The Lens


The Newsletter of Arisia, Incorporated -- Number 114, February 2002

Minutes of the Eboard Meeting

Sunday, February 3, 2002, at the Arcadia Restaurant, Waltham MA. Called to order at approximately 12:00 noon.

Brendan Quinn, Colette Fozard, Nicholas Shectman, Paul Selkirk, Chris Amshey, Rachel Silber, Noel Rosenberg

We think we made money, although it's still too early to put a precise (or even imprecise) figure on it.

We agreed to reimburse wholesale cost plus shipping (including express shipping if needed) on anything they get unmodified from a supplier, or their cost of producing anything that they do modify. This applies to both affected dealers.

They want to do a mailing list swap with us. We can have the registration folks generate mailing labels for them on our own authority. We are willing to give them data to integrate into their database, but this must be approved by the membership.

There was some discussion about how big we want to be, both in the next few years, and in the long term. We think we can manage a maximum of 2700-2800 in the Park Plaza. We already have a problem with senior staff being spread too thin and burning out. One thing that will help in the long term is to have a dedicated college outreach coordinator, to recruit the staff of the future.

The immediate motivator for this discussion was whether we want to sign a 3-year contract with the Park Plaza. In the end, we decided to ask for a 2-year contract, with an option for a third year, exercisable 90 days after Arisia '03. This will give us more flexibility to see what our numbers look like next year.

We had a preview of the Database Committee Report (page 3 of this issue). We discussed the merits of the proposed solutions (as well as hybrid solutions such as rolling our own from open-source tools), but decided to make no recommendation at this time.


Minutes of the Corporate Meeting

Tuesday, February 26, 2002. McGuire residence, Malden MA. Called to order at 7:21 PM.

Chris Amshey, Drea Brandford, Traciy Fogarty, Colette Fozard, Ben Levy, Michelle McGuire, Skip Morris, Tom Murphy, Brendan Quinn, Paul Selkirk, Nicholas Shectman, Rachel Silber, Liz Orenstein (new member), Craig McDonough (non-member).

Noel Rosenberg to Drea Brandford, Cris Shuldiner to Traciy Fogarty. Patrick McCormack gave his proxy to "whoever is wearing the silliest hat," which was ruled not to be a legal proxy.

We had a con. It was good, and we appear to have made money.

The President read out the minutes of the Eboard meeting.

MOVED to exchange mailing lists with JerseyDevilCon. Such data will be restricted to prior Arisia attendees who have indicated that we can share their data. Motion CARRIED on a voice vote.

The President is appointing Liz Orenstein to the Technical Equipment Committee; and is appointing Walter Kahn and Sheeri Kritzer to the Long Range Planning Committee.

MOVED to confirm these appointments. Motion CARRIED on a voice vote.

The Eboard met just before the corporate meeting. We authorized Ben Levy to spend up to $400 on alarms for the Dealers Room. We also authorized Skip Morris to spend up to $1000 on films.

Kit-Parker, a film distributor we've been renting from for years closed shop last year. They've been selling their entire 16mm collection on eBay at a rate of 100 titles per week. The films we're interested in are mostly older titles in the public domain where rental is not available anywhere else. Auction prices have so far been mostly lower than the original rental.

Titles purchased so far include:

Lunacon and MilPhil have also funded purchases of films:

The Eboard is seeking nominations for Arisia '04 Conchair.

Letters have gone out to the two dealers who lost merchandise at the con. We're waiting for information back from them about exactly how much they lost, so we can reimburse them.

I'm working on finalizing the hotel contract. I expect to get something to them this week, and probably get it nailed down in the next couple weeks.

We received a grant request from the New England Anime Society, who are starting a new anime convention in Boston (one of the last great areas of the country that doesn't have one).

Upon review of their bylaws, we discovered that they do not qualify, due to their membership restrictions. Basically, they have a 4- or 5-members board, who make all their decisions. All other members are non-voting. We offered to bring it up to the corporation to vote on waiving the restrictive membership covenant prohibition, but they thanked us and withdrew the grant request.

