I am sitting here the Monday after Jordancon 2019, trying to get real life started again in a way that does not feel too abrupt. So far so good and with the musings from the 2019 Jordancon still in my head, I wanted to take a few minutes and roll them out.
Gratitude is too slim a word to express how I feel towards the panelists and the members who attended the panels. This year was a complete success for the SF Track from beginning to end. Every panel had good attendance and some the discussions spawned were interesting, to say the least. I want to mention a few folks by name whom made the track as good as it was this year.
Want to start off with Nancy McCullough my track XO. Nancy was there, asking how she could help, moderating panels, and doing a great job as always. Her presence allows me to leave the track room and engage other parts of Jordancon. When you see Nancy at Jordancon or if you know her, give her a high five, because Nancy more than earned it.
I am starting to get a few track regulars and I wanted to give a shout out. Gerald L. Coleman, Milton Davis, Amy DuBoff, Darin M. Bush, and JD Jordan: you were all amazing. Of course Billy Todd made our Star Trek panel awesome along with track newcomer Mark McCray. Between the two of them there is a metric ton of Star Trek knowledge. Quinn Howard delivered great insight and Jenn Lyons (and her husband) showed off her genre chops and enthusiasm. Will Kenyon and Valerie Lauer made for a great Hyperion panel on Saturday night. Danyelle Denham has been at every Smackdown and makes them fun even when I make a mess of it.
Speaking of the Smackdown… This year was great. I think the new format worked out pretty well and next year we will choose some different categories as well. Again, feedback is great both now while it is fresh in your heads and right before the Con when we are making things happen. There will be some tweaks next year to tighten down the rules.
As mentioned, all of the panels were good. Every. Single. One. Maybe not perfect but the energy and the discussions were A+. The SF Indie Authors round table was fantastic and the panelists networking during and after was fun to watch. The Expanse was popular and the Rise of the AI (thanks Darin) had some great conversations.
But there is no doubt that my favorite panel was the Dune for Wheel of Time fans panel. I love the WoT tie in panels I run and this has got to be my favorite of them so far. Honestly, I am not sure how I am going to top it next year.
So Say We All & Terror in 2020
Like many (or all) of you I am already thinking about next year. All I can say right now is:
Think about what inspires you
Think about what scares you
Think outside the box
…and tune in next week for out total unofficial track preview.
When you attend JordanCon, you are not just going to an event. You are joining a community. The event lasts three days, but the bonds that are formed are ongoing. We stay in touch year-round via social media and informal meet-ups. Our family has shown amazing compassion and jumped in to help when a member of our community needed it. This is why we sell Memberships to JordanCon and not Tickets. You are not merely attending an event. You are joining our community.
Tiaras & Kilts
Our Con Chair, Jennifer Liang, started wearing a tiara while president of the Southern Fandom Confederation. Other people admired it, so she encouraged others to wear one too. Lisa Sommerfeld does a radio show called “Tiara Time” and asked if she could bring it to JordanCon. The two ideas conflated together into one giant, sparkly mass. This has really taken off- our members buy or make new tiaras, share photos throughout the year, and we take a group photo during the event. A handful of our members enjoy wearing kilts at the convention, and this has also evolved into a group photo.
What’s the deal with the hot dogs?
Traditionally, during Saturday’s lunch, we serve hot dogs and they
run out FAST. In 2017, our ConSuite Director ordered about double the
amount of hot dogs from the year before. What we did NOT know was
that our supplier switched from regular sized Nathan’s hot dogs to
foot long giant hot dogs. Because of this change, people were only
eating one hot dog instead of the usual 2 or 3.
We had so. Many. Hot dogs. So. Many.
Hot dogs come in metal catering trays
of hot water. That basically turns into hot dog soup after a while.
The entire ConSuite smelled like hot dogs, which seeped into the
hallway and then the hall smelled like hot dogs.
We were serving hot dogs all day every
day. It smelled like hot dogs all day every day. We could not escape
the hot dogs. People were sent home with zip lock bags filled with
hot dogs. You could not escape the hot dogs.
Everyone made so much fun of the hot dog situation that the theme infiltrated our escape room. People began writing hot dog/escape room fanfiction. Hot dogs are now a “thing” and we are pretty sure that if we fail to serve them one year, chaos will ensue.
