Tony Lewis' Noreascon 2 Reminiscence

1980Noreascon II, Boston
by Anthony R. Lewis (Noreascon I Chairman)
From the Noreascon Three PB.

Noreascon II chose the lobster as its totemic symbol, just as the earlier Noreascon had the Cat & Dragon. The convention was run by Massachusetts Convention Fandom, Inc. — an organization that arose from a party in July 1974. This party was actually held in Boxboro, although the people throwing the party had no connection with Boxboro Fandom (which didn't exist in 1974, we think). This led to 4 years of bidding, 2 years of heavy planning, and one month (Claudius, 1980) of running the convention. Since the convention overlapped August and September, we decided to create a new month for planning and financial purposes and to name it after another famous Roman emperor.

The con was held in the Sheraton-Boston and the then new Hynes Civic Auditorium. This was the same venue as that of Noreascon (now Noreascon I). This site continued to be convenient to many of the amenities of the city.

We elevated Member Services to full division level to make sure that there was always a group whose specific mandate was to look out for the welfare of all the convention members. As always, the purpose of planning and organization was to make life easier for people attending the convention.

There were many tracks of programming. Unfortunately, we named them after the suits in the tarot deck (to highlight the Fan Guest of Honor's project). This turned out to be a mistake, as it confused people. We were the first Worldcon to have a specific track of programming for children. One of the things the kids told us was that they didn't like it being called "Children's Programming."

There was an extensive film program, including a presentation of the silent Phantom of the Opera with live organ music accompaniment. One of the most popular of the many exhibits was a display of former masquerade costumes from past Worldcons.

Guests of Honor were Kate Wilhelm and Damon Knight; Fan Guest of Honor was Bruce Pelz. The convention produced a book for Knight and WilhelmBetter Than One — and helped Bruce to complete his Fantasy Showcase Tarot deck, in which each card was drawn by a separate sf/fantasy/fannish artist.

After the convention we produced the Noreascon Two Memory Book, a 56-page collection of photographs (including eight pages of the Masquerade in color), articles, statistics about the convention, and a complete financial report. Copies were sent free to all Noreascon Two members that we could locate. (Hey, if you attended Noreascon Two and didn't get a copy, send a note to NESFA — they are now handling distribution.)

Total membership was 7026 including the one-day memberships. If we subtract out the attending members who did not come (642) and supporting members who did not convert at the door (530), we arrive at an attendance of about 5800-5900. Peak attendance day was Saturday with 5250 present. There were members from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, all Canadian provinces and territories except Newfoundland and the Yukon (there were two from N.W.T.), and from 26 other countries, mostly the U.K., Australia, France, and Japan.
Over 1500 people cast Hugo ballots. In site-selection voting Chicago was chosen over Detroit for the 1982 Worldcon.

The Committee: Leslie Turek (Chairman), Jill Eastlake (Treasurer), George Flynn (Secretary), Jim Hudson (Member Services), Donald Eastlake (Operations and WSFS Business), Tony Lewis (Program), Ellen Franklin (Exhibits), Chip Hitchcock (Functions), and a very large number of area heads, supervisors, staff, gophers, etc. Official estimates were that we used about 6806 people-hours of work at the convention. This does not include anything before or after — phew!