CONvergence Retrospective by Kyle

Last week was the fifth time I have traveled to the Doubletree in Bloomington, Minnesota for CONvergence. I consider CONvergence to be a “Choose your our Geekventure” convention, because the experience you have is fully dependent on how you want to experience your con. My first year it was a bit overwhelming with so many options. Now, after a half-decade, I’ve narrowed it down a bit to maximize my fun.

My week started off with a blast as I moderated the “Ask A Submariner: Foul Mouthed Sailor’s Edition” Panel for the second time. Essentially, it’s a group of US Navy Submarine veterans telling sea stories. It’s a late night panel with several drinks and I have a particular amount of fun as a Marine vet, both dishing out and taking branch rivalry insults. The chaos hit peak level when I asked, “What the hell is Mermaiding?” The sailors then described the prank of mermaiding, and decided to demonstrate by starting to duct tape my arms together, in order to turn me into a fish-person. They stopped well short of the full prank, but the point was made. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard from an adhesive-based assault before.

On Day Two, I continued to run several panels on board games, podcasts, and storytelling. The highlight of my Friday was participating in the 1st Annual Geek Poetry Slam at Harmcon. I hadn’t performed poetry in front of people since college, but it seemed like the Fearless thing to do, so I jumped in. I presented two original poems that got a great response, and managed to finish second, something I am very proud of. You will likely catch me writing and performing more poetry going forward after that experience. It just goes to show, that if you have the chance to do something on stage, jump at it. You might enjoy it.

After two amazing days at CONvergence, I feared Saturday might fall short. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Another day of good panels with the highlight panel being “How to Storyboard.” I was joined by guest of honor Ian Truitner, a filmmaker who presented the Midwest debut of his sci-fi feature Teleios at CONvergence. That evening, I had the privilege and honor of performing at the Masquerade Halftime Show with several Fearless company members. I can honestly say that it was the most exhilarating improv show I’ve ever been a part of. The audience of fellow geeks brought their A game; shouting suggestions, laughing with vigor, and cheering with enthusiasm. As a performer, that kind of energy is the best inspiration you can have. To top it off, all of my Fearless castmates aced each game we played, and were the best improv partners you could ask for.

With all the fun that I had at CONvergence, none of it would have been possible without the fantastic members of the convention, and my Fearless company mates. They are the ones that attend panels and the halftime show, and staff the party rooms that folks enjoy. This community of geeks having fun brings me joy each year, and I look forward to sharing it again with you all in 2018.

– Kyle Dekker

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