The Ribbonsanity began when our Vendor Hall Director, Paul, was trying to collect all the badge ribbons that we had (which was not many). Our Co-Chair, Jimmy, created the “Spouse” badge ribbon to taunt him because that was the only ribbon he could not acquire. If Jimmy can create a “Spouse” ribbon, lots of other people can create lots of other fun ribbons, and it really just built from there.
JordanCon has a robust nightlife. Karaoke on Fridays, a huge dance party on Saturday. Our dance party has been crashed by a bar mitzvah AND a prom. Truly- there are people out there with prom pics of them in fancy dresses posing with The Green Man.
Room parties, board games & lots of hanging out. Shenanigans abound!
The Gaming Hall is basically never empty, though you can always find a spot to play! Start your own game, or ask someone if you can join them. We host a Poker Tournament on Friday night and a Magic the Gathering tournament on Saturday. You can usually find someone playing Dungeons & Dragons, or several other RPGs. If you are into Star Wars X-Wing, we’ve got a cool setup for the Trench Run.
JordanCon, Inc. is a tax exempt 501(c)(4) nonprofit that is proud to support the Amyloidosis research fund at the Mayo Clinic. Since 2009, JordanCon has raised nearly $30,000 for this cause. Check out our Charity page for more information.
Okay… you got me… it’s not quite April yet, but it’s that time when we start shamelessly promoting our shiny weekend that is JordanCon, in the hopes of sharing our communal merriment with Wheel of Time friends far and wide—those we’ve met and those we hope to meet.
Seriously, yo. Come and play. It’s a sweet time, and one you won’t regret. The more we get together the merrier, faster, stronger, and the partier we’ll be.
Or something like that…
In the interests of discovering what makes JordanCon… er… JordanCon, we performed a wee bit of crowd sourcing a while back—which is the fancy way of saying we posted on Facebook to see what previous con-attendees mentioned as the highlights for potential newcomers to experience.
In the interests of thoroughness, we have absolutely crawled the JordanCon Facebook wall to see what people are saying to those would-be-first-time-con-attendees-but-they’re-nervous-and-need-a-little-push-folks. Because we truly want to see you in April, newbies!
(Even though that previous paragraph sounds stalkery, we’re really not… unless “stalkery” is a euphemism for “exuberant,” in which case, hells yeah, that’s totally us—and we party well, too!)
Ahem. Anyhow. Here’s what we got from said stalkery…
In response to the question, “What are you most excited about for JordanCon?”
“Seeing my JordanCon family again!” – Brit
“…The new hotel, new programming layout, bigger art show/dealers room, etc.” – Jimmy
“It’ll be my first time, so… everything!! (Mostly meeting all of you though).” – Rina
“Meeting the people who have only existed on my computer screen for so long! I do want to experience all of it, workshops, costumes, etc. but it always comes back to the people. Always the people.” – Steve
“Seeing my friends! And meeting the author. And meeting new people! And dancing. And…and…and….” – Tricia
“Seeing my JCon family, the panels, Jay’s cookies, people, the authors, the artists, the art, the people, the costumes, the laughs, the hugs, making sure Kristy eats, laughing, just ALL OF IT!!!!” – Tina
“Bob’s blackberry Brandy, the mead, the homemade wine, Blood and Bloody Ashes, Fork Root Tea, etc.” – Lisa
“Getting to see all the people I only get to see once a year. And more Lews Therin dragging a dead Ilyena around.” – Seth
We asked previous con-attendees what they’d tell first timers, and we received a myriad of responses.
