. Walsh mentioned that he was criticized for having too much programming when he managed it for me in 1987. That was entirely my fault, as Mr. Walsh and I do not entirely agree about exactly what a Disclave should be. He feels it is essentially relaxacon with programming; while I believe it is basically a periodic retreat for readers of SF, a sort of fannish family reunion. Mike and I strongly agree that it's a time for talking to old friends and new. I was chair of the 1987 Disclave and did programming for the 1988 con. I had three tracks (not counting a full schedule of readings by authors), introduced our first masquerade, two dances (one, a "Senior Prom"), moved the Hospitality suite from two tiny rooms to the large area used ever since, and gave the con its first color for our con souvenir book.

Tom Schaad, who ran the '88 Disclave expanded on what I did and Evan Phillips produced what Jane Jewel of Locus called "the finest Con suite she had ever seen at a regional - or a NasFic". Sometimes we get good reviews. Doubtless some aspects of the 87 or the 88 Disclave were not resoundingly successful, but have you honestly attended a perfect con?

The 1989 Con suite outdid 88 one, and as you noted, our dealer's room was chock full of booksellers - most of whom did well because so many serious readers attend Disclave. I had Gene Wolfe for my GOH, Tom had Barbara Hambly. While these writers probably differ widely in the audience their books attract; they both are strictly writers and not media personalities. I hope that will continue in future Disclaves.

Disclave has started to attract, as have most other conventions in large urban areas, people who are looking for a place to go ape. We regret this and wish they'd try the zoo instead. But regrets are not enough. I had the good fortune to have a fan who is a campus policeman manage my "security" in 1987 and no one knew what an excellent a job he did - because he did such an excellent job. Since then we've not been so lucky. We need more people to work on our con, and I felt Mike Walsh's priorities were not well aimed. I hope that Eva Whitley, the 1990 chair, will be able to manage ConOps better. But to run a convention as large as Disclave has grown will require a great deal of re-thinking and perhaps experiments which won't work. We are surely not alone in this.

There was no one provide to check badges once they were issued except at the beer stand. Volunteers would be welcome, I am certain. Likewise better planning. "The convention was turned over to a group of immature, self-centered, hedonistic people, most of whom were likely not even science fiction fans." When I started attending cons in 1960, they were attended by a group of immature, self-centered, hedonistic people who, however were mostly SF fans. Cons had 30 - 60 fen attending and very little work had to be done to make them work. Then the whole thing mushroomed and people came in at such a rate that the immigrants outnumbered the natives. The natives where no longer able to call the tune, fringe groups formed, fandom splintered, and the number of fen willing to work on cons did not grow in proportion, while the need for such increased out of proportion.

The flier Mike sent out should have represented actual policy. I hope that Disclave will follow through better in the future.

Perhaps in your desire to make your point, allowed some offensive language into your letter, which now, in a cooler mood you regret. Nevertheless, you should note that there are NO nameless fans. There are those who have, through their hard work, talents, and longevity, have become better known. Then there are those who have become notorious for one reason or another. A genuine opinion addressing in a coherent and reasonable manner gets as far with most of us as one from a BNF. I'll admit I am very concerned about Mark Olson's remarks, but chiefly because he has been a valued friend of mine for many years. He has attended Disclave for many years and contributed work and ideas to it as well. I hope he reconsiders.

As a member of a frequently maligned minority group, you should be painfully aware of the effects of hostile or distorted reports of activities. The article in the GAYLAXIAN, mentioned that there were no gay parties at Disclave. As most of our parties are run by people from out of town ( publishers, distant fan groups, bids - etc.) and as the space is open to those wishing to book it for parties, the fault does not seem to lie in our stars.

On the other hand, Fandom is about reading and the like, and not particularly about sexual preference. Most of our homosexual fen seem to prefer to hang out with people who share their other interests from time to time. Locally there seems to be a greater chasm between Trekkies and Fen than between Straight and Gay Fen.

Thank you for the time and attention you have given to my letter.

          Joe Mayhew

13 October 1989

To the president of the Washington Science Fiction Association,

I have just received a letter of comment with regards to a letter which was published in a recent issue of The WSFA Journal concerning Disclave '89.

My letter was addressed and sent to the Disclave committee. It was certainly not intended for publication along with my name and home address. I was not asked and never gave my permission for this letter to be printed in any publication.

My complains with Disclave '89 were with the irresponsible manner in which it was run which also allowed and encouraged the irresponsible behavior of many of those attending. A letter received in August from the chair of Disclave '89 in response to my letter only confirmed my opinion.

The fact my letter, my name, and my address to the Disclave committee was publicly published without my consent or knowledge continues to confirm my belief.

I demand this letter be printed in the next issue of The WSFA Journal. I demand there appear with it a public apology (in The WSFA Journal) and that I personally received a copy of the letter of apology from the Washington Science Fiction Association for this action. I also demand it be noted I want no further communications from anyone regarding these matters.

Please note my letters to the Disclave committee were my personal opinions. I currently am the director of a science fiction fan organization. My opinions are my own, and do not represent my organization, its members, or any organization associated with it.

I consider this matter closed.

Franklin [censored]


NOT for publication:

P.O. Box 1051, Back Bay Annex
Boston, Massachusetts   02117-1051

Joe Mayhew
Greenbelt, MD 20770
(301) 474-2110

Erica Van Dommelen
Arlington, VA 22201

October 21, 1989

Dear Erica:

Well, here it is. I enclose the text of my own reply to Mr. [censored]:

Dear Mr. [censored]:

I have forwarded your letter of October 13, 1987 to the President of WSFA, as you demanded.

Instead of responding to me in a civil manner, or not responding at all (either would have been legitimate options), you chose to send me a letter addressed to someone else, apparently objecting to having received my comments. I could have tossed your letter in the wastebasket, or returned it to you. Perhaps you will soon wish I had done so.

The President of WSFA found your letter arrogant, shrill and deliberately offensive, and does not consider the matter closed. Somehow, I don't think they'll make you Fan Guest of Honor at Disclave soon.

Atentamente, Joe Mayhew