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Monday, April 12, 2004

Competing Theories on Vegas Convention Management

Plastic.com is a great site, kind of like a blog and discussion board all in one. Its catch phrase is "Recycling the Web in Realtime," but "Composting the Web..." would be more accurate. With its users able to post articles, issues and sites and others able to respond, discussions grow quickly. The caveat that the discussion boards are only as good as those talking applies as usual, but Plastic does well at attracting the literate and rational, and filtering out the others.

Now, the "Plastitutes," or "Polymers," are looking to plan a Vegas get-together, PlastiCon 2005. Plastic members Lothar and Tdahnsn offer two interesting and wildly different approaches, and offer their wisdom when it comes to Vegas, conventions, and compelling bellboys to carry large amounts of ground hamburg.

Lothar is numbers
Tdahnsn is letters

"1) Panels. Let polymers do panels on topics ranging from "Art and Politics" to "Trollsmashing 101." Either way, the panels should be focused on two general areas: usual Plastic content and usual Plastic activity. Go from there, let congoers submit topics for 1 or 2 hour panels, and if you have more topics than shifts, pick the ones that will get the most audience-driven discussion without guaranteeing that flame wars become real ones.

A) Panels. Set up a panel discussion about the dangers of the internet by poorly informed critics with bad AV setups and horrible cliches. Make sure they are going to show up dressed in the manner they think is most convincing. DO NOT LET THEM IN ON THE JOKE.

2) Guests. Obviously carl is one, but other panels should feature people (e.g. underground heroes, respected intellectuals, indie artists, etc.) that generate the most Plastic buzz, but who will agree to do the gig for free (for, say, room, board, access to a VIP room of sorts, and an expanded fan base). Maybe they're Plastic fans and we don't know it!

B) Guests. Invite unpopular folks, preferably with obvious personal flaws for easy ad hominem attacks. Treat them like complete shit. Make them pay a registration fee and for all sorts of other crap in exchange for a cheap — possibly paper certificate — award. Book them the shittiest rooms you can find at a hotel away from the conference.

3) Films. Have video rooms that run well into the night with media chosen in advance by Plasticians ranging from film noir to Japanese animation. We keep hearing about all of the stuff we should be seeing from each other; now's the time to actually get around to see it.

C) Films. 1970's film strips about technology delivered in a monotone by disreputable "experts".

4) Dealer's room. Cons are one of the best places to hawk wares for both sellers and fans concerned. Invite dealers who sell stuff Plasticians would be interested in: books, knick-knacks, t-shirts, prepackaged food from non-USA countries, you name it. This can provide a valuable revenue stream apart from membership badges.

D) Dealer's Rooms. Tack a 10% surcharge on all goods sold that are not the most absolutely tacky parody of Plastic. People should come home with crap they have no recollection of having bought...

5) Staff. You're going to need an all-volunteer work force (comped with free memberships) taking care of everything from registration to security. Sort out the details as needed.

E) Staff. Abuse the hotel staff to no end. Refuse to tip. Force the bellboys to drag suitcases leaking 6 day old ground beef from conference room to conference room with a stop by the tables where at least one Plastard should be seen drunk, out of his mind with sleep deprivation and gambling away someone else's money.

6) A non-gambling hotel. This is Vegas, and there are plenty of polymers who can't legally drink yet or have had gambling problems in the past. Don't just go for any hotel where Plasticians can be segregated; might I recommend the Alexis Park Resort located in the heart of Lost Wages. It has a nice village atmosphere, has hosted cons like Defcon, and has no gambling on premises, so no segregation. If polymers want to gamble, they can go to the hotel up the street. If it's too pricey, then have a forum where Plasticians can make arrangement to share rooms, even floor space. Trust me, it works.

F) A non-gambling hotel. How about we aim for the shittiest hell hole of a gambling pit instead and then bitch about it for weeks afterwards?

7) There's likely a lot that I've leaving out, but that's off the top of my head. Keep in mind that organizing cons are an ABSOLUTE BITCH that will suck away your life for a year in advance. But when you look at the results of your labor, it will be all worthwhile depending on the strength of your organizing and vision.

Good luck!

G) Fuck organization. Pick a fucking date, a fucking hotel, don't plan a goddamned thing, and insist that this is completely normal. Instead of "conference rooms" pick a spot in the lobby and hold loud, out of control, drunken arguments about the merits of post-modern critical analysis. Use a fucking slot machine as a "registration booth." Operate on a system of kick-backs and patronage. Embrace the chaos. Shit, maybe we should do Reno instead!

Sure, there are better run conventions, but are they as much fun?"

posted by Mr. Kimberly at