Arisia A to Z

Arisia A to Z — New to Arisia? Info you need...


Arisia is an annual gathering of individuals with a common interest in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Our many interests include literature, gaming, costuming, anime and TV shows, music, collecting, art, performing, etc., so we like to have a “big tent” (or “three-ring circus”) convention.

The name Arisia comes from E.E. “Doc” Smith’s classic Lensman novels; in those stories Arisia was the name of the “good guys.” The symbol of the Arisians was the mystical lens, which is why we call our logo the “Arisia Lens.”

Arisia is a non-profit corporation and entirely volunteer run. If you wish to help out, we’d love some extra people.

Other conventions or convention-like events in the Boston area include Vericon (January), Boskone (whose name is also from Doc Smith; in February), The Science Fiction Film Marathon (February), AnimeBoston (April), and Readercon (July).

Anime Program

Anime is a style of animation from Japan, which has a very active and devoted fan following in North America. There are all kinds of anime, from romance to science fiction.

Arisia TV

Yes, we have our own television station! Arisia TV can be seen on one of your hotel TV’s channels. Programming may include live simulcast of the masquerade, selections from the Video and Anime programs, past Arisia events, and interviews with the Guests of Honor.

Art Show

The Art Show features art by our Artist Guest of Honor and many other artists. All members are free to look and admire. Prints are available for purchase at the Print Shop. Original art is for sale using a “silent auction” bid sheet system. See the art show staff for details.

The Art Show also hosts Art program items, such as the ever-popular Dueling Easels panel, where artists draw from their wildest imaginations in real time.

Babysitting & Child Care

Ah yes... fans love sex, and one of the side effects is... Arisia is proud to encourage more by providing supervised babysitting for those too young to enjoy the convention on their own (2 to 6 years old). For other options, especially for older children, see the “Fast Track” and “Kids’ Stuff” entries.


You'll need one of these to roam the halls of Hyatt Regency. You'll also need a badge to get into the panels and go shopping on Dealers' Row.

Blood Drive

Look for our famous “Naughty Nurses” who will help convince you to open your veins. The blood drive is run in cooperation with the Heinlein Society. Robert A. Heinlein was a big supporter of blood drives, and was instrumental in encouraging the first one at a convention, at the 1976 World Science Fiction Convention, where he was Writer Guest of Honor.

Con Suite

The Con Suite is an informal area (as if the rest of Arisia wasn’t informal) to go for a quick snack, tonic, conversation, good company, and comfy furniture. Some limited programming will take place in the Con Suite area as well.


We can dance if we want to...and we do! We have everything from the 1860s to the 1980s to the 21st century; you’d need a time machine to get all this anywhere else! So no matter the style or the skill level (some dances come with instructors to help get you moving and assist those with multiple left feet), come dance ’til you can’t dance no more.

Dealers’ Row

Want a book, some jewelry, a bit of sculpture, or clothing? How about something unusual? The Dealers’ Row is basically a big Science Fiction flea market where you can find all sorts of books, garb, jewelry, and a wide range of items of interest to our attendees. Dealers’ Row is a block of hotel rooms, where each room is open at the individual dealer’s discretion (whenever the door is open and the dealer is willing to take your money).

Divisions & DivHeads

Just to spread the blame around a bit more, the Arisia Convention Committee uses a “Division Structure.” This means that Gophers, err Volunteers work for Staff Members who report to Assistant Department Heads who work for Department Heads who sometimes answer to Assistant Division Heads who allegedly work for Division Heads who ignore Assistant ConChairs who totally ignore the Con Chair who in theory answers to the Arisia Executive Board who are elected by Arisia Corporate Members, some of whom work as Gophers, err, I mean Volunteers.

[Ed. Note: Microsoft Word does not recognize “DivHeads”, and suggests Bigheads, Pinheads, and Airheads as possible replacements.]

Drum Circle

Drumming is primal and powerful and invariably attracts those who dance. We host a drum circle and encourage you join with others in laying down some intoxicating rhythms for the dancers amongst us. BYOD


If it doesn’t fit into a panel format, it’s an event, and there are plenty of events to go around; from concerts to dances to juggling to fortune-telling hamsters, we’ve got something for everyone. If we don’t, in fact, have something for you, please see the Events DivHead for a full refund (minus shipping, handling, import duties, taxes, and a small re-stocking fee).

Fast Track

Fast Track is a convention within a convention, geared to fans ages 6–12. Fast Track is also part of convention programming, and is open to fans of all ages; parents must accompany their younger children. Fast Track features panels and activities such as storytelling, crafts, costuming, and juggling. There is a separate Fast Track program guide available.


Filk is fannish folk singing, and can vary from moving ballads to humorous parodies. There will be sing-alongs, concerts, round-robins, and less formal events. Most filk happens at night; use your ears to find the current location. Everyone is welcome, even if you can’t sing and are tone-deaf.

