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Fantasm 2002

I didn't take a lot of pictures this year 'cause I didn't see a lot of stuff I hadn't seen before but with the plethora of cameras I'm sure there will be dozens and dozens of sites out there with all the gorey, smutty details!

I got online Thursday morning and was surprised to find degenerate DM already at the Marriott. She and others had arrived Wednesday night to for a pre-Fantasm party, something like the foreplay before the storm. But I can barely convince SW to attend one of these things a year so I stretched my patience to the limit and waited until she was damn good and ready to head across town for the festivities. Conventions that start on Thursdays are fun because you get that first comparatively calm day to meet and greet the old friends you only see at such events without all the insanity that is to come.

The thursday night party was sponsored by the con itself, featuring free booze dealt out by The Reverend. Eventually he got so slammed he was asking trivia questions of each person wanting drinks, just to stall enough to force people to try the pre-fab punch instead of asking him to mix drinks.
There was a group of freaks playing half-naked twister. I didn't stick around late enough to see if it degenerated into full naked twister.
There was a smoking room next to the suite that was so dense with smog you couldn't see. I abandoned SW there when my eyes started watering non-stop and stepped out on the balcony to enjoy the vertigo effect of looking down 15 floors to the lobby below. Someone commented that it looked like a giant pagan temple designed to summon some strange god. If so, the TV in the center of the lobby would have made the perfect altar, encased in a large, flat-topped counter.
The hotel was sold out, but unfortunately con-goers often can't afford to make reservations in advance so we had to share much of the hotel with NCAA fans. The difference between the two groups was obvious at a glance, even without the Fantasm badges. But late at night we outnumbered them and they became the freaks. In an elevator full of black leather and latex, a guy in a button up golf shirt, khaki pants and loafers is the one who looks out of place.
Friday I had SW drop me off early so I could track down the few friends I hadn't caught up with on Thursday. I skipped most of the panels and ignored most of the guests, opting for lunch with degenerate DN and chatting with old friends. The atmosphere at a sci-fi/fantasy/horror/b-movie/fetish/goth/whatever convention is something like a family reunion. Lots of "So what have you been doing for the last year?" questions, but the answers aren't your family friendly talk. "Well, I finally got a domain for my porn site and membership is growing..."

SW arrived and unpacked and we donned our anti-goth luau attire, all bright colors and big smiles. My white shoes garnered dozens of compliments and SW's lovely dress caught the eye of more than a few fans (ok, maybe it wasn't just the dress...)
The Concoction Contest provided us with a few decent drinks, as well as some horrible ones, and the evening seemed to be in full swing when SW's stomach began its usual twisting and turning and she vanished for the evening. I partied on, watching most of the Ms. Fantasm contest and cruising the parties. You could tell the nation's economy and morale wasn't up to the highs of last year - there just weren't as many parties as last Fantasm - but that didn't seem to stop anyone from having a good time.

Outside a guy had set up a pile of salvaged bits from junkyards and threw a switch, throwing purple lightning bolts a good three feet into the air.
He explained the theory and practice of building a Tesla Coil, then stuck a CD onto a pole and poked it into the flying electrons.
The bolts wrapped around the CD and seemed to dance inside it, turning brilliant blue. When he pulled the CD back it was almost entirely transparent - the electricity had disintegrated the aluminum inside, leaving the clear plastic shell. Neato!

I wandered through the "Bondage Play Party" - not much of a "party" really, since you couldn't drink or even take pictures, but some of the theme rooms were well equipped. By the time I was willing to go without a drink or my camera they weren't well staffed, however, and there wasn't that much to see. The sole exception was the cute naked blonde giving her boyfriend an erotic massage, but the more extreme themes were desserted by the time I got there so I wandered on in search of drunken revelry.

Somehow I missed what Snow White and the Seven Pimps were up to - slave auction? I don't even remember what day this was but the entourage was hilarious.

In the downstairs conference room the Secret Room group had taken over the dance floor for "Feast of the Gods", an interesting mix of drum circle and DJ music with fetish performers and Midsummer Night's Dream costumes. It was fun to watch for a while but unless endless drumming puts you in a state of euphoric hypnosis it gets redundant quickly.
Mixed in with the Fantasm crew and the NCAA fans were the Sons of the American Revolution, many all done up in period costumes. They were having a meeting and dinner of their own but were getting plenty of compliments on their impressive costumes from the Fantasm fans. (They would have made great MC's for the Fantasm slave auction.) Rumor has it that after the SAR abandoned the pool area some Fantasm fans took it over and made a decent party effort, but by then I'd given in and headed to bed.
Saturday I hit the slave auction, sans SAR members, and enjoyed a few laughs as people auctioned themselves off for charity. As usual, the women go for sometimes hundreds of dollars while you can often pick up a male slave for pocket change. But the real fun is watching Steve, the MC for the event, interact with the slaves on the auction block. Steve has the perfect blend of mock innocence and sense of humor, blushing at the "talents" the slaves boast while letting loose with the sexual innuendos. Funny stuff.
We got a quick bite and rushed back to help set up Iron Bartender, the Fantasm version of Iron Chef. Last year this was hastily thrown together yet went on without a hitch. This year it was planned months in advance and suffered several hurdles, but the show itself came together at the last moment and the crowd got quite a few laughs, mostly at the expense of the five judges, including myself, as we sampled the bartender's efforts. Three out of four of the Iron Bartenders won their battles, and I thought the sole loser was cheated, but by that point I'd sampled some 30 drinks so what did I know?

We rushed out for degenerate RB's going away party, chatting it up with the Cabbagetown crew for an hour or so before returning to the hotel just as the parties were in full swing. The top floor of suites was reserved for parties and folks had done it up right. A group known as The Bendovaho Tribe had created The Inquisition Party, a fun event hosted by nuns in mini-skirts and robed monks wielding torture devices. We ran into Wes, who'd resurrected his Big Boy costume.
Down the hall was the F.A.G.G Bash (Fantasy Action Gay Gamers), a movie-themed party where they had transformed the suite into a movie theater complete with snack bar, movie theater style tickets, 3D glasses, and a giant ant busting through the wall.

One of the F.A.G.G. girls takes charge of the chicken.

Vortex in his fishing lure costume making strange faces at my girl.

Other parties were less ambitious with their themes, but almost all of them shared one thing in common - crappy industrial techno music. Thumping base eventually became so much part of the environment I could actually just tune it out. So when we stumbled into the Femme Erotique party a few floors down and they had no booze but good food and quiet jazz it was like a calm oasis in the industrial music wasteland. And I don't even like jazz.
Downstairs the Secret Room folk were setting up a suspension exhibition, a ritual piercing where a couple of guys hung from hooks through their skin. Some folks watched it just to see something they'd never seen before, but I'm squeamish when it comes to needles and meat hooks so I didn't hang around, so to speak.
It was about 2:30 AM when I gave in and hit the sack. My feet just couldn't take the abuse after months of sitting on my ass looking for work on the internet. (Maybe I should become a door-to-door salesman or a mailman so I can party hardier at these events.)

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