Category Archives: Official Announcements

WisCon 2022 Registration and Programming Suggestions Open!

Registration for WisCon 2022 is now open, as are proposals for programming! You can register through our new registration portal, and submit proposals through our new programming system, under “Suggest a Session”.

  • Suggesting a panel does not commit you to being on it! Once panel submissions are closed, we will assemble and send out the panel interest survey. The WisCon program is assembled from suggestions that have interested panelists AND that people indicate they want to attend as audience members.

As we said on Monday, one of the ways you can help #SaveWisCon is by registering early if you’re able to do so. When registering you can also make a donation to WisCon/SF3, which will count towards our current matching funds drive.  We currently have over $9,000 raised towards a potential total of $25,000 in matching donations!  We are also still accepting donations via PayPal. Our apologies for sending out the wrong link in our last newsletter and thanks to everyone who pointed out the error! If you’d like to give via PayPal, here’s the correct donation link.

How will WisCon work in 2022?

We are planning for an in-person convention in 2022, within the constraints of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but also planning for aspects of the convention to be accessible online.

All WisCon programming will be accessible to members attending in-person, and some WisCon 2022 programming and events will be available online. At a minimum, the Opening Ceremonies, GOH Speeches, a virtual track of programming, some readings, and some panels on the academic track will be accessible online. Given the success of the WisCONline Discord server in 2020, we are also planning to have a convention Discord server to which all members will get access.

We don’t currently have plans to broadcast all in-person panels to online attendees, due to limitations on AV equipment and volunteer time. These offerings may expand with more volunteer resources! If you would like to help with online or hybrid aspects of the convention, you can sign up to volunteer or register for our volunteer open house.

If you have ideas for a panel or another track of programming, you can now submit these to our new programming system! Programming suggestions will be open until January 7 2022.

COVID-19 Policies

Everyone attending the in-person convention must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and we will require masks in all convention spaces (except while eating or drinking). This includes children, meaning that we are not currently accepting registration for children under 5 years of age.

We will continue to work with the hotel, and continue to monitor the situation in Wisconsin, to determine if further restrictions are needed, and what our in-person membership cap will be in 2022. To be sure you hear about any updates on these issues, take a moment to sign up for the WisCon newsletter.

Membership Categories

An Adult membership ($65) entitles you to attend the convention at the Concourse hotel, as well as to access all online aspects of the convention. An Online membership ($40) entitles you to participate in all online aspects of the convention.

If you register for an Online membership, it will be possible to upgrade to an in-person membership by paying the difference in price, as long as there are still memberships available.

We look forward to seeing you next May, either in Madison or online! 

Let’s Save WisCon!

This update is written by me, Kit Stubbs (they/them), both in my role as Treasurer for SF3, WisCon’s parent not-for-profit organization, and in my role as WisCon 2022 co-chair. Thanks to Ira Alexandre (WisCon 2022 co-chair, acting Personnel chair) and Aileen Wall (WisCon 2022 co-chair, Hotel) for their help.

First of all: Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent Town Hall, as panelists and attendees! Special thanks to our Board members Arley, for organizing and moderating, and Annalee and Charlie Jane, for organizing and helping with logistics.

WisCon’s roots are grounded in white feminism, and WisCon continues to struggle with racism and with finding ways to center attendees of color who have been harmed. The Town Hall marks a key point in our antiracist work to bring WisCon, particularly as experienced by our attendees and volunteers of color, into better alignment with our values—even if this means that white attendees will have to sit with discomfort.

Working towards a more antiracist con is just one of the major challenges that we face. Unless we, the WisCon community, also take significant action this year in terms of finances and our volunteer pool, within the next few years we will no longer be able to run WisCon.

Why? What’s going on?

Right now, in addition to pushing harder on antiracism, WisCon is facing big challenges on two other fronts: money and labor.

TLDR:

  • We don’t have enough funds to pay for what happens if we don’t fill our contracted block of hotel rooms, and we can’t afford to cancel the hotel contract. We need about $76k in additional income to our general fund by the end of WisCon 2022 to put the con back on solid financial footing.  Thanks to a generous donor, the first $5k we raise will be matched. Donate now to double the power of your donation!
  • We are in a volunteer shortage crisis. It takes a LOT of people to make WisCon happen, and we lack dozens of volunteers in key positions.
  • The Board of SF3 (WisCon’s parent nonprofit) and WisCon organizers are already starting to work on these challenges. There are many things, both large and small, that you can do to help!

