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Just in case you missed it, Joey Ramone passed away on Sunday. Gabba gabba bye.
(Editor's note: this review was expanded on our web site at http://www.degeneratepress.com/earplugs/archive/fantasm2001.html)
As promised, here's the full review of Fantasm 2001. This is not for the faint of heart. You must be this tall to ride this ride. Rated R - no one under 17 admited without adult supervision. Keep away from eyes and face. Parental Advisory - contains explicit lyrics. Don't go into the swamp.
You have been warned.
Thursday we headed Crowne Plaza and Fantasm early to get the scoop about where we needed to be and when. It turns out we didn't have to be anywhere until Saturday so we settled into the pajama party, your editor done up as Hugh Hefner, degenerate SW on his arm as a bunny. We mingled with the con whores and friends we only see at such events, and cruised the halls in search of the worst mullets of fandom. We scored in both quantity and quality and hopefully those pics, and more, will be up soon. Friday we slept in, got a bite, and packed before arriving early enough to beat the crowds who had to work. We got checked in and registered, then gussied up in early evening attire to continue running amok at the con. We'd missed an event or two I'd wanted to see, but the concoction contest washed all those worries away in a flood of Kool-Aid and Everclear. You'd think someone would put a little effort into a drink mixing contest, but instead everyone seemed to go for frat party style hunch punch and some of it was just plain AWFUL. There were few exceptions, but with some 13 or 14 to sample it became a challenge to continue down the line to the next sample.
A drag review followed, with several faux ladies from Athens doing their best lip sych and snappy banter routines. Very fun stuff, and the few tips they made went to some AIDS foundation. They hyped the Boybutante Ball in Athens (April 20 -21, 2001, http://www.boybutante.org/), then made way for the Ms. Fantasm 2001 competition. Overall, I wasn't stunned and amazed as I have been at previous pageants, particularly those at Magnum Opus Con (AKA MOC, http://www.magnumopuscon.com/) many years ago, but with Fantasm doubling in size every year I'm sure it will only get better. The winner was a young nubile blonde with a great smile, but I can't figure out how she won. Perhaps it was the nice breasts covered only in liquid latex... There were far more... moving presentations in the "talent" competition, but it's not about winning or losing, it's about making the crowd gasp and the overall show did that several times.
We hit the hotel bar and watched the con members scare a few mundanes, folks who were just at the hotel for the weekend and had no idea what they'd gotten themselves into. One older couple decided to register for the con just to see was going on, but I never saw them outside the hotel bar so I don't know if they really got an eyeful.
We hit the room to change and head for the parties. Degenerate JL, AKA "The Reverend," organized Jonestown Isle, "Can you survive the temptation?", a party with a Polynesian theme. I wore my best, and worst, floral print shirt and matching pants while SW crashed in the room with an upset belly. Some of the party organizers were done up like the crew of Gilligan's Island, which became surrealistically disturbing when they got involved in the bondage events taking place in the adjoining suite. "Hey, little buddy, just strap this around your wrists and..."
Other parties began down the hall and soon the traditional con exercise program began. Take the elevator to the top floor, hop from room to room drinking like a fish, run down a flight of stairs to the next floor, and repeat until you reach the ground floor. There you can check out some of the con events, like the dance, then catch the elevator to the top floor and start all over again. Sometime around 3 or 4 I gave up the routine and headed to bed.
Only mildly hungover, we got some lunch on Saturday and got back just in time for your editor to star in Fantasm's version of The List, much like the VH1 show but focused more on fandom interests, such as "best underground film" or "best sexual deviance." With three cups of coffee in me I was awake enough to participate and it seemed to get a few laughs out of the sparse crowd, but we were up against a bare foot beauty competition down the hall so it was no surprise we didn't pack the house.
