LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE
Affiche de la prochaine Convention US à la Nouvelle Orléans
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They started in 88. the first ones were commercial events oganized by the specialized firm Creation, sometimes 'twinned' with other shows, but starting in 1990, the B&B fans took the matter in their own hands with the first Tunnelcon in Vegas, followed by two others. Ever since, yearly US and almost-yearly UK cons have been organized by fans. Two years of hard work, and a financially risky business.
Logically enough, the most regular and best-attended B&B cons are
In the USA
(this way for the rest of the world and the cybertunnels)
Though at the beginning the attendance neared the
thousand, the B&B conventions nowadays painfully gather a hundred
participants, more or less depending on the year, and resemble more a
family reunion than a big, money-making machine like some other shows'
huge commercial-run conventions. It's both an advantage and an
inconvenient. The main inconvenient is monetary. Those small
conventions strive to make ends meet and can no longer afford guests
like Ron Perlman, who's become too expensive. His last official
participation in Orlando in 99 all but bankrupted the Con. He did make
a short appearance at the banquet the next year in LA, but it was only
a 'neigborly' visit his friends had dragged him into.
in Orlando in 99 Photo Marina
Ron and his "double" Lisa Gould
Orlando 99 Photo Marina
Roy Dotrice and Ron Perlman
Los Angeles 2000
On the other hand, the advantages of small numbers are legion. Warmth, friendship, interactivity, relaxed atmosphere and peals of laughter, the first reason for coming to a B&B con is to spend time with the 'family'. The guests are approachable, mingle easily with the group and those who have come to many Cons have become themselves a part of the family. No faraway unapproachable stars protected by bodyguards or endless hours in autograph lines just to get a chance to say hello.
Dîner avec 'Mouse' LA 2007 Photo Chandler
The US conventions usually take place around July 10th, Friday to Sunday. Add-on activities are usually scheduled on Thursday, Monday and Tuesday, for those who want spend the week together. The schedule can differ depending on the city and the guests, but there are a few fixed traditional features.
The Opening and Closing ceremonies
The panels, all kinds of activities and games proposed by fans, or Q&As with the guests.
The Talent Show offered by the participants, generally coupled with a costume parade
Costumes LA 2007 Photo Suze Howe
The Banquet: everyone dresses up on Saturday night for a formal dinner, during which the traditional candle lighting ceremony takes place.
The Dealers' Room, where tables offer all kinds of B&B merchandise, official or fan-made: zines, T-shirts, art and various other stuff.
The auctions: offering art, zines and B&B related stuff, they are often led by one or several of the guests and are a show in their own right. The profits may go to the owners of the stuff, help finance the Con or go directly to the Con charity (there's always one, a tradition linked to the show's spirit)
Myhr, David Schwartz and Jay Acovone
NYC 2001 Photo Marina
Every convention has a name, most of the time a quote from B&B, and a logo printed on all the con merchandise, T-shirt, conzine (a collection of fanfic and fanart) and the con tote-bag every attendant gets on registering, generally filled with delightful and useful goodies. Sometimes there are also con mugs and other merchandise.
Lee Holdridge (composer), Wendy Pini (author of the B&B graphic novels)
et James Avery (Winslow) LA 2007
Franc Luz (Kristopher Gentian) in "Vincent's chamber"
New Jersey 2008
In twenty years, almost every B&B actor (plus other people who worked on the show) participated in one or several Cons, with the notable exception of Linda Hamilton who never wished to attend. Frequent visitors like Roy Dotrice (Father), Jay Acovone (Joe), David Greenlee (Mouse), producer David Schwartz, scenarist Linda Campanelli... are now 'part of the family'. As was Edward Albert (Elliot Burch), who died in 2006. His warmth and kindness are sorely missed.
Edward Albert à NYC en 2001
For more pics, go to the Conventions section of Marina's website.
A couple of con reports
San Francisco 2003 New Jersey 2008
all pics and reports of LA 2007 and New Jersey 2008
And outside the USA? Back to Menu