What are the financial challenges?

Ideally, when we finish running one WisCon, we should have enough money to cover our expenses for the con that’s happening in two years. Why? Because shortly after each WisCon, typically, is when we sign a contract with the hotel for the con that’s happening in two years. As a ConCom member, I remember hearing “WisCon is very slowly losing money” for several years now. But it didn’t really seem urgent, somehow.

In an ongoing-pandemic world, this has become urgent because of the way our hotel contract works. Right now, we only have a contract signed with our host hotel for May 2022. We have committed to the hotel that WisCon attendees will reserve a certain number of rooms over a certain number of nights. This contract was signed pre-pandemic and assumed normal pre-pandemic WisCon attendance. We pay the hotel some extra rental fees, but most of the hotel space the con uses we get at steeply discounted rates, assuming that we fill those hotel rooms. We’re allowed to reduce our commitment before the deadline by 20% at no penalty, but if we have more unsold rooms than that, WisCon has to pay the hotel for them.

The budget that was approved by the previous Board assumed that we would have fewer in-person attendees this year, but it assumed we would still book our entire block of hotel rooms—the same size hotel block that we would normally book pre-pandemic.

But if we’re expecting fewer in-person attendees, we should also expect fewer hotel rooms to be booked, and that is a cost that WisCon is really not able to absorb.

Couldn’t we just cancel the hotel contract?

We can’t afford the cancellation fee. If we cancelled now, according to our contract, we would owe the hotel $158,000, which we absolutely do not have the resources to cover.

I’ve run some new, conservative budget projections since becoming Treasurer in October. These projections account for online memberships, which our current budget doesn’t (yay!) but also accounts for attrition in hotel rooms, which our current budget also doesn’t (oh no!). I assume that we will take a big hit on hotel rooms in 2022 and that we’ll gradually recover in 2023 and 2024.

If we take no action to change our current trajectory and only book half of our contracted hotel rooms in 2022, SF3 will go broke: We will have spent about $7,000 that the organization does not have.

If we want to get WisCon to a healthy place—meaning we’re at best fiscal practice and have enough money for the con that’s two years out in the bank—we need about $76,000 more in income for 2022 to our general fund. (This $76k doesn’t include funds for any new initiatives, this is just basically keeping the lights on. And this is separate from any WisCon Member Assistance Fund fundraising we do, since WMAF dollars legally can’t be used to pay for anything except grants to members for travel assistance.)

The good news: I’m not saying that we need to suddenly raise $76k in donations alone. This income that we need could come from selling more memberships (online or in-person), booking lots of hotel rooms (so we don’t have to pay the hotel for unused rooms), selling Dessert Salon tickets, grants, or donations. An additional $76k of income to our general fund would help keep us afloat through 2022 and 2023 and help ensure that we would have the funds to run in 2024 and 2025.

If someone were to magically appear and donate $76k to us right now, though, we’d still be in trouble because of our other current challenge: a lack of volunteers.

What’s going on with volunteers?

We’re in a volunteering crisis right now. It takes about 70 pre-con volunteers to make WisCon happen, and we have barely half that.

SF3 is WisCon’s parent not-for-profit organization. WisCon happens because there are a bunch of committees of people within SF3 who do the work, and right now, we have a record number of vacancies.

SF3 has a Board of Directors. Under the Board there are four committees: Personnel (helping to recruit, onboard, and offboard volunteers); Communications (taking care of the newsletter, website, and social media); Strategic Planning (looking at our vision and mission); and the ConCom (the Convention Committee, which handles the logistics of running WisCon). Of those committees, only the ConCom has chairs right now—Personnel, Communications, and Strategic Planning have a few volunteers, but none of these three committees has a leader.

The ConCom itself is made up of the three co-chairs and 28 departments of varying sizes. Currently we have 8 departments that are completely empty and at least 8 that are critically understaffed.

In general, the ConCom has been dwindling for the past several years. We had 71 members in 2017, but only 56 members in 2019. (Here is a graph showing Concom participation by the numbers over the past several years.)

If you’re reading this now, and you’re already a WisCon volunteer: Thank you. I’m not writing this expecting you to suddenly start putting more work on your plate. (If you have the extra capacity, great! But I’m not expecting that of anyone.)

