I will officially NOT be appearing as a guest at Chi-Fi 2015. I know this decision is late, as the convention is this weekend. The truth is, I was giving Chi-Fi as long as possible to make right. Sadly, the laundry list of communication and compensation issues is too long.
My name and likeness are still on the Chi-Fi website. Please ignore this imagery, as again, Geek Girl Chicago will NOT be at Chi-Fi. I apologize to the cosplayers who will not get their photos on this blog, and to anyone who had been looking forward to meeting me. I just have to do what's best. Worry about this convention was keeping me up at night.
I guess I should have suspected a mess much earlier. I had been attempting to communicate with Chi-Fi chair, James Dobbs, since last Fall. He saw me in-person at Capricon. He asked for a bio for the Chi-Fi website. I asked if he could e-mail me what he needed- how many words, a headshot, etc. He said he would. He never did. Instead, Chi-Fi pulled the intro text from this blog, and several photos taken by my friend, Zatoyoshi Photography. I shrugged it off, but the issues only continued.
Chi-Fi's Twitter credited the wrong cosplay group with hosting their masquerade. The Facebook page claimed the costume contest was two days long. The weird hiccups piled up, but I hung on.
As of today, 3/18/15:
- COMMUNICATION: Several of my e-mails to Chi-Fi went unanswered, starting in January. Apparently, Chi-Fi's head of Guest Relations was dismissed at the end of February. I don't really care about the backstory there- just how it affects me. This departure resulted in every guest and panelist being asked to re-submit their information at the beginning of March. The first time this redundant request was sent, I didn't even receive it.
- PROGRAMMING: Again, the con is tomorrow, and I do not know which panels I was supposed to be on. The program schedule is still not solidified. I was initially put on a stranger's podcast without my consent, and was later told this was a "typo." I may or may not have been on a panel about feminism, and another about Doctor Who cosplay. I take pride in my top-notch panel appearances. I cannot plan quality panels in a day (or less.) You deserve better for your money, gentle reader.
- REGISTRATION: I do not know how many badges I was entitled to. I hate to keep playing this card, but I am unemployed; I need to be able to budget. My photographer couldn't afford to attend if she didn't get a badge. I did not have the means to pay for her.
- HOTEL: I was initially promised a 3-night hotel stay. This past Sunday, Chi-Fi suddenly reduced this to a 2-night stay. I had already scheduled professional photoshoots for the missing evening. When I raised my concern, Chi-Fi gave the 3rd night back. I had no idea, though, when I was supposed to check in, or how. I was told parking would cost $10-12 a day; this was false, even with a SpotHero discount. I also requested Wi-Fi, which was never confirmed. The Internet connects me to my blog, social media, fans, and most importantly, my ongoing job search. It was a necessity that I explained in my first info submission to Chi-Fi- the one that got lost.
- MY FRIENDS AND BUSINESS PARTNERS: Facebook and Twitter have been hard to watch this week. The disappointment in my circle of friends is immense. At least one person I know still hasn't gotten their refund from last year's Chi-Fi. Several panelists and performers are still figuring out if they have hotel rooms, when they are performing, etc. Some people didn't get panels at all, and weren't told until the (unfinished) schedule went live this week.
My cohorts at Our Fair City are a great example. They negotiated 2 panels. When the schedule came out this week, they were assigned 7. As adults with day jobs, they couldn't accommodate that many more. Chi-Fi also edited their visual media assets without permission.
...I could go on, but do I have to?
Again, I am so, so sorry that this is such a late announcement. I really tried to make this work. Were I currently working a day job with an income, this might be a very different post. As of now, though, I have to protect both my wallet and brand quality. This is my birthday gift to myself. I hope you can all understand and forgive me.
I'll see you at C2E2. <3
EDIT: At this point, Con Chair James Dobbs has attempted to contact ChicagoNow in hopes of bringing down this post. He calls it inflammatory, defaming, and false. I stand by the truthfulness of my work. If anything, James's arguments have uncovered even more communication and publicity issues within the Chi-Fi organization. At the time of this post, I wished Chi-Fi the best of luck- even without me. Now, I feel James is wasting time censoring bloggers instead of executing his convention. I can no longer recommend this event to my readers.
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