eCube #7 online/ Gathering Apprentices needed

eCube #7 is now available online.

Gathering apprentices needed: The soon-to-retire Gathering coordinators are looking for apprentices to learn the ropes from this year’s Gathering coordinators in preparation for taking over for WisCon 34. You don’t have to be located in Madison to do the job, but you do need to arrive at the convention in time to begin set-up at 9am on Friday.

The Gathering Coordinators’ duties include recruiting participants to do activities during the event, working with Programming to ensure all participants are listed in the database, working with the Volunteer Coordinator to get volunteers to help staff the event, working with the hotel liaison to order food and tables, writing an article or two for eCube and the program book, creating flyers, maps, and passports for the event, ordering prizes for attendees, and onsite set-up and tear-down.

It’s easy to do the job out of state since the prep work is done via email. Once you’re onsite, the job is completely done before Opening Ceremonies, so you are free to enjoy the rest of the convention. Plus, you get a sneak peak and first pick at Galley table and Clothing Swap! If you are interested, please let us know via gathering@wiscon.net.

URGENT: Hotels: Last Chance!

If you are attending WisCon from out of town and you have not yet secured a place to stay, your opportunity to take advantage of the convention rates is rapidly disappearing.

WisCon’s satellite hotel, The Inn on the Park, still has rooms available at the convention rate, but our special rate there ends on Thursday, April 23, and any rooms left unreserved go back into the general pool at rack rates. Call 800-279-8811 inside the US or 1-608-285-8000 from elsewhere in the world to make your reservation, and be sure to mention WISCON 2009 to get our special rate. WisCon 2009 rates at Inn on the Park are $124 for a room with one bed for one or two people, $134 for a room with two beds for up to four people, and $154 for a two-room suite with wet bar.

Convention rates at the Concourse end on Tuesday, April 22, but since the con rate is only available to the first 300 reservations and we had close to 350 at last count, it is extremely unlikely that enough cancellations would come in to reopen the con rate block. If you are especially eager to get a room at the Concourse, certainly call them (at 800-356-8293 or 608-257-6000) to see if a cancellation has opened up space there, but it would very likely be at the higher rack rate.

And finally, a plea to anyone who made a hotel reservation for WisCon 33 months ago and who has since had to change your plans about attending: if you have not yet cancelled your reservation, please do so as soon as possible! Not only will you free up a room that another convention member can use, you will also prevent any possibility that your credit card might be charged a night’s rent.

For more details about both of WisCon’s convention hotels, go to the WisCon website, where you will also find other options for accommodations in downtown Madison. Email rooms@wiscon.net with any questions.

“Con or Bust” Auction to benefit the WisCon FOC Assistance Project Now Open

A Reminder…

The Wiscon FOC Assistance Program (Fight Derailing), organized by Kate Nepveu, has opened its fundraising effort, “Con or Bust,”, a fandom auction to support the program’s sponsorships for fans of color attending WisCon in 2009.

Visit now to view the auction and place bids on the many wonderful items there (if you’re not a LiveJournal member, you may need to create an account to participate – and make sure to view all the posts to insure that you see all items on offer!) The auction runs through Monday, April 13, 2009.

Auction items are still needed. Fanfic offers, editing and beta assistance are encouraged along with tangible items. All donations of funds or auction items, no matter how small, are accepted. Those who wish to do fixed-donation offers are also invited to participate. If you have an item to donate, please visit the project’s LJ community for details on posting your auction item.

The Wiscon FOC Assistance Program seeks to meet the needs of fans of color who would like to attend WisCon33, but are unable to do so without some form of assistance. Assistance offered includes, bus not limited to, money for travel, a con membership, and/or lodging space. You can find more information about the project by visiting the LiveJournal community, Fight Derailing.

WisCon Continues to Welcome People of Color

Welcoming people of color to WisCon is a central value of the entire WisCon convention committee, and has been so for over a decade.

We are aware that our efforts in this area have been incomplete and sometimes unsuccessful and we are committed to doing better.

To that end, we continue to welcome suggestions for how to improve. The more constructive and specific those suggestions are, the more likely it is that the all-volunteer WisCon committee will be able to implement them. WisCon’s history shows that change happens best when spearheaded by a champion or a group of champions who bring additional energy along with their ideas. However, we care enough about this issue that many current committee members are ready to commit additional time and energy to improving our track record.

To that end, we are proud that WisCon 33 will host the first Cultural Appropriation 101 class that we’re aware of in the science fiction world, as suggested and created by the Carl Brandon Society. The class will take place on Friday afternoon and (again at the request of the Carl Brandon Society) will be clearly delineated as “highly recommended” for anyone who wishes to attend any programming on these topics. In addition, moderators of panels related to this topic will be provided with class materials well before the convention.

We are currently about 2 months away from the convention. We’re looking for additional ideas that we can implement in that time frame, as well as ideas for WisCons to come. Because WisCon is a physical space with many tendrils extending into the virtual world, one of the things we can best provide is space for face-to-face networking and problem-solving. To that end, we’re planning to set aside a room during the convention for discussion of moving-forward strategies and potential improvements. We will work closely with people of color to ensure that this does not become a space in which the offenses recycle.

We’ve extended our guest of honor nomination process for an additional 3 weeks specifically to encourage nominations of potential GoHs of color. To nominate a GoH for next year, send an e-mail to gohnoms@wiscon.net by Sunday, March 22 describing why you think they would be a good guests of honor.

One WisCon member, Kate Nepveu, is organizing scholarships to bring people of color to WisCon: more info on this at her LJ community, Fight Derailing .

These issues are not just important for people of color; they are important for all of us. The more we can do to improve in this area, the better WisCon will be. We ask for your help and guidance in achieving this goal: contact chair@wiscon.net with your ideas.

Reminder – Deadlines for Programming & Readings Signups

Just a reminder that this is the last week you can volunteer to be a program participant, be a moderator, or sign up to do a reading or throw a party for WisCon33.

Note that the sign-up process is brand new and utilizes a new, purpose-built database (we’ve given last year’s hamsters a well-deserved retirement.)

There are three basic steps involved in signing up to participate in programming or to be a moderator: Setting up your account, defining your personal information, and signing up for programs/telling us about your availability. Full details are on the WisCon33 programming page. Look for the “My Account” link in the left sidebar to see your options.

Full instructions for signing up for a reading are also on the WisCon33 website.

Participant sign-up will close on this Friday, March 13, 2009. That’s Friday the 13th. Sign up now, don’t delay. After sign-up closes, we’ll be looking at participant availability and starting to block out programming.