There is no further business before the Grant Committee.

Please sign in. Dues are $14 at this meeting, or $12 afterward. New members gain voting rights after attending one meeting; this meeting counts. Reports are encouraged to be submitted in writing, to avoid gross transcription errors.

At the con, we discovered that the Policies document had not been updated to reflect a prior vote to raise the membership cap to 2500. This vote took place in May 1998, the last time I was Clerk. I'm reviewing other past issues of Mentor, to determine whether any other changes to either the Bylaws or the Policies have not been recorded.

Arisia currently has $61,056.68 in all of its accounts, divided as follows:

Arisia '02: $24,716.78

Arisia '03: $ 3,399.05

Snow Fund: $15,000.00

Grant Fund: $ 1,777.39

General Fund: $16,163.46

The figure for Arisia '02 is adjusted for expenses payable where the amounts are known, but I still expect significant expenses in unknown amounts. I anticipate a final bottom line for A'02 of between $15,000 and $20,000, against a budget of $1,215. A more exact figure may be forthcoming from the A'02 convention treasury report.

MOVED to approve the corporate budget as printed in Mentor. A lengthy discussion ensued, during which various line items were explained (but not necessarily challenged). Motion CARRIED 11-0 on a hand vote.

Corporate sales at con and mail orders through Monday have generated a profit of four cents ($0.04) on volume of $1,860.00. We have a very few T-shirts still available for sale, and once those are gone they will not be reordered again.

MOVED to amend corporate policy by replacing the words "Five (5) Sales Shirts from each year" with "at least one Sales Shirt of each color scheme, and in no event less than three (3) Sales Shirts from each year".

Ed. Note: The policy in question would now read:

At least one Sales Shirt of each color scheme, and in no event less than three (3) Sales Shirts from each year will be kept for Archival Purposes; Sales Shirts from years preceding the current year which are determined by the Executive Board, in consultation with the Corporate Sales Officer, to be excess will be donated to a charity of the Executive's Board's choosing. Furthermore, Lens T-Shirts shall be considered an acceptable replacement for 1990 Sales T-Shirts, but that actual 1990 Corporate Sales Shirts be preferred, if available.

Motion CARRIED 12-0 on a hand vote.

We had a convention. We are currently working on the books. If anyone has any expenses at this point that are not in to the Treasurer, please get them to Chris soon.

It is our goal to have the books in order in the next month or so, with the goal of moving to close the books by the May or June corporate meetings.

If there are any outstanding issues that I should be aware of, I can still be reached by email or phone.

Not present at this point in the meeting.

We're planning a convention. We had a div heads meeting on Sunday, where we went over the new committee structure (see page 5).

I'm adding a couple new divisions, because I think our convention has grown to a size where we've reached the limits of our ability to manage the convention properly. This has shown up in poor communication, crowding, lack of resources in some places.

One of the new divisions is called Exhibits. It consists of Art Show, Films, Dealers, Gaming, and other functions that last throughout the weekend. This gives the Events division the ability to focus entirely on coming up with neat ideas to fill the Ballroom and Terrace Room.

The other new division is called Convention Services. This includes Tech (including non-Ballroom Tech), Quartermaster, Logistics, Gopher Hole, and other services to the convention. This leaves the Operations division free to focus on communications and coordination.

Timeline is a new function, to collect all the concom deadlines and other scheduling information, so we can keep on track.

Chairman's SWAT Team is a separate problem management team. Whenever a problem threatens to distract a department or a department head or a division head from getting their job done, we can give it to the SWAT Team. We're still working out the details, but it's an idea I want to try out.

We sold 152 memberships at Arisia '02. This is about average. Sales a year ahead of time have historically been a poor predictor of total membership, but this does give us some money to work with, until a budget can be approved.

