RSS

Who’s The Princess?

That’s right. I’m the princess.

Maurice Broaddus just posted this teaser poster for next year’s Mo*Con along with his con report for this year. (Check out his snazzy new website!)  Credit goes to Bob Freeman for its creation.

No Comments | Tags: , , ,

Mo*Con V: Kelli Strikes Back

(long story, but here’s the edited version):

Bob and Kelli and I drove down to Virginia, woke Joe up from his nap, threw our suitcases (and four boxes of the LAST RITES chapbook) into Joe’s car, and started on our 10-hour drive to Maurice’s house. On the way we drove through Flushing, Negro Mountain, a Pony Pull, and October. We arrived at Mo’s around 1am. There was Jack Daniel’s steak waiting on us. I love that man. (Maurice, I mean.)

Friday morning started the way it should…with Kelli, on the trampoline. We sat back with our Jamaican coffee and watched Maurice’s awesome wife Sally mow the front lawn in her Wonder Woman boots. We picked up Brian Keene from the airport, got all pretty, and met Jerry Gordon for some really awesome cajun food at Yats. No lie — I had “chili-cheese crawfish étouffée.” Have you been to the Broad Ripple Village section of Indianapolis? It’s a little bohemian. It reminded me a bit of my beloved East Nashville (though with too many bars & not enough cool little shops…and currently four feet less water…but I digress).

Kelli took a nap, the boyz played Magic, and Joe and I explored a bit around Broad Ripple. It was a nice little respite before Maurice started the show and we had chicken marsala (a now-staple and tradition of Mo*Con because it’s The Princess’s favorite). Open Mic Nite began last year as a poetry-reading homage to Linda Addison, and I swear it’s one of the best things we’ve ever implemented. It’s a great way to break the ice and introduce everyone to each other — the new blood and the old regime alike. To get a feel for the range of genres and talent, the senses of humor (you’ve all seen the performance of “Dracula’s Winkie” by now), and to kill Brian Keene…again…and again…and again. We met Wes Southard, remembered what a talented poet Lon Prater is, and made faces at Gary Braunbeck when he trampled like an elephant over his allotted 5 minute time slot.

Saturday started off with a bang once everyone got in and settled — Sara Larson brought the coffee filters and evolved from Maven to Goddess of the Kitchen. Kelli hopped up on stage with her I-wanna-have-sex shoes and announced exactly how she’d be running the show: she’d be picking the panel participants out of the audience, and in the absence of moderation she expected everyone else to ask questions, provide comments, and keep the conversation going. And you know what? They did. We did. And it was a beautiful thing. Of the three panels that day, I think Wrath James White was the only participant on all of them (way to be opinionated, Wrath). The blogging was informative, the spirituality was intriguing, and the sex was hilarious.

The art reception was ramped up this year — we had our own little wing of the church (which was unfortunately rather far from the festivities…but we had the wine). I got to chat with Steven C. Gilberts a little more, which is always a pleasure, and I was very impressed at Jim Leach’s wood block prints. Next year I’ve requested that there be a short — maybe even 15 minute — panel introducing all the displaying artists and giving them a little time to talk about their art, their inspiration, and their processes. Essentially, to have all the conversations I didn’t get to because I was too busy manning my table. I sold five pieces!! I’m super stoked about that. And, as promised, I’ll be putting a few up on Etsy in the next few days.

The other Fabulous New Thing this year was a running live Funky Werepig show Greg Hall hosted in the middle of everything. As people wandered in and out of the art reception, Kelli dragged guests on stage to be questioned. I have to tell you, the more I know Greg Hall, the more I love him. Who doesn’t love a man who makes everyone laugh? And I’m still one of his son’s Top Three Girlfriends. I hope Greg’s on hand to do it again next year — it not only kept the energy of the day upbeat, but we now have it to look back on forever and ever and ever.

I gave a sneak-preview reading of AlphaOops: H is for Halloween to a very excited crowd, and then we took up two tables in a massive signing of Dark Faith. (I held up the line with all my glitter pens. And I so don’t care.) It was amazing to be part of something so big. This a very important book…and gorgeous to boot. (Do you have your copy yet? You need one. Use this link.)

