One of the reasons why I am travelling to different conventions across the Europe is to understand the fannish ways in all the countries. Yet almost every time when I encounter something really different I am surprised. Lituanicon was not an exception. It took me by surprise and I had to understand and accept its ways.
So old, so short
Last year, at Eurocon in Dortmund I heard about Lituanicon and I was told that there is a little bit of programme in English there. I didn’t need a lot more to put it on my “conventions to visit” list. And this year it happened that the con was taking place at the right date so that I was able to attend it. What was baffling was the fact that it had been announced to take place on 5th May only. Well, I am used to conventions lasting only for one day but usually natcons are a bit longer. Also, the fact that it was the twenty-ninth edition of Lituanicon added to my surprise. Such an old convention lasting for just one day?
The talk about CRISPR-Cas that I would love to participate in.
This was explained to me later on. It seems that Lituanicons were shrinking in size for the last couple of years. New organizers decided to make it open to the public in order to invite more people. In order to be able to make it happen, the organizers had to make it last only for one day. It was clearly visible that there were a lot of young people (many of them were definitely younger than the convention itself), so it seems that this idea was good. Of course, a convention that lasts one day seemed a little bit too short for me, but it looked like the plan itself was working.
The next surprise and my big regret
As the convention was open to everyone, a registration desk was not present. It was so totally surprising. Even the small, free events I had run in Poland always had a registration desk. Even if just to note down how many people were coming and to give them a badge and a programme booklet (if you can call one page a booklet, that is). Here, we just had what was called “Info Desk” that offered convention merchandise and programme booklets. But the people were not necessarily coming to the desk and we had to run after them to give them the programme. And here comes my regret – the convention had no badges whatsoever. It is my first con without a badge :(.
Interesting ideas at Lituanicon
I was told that there had been a big discussion on what monument should be placed on one of the biggest squares of Vilnius. As people were not able to decide and Lithuanian laws allow to put there something that is temporary, the organizers of Lituanicon created a monument “in memory” of claiming Lithuania by the Great Ctulhu Himself! The monument was erected on the aforementioned square some time before the convention and functioned as an interesting advertisement for it. During the con it was re-erected inside of the venue and it greeted members at the entrance.
The organizers certainly had a sense of humour. They prepared miniature cement versions of the monument that were available for sale. Speaking about merchandising, there were four different designs of the convention t-shirt and also four different types of convention pins. I wanted to buy more than I did, but I told myself I already had had too many t-shirts. Still, I couldn’t resist buying Lituanicon 2017 t-shirt for the GUFF auction on my trip to Australia. I hope people would find it as good as I did.
Despite being only an one-day convention, Lituanicon had many interesting programme items. I was able to participate just in two of them – the one about Biopunk worlds of Paolo Bacigalupi and the other one about the Frostpunk game. Funnily enough, both talks were given by guests from Poland – Aleksandra Mochocka and Marta Fijak. I regret that two other items of great interest to me were presented in Lithuanian and not in English. One of them was about CRISPR-Cas, and the other one – about the history of Lithuanian fandom. I was told that the latter was so interesting that it lasted longer than scheduled.
There was also one programme item that was not a part of the convention, but to me it was really related to the con itself. On Friday evening, before the con started, there had been a pub meeting with one of the convention guests – Adam Roberts. This item was a kind of unstructured discussion with some initial ideas/topics. It was slightly similar to a literary beer but there were many more participants. The discussion was really interesting and Adam had shown a great sense of humour but also some deep insights into the matters that had been discussed. I really enjoyed this time spent in a pub.
The future is ahead of us
Lituanicon was definitely too short. I had not been able to understand it fully before it finished. I have some theories and predictions regarding the Lithuanian fandom but I am not sure how right or wrong I am. What I had seen was a lot of passion in both the concom and the volunteers. I do hope that this passion will make Lituanicon a bigger and longer convention in the future.
I am interested in next Lituanicon. It will be the jubilee edition – XXX edition. Will it be bigger? Will it last longer? How will it differ from the one I visited? I am not sure, but I am really curious. I cannot tell if I’ll manage to visit it but I will try to take a look at it even if only by observing it in the Internet news.
You can find more pictures in my FB gallery.
In few days I will be leaving for my GUFF trip so I cannot commit when the next post will be available. For sure I will be posting some pictures on FB and I will do my best to write here as well.