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WOSSNAME -- APRIL 2005 -- PART 2 OF 5 (continued)

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  • JSCHAUM111@aol.com
    WOSSNAME -- APRIL 2005 -- PART 2 OF 5 (continued) ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ... Part Two -- Brazen Hussies in External
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 29, 2005
      WOSSNAME -- APRIL 2005 -- PART 2 OF 5 (continued)

      ====Part 2 MINICON (USA) -- THE FULL REPORT (continued)

      Part Two -- Brazen Hussies in External Underwear:
      Costuming For Results

      by Valeria Lynne

      Costuming is another one of the reasons I was so enthused about going to
      Minicon. Not only would we get to meet Terry in person, we'd do it
      dressed as characters that seem to have sprung, fully formed like
      Athena, from his brain. Certainly it would be with liberal dashes of
      interpretation and within the limits of our budgets, but it was
      something I couldn't resist. I could hardly have gotten a more creative
      co-conspirator than Anna for our costuming adventures.

      From January to March, we emailed and IM'd about costume details -
      deciding upon each day's couture. Cheery Littlebottom and Sybil Ramkin
      would appear on day one. Two Seamstress/Assassins (Anna had the idea
      that the twain should meet and thus Anna "The Scissors" Atropossa and
      Valeria Lynne Heartrypper were born) emerged on day two. On the last day
      Susan Death would escort a recent Black Ribboner vampire - Malice
      Ludmila deMort. An added bonus to this was that Debra, our friend from
      another fan mailing list, would easily recognize us though we three had
      never met in person - all she had to do was look for the two crazy
      people in costume each day.

      As Terry noted on one of our strolls to the consuite, hall costuming is
      all about the details. And he noticed ours. From Cheery's helmet and
      Sybil's padded, riveted leather apron; the seamstress pins upon our
      bodices and fingertip thimbles sporting long black killer nails; Susan's
      detailed scythe and Malice's cocoa cup. And he couldn't help but notice
      the packet of Seamstress/Assassin business cards with its attached
      wooden darning mushroom
      particularly when we explained it was his own personal set.

      He also noted the difference with masquerades is that it's all about the
      presentation and recounted with pleasure the story of a large group of
      fans dressed as Nac Mac Feegles, complete with blue body paint and
      tattoos. Having won the competition, they swarmed in with war cries,
      carrying an oversize sheep backwards across the stage. They filched the
      silver award with a yell of "Ach, ye'll ne'er see it agin!" You could
      tell it had made quite an impression.

      He also spoke words of wisdom and tried to guide us in The Way Of Our
      Characters.* This was quite a lot more hilarious than it sounds. He
      commented, after pondering my attire for awhile, that my vampire costume
      was spot on for Doreen Winkins and what she thought vampires would wear
      - except that my fangs should fall out now and again. And imagine him
      coaching the correct Sybil accent since my "indoor voice" was too posh
      (think AbFab/Edina) though I could also bellow out my Barbara Woodhouse
      Meets The Queen version, plus Sybil's "county gel" walk. We watched
      Terry stride back and forth energetically, both arms swinging left to
      right and then I gave it a go and received a nod of approval. And though
      he wondered at first if our "brazen hussies" in "external underwear"
      were a young Dotsie and Sadie, he quickly warmed to the idea of
      Seamstress/Assassins. Then again, with all that corsetry and black
      satin, what male wouldn't?

      But don't think it was all fun and games. There was one instance of
      Wardrobe Malfunction that, though not televised, will remain in our
      memory - and someone else's. Imagine you are in the ladies' loo,
      chatting to two costumed young women at the sink who are adjusting their
      apparel. Suddenly, with a brief apology, one slides her hand beneath the
      other's corset and starts to tug on an errant velvet top that has
      shifted almost all the way up inside the corset. The owner of said
      corset (me) turns in place as the other (Anna) manages to wrestle the
      shirt back where it should actually be. And at this point, all three of
      you are laughing so hard you're crying. After you exit, Anna says to me,
      "Do you know who that was?" I answer, "No, I don't." And she looks at me
      with an evil glint in her eye and replies, "I've just groped you in
      front of Lois McMaster Bujold. You know, award winning author and guest
      at Minicon."**

      And you know, there's always a heckler or two - Cheery Littlebottom was
      greeted with many "Hey, there goes the Bearded Lady" comments - to which
      I replied, "You know, she *never* gets tired of that one. Really." On
      the plus side, we found our costumes generated some other interest. One
      gentleman wanted a picture sandwiched between the two
      Seamstress/Assassins and blithely announced to his girlfriend that she
      should find out where we shopped. (Hope the couch was comfortable, pal.)
      And one mother, even knowing what we were dressed as and wondering if
      she should be worried, noted that her daughter wanted to have her
      picture taken with us. I couldn't resist saying, "Going into the
      business, are you, luv? Bit young, really."***Anna was popular as Susan
      Death - instantly recognizable and armed with killer accessories. Many
      people wanted to see the wonderfully detailed Death of Rats riding Quoth
      the raven (complete with hanging fake eyeball in his beak) much more

      One of the amusing things we noted after we returned home is that Anna,
      clearly using her famed Designated Stalker skills, had inadvertently
      color-coordinated her clothing with Terry's each day, while I (being
      Apprentice Stalker) only came close. If you doubt us, just view the
      pictures (http://share.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=EeANG7Fo4aOWzpo). Pretty
      amazing, really. Let's just hope she never uses her powers for evil.

      The pinnacle of our "costuming for results" program came after the
      closing ceremony had officially ended Minicon and we were talking
      amongst ourselves with fellow fans. A male con-goer walked towards the
      front of the room and teasingly accused us of "stealing Terry" for
      dinner that evening before he had a fair chance to "steal him first."
      Hoping he had a sense of humor, I shot back, "Next time, try a corset,"
      and winked at him. He laughed and so did we. And life was good.

