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nine . . . . . Stuck in the Middle (with You) As we moved back and forth between our identities as fans and as researchers , we began to occupy a strange middle ground, which carried with it both the thrill of being an insider and the risk of alienating the community of fans that we valued being a part of. Everyone who’s straddled the line has had to negotiate a balance. When we weren’t trying to wangle our way into celebrity interviews, we sought out the others who had successfully found that middle ground. CreationconventionownerAdamMalin,thefanboy-turned-entrepreneur, seemed to relish his position as middleman between fans and celebrities. Creation keeps the lines of demarcation between the two sides fairly thick, with relentless organization and a slew of volunteer security in addition to the MWNN. They offer access, to be sure, but it’s a carefully proscribed and not entirely spontaneous access. This has the benefit of making sure that all fans get their turn and get what they paid for and the down side of being more choreographed than fans might wish. At Eyecon, we met with con organizers Kenny and Voni, who were trying to create a different model of fan convention where fans got more open access to the celebrities. They weren’t exactly what we expected—everyone had told us how “cool” they were, how fan-oriented and down to earth. We were more struck by how young they were and wondered how such a laid-back organization was going to work out, more used to the well-oiled machine of a Creation con. We described our book and how we were trying to cover the fandom from both sides, the creative perspective and fan perspective. Kenny nodded. “Just like us—we’re right in the middle.” Kenny started out (if that’s the appropriate term for an operation that was 168 chapter nine all of six months old) running conventions for other shows, until Voni convinced him to have one for the show that she was a fan of—Supernatural. At first, Kenny was reluctant. Voni was his significant other. Kenny: “I was too jealous of Jared and Jensen.” Voni: “Finally he was like fine, I’ll bring Jensen for you.” Kenny: “I’ve since then accepted Jensen’s hotness.” As have we all, Kenny, as have we all. He’d been impressed with the Supernatural fans. “My expectations now are that every fandom is like this. They are so intelligent, picking apart the episodes and talking about what it means. I’ve seen people break down the cinematography and I’m like yeah, those colors. And Kim Manners is popular because he’s a director.” We couldn’t resist asking if either of them were in the room at the last Eyecon when Jim Beaver came out wearing the infamous “I Read John/ Bobby” T-shirt. Kenny, entrepreneur that he is, was immediately enthusiastic. “That was awesome! My position is that we look for anything that is going to get blogged about—when he did that it’s like cha-ching! Anytime someone says your name, it’s better for you. But it’s still funny.” At least someone was happy about our T-shirt dare, if only because he stood to gain from it. Ultimately, Kenny and Voni’s model of conventions ended up failing, perhaps because some of the boundaries they sought to break down are actually needed. Not the ones that require four giant security guards to police a room full of grown women, but the ones that keep an eye on both sides to be sure neither is taking advantage of the other. Voni, as a fangirl herself, understood what fans wanted—and Kenny tried to give that to them (and to Voni as well). Perhaps their own emotional investment at times clouded their judgment of just what that should be. Or maybe they were just too young and inexperienced. For whatever reason, the next scheduled Eyecons were canceled. We also talked with Wayne, the organizer of Asylum, that UK con that we were so upset to have missed out on. If we thought Kenny and Voni were young, we were really shocked by Wayne. He looked younger than some of our own children. stuck in the middle (with you) 169 Lynn: “You look very young.” Wayne: “I’m twenty-four.” Lynn (a bit wide-eyed): “You are very young.” Wayne gave us his perspective on the convention we only...


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MARC Record
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