North American Science Fiction Convention
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Cascadian Sites  and Stories

Vancouver 2108
(excerpts from Dance of Knives - Donna McMahon)

A wildlife biologist looks at the continent's most misunderstood large mammal


Join the Sasquatch Militia - Uncle Sas wants YOU!

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Kevin Standlee

by Cheryl Morgan

The thing that impresses me most about Kevin Standlee as a con-runner is that when some crusty long-time fan starts complaining about "fans of today", Standlee is always the first to put his hand up and say, "but I was that fan". Despite having risen to the dizzy heights of Worldcon chair, he has never lost sight of the excitement and passion that brought him into fandom in the first place. And he is always eager to help others follow in his footsteps.

Like many high school kids, Kevin's introduction to fandom came through comics. In particular he was a huge fan of Richard and Wendy Pini's Elfquest series. The owner of his local comic store, Edward Luena, persuaded Kevin to go and meet his heroes at a special party to be held to celebrate the 20th and final issue of the original series. So Kevin took the Greyhound bus from his home near Marysville, California, to Anaheim. The party was at one of these strange science fiction convention things. It was L.A.con II, the biggest Worldcon there has ever been. Kevin was overwhelmed, and instantly addicted.

Kevin continued to hang around The Game Warden, Luena's comic store, which led to three major developments in his life. Firstly he got a job, eventually rising to become assistant manager of the store. Luena was also a comic artist and, impressed with young Kevin's business acumen, appointed him his agent and business manager. All of this led to Kevin attending more conventions and getting involved with dealer tables and art shows.

Perhaps more importantly, however, Kevin expanded his interest in comics and, together with a bunch of school friends, including Rick Hallock, he founded the official fan club for Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series. Promoting the club was yet another reason to attend conventions. In 1987 Kevin finally met Robert Asprin at SpoKon in Spokane. Kevin and Rick entered the masquerade dressed as characters from the Myth books. The pair also attended Noreascon 3 in 1989. Kevin has not missed a Worldcon since.

Meanwhile Kevin and Rick had moved on to California State University at Chico where they helped found a science fiction club. Hallock had a passion for movies and recruited the club to help him make two amateur Doctor Who films, "The Zombie Legions" and "Those Darn Daleks". Kevin directed both films and played the Doctor in one of them. A tremendous amount of work (and money) went into these projects, including having Hallock's father and his WWII preservationist buddies provide military vehicles for one film. Erlinda Siller, now Hallock's wife, deserves a medal for wearing a heavy latex rubber alien suit in a movie with chase scenes shot outdoors in the California summer. The movies were shown at many conventions, culminating with the 1987 NASFiC in Phoenix.

Kevin had also become involved in convention running in Northern California. Between 1986 and 1990 he attended and worked on the Eclecticon series of conventions in Sacramento. In 1988 he got his first taste of convention bidding with the Sacramento in '91 Westercon bid. That bid was eventually lost to Vancouver at an election in Anaheim. However, Kevin had got the bug for bidding and volunteered to join the San Francisco in 1993 Worldcon bid, of which he became bid secretary.

Working on the San Francisco bid expanded Kevin's travel horizons as he was one of the six members of the bid committee to travel to The Hague for the site selection vote. It was here that Kevin's interest in transit systems and lack of interest in beer made him very useful to his fellow fans. The travelling Americans were keen to try to famous Dutch beer, but they worried about their ability to get back to the con hotel after a pub-crawl. A fan who didn't drink and had researched the local light rail system before the trip was just what they needed, and Kevin was appointed Designated Walker. He also worked as a gopher on the convention, his introduction to running Worldcons.

By this time Kevin was regularly attending conventions in the Bay Area. In a small but select meeting in a bar after the 1990 Silicon he helped found the Bay Area Science Fiction Association (BASFA). Between 1991 and 1993 he ran convention newsletters for both Silicon and BayCon.

