- BEFORE THE CON : As much as I don’t like to ding a show before it starts, they seem to be a bit unorganized based on their website/schedule issues
- No, brony friends, just because I have apples at the dinner table doesn’t mean I’m razzing you
- Minor drama even before the show started, oy
- FRIDAY : The closer I get to Houston the worse the drivers seem to get
- My GPS was set to ignore toll roads. I forgot I have a TXTag now /facehoof
- DQ down the road from the hotel? AW YEAH
- The hotel seems to have good WiFi, w00t
- A press pass! I feel special
- I liked the little Canterlot Times newspaper thingie
- Except for my badge, I have no pony stuff. I’m always the weirdo at these things
- If your job is to check badges, it might help to take off your sunglasses, dude
- Note to self: You don’t like heights, stay out of the clear elevators
- Furry 101 went well, had a good crowd out!
- Maybe a little too well, I blasted through my material in 30 min
- I kinda don’t want to go anywhere and lose my AWESOMELY CLOSE PARKING SPOT
- It’s a little strange how formal dances have become a thing at cons now.
- Thing I said in the elevator: “Yes, I’m here for the cartoon thing”
- SATURDAY : The day to day schedule thing isn’t that great if you’re a panelist.
- HOUSTON HAS WAFFLE HOUSE YES
- There’s a charity? Need to work on that advertising, guys!
- Sombrero covered with foil; what Mexican conspiracy theorists wear.
- Except for the whole ‘dudes carrying plush ponies’ thing this isn’t THAT weird.
- Thing I forgot: Writing panel handouts. Thank you business center!
- It wasn’t into today that I realized I should probably turn off my YOU’VE GOT *ING MAIL message sound. Oops
- A friend was all GET ME SOMETHING WITH THIS PONY ON IT, and I had to look up what she looked like.
- I have to say, the hotel is in a really good spot, plenty of places to eat around and even some within walking distance.
- Wore my red Wreck-It Ralph short on Saturday and realized if I let my hair grow out I’ll kinda look like the Steven Universe kid. YAY LAZY COSPLAY IDEA
- Not sure how I feel about the whole ‘paid lesson panel’ thing
- Saw another panelist who stood still in front of the audience and droned on and on. Yeah, I think I’m Doing It Right
- Selling is always a crapshoot, Thom Zahler didn’t have any copies of Love and Capes on him, guess I’ll check it out online! Long Distance was very charming, be interesting to see where it goes.
- I am a mite disappointed in the hotel, the early check in thingie in their app didn’t work and I put my ‘do not clean’ sign up at night and they did it anyway.
- Someone I may or may not have known in college recognized me. Whoa.
- E-book panel went well, too, I think I’m getting the hang of this!
- Question during panel: “Was DashCon or Sonic Con worse?” Me: “SonicCon…At least people went to DashCon.”
- Apparently my OC “Big Words” made everyone think of George W Bush…D’OH
- One elevator broke down, wasn’t too big of a deal, though
- Got a letter from a Derpy cosplayer addressed to ‘Someone Special’. ITS SO CUTE I DON’T WANT TO OPEN IT
- A musician got their tail in a knot because there were DJs in a musician panel. Oy.
- No conbooks, a bit odd considering all the art/fiction this fandom produces.
- If the point of the speakers in the flowers were to annoy the bleep put of me, Fission Mucking Accomplished, hotel.
- SUNDAY : Found a button on Friday and turned it in to lost and found on Sunday, I didn’t want it to become my “tell tale tie”
- I didn’t think AJ was going to remember the ‘No Fun Zone” thing he mentioned in our podcast, but there it was!
- Note to self: Always take pictures of cosplayers because likely YOU WILL NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN even if it is a small con.
- I didn’t want to leave early Sunday, but life had other plans. Stupid life.
- Almost made it all the way home on the same tank of gas, thank you Honda CR-V!
This is the second time I’ve written about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, click here to read the first post.
I have friends, both male and female, that enjoy watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and so I knew that I was going to have to eat those peas sooner or later. I just didn’t think it was going to stem from a discussion about time travel.
