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The last few weeks have revealed some important developments for the Orlando-based Doctor Who convention, and it's important that — for now — tickets are not purchased.

Full text of the podcast is below the fold.

May 12 UPDATE: Jarrod Cooper has posted an update to Hurricane Who's website. In part:

Though I hope the event will go ahead as planned, there is work to do and it is not yet certain.

To anyone who has booked for HW2, I’d suggest that if you haven’t already booked non-refundable airfares or other non-refundable items, that you consider holding off for the moment. If you have already booked something non-refundable, let us know and we’ll take that into account in our restructuring plans going forwards (operations@hurricanewho.com).

More information is at the Gallifrey Base "Argolis" forum.

The Gallifrey Base forums (registration required).

Tony Lee's withdrawal from the convention unless better news develops.

April 22 UPDATE: Two people have noted on Gallifrey Base that they have recently been in contact with Jarrod; it's good to know that he's all right. I'm adding a note to the beginning of the podcast pointing listeners to these show notes for further updates as concrete information emerges.

April 22 UPDATE: Tickets are no longer available from the Hurricane Who website:

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:
Hurricane Who sales are currently suspended while a possible re-organization occurs that will determine the future of the event. Please watch this space for additional updates.

Sorry for any inconvenience, and we appreciate your patience, while these issues are worked through.

I had a fantastic time at the Hurricane Who convention in Orlando, Florida, last Halloween. By all appearances it was well run, despite a less-than-great hotel, and I was looking forward to returning. But now there’s a question of whether it will return, and it’s important you know this if you’re making plans to go in 2010 — and especially if you have already bought a ticket and booked a room and flight.

On April 15, a representative of classic Who actress Louise Jameson posted a message from her to the forums at gallifreybase.com. Ms. Jameson claimed that convention organizer Jarrod Cooper, quote, “has several unpaid debts from last year (my fee included) and it is seriously jeopardizing the next event,” end quote. Ms. Jameson also said that Jarrod Cooper had become impossible to contact during the previous two weeks.

What’s followed has been an extended conversation at the Gallifrey Base forums — you can read them for yourself in the North American conventions thread — in which a number of people have corroborated Ms. Jameson’s account. Many people have quite rightly expressed concern for Jarrod, concern for any guests or others owed money by Hurricane Who, and concern over the fate of the con. And I have to say I’m really impressed by the tone of the conversation because these are people who know and care for Jarrod Cooper and wish that he would surface, while clearly recognizing that there are responsibilities that must be upheld, and the sooner the better.

Prior to Louise Jameson’s April 15 statement, some Hurricane Who staff members had already left the organization. Multiple sources confirm that Hurricane Who is a sole proprietorship owned by Jarrod Cooper – which means he’s the only one who can correct a serious ongoing problem: the convention website is still accepting ticket purchases for a convention that may not happen. And he’s nowhere to be found.

There’s a potential bright side. According to Barnaby Edwards of Doctor Who New York, and several others on the Gallifrey Base forums, there is a, quote, “small and experienced team,” end quote, that within the next couple of weeks will have explored whether a restructured Hurricane Who is possible and may attempt to negotiate something with Jarrod Cooper if they can contact him. I hope that’s possible, as long as the convention’s existing liabilities, including fees to Louise Jameson and anyone else owed money, are settled first. And of course, if that develops you’ll hear more about it on this podcast. My only vested interest in Hurricane Who is that I had a terrific time and would like to return.

But those are my hopes. The reality now is, if you were thinking of attending Hurricane Who this year, DO NOT purchase a ticket yet, and don’t book anything that isn’t refundable. If you have already bought a ticket or otherwise have money wrapped up in Hurricane Who, following the news on Gallifrey Base is probably your best bet – though I’d advise spending most of your time listening unless the information you want to share is vital.

And Jarrod, if you’re listening, you have a heavy load to carry. It’s important that you pick it up and carry it to its conclusion. There are people out there who are offering help carrying it and moral support as well.

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2 Responses to 2MTL 125: Hurricane Who's Uncertain Future

  1. Amanda Ryan says:

    I think that the real question in all of this is, having been his friend for so long and knowing how much work he has put into it and all the crap he has had to deal with already…

    What could have happened that would have made him drop it and walk away??

  2. [...] Last April revealed some major challenges for the Hurricane Who convention, with some guests reporting that they had not yet been compensated for their October appearance and were unable to contact convention head Jarrod Cooper. (I reported on these events, which were first made public on the Gallifrey Base forum, in 2MTL #125.) [...]

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