Fandom Lenses

Life as viewed through silliness, Fandom as seen through Reality

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The years have passed, and so have I…

Owl coffee mug

Owls were something of Anissa’s spirit animal. They have since become mine.

Dear Anissa,

You died two years ago today.


Time flies, even when our shared fandom isn’t breaking my brain on what seemed like a weekly basis for a while there in 2012. I won’t lie, that first year was hard, especially with all those Improbable events coming true reminding me over and over of you not being there to share them. The good news is that it’s all gotten way easier, as I know you would hope. I still get a stab of nostalgia when one or two tunes come up on my playlist (Dancing Queen, Sometime in the Morning), but those are a lot less regular. Every so often I’ll feel your presence—the last time was when you and Davy were standing just over Nez’s shoulder when I picked up that third and last signature on Listen to the Band. I’d bet $5 he sensed at least one of you too. Those moments are starting to hit less regularly now. I know that’s as it should be, and in a way I‘m glad of it. I’m living life in the now, which is what you reminded me to do. Continue reading

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What is a Fan? Part 1: Nez (Monkees Convention Q&As)

Nez Q and AWell, I was going to write about both Q & As at the Monkees Convention, but then I spat out about 3000 words just on Nez’s conversation with Rachel Rosenfelt and Rob Horning of The New Inquiry. I trimmed where I could, but given its once-in-a-lifetime nature I didn’t want to give the analysis short shrift. Nez’s Q&A was pretty short–about 34 minutes after subtracting out introductions and Rachel’s anecdote about totaling her sister’s Engine on the way to Videoranch (which, Rachel, I totally would have done in your shoes and I KNOW the difference between gasoline and diesel). However, the brevity was made up for by the sheer density of a discussion that ranged from feminist avant-garde film theory (yes, really) to Christian Science (YES. REALLY.). There’s a lot to unpack, as my dissertation advisor might say, so we’re gonna just jump right in. Continue reading


Monkees Convention 2014 Epilogue: Final thoughts to the Girl I Used to Be

Dear 11 Year old Me,

Well, what did you think? Over the past few days I’ve been sitting here trying to make a final sense of everything that just happened and translate it to you back in 1988, as well as my readers here in 2014. I hope I gave you some sense of the joy that’s waiting for you, even if I can’t exactly send you the photos or videos from the future that my friends here were able to see. However, there’s something I’ve dodged and danced around all weekend. I can almost hear you yelling it from 1988.

“Where Was Davy?”

Davy at Gazpacho Continue reading


Monkees Convention 2014, Day 3: “Telling More Than Before…”

2014-03-16 11.27.41I caught Nez at a good moment on Sunday morning. I was second in his autograph line. After seeing Aeryn, Jen, and Jaime (in her FULL PRINCESS GWEN REGALIA) scamper into the room at the end of his photo line, I was pretty sure that his picture session had just ended on a very high note. In any case, Nez looked up from adding his third and final signature to my battered and beloved Listen to the Band Box set (picked up in late 1996 or early 1997 in that same Scottish record store about 2 months after Justus), with a bit of a rueful–or maybe wistful–look in his eye.

“Almost got there, didn’t you?”

I returned the look with a slight shrug and half-smile of regret. “That I did.”

He replied, “I guess that’s how it goes sometimes…”

And I could only respond, “Too true.”

We exchanged “nice to meet you”s (he obviously either didn’t crack open the book or at least didn’t connect me with it, but that was to be expected with a bajillion people in his line), and I left the room to meet up with my friends, who were likely still in post-EPIC WIN mode after arranging the Nez Photo to end all Nez Photos. Anyway, as I strolled, I went to touch my owl necklace, and found nothing. In my stumbling around after four hours of sleep I’d forgotten to put it on that morning.

I guess that’s how it goes sometimes…

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Monkees Convention 2014, Day 2: I Feel I Can’t Make it Alone*

The mood of what turned out to be the longest and most eventful day spent in this or any fandom was set early. After a quick wal-mart run, I returned to the hotel around 8:30 am to find that the entrance was blocked. By the Guys unloading the Monkeemobile.

2014-03-15 08.18.36

I deliberately went into the day with no solid plans, so i simply surfed and skimmed the events in the vendor rooms and the ballroom as fate, interest, and friends led me. For that reason, it’s hard to depict the “smaller” events of Saturday in any kind of linear narrative. Instead, I organized it by the thing that seemed the most important today–the people I encountered, most of whom were NOT the guests of Honor.