But “carnivorous vulvasaurs” or not, somewhere in the middle of that last panel I hit a wall, the wall that demands I de-Princess immediately. But I was surrounded by dozens of people — I couldn’t just be “off.” It’s a convention — and not just ANY convention, it’s MY convention, the convention I reign over as royalty. “Off” is just not allowed. So I subtly removed my tiara and hoped no one would notice. It wasn’t 15 minutes before Jerry looked over at me and said, “You’re like Maurice with all his costume changes.” “What?” I asked him. “Weren’t you wearing something different a minute ago?” he said.

What a difference a tiara makes.

I went back to the hotel fully intending to change and return to Maurice’s house for Part Two of the festivities. Instead, I cried about my lack of focus and my sudden (and not a little scary) lack of convention stamina. So I wasn’t there for the buckets of Absinthe or the Black Hole Liquor Store — Kelli’s got those covered in her happy con report. But Joe reminded me of something very important: family. I’ve jokingly referred to Mo*Con as a “geek family reunion” before, but I needed to remember what that meant, exactly. Of the 75 people that attended Mo*Con this year, I’ve known most of them for four years. They made me their princess. I’ve slept on their couches and roomed with them at conventions. I’ve cried on their shoulders too, and escaped to their houses, and sought refuge in their basements. I’ve read to their children and talked to them about their divorces. I’ve got their numbers in my phone and–thanks to Twitter–I talk to them every single day. These are people who are going to notice when I’m upset or tired or frazzled — not because I’ve suddenly fallen “off”, but BECAUSE THEY LOVE ME. Because those are the kinds of things that people who love you notice. We call those people family. And I cried all over again, and there was no green fairy to wipe my tears.

Sunday morning I helped Chef Rob chop things for his Mediterranean/California salad while he prepared a garlic pasta dish and the most succulent Chateaubriand I have ever put in my mouth. (I’m telling you, it was a divine experience. NEVER miss Sunday brunch.) Goodbyes were lingering, as always, but they came with a contract for my story in the upcoming Nick Cave anthology from PS Publishing…so there was hope in the sadness. We drove home through a constant rainstorm–the fog made every town we passed seem as if it were on fire, and we had to pull over in West Virginia when we couldn’t see the road anymore. I had heard something from my friends about rain in Nashville too–but April always brought tornadoes and flash flooding so it was nothing I hadn’t heard before. (Or so I thought…but I digress. More on that tomorrow.) There were candy bars and red Doritoes and catnaps and white knuckles…and more goodbyes…and then it was four in the morning and we were back in PA and it was over.

We still can’t quite believe it’s over. I barely saw Maurice (he was a bigger whirlwind than ME, and that’s saying something), I didn’t get to say goodbye to Jason Sizemore or Geoffrey Girard, and I have that nagging feeling that I’ve left something behind. I suspect it might be family.

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mo*Con V Picture Gallery

Click the Gypsy and the Diva to go to the official Mo*Con V picture gallery (the ones on Facebook are just the pics, out of order, with no captions BECAUSE I JUST DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT).

*ahem*

No Comments | Tags: , , ,

“Dracula’s Winkie” Live Performance from Mo*Con V

Yes, yes…I’m still cleaning up & captioning pictures and thinking about how to sum up my thoughts into a post-Mo*Con post. In the meantime, to tide you over, here is a recording of our now-infamous live reading of Greg “Funky Werepig” Hall’s “Dracula’s Winkie.” (Performers: Alethea Kontis, Greg Hall, R. Scott McCoy)

If you still find yourself with free time on your hands (or you just hate Monday THAT MUCH), hop on over to The Funky Werepig site and have a listen to the “Live from Mo*Con” broadcast. Some great folks, some great interviews, and a lot of laughs.

No Comments | Tags: , , ,

Live from Mo*Con

We’re about to start Open Mic Night and I’m super excited. I’ve been asked to perform as Gretchen Von Stroodlehymen in a live-action rendition of Greg “The Funky Werepig” Hall’s infamous award-nominated paranormal romance “Dracula’s Winkie.”