The State of WisCon

We are definitely having a WisCon in 2022. Without more volunteers, we won’t be able to offer nearly as good an experience as we have in the past. Without more financial resources, WisCon 2022 may be the last one.

I believe these challenges are surmountable, but as members of the WisCon community, we have to act quickly to make change.

What are WisCon organizers already working on?

  • The SF3 Board is applying for grants on behalf of WisCon.
  • I (Kit, as Treasurer) am starting to recruit large donors for a matching funds campaign that will help double the power of small donations to WisCon. We already have a match pledged for our first $5k raised!
  • Our Personnel Committee continues to onboard new volunteers as quickly as they can.
  • While the Dessert Salon may work a little differently this year due to health concerns, the ConCom is still organizing a Dessert Salon for 2022! The Dessert Salon is a fundraiser for WisCon in general, and any funds raised through Dessert Salon ticket sales will absolutely help.

What can I do to help?

  • Please sign up for our email newsletter! One of the biggest challenges we have is reaching out to our own community. Sign up and encourage your WisCon-going or potentially-WisCon-going friends to sign up, too.
  • Register as soon as you possibly can when Registration opens this week. The more people who register in advance, the better idea we’ll have of how much additional income we need to bring in. For in-person attendees, consider supporting the con by buying a ticket to our Dessert Salon fundraiser when you register!
  • Book your hotel room as soon as you possibly can. The more hotel rooms we have booked, the less additional funding we’ll need to raise, and the sooner we know how many people will be staying at the hotel, the better.
  • Help spread the word about WisCon. We’re struggling to reach new people, especially younger speculative fiction fans, who might be interested in joining us and who may not know that you don’t need to be an academic or big name to attend WisCon and be on panels!
  • Tell us you’re interested in possibly volunteering, and/or register to attend our Volunteer Info Session on 12/12 at 3pm Central. We’ve previously posted some of our needs from Communications and Personnel and the ConCom. You don’t need to be in Madison to volunteer, and we have many positions open that don’t require you to attend WisCon in person.  If you’ve volunteered for the ConCom in the past and have the time and energy, please consider joining us again. We could really use your expertise!
  • Can you give $5k or more to help save WisCon? Write me (Kit) at treasurer@sf3.org to join our matching funds drive.
  • Have a smaller amount you might be able to contribute? Thanks to a generous donor, the first $5k we raise will be matched. Donate now to double the power of your donation!

Yes, we recognize the pandemic is still going on—if you’re able to book your hotel room and/or register early, great! If you’re able to chip in financially, great! But if not, no worries.

We need to address our issues with money and labor within a larger antiracist framework.  And I think we need to be honest that we’re in a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation: We’re short on money and volunteers to implement new antiracist policies and practices, which we need in order to attract and retain volunteers, especially volunteers of color.

If you’ve made it this far: Thank you. Posting this feels like the scariest thing I have ever done as a WisCon/SF3 organizer, and I really appreciate your time and energy in reading it.

Vacancies on the Communications & Personnel Teams

We’ve got a variety of exciting roles that we’re looking for help with in our Communications & Personnel Committees. Unlike most of the Convention Committee (ConCom) roles, these tasks are spread over several months or are year-round, but because they are not all ramping up to a convention weekend, they are a LOT more chilled out. 🙂

Communications: Bloggers (up to three volunteers – one spot filled already)

WisCon’s blog is our primary method for communication with our community. It’s the main way that we recruit volunteers, share news that impacts the convention, fundraise, and keep conversations going. Our blog is published on our website, wiscon.net, and is collected into a newsletter format once a month for most of the year, becoming weekly in April & May. We’re looking for at least one and up to three volunteers who would like to help us tell people what’s up! Is that you? We’ll share a draft schedule of blog topics that will include some that we know we need, but you’ll be encouraged to write on any relevant topic — dig into WisCon’s history, to connect with our sibling organizations, and to spotlight our past guests of honor, attendees, and volunteers. You’ll also crosspost blog posts and newsletters to our social media, including Twitter & Facebook, in collaboration with the volunteers managing those accounts.

Commitment: 2-3 hours per month, increasing to 5 hours per month in April & May.

 

Communications: Facebook Wrangler (one volunteer)

Are you on Facebook? This role can be as big or small as you’d like it to be! Our Facebook content has generally been limited to cross-posts from our blog and some advertisements — so at minimum, we’d like you to respond to comments & messages there, as well as helping us run a few advertisements per year. At maximum? The sky’s the limit, as long as you keep it related to our mission & values.

