Thursday, April 17, 2014

JordanCon Recap 2014

Once a year Mr Lannis jumps at the opportunity likes to send me to Atlanta for a little shindig called JordanCon.

Yes, I travel alone—in part because it’s my thing, and while he’s read Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, it never gripped him with the same mania, frenzy, intensity, and let’s be honest now: he’s well aware to whom he’s married, and needs to send me away at least once a year to make my mess elsewhere...


(Speaking of Mr Lannis, now that I think on it, he probably wishes this trip was more frequent—the house was immaculate when I returned... he even made me dinner while I spread all my shit around unpacked. And really, his absence is part of the reason I get so silly down in Atlanta—he's my grounder. Without him, my personality can be... er... difficult to contain—either that or perhaps I go squirrelly after our long winter and he sends me away because he can't handle the spastic nightmare... Heh.)

Before we begin, sorry for the photo-heavy post (yes, there I go again, apologizing like the Canadian I am... haha!)

So. JordanCon. I’ve tried to describe it before, and I always come back to the reality that it’s a synonym for family. Yes, really. And I was ever so pleased to hear first-time JordanCon attendees cite the same sentiment.

With attendance climbing to a record breaking 633 this year that makes for a pretty big family. And yes, they’re all delighted to see you.

This year’s con was hosted by the... er... gentlemen(?) of tWoTcast. Their podcast reread of The Wheel of Time is... explicit to say the least—it’s quite crass. There’s a definite reason I listen (heh). I’m not ashamed to admit my inner 14 year old boy practically pissed himself with excitement when it was announced they were the toastmasters.

Jonathan Coulborn and Joe O'Hara; two of the tWoTcast trio and JordanCon 6's toastmasters.

Astonishingly enough, they kept the rating PG (except for their panel which doubled as a live audience podcast recording) and managed to get through their hosting duties with their trademark wit. And booze.

I think we were all surprised (too bad, too... I was hoping to witness a stellar train wreck. Just kidding—you know I love you, boys!).

The author guest of honour was Patrick Rothfuss of Kingkiller Chronicle fame (my review of The Name of the Wind is here), and the artist guest of honour was none other than Larry Elmore, the talent behind Dragonlance covers and much Dragon Magazine art. And of course Brandon Sanderson was there, too.

Authors in the wild: Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson.

Naturally I came home with plenty of signed booty. (Booty... heh.)

Volunteering my time in the Art Show meant I had the privilege of meeting many of the artists one on one. And there were many artists in attendance who made my wee head spin—with their imagination, their humility, and their generosity—with both their time and talent (Paige Gardner of CostumeArt, Nicole Nicholson of Dim Horizon Studio, and Mr Edsel Arnold, I’m looking at you three specifically).

So. JordanCon. Of course there’s the adage that “what happens at con stays at con,” but then this wouldn’t be much of a recap, would it?

And really, right now the interwebs are full of con-goers who are bucking the post-con withdrawal, as well as WoT fans who for various reasons couldn’t join us—all of them looking for more tidbits of shenanigans to enjoy. The wonderful thing about con of course being that everyone has a slightly different experience, and therefore no two people have exactly the same stories.

On that note, here’s a list of “shit that went down at JordanCon”... dubbed such because in my Con Brain has locked away any wittiness I may or may not possess. In no particular order:

Shit That Went Down At JordanCon:

- Mat bondage. Lots and lots of delicious Mat bondage, in a charity fundraising game called Ta’veren Ties.

Mat cosplayer James Atkins being tied to his ashandarei by a pair of volunteers... he can't even pretend he's not enjoying himself.

À la Queen Tylin and her cougarish ways, we sold lengths of pink ribbon to con attendees, who could then adorn their preferred Mat with said ribbons, in a competition to have the most by Saturday evening. The winning Mat received a copy of Edsel Arnold’s print of Pink Ribbons

Ta'veren Ties: pink ribbons sold to benefit the Mayo Clinic. Cosplayers Zachary Stevens, James Atkins, and Sophie Decaudin participating.
Yes, it was a shameless excuse for cosplay. For myself (as the Ebou Dari Widow pimping the ribbons), and for the Mats involved, and even Queen Tylin herself.

