Beyond BronyCon: Inside the My Little Pony Convention, Everfree Northwest
Everfree Northwest is nothing if not a celebration of creativity, and there was plenty on display, especially in the Dealer's Hall and the Traveling Pony Museum. In the latter were some of the best plushie ponies I've ever seen. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic's characters are notoriously difficult to reproduce faithfully -- in my opinion, the official merchandise doesn't even try -- but these fan-made ones were darn good.
Lots and lots of artwork, too, including the best Shepard Fairey riff there ever has been, or ever will be.
Then there was the Crafting Room, which just made me happy. There were all manner of supplies and coloring books (which, like the officially licensed dolls, are just off-model enough from the show to feel like they're from an alternate universe) and various other accoutrements.
My favorite drawing in the Crafting Room was a triple-meme-score combining Derpy, GIR from Invader Zim, and Ermahgerd.
As I mentioned, every age group was there, including people who actually make me look youngish, but the highest percentage did seem to be in their teens and twenties. While in line for one of the panels, a couple of teenage boys behind me started singing "Bohemian Rhapsody." When they were done, I asked one of them if he'd seen Wayne's World, and he admitted that he hadn't, but he's always wanted to, and he had no idea that song was in the movie. It's good to know that "Bohemian Rhapsody" is spanning generations, huh? (He also sheepishly volunteered that he hasn't seen A Clockwork Orange or The Shining yet either since they look too intense, but that he finally watched Alien and it was much scarier than he expected, so I regaled him with my story of watching it on VHS from behind my mother's recliner back in 1981, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.)
The Crafting Room was open 24 hours, as was the Gaming Room, which offered board and video games and whatever else people brought. Occasionally, there was even pony karaoke! The words were on the screen, but nobody there needed to be shown the words in order to sing along with "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000." See? I told you it would pay off! (My iPhone refused to focus, but the video is still watchable.)
There was dancing at night, and just like it's created a lot of visual art, the fan community has created no shortage of both remixes and original songs. The remixes got the most people on the floor, like "Winter Wrap Up" (cf. "Winter Wrap Up") ...
... and "Love is in Bloom" (cf. "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 2").
I've tended not to watch many of the fan videos up to this point, but the ones I saw at Everfree were just amazing, such as this brief but perfectly realized use of Flux Pavilion's "Bass Cannon" in Ponies: The Anthology II ...... or the just astonishing original song and video "Picture Perfect Pony," which looks like it could have been taken from the show. And lest anyone think Community and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandoms are mutually exclusive:
Porter and I spent a fair amount of time in the hotel bar, where the bartender informed us that they had a special drink for Everfree: The Apple Blossom. It was 1 oz Jack Daniels Honey, 1 oz sour apple Schnapps, 4 oz pineapple juice, and dangerously tasty. Try it at home at your own risk.
As I wandered through the Dealer's Hall on Sunday looking for those end-of-convention bargains, I was approached by Apple Cider, the host of the Bronyville Podcast. I was on the show back in April, but I'd Skyped in, and we hadn't met in person until now. Bronyville had been doing some live shows throughout Everfree, and Cider asked if I'd like to join them for their big wrap-up show, starting in a few minutes. Of course, I said yes. Finally, I'd get the validation in the fan community that's been so elusive (mostly because I've never actively pursued their validation before)!
So the lineup was Apple Cider and Chef Sandy from Bronyville, Cereal Velocity from Equestria Daily, and Sherilyn Connelly from SF Weekly (hey, that's me!). Well, three celebrities out of four panelists ain't bad, huh?
I went largely unnoticed by the audience, my jokes and comments ignored and my presence unacknowledged. I did get my first non-ironic brohoof from an excited Bronyville fan who brohoofed the entire panel, and someone else mistook me for popular community artist Pixelkitties, but otherwise the S.E.P. field around me was as strong as ever. Alas. Much like Fluttershy scaring off the animals or Rainbow Dash failing to fit in with the Wonderbolts at the Grand Galloping Gala (cf. "The Best Night Ever"), the reality didn't meet my expectations.
But that's okay. It was still fun to attend Everfree Northwest and be among so many people who love My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic as much as I do (and I'm sure I'll see many of them again at Everfree Northwest 2013!), my friends Ilene and Porter were with me, and I'm still darned lucky to get to write about the show as a freelancer for Village Voice Media Holdings LLC and thus do my small part to spread the love.
Come to think of it, that's actually a pretty good lesson. I'll think I'll write a letter to Princess Celestia.