Departmental Updates (PR 2)

MidAmeriCon II Fan Fair

What is Fan Fair? At its most basic, it is an exhibit hall; a very, very big exhibit hall–almost 200,000 square feet/5 acres (when we say ‘meet you in the back 40’, we’re not kidding!) It is twice as large as the Chicon 7 exhibit hall and would hold the exhibit halls of both Chicon 7 and Loncon 3!

Creating a ”village” out of this large space seems inadequate. How about a fan kingdom? Nah, still thinking too small. How about something fun? This is the Midwest, so how about a state fair? Oh, oh, I know! A World’s Fair! A fannish All-Worlds’ Fair!

In the spirit of state fair meets World’s Fair meets fandom, MidAmeriCon II’s Fan Fair will house both old and new in glorious 1930s Art Deco style. We want this to be a space to make people smile, full of innovative ideas to engage a fan at every turn, and a great place to socialize as well as a place to just relax for a while. (All done with fannish panache, of course!) You’ll still find all the usual suspects–Dealers Room, Art Show, displays, fan tables, and many fan services like Information and Volunteers, but in addition we’re adding a kick-ass dollop of hospitality: the convention-hosted hospitality area (think con suite), a bar of our very own (or maybe a beer garden!!!), mobile food and drink, and parties, parties, parties!!!! But that’s not all. There will be fun & games Fan Fair-style, something to engage your attention at every turn whether interesting or silly with a focus on photo ops (so bring your best cosplay!); a sports stadium for those so inclined; and a carnival-like atmosphere with whoas and surprises galore!


Exhibit Hall

We have almost 5 acres of space in our Exhibit Hall so we need lots of people to help us create and run fun things there! If you have always wanted to help run a costume repair station, or if you think helping to set up an exhibit (maybe from NASA!) would be cool, or if you would like to teach people how to, oh, juggle, or if you have any fun ideas, send a message to us at exhibits@midamericon2.org. If you don’t have an idea but would still like to participate, we have a really long list of things that we think are cool that need people to make them happen. We would love to work with you.

We are also looking for people who like to build things like stage props and Halloween/Christmas decorations. Budget permitting we have some cool plans for the Exhibit Hall that involve a little creativity and construction before the convention starts and during our move-in (which starts on Monday August 15, by the way). Let us know if you can help out on our creative team.

Note to Kansas City Locals: Do you have a large empty garage or basement? We also need space for people to gather to create these props and decorations in the months before the convention and to store them . Let us know if you can help us out.


Party Space Discussion Mailing List

If you are interested in throwing a party at MidAmeriCon II or interested in discussing strategies related to parties, please join our party discussion mailing list by sending an email to party-discuss-join@midamericon2.org with the subject line of SUBSCRIBE. You will receive a return email with some confirmation directions to follow to be added to the mailing list. Once you are added, please introduce yourself to the list by sending a message to party-discuss@midamericon2.org.

If you just have a question about parties and don’t want to join the mailing list, send an email to partyinfo@midamericon2.org.


Childcare

Childcare will be available at MidAmeriCon II. While not all the details have been finalized, we can confirm at this point that: (1) It will be provided by a licensed professional childcare company, (2) There will be an hourly charge for childcare (with some hours provided free for people with Child memberships), (3) We will be taking advance reservations for childcare starting in the Spring (see the website for updates), and (4) Exact costs and procedures will be in the next Progress Report, coming out in late Spring.


Our Hotels

MidAmeriCon II is using four hotels: the Kansas City Marriott Downtown, the Hotel Phillips, the Aladdin, and the Crowne Plaza. Bookings will open in January and announcements will be made through social media and email when we have the exact date. To receive these special convention room rates, you must book through the MidAmeriCon II website (midamericon2.org/hotels/).

Our rates are:

  • Marriott $129 single/double, $134 triple/quad
  • Phillips $129 single/double/triple/quad
  • Aladdin $119 single/double/triple/quad
  • Crowne Plaza $129 single/double, $134 triple/quad

Our housing staff will be available to address your accommodation requests and booking issues starting in January as well, or if you have any questions before then. You can reach them at hotel@midamericon.org.