Commitment: 1-2 hours per month.

 

Communications: Ads, Marketing, & Sponsorships (up to three volunteers)

This year, we’ll mainly be looking for sponsorships — businesses and individuals who would be willing to make a gift to support part of WisCon in exchange for our public thanks and a banner in that space. In the past, we’ve had sponsors for the Gathering and for various other events. In the past, this job has included selling advertisements in the Souvenir Program Book as well — we’re not sure what that will look like yet this year. This role is about reaching out to people and organizations that you believe WisCon’s community would love to hear about, and bringing them together!

Commitment: 1-2 hours per month October-May.

 

Personnel: Team Member (up to three volunteers)

You’ll follow a checklist to give new members of our committees or board access to the tools they need to make WisCon and all our other projects happen! You’ll also assist ConCom departments with documenting their roles, collaborate with the Communications Committee to write recruitment blog posts, and orient people to the tools they need (these include Google Docs, Gmail, and Basecamp).

Commitment: 1-3 hours per month.       

Please email personnel@sf3.org to volunteer!

Organized? Responsible? WE NEED YOU!!

We’re seeking folks to Chair two of the committees that support WisCon!

What does a “Chair” do, though? And what’s all this about “Committees”?

Well, our Committee Chairs are primarily project managers — they make sure that the necessary tasks get done in order to carry out that committee’s purpose. When needed, they make the decision to cancel tasks that can’t be successful due to a lack of time, resources, volunteers, or all three. They are appointed by the board president of SF3, which is the nonprofit that provides oversight for WisCon.

You can think of our committees as workgroups, each of which has a clear purpose and purview.

There are currently three peer committees, and all are necessary for each others’ success:

  • The ConCom (Convention Committee), whose purpose is to carry out WisCon.
  • The Communications Committee, whose purpose is to maintain a flow of information between all of our projects (including WisCon!) and our community.
  • The Personnel Committee, whose purpose is to recruit, equip, and support all of our volunteers.

We need a chair for Communications, and a chair for Personnel. We have some volunteers ready to go to do the work in each of those committees, but we need you to step in! We’re also happy to help you find someone with whom you can co-chair, if you don’t want to go it alone.

Interested? Please contact president@sf3.org to express interest, or with any questions.

(Interested, but not in being a chair? Hold tight, we’ll have a post soon with information on volunteering for communications, for personnel, and for the ConCom! But we need to fill these two spots first, so tell your organized pals to reach out!)

SF3 Anti-Racism Statement

The board of SF3, WisCon’s parent organization, has posted the following statement on their blog. Please visit that post to comment.

WisCon’s parent organization, SF3, has been thinking deeply about the recurring racism and white supremacy culture within the convention and within our committees (the Convention Committee aka “ConCom”, the Communications Committee, and the Personnel Committee). The presence of racism and of white supremacist culture, which impacts and injures people with any marginalized identities, are parts of our culture that we must address.

SF3 rejects white supremacy, racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, and ableism. The SF3 Board expects the same of our membership and has no tolerance for racist acts or statements.

We recognize that racism has led to conflicts at WisCon every year. This is unsustainable and wrong, and these are not isolated or unrelated instances — they are part of structural and historical problems. We also recognize that it is the SF3 Board’s responsibility to solve this problem, and the solution is not and cannot be asking BIPOC members of the community to fix the organization.

Further, we want to acknowledge that over the history of WisCon, many BIPOC community members have volunteered in good faith for the ConCom, the SF3 Board, and other projects. Those volunteering situations were hostile, and this organization failed to keep those volunteers safe or to enable their success. Those situations were also not isolated incidents, and are part of a larger pattern and organizational culture.

It is the SF3 Board’s obligation, in engagement with the WisCon community and all current and past volunteers, to address and fix systemic racism and other problems within our organization and its spaces. Being a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable organization cannot be achieved without honesty with ourselves and with others.

We recognize that white supremacy is baked into the social and cultural landscape of the US. Members of SF3/WisCon must recognize and work to counter this; it is work that white people in particular must undertake in order to live up to WisCon’s values and purpose.

The SF3 Board, within their purview over nonprofit governance, is reexamining our organizational mission with the intent to eliminate white supremacy, and will be working to revise organizational bylaws and foundational documents to restructure a racist power system and ensure BIPOC empowerment. The Board has created interim versions of a mission statement, organizational vision, and a clear statement of our community values which center inclusivity and explicitly reject racism and white supremacy. These documents are intended for use over the next year, and will be shared in this space later this week.

