Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dixie-Trek 1986

Dixie-Trek was a SF convention held in Atlanta GA throughout the 1980s and half of the 90s. An outgrowth of the Atlanta Star Trek Society, it moved from strict Trek into the larger world of media SF, as its 1986 flyer demonstrates.

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I attended the 1986 show mostly because of Peter Davidson; I was not then and never wound up being any kind of Star Trek fan. My memories of the convention include running a fan table promoting our Japanese animation club, filling a car with convention pals for a late night food run, wandering into a room party where BEER was being served (!!) and generally having a good time in the convention environment as an unsupervised teenager. Also note the ubiquitous presence of Brad Strickland.

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Films at the convention were 16mm prints run off a clackety projector. These included, of course, the Star Trek Blooper Reel, which was a highlight of conventions since in the pre-VHS days conventions were the only place you could see them. Of course you couldn't get Dr. Who episodes on 16mm so the convention used their ten-foot video projection screen. Remember those three-lens RGB projectors?

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The world of Japanese animation was only then beginning to carve out a foothold among the Trekkies and Whovians of the world, and I can assure you that every bit of anime shown at this Dixie-Trek was copies of copies of copies of Project A-Ko and the Macross movie. Advance tickets were only $22, which was probably a lot back in 1986, but these days is pretty much what you'd pay for an advance ticket at a comparable show. Though these days you will probably get gouged for autographs, priority seating, and "VIP Access". Note the Century Center was charging $59 a night. You can't get a Super-8 room for that price any more.

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Dixie-Trek faded away in the mid 1990s as Atlanta fan conventions crumbled under the onslaught of Dragon-Con; the Trekkies of the 70s and 80s found themselves with kids, jobs, and no time for filking, while the new fandom of the 1990s wouldn't be caught dead getting Billy Mumy's autograph, instead preferring to play video games and get Todd McFarlane's autograph.

"Dixie-Trek" was also used as the name of a sci-fi convention in Mississippi attended by a character on the TV show "Big Bang Theory". Somebody owes Owen Ogletree some royalties, is all I'm saying.

AWA would hold its third and fourth conventions at the Century Center, which is now a Marriott property and seems to have undergone a complete makeover. If you are planning a 900-1200 person event I highly recommend the Century Center; lots of good memories there.

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