A number of accessible rooms are available in the Marriott as well as some in the other hotels. When you make your reservation, make sure to specify your requirements.

All of our hotels are within two blocks of the Kansas City Convention Center and Bartle Hall and all have restaurant options. Also nearby is the Power & Light District, known for its large selection of restaurants, bars, entertainment spots, and shops. We are a short walk to a number of restaurants and a large specialty grocery store, Cosentino’s, that features a great deli, a wide range of takeout food, and a bakery.

Suites

Only a limited number of suites is available. To request a suite, send email to suites@midamericon2.org. Please include your preferred backup hotel for a standard room and whether you need a king or double/double room in case we are not able to satisfy your suite request. If you request a suite by April 30, you do not need to also reserve a room. If we are unable to give you a suite, we will assign a standard room for you at the convention rate.

We will conduct a lottery if there are more requests for suites than we have available suites. All requests that arrive by April 30 will be treated as if they arrived on the same date. Requests that come in after that will be satisfied on a first-come, first-served basis provided that suites are still available. You will be notified if we are able to assign you a suite. Most of our suites are in the Marriott, although if you really want one in one of the other hotels, ask and we’ll see what we can do.

Kansas City Marriott Downtown

Our largest group of rooms is in the Marriott, which is our most modern hotel with the largest elevators. It has two towers connected via skywalk: the Marriott Tower and the Muehlebach Tower. The historic Muehlebach Tower was the site of MidAmeriCon in 1976. It’s an easy walk to the convention center, and if you prefer not to go outside, there is an underground tunnel. The current Marriott parking rate is $18 daily, $24 valet. (We will update you if that changes before the convention.) Late-night filk will be in the Marriott.

Hotel Phillips

The Hotel Phillips was voted Kansas City’s best boutique hotel in 2015. The Phillips is a beautiful Art Deco hotel, with ornate architecture and large murals on the walls: they even have an artist in residence.

Want something to eat while in the hotel? The 12 Baltimore serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week. It also partners with Boulevard Brewery and uses many of their locally crafted beers in their recipes. Our negotiated parking rates are short-term valet $12, overnight valet $22/night.

Aladdin

The Aladdin is part of the Holiday Inn chain and is also an Art Deco hotel, connected to the convention center via an underground tunnel (or a short above-ground walk). The rooms have work desks, mini fridges, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and free WiFi. Suites include pull-out sofas.

The restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, and there’s also a martini lounge on the mezzanine.

Crowne Plaza

The Crowne Plaza, also part of the Holiday Inn chain, is a more modern hotel.

Restaurants include the City Grille, a bar, and a Starbucks. They have 12 accessible rooms, an outdoor pool, free WiF, and a parking garage. Our negotiated parking rates are $10/day for event parking and $15/day for overnight guests (higher for valet).


Art Show

MidAmeriCon II will have a wonderfully diverse set of artists displaying all types of artwork. From sculptures to paintings, jewelry and pottery, you can view and buy lots of interesting things. If you are an artist and are interested in being part of the Art Show, send an email to artshow@midamericon2.org for more details. If you are interested in art and love unique items, be sure to stop by the Art Show! The Art Show will be in Section E of Bartle Hall in the Kansas City Convention Center.


ASFA Lounge

MidAmeriCon II is working with ASFA, the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, to have a lounge area in the Exhibit Hall that will include an exhibit describing ASFA for those who are interested in learning more about it. We’re hoping to host some exciting events in this space, so stay tuned for more news!


Dealers Room

MidAmeriCon II has a huge Exhibit Hall to fill and a good portion of that space will be devoted to the Dealers Room. We will have both booth spaces and tables for rent. The prices for these spaces have not yet been determined, but we plan to have a reservation system in place by the time this publication goes to print. Write to dealers@midamericon2.org for more details and to find out how to reserve space.

