The Minn-Stf Floundering Fathers Panel
part two

HASKELL: Gordy will be surprised to hear this....
YOUNG: Gordy had become a Dirty Pro in the meantime--
HASKELL: Oh, I see.
YOUNG: ...so he's out of the pale, you see.
EMERSON: How did--
HASKELL: And into the flush.... Sorry.
EMERSON: How is it... how did it come about that you... that Minn-Stf met in a bookstore?
YOUNG: Oh, Golob's.
HASKELL: "Not responsible!"
YOUNG: "Park and Lock It!"
EMERSON: How long did it meet in the bookstore?
YOUNG: '68. Golob couldn't pay his rent and so the bookstore went bust. And that was a very interesting time, because he kept buying all sorts of strange remaindered things and selling them off at fabulous prices like 10 cents and 35 cents and so you could pick up strange old Gnome Press things very cheaply that way. A lot of it was pure crap, but it was cheap.
STODOLKA: I think the thing that kept us coming to Golob's bookstore was, first of all, he had a good pop machine, and--
YOUNG: This was in the days before I was a true Mountain Dew freak, and had discovered the true meaning of the word "green"....
HASKELL: Yellow.
FLETCHER: Chartreuse.
YOUNG: Whatever....
STODOLKA: And it was conveniently close to a place where we could go to eat after the meeting and stuff like that. Very important.
YOUNG: Ah, that brings up another aspect of the late 60's and early 70's Minn-Stf: food. Now--
HASKELL: Without it, we would have died!
BUCKLIN: One of the things that all fans in Minn-Stf had in common at the time was very simple and fairly obvious: all of us, periodically, from time to time, ate.
YOUNG: Let's hear it for munchies!
WIXON: A tradition that still carries on, I might add....
YOUNG: Sky-U-Mah!
EMERSON: I'd like to ask how the first Minicon was organized.
AUDIENCE: [Loud laugh]
EMERSON: Was it organized?
STODOLKA: Well--
YOUNG: Well....
FLETCHER: Well.
STODOLKA: ...first we went through the nightmare of University bureaucracy.
YOUNG: Yeah, you see, Minn-Stf got, you know, official University of Minnesota recognition, as an official University of Minnesota official student official organization official.
HASKELL: Antlers optional.
YOUNG: Right.
FLETCHER: I think what happened was a... they tried it as a trial balloon to get a... effectively a probationary period. "Hi there, we're a potential student organization. Can we use your facilities?" So they said yes. I guess we were potential for... through the first Minicon... the first Minicon day, and also up to the point where we realized the amount of bureaucracy that was involved in organizing as an actual student organization.
YOUNG: The way that the first Minicon worked is that Frank worked with the U, and set up the meeting space, we both worked together on setting up some programming, and then I wound up printing the little bulletin that we put out for it... and in ditto, because those were the days of Minneapolis dittoed fanzines.
HASKELL: That goes ditto for me.
YOUNG: Yup. And I helped sit in on the panel--Frank did too--and essentially just burbled with Dickson and Simak and Charles V. DeVet. Carl Jacobi did not show up, though he had said he would, apparently he was taking part in the flu epidemic at that time....
BUCKLIN: In what?
EMERSON: Flu epidemic.
YOUNG: Flu epidemic.
HASKELL: Oh, and before... before you get confused, the first Minicon was an afternoon affair, at the Men's, ah, Lounge--
STODOLKA: The Men's Lounge.(5)
HASKELL: ...of Coffman Memorial Union,(6) and--
YOUNG: That's not as bizarre as it may sound--someone's snickering out here in the front row. *snicker*
HASKELL: ...and there were maybe about one-fourth as many people there as there are in this room at the moment.
YOUNG: There were sixty there.
HASKELL: Really? That many?
YOUNG: Yeah.
STODOLKA: I thought it was closer to thirty-five.
YOUNG: What?
HASKELL: It seemed a lot smaller than that to me.
YOUNG: No, I've got a--
BUCKLIN: The actual number was thirty-nine point two....
DENNY LIEN: And many of them were short.
JON SINGER: That includes four engineering students who were in the lounge but not attending the convention.
YOUNG: Right.
HASKELL: Jim Young played piano. Thus starting a tradition.(7)
YOUNG: Noooo....
EMERSON: No, thus initiating a happenstance.
HASKELL: Oh.
EMERSON: Three times is tradition. How did the second and third Minicons get put on? You obviously thought that there was some reason to do it again.
YOUNG: Well, you see, I went to... Fred and Ken and I went to NyCon3,(8) and that was the beginning of the great bozoing tradition, but somewhere in the middle of the NyCon I ran into--
HASKELL: More than that, Jim, but....
YOUNG: And several other, you know, whatevers.... I ran into Dave Vanderwerf, and he said, "Gee, ah, you ever thought about bidding for a Worldcon?" And I said, "No, but I'm really thinking of bidding for the MidWestCon." And--
HASKELL: Antlers optional.
YOUNG: Antlers optional. And he was somewhat taken aback by this, but I kind of liked the idea of a Worldcon bid, and--
HASKELL: It seemed like a good thing to do at the time....
YOUNG: It seemed like a good thing, yes, it certainly did. So the way to do that, of course, was to have conventions and figure out what you do first, before you suddenly have this Worldcon on your hands. So the second Minicon I simply did all the bureaucratic work and so on, and I didn't delegate much authority, which I should have done at the time. And, nonetheless, everything sort of managed to persist. It has a... a convention has a momentum of its own, and once you have all these wonderful people getting together then strange and fantastic and good things happen occasionally. And that's essentially how Minicon--
EMERSON: Speaking of Minneapolis in '73, how did that whole shtick get started?
