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MediaWest*Con is one of the largest and longest running media-based (TV shows/film) fan-run conventions in the United States. It is held annually over Memorial Day weekend in Lansing, Michigan. The convention emerged in the late 1970s, beginning as T'Con in 1978 and 2'Con in 1979 before taking on the name MediaWest*Con in 1981. The convention remains the world's largest gathering of Fanzine writers, artists, and publishers, and for decades was the event where most new science fiction and fantasy Fanzines were released. The annual "Fan Quality Awards" for Fanzine excellence, known as the "Fan Q's", have been given out at MediaWest*Con since 1981. In addition, the convention's art show has been the principal location for the display and sale of published Fanzine art and illustrations.
MediaWest*Con was founded by members of an unofficial Michigan State University science fiction club. The earliest convention by these members was T'Con in 1978. Several of these members were also active in fanzine publishing, principally "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" fanzines. Because of this the convention soon attracted the attention of other fanzine publishers and writers. By the time the name was changed to MediaWest*Con in 1981 the convention was well known in the fanzine community as the event at which to introduce new fanzine releases. Many fanzine releases have been timed around the convention's annual Memorial Day schedule.
MediaWest was the first media fandom convention focused on the "media geek" culture that emerged following a split between people who liked all forms of science fiction media, and those fans of only literary science fiction. At first MediaWest was a convention principally for fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, and the Indiana Jones saga, as well as fans of Monty Python's Flying Circus. After a few years the con began attracting other fandoms, such as Doctor Who, Beauty and the Beast, Red Dwarf, and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Today it boasts the attendance of fans of over fifty different science fiction media fandoms.
Annual activities at MediaWest*Con include awards for fan fiction zines, cosplay, filking, costuming, plays and skits, and crafts. MediaWest*Con is also notable as the first convention to host a dedicated place to show fan vids, and give awards for fan videos.
MediaWest*Con remains a fan run and organized convention and is not affiliated with any national promotion group, or business. The convention has no paid "guest stars" or celebrity appearances, although several celebrities from science fiction shows have appeared over the years at their own expense. The focus of the convention remains fan interaction in a setting promoting fannish interests with a special emphasis on the production and sale of media fanzines.
|T'Con||March 24–26, 1978||N/A||Panel topics included fanzine heroines, creating alien cultures, Darkover, science in fan fiction, sexism in fan fiction, art for publication, the political, economic, & social structure of the Star Wars universe, filk, costuming, reviewing & editing 'zines, going pro, and K/S. Fan Qs were awarded, and a Pigs In Space sketch was performed.|
|2'Con||May 25–28, 1979||N/A||With 2'Con, we moved to Memorial Day Weekend and expanded to 4 days (Friday through Monday).
Panel topics included created worlds, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Wars fandom, eroticism, filk, 'zines, pro novels and pro market, and fringe fandoms. Fan Qs were awarded, and Spocky Horror Picture Show was performed.
|MediaWest*Con 1||May 22–25, 1981||"The Midwest Strikes Back"||Panel topics included Battlestar-struck, Dr Who?, feminism, fanfic, Brit SF, psi research, humor in SF, gays in fandom, ST:TMP, TESB, and Star Trek Welcommittee. Fan Qs were awarded, A Romulan's Tale, TESB: The Musical, Gumby Trek, and Supraman: The Slide Show were performed.|
|MediaWest*Con 2||May 28–31, 1982||"Raiders of the Midwest"|