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Monkees Convention 2014, Day 1: “Weren’t they good, they made me…um…*scratches head*”


First off, the Nez Q&A is getting its OWN post, and not till after I let it steep in my head a few days. (Though for you Slash People, he DID rather amusingly ship-tease Jonesmith when he said he “can’t take his eyes off Davy” when watching HEAD…)

instead, i’d like to focus on the other stuff that happened. In retrospect I maybe shouldn’t have made for Micky’s autograph line right after I walked in the door and dropped off my bags (I wouldn’t have forgotten to buy a photo for one), but it all worked out, even though I wasn’t at my most gregarious. After a rather long line, Micky was friendly, a little tired, and I knew he had a horrific line so I kept things pretty transactional and short. That said, he complimented my tee shirt, as did Donna. 🙂 I got the second signature on the slightly battered Listen To The Band box set I scored in Dundee in 1996 and the first of 2 on Cin’s Present Box.

Most of the rest of the day was devoted to roaming the Con floor, bumping into lots of friends in the vendor room, and chilling for a couple hours with Amy Gravino, Jen Corley, ephemeral-quiet, et al in the appropriately mellow Videoranch Demo room. It’s been a lovely experience meeting old friends, making new ones,  and generally having a great time. I had braced myself for a lot of “crazies”, but pretty much everyone has been friendly and generally awesome, from luminaries like Micky, Henry Diltz (who wrote down my URL!) Fred Velez and Iain Lee on down to a Davy fan who ran up to me in the hall after one of the sessions because she read my posts on the Steve Hoffman forum.

it was the first time I’ve been recognized by a “stranger” (to the extent any monkees fan could be a stranger to me), and it was enjoyable and slightly weird. We wound up talking for the better part of a half-hour about Davy, Nez’s Q and A, and even the role of gender in how people approach this fandom. It left me with a Lot to think about, much of which I’m still pondering. After Christian and Circe Link’s awesome concert, I basically came back to the room and fell over. I’m having a great time, but am having a lot of trouble putting it all into words. One of those Patented Fandom Lenses Profundities is shaping up in my head, but it hasn’t quite hatched yet. When it does, you’ll be the first to know. 🙂

Oh and Eric Lefcowitz has a booth here. I’m still working up the nerve to drop by.


Think you might have missed a post? Go to Monkees Convention 2014: A Quick Guide to the Complete Coverage


Monkees Convention 2014 Day 0: To the Girl I Used To Be…

Orange Poster

No, mine is not autographed. I found this on Google Images. Mine got thrown into the bottom of my foot locker in 1990 in a fit of 13-year-old mortification and it kinda got smooshed. I think I may still have it though.

Sunday, March 13, 1988

The 11 year old fangirl who will be calling herself “Camille” in another decade or so has done her typical slapdash job on math homework while spinning More of the Monkees with a Tiffany chaser. She followed that up by devouring the latest Lurlene McDaniel  feel good novel about childhood terminal illness with the speed and reflective nuance of your average wood chipper.  Another week of 5th grade nerdiness and social isolation awaits her. Before turning out the lights, the girl stands on her bed to reach the massive orange poster that looms over the room, surrounded by other pinups and photos. Under her lips as she kisses four times, the poster feels both slippery from the coating and a little sticky from the dozens of good night kisses before that one. She turns out the light and as she drifts off, she once again wonders why, exactly, life is worth living. She mopes for a few minutes, and then she remembers. Whether on TV, in the songs they sang, or in what little she knows of their real lives, the guys on her wall never gave up, even when they screwed up or the whole world was against them. And somehow things had gotten much better for each of them. If they didn’t quit, then she couldn’t quit either. Holding on to that truth (or at least what she believes is the truth), she drifts off to sleep.

–From Kissing your posters goodnight: Robotic Seals, Paula Deen, and other Constructed Role Models


A minute or two after the girl drifts to sleep, An unearthly sound fills the room, followed by the appearance of a blue police box that looks totally out of place in a suburban 1980s Oklahoma bedroom (as it does in most places it travels to, honestly). A man steps out, only to be confronted with a LARGE orange poster of 4 young men that hangs over the girl’s white wrought iron day bed. He nearly giggles, but restricts himself to a dignified wink at the poster. He slips the diary he is holding underneath next to the girl’s arm, then prods her lightly with his sonic screwdriver. Just before she opens her eyes, the police box disappears.

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