And then…well, then there will be a surprise.

Kelli’s reading now from her Alphabet Book…not for small ears…shhhh….

No Comments | Tags: , ,

Return of The Ladies

Back in December, right after Christmas, my little sister sat me down with a paintbrush and a piece of gessoed masonite and said, “Paint me one of your ladies.” It was a lot of fun, and reminded me of something I should be doing…that I *haven’t* been doing. Not because I haven’t wanted to or needed to or had the time to, I just haven’t been focussed where the art is concerned.

The awesome thing about that, is that IT’S ART. You’re welcome to play around and do whatever you want to get your ya-yas out. Doing so is a lot of fun. Having a venue to show them off (like my artist’s table at Mo*Con — you’re going, right?) is a fabulous motivation. And having your friends all around you saying, “Hey, can I do art too?” is just wonderful. Because we all know: Magic is much better when shared.

This week I got a bazillion fun pieces done for Mo*Con, and I wrote my reviews for IGMS, and I showered (a few times) and packed and got everything pretty much cleaned up and ready to go. Which meant that last night was a freebie. Last night wasn’t work, it was just for me. I could play around and goof off and have the freedom to screw up and take as much time as I wanted doing so.

So I did what my sister asked me to do (and has still been asking me: “Lee, you should just do some! They don’t take that long!”) four months ago. I painted some Ladies. I finished them up, and will be proud to display them at my table. Hooray!!

No Comments | Tags: , , ,

More Arty Goodness

Yes, folks, Mo*Con is this weekend — are you coming? Don’t forget, we’re launching Dark Faith and there’s going to be a massive signing with lots of authors.

I’ll also have an artist’s table (which is starting to become something of a tradition for me at Mo*Con), with lots of lovely, affordable art that I’ve been working like gangbusters on all week.

Here are the newest pieces I finished yesterday — I’m really, really happy with all of them. There’s just something about collage that soothes me. Maybe it’s the glue.

No Comments | Tags: , , ,

Art So Far

The third one is my favorite so far. I love the colors, and how the butterfly stamps contrast without distracting. The story/poem on it says:

“Darkest quickly comes the night and hardest brighty burns the light. One and two for counting crows, red and blue for rain’s arced bows. Tried and true and just pretend comes fast the love that never ends.”

No Comments | Tags: , ,

With friends like these, who needs Con reports?

The first two years I attended Mo*Con, the Machines of the Universe gave me something I didn’t know I needed. This time, it was Kelli Dunlap’s turn. And I helped. You can read her beautiful summary here.

We had fun (as usual), we ate like kings (as usual), I took lots of pictures (as usual)…and then there was the Watermelon Dance. No one is ever going to remember what happened at this convention, simply because I was lucky enough to have a camera and catch Maurice being goofy in his natural habitat. The original video has 200 or so views already, and it hasn’t been up for 24-hours yet.

But the piece de resistance is this remix video by Doug Warrick and Kyle Johnson, the Jay & Silent Bob of the Horror genre (pictured in the background). I snorted my iced tea when I watched this. Please put all drinks down before pressing "PLAY."

2 Comments | Tags: , , ,

Six Degrees of Exasperation

This is all the fault of damnedrodan . He tagged me to do one of those "six random things about you" posts. I’m only doing it because six is brief. And I love Mark. Go buy one of his books.

1. My favorite tea is Red Rose Tea. It’s what my Greek grandmother drinks.
2. One of my goals in life is to put a prism in every window of my house. I like rainbows.
3. My French grandmother used to be a singer. I grew up humming lots of the Rosemary Clooney classics. This one in particular.
4. My altar at work now includes: David Tennant action figure, Ratbert, cairech and her daughter, rose quartz, Buddha, the Eiffel tower, shoes from Amsterdam,  a trolley from San Francisco, and a fortune from the Musee Mechanique.

5. Yes, kellidunlap , Lauren David and I went geocaching with Mark Rainey last summer and were stopped by the police.

6. I originally posted this and forgot Number Six.

6 Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,