Following that step, we will be undertaking a strategic planning process specifically focused on inclusion — in particular, on eliminating racism and empowering BIPOC members. We will be inviting everyone in our community to take part in strategic planning, which will create a permanent new mission, vision, and values for our organization and all of our projects, including WisCon.

We recognize that this is not a goal we can reach in a single year. Our strategic planning process will involve mapping out our goals for the next five years, along with broadly stated tasks for achieving those goals. We ask the full community to hold the SF3 Board accountable in this work.

We commit to sharing a monthly update on our progress, our goals, and what we have learned.

Within the next 30 days, we will be proceeding according to this schedule:

  • September 30, 2021: Share interim Mission, Vision, and Values

  • Early October (no later than October 14): Send out meeting agenda and information packet in advance of SF3 Annual Member Meeting.

  • October 11, 2021: Share overview and initial steps of strategic planning process and invite volunteers to join a committee established to carry out that process. The strategic planning process will include a plan for soliciting input, experiences, and feedback from BIPOC members of our community in particular. There will be a clear process for this; in order to treat feedback seriously and with care, we will not solicit that information before a system is created by the strategic planning committee, equipped with the resources they need to succeed.

  • October 18, 2021: Blog post outlining plans for the next month of work on these goals, with dates. This post will also include reports of the work accomplished so far.

  • October 24, 2021: SF3 Annual Member Meeting (details forthcoming)

Updates on WisCon in 2022

We would like to again thank everyone who participated in Visioning WisCon in May. Visioning WisCon was not intended to replace a full online con and was organized differently from our usual structure.  We’re glad that our community was engaged that weekend across a variety of virtual spaces, and we’re grateful for all of the feedback we’ve received on the event. We’re working to incorporate the lessons we’ve learned as we look towards WisCon in 2022. Speaking of which…

We have some exciting news about our next in-person WisCon in 2022!

  • Our wonderful host hotel, Madison’s Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, has opened room reservations! We have a group discounted rate that is available from now through April 26, 2022. Please show your support by making your reservation today.
  • Guest of Honor nominations for WisCon in 2023 are open! Anyone is welcome to nominate someone to be a Guest of Honor (GoH) by sending an email with the nominee’s name to gohnoms@wiscon.net. (If you already nominated someone any time during/after WisCONline in 2020, we have your nominations and will include them for 2023. Thanks!)
  • We have Co-Chairs! WisCon is organized by a group of volunteers called the Convention Committee (or ConCom, for short). For 2022, Aileen Wall (she/her), Ira Alexandre (they/them), and Kit Stubbs, Ph.D. (they/them) are co-chairing the ConCom. Aileen is a previous WisCon co-chair who has also served as our Hotel Liaison with the Concourse for the past six years. Ira and Kit co-chaired WisCONline in 2020 and continued volunteering as chairs of the Personnel Committee and the Communications Committee, respectively, throughout 2020 and 2021.While Aileen, Ira, and Kit are all awesome people, they need more volunteers to join the ConCom to help organize the con. If you’re interested in finding out more information about volunteering on the ConCom please let us know (signing up is not a commitment, just a request for info!) Look forward to role descriptions and an online information session coming soon.
We’ll continue to post updates about how con planning is going on our blog and email newsletter.

NFTs are destructive horrors. Buy real stuff at our virtual con.

Is anyone else SUPER distressed over the revelation that carbon credits may have been manipulated to such a degree for profit that they may have amplified ecological harm rather than reduced it?

TIL if you start a blog post in a super-depressing way, it’s hard to regain your momentum.

One of the many many ways that you can help ameliorate the harms of capitalism on communities and the planet is through careful, thoughtful purchasing. Local helps, and independent helps, and supporting each others’ creativity can be incredibly nourishing.

We know that WisCon isn’t a single community, and is in no way homogeneous, but rather is a web of interconnections between many different communities, individuals, and groups. As a whole, we have some practices, relationships, values, and ideas in common, even though we may not be able to see those connections so clearly on an individual level. There are reasons we come to WisCon, and the reasons are in those broad commonalities.

