CONvergence (convention)

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CONvergence
Status Active
Genre Science fiction convention/Speculative fiction/fan convention
Venue DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bloomington – Minneapolis South
Location(s) Bloomington, Minnesota
Country United States
Inaugurated 1999
Organized by CONvergence Events, Inc.
Filing status Non-profit
Website
convergence-con.org

CONvergence is a 6,789 (2013) member[1] fan run speculative literature convention held annually on the first full weekend in July in Minnesota, United States. Speculative fiction includes the science fiction, fantasy, alternative history, and horror genres. The convention began in 1999 at the Bloomington Radisson South Hotel and continues to be held every year at the same location, known through 2011 as the Sheraton Bloomington. CONvergence 2011 was the final event for the Sheraton before its rebranding as Doubletree by Hilton Bloomington – Minneapolis South on July 12, 2012. This location has been used by local fan organizations for a variety of conventions, including Minicon, Anime Detour, MarsCon, and Crypticon (relocated).

Four Day Convention[edit]

The 2008 event was the tenth CONvergence, and the convention theme was centered around that fact, with another day of events (Thursday, July 3, 2008) added to the schedule. This convention was so successful that the four-day schedule permanently replaced the three-day schedule, fulfilling an invitation extended by the hosting venue during 2008's closing ceremonies. (The idea originated with guest of honor Michael Sheard, who stated during closing ceremonies that he enjoyed the convention so much he wished it went on for five days; this request was technically fulfilled in 2008 by holding the convention's last official panel at 12:01 on Monday morning.) In 2008, CONvergence was voted "Best Fan Convention" by the City Pages arts/alternative newspaper.[2] It has appeared in "Best of the Cities" in each consecutive year afterward until 2011 (when no award was given for "best fan convention" or "best annual convention").

Attractions[edit]

A panel of experts (including cartoonist John Kovalic, far left, and author Brian Keene, far right), debate who would win in a fight: Frankenstein's Monster or Cookie Monster.

CONvergence runs many parallel programming tracks, filling several convention rooms simultaneously with panels, speeches, demonstrations, recognitions, and screenings.[3][4] It is one of the most-attended fan-run conventions in North America, with paid attendance exceeding 6,500.

The convention is also known for several unique attractions including Cinema Rex, a couch and recliner-filled movie room; Theater Nippon, featuring anime; Connie's Space Lounge, a music and entertainment venue; COF2E2, a coffee bar; CONsuite, hospitality and food; Harmonic CONvergence, which features musical acts (currently on hold / defunct with musical acts moved to programming rooms); and the Dorian Gray Memorial Literary Lounge, a reading/writing setting.

There is also gaming (board, card, and roleplaying), an art show, an art auction, a dealer's room (where one can buy everything from swords to comics to action figures), all-night bardic music circles, and dozens of room parties of various themes. The walls of the convention are usually plastered with advertisements for different parties.

Parties[edit]

The Convention is famous for its themed room parties[5] given by various community and fan groups. Two levels of cabana rooms surrounding a pool and activity area[6] are filled each year with parties as many convention goers make the rounds from party to party, each with varied themes.

Mascots[edit]

The con's mascot is the gynoid "Connie", who is occasionally opposed by Connie's scheming younger sister, "Connie Mk. II". An inflatable tyrannosaur named Rex serves as Cinema Rex's mascot and is often involved in the Masquerade as well.

Annual themes and guests of honor[edit]

The number in parentheses after each guest's name is how many times they have been a CONvergence guest of honor as of the year in question.

1999 - "After All, it's Just a Party"

2000 - "No one can tell you what CONvergence is... you have to experience it for yourself." (The Matrix and similar fiction)

(this is the only CONvergence not to be held at the Bloomington Radisson/Sheraton/DoubleTree. This CONvergence was held at the Radisson in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota)

2001 - "Curioser and Curioser" (Alice in Wonderland and similar fiction)

2002 - "If Adventure Has A Name..." (Adventure themes in speculative fiction)

Daren Dochterman drawing Enterprise

2003 - "Time Flies" (Time travel)

Christian Colquhoun

2004 - "Out of the Shadows" (The dark side of speculative fiction)

The late Bob "Roadkill" Aiken dressed as Swamp Thing, with creator Len Wein, at CONvergence 2005

2005 - "Snikt! Bamf! Thwip!" (Super-heroes and comic books)

2006 - "Boldly Go." (space exploration)

(Originally, Gary Russell had been scheduled to attend but had to decline due to conflicting obligations)

2007 - "Creature Feature" (horror and monsters)

Emily Hagins

2008 - "Ten Years 1999-2008" (10th CONvergence)

(Originally, Bernie Wrightson had been scheduled to attend as one of the many returning guests of honor for year ten, but was unable to do so at the last minute.)

2009 - "This Con Goes to 11" (Humor in Science-Fiction and Fantasy, also the 11th CONvergence)

2010 - "Bring on the Bad Guys" (12th CONvergence)

  • L.A. Banks - Author of the Vampire Huntress Legend series of novels as well as the Crimson Moon, Dark Avengers and Soul Food series.
  • Jeremy Bulloch - Actor with credits including The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi (Boba Fett)
  • Paul Cornell - Writer for Doctor Who (television, novels, audio), novelist and writer for Marvel Comics (Captain Britain and MI-13).
  • Bridget Landry (3) - Jet Propulsion Laboratory Engineer (Hubble, Mars Pathfinder, and Cassini missions) and Master-level costumer.
  • Chuck McCann - Veteran comedian, actor, and cartoon voiceover artist, voice of Sonny the Cuckoo Bird.
  • Wally Wingert (3) - Voice actor with credits including Invader Zim (Almighty Tallest Red), Bleach (Renji Abarai), and The Garfield Show (Jon).

2011 - "Tomorrow through the Past" (13th CONvergence) CONvergence 2011 was the last event held at the Sheraton Minneapolis South before it changed brands to Doubletree on July 12.

2012 - "Wonder Women" (14th CONvergence), Theme: Female creators and characters of Speculative Fiction

2013 - "British Invasion" (July 4–7, 2013), 15th CONvergence, Theme: British creators and characters of Speculative Fiction.

2014 - "Urban Fantasy" (July 3–6, 2014), 16th CONvergence, Theme: Urban Fantasy such as the Gargoyles TV series [8]

Hotel booked through convention[edit]

The convention is held at the Doubletree Bloomington – Minneapolis South[9] located at the intersection of Minnesota State Highway 100 and Interstate 494. Convergence has grown so large that the convention handles booking for the entire Doubletree hotel for the 4-day-weekend. Since the 2010 convention cycle, an online hotel room reservation system[10] was established. CONvergence also has secured room blocs at the Sofitel and Crowne Plaza.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2013 Post con report: 6789 registrations". 3/9/13: 6,668 2011: 5,031 registrations. 5,980 registrations in 2012, 5,684 attendees.
  2. ^ "BEST FAN CONVENTION". City Pages, LLC. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-17. 
  3. ^ "CONvergence". MISFITS. 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  4. ^ Smith, Rod (17 July 2002). "Geek Chic". City Pages 23 (1128). 
  5. ^ "Room Parties at Convergence". 
  6. ^ "Panoramic Photos of Garden Court and Room Parties at Convergence". 
  7. ^ "CONvergence 2008 News". 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  8. ^ "Convergence". 2014-07-04. 
  9. ^ "Doubletree Bloomington – Minneapolis South". 
  10. ^ "Convergence Room Reservation System". 

External links[edit]