Over the course of the past year the database committee met several times to discuss whether there was a need to upgrade or improve the existing Arisia registration database. The following problems with the system were identified:

  1. The existing system makes it difficult to distribute work in parallel among several people (unless they are able to get together at the same place and use a local area network).
  2. There are actually several Arisia lists that are maintained in different forms, which share much of the same data and requirements. (That is, they primarily keep a list of names and addresses and have periodic need to generate mailing labels, add, update, or NCOA addresses, and, in most cases, record payments made by these parties.) These Arisia lists are convention attendees, corporate membership, dealers, art show participants, the list of schools for the student art contest, the raffle list, the list of potential/actual advertisers, and program participants. There may be others as well.
  3. The existing system depends on obsolete, proprietary software, Microsoft Access 97.
  4. The ability to access the database by web for online registration is desirable.

At the last db committee meeting on 1/29/02, the consensus of the committee was to recommend to the corporation that we upgrade the Arisia registration system to address the above problems.

There are two proposals for going forward that we currently have under consideration.

  1. Outsourcing the convention database service to another party to maintain and provide us with on-line and at-con registration capabilities. Dave Belfer-Shevett's CONGO convention registration service is intended to provide these services. He is already contracted to provide his system to other conventions.
  2. Merv wrote up the following description of the CONGO services that Dave presented:

    CONGO is a multi-user, multi-convention registration service. The data will always sit on a server under Dave's control. The service will handle multiple conventions of the same group, and multiple groups throwing multiple conventions. CONGO is a start-to-finish registration system, including pre-reg pre-con up to Point of Sale at the con. There will be a web access for attendees and convention admins, and a Java application (working as console access to CONGO) for convention admins. CONGO has an arrangement with to handle credit cards without a physical swipe box. Dave and CONGO will supply everything except people to run a convention registration. Materials will cost extra. He will run things like pre-convention mailing labels and badges. He will provide at-con badge printing capabilities. He will provide the first year first convention free, to demonstrate and prove CONGO's abilities (I think materials will still be a real cost). After that, it will be some thousands of dollars per year (Dave's off-the-cuff-don't-hold-him-to-it figure was between 2 and 4 thousand).

    Some pros and cons of the CONGO proposal are


    We are entrusting our data to a third party who keeps it secure and backs it up regularly.

    The first year is free.

    CONGO will have been tested by other conventions before we use it.

    CONGO provides the at-con electronic registration process (including hardware).

    CONGO provides self-service registration over the web.


    We are entrusting our data to a third party who may fail to keep it secure or back it up regularly.

    We have an ongoing annual expense estimated between two and four thousand dollars as long as we continue to use CONGO

    Our data will be intermingled with (but logically separate from) other conventions' data.

    What if something happens to Dave, or to CONGO?

    It will take time to switch over to CONGO (learning to use it, initial data load).

    CONGO features currently focus on pre-con and at-con registration; what about other needs we have identified?

  3. Creating a new implementation of the Arisa database. Merv originally proposed to use the Microsoft JET database engine as the backend and a web browser interface as the front end. We have also discussed using open-source softwared and a Linux platform. The basic outline of the solution remains the same in either case.


The design and implementation is completely under our control.

We are able to add/change features and fix bugs as we see fit.

The data is under our control and at our fingertips.

There is no service charge for using the system, and it is built with volunteer labor.


We have to come up with and agree on the requirements and designs, and organize the work.

We are responsible for securing the system and backing up the data.

We must obtain software licences to support the solution (unless we select a freeware/shareware software approach).

We must obtain and maintain hardware to support the database.

It will take time to build a new system.


The database committee would like to receive direction from the corporation.

Would the corportaion like to see a demo of CONGO? Dave said that he would be happy to provide one.

Does the corporation want to move forward with a rewrite of the database? If so, who should do the work, and what type of oversight does the corporation want for this project? Merv has volunteered to do the work. Do we want to take him up on the offer.

Does the corporation want to explore any other options, such as attempting to shore up the existing system to address the data corruption, enhancing the existing system, or moving to a new version of MS Access?

