10 Personal Highlights of Bizarrocon 2011
By Sam Reeve
For those of you wondering why there has been such a lack of posts in the last few days, it’s because two of the three editors here at Bizarrocentral.com have been off in Troutdale, Oregon for the fourth annual Bizarrocon, as well as our fiction editor Kirsten.
This was my third year attending and here’s my list of highlights of Bizarrocon 2011. For those reading this who were also there, comment with your own favourite memories!
1. Watching Jeremy Johnson get a bunch of meat dumped on him by Cameron Pierce: Cameron, a fabulous performance artist, has a little show he likes to call Meat Magick. Imagine an attic filled with a ton of people, a lot of squid, eel and duck heads, and a crazy story to go with it. This was the second time I was lucky enough to witness Cameron’s Meat Magick, but this year it began with Jeremy being slapped by a dead eel while wearing an ape mask.
2. David Barbee’s birthday lap dance: Author of the recently published A Town Called Suckhole, David Barbee celebrated his birthday this Saturday while at Bizarrocon. His gift from our editor (and New Bizarro Author) Constance Fitzgerald was a lap dance – but it wasn’t her doing the dancing. A shirtless Troy Chambers appeared, along with Michael A. Rose, who ripped off his tear-away pants to reveal a leopard print Speedo, and they shook their shit for David on his special day.
3. Listening to Andersen Prunty talk about how beautiful Ohio is.
“Everyone needs to visit Dayton, Ohio. It’s such a nice place. Also, New Jersey. Check that shit out.” – Andersen Prunty, editor of Grindhouse Press.
4. Cody Goodfellow’s reading: I forget the title; I think it was something like “The Greedy Tree”. Cody read an awesome story that was illustrated by artist Nick Gucker as it was read. Very cool to see it visualized in that way as it was something I hadn’t seen before.
5. Open mic on Friday night: Andrew Goldfarb, aka The Slow Poisoner, performed for us on Friday night. He left his stuff set up and late in the night an impromptu open mic began, featuring songs sung by John Skipp, Garrett Cook, a Canadian tranny named Peter, and others. It was awesome, unexpected, and great to have more music appear at the con.
6. Bizarro Showdown: Duh. Bizarro Showdown is basically a bunch of weird fucked up people trying to be weirder and more fucked up than each other. Emceed by Jeremy Johnson and judged by bizarro-horror writers John Skipp, Robert Devereaux and Brian Keene, this is the event that everyone looks forward to all weekend. Your sides hurt from laughing near the end. One of my favourite pieces was Carlton Mellick’s. He played an orc basketball player trying to warn us of the dangers of unprotected sex with orcs.
Jeremy Johnson also entertained in between.
7. Dog Act: Saturday mornings at Bizarrocon there’s a raffle during breakfast. Lots of random prizes are donated, and this year Cody Goodfellow was generous to donate the book Dog Act. Apparently the entire book, right from the beginning, tells of a woman who likes to get fucked by dogs. My sister won the book, and here’s a picture of my wide-eyed dad taking a look at it.
8. I wasn’t the only Canadian/foreigner! Simon Ore came out from the other side of Canada, as well as Martin and Helen who came all the way from Britain. They were super cool people and it just shows how much Bizarrocon is growing with more people coming from outside the US.
9. Friday morning’s High Concept Workshop with Calrton: Friday morning, bright and early, many of us had to get up early to meet up with our groups, lead by either Jeff Burk or Carlton Mellick. Basically you have to create a title, pitch line and back cover description for a book that you actually haven’t written. Everyone reads the assignments days in advance and gives feedback when we all get together. The names aren’t on the assignments, so you don’t know whose is whose until the end. In the workshop we got a tally of how many other participants would have bought that book, based on the back cover description, if they had picked it up in a store. I almost peed myself a little when in this year’s workshop a few of my all-time favourite bizarro authors said they would want to buy my book if I wrote it. Definitely a good thing to attend for established and unpublished writers alike.
10. Participating in Kevin Shamel’s promotion for Island of the Super People: Friday night Kevin, always working in audience participation one way or another, had volunteers dress in capes and masks. Heroes (including myself) fought bad guys outside while everyone else watched, but out of nowhere some tinfoil robots joined in the chaos.
Well, this gives you an idea of what happened this weekend, and the beauty of it is that this is only the tip of the awesome iceburg that is BIZARROCON!
**Big thanks to those of you who took lots of pictures this weekend. I left my camera at home because it totally blows, so I stole these from Robert Brouhard’s facebook.