      *Sort of like the master in Kung Fu. However, I hardly expected someone
      at Minicon to take it upon themselves to teach me how to walk and speak
      like Sybil Ramkin, much less Terry himself.

      **We later passed Lois in the hall and she began to laugh when she
      sighted us. Gee, I wonder why. Anna thinks the only way this malfunction
      could have been "better" is if Terry himself witnessed it, but I
      question her use of the word. She obviously doesn't have the same
      dictionary that I do.

      ***It was a joke, honest. And both of them laughed. The mother a bit
      nervously, but still.

      Part Three -- Extracting Your Pound of Flesh
      (or at Least Your "Pratchett Pounds"):
      Volunteering as a Lucrative Enterprise

      by Valeria Lynne

      When Anna first convinced me to go to Minicon, since she works in
      library reference, she immediately began to research what we could
      expect. She emailed Bill Christ and began finding out what volunteers
      and con-goers could do. And that there was this really interesting
      program called Pratchett Pounds - anyone who volunteered five hours or
      more could go to a special Sunday morning breakfast with Terry in
      attendance. Well, everyone knows volunteers are essential to conventions
      and with an enticing reward like that - let's just say that we knew as
      soon as we hit Minicon that were going into Full-On Volunteer Mode and
      the torpedos be damned.*

      Anna and I found that we were readily welcome to be used as beasts of
      burden - carrying, gathering and lugging various items to and from the
      consuite. We merely asked what we could do, then pitched in. One of the
      more artistic endeavors, once we headed to the main entry, was to make a
      registration sign with brightly colored markers. It was a thing of
      beauty - but primarily (hey, don't begrudge me a pun) it was finished on
      time and wasn't misspelled.

      After meeting David (the art show coordinator), we unpacked, inventoried
      and hung a huge amount of artwork.** I found an "extra" piece in one
      packet which turned out to be a gift for whoever hung the artist's work
      (that'd be me). We met Susan, who helped us hang art and make tags, and
      who also got a piece of art as a thank you. This was all very good and
      we passed the morning quickly - and got more coveted Pratchett Pounds
      for our time. We were on our way to collecting enough for the Sunday
      Volunteer Breakfast With The Man Himself.

      We wandered back to the art show the following day since volunteers were
      needed to "check" bags, purses and backpacks. This was great fun
      costumed as the Seamstress/Assassins and speaking with our fake Brit
      accents. We assured people we wouldn't nick much from their bags, only
      try to sell a few of their purchases to profit ourselves and most likely
      give them back their things when they left the show. This got some
      laughs and the gentlemen were willing to speak with us, even if their
      lady friends raised an eyebrow. A con-goer with a baby boy in a stroller
      asked us if we'd frisk the baby and change his diaper at the same time -
      to which Anna and I responded (almost in unison) "We don't do children."
      Upon spotting Terry on his way into the art show, as a courtesy, we
      offered to frisk him only on the way out - but he noted his willingness
      to be frisked on the way in, too. However, since such services require
      payment in advance (Guild policy, you know), we regretfully refrained.***

      The live auction was held that night and the tables were loaded with
      artwork, rare and unusual TP/Discworld items, and other cool stuff.
      Though learning how to be a live auction "runner" isn't much helped by
      wearing smoked sunglasses and long, sheer peignoirs and high-heeled
      boots, we looked the part. And we really had some fun. Anna, directed to
      show customers "the knockers" on one very nearly naked picture, posed
      her own corseted assets to advantage and got many appreciative laughs. I
      managed a few by moving artwork back and forth in front of bidders in a
      "you're being hypnotized" fashion. But there was some serious bidding
      going on. In the midst of one of the Discworld items being auctioned,
      Terry walked in, watched for a moment at the back of the room, then bid
      $500. Needless to say, he won the bid. Then he told the auctioneer to
      put it back up for auction again and quietly left the room. Loud
      applause followed him. It was a very generous thing to do and it helped
      raise funds for Minicon. Captain Carrot would've been proud. Heck, even
      C.M.O.T. Dibbler would have been proud.

      Our volunteer time Pratchett Pounds "bought" us our way into breakfast
      with about 15 other fans on Sunday morning. And, really, who wouldn't
      want to say in an offhand manner - "Oh, yeah. Had breakfast with Terry
      Pratchett this morning. Nice chap, really..." It was also a quiet place
      for a fan to eat breakfast and have strong coffee (even as a Black
      Ribboner Vampire, cocoa wasn't going to fulfill my need for caffeine) -
      and be awash in the Presence de Pratchett. Anna and I sat and talked
      with Greg Ketter and his wife Lisa Freitag for quite awhile and really
      enjoyed it. Terry spent time talking with the fans in attendance, signed
      books and posed for pictures. I was impressed, once again, at how much
      time Terry spent with his fans - and how accessible he was during the
      entire convention. I personally had thought if I was able to get a few
      books signed, say hello, gush a bit about how much I loved his work and
      get a few pictures, that would be lovely. Needless to say, my
      expectations were exceeded. What a perfect way to start the last day at
      *Figure of speech. We weren't that close to any of the many lakes in
      Minnesota. And even if we had been, a warship wouldn't have fit in it.

      **Yes, we've already heard all the "well hung" and "hung well" jokes,
      thanks. And we weren't even wearing our external underwear at that point.

      ***Bugger the Guild anyhow. We were *this close* to doing charity work
      at that special offer.

      End of Part 2, says my computer -- continued on Part 3 of 5
      If you did not get all 5 parts, write: jschaum111@...

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