<end of report>

After a great deal of discussion, the Database Committee was instructed to investigate further, and to contact other conventions to see what other solutions have been implemented (whether home-grown or commercial).


MOVED that the Membership affirm its commitment to Article X of Arisia, Incorporated's Bylaws regarding Operating Philosophy, such article reads as follows:

"10.1 The primary operating philosophy of Arisia, Inc., which all of its activities should try to promote, is that there is room in fandom for everyone."

After a lengthy and spirited discussion, the motion CARRIED on a voice vote.

MOVED to allocate $3000 for Brendan to run a clambake this summer for everyone who worked for us this past year. After very little debate, the motion CARRIED on a voice vote.

MOVED to cancel the March meeting. Motion CARRIED on a voice vote.

MOVED to set the April meeting to be on Sunday, April 21, at 2:00pm at MIT. Motion CARRIED on a voice vote.

MOVED to set the May meeting to be on Tuesday, May 14. OBJECTION TO CONSIDERATION. Objection FAILED TO CARRY on a hand vote.

MOVED to set the May meeting to be on Tuesday, May 14, at 7:00pm at the McGuire residence. Motion CARRIED on a voice vote.

Directions to the May Meeting

The May meeting will be at the home of Monte and Michelle McGuire:

181 Clifton St.

Malden, MA 02148

In case you get lost, the phone number is:


By car from I-93:

Take the Rt. 60 exit from I-93 and proceed east on Rt. 60 towards Malden. You'll pass by a number of storefronts in Medford, and eventually you'll get to a traffic light at the intersection of Rt. 60 and Rt. 28. On the far right will be a Sunoco station. Stay on Rt. 60 and pass through this intersection as well as through the next set of traffic lights. At the third set of lights, take a left onto Highland Ave.

Proceed along Highland past the first set of lights (Maple St.) and make the next possible right turn onto Clifton St. Stay on Clifton through the 4 way stop sign and continue for another 2-3 blocks. Just before the traffic light, the house will be on your left, #181. It is a large, pale yellow victorian with a turret. Park in our driveway or on the street.

By T:

Our house is several short blocks north of the Malden Center T stop on the Orange line. Exit the station to the west side of the tracks, take a right outside of the station and follow Summer St. (which closely parallels the T tracks) north to the next traffic light at the intersection of Clifton and Summer St. Turn left onto Clifton St., and the house will be on the right, two doors down. It is a large, pale yellow victorian, clearly numbered 181.

Arisia '03 Convention Committee

Con Chair and Chair's Staff:

Con Chair: Skip Morris

Assistant Con Chairs: Paul Selkirk

Kimberly S. Van Auken

Staff Liaison: Glen Goodwin

Staff Contact List:

Guest of Honor Liaison: Elka Tovah Menkes

Hotel Liaison: Craig McDonough

Assistants: Woody Bernardi

Dennis McCunney

Sheila Oranch

Pat Vandenberg


Software Support:



Head Cashier:


Convention Time Line:

Chairman's SWAT Team:

SWAT Team Members:

Operations & Communications Division:

Division Head: Lisa Hertel


Operations Desk: Tom Coveney

Security: Jim Stevenson


Communications Equipment Services:

Radios, Cell Phones, Pagers:

Telephone Lines:

FCC Licensing:

Information Czar and Electronic

Mailroom ( Amanda Wight

Staff Cards:

Info Desk:

Staff Site Webmaster:

Press Liaison:

Convention Services Division:

Division Head: Nicholas "phi" Shectman

Convention Office: Rachel "Topper" Mello

Quartermaster & Purchasing:

Insurance: Mark Hertel


Video MPLC License:

BMI/ASCAP Licenses:

Computer Services:

Internet Connection:


Ballroom Tech Manager:

Lighting Designer:

Sound Designer:

Electrical Power & Distribution:


Arisia TV: Patrick Foster

Small Tent Tech Manager:

Small Tent Sound:

A-V Services:

Video/Anime Tech:

Hotel Video Feed:

Sign Shop: Rachel "Topper" Mello

Logistics: Linda M. Nee

Assistant: Kevin Fallon

Truck Drivers:

At-Con Errands:

Logistics Crew:

Gopher Coordinator: Claudia Mastroianni


"Team Arisia" T-Shirt:


Member Services Division:

Division Head: Carsten Turner

Fan Tables:

Freebie Tables:

Freebie Stands: Filthy Pierre

Babysitting/Child Care: Avi Simon

Disability Services:

Sign Language Interpreters:

Wheelchair Lift:

Coat Check (Sunday?):

ConSuite: Barbara Raguso


Internet Room:

Computer SysAdmin:

Internet Line:

Fanzine Lounge: Ailsa Ek

Green Room: Mike Trachtenberg


Massage Den: Erik Meyer


Party Czar:

Staff Den:


Registration: Bryttan Mae Bradley



Data Entry:

Database & Software Support:

Arisia Sales Liaison: Nicholas "phi" Shectman

Sales Staff: Adria Crum

Rochelle "Rocky" Smith

Publications Division:

Division Head: Paul Selkirk



Mass Mailer:

PreReg Packet:

Pocket Program:

Restaurant Guide:

Survey Team:

Local Resource Guide:

Survey Team:

Souvenir Book:


Design & Layout:

Artist GoH Portfolio:


Souvenir Book Ad Sales: Nicholas "phi" Shectman

Convention Site Webmaster:

Program Book Ads Placement: Nicholas "phi" Shectman

Commercial Advertising Placement:

Marketing Toys (Tattoos, Etc.):

Convention Flyer Production:

Convention Flyer Distribution:

Convention Marketing Parties:

Programming Division:

Division Head: Rachel Silber


Program Ops:

Shift Managers:

Program Development:

Program Data Wrangler: Elaine Brennan

Program Participant Packets: Michelle McGuire

Gaming Track: Maureen Reddington-Wilde

Media Track: Dan Kimmel

Comix Track: Jim Blanchette

Poetry Track: Michelle Wexelblat

Costume Track:

Alternate Lifestyle Track:

LARP: Kimberly Pinto-DiGennaro

Filk Programming:

Filk Room Managers:

Fast Track (Childrens Program): Liz Orenstein

Pre-School Programming:

Events Division:

Division Head: Chris Amshey

Masquerade Director:

Masquerade Registration:

Master of Ceremonies:

Presentation Judges:

Workmanship Judge:

Judges Clerk:

Green Room Manager:

Den Mothers:

Certificates & Calligraphy:

Official Photographer: Sandy Middlebrooks (contractor)

Offical Videographer: Ray Swaggerdy (contractor)

Masquerade House Manager:

Stage Manager:

Head Ninja:


Hall Costume Awards:

Pre-Masquerade Show:

Masquerade Halftime:

Fan Photo Area:

Period Dance:

Club Dance:


Writer GoH Event:

Artist GoH Event:

Fan GoH Event:

Small Tent Manager:

ATACC Sword Demo:


Ice Cream Sunday Sundae:

Junkyard Wars:

Rocky Horror Track:

Exhibits Division:

Division Head: Colette Fozard

Art Show Director: Colette Fozard

Art Show Office:

Artist Check In:

Print Shop:

Hangings Supervisor:

Art Show Sales:

Art Show Coat Check (Georgian):

Art Show Reception:

Student Art Contest:

Dealer's Room/Row: Ben Levy, Pam Koretsky

Anime Room: Heidi Schmidt

Assistant: David Collins

Video Theatre: Bob Paterson

Assistant: Patty Silva

Films: Scott Dorsey

Assistants: Scott Norwood

Melissa McDowell

Organist: Ron Harry (contractor)

Gaming Room Manager:

Membership/Subscription Information

Subscription to Mentor of Arisia is included with Corporate Membership to Arisia, Incorporated. Membership runs from September 1st to August 31st and costs $24. Dues are pro-rated on a monthly basis for members joining during the year.