So I was shooting the breeze with my friend Chris while we were at a pizza joint and I started talking about a story idea I had that involved time travel. As expected, we started talking about media we’d watched or read that involved time travel and the “rules” that they had followed, so the conversation turned to Doctor Who, the Terminator series, Back to the Future, TimeWalker…and then out of the blue Chris suddenly says: “This reminds me of an episode of My Little Pony!”
I did a facepalm, much to Chris’ delight. Chris is a brony, you see, and so he likes to insert My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic into virtually ANY conversation we’re having…or at least it seems that way to me. Much to his chagrin, I still haven’t seen the show but figured what the hey, it was finally time to eat my peas. So we went to my place, fired up Netflix and saw not only the episode in question (“Its About Time”), but I also figured we’d also watch the first two so could get introduced to the show and the characters.
I have to say its pretty good. In terms of quality, I thought that the show was very well done. The characters and scenery were pleasant to look at, if not downright cute. The animation was pretty good, though I could see little instances here and there where it had that ‘Flash look’ to it. I felt the voice acting was very good, and the music fit the action well, with various variations on the main theme throughout.
While it does have some kid’s show trappings, like the ‘moral of the story’ bit, that’s okay. I liked what I saw, I found it entertaining to watch and thought it would be fun for everyone. So it has a nearly all-female cast? Big deal, so did Golden Girls. So its bright and colorful? Big deal, so are Super Mario games. Do some of the bronies need to simmer down and stop shoving it down everyone’s throats? Yes they do, but obsessive fanboys are present in EVERY fandom so you can’t really hold that against the majority of fans who aren’t screaming their love of it from the mountaintops.
Based on the few episodes I saw, MLP:FiM is a fun show for everyone to watch that is deserving of the attention it has been getting, even if the more overzealous members of the fandom tend to ‘squick the mundanes.’
Is it good enough to be deserving of that level of obsession? I can’t say based on having only seen three episodes, so I guess I’ll have to see some more in order to find out…
Uh-oh. This is how it starts, isn’t it?
Some of the observations and questions that bounced around in my head during Furry Fiesta:
“If someone were to be tarred and feathered at a furry con, would it really be punishment?”
“You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, and you don’t bring human art to a furry con.”
“I think some of these characters were born in a paint store, because THE COLORS, MAN!”
“At a furry con, the dogs have seeing eye people.”
“It is apparently possible to play the tuba while marching in a fursuit…wow.”
“If human fighter pilots say ‘Fox-2” when launching missiles, do fox pilots say “Man-2?”
“Geez, the bronies can’t even catch a break here.”
“I think this is that ‘world of pure imagination’ that Wonka guy sang about.”
And of course, last but not least:
“Its the same, but different!”
Finally, for no particular reason, Saturday’s Fursuit Parade:
These long gabfests were eating up my podomatic.com storage space so its off to YouTube with them:
Con Talk 3: Furry Fiesta Pre-Game
Con Talk 4: Furry Fiesta Post-Game
I didn’t really have much planned for the last day of Furry Fiesta; just one panel late in the afternoon having to do with podcasting. My partner in crime had to go to work (I wisely took Monday off) and so we couldn’t hang around, or go to In-N-Out, but such is life.
One thing that surprised me as I walked about the hotel early Sunday was how clean the hallways were. The hallways of a con hotel on Sunday morning are usually pretty messy: people sleep underneath Artist Alley tables and flyers, and empty cups and bottles are lying everywhere as the con slowly lurches back to life while the hotel staff does what it can to clean up before it does. In contrast, early Sunday morning the hallways of Furry Fiesta were almost as clean as they were on Friday.
Overall, I’d say that is a pretty good analogy for how Furry Fiesta 2012 went as a whole. Except for one panelist running late, everything appeared to have gone smoothly as far as I could see. The attendees were a bit more well behaved than I was accustomed to, probably because they appeared to be older than the usual con crowd. I had to get used to not overhearing security staff barking and yelling at attendees. If I had to guess, I’d say the average age has to be somewhere in the mid-late 20s, because there were a significant number of folks (including myself) that were over thirty years old at the event. Folks also appeared to be better behaved and even downright friendly at Furry Fiesta; it was easy to keep a smile on my face the whole weekend.
