Detcon, Briefly

Me and the wife at the Detcon 1 80s Dance Party, at which I was DJ. Photo by Al Bogdan.

I spent the weekend at Detcon 1, the North American Science Fiction Convention, held this year in Detroit, and had a pretty fabulous time. The convention was held at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, and it was the first time I’ve been downtown Detroit for a couple of decades. Those hoping for a report on a blighted hellscape will be disappointed — we walked around downtown quite a bit and it was was perfectly fine; a decent number of restaurants and shops and such, with the extra added benefit of Canada on the other side of the water. I’d be happy to visit again soon.

I kept myself busy at Detcon 1 with several panels and events. All of my panels were good ones, which is a happy thing, since that’s not always a guarantee. But every panel had a good mix of smart panelists and engaged audiences, so I came away from each feeling pretty good about them. I also had an excellent reading, in which I was paired up with Jacqueline Carey. What she writes and what I write are sufficiently disparate that we both worked on the assumption it would be a fine time to introduce ourselves to at least some portion of the audience. It worked out pretty well, or at least, the audience didn’t divide into two camps and decide to have a knife fight. So we had that going for us.

My big event without question, however, was the 80s Dance Party on Saturday, for which I was the DJ. I had DJ’ed a dance party at a science fiction convention before — at Capricon, a couple of years ago — and on the basis of that I was asked to host a dance here. I overprepared just a bit, in that I had a playlist of 23 hours worth of music for a three hour dance, but it worked out well for me in that I had a lot of options for when the actual dance. The dance took place in a pretty ideal space (the 42 North lounge at the Marriot hotel) and the convention threw in a laser light show for free, so if I screwed it I couldn’t blame the location.

Fortunately, it does not appear that I screwed it up. The dance floor was full for the very first song (Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”) and it was full for the last song (“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” because it was the song which officially closed the door on 80s music), and it was full for all the songs inbetween — which is, to my mind, is the relevant standard for a successful dance party. I also hopped about like a madman for three hours straight, occasionally going out on the dance floor myself, and at least once getting up on a chair to pump up the crowd. It was a ton of fun, but man, am I feeling it today. Worth it, though.  And I got offers to DJ other convention dance parties, so if this whole writing thing falls through one day, it’s nice to know I have a backup skill.

The only downside to Detcon was that on the way home I seem to have been hit with a case of sudden onset con crud and ended up crashing out in the back bench of the minivan for most of the ride home. I’m still fairly out of it; I suspect tomorrow will largely be spent sleeping and staring glassily into the TV. Again, worth it for such a fine weekend. I would do it again.

31 Comments on “Detcon, Briefly”

  1. The 80s dance was maybe the most fun I’ve ever had at a con. Thank you so much.

  2. It was great getting to see you and the family. Sorry to hear about the con crud, though.

    (You know, I hear if you start lifting, it can strengthen the immune system!)

  3. I was already sorry I couldn’t be there this weekend, as several of my very dear friends were on the concom. Reading this makes me that much sorrier. (And as a fan of both your work and Ms. Carey’s, I would have LOVED to have been at that reading.)

  4. I was intrigued to find out that Detcon and Netroots Nation, a national progressive conference with guest speakers like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren were held at the same hotel at the same time.

  5. There were a thousand highlights to this incredible weekend, but your DJ skills were near the top.

    Between you and Barfleet, we ended up getting an amusing number of Netroots Nations participants to sign up for Detcon.

  6. It was definitely the best thing about the con – at least to me anyway, since I only get the chance to dance at the occasional wedding anymore. You did a fantastic job,although like you I was seriously feeling it yesterday.

  7. …with the extra added benefit of Canada on the other side of the water.

    Are you implying that Canada is a friend with benefits?

  8. Second Trishb’s request for the playlist, being an 80s child myself, and all.

  9. Your dance party post was the second blog I read this morning about the weekend in Chicago. The first was this one:

    I’m posting this here (after much thought) because I found Mr. Bennett’s blog after reading your original “lowest difficulty setting.” Once I realized that I was only listening to white people talk about race I sought out another perspective. His and the blogs he links to have started me thinking about things differently. I don’t comment there, I only listen.

    Did Midnight Oil make the playlist for your 80’s party?

  10. It worked out pretty well, or at least, the audience didn’t divide into two camps and decide to have a knife fight. So we had that going for us.

    While I understand that you are happy to have avoided such an outcome, I must nevertheless point out that it would’ve been blogging gold.

  11. As it was taken from a tweet at Detcon I am guessing this subject is appropriate for this post. Mr. Scalzi do you understand that to some people your tweet of yourself with a button that reads, “I read Baen books” comes off as forced posturing and a bit passive aggressive?

    Whether you wear this button or not proves nothing, we both know a button is merely a button. I do believe that you read Baen books, I think the original issue wasn’t if you read them or not but if you have contempt for the brand and its authors. That’s not the point though. The point is that you felt the need to prove something, which wasn’t necessarily in question, and to make everyone aware of it.

    You seem to get successfully taunted far more then a blog should that claims to “taunt the tauntable.” Why not let your actions and words speak for themselves instead of taking selfies with buttons that “prove everyone wrong?”

  12. Aww, isn’t it sweet? It makes up a quote it pretends you wrote, and then rebuts it!

  13. riccola:

    “Mr. Scalzi do you understand that to some people your tweet of yourself with a button that reads, ‘I read Baen books’ comes off as forced posturing and a bit passive aggressive?”

    It’s possible, but those people are fucking idiots, so who gives a shit what someone that abjectly stupid thinks?

    I hope that clarifies things, Riccola.

  14. It’s good to hear my old downtown impressed you. The city center is doing okay, I hear, though it’s been ten years since I was last back there! Sounds like a great con!

  15. Cally

    I am not an “it”. I am a person. Equating me to some mere object is disgusting, vile dehumanizing, and uncalled for. You are also incorrect. I quoted John only about taunting, something that is on this very website if you scroll up. When I put prove everyone wrong in quotations marks I only meant to convey the idea that a button is evidence of nothing, not that Mr. Scalzi had uttered anything of the sort.

    John Scalzi
    It does not Mr. Scalzi. However, your past twitter and blog history suggests to me that you do care what some people that abjectly stupid think.

  16. Riccola:

    “It does not Mr. Scalzi.”

    Your apparent inability to understand the fairly simple language there is not actually my problem, however. Although I will note that the inability of “some people” to understand how language works continues to be a persistent problem for them, especially when they choose to draw conclusions from the (willful or otherwise) misunderstanding.

    “your past twitter and blog history suggests to me that you do care what some people that abjectly stupid think.”

    “Pointing and laughing” does not equate with “caring.” Perhaps that will clarify things further. Be aware that I am aware that “some people” don’t appear to have the ability to distinguish between those two states. But then, we already know what I think about those people.

    I don’t see this particular avenue of conversation going anywhere useful past this particular point, however. So let’s move on from it.

  17. Overheard at Detcon:
    Netroots Attendee #1: “We’ve been out-geeked!
    Netroots Attendee #2: “It’s not fair – they have costumes.”

  18. Netroots attendee at Detcon registration – “We talked a lot about communities. I thought I understood what that meant until I partied with you guys last night. You have a *community*!”

    My second favorite comment heard at registration by a Netroots attendee – “Badge name line means I can have any name I want on my badge? How about “Wookie”? I can have “Wookie”? Really? Hey, guys! We can have any name we want on the badges!”

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