YOUNG: Now wait--now just hang on a minute. Now, I wanted to bring this along, but I couldn't find my copy. Nonetheless, the Minneapolis Tribune ran a fantastic article about the second Minicon, that bore the headline: "Fandoms Convene!" And Gerald Vizenor, the poor person who wrote the thing, was convinced that of course I was a fandom, that Ken was a fandom, that Fred was a fandom, that Anthony Tollin was a fandom!
FRED LERNER: That's possible....
HASKELL: Although he was a comics fandom....
YOUNG: Yes, he was a comics fandom at that point. And that we were all seeking the blessings of St. Fanthony.
HASKELL: What?
YOUNG: What?
BUCKLIN: What?
HASKELL: What?
YOUNG: How do we do that with our voice?
EMERSON: Fred, I don't think you know this, but you're muttering. You should mutter into the mike.
HASKELL: Oh, I should mutter into the mike? mutter mutter....
EMERSON: Now we're going to have a short pause here while Fred Haskell mutters into the mike.
HASKELL: mutter... mutter mutter... mutter mutter mutter mutter... mutter....
BUCKLIN: I had a kitten with short paws once....
YOUNG: I had one once, but the wheels fell off.
EMERSON: Well, that certainly is a wonderful thing. Back to Minneapolis in '73.
YOUNG: Well, it--
EMERSON: Or forward to Minneapolis in '73.
YOUNG: Yes, forward into the past dear friends. The meeting with Vanderwerf really did start it all--that meeting of September first, 1967. I made notes. [clears throat] Well, I was publishing a fanzine called HOOP at that time, and--
HASKELL: HOOP!
STODOLKA: HOOP!
BUCKLIN: HOOP!
FLETCHER: HOOP!
YOUNG: ...and a man named Ray Fisher, who was bidding for St. Louis, was kind enough to give me some sage advice. He said, "Well, you know, you only go around once in life, kid, so don't do it." Well, I said, "Why not, you know, really--just give it a try." And what with one thing and another... it turned out that it was financially impossible to keep on bidding, because bidding takes a lot of money. But, the real problem in bidding for a Worldcon is that you might win. And if you do....
HASKELL: Ahhh, there's the rub....
YOUNG: Yes, yes. Suddenly you have to deal with fifteen billion people, all in one hotel. So, what with one thing and another, we... I decided in about December, 1970, that really the Worldcon itself wasn't the best thing. But, by 1971, we figured, well, we kind of like throwing parties so why don't we just keep bidding. And by 1973 it had, of course, become firmly established, and we officially declared parts of Toronto within the domain of the City of Minneapolis in 1973, so that, you know, the Toronto Worldcon was held here.
EMERSON: By the way, last year about this time New Orleans finally conceded the '73 Worldcon to Minneapolis--they dropped out of the running.
HASKELL: That's interesting, because they were never running....(9)
YOUNG: I'd like to tell you an interesting story about that. Don Markstein told me--
HASKELL: Just a minute. Could I get a Gopher? Somebody want to Gopher?
WOOD: What do you need, Fred?
HASKELL: I need coffee and cigarettes.(10)
WOOD: Sky-U-Mah!
FLETCHER: I would like to point out that the actual Minneapolis in '73 Serious and Constructive bidding for the actual Worldcon, which started up fairly soon after the first Minicon,(11) meant an actual drive to recruit people, and to publicize the convention--let people know that there was a science fiction club and a science fiction convention in one way or another. And basically, instead of a small circle of fanzine fans, that may be one of the reasons why, you know, there's basically several... you know, a large fan group in the Twin Cities, and also, you know, the major conventions. Of course, once you start it--letting people know--and once you've put on two or three conventions; like Jim said, it has a momentum of its own. But it was the actual bid that probably got, you know, a real hard core recruitment going, trying to get people to know there was a group--a club--a group of science fiction people in the area.
EMERSON: So, in a sense, then, every Minicon is really just a recruitment drive for the Minneapolis in '73 movement?
YOUNG: Well, let me tell you the story about Don Markstein, please. This is also a Harlan Ellison story, so I can't help but tell it.
WIXON: Make it short!
YOUNG: That goes without saying.
AUDIENCE: [Laughter]
YOUNG: ...at any rate. I went to BayCon in 1968, out in Berkeley and Oakland. Now, as a background, you have to keep in mind that the hotel that was held in was haunted--there were the strange stories going around about why the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors had no guests in them and you couldn't get there by the elevators. Imagine Don Markstein walking up to me and saying, "You know, we're bidding for 1973, and I'll just bet you that we have Harlan Ellison on our side before you do." Well Harlan, you see, at that time was particularly adept at--
LERNER: Rabble rousing.
YOUNG: ...coming on like a cross between Mick Jagger and John Kennedy--
HASKELL: He was coming on like Gangbusters.(12)
YOUNG: Gangbusters, yes, exactly so. And he did one of these charismatic pirouettes in front of all of the people at NyCon and won the BayCon bid--this was back when you bid for a Worldcon with one year's lead time. He did the same thing in 1968 at the BayCon for St. Louis. And at that time you didn't have to be a supporting member of the Worldcon coming up to vote, you just had to be a member of the particular Worldcon you were at. So getting the support of Harlan Ellison was... rather like having God on your side. And I wrote Harlan and said, "Harlan--"


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