It took me three tries over a span of six years before I finally made it to Bitchin’ Party. I’d first heard about it back in 2008 or 9, maybe from a SlashCast podcast episode, my memory is hazy… but what I learned at the time was that there was a multi-fandom con taking place every other year, not too far from Seattle, and everyone had a blast there. Count me in! Where do I sign up? I then proceeded to miss them like clockwork, remembering only during off years until finally in 2016, I got my shit together and signed up, only to find out that 2016’s Bitchin’ Party would be its last.*
Bitchin’ Party, otherwise known as Pacificon, or the Pacific Writers Convention (when you booked your hotel room) is an intimate, bi-annual, multifandom, slash-friendly convention, capping at 100 attendees. For three days in April, I was surrounded by like-minded, fandom-centric, super-creative fans, who were passionate about their art and writing and vidding and podcasting and archiving and their fandoms. Not surprising, Bitchin’ Party people are a welcoming and very cool bunch of folks.
BrynnMck, the founding force behind Pacificon, was kind enough to take the time out of running the convention to let me ask her all kinds of questions about how Bitchin’ Party came to be, where she is in fandom, and after almost a decade, why this would be her last year helming the Bitchin’ Party ship. Thank you Brynn. For everything. It really was a bitchin’ party.
* As fandom awesomeness always endures, Bitchin’ Party will continue! In June, it was announced that a new team would take the party into 2018 and beyond! Stock up on extra beers and sodas!
“This is the basement. It’s where we keep extra beers and sodas for our bitchin’ parties that we have quite frequently. ” – Dante’s Cove
Curious: Let’s start from the beginning. When did you first get into fandom?
Brynn: I graduated from college in 2000 and I had a pretty boring job where I was answering phones, so I had some downtime. At the time, Dark Angel was on and I started looking online for Dark Angel spoilers, and I found fic. That was not a thing that I had any idea that people did! I had written fic–when I was 12 I was writing Terminator fic–but I didn’t realize that that was a thing that other people did. And so then I found fanfiction.net, and spent a lot of time at that job reading fan fiction. That was my first introduction that fandom was a thing, and that people participated in it.
Curious: How did you start interacting with other fans?
Brynn: I wrote a few fics, and I think it was mostly through commenting and beta-ing. I think there might have been one message board or something that I participated in a little bit. I did make one friend through that fandom that I was actually remained friends with through the LJ years, and he actually came to Bitchin’ Party a few years ago.
But my first real fannish community was Buffy. I ended up on a Buffy/Spike board, a forum called We Band of Buggered. That was where I met my first community of fannish friends, and then a lot of people migrated to LJ, so I did too, and it kind of spread from there.
Curious: Did you go to cons or meetups?
Brynn: No, I’d been to a couple of the big cons with celebrity guests, but I’d never been to a fan convention before I ran the first Bitchin’ Party.
Brynn: I had no idea what I was doing. The way it came about was that I had gotten into Due South fandom, so I ended up knowing a lot of people who were doing Muskrat Jamboree, which is a very similar fan convention in Boston. The reason it was so similar is because basically, I got into Due South fandom a little bit too late to go to Muskrat Jamboree the first time.
Curious: I didn’t know Muskrat Jamboree started as a Due South convention.
Brynn: When it started, the people who ran it were primarily into Due South at the time, and Canadian 6 Degrees, and so a lot of people who came to that first one were Due South fans just because it was people that they knew. It was very similar to BItchin’ Party because it was a multi-fandom, slash-friendly con. I got into the fandom a little bit too late to go to that, but everybody seemed like they had so much fun, and I was like, “I want to do that here.”
Brooklinegirl, who is the organizer for Muskrat Jamboree–or was, as far as I know they actually finished up last year–is a friend of mine, and so she gave me a lot of great advice on how you actually make something like this happen. I took a lot from the structure of MJ.
Curious: Did you ask the local fandom folks if there was a big enough interest in a West Coast con?
Brynn: I think I must have. There was a pretty decent contingent of Seattle, Portland, and West coast fans. Yeah, I think must have asked people. I think it was November when I decided to do it, and then the con was in the spring, so it was a pretty short lead time for the first time. It really was the benefit of not really knowing what you’re getting into, where it’s just like, “Oh, sure. I can do that.”