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Herstory of Sharecon

by

April Valentine

The first thing Starsky says to Hutch . . . the very first thing in the entire series . . . is in the form of a question. Hutch has been working out, as usual, at the gym. Starsky, on the other hand, feels no need for athletics to keep his body in shape. He's come to pick Hutch up for work and has brought jelly donuts with him as usual. As Hutch gets dressed, Starsky takes another donut out of the bag and, offering it to Hutch, asks, "Wanna share?" Hutch declines, grinning, and indicates that Starsky always offers and he never says yes but that Starsky remains hopeful.

Sharing, thus, has always been a part of Starsky and Hutch fandom. Unlike so-called 'live' fandoms, ours is one that has been around for a long time and has been off the air, not making new episodes, for many years. So the amount of 'stuff' available to SH fans is finite, in that things from years ago aren't getting reprinted, magazines are lost, posters no longer available, tapes gradually degrading. So we have to share with each other what we have.

As a facet of Starsky and Hutch fandom, SHareCon is a relatively new addition. I will always classify Starsky and Hutch, along with the fandom that grew around the original Star Wars movie, as tied for the 'second' media fandom. The first of course, was Star Trek, which spawned fanzines and conventions and was born out of science fiction fandom (what the really old fans refer to as 'first fandom' but I don't use the same numbering system).

The year was 1977. Star Wars came out that year and Starsky and Hutch was in its third year on ABC. We noticed something strange at MediaWest that May. A lot of the usual well-known Trek fans weren't around. We'd heard they were at the con, but nobody, at least not in my crowd, had seen them. Then came the art auction. I was shocked when a little no-smoking sign done on a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 typing paper went for $40. As I recall, it was drawn by Gordon Carleton, still co-chair of MediaWest, and purchased by Teri White, who was the author of a lot of Trek stories and a zine publisher. But it wasn't that she bought the art that shocked me, it was the art's subject.

It wasn't Star Trek art. She had paid the huge sum of $40 for a cartoon of Starsky and Hutch! What was happening to my safe little world of one true fandom? I wondered. I soon found out that the folks we hadn't seen at the con were lurking somewhere around the hotel, not talking about Trek but instead making Starsky and Hutch the main topic of the weekend. It seemed like blasphemy—go with me, okay? These days of multiple fandoms just don't have anything to compare to the way it was back then. Think of no video tapes, no Internet. And fandom was Star Trek. Got it?

Then, I found out that not only were fans defecting from Trek in their conversations, they were writing SH and doing zines. I don't know when the first Star Wars zine came out but I recall that the first SH zine, Zebra III edited by Lorraine B., came out while the show was still on, in 1977. It contained some of the best fan fiction I'd ever read, including the famous "Mojave Crossing" by the great Connie F. Connie was a writer, an artist, a costumer and a zine innovator from Trek and one of the first to move into the exciting new universes presented by Starsky and Hutch and Star Wars.

Soon other writers and zine publishers were on the SH bandwagon. I purchased and read Zebra III's first few issues and loved the stones. I even remember making some of the people at a big Trek house party (mini-con, we called them in those days) in New York upset when my friends and I insisted on watching Part II of "The Set Up" during the party. But I never succumbed to the temptation to get into SH fandom.

And then came slash. It wasn't known as slash in those long ago days. The term was coined by those who loved the friendship between Kirk and Spock and used Kirk/Spock to describe the contents of their zines. Soon, that notation became shortened to K/S so when people started writing stories about Starsky and Hutch becoming lovers, they wrote S/H. All of a sudden, other fringe fandoms—so called because they were just on the fringes of the major fandoms of the time—had similar stories being written and denoted by the slash mark, or virgule, between the initials of the characters names and a whole genre was christened.

Sometime around 1984 or so, I began to think about Starsky and Hutch again. It was off the air but I knew people who were into it and they supplied me with the first tapes and my first slash zines in SH. Those who are new to fandom may not realize what those early slashers had to go through. The theme was unconventional, daring, even illegal in some states. Friendships were broken up over whether someone "saw" characters in a slash relationship or not. Printers were throwing out masters of zines, threatening to destroy photographs of illos. In SH fandom, you could only find the slash if you knew someone who knew about it. It was like a secret society. The first S/H zine was published without names of either authors or artists. One editor published her slash pages on paper with wavy red lines making it practically impossible to read the pages, much less to Xerox them. (You needed a little pair of 3D glasses or even a piece of red acetate to hold over the page would do.) I heard a story that at ZebraCon people were secretly holding a slash party—but it turned out that most of the fans at the con ended up at the party after all.

Since I knew someone who was involved with S/H, I was loaned S/H zines and also saw my first song vids—named song tapes at the time. Yes, to my knowledge, Starsky and Hutch fandom produced the first songvids. Soon I was participating fully, doing my own first slash zine, going to ZebraCon and moved wholeheartedly into SH fandom. In 1985, Starsky and Hutch fans celebrated the 10th anniversary of the show and in Baltimore we put on a con, The Paul Muni Special. It took place over about the same weekend as this year's SHareCon, although there was a hurricane that time that added to the fun.

Just as it is today, SH was a vital community of friendly fans. I vividly recall the inception of SHareCon as we sat around the hotel after ZCon one year. I believe this was in about 1987. We were saying those long good-byes common in fan circles and still non-stop talking SH with anyone still around. We started telling about some of the goodies we had at home, posters, records, stuff on video tape, and it occurred to us that it would be really cool if we got together to share all those items, to have a whole weekend where there would be nothing but SH going on. My Trek group used to have a retreat type of weekend we called KSCon (Kiss Con) and we borrowed some of the ideas from it for our planned get together.