The 5-2-1 Rule

For a happier convention, everyone should get at least five (5) hours of sleep, two (2) meals (and not just M&Ms and chips), and one (1) shower daily. Violate this last rule and others may hand you a bar of soap.


Gophers don’t exist. See Volunteers.


Tabletop, fantasy, role-playing, LARP, and other games will be found in our Gaming Room. We have both “scheduled” games that you may sign up for, and open gaming where people bring their own.

Green Room

The [Programming] Green Room is where Program Participants hobnob amongst themselves and chow down great food while pretending to prepare for their panels. The [Masquerade] Green Room is where Masquerade Contestants first die from stage fright during pre-show jitters, then, after the whole thing is over, collapse from heat exhaustion, since they’ve been bundled up in a heavy costume all night.

Hall Costuming

Hall Costuming is a way to get in character and feel at home. You can be who you’d like to be (or who you really are and can’t be in the mundane world) among your friends here at the convention. Come by the Masquerade Registration Table in the Lobby and show us your stuff. We may take your picture, or sign you up to be in this year’s Masquerade.

Information Desk

If you find the font of all wisdom, please let us know where it is. In the meantime, if you have a question, need to contact anyone, or have a problem that needs solving, this is the place to start.

Kids’ Stuff

Kids-in-tow is a free (i.e., “no charge”) membership for young fans designed to make it easier for families to attend. Kids-in-tow members are required to stick-like-glue with a parent all times. Abandoned children will be sold to space aliens. Taking a cue from the Bush administration, all children with paid memberships are required to carry identification listing them as “Satellites” (their parents don’t trust them outside of arms reach) or “Comets” (free to roam and harass everybody else).


The Masquerade is a costume contest and display of creativity by your fellow convention members. Entrants may dress in anything interesting and fun so long as they can motor themselves across the stage and back. You’ll find a variety of BEMs (Bug Eyed Monsters!), Transformers, faeries, royals, dragons, cosplayers, movie and TV characters, and just plain silly people in costume. This is a judged event and is a highlight of Arisia. If you’re not competing, come see the fabulous display of creativity by your fellow fen. All entries are judged in three separate categories (Novice, Journeyman, and Master) to give everyone a fair chance.

Operations aka Con Ops

The best place to find total chaos at Arisia (or more correctly, the most chaos, since you’ll find it everywhere). This is the convention communication nerve center where our staff goes to coordinate activities, find (or lose) people and things, deliver messages, or just sort through the endless piles of paper.


In the evening, many attendees will host parties in hotel rooms and suites. Most of Arisia’s parties are “open,” meaning all convention members are invited. If the door is open, go on in! Parties are the best place to socialize with fellow fans. Sponsors throw parties on their own dollar, either for fun or for fannish political purposes.

Throwing a party? Remember to list your party on the Party Board (it will also be published in the Newsletter). Also stop by the Con Suite and claim your “party seed” of snacks and drinks to help get the action going.


Programming is panels, lectures, discussions, and more—there’s a whole guide devoted to it. There are generally two types of panels. The first kind is where you sit there in awe, absorbing the wisdom of the participants as the pearls drop from their lips. The second kind is where you can’t believe they’re on the panel instead of you, since you know far more than they do on the subject. If every panel you attend turns out to be the second type, you should run for con chair, where you’ll finally be in a situation where everyone knows more than you.

Program Ops aka Program Nexus aka Program Central aka “The Broomcloset”

The nerve center for Arisia’s main programming. Program Participants and others wishing to contribute to general disorder and several nervous breakdowns should stop by here.


Arisia publishes a Souvenir Book (which you are holding) which showcases our Guests of Honor; a Program Guide which provides complete descriptions of Arisia’s programming and biographies for our Program Participants; a Pocket Program and Grid which provides an easy tool to plan your convention schedule; a periodic Newsletter with updates, photos and articles on convention activities, awards, and the like; and a Restaurant Guide with maps and listings of local eating establishments.


This is where you pick up your badge when you first arrive at the con. It's also where you go if you've lost your badge (and registration is open -- otherwise, please go to Con Ops) and need a replacement (replacements aren't free, so try to keep ahold of your badge!).


Arisia Security can help you if there’s a troll at your party, or a party of trolls next door, or even if you have a minor medical emergency. They also control lines, patrol corridors, stay up all night, and make sure that if there's a problem you don't notice it.


Engines need horsepower; conventions need continuous volunteer-power. You can make Arisia a higher-power con. Visit the Volunteer Lounge and get gratitude, a ribbon, T-shirt, or even a membership to the next Arisia. Other ways to bribe... err... entertain you include a large selection of books and videos that you can take home, all-hands card games, a live feed from Arisia TV (broadcasts of the masquerade and other events), desktop computers with internet access, and of course plenty of junque foode.


It’s the hotel restaurant. Special menus will be available for Arisia. And we needed a Z thing, anyway.

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