AnomalyCon: So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish

Dearest AnomalyCon Guests, Attendees, Vendors, and Staff:

Once upon a time, there was a person with a dream…

Almost nine years ago, in September of 2008, we started together on a journey that began when I attended a casually planned event at the Denver Botanic Gardens in my first Steampunk costume. That event was so much fun that I agreed to start planning more events for that group, the Colorado Steampunks.

In January of the following year, someone casually suggested an idea to start a radio show (a podcast, in fact) that told the stories of an airship full of adventurers. From that idea I agreed to start writing, directing, and producing a podcast called Radio S.T.E.A.M., and gathered members of the Colorado Steampunks together to form the cast. We formed a small LLC and called it Victorian Productions.

A year later, a member of the Colorado Steampunks made the suggestion that Steampunk needed a local convention. At first, our little radio group thought we would work together to tie into another event. We would call it the Mad Science Faire of Colorado. Just as our planning was beginning, however, a paranormal science club at Metro State College used that name for a fringe science festival, and threw a wrench in our gears.

So, instead, our little group of about 15 novice voice actors agreed to direct Victorian Productions in more projects. We argued and discussed all kinds of venues and ideas, and the name was the biggest sticking point. “What if Steampunk becomes obsolete?” We asked ourselves. Finally, one day, driving in the rain, the name came to me. I dialed in the other people who had agreed to be directors–the people most likely to show up to everything. “We’ll call it AnomalyCon!” I shouted, excited to finally put a name to our idea.
And so a convention was born. We started out in the Tivoli in 2011, with nearly 600 people at our first event. And here, at the Hyatt, 7 years later, with record attendance, is where we say our farewell.

In the beginning we were 12 directors coming together to form a company. A fellowship of the STEAM, if you will. Through the years, life and health have slowly moved in on many of our staff members, and though we grew to as many as 70 or 80 volunteers during busy times, eight years is a long time for people who were mostly college students when we started. And so now, at the end of the journey, we are only two.  

From the beginning, we set out to create a unique experience. We wanted science and technology incorporated in our content. We wanted local authors and artists to get a chance to shine. We wanted lots of music and activity and fun.

And we wanted AnomalyCon to mean something.

We named it AnomalyCon because, though we loved the Steampunk aesthetic, we recognized that steam is just one component of the greater, vital, science fiction community. We wanted to embrace science fiction in all its radical potential.

Our policies have evolved over time. We have always had a respect and safety policy, but as we moved away from the restrictive rules of the Tivoli, as other conventions failed to protect their attendees, our policies evolved to reflect our understanding of the world and our desire to be intersectional above all else. We’ve brought in guests from around the world, and they have made an impact on us and on you. Today, AnomalyCon is a safe place because of our dedication to intersectional justice, but also because all of you are willing to work together to make it that place. We could never have done this without the many hundreds of people over the years who put effort and collaboration into this space. You have proven what fandom is capable of, and I am so proud to have been a part of this.

In the turmoil and uncertainty of today’s political climate, I am sorry, from the depths of my heart, that the time has come to retire AnomalyCon and let our remaining staff move on to other projects. But this is not goodbye, my friends. If AnomalyCon has made a difference for you, I hope you will go out and build safe spaces for each other. Stand together, strong, as a community, and no one can take that away from us.

Though, after this weekend, I will no longer stand before you as your Captain, I hope that you will remember me fondly–and go forth and change the world.  

Look to the Skies,
Commodore Kronda Seibert, First of Their Name
Captain of the Good Ship AnomalyCon