Beyond BronyCon: Inside the My Little Pony Convention, Everfree Northwest
The timing couldn't have been better, really. Three days after my final recap of the second season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was published on The Exhibitionist on August 15, I'd be in Seattle attending Everfree Northwest, the first annual My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic convention. Specifically, it was the first My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic convention to bear the name Everfree Northwest -- there have been plenty of other fan conventions in the twenty-two months since the show has been on the air, most notably the quarterly BronyCon, but this would be the first one I'd attended, and I was going to be a part of it!
I'd originally been invited to attend as press, but that fell through for various reasons, and the only real downside is that I didn't receive another press lanyard-badge to add to my collection like the one I'd gotten from Further Confusion. On the other hand, I was going to be doing a panel about my adventures recapping the show, so that upped the anticipation and adrenalin.
I arrived at the Seattle with my traveling companions (and former Frolic co-regulars) Ilene and Porter the day before Evefree began, but we weren't the first to arrive, as we immediately gathered by the spray-painted truck parked in front of the Holiday Inn.
Registration began at 8 a.m. on Friday at the other hotel hosting the convention, the Marriott. The timing was going to be a bit close, since my panel was at 11 and I had a tech setup scheduled for 9:30, but I figured we'd be fine if we got to the Marriott by 7:45. Heck, even though overall attendance was expected to be in the lower four-digit range, how long could the registration line be? After all, nobody ever shows up for a convention on the first morning, particularly not when it's a work day. (And a school day for many, for that matter -- both work and school commitments were why my girlfriend Marta couldn't join us). SO we'd be first in line to register, go to breakfast, and make it to my panel's setup in no time.
Turns out well over 100 other people had the same idea of registering right away. In the first of many attempts over the weekend to humanely corral the herd, they seated us in one of the Marriott's ballrooms. The crowd was excited and happy to be there, even so early in the morning, and there were spontaneous sing-alongs of songs from the show such as "B.B.B.F.F." (cf. "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1") and "Winter Wrap Up" (cf. "Winter Wrap Up"). And though we were in the untamed frontier of Washington, the new and improved California flag made its first appearance (cf. "Lesson Zero").
I didn't take a census and thus cannot offer percentages, but that morning in the pre-registration room and throughout the rest of the weekend, I saw every age range and all points of the social constructs known as race and gender represented. Whatever the standard media narrative may be -- thanks a lot for that, Wired -- fans of the show are found in all demographics.
Costume-wise, that morning there were already many a Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, a couple sets of Flim Flam Brothers (cf. "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000"), and at least one baby dressed as Spike.
My panel, "Deconstructing Equestria: On Recapping Ponies For Fun and (Very Little) Profit," was ... well, it definitely happened, I'll say that much for it. My recaps were never what you'd call "popular" or "known to exist by many of the fans," but about 20 folks showed up out of a combination of curiosity and not being able to get into the Opening Ceremonies. Ah, my people!
I talked about how I came to do the recaps, my philosophies on writing about pop culture, and I did a PowerPoint version of my recap of "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000." As always when I'm performing, I found a particular audience member to act as my gauge, and making that one teenage girl in the third row crack a smile occasionally was evidence that I didn't totally bomb.
Since it'll pay off later in this article, let's enjoy the title song from that episode right now.
While I was a bit melancholy about the lack of attendance at my panel (I had this fantasy that somebody who's read my recaps would come up to me and say that they'd read my recaps), but at least once it was done I could exhale and enjoy the convention itself -- and there was much to enjoy.