This time of year is always full of changes: the start of a new semester, changes in the weather, and (as we are excited to announce) a new look for the Portus website. Our Chair of Website and Graphics, Melanie Wilke, has been hard at work giving Portus a pretty facelift. Be sure to check out our MySpace page too as it has also been re-done.

Along with our new look, you'll notice a few other extras as well, most notably in The Portal. Our first extra will present our additional content in different and exciting ways – the Portus Previews podcast.

The Portus Previews podcast is your source for news, updates, and interviews. The interviews will feature some of the special guests and wizard rock bands who are a part of Portus’ programming. There are several ways you can listen to the Portus Previews:

  1. You can subscribe through iTunes by searching for “Portus Previews” (bear in mind that since it's so new, it may not be available yet).
  2. You can enter the following: http://www.portus2008.org/podcast.xml into your podcast player’s “Subscribe” field.
  3. For some users, clicking the link directly will work too.

Another change to our newsletter is our method of distribution. Instead of sending a link to the latest edition of The Portal, we will be emailing the edition in its entirety to everyone who subscribes through The Portal’s main page, including non-registrants.

We hope you like it!

Best Regards,

Aziza Aba Butain
Editor-in-Chief

Announcing our Friday Keynote Luncheon Speaker:
Dr. Henry Jenkins

"Beyond the Borders of the Book: The Transformative Power of Fandom in the Age of Media Convergence"

A generation of young people have learned to read, to write, and to transform the world through their engagement with Harry Potter. So what happens next? In some ways, the success of Harry Potter might be seen as the last gasp of the old mass culture -- since there are few people on the planet who have never heard of the book, the films, the games, or the assorted tie-in products. In some ways, the success of Harry Potter might be seen as a foreshadowing of the new participatory culture and of niche media, given the role which all kinds of grassroots activities have played in sustaining and expanding interest in the saga. Would Harry Potter have been the success it is without LiveJournal, blogs, podcasts, social networks, fan fiction sites, and the like? What happens now that the book series has ended? This is up to us.

Henry Jenkins is the head of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program. He is the author of twelve books, including several which deal with fan culture: Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture; Science Fiction Audiences: Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Their Followers; Fans, Gamers, and Bloggers: Exploring Participatory Culture, and Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (which includes a chapter on Harry Potter fandom). He blogs five days a week at Confessions of an Aca/Fan, www.henryjenkins.org.

We are very excited to have Dr. Henry Jenkins as the speaker for our Friday Keynote Luncheon. His expertise and unique perspective on fandom makes him one of our most exciting speakers yet. Tickets will go on sale next week. Please visit our registration page to purchase your ticket.

Who’s Hungry?

Keynote Luncheons, Feasts, and Afternoon Teas

We now have our scrumptious menus for the Friday and Saturday keynote luncheons, the welcoming and leaving feasts, and the Friday and Saturday Afternoon Teas. You can find them here.

How Do I Add These Additional Options to My Registration?

  1. To modify your registration, visit our registration page and click on Register Now.
  2. You will need to supply your first name, last name and the email address under which you registered - the system should recognize that you are already registered and direct you to the Summary Page.
  3. Select "Modify" under the My Registration section and enter your registration confirmation number. (If you can't remember or have misplaced it, you can ask to have it emailed to you.) This will take you to your personal information page.
  4. Make any necessary changes on the first page of your registration details, then click "Next."
  5. If desired, order luncheon tickets on the second page of your registration details, then click "Next."
  6. When prompted, enter your credit card details to pay for any extra items, then click "Finish" to update your registration.

Water Quidditch

Portus is pleased to revive an old favorite, Water Quidditch. Be sure to bring your goggles and gillyweed! The tournament will be held on Saturday from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Sign-ups will begin in January 2008.

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August Prompts: Time
By Jenn Clack

"How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?"

                              – Theodor Seuss Geisel

Time is an important theme in the Harry Potter world, and one example is fandom reeling from the fact that the "Summer of Harry Potter" came and ended before our minds could comprehend our favorite canon characters' journeys through seven years. Here are some time-related topics to help kindle your programming ideas.

  • The final battle through Omnioculars – a deconstruction of events
  • Where did those 19 years go? Theories of what exactly happened in those 19 years for any surviving characters.
  • Are all the Time-Turners really gone?
  • Memoirs of a fandom – looking back at the Harry Potter fandom
  • Fandom Forecasting – where will we be in another 10 years?
  • Growing up with Harry Potter
  • Timelines of the series
    • Characters
    • Places
    • Families
  • A look back at fanfiction
    • The Slash Phenomenon
    • Popular Authors
    • Shipping Wars
  • "Time is money" – the accumulation and transfer of wealth in the Wizarding World
  • Divination
    • "It is often said there are two types of forecasts... lucky or wrong!"
    • "Prophecy is a good line of business, but it is full of risks." – Mark Twain

Hopefully, this first set of prompts has inspired your masterpiece presentation, roundtable, or workshop! If that's the case, visit our Calls for Proposals page to find out how you can submit a proposal.

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After attending Lumos in 2006, Melanie Wilke was so impressed by the coordination and passion of that year's team of organizers and volunteers that she swore to become one herself one day. When not at her "real life" job as a graphic and web designer for the ASU Foundation, the fund-raising arm of Arizona State University, she can be found reading steamy fanfiction, watching Star Trek reruns, or playing as an ogre-killing gnome mage in World of Warcraft. She continues to write passionate love letters to Alan Rickman, but mysterious gaps in the post have thus far stymied her intentions.

Melanie has been a truly indispensable asset to the Portus team. Her artistic talent and creativity is undisputable. Always cheerful and eager, she is an absolute delight to work with. We finally got the chance to meet Melanie at Prophecy this past August and were impressed by her enthusiasm for the series. Every volunteer she worked with had nothing but positive things to say about her. We are sincerely honored that she has chosen to share her talents, her bubbly personality, and passion for Harry Potter with Portus. You can see some of Melanie’s work at her website.

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If you have questions or comments concerning the Call for Proposals, programming, etc., please contact us at info@portus2008.org.

If you have any questions or comments about The Portal or the Portus Previews, please feel free to contact us at portal@portus2008.org.