“The Saturday night dance party is a must!” – Jenna
“Shout-out to volunteering as a newbie—it’s a marvelous way to meet a whack of people at once and really invest in your own Con experience. It might only be a couple of hours, but you could meet a ton of people at the registration desk or by being a runner for the Con suite, or maybe help out with signing lines (and meet author guests one on one). Seriously, so many opportunities to enhance your own experience…it does NOT feel like work!” – Leslie
“Jay’s cookies! And the family reunion atmosphere that’s only barely held in check by panel times on the track schedule. And the authors, who are, seriously, the most awesome on the planet.” – Tiff
“SHENANIGANS!!!!” – Bonnie
“For anyone that hasn’t finished the series, I’d recommend the discussion panel that only goes up through Book 5 or 6 (not sure which it will be this year, I suggested 6). It’s great to discuss the series and what you think is happening and what will happen. It’s even more fun to discuss the characters we love, hate, or love to hate.” – Jeff
“I went a few years ago, the only time I was able to make it. The things I still remember are the awesome people I met (most of whom I still keep in touch with), cover art artist panel, poker competition, and dance party. And of course meeting some of the top people in the Wheel of Time world.” – Jeremy
“Getting up super early to wait by the registration desk so you can get your name on the Team Jordan kaffeeklatsch list. Because Harriet, Maria, and Alan are awesome!” – Ross
“The people are so great that even if you have not read all (or any!) of the WoT books they are NICE to you and talk to you! And if, HYPOTHETICALLY, you completely misunderstand the instructions for the Shenanigans and start playing halfway through and generally causing accidental chaos (BUT FOR CHARITY), people are very understanding. Get there early for panels, because even shy people can strike up conversations with strangers who turn out to be completely lovely, and suddenly you have a new friend!” – Melissa
“If we’re making a list of must-dos for the Con, you NEED to hit the Con Suite! Lots of low key chatting for those who want to meet people in a quieter setting, plus free food, and the smiling faces of the Con Suite crew. Home away from home!” – Leslie
“JordanCon is more than just WoT! We have fantasy, sci-fi, writers, gaming, hands-on stuff… We’re equal opportunity geeks!” – Tiff
“I love the local authors that come from the other panels; they write diverse genres. From YA fantasy to comedy/urban fantasy to romantic fantasy to urban/action/horror to SciFi. I am of course referencing Jana Oliver, John Hartness, Delilah S. Dawson, to James Ray Jr. Tuck to Alex Hughes. All published authors. Check out their stuff.” – Charles
And, of course, last but certainly not least, folks need to come to JordanCon to experience the “best bartender in Randland.” (Thanks for literally sharing, in this respect, April!) [Editor: You’re welcome.]
Here and there on the JordanCon Facebook group we see some brave souls sharing their vulnerable side, specifically their concern that they’d be traveling solo to the con. Take, for instance, Rand (whose name has been changed to protect the innocent).
Rand says, “I want to go soooo bad, but I’m wary because I’d literally be going alone and I wouldn’t know anybody there…”
Here’s how our JordanCon veterans replied:
“Jen Halbman heads a ‘Speed Friending’ panel on Friday afternoon that was started the year before last. I’ve helped her with it and we have a ton of fun! Gives folks like yourself a chance to meet some other attendees and break the ice in a fun way. We had great turn-outs both times and everyone seemed to have a blast.” – Danielle
“I walked in the door knowing about 6 people. In the next ten minutes, I acquired friends for life. […] I was absolutely PETRIFIED about going. I missed last year and I’m still trying to recover. Seriously, it’s a lot of fun and you’ll wonder why you didn’t go sooner.” – Melanie
“We didn’t know anyone at all there. The first day was a little strange but then, by that first night, it felt like we knew everyone!” – Randy
“We’re so friendly, we’ve had weddings and Bar Mitzvahs crash our party.” – Jeff
“For all of you posting about being concerned about going because you won’t know anyone, just hang out here [on the JordanCon Facebook group] a lot. Post often, comment often, and then you’ll recognize names and we’ll recognize yours. I promise that you won’t be alone!” – Paige
“Yes! There are no strangers at JordanCon.” – Kelly
“COME!!!! We’re all excited to meet you! No strangers, just family you haven’t met yet (I know, it’s been said before — but it’s SO true!!)” – Tina
“It’s just like old home week. Remember, you have something to talk about with every JordanCon’er!!! Just open up, relax and enjoy!!” – Darrell
“It’s a small con, and very laid back. Very welcoming. I would definitely suggest it for an introduction to cons.” – John
“Aside from us being a friendly group in general, we also do a few things specifically to help people meet each other. We do something called ‘Speed Friending’ in the Wheel of Time track every year, we’re hosting a pre-con book club this year and we’re looking at a few other potential games. Lots of people say volunteering for a few hours helped them meet new friends too.” – Jen
That wraps up our list, folks—perhaps you spotted your own quote or maybe you’re a potential JordanCon attendee who’s now had your questions answered. Between the artists, authors, and apparel, the panels, parties, and people, there’s plenty to do and see and you’ll have plenty of new friends to hang out with while you’re at it.