Supporting each other — buying or otherwise appreciating the writing, artwork, craftwork, skills, and services of folks you have attended panels with, sat next to in the Con Suite, split a cab to the airport with, to whom you’ve handed out a nametag, or with whom you laughed over a speech — that’s a small act of mutual support, of strengthening the whole. We need that strength.

We don’t have an Art Show this year, and we don’t have a Dealers’ Room, and we aren’t able to stroll down to Room of One’s Own to be at the Guest of Honor reception that usually kicks off the convention Thursday night. But we can gesture powerfully toward those things by supporting the vendors, artists, and businesses that we love to see at WisCon, so that they can join us again in person in 2022.

You can access a list of vendors and artists who would love to sell you things at this link, which is a google sheet.

You can also find many of these folks by using the hashtags #WisCon, #VWisConDealers, #WisConDealers, #WisConArtShow, and #VWisconArtShow on Twitter and (possibly) Instagram. Happy shopping. 🙂

Are you an artist or vendor? Want to be added to the spreadsheet? Please leave a comment on that sheet and we will add you. Want to show off your wares? Consider signing up for Show & Tell!

In the meantime…Register here to join us TODAY AND TOMORROW May 29 & 30 at Visioning WisCon!

How do I find the virtual door?

Good question! Apologies to all of you people who like to plan ahead. I am not one of you, but I admire your ways and regret any distress that the tardiness of this post has caused.

Our spaces for Visioning WisCon use Kumospace, a group video-chat platform that does not require any software beyond a browser.

We strongly recommend that you use Chrome browser to attend if possible, and that you take a moment to enable captioning within your own Chrome settings. Here are google’s own instructions on how to do that.

The first time you visit our Kumospace-hosted spaces, you will need to create an account, which requires only an email address. You can also use a Google/Gmail account as your login, if you are signed in to that account in Chrome.

You will have access to two different spaces. You can think of the first space as analogous to most of the convention space at the Madison Concourse Hotel (including the bar, the pool, the party suites, and the conference rooms). We’re calling this the Convention Space. The convention space allows you to hang out with other attendees, chat, and participate in spontaneous programming.You can think of the second space as analogous to the big ballroom where the Gathering, Dessert Salon, Vid Party, and SignOut happen. We’re referring to this as the Event Space. The event space allows you to hang out with other attendees, chat, and watch/participate in the scheduled events.

Why two spaces? Because everyone in every part of the event space will hear and see the events, as they are “broadcast” throughout all of the rooms in the space. Separate spaces allow us to have spontaneous programs happen simultaneously with the events, which would be difficult otherwise. Can you be in both spaces at once? If you have two computers, sure, why not. Please beware of weird audio double-echoes, though. Also beware of evil clones.

Speaking of evil clones…let’s talk safety.

Safety folks have Safety Stars on their names.

We ask that anyone who comes into these spaces register for Visioning WisCon, so that they have access to the information we are sharing via Eventbrite. We ask that you avoid sharing the links to the spaces.

Everyone who enters the spaces is subject to our Code of Conduct. If you have any concerns about behavior that you witness or are subjected to within the convention or events spaces during the hours that Visioning WisCon is underway, please direct message anyone with a star next to their name in the “people” list at the bottom of your Kumospace window. These folks are Safety staff, have admin powers, and can remove any attendee from the space.

There will be no Safety on duty prior to 4pm or after 11pm Central time.
We will not close the space after hours and you are welcome to continue to use it as a social space, but please be aware that there will not be anyone enforcing the Code of Conduct.

Bad actors who are removed from the convention or event spaces will not be able to re-enter. Removals are permanent. Removal from Visioning WisCon may have lasting impact when we return to in-person conventions.

BUT WHERE ARE THE LINKS TO THESE PLACES???? At 4pm Central, please proceed in an orderly fashion to the Eventbrite page, where you will see a button with the text “Access the Event”. Ta da!

Feeling impulsive? Wanna hold a panel?

Technically, the “spontaneous” in WisCon’s “Spontaneous Programming” doesn’t mean that those programs are the result of stray or surprising impulses. It just means that the ideas didn’t make it into the regular program schedule, or that one of the regular panels or workshops or papers provoked enough discussion — tangential or otherwise — that it sprouted a part 2 that same weekend.

Or maybe someone woke up that morning and realized they’d had an epiphany about how Riker is symbolic of the textually un-examined specter of extractive colonialism in Star Trek: The Next Generation and they had to panel about it right away. In which case it is the result of a stray or surprising impulse. And that’s also valid.

