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New England's largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention

Arisia from A to Z

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New to Arisia?  Information you need…

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. We will feature anime in our theater, program panels about anime, and a party/dance on Friday night. Anime costumes are more than welcome in our Masquerade on Saturday night. Look for anime items on Dealers’ Row as well.

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, and looking into the future, as well as alternate histories. 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 also a nonprofit corporation and entirely volunteer run. If you wish to help out, we’d love more people! Some other conventions or conventionlike events in the Boston area include Boskone (whose name is also from Doc Smith; February), The Science Fiction Film Marathon (February), Vericon (March), AnimeBoston (April), and Readercon (July).

Art Show
The Art Show features art by our guests of honor and many other artists. Admission to the Art Show is free to all attendees. Prints are available for purchase at the Print Shop, and much of the original work in the Art Show is also for sale. Throughout the weekend, there will be a series of tours of the Art Show, including an accessible tour. Check the program schedule for details.

Artist/Author Alley
A.K.A. The Pros’ Nest This is a place in the middle of the Galleria for artists, authors, and small businesses (e.g., book and game publishers) to promote themselves.

See Turtle Track

Although there is a famous phrase “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges”, actually we do. Please be sure to wear your badge in the Westin so we can know you are one of us, on the shuttles so the drivers can know you are one of us, and in local restaurants to advertise that we are bringing business to the community. Badge checking will occur throughout the convention.

Blood Drive
Look for our famous “Naughty Nurses” who will help sign you up for a blood donation at the convention. The blood drive is run in cooperation with the Heinlein Society. Robert A. Heinlein was a big supporter of blood drives, and he was instrumental in encouraging the first one at a convention — the 1976 World Science Fiction Convention, where he was Writer Guest of Honor. This year we will be working with two hospitals, allowing us to accept donations both on Saturday and Sunday.

Child Care
See Turtle Track or Fast Track.

Con Suite
The Con Suite is an informal area where you can get a snack and rest your feet. Sit down and make new friends, or chat with longtime buddies. It will be held on the 16th floor in the Presidential Suite this year. Never fear, the Westin’s elevators will get you there in a jiffy!

We haz them. This year’s convention features several different dances of different time periods, including the Time Traveler’s Ball.

Dead Dog Party
The traditional End-of-Convention bash takes place in the Con Suite Monday evening after teardown has been completed. Dealers’ Row & Dealers’ Room

Want a book, some jewelry, a bit of
sculpture, or clothing? How about something unusual? The Dealers are 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 on the 16th floor of the hotel; each room is open at the individual dealer’s discretion. Dealers’ Room is a segment of the Galleria in the lowest floor of the hotel, and the Dealers’ Room hours are available in the Pocket Program.

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. BYODrum.

Duck Hunt
Rubber ducks like a good convention, and so they LOVE Arisia! However, they tend to get into mischief, and so we’re asking attendees to help us out. If you find a rubber duck hiding somewhere in the hotel, bring it to the Volunteer Lounge; you may be able to exchange it for a prize

Events feature large items in large spaces; from the Masquerade to a GoH concert, from the Weird Science 80’s Dance to the Renaissance Period Dance. Events this year are spread out in various larger function rooms in the hotel, mostly ballrooms. So come sing, dance, watch cartoons, see knights take on Legionnaires — and don’t forget REPO! The Genetic Opera at midnight Saturday!

Fast Track
Fast Track is a convention within a convention, and is geared to fans ages 6–12. It features panels and activities such as storytelling, crafts, costuming, and kids’ science panels. Fast Track is also part of convention programming, and is open to fans of all ages. However, parents must accompany their younger children and should review the schedule to determine when their child may not have the manual dexterity, knowledge, or attention span for any particular panel or activity.

Filk is fannish folk singing, and can vary from moving ballads to humorous parodies. There will be singalongs, concerts, round-robins, and less formal events. Most filk happens at night; use your ears to find the current location down on the Lobby level. Everyone is welcome, even if you can’t sing and are tone-deaf. 5-2-1 Rule, The For a happier convention, we recommend that everyone have at least five hours of sleep, two full meals, and one bath or shower during every 24 hours. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and please note that 5 meals, 2 showers, 1 hour of sleep is not the same thing.

Galleria is your one-stop shop for the Dealers’ Room, the Art Show and Author/Artists Alley. It is accessible via the escalator in the lobby or the elevators just behind.