The Dealers Room will be in Section E of Bartle Hall in the Kansas City Convention Center.


Creator’s Alley

Our large Creator’s Alley space next to the Art Show and Dealers Room will feature tables that can be rented for just a portion of the convention in four-hour time slots as well as tables reserved for the entire convention. Because the tables in this area will not have as much space as a spot in the Dealers Room, they will therefore be a little cheaper, making them ideal for artists or authors watching their budget. The costs for these spaces should be determined by early in 2016. Send an email to dealers@midamericon2.org to inquire about these spaces and to get on our list.


Call for Student Science Posters

Share your research with the public for the chance at a $100 prize!

MidAmeriCon II is hosting the third annual Worldcon Science Poster Competition. We are looking for high school students, undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-doctoral scholars to share their research with an audience that is very interested in the sciences, engineering, and technology. The winner will receive a $100 prize for the poster that best communicates science to the general public. Please spread the word about the competition to friends, students, and colleagues so we can make this the biggest poster competition yet. To participate, send an email to Sam Scheiner (posters@midamericon2.org) by July 1. Please include your name, your academic affiliation, the poster title, and an abstract of no more than 100 words.


Programming

Programming will really get under way in late Winter/early Spring of 2016, but we’re ready to take suggestions from you so can help us develop a program that will have items of interest to you.

On the newly renovated website, there are forms that will allow you to send us ideas, suggest Special Interest and Discussion groups, and volunteer to be a Program Participant. See these at midamericon2.org/programming/.

Help us!! Remember–you can help us make the Program for MidAmeriCon II the best ever.


MidAmeriCon II International Film Festival

Adventures in Time and Space… Journeys to fantasy worlds… Things that go bump in the night! Screening films from around the globe…Meeting attending film makers and learning about the behind-the-scenes tals of making their films…And enjoying great stories!

All this and more can be found at the MidAmeriCon II International Film Festival. The Festival will be screening many award winning indie shorts and features in the SF&F, documentary, fan, and horror genres.

The MidAmeriCon II Film Festival will be held at the Convention Center with the format being in two-hour genre themed blocks. A Q&A with any attending film makers will follow between each block. Come and enjoy the film festival experience.


Retro Hugo Awards Ceremony

Hey hepcats and jitterbugs! Dust off your dance moves and shake out your threads. We’re having a swing dance! MidAmericon II will be hosting the Retro Hugo Awards for the year 1941, during which Denvention I was held over the July 4th weekend. The Retro Hugos are awarded for years in which a Worldcon was held and the Hugo Awards were not awarded. (For more information about the rules and creation of the Retro Hugo Awards, see thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/a-short-history-of-the-hugo-awards-process/)

Because most of us are unfamiliar with work from that period, we’ll be soliciting and publishing articles by members of the SF community to provide an overview of the works from 1940 that are eligible for nominations.

Nominations for the 2016 Hugo Awards and the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards will open in early January and close in late March. Once the final ballot is set, voting will open in mid-May and close in late July.

In the meantime, noodle on this: We’ll bring the swing but you have to bring the moves. If you’ve always thought about taking swing dance lessons but thought you’d never use it, this is your chance to impress. Period clothing is encouraged but not required. Check the MidAmeriCon II website for updates and inspiration.


Writers’ Workshops at MidAmeriCon II

Everything’s Up To Date in Kansas City

The writing workshops for MidAmeriCon II are beginning to hum with plans! We’ll be matching aspiring/new writers with experienced professional writers for a closed-door critique session sometime during the daytime throughout the convention.

The standard format for these sessions is that three aspiring writers meet with two professional writers for two hours. This year, we might try some new test sessions that are one hour or one half-hour long. We will accept both short stories and novel excerpts across a wide variety of genres and sub-genres.

A page on our website will provide detailed information about how to request a slot. Slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Right now, we want to exhort you to brush up that piece of writing you’ve been working on, to finish one, or even start one and get it ready for next summer.