However, Kevin was still living in Chico. Having gone on to be secretary of the ConFrancisco convention committee, he often had to drive the 150 miles down to the Bay Area for a committee meeting. Kevin threw himself into Worldcon running with enthusiasm. As secretary he edited and produced the committee APA, The Never Ending Meeting (this being in the days before email). He was also WSFS Division Manager, Business Meeting Parliamentarian and held six other jobs on the committee. His badge was festooned with ribbons and caused much amusement at the con. At the Closing Ceremonies the rest of the committee presented Kevin with a giant cardboard badge that was almost bigger than him. That badge is now part of the travelling Worldcon History exhibit.

Although ConFrancisco had a number of major problems, Kevin was by no means put off running Worldcons. At the post-convention committee meeting he turned up wearing a San Francisco in 2002 t-shirt, which he had made by doctoring one of the bid shirts. "Next time we'll get it right," he said. The rest of the committee threw things at him.

Kevin's interest in WSFS Business Meetings started early. He had studied parliamentary procedure at school and was immediately drawn to the Business Meeting at L.A.Con II. Keen to be involved, he got his name on the minutes by moving the motion to adjourn at the first day's meeting. At his first Westercon he persuaded the Business Meeting to adopt Roberts Rules of Order as its standard debating rules, despite strong opposition from senior L.A. fan, Bruce Pelz. For a number of years, when Pelz presided over a Westercon Business Meeting, he would glare at Kevin when he went on too long and say, "Rule 2" which was short for "Shut up, Kevin."

Given the choice of any job at a Worldcon, Kevin would ask to chair the WSFS Business Meeting. He has now held the position three times, in 1995, 2002 and 2003, and is recognised as one of the best. He has also joined the National Association of Parliamentarians so that he can learn to run such meetings more effectively. To show his respect for WSFS and the importance of the Business Meeting, he wears a business suit while chairing meetings, matching it with colorful flag ties that honor the various countries where Worldcon is held.

It would be a mistake, however, to think of Kevin simply as a parliamentary rules fanatic. First of all he has a strong belief in openness and democracy, and does whatever he can to help newcomers participate in the process. In addition, his interests in fandom continue to stretch widely. A love of history has led him to develop a passion for the works of Harry Turtledove. And he and he wife, Lisa Hayes, both have a strong interest in anime. Lisa can often be seen gracing conventions in a striking Sailor Jupiter outfit and other anime-related costumes.

Also, while Kevin is a great believer in the importance of due process that doesn't mean that he thinks such things should be humorless. He has run site selection at both Worldcon and Westercon, and is happy to accommodate hoax bids. Indeed, he has been involved in some himself. Having been defeated by a campus-based bid in the 1991 Westercon election, Kevin launched a bid for his alma mater, Chico State, for the 2001 Westercon. The convention was to be called VelveetaCon, for reasons that are probably best not divulged. When an official Portland bid for 2001 was started, Kevin used his encyclopaedic knowledge of the Westercon constitution and trains to explain how the con could be in both locations. With July 4th being midweek that year, it was legal for the convention to be on either weekend, and Kevin proposed that both be used, with fans travelling by train from one site to the other during the week.

In 1994, Portland's OryCon convention recruited Kevin to do their daily newsletter. At the one pre-convention meeting he managed to attend, the head of Opening Ceremonies mentioned that they needed more committee people to be part of the traditional OryCon function.  Kevin said, "I'm game."

"But you haven't even heard what we're doing," protested the department head.

"That's okay; I trust you," said Kevin, whereupon the rest of the committee broke up in helpless laughter. And that is how Kevin found himself as part of OryCon 16 Opening Ceremonies, Plan Nine from Jantzen Beach, in a blonde wig, short skirt, fluffy sweater, and high heels as part of the "Ed Wood Memorial All-Transvestite Kazoo Band."  Never one for half-measures, Kevin did the best he could with the outfit (unlike the other members of the band, including David Levine, none of whom could be persuaded to shave their beards), and he ended up with a Hall Costume Best of Show for his "Ed Wood Wannabe."

Oh, and he managed to produce four issues of the convention newsletter, too.