That's how SHareCon was born, out of the idea to share our SH memorabilia, out of the sharing offered between Starsky and Hutch in that very first episode of the show we love.

The first SHareCon committee consisted of, I believe, Maria F., Nancy G., Jennifer H., and I, with help from others. We sent out invitations to a large SH party, letting people know it was going to be an all SH weekend. We held it at the Embassy Suites hotel in Hunt Valley, Maryland, where they had a big room we used for hanging out together and all the sleeping rooms were suites. We stayed up late, acted out stories, fell over laughing, ate too much, played trivia and shared our memorabilia 'til we dropped.

The following year, for some reason, we did it again. I seem to recall several awkward situations, things that didn't go quite as smoothly as we would have liked—and Jennifer and I ended up with buttons saying "I survived SHarecon 1989." Never let it be said that fans learn from their mistakes—we held not one but two SHarecons in 1990, one in the spring and one in the fall.

It was then that the idea of doing a zine for the con came to us and Wanna Share was born. We printed a grand total of 30 copies of the zine and anybody who wanted to contribute something and was coming to the con could. We took submissions camera ready—which was a great time saver and gave the zine its own sort of old-fashioned fannish look, like the old APA zines where each subscriber not only wrote but reproduced her contribution to the zine, then sent her copies to the publisher who bound them all together and mailed them out. The perpetrators . . . uh, that is . . . organizers of SHarecon that time were again Nancy G., Jennifer H. and I, along with artist SVE. Following the March SHarecon in 1990, Nancy, along with her roommate Chrissie, put on a SHarecon in October in Herndon, Virginia. That was the year that our dear Tabby got here from England for SHarecon as she traveled west to the 15th SH Anniversary con being held later on in L.A.—kudos to Lucy who's here this weekend for putting that one on. Since it was October and both Tabby and I have our birthdays at the beginning of that month, the gang celebrated our special day with a big zebra cake. We had the Friday night part of the con at Nancy and Chrissie's place and it was a 70's costume party. I pulled out a pair of slides and my shag wig to wear, regretting I'd gotten rid of the blouse I was making the night "The Fix" first aired on TV—l stopped sewing to go sit, enthralled, in front of my TV! As I recall, Linda M. wore a long flowered dress she had from those days!

SHarecon has always had plenty of stuff to do. Not only are there episodes and vids and rare TV and movie bits to watch, we also play games. The infamous SH Charades was begun at SHarecon. We also played games like Pin the Bullet Wound on Starsky and Pin the Boo-Boo on Blondie, the $20,000 Torinp (after the game show, $20,000 Pyramid), various trivia games—including the difficult and very uncomfortable Trivia Twister in which you couldn't move unless you answered the question right . . . but you weren't sure you wanted to move even if you did. (I put my right foot on the blue circle? Oh no! That means I'll be sitting on Maria's thigh!) We also did Win, Lose or Illo and eventually such favorites as Bowling for Bimbos, in which you had to knock down pins with the pictures of such characters as the Foxy Lady, and one where you dropped a clothes pin into a bucket with a bad guy's face . . . I don't remember the name for that one, but I'm sure that's okay.

We also discussed stories and writing, we read stories aloud, sometimes humorously acted them out, and even held actual panel discussions. Plays were produced, including the famous "Starsky & Hutchinson Are Dead" by Merricat K. We did what we called "Fill-Ins" but are more commonly known as Mad-Libs in which we replaced words in a piece of fan fiction with randomly suggested words by the group.

(Note: explicit language to follow) Here's a quote from the one in the second issue of Wanna Share:

      Licking his penis in frustration, Hutch took one more gulp of burning pillow and fainted the stairs. He bombed through the Torino, closing it with a velvet slam, and heaving a rough sigh, he gobbled his too-warm squirrel over his tail, discarded it across the forest.
     "Starsk?" . . . Sloppily, he reached out to drink Starsky's face, and the man reacted with a flashbulb, folding over, pulling his toes and buns upward. His kneecap pressed piercingly on his teeth and a sudden squirty feeling washed through Hutch as he noticed the spreading chartreuse stain on the bobby pin.

You get the picture, I'm sure. But we couldn't get any of the artists to draw the illos.

Later on, as the originators of SHarecon weren't as involved any more, the title of the get-together mutated into SH:101, so named because we were likening it to a course of study on the college level in Starsky and Hutch. After we passed SH:103, the reigns were taken over by newer, fresher fans and Kim S. held SHarecon in Virginia.

By then, the Internet was going strong. A whole new tier of SH fans was on the scene that year and as I met them all in a group, I tend to remember they all joined the fandom at around the same time, although they'd mostly just met in person at the con. It was great to have new blood in the fandom, new enthusiasm, new writers. I believe the most recent SHarecon was held by me in 1997, again back at our old stomping grounds, the Embassy Suites in Hunt Valley.

And now Flamingo and Kath Moonshine have put their talents to holding the first SHareCon of the new millennium. (Don't say it's the last of the old millennium, or Starsky will tell you that you look at the glass of water as being half-empty.) I know we're all going to have a wonderful time. Besides an amazing number of those who've been to SHarecons in the past, we have a whole crew of new fans here, some who've never been to a con of any kind before and I know that this intimate, silly, wonderful kind of fan party is the best way to find out what fan cons are like. In the immortal words of Tabby, speaking of the sharing in SH circles, "This is what fandom is all about."