I got a quick shower and headed back down for the Iron Bartender competition. I got a seat up close, ready for a laugh, only to be drafted into being one of the judges. Degenerate JS volunteered/insisted on joining, as a judge for a couple of rounds then as a competitor. Despite the near-total lack of organization and planning for the event, it came together and the audience loved it. Chairman Kaga came out and announced the battles and theme ingredients at the beginning of each round. Round 1 featured The Reverend against Ziggy, a bartender from Athens, in the Apricot Juice battle. I've got to hand it to the competitors, the theme ingredient was always something just plain awful yet, with only one exception, the bartenders did a decent job. Each mixed three drinks in five minutes and the judges made colorful, and increasingly slurry, commentary before scoring and moving on to the next round. JS won his match, due in part to his using a whole pineapple as a serving container, against Iron Chef Bardiva, a lovely girl who's just gotten her cam site up and running at http://www.bardiva.com. In the final round there wasn't a lot that could be done with the theme ingredient, some kind of vanilla liquor. We sampled the competitor's drinks first and were shocked at how much they each resembled some sort of cleaning product not meant to be taken internally. Truly nasty stuff. Iron Chef Bama, aka degenerate WW, made comparatively drinkable mixes and won the match. But the other Iron Chefs didn't fare too well, falling two out of three to the competitors, if I recall correctly. The problem is my recollection is a bit fuzzy and even the pictures I took don't help bring it to focus. By the end of the event fellow judge degenerate DM was having trouble standing. Fortunately for her we were running behind schedule so they couldn't let the other challengers compete and had to close the event after only three rounds.
I prodded SW out of bed for the slave auction then rushed down to get in the action. I found degenerate JM and former degenerate DN making bids on every slave up for sale, but the emcee would beg and plead for anyone in the audience to outbid JM, driving the bids higher and higher.
(Nobody wanted to be a slave to a degenerate like JM, "a fate worse than death" said the emcee more than once. It was JM's first Fantasm, but his reputation for drunken hell-raising at Magnum Opus Con had preceded him and his fame is on par with con whores of twice his experience. He positively terrifies those who don't know him well, but fortunately for me I've known him for about 15 years and despite the scary visage and aura of utter chaos he is totally harmless, at least to others if not himself.)
Afterward we grabbed a bite then got good seats for the cam girls panel. Usually this is a Q/A session between the lovely ladies of the internet and their adoring fans, but degenerate WW took over the event turning it into The Donahue Show. It was still educational for those who knew little or nothing about the world of internet voyeurism, but dull for those of us who were just waiting to see the girls in some state of nudity. Fortunately we didn't have to wait long. WW plugged in a row of blacklights and the girls stripped to glowing underwear then rolled around on the stage in glowing body paint until everyone on stage was covered in the stuff, and everyone in the crowd was silent, or groaning, in appreciation - a very fun show.
As usual, everything was running behind so they had to hustle us out of the room to get set up for the next event so we hit the parties. Saturday was the official party battle and having been a party judge at several MOC's I knew what to expect for my Fantasm party judge duties - hours and hours of drinking, getting my ass kissed by party organizers, and running up and down stairs. Somehow we missed the costume contest, one of my favorite events to heckle, but I did catch a few killer costumes in the halls, including a nicely done Predator, and a Mr. Perfect from Buckaroo Banzai. Another guy was dressed in medieval armor for the entire weekend, clanking from room party to room party before finally giving up and crashing in the hall in his 100 lb. steel plate and chain mail suit and taking drinks, and jibes, from passers by. "Oil can... oil can..." I squeaked at him every time I walked by. (His site is at http://brennus.stormloader.com/fantasm.html)
There's a gang of degenerate scum that frequented MOC for years as a half naked tribe of nomads, calling themselves the Bendovaho's. They would get a big cauldron of (usually syrupy sweet) hunch punch and run from room to room causing chaos and laughter, but because of their nomadic status they never could win a party battle because nobody knew what room to put down on the ballot, or even if they were in the battle in the first place. So this year they switched gears and got a room and threw an Inquisition-themed party, complete with various torture devices operated by drunken lunatics in brown hooded robes. It was a lot of fun. If you lurked around long enough you'd be accused of being a sinner and had to spin the wheel of redemption. On the wheel were various tortures, such as the stocks (which came with a half-naked stripper wielding a whip), and the grope box (basically a booth of black sheets through which the organizers get to grope the sinner.) Sometime around 3 AM I got accused of sinning but I'm not one for redemption and cowardice is one of my frequent sins, so I fled the room and escaped punishment.
Down the hall a younger crowd organized the Necrophilia Party, covering the floor in black plastic and adorning the place with various haunted-house-style plastic bodies and body parts. But that wasn't the offensive part - the music was. A guy sat in front of a computer monitor selecting MP3's of the worst kind, nothing but irritating hard rap stuff of the Limp Bizkit/Insane Clown Posse/Eminem/Who-The-Hell-Is-This Crap?-variety. They invited us back later, "We're gonna have a band!" so we wandered on to the next party.