September $24   March $12
October $22   April $10
November $20   May $08
December $18   June $06
January $16   July $04
February $14   August $02

Executive Board

Brendan Quinn
309 Lake Street
Waltham MA 02451
Arisia 2002 Conchair
Noel Rosenberg
PO Box 464
Chelmsford MA 01824-0464
Vice President
Colette Fozard
360 Walker Street
Lowell MA 01851-1729
Arisia 2002 Treasurer
Chris Amshey
42 Boston Avenue
Somerville MA 02144
Nicholas Shectman
75 Lexington Avenue
Somerville MA 02144
Arisia 2003 Conchair
Skip Morris
PO Box 542
Merrymack, NH 03054-0542
Paul Selkirk
112A Marblehead St
N Reading MA 01864-1526
Arisia 2003 Treasurer

Storage Facility Key Holders

Brendan Quinn
Colette Fozard
Nicholas Shectman
Paul Selkirk
Elka Tovah Menkes
Noel Rosenberg
Skip Morris
Carsten Turner
Linda Nee
Cris Shuldiner
Bryttan Bradley


Committee Members & Corporate Appointed Officers

Grant Committee
Colette Fozard (chair)
Walter Kahn
Krista Ernewein
Claudia Mastroianni
Database Committee
Rachel Silber (chair)
Michelle McGuire
Tom Murphy
Paul Selkirk
Cris Shuldiner
Budget Committee
Nicholas Shectman (chair)
Chris Amshey
Noel Rosenberg
Long Range Planning Committee
Cris Shuldiner (chair)
Walter Kahn
Sheeri Kritzer
Corporate Inventory Control
Linda Nee
Corporate Sales Officer
Nicholas Shectman
Corporate Systems Administrator
Cris Shuldiner
Survey Committee
Claudia Mastroianni
Gaming Convention Exploratory Committee
Technical Equipment Committee
Joel Herda (chair)
Liz Orenstein

Membership Roster

Aaron Agassi Christopher Amshey
Rob Bazemore Angela Bowen
Drea Brandford Brian Cooper
Regis M. Donovan Tom Fish
George Flynn Traciy Fogarty
Colette H. Fozard Glen Goodwin
Joel Herda Brendan Hertel
Lisa Hertel Walter Kahn
Allan Kent Sheeri Kritzer
Zanne Labonville Alex Latzko
Jacob Lefton Benjamin Levy
Claudia Mastroianni Patrick McCormack
Michelle McGuire Elka Tovah Menkes
Skip Morris Tom Murphy
Liz Orenstein Brendan Quinn
Matthew F. Ringel Mary Robison
Noel Rosenberg Matthew Saroff
Paul Selkirk Nicholas Shectman
Cris Shuldiner Rachel Silber
Rachel Silverman Patricia Ann Vandenberg
Michael Whitehouse  


Calendar of Events

March 8-10, 2002
Intercon B
Radisson Hotel, Chelmsford MA

March 15-17, 2002
Lunacon 2002
Rye Town Hilton, Rye Brook NY

April 5-7, 2002
JerseyDevilCon 2
Raritan Center Sheraton, Edison NJ

April 19-21, 2002
OurCon XI
Campus Center Hotel, UMass, Amherst MA

Sunday, April 21, 2002, 2:00pm
Arisia Corporate Meeting
MIT Building 66, room 168

Tuesday, May 14, 2002, 7:00pm
Arisia Corporate Meeting
McGuire residence (see directions on page 4)

May 24-27, 2002
Balticon 36
Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore MD

July 12-14, 2002
Readercon 14
Marriott Hotel, Burlington MA

August 29-September 2, 2002
ConJosé/60th World Science Fiction Convention
San José Convention Center, San José CA










ARISIA, Incorporated
Building 600, PMB 322
1 Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA 02139