I had a fun time at Furry Fiesta 2012. As my friend Chris Holm surmised beforehand, it was the same, but different. It had many of the same things comic book and anime conventions have: special guests, a video room where folks could watch movies and series, a video game room, a dealer’s area, artist’s area, panels and big events.
Unlike other cons, the emphasis at Furry Fiesta appeared to be on originality. Except for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (which is EVERYWHERE, for better or for worse) I saw very little, if any, fanart or even cosplayers dressed up as characters from TV, movies, or video games, for that matter. Instead, people made up their own characters and dressed up as them. A significant number of the panels also focused on the creative arts: there were panels on writing, drawing, and even voiceover. I easily doubled the number of panels that I usually attend at a con and learned some good information.
The issues I had with the hotel and the people that were staying above me were the only negatives that I took away from Furry Fiesta. I had a great time and will definitely be back next year for another fantastic furry weekend!
Since the last Ikkicon, I actually have helped run an event (two even, the Mezasu mini-cons) so my checklist of “things I have done at a con” is pretty darn close to complete. This time, the band I drum for, named NeRiMa ねりま, was scheduled to play Saturday night, so Friday was pretty much a ‘free day.’ Because of my involvement with the event, I don’t feel right ‘reviewing’ it so without further ado, here’s another list of things I noticed:
- I am not going to bring up the drum thing. I am not going to bring up the drum thing. I am not going to bring up the drum thing. I think the drum thing was our fault, anyway.
- Okay, the drum thing: I need to invest in an acoustic drum set…once I’m sure there is space for it in my apartment, I’m sure it’ll fit in my car, and I won’t get thrown out of my apartment from the noise…so yeah.
- So Band 1 plays before Band 2, but Band 2 does their sound check after Band 1 does theirs and immediately before Band 1 performs…granted, I’m fairly new to the whole “rock band” thing, but am I the only one that finds that weird?
- I’d heard there were three versions of the schedule floating around, which probably why nobody minded that we started playing late.
- I was a little distressed at seeing such a small crowd at first, but it turns out Safety was checking bags for alcohol at the door, so we waited and it slowly grew.
- I think I like playing on Friday better, because we can practice the night before and having the show constantly on my mind for most of the con took a little bit of the fun out of it.
- I had a fun time at the concert itself, it was also nice of them to remember the fog machines were there about 2/3 of the way through.
- I totally forgot to check out the game room, perhaps the memories of last year are way too fresh.
- I’m guessing a lot of folks got the Nintendo 3DS for Christmas. Either that or System Settings is much more engaging than I remember.
- I finished 4 Streetpass panels during the event and almost finished Find Mii a second time, w00t!
- According to my 3DS’ pedometer, I averaged 6,000+ steps a day, and my legs feel like it today.
- Once again, no microwave in the room. I guess if you can afford to stay at a place like the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center you aren’t going to be nuking popcorn and noodles for sustenance.
- Luckily, the venue was near the University of Texas, so there was plenty of pizza and burger jonts within walking distance.
- I love how the layout was prioritized: artists and dealers in the mezzanine, panels and some artists on the first floor, and con alley in steerage, er, I mean, the basement. They aren’t the only ones to do this, BTW.
- The AT&T Executive yadda yadda is split in two between the hotel and the conference center, which is probably why there weren’t too many insane elevator wait times. That, and it only has seven floors.
- I was afraid of that the venue was going to be too small for the number of attendees, but it didn’t seem to get too packed.
- I attended the My Little Pony panel to see if I could somehow finish the blog entry I’d been working on for the last two WEEKS. Mission Accomplished.
- In spite of my friend Chris’ best efforts, I was not tied down to a chair and forced to watch My Little Pony like the guy in “A Clockwork Orange.” Jerk.
- What is it with badges? Guest badges, even?? Once again I got a temp badge to start off, but they found the band’s real ones halfway through.
- I can’t claim this one (credit goes to my friend Justin of Nine Tails) but I have to include it: while looking at the Sunday schedule, a friend wondered “How come they never have Steampunk 102?”
