OTW Fannews: Fandom invisibility

  • While there have been a number of comedy troupes around the world doing shows based on fanfic readings, they have largely used fanfic written specifically for the shows by the performers themselves. A recent review of Black Swan Comedy in Toronto, a monthly comedy series focusing on fan fiction, made clear that the performers were reading material pulled from online sources instead. “‘We find the best/worst fan fiction. We’ll read it once to know that it’s perfectly bad at the start, and then find out how horrible it is on stage together with the audience,’ says Jeremy Woodcock of Rulers of the Universe.” There was an aftershow by the Weaker Vessels which was labeled “a Harry Potter fan fic” making it unclear if it was simply a show based on Harry Potter or one which specialized in reading only from that fandom. Apparently the shortcut is doing well for Black Swan Comedy as the readings are a “sold-out event every month.”
  • A recent story at The Daily Dot on finding community through porn gives only passing mention to written material, which perhaps explains why there is an assumption that such communities are a recent development thanks to the mainstreaming of porn. “The shock value and taboo is dissipating, and the more it does, the more porn appears. But do we understand why the rise of the group mentality in porn? Why porn consumers no longer want to be alone, but rather want to belong—to other like-minded porn consumers, and to make small talk and chat about their interests?” While the article acknowledges that women have their own communities — “Slate writer Amanda Hess points out that ‘Women who engage effectively online can find resources for critically assessing [pornography’s] most sexist tropes, join communities that don’t share those norms, and benefit from a kind of increased sexual mobility they can’t always find in real life'” — it doesn’t explore their history.
  • Another Daily Dot story instead focused on deliberate invisibility — or at least an attempt to maintain a fourth wall. “In the world of theatre, the ‘fourth wall’ refers to the invisible wall that divides the characters from the audience. In fanwork-based fandom, the fourth wall refers to the invisible ‘wall’ of silence, pseudonyms, and covert activity that shields fans from the judgment of the outside world.” However, fandoms do not react in unison to outside observation, nor are the outsiders always negative about their discoveries, even when it’s about themselves. “This isn’t the first time Seguin and his fellow hockey players have found slash about themselves. In July, Toronto Marlies hockey player Jesse Blacker tweeted a link to adorable fanart of himself and Segs, calling it ‘awesome.'” Cult film director Duncan Jones was delighted by finding fanfiction of his work. “‘Wow! I did not know about this!’ responded a delighted Jones. After sharing the link with his Twitter followers, Jones followed it to an AO3 fic with ‘lots of robo-feels and some clone hugging.’ After reading, he left a thoughtful and flattered review for the author, Wildgoosery.”

What fandom invisibility problems have you encountered? What fan collaborations have you taken part in? Tell us about it in Fanlore. Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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