Down the hall I stumbled into the MOC organizers throwing a promotional bash for their next convention in October. They offered the best drink selection, as well as snacks, but it was the familiar faces that kept me coming back. I found DN talking with one of the MOC staff about how to resurrect the dying con, but I've covered that in countless broadcasts so I didn't get involved.
SW and I found the organizers of Utopia, a local swinger's club, and got the stickers that let us into their private party. Things weren't swinging yet since many of their members were still downstairs at the bondage play party so we hung around and looked through their picture books at previous events, chatted with a few friendly folk, then continued on the party parade. Later, I heard the Utopia party did get really naughty and I'm hoping for a full report from any degenerate who attended (anonymity provided upon request, just get us the report!)
Back at the Necrophilia party, SW asked "Isn't this the party with the live band?" just as three guys in hospital gowns leapt into the suite with microphones and started spouting the most incredibly offensive racket anyone could devise. DM has a great review of this "band", Sleazoid, on her site at http://www.dawnmarie.org/moment/041701.html (and a full review of the con at http://www.dawnmarie.org/fantasm3/index.html) Think Insane Clown Posse with Tourett's Syndrome and a profound obsession with bodily fluids and excrements and a tendency towards violence. If that appeals to you check out their site at http://www.angelfire.com/pa2/letuspreyproductions/sleazoid.html They cleared the room out faster than a police raid. A few younger folks lurked around on the balcony, watching them through the glass door as they squirted fake blood and other goo all over the room and each other and anyone foolish enough to get close. I realized why they'd covered the floor and walls in plastic, but I guarantee some of it got on the ceiling and I'm curious as to how much of their room deposit they got back.
SW crashed early, her stomach still not happy, so I tucked her in and headed back into the fray. Downstairs, I found JM at the bondage play party, watching the naked bodies strapped to various devices being flogged, whipped, tickled and tortured in various ways. Unfortunately, most of these folks weren't people I WANTED to see naked and strapped to anything (to each their own) so I headed back to the parties. As often happens at these events, the best party was in the hall. Outside the elevators on the officially designated party floor a crowd gathered, drums played, drinks circulated, the usual party activities just right in the middle of the floor. I looked over my party battle ballot and realized I'd missed a couple of official entries somewhere so I tracked down the FAGG Bash on another floor. The Fantasy/Action Gay Gamers thrown this event at countless conventions and usually it has the best drinks and food of any party so I was glad I'd found them. Unfortunately, not many other folks and stumbled onto them so the room was half empty but I sampled their drinks and munchies and chatted with some friends before headed back to the main party floor.
Normally I'd survive until 4ish but judging the Iron Bartender competition had me buzzed early so I was forced to call it quits around three.
A convention on a Sunday is a sad sight. People walk around in zombie states, or worse, after a night of drunken debauchery. Some haven't slept. Some haven't bothered to shower. Some haven't even changed clothes. Some lurk around the lobby or hotel restaurant hoping to see someone one last time before they split. Everyone makes one last tour through the dealer's room, hunting bargains, then only the staff remains behind to argue with the hotel about the damages. I'm not one for long goodbye's so we loaded our luggage in the rain and hit the road, dreading the return to the mundane world but happy for the peace and quiet of Degenerate Press HQ. I've got over 200 pictures to sort through on the new toy, the Canon Digital Powershot S20 Elph, a highly recommended product if you like compact cameras. I've already dumped them onto our machine and begun getting them ready for the web version of this report so if you wanna see nekkid pictures of folks mentioned in this article check out http://www.degeneratepress.com/earplugs/archive/fantasm2001.html later this week.
I knew our efforts were being thwarted by various parental watch web filters such as Net Nanny, which only means we're doing something right, but apparently corporate American is also threatened by our very nature: "The Nazis at the home office have installed a webblock that now prevents me from accessing the Degenerate Press, which is considered an "activist" page. we won't have internet service at home for at least a few weeks. fortunately the newsletter makes it through the defenses, so i can be kept up to date."
Frankly, I'm nothing but flattered and amused. I hardly consider my sedentary efforts as those of an activist of any sort, but apparently if you throw up a few links to various informative sites (http://www.degeneratepress.com/blasphemy) you're a threat to somebody.
Speaking of, degenerate AA was busy making himself a threat to the VFW on Easter: http://members.prestige.net/AIC/vfw.htm
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