CONGENIAL was a science-fiction relax-a-con that I started in 1988 as a regional project in the Madison – Milwaukee – Chicago triangle.    The big focus point was the con suite, which was set up the way that I would’ve wanted, and a sizable music area net to it for people to play.  The con moved around a fair amount over the years within that triangle of cities, but a hotel in Racine was the most popular place to have it.  After a few years, I retired from  con management, and it eventually became the personal project of Vlad Stockman.

The biggest problem with conventions, especially small ones, is keeping a steady stream of volunteers willing to take on part of the load, especially when it’s something that requires a lot of time and effort (like the con suite).  Regardless of the popularity of the con, something like this can be an immense drag if there’s not enough support people, and burns out the people  doing the work.

So that happend to Congenial as it approached its 20th birthday; Vlad folded the tent in 2007 with hopes of reviving it someday, but five years later (as of this writing) it’s still in hibernation.  Vlad has gone on to other projects,  and I’ve essentially retired as of 2000 from active con running, so I wouldn’t bet on its revival at this point.  Would be nice, though!


Jim Rittenhouse's online journal