So this weekend’s virtual spontaneous programs are sort of both of the above and sort of neither. Creating WisCon’s program schedule — including Readings, Gaming, Workshops, Panels, and Parties — is a massive undertaking that involves a small army of volunteers, several software platforms, lots of proofreading, surveys, reminders, data entry, and weeks of tweaks until it all fits together and is ready to happen.

We wanted to keep Visioning WisCon as an easy-entry, accessible, low stress event. Our (virtual) doors open at 4pm Central TODAY (Saturday), and you can either show up with an idea for a discussion — panel, presentation, demonstration, reading, roundtable — and people to have it with, or you can gather participants from among other attendees on the spot. We’ll have a schedule available for you to reserve a slot and promote your topic in one of our spontaneous programming rooms.

You know you don’t want to wait ANOTHER year before you talk through your feelings about Bill & Ted Face the Music, or Star Trek: Picard, or Lovecraft Country, or…how is time even real it’s making my brain feel funny. You get the drift.

Signups for spontaneous slots will open up today (Saturday) at 4pm Central, and will continue all weekend.

Register here to join us THIS WEEKEND May 29 & 30 at Visioning WisCon!

I can’t think of anything clever to say beyond DANCE PARTY

Yeah, that’s right. We’ve got a swank, exclusive dance hall ready for you, where the music is always exactly the volume you like, the lighting is perfect, and the cover charge is waived because you are SO WELL TURNED OUT.

On account of it’s your kitchen. Or living room. Or possibly (dare I say) your bedroom.

Oh yeah. When the Otherwise Auction winds down, we roll out the bass boosters and crank up the strobe light. Figuratively speaking. We’ve got a dance mix full of Karaoke Kid favorites and disco throwbacks and…pop punk, and we’re ready to hit shuffle and throw down from whenever Sumana says we can start until 11pm Central time.

11pm Central is when the con ends tonight! We’ll see you again starting at 4pm central tomorrow (Sunday).

Register here to join us THIS WEEKEND May 29 & 30 at Visioning WisCon!

I know what you did last summer…

I mean “I want to know what you did last summer.” Or what you’ve been reading. Or all about your new puppy, partner, baby, knitting skills, ability to keep a succulent alive, musical find, craving, checkers strategy, crush, artworks, tattoo, poetry, haircut…

So how? How are you going to share all of those things? HOW?

How can we combine author readings, speeches, the Gathering, parties, panelist bios, the Dealers’ Room, and the Art Show, squish it all down into 5-8 minute chunks, and make it virtual?

Kindergarten style, of course.

We’re kicking off the convention weekend with Show & Tell.

Details on how to snag a sharing slot will be revealed starting at 4pm Central today (Saturday) via Eventbrite for anyone who has registered, and we will start at 5pm and run until we’re out of people who want to share, or Sumana tells us we have to stop. Come find out what your pals have been doing, listen to their brilliance, and tell them about yours.

Register here to join us THIS WEEKEND May 29 & 30 at Visioning WisCon!

BREAKING NEWS: There’s Room at Visioning WisCon

Get it? It’s a pun, because we have a lot of room due to being virtual, and because (here’s the news part) Gretchen from Room of One’s Own Bookstore will be joining us for a live Ask-the-Bookseller event at 5pm Central on Sunday (5/30)!

What would I ask a bookseller, you say? WHAT WOULDN’T YOU ASK A BOOKSELLER. I mean, I know Gretchen, and they know a lot of stuff. Including but not limited to upcoming books, the impact local businesses can have on their community, what media is best for working in a closed-to-the-public bookstore, what it’s like when you find out you have to find a new store location and move during a pandemic, and more more more!!!

Also they hinted that they might have giveaways. Maybe.

But wait, there’s more!

Gretchen dropped everything and made us a fantastic list of book recommendations! And it’s not just one list — it’s FIVE lists in a very large overcoat pretending to be one list. CHECK IT OUT. AND they shout out all of your fave indie presses that we usually get to visit in the Dealers’ Room. AND they gave us all a sweet sweet sweeeeeeeet discount code, which you will see in the page text when you visit the recommendations lists. (It’s in allcaps and is easy to find, I promise.)

The events schedule is filling up! Tomorrow: news about another event! After tomorrow and before Friday: announcements about everything else.

Register here to join us May 29 & 30 at Visioning WisCon!