Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bouchercon, or Why Conventions Should Be In Places You Don't Want To Go

So tomorrow I leave for Bouchercon.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Bouchercon is the largest mystery convention in the country. It's named after mystery writer Anthony Boucher and each year is in a different city. This year, it's in San Francisco.

I'm a firm believer that conventions and conferences should take place in places you don't want to go. Last year it was in Indianapolis, and at risk of pissing off people who live there and love their city, it really is one of those places that you don't want to go. So you spend the whole time at the convention hotel, hobnobbing with other writers and going to all the panels. That's what you're supposed to do.

But this year, well, I'm torn. I want to get out of the hotel and see the city. I was in San Francisco five years ago, right before my first Bouchercon in Chicago, and the city is pure magic. So much to do, so beautiful. We took a tour of Chinatown, went to Alcatraz, Coit Tower, Golden Gate Park, Sausilito, Japantown . . . I can't even remember everything we did. We spent five days there, soaking in the local scene.

I will have three full days in San Francisco this week. Already I'm planning to take Thursday off from the convention. I've got a breakfast to attend, but after that, I'm stealing away with my friend Lori and we're going to be tourists, not mystery writers, for the day. While perhaps I should feel guilty about this, I will be at the convention most of Friday and Saturday and will still be able to hit up a few panels and meet up with friends I never see except at Bouchercon. But you really can't go to San Francisco and not take some time to enjoy it.

Have you ever been to San Francisco? A convention? Do you think all conventions should be in places like Hartford or Harrisburg or Toledo?


Mike Dennis said...

I'm going to San Francisco, but I firmly think they should be held in cities that no one goes to. Especially cities where the hotels charge less than $250/night.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think they should be in Detroit because no one would believe it. Maybe Noircon, come to think of it. Have fun and give Megan a hug.

Dru said...

I love San Francisco and I would visit all the tourist attractions and have a ball.

I think conventions should be in places that I do want to visit and take the extra day to play tourists.

Have fun at Bcon.

David Terrenoire said...

I never thought of it quite like that. You have a point. Why attend a convention in a place that is going to drag you away from the convention?

I once gripped a film just to get a trip to SF. I learned two things: Just because City Lights Bookstore is 8 or 10blocks from Pacific Heights doesn't mean, as you would in NYC, you should walk it. And two, I am much too old to grip a film in San Francisco.

Have fun and give our mutual friends my best.