That same year Kevin moved to the Bay Area and was soon appointed President of BASFA, a job he held for two years. BASFA is a fun-loving organization and, in view of Kevin's interests, the members quickly developed the concept of Recreational Parliamentary Practice, whereby they would contrive new and amusing procedural puzzles to test Kevin's mettle. Having survived the worst that mischievous BASFA members can throw at him, Kevin finds chairing the WSFS Business Meeting a relatively straightforward job.

That same year Kevin worked as WSFS Division Head and Deputy Chair of ConAdian, the Winnipeg Worldcon. It was here that he acquired fan artist credentials as the co-designer of ConAdian's Hugo base. The job also earned him the deep suspicion of Canadian immigration officials when he flew to a ConAdian pre-con planning meeting in early 1994. They could not believe that anyone from the Bay Area would come to Winnipeg in the middle of winter to see friends for the weekend. They took a lot of convincing that he was not a highly paid software consultant on a lucrative emergency assignment.

In 1996 at L.A.Con III the San Francisco in 2002 Worldcon Bid was launched. Kevin, who was already a director of San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc., the parent corporation of ConFrancisco, was chosen to lead the bid. This led to three years of hard work, travelling the world to promote the bid. In 1999 Kevin attended an Eastercon in Liverpool, England and was one of the select group of fans who participated in the exhausting 2-week convention experience formed by the Anaheim NASFiC and Melbourne, Australia Worldcon.

For much of the three years Kevin's bid had endured strong opposition from Seattle. Kevin and his fellow bid chair, Pat Porter, were determined that this competition should be conducted in a friendly manner. Their policy was a great success; perhaps the most obvious example being the afternoon at Bucconeer in Baltimore when fans from the two bids were seen staffing each other's bid tables. Sadly Hotel Trouble struck. Seattle had to pull out, and the San Francisco bid ended up moving to San José.

Despite a late and highly amusing challenge from Roswell, New Mexico, the San José bid duly won the site selection vote in Melbourne. By this time, however, Kevin was physically and emotionally exhausted, not to mention deep in debt from travelling to too many conventions. He passed the leadership of the convention to Tom Whitmore and took a number of minor jobs on the convention committee. However, in 2002, as a result of concerns about the progress of the convention and a certain amount of internal strife on the committee, Kevin was asked to join Tom as co-chair.

Like ConFrancisco, ConJosé had its problems. However, most of them were minor. One of Kevin's leadership mantras was that if you make sure that you don't make any big and obvious mistakes then most people will be happy. And so, it appears, they were. Due credit for its success should, of course, also be given to Tom Whitmore, the vice chairs, Cindy Scott and Craige Howlett, and the many fans who worked so hard on the convention.

Kevin, of course, is not yet satisfied. "It could have been so much better," he keeps telling me. Perhaps it could. One of Kevin's pet projects right now is to find a way to make Worldcons more accessible to new members. At its current size, Worldcon is very expensive to run. The huge overhead of paying for a convention center is spread between too few fans. If we attracted more people, Kevin believes, we could make Worldcon cheaper. And attracting more people inevitably means outreach to younger fans: kids who might be comics fans, media fans or anime fans. In other words, people very much like the young Kevin Standlee who was so over-awed by L.A.con II. It will be fascinating to see where this project takes Kevin, and Worldcon.




Made In Cascadia

Time left until Cascadia Con:

The North American Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention

Send mail to webmaster@cascadiacon.org with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2003 Bobbie DuFault or the respective writers where noted. Seattle NASFiC in 2005.
Last modified: 06/20/04    
World Science Fiction Society", "WSFS", "World Science Fiction Convention", "Worldcon", "NASFiC" and "Hugo Award"
are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.
You can contact the WSFS Mark Protection Committee at <mpc@wsfs.org>.


Made In Cascadia

Time left until Cascadia Con:

The North American Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention

Send mail to webmaster@cascadiacon.org with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2003 Bobbie DuFault or the respective writers where noted. Seattle NASFiC in 2005.
Last modified: 06/20/04   
World Science Fiction Society", "WSFS", "World Science Fiction Convention", "Worldcon", "NASFiC" and "Hugo Award"
are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.
You can contact the WSFS Mark Protection Committee at <mpc@wsfs.org>.