Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pantheacon 2014, part 3: Saturday

Backtrack to THURSDAY or FRIDAY. Or not. You have Freewill.

Amazingly I slept right through the Hockey in the Night, but I think it affected me nonetheless. I got 6 hours of sleep, woke up at 8:30am, and was totally going to make it  to a 9am workshop.

I got to the door to "Wake Up - to Spirit!" and then decided that I had failed the first half of the title. So I rebounded back to - you guessed it - Cafe Ho-Hum.

I had breakfast alone, in the slowest buffet line EVAR. Why is it that the closer you get to your seminar starting time, the slower the buffet line becomes? Just CHOOSE, people! Rubbery pancakes or paving stone biscuits; undercooked bacon or overcooked sauages.
I mean, seriously Cafe Ho-Hum: WTH?
Better yet! Don't choose. Don't make any decisions at all. It IS all you can eat: Just put some of everything on your plate! Decide later! When you are not between me and my greasy/dry eggs.

We need a moving sidewalk for breakfast buffet lines, that will slowly increase in speed as the hour approaches for the next starting time on the program.

As I shoveled forkfuls of salmonella and indegestion down my Absinthe hole I watched droopy kilts, cufflinkless poofy shirts and haphazardly laced corsets go trudging towards the 11:00 offerings. Saturday morning fashion: "Is my hoo-ha covered? Good. I'm just gonna go with this then."

11:05:30 found me at Raven Grimassi's "Working with Plant Spirits & the Greenwood Realm". I was looking forward to this, since I have had a lovely ongoing conversation with some oak trees behind my house for about 8 years now.

The Copse of Oaks behind the Freaky Tiki.
And the first part of the presentation was Scientific and as such, pure awesome sauce. The mechanisms by which trees 'talk' to each other, are variously: myriad, verifiable and deeply mysterious.

However I do not believe that Plantae are 'conscious' - as we understand the term. Like the Fey, I believe that trees and plants have their own thing going on, and that this 'communication' is so alien to our sensibilities that we can barely sense and interact with it, let alone figure out how to test for it.

Anyhoo, when this seminar was talking Science it was fascinating. But about halfway through it got literally generic, as Raven started painting in the broadest strokes possible, just referring to all Plants in sweeping statements, which sounded dubious at best.

From there we ended up where a lot of Seminars end up: Things My Coven Does. Which
Reluctant Goth meeting place. Not pictured: any Goths.
doesn't interest me much.

Maybe I should do a show next year entitled: "How to Outline a Presentation: Tips and tricks to keep your audience riveted and keep YOU focused on your Thesis"

And I'll present it at Cafe Ho-Hum, so I know I'll have a captive, motionless audience.

By 12:30 pm I was back in the Neighbor of the Beast, getting ready for the daily nap. The view out of 664 was directly down one of the straighways on the overland pass: And I saw a rare and fleeting sight out there: Goths. Yes, outside, in the sunlight. It was early morning for the Eyeliner and Diewhiner crowd, and I don't think it was because they were sleeping next to someone watching hockey in the middle of the night.

And what would bring a bunch of sullen Lestat cosplayers out into the actual air? Yep, it was time for the morning cigarette.

On the FB Pcon page one of the threads was for
"Special Things to Bring to Presentations".
That was too good to pass up, so I asked people
to bring: 1) A piece of string, