CONvergence is one of the largest sci-fi & fantasy conventions in the midwest. And it is almost upon us! The convention is held annually on the first weekend of July just outside of Minneapolis-St.Paul.
For those of you joining us in braving the 6,000+ crowd of fantastical fans, we bring you this totally not at all definitive guide to things you should do at CON, from those who’ve been there done that and probably have the t-shirt…somewhere…which we could find if only we’d clean out that closet.
Have your own tips for CON? Let us know in the comments!
CON Tips and Tricks!
The eminently wise Naomi Kritzer’s1 #1 top hot tip for Convergence:
Print out the map of the overflow parking, and bring it along. (Or at least, take a careful look and make note of where it is.) You can find the overflow parking map on the Convergence website.
For a tip with just a tad more levity Naomi recommends The Steam Century Mystery, a low-key mystery LARP.
Cast members role play the key characters. The stories are intriguing, and the mysteries are solvable. The mystery starts at 12:30 Saturday (but you don’t have to show up right on time). It runs for hours, but just set aside an hour or two sometime in the afternoon if you want to investigate, turn in your answer before 5, and go to the grand finale in room 2207 at 5:45. That’s when the answer is announced, the denouement performed, and souvenir medals given to all participants. For more info, check out the Steam Century Kaposia Facebook Page.
Need some downtime?
The illustrious Lyda Morehouse2 brings you a “must see” list for the moderately introverted among con-goers.
Lyda happens to be an avowed extrovert but as one in charge of the care and feeding of several introverted friends and family members she has some two great tips to find quiet downtime while at CON:
Movie Rooms: Cinema Rex (DoubleTree Plaza 4) and Theater Nippon (DoubleTree Atrium 1)
They might not be precisely quiet, but the room is dark and a nice escape from the bustle and press of the crowds. You can get some popcorn or Asian snacks and settle in for focused viewing. Find out what’s showing at the CONvergence site.3
Author readings and signings: Trust us, these places are often ghost towns and authors are amazingly grateful to see someone, anyone. You can close your eyes and listen to a story or two in relative peace. Don’t worry if you fall asleep and snore. You’ll just be THAT guy. There’s always a THAT guy.
The apocalyptic Tara Jenson4 throws in her 2¢ for CON panels. CON panels may (and very often do!) or may not (not gonna lie – it’s happened) have anyone qualified to talk about a box of rocks let alone some substantive topic, but that’s part of the fun.
If you’re a nerd about anything fantasy, sci-fi, or even some-real world topics – there’s probably a panel at CON for you. Some panel topics plucked at random: “writing while female,” many variations on dystopian sci-fi, My Little Pony, Mythbusters, Laotian perspectives on sci-fi, Blaxploitation…we could go on but just check out the really well put-together CON schedule.
The CON panels are not unlike the Minnesota Fringe Festival: sometimes you land in something objectively great, other times the best you can take away is a means for regaling your compadres with why that 45 minutes that you can never get back is literally the worst thing you’ve ever experienced in your life and that you were almost James Franco cutting your own arm off just to get out of the room. For extra fun in the panels – we recommend making use of “Every Question In Every Q & A Session Ever” to play Q&A bingo with your CON mates during panel sessions!
One of your beloved editors is also attending CON. Perhaps she doesn’t have the star power of our favorite authors, but she does have an excellent CONvergence tip: STICK FIGHTING.
Seriously, it’s amazing. Groups of people, with duct tape covered Nerf weapons beat the crap out of each other under the watchful eyes of referees, and somehow there are VERY IMPORTANT RULES, that as a spectator she has never figured out, but seems totally irrelevant to the awesomeness that is stick fighting. The smacking! The hopping!! The outrage!!! It’s incredible.
The Assassins Guild Grand Boffing Tournament begins at 6pm Saturday in the Garden Court.
And that, Dear Readers, is our very not definitive guide to things you totally for reals should do at CONvergence.
Tara 1000% concurs with the illustrious Lyda: whether you want to catch a few episodes of Those Who Hunt Elves or some new-to-you anime, need a break from all the cosplay/boffing/metric fuckton of people, or just want to sit in the cool semi-dark to sort your Magic cards – Theater Nippon is the place for you! ↩