I go to lots of cons. It's fun. It's my family. You know all that.
But it's also my job -- my best source of income. And, as much as I've cranked out albums the past few years (and I'm trying to get back to that, I have plans heh heh heh oh I have plans), lots of my regular fans have everything, or most of everything. Which is why I've been trying to break into new markets.
At GenCon, I did some busking, i.e., wandering around performing. I was permitted, nay encouraged, to set up a tip jar.
I think of Dean Hagland charging a separate admission for his improv shows; I think of celebs charging for pictures and autographs (something I will never, EVER do).
If I passed a hat at my convention concerts, along with a little speech about This Is How I Make My Living (think of ren faires), would that be rude, unseemly, just plain wrong, etc., or long past due, or something else I'm not seeing?
ETA: 'Sfunny. I said "If I passed a hat" kinda as a throwaway, but it's turned into a valuable and clarifying part of the conversation. And I agree with you all: passing the hat is Right out. But I'm inclined towards a tip jar (Tim said this morning he doesn't see a problem with it, on the merch table just outside the door of the performance area), and several other ideas you've had are very good, and a few have spurred me towards more ideas. Thanks so much, and keep 'em comin'.