Finally, if you’re a professional writer willing to give aspiring and new writers two hours of your time, please send us an email. We have a few names already, but we’re looking for many more.

If you have any questions about the Writers Workshops, please send an email to Oz Drummond at writersworkshops@midamericon2.org.


WorldCon Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop for Teens

MidAmeriCon II will be hosting a free teen writing workshop led by Diane Turnshek, founder of Alpha, the SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers. Professional authors will write critiques of submissions prior to the convention. Interested 13-19 year olds will also critique the stories and meet with workshop coordinators for a three-hour critique session during the convention.

Submissions must meet the following criteria:

• Author should be between 13 – 19 years old at the time of the convention.

• Stories must have clear science fiction, fantasy, or horror elements.

• Stories should not be fan fiction or a part of a longer work.

• Length should be between 1,500 and 5,000 words..

For more information, send an email to young-writers-workshop@midamericon2.org.


Call for Presentations: Campbell Conference at MidAmeriCon II

This year’s Campbell Conference serves as the academic track for MidAmeriCon II. Using the MidAmeriCon II theme of “Tomorrow Is Now,” we’ll discuss the current state and future of science fiction.

Even though WorldCon is the biggest annual gathering of SF fans and professionals in the world, it does not always offer academic programming. This year, rather than hosting a separate Campbell Conference on our usual dates with the WorldCon occurring just a month later in neighboring Kansas City, we decided to combine the two. This strategy offers our regular attendees and award winners the opportunity to be part of the biggest SF event of the year while celebrating the Campbell and Sturgeon Awards.

As officially scheduled presenters for the event, you as a participating SF student or academic have the opportunity to enhance your CV by presenting research to a potentially much wider audience, and to immerse yourself in the world’s first and biggest SF event. Win-win!

In addition to a running track of presentations, we also plan to hold our usual round-table discussion. And, of course, we’ll celebrate the winners of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF novel and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for Best Short SF, and host a reception for our winning authors.Deadline: Submit an abstract by January 14, 2016. We will make final decisions on presentations soon after. We’ll use a rolling acceptance beginning with the first submissions, so don’t delay! Full Details: sfcenter.ku.edu/campbell-conference.htm See you in Kansas City!


Installment Membership Plan

MidAmeriCon II is happy to provide an Attending Membership Installment Plan for those wishing to pay over a period of time. Our Installment Plan is a great way to “save the rate” since you lock in at the current membership rate when you start the plan. That way, your total membership price never increases even after our rates go up! For those wishing to purchase a Family Membership through our Installment Plan, you will need to email familymembership@midamericon2.org to get started.

Please be aware of the following before choosing our Installment Plan:

  • On the membership selection page, you must choose either Installment Plan Adult $50 or Installment Plan Young Adult $50 to activate your plan.
  • The initial $50 for your Installment Plan membership is not refundable and Installment Memberships can only be transferred after being paid for in full.
  • Once you start on the Installment Plan, you will be billed bi-monthly, starting 1–2 months after you join, for:
    • $25 until you have paid in full if you joined prior to September 2015,
    • $30 if you joined October 2015,
    • $35 after October 2015

Rate per billing goes up as we approach the convention and there are fewer billing cycles. Invoicing will be the first week of every other month with all incomplete installment plans billed in full on July 1, 2016.

You will have 30 days to pay off each invoice. If you fail to pay an invoice within the 30-day period, we will contact you. You may choose to leave the plan and have your conversion payments refunded (less the Supporting Membership and a $20 processing fee) or stay on the Plan. If you stay on the plan, you will lose the benefits of the “lock-in” conversion rate, and your total conversion fee will be reset to the rate in force at the time. Your existing payments will of course continue to be credited towards your conversion.

You can pay off your Installment Plan at any time by emailing us and we will send you a final payment invoice.

If you need to cancel your Installment Plan or have any questions, please contact installmentplan@midamericon2.org.