Tabletop, fantasy, role-playing, and other games will be found in our Gaming Room. We have both “scheduled” games, which you may sign up for, and open gaming where people bring their own. In addition, several LARPs will be occurring in the hotel. Gaming runs 24 hours a day through the entire convention.

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, sign you up to be in this year’s Masquerade, and you even might find yourselves the winner of a coveted Hall Costume Award.

Information Desk
Centrally located in the Westin Lobby, the Information Desk is where you can drop by to get another copy of the Program Guide, pick up a copy of the Daily Newsletter, get intel on the Restaurants in the area, or ask anything that has to do with the convention. If we don’t have the answer, we may be able to point you in the right direction. Please stop by the Info Desk if you have any feedback, issues, complaints, or compliments about the convention. If the Info Desk is closed, please drop by Operations on the Mezzanine in the Faneuil room for urgent matters.

Kids’ Stuff
Kids-in-Tow is a free, 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. All children with full memberships are welcome to use Fast Track programming (designed for ages 6 to 12) or Child Care (designed for ages 2 to 6). Children using Fast Track will be given ribbons to add to their badges that are either green for “Comet” (kids are free to roam around the hotel like all adults) or red for “Satellite” (kids are required by their parents to either be in Fast Track or with under adult supervision). Please remember that everyone attending Arisia, including Kids-in-Tow, must have a badge.

Lost and Found
See Operations.

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 (anime-inspired costumes), 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 Craftsman/Master) to give everyone a fair chance.

Arisia is a large extended family. We sell memberships, not tickets. The several categories of memberships include Full Weekend, Single Day Members, Child Care (entitling the child to make use of convention-provided child care services), Kid-in-Tow and Adult-in-Tow members. Everyone attending Arisia, including Dealers Row and Open Parties, must have a membership and a badge.

a.k.a. Con Ops This is the convention communication nerve center where our staff goes to coordinate activities, find people and things, and receive or deliver messages. Located on the Mezzanine in the Faneuil room, this is also the Lost and Found for the convention.

In the evening, some 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 open party on the Party Board (it will also be published in the Newsletter). Organizers of Open Parties should stop by the Con Suite to claim a “party seed” of snacks and drinks to help get the action going.

Programming includes panels, lectures, discussions, workshops, and more — there’s a whole Program Guide devoted to it. We will be a variety of programming, starting midafternoon on Friday, running 24 hours throughout the convention, finishing up Monday afternoon.

This is where you picked up your badge when you first arrived at the con, at the top of the escalators on the Mezzanine level. It’s also where you go if you’ve lost your badge (when Registration is open — otherwise, please go to Con Ops) or need a replacement (lost badge replacements aren’t free, so try to keep track of your badge!). Restaurants Hungry? The Westin hotel operates Sauciety Restaurant, Starbucks (behind the escalator to the Mezzanine level), and their Birch Bar (in the lobby). Also inside the hotel are MJ O’Connor’s and City Bar. Check out the Dining Guide for info on where to get a quick snack or a meal with friends.

Arisia Security can help you in case of emergencies involving inappropriate behavior of other convention members or in case you are in trouble and need assistance. You will see our Rovers in the hallways making sure that things are going well, and calling in help if it is needed.

Related to Events and Program, Tech builds and controls the lights, sound, video rigs, and Arisia TV for the convention. Entirely volunteers, the tech team would love to have fresh subjects to experiment on... er, volunteers to train. We love volunteers! Go to the Volunteer Lounge to find out how to join us!

Turtle Track
By prior sign-up we are providing supervised child care for those too young to enjoy the convention on their own (2 to 6 years old). All children using this service must have full memberships to the convention. There will be no other fee. For older children, see the “Fast Track” and “Kids’ Stuff ” entries.

This is a volunteer-run convention — and you’re welcome to join us! If you have looked through your Pocket Program and found that you have a few hours to spare, please come by the Volunteer Lounge in the Alcott room on the Mezzanine, and sign up. Contribute eight hours and you’ll earn a fabulous t-shirt; twelve hours gets you a free membership to next year’s convention. Helping out at your favorite activities can have its perks: You may also find that you get a better view of the Masquerade by working as an Usher, or get to see more of the Art Show by joining the Art Show staff. Perhaps you like overnight gaming and want to make sure it runs? Volunteering to work there will help it remain open.

The Fan GoH, pronounces the last letter of the alphabet in this manner.