Lisa: You won a Grammy.
Homer: I mean an award that's worth winning.
If you need to get up to speed, some of the more recent events and data-mining results are in this no longer friends-only post. My meatier comments at the end cover Saturday's (non)events.
Now to Sunday. I arrived with Richard and parked. Surprisingly (to me) there actually was a red carpet set up and there were a number of photographers there already, but not much going on. This was perhaps 5:30 and the red carpet walk was supposed to be from 6-7:30. Organization was clearly still not the strong point of the Larpies production team, but I eventually found Joe and got my VIP tickets and then we were told basically to hang out in the parking lot until further notice. And there were maybe 100 Larpers and Larper-esque people there hanging out. The 501st was there, and obishawn had the H-Wing up on the sidewalk. The Sixth Legion was there as well, with some of the high-spirited centurions sparring with shields and live steel. And of course, lots of miscellaneous costumes from Faire to Furry. Honestly, though our games are small by many groups' standards, as the parking lot continued to fill, it was by far the most Larpers I've ever seen at one time. All in all, I'm estimating total attendance at about 250. At the eleventh hour (but not the last minute) the producers did tell us that "Enigma +40" was on the guest list. If other groups got the same deal, I expect that explains the turn out.
So Richard and I chatted with a few people and watched the goings on. I learned either from nathan_h or the WetMaynard people that the preparty HAD INDEED HAPPENED. There was a secret handshake and a batcave-elevator involved and maybe it was after we left anyway, but one would think that having Joe Valenti in your midst would have given you the best chance of getting into the party. One would have been wrong. And I was.
Back to Sunday, video camera crews wandered about, but they showed little interest in me, and I was not about to force myself on them. Many of the other attention whores in the parking lot were not as fastidious. I was intrigued to notice that the interviewer for some Playboy Channel show (who also (if I'm remembering the right interviewer) looked like a mini-Fran Drescher) had a Playboy Bunny tattooed on her lower back. That's some job requirement.
Anyway, a couple camera crews worked through the milling crowd, and some of the crowd was, I think, moving along the red carpet and into the theater. Again, organization was lacking - it was hard to tell what we were supposed to be doing or not doing. I've read elsewhere that the Larpers going through the red carpet were all but ignored by the shutterbugs, who were there for the celebs.
After about TWO HOURS of standing around in a parking lot, the remaining 50 or so of us who were still out there were approached by Ballard and Mitch (I think) who told us how things were gonna go down. This related to the opening battle sequence, with racing into the venue and fighting and racing up to the stage and bla-bla-bla-bla. Also (a new wrinkle never before mentioned until this very moment) they wanted groups of six Larpers to accompany the presenters to the podium. It was all very last minute and they had a sign up sheet and bla-bla-bla-bla. In one ear and out the other. If there had been more planning beforehand, if the plan wasn't vague and formless, I would have been happy to hang out on stage and let them deify Ford Ivey. But the pre-battle already sounded like an accident waiting to happen, and I was feeling slightly put upon regarding this new requirement of acting as an escort. Hey, pal, I'm not just some LARPER... I'm a nominee! You want me to, I dunno, help a Trashy Lingerie girl walk across a stage? (As it turned out, I was in no danger of that.) But my complaint is but a mere nothing compared to the guy who then piped up that he had PAID FOR A VIP ticket. And here he was, being ordered around like stage crew. Fortunately, his significant other was around to restrain him, but I would have been super-duper pissed.
The Larpers were told to go in. I as a nominee now had my chance to hit the red carpet. I'm afraid that hanging out in the afternoon sun for two hours in a parking lot may have detracted somewhat from my appearance, but I was pleasantly surprised that most of the thirty or so shutterbugs lined up along the walkway gave me at least one flashbulb. One guy is my fucking pal for life. He gave me some direction and asked me to lower my shades, so I gave him a double barrelled shot of my baby blues, while managing a strange mixture of Zoolander and I'm-about-to-bust-into-laughter. And the evidence exists!
Of the hundreds of Larpers that walked that line, are there pictures of furries? Knights? Girls with wings or elf ears? No! There's former gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey, R2, PaperbagMan (from wet maynard) and ME, goddamnit.
There were some video crews set up after the still photographers, but they were dealing with the big celebrities, so Richard and I made our way into the Avalon and got directions to the VIP Lounge. We were let into the golden land of beautiful people. Now at this point, I had spent a couple hours on my feet in a parking lot and nothing so far had increased my confidence in or appreciation of the production staff. Running the red carpet gauntlet was interesting, but that was my fifteen seconds of fame after a two hour wait. HOWEVER, the VIP lounge had martinis. Free martinis. (Oh, and yes, Kirsten, they had veggies and snacks.) We met another couple there in the lounge - they turned out to be friends of producer John Ryan who had got them snuck in there, from what I could tell. "Are you with this game stuff?" she asks me. "Yeah, toots, thanks for your support." Anyway, Richard and I downed two martinis apiece and Richard got one for the road as they finally shooed everyone but the presenters out of the Lounge for the start of the show.
So in my mind, I see that there were two distinct populations inside the theater at that point. There were the hundreds of Larpers who had spent two hours in a parking lot and then got crammed inside the venue for maybe another hour, with nothing to do but buy NERO rulebooks and $8.50 drinks. And there was me and Richard and a very few other people who had spent two hours in a parking lot and then got two fast martinis tossed into our empty, dehydrated stomachs. I was ready for some goddamn fun.
We found the rest of the Enigmans up in the balcony and there was much greeting and meeting. The balcony areas were fairly well full of people, but the dance floor was largely empty. We had a row to ourselves, and I feel somewhat sorry for the people sitting in the row in front of us, because once the show got started, we were very naughty boys and girls for the most part.
But I'm ahead of myself. First there was a cartoon, in which animated things occured, to the amusement of no one. Then there was a stand-up guy-who-said-things, to the amusement of no one. Now trust me, I was a very easy audience at this point. Next, there was a short little film that I'm pretty sure was put together by the German Mythodea people. No one would confuse it for a Hollywood film, but it was well put together and got a great reaction from the crowd. I led a cry of "Deutschland, Deutschland, über Alles!" I at least got Richard to join me. This cry became an occasional leitmotif for the Larpies, since the Germans won a couple well-deserved awards later on.
And then, Zolar X came on. As they played, Larpers streamed onto the dance floor and battled. It was an astonishing display. I have to admit, I've never seen anything like it. I call it a bizarre success. Zolar X finished their song and Ford Ivey got his Lifetime Achievement Award. There was a short film tribute, and when the narration skirted perilously close to crediting Ford with being the originator of all LARPing, I let out a lusty hiss. The Larpies were well and truly underway.
My God this fucker is getting long.
TO BE CONTINUED.