|MediaWest*Con 3||May 27–30, 1983||"The Return of the Midwest"|
|MediaWest*Con 4||May 25–28, 1984||"The Search for the Midwest"|
|MediaWest*Con 5||May 24–27, 1985||"V"|
|MediaWest*Con 6||May 23–26, 1986||"#6"|
|MediaWest*Con 7||May 22–26, 1987||"007"|
|MediaWest*Con 8||May 27–30, 1988||"Across the 8th Convention"||10th anniversary of T'Con.|
|MediaWest*Con 9||May 26–29, 1989||"The Ninth Generation"||The Hilton Inn changed management after being sold to Rado-Mat Holdings, Inc., and the facility became the Lansing Holiday Inn Conference Center West prior to MediaWest*Con X.|
|MediaWest*Con 10||May 25–28, 1990||"Back to the MediaWest*Con Part X"||10th anniversary of MediaWest*Con.|
|MediaWest*Con 11||May 24–27, 1991||"'91/11"||The Lansing Holiday Inn West failed to honor their contractual obligation to provide "all function space" to MediaWest*Con by double-booking two weddings in the main ballrooms. We were forced to hold a banquet and the Masquerade in the humidity of the "Holidome" pool area.|
|MediaWest*Con 12||May 22–25, 1992||"Beyond the Holidome"||MediaWest*Con moved to its new location at the Lansing Holiday Inn South/Convention Center.|
|MediaWest*Con 13||May 28–31, 1993||N/A|
|MediaWest*Con 14||May 27–30, 1994||"Fourtoon"|
|MediaWest*Con 15||May 26–29, 1995||N/A|
|MediaWest*Con 16||May 24–27, 1996||"XVI"|
|MediaWest*Con 17||May 23–26, 1997||"17th Contact"|
|MediaWest*Con 18||May 22–25, 1998||"A Long Time Ago"||20 year anniversary of T'Con|
|MediaWest*Con 19||May 28–31, 1999||"MediaWest*Con: 1999; We Come in Peace for all Fankind"|
|MediaWest*Con 20||May 26–29, 2000||"Y2K"||20th Anniversary of MediaWest*Con.|
|MediaWest*Con 21||May 25–28, 2001||"MediaWest*Con: 2001, A Fan Odyssey"|
|MediaWest*Con 22||May 24–27, 2002||"Episode 22" (the theme was joined with one of remembrance of the 9/11 tragedy)|
|MediaWest*Con 23||May 23–26, 2003||"School of Fancraft & Zinedry"|
|MediaWest*Con 24||May 28–31, 2004||"24"|
|MediaWest*Con 25||May 27–30, 2005||"Revenge of the 25th"|
|MediaWest*Con 26||May 26–29, 2006||"MediaWest*Kong: The 26th Wonder of the World"|
|MediaWest*Con 27||May 25–28, 2007||"Pirates of the MediaWest*Con"|
|MediaWest*Con 28||May 23–26, 2008||"Go MediaWest*Con Young Fan!"||30th anniversary of T'Con.|
|MediaWest*Con 29||May 22–25, 2009||"The Fannish Frontier"|
|MediaWest*Con 30||May 28–31, 2010||"MediaLOST*Con"||30th anniversary of MediaWest*Con. The Holiday Inn South sold and became a Causeway Bay Hotel.|
|MediaWest*Con 31||May 27–30, 2011||"31 Flavors of Fandom"|
|MediaWest*Con 32||May 25–28, 2012||"Apocalypticon"||Causeway Bay Hotel became the Best Western Plus Lansing.|
|MediaWest*Con 33||May 24–27, 2013||"For All Time"||MW*C Returned to the Holidome, now the Lansing Ramada, due to contract disputes with Best Western Plus Lansing.|
|MediaWest*Con 34||May 23–26, 2014||"The Walking Fen"||MW*C sold single day memberships for the first time in addition to eliminating the room lottery system.|
|MediaWest*Con 35||May 22–25, 2015||"Once Upon A Con"|
|MediaWest*Con 36||May 27–30, 2016||"Return to Tomorrow"|
|MediaWest*Con 37||May 26–29, 2017||"May the Fen be with you"|
- Enterprising Women: Television Fandom and the Creation of Popular Myth By Camille Bacon-Smith, page 42.
- Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet: New Essays edited by Karen Hellekson, Kristina Busse, page 50.
- Boldly Writing: A Trekker Fan and Zine History 1967-1987 by Joan Marie Verba, page 54.
- The Fan Q awards were originally handed out at T'Con, and continued after the convention was renamed MediaWest. Source: Boldly Writing: A Trekker Fan and Zine History 1967-1987 by Joan Marie Verba, page 42. See also "A Conversation with Paula Smith" by Walker, Cynthia W. 2011, published in Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 6. doi:10.3983/twc.2011.0243.
- Walker, Jesse (August–September 2008). "Remixing Television: Francesca Coppa on the vidding underground". Reason Online. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
- Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture By Henry Jenkins, page 159.