For me, at least, Ikkicon VI was fun: a good-sized crowd showed up, the location was better in quite a few aspects, and our concert went well. While there were a few wrinkles here and there, the problems that did come up got taken care of and a good time was had by all.
I had a…shall we say, interesting conversation with some coworkers about the whole ‘brony’ phenomena at work the other day. I started reading up on the subject upon learning that some of my friends had apparently ‘joined the herd.’
For the uninitiated, ‘bronies’ are male fans of the ‘My Little Pony Friendship is Magic’ animated TV series that are in their 20s and 30s. While the show’s target audience is young girls, it is supposedly of such high quality that boatloads of grown men have become enamored with it. The MLP fans’ obsession with the show and its characters has gotten to the point where they could easily be confused with Trekkies or Whovians or whatever it is extreme Star Wars fans are called. Thus, we have the “bronies.”
As I talked about the bronies with my cube-neighbors (all guys, BTW) the reactions I received were all different: one coworker was amused, another found it to be mildly disturbing, and a third was all SERIOUSLY, DUDE? Yeah, seriously, dude…there is no way anyone could make this up.
A quick disclaimer before I go any further: This is about the fans of the show; I have never actually seen an entire episode of it. I have viewed some of the mashups and clips on YouTube, but I’m flying blind as far as the actual show itself is concerned. Thus, I can’t comment on whether it is worthy of all the attention, but I can’t say that I am not surprised at the attention it is getting, either. The show was developed by Lauren Faust, who has worked on some good ‘toons like Dexter’s Labratory and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Mrs. Faust was asked to ‘reboot’ MLP and took the opportunity to create a ‘girl’s show’ with more in-depth characters and settings.
I’m fairly indifferent toward the bronies myself. If someone enjoys watching MLP, then good for them. Whether it is reality TV, disco, or a cutesy kid’s show, people like what they like. I don’t really plan on watching it anytime soon, but then again, I don’t watch much television these days. The more obsessive fans (you know, like the ones we have in ANY fandom) make me do a Mr. Spock eyebrow raise, but for the most part, they’re harmless.
As a fan of animation, I find it encouraging whenever any animated work manages to capture a following so far outside of its intended audience. Kids are smarter than we think, and media made for them does not necessarily have to be dumbed down. As someone who enjoys animation, I know it can be something that isn’t easy to share with others, but watching a cartoon for girls and owning up to it? On the internet? That takes some stones.
But the question remains: just why are these guys so attached to this show? Is it out of a sense of irony? It is out of a need to hop onto the latest internet meme? Or maybe, just maybe, could the show really be that good? All those factors are probably part of it, but I think that there may be something else going on too; something that didn’t occur to me until I attended a My Little Pony panel at Ikkicon VI this past New Year’s Eve weekend.
I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect at the panel. One friend even went as far as to tell me a horror story about a bad experience she’d had at an MLP panel, but I went nonetheless. What I ended up seeing was pretty much the same thing I see at every fan panel: a bunch of folks getting together to share their love and appreciation towards a work of fiction. The panel could have easily been about Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, or yes, even Twilight.
I noticed there was something different about the MLP panel, though. Everybody (everypony?) seemed to be happy. There was a genuine air of happiness that I wasn’t used to experiencing at a fan convention, where things can (and often do) devolve into shouting matches regarding who the better Captain, Jedi, Sith, Doctor, or vampire is.
I started thinking that just maybe adults like the show because it is good. Now, when I say ‘good’ I don’t mean ‘good’ in terms of quality, but ‘good’ in that it is a positive show. There is so much cynicism and negativity in our entertainment today that just maybe these guys have had enough of it.
Maybe they want something more than so-called “reality TV” and the big egos it produces. Maybe they want to go back to a time before television smashed through the fourth wall and is now unable to tell its audience a story without winking its eyes and nudging us with its elbow. Maybe, just maybe, these bronies want to spend twenty-something minutes in a place where three’s company, or where everybody knows your name, or where loving parents have everything figured out by the time the credits roll.
But the apartment is no longer there, the bar closed down years ago, and the happy TV families have all moved away.
And so they spend those twenty-odd minutes in Equestria.