This makes me happy.

If Queen Tylin had her eye on me I'd look more nervous.

- Giant kraken in the charity auction courtesy of Deana Whitney.  No, seriously:

- Embarrassing the patient Brandon Sanderson with my Ebou Dari Widow’s husband-seeking antics (this is one gracious man to put up with all our ridiculousness). 

- Having Anthony Taylor give me constructive and kind feedback on the first 1k words of my manuscript in the writer’s workshop (hopefully this will kick my sand-bagging butt into gear).

- Cosplay, cosplay, cosplay...

April Moore and John Strangeway chat dressed as Queen Tylin and Perrin Aybara, respectively.

And the costume contest—so much fun to finally see what everyone’s been working on!

- Enjoying Chip Moore’s custom cocktails—specifically a blood orange-based drink called Blood and Ashes—with a room full of ta’veren.

- Placing second in the costume contest with Elaida/Suffa (yes, all that hard work paid off!). And then seeing the reactions of our tWoTcast toastmasters to the surprise Suffa reveal in photos later.
One minute Amyrlin, next minute damane. Poof!

Elaida and the infamous box. So much fun to portray someone everyone loves to hate.

- tWoTcast in general... these boys are very special to me, not only because their podcasts kept me company during last year’s beading marathon that was Elmindreda, but also because in gentlemanly fashion they pick up the slack when Mr Lannis is elsewhere (in all honesty, I really need a handler and shouldn’t be let out of the house alone. Nor will I ride another elevator without anxiety—right Tom? Oy).

- Attending the mask making workshop held by wildly creative Paige Gardner (of CostumeArt), and Laura Bielaczyc of Aradani Studios.

Laura Bielaczyc and Paige Gardner heading up a fantastic workshop.

This workshop was a blast and highly informative... these ladies are a ton of fun and are very generous with their knowledge.

- Receiving an impromptu one-on-one photography lesson with the talented Nicole Nicholson of Dim Horizon Studio (and I promise I’ll play with my camera’s settings! Thanks again!).

- Helping to present the WoT Rereader's appreciation gift to Robert Jordan's widow, Harriet, and then later being honoured by her playfully acting for a photo op with Elaida.

Elaida scares everyone.

- Very literally being tickled to the ground in front of registration with an audience of who-knows-how-many. Thanks, gentlemen who shall remain nameless oh, hell, it was Perry Minchew and John Strangeway, and both of them are lucky I didn’t kick them in the nads. S’okay though, I got them back... Perry with my ravenous consumption of his gourmet Jello shots (supreme!), and John by pretending to fangirl and whenever he did/said anything that remotely involved me (Steampunk Boba Fett looked at me! ::swoon::). He pretends he doesn’t enjoy it... ::snort::

- Dancing my ass off late into the night Saturday, admittedly well into Sunday morning (heh).

- Using the Ebou Dari Widow as a reason to be flirty, bossy, and loud (as an Ebou Dari woman would be, natch). Cosplay is fun that way... and she really is a sassy girl, if a dangerous one (not me though, no, I’m shy. Truth).

- Meeting new friends, playing with old friends, and cementing all those wonderful chosen-family bonds. And that’s simply a poetic cop out, meaning there’s too many items to list. Because there’s more—there’s always more, and there's never enough photos. We’d all love for JordanCon to last longer, but again: we’d all die of liver failure.

A small portion of the people I miss dearly already.

JordanCon is an event that needs to be experienced before you can understand the warmth, generosity, and inclusivity of this group. It’s not just about The Wheel of Time, it’s about family.

And with that folks, I’m off to brainstorm next year’s costume... because yes, she’s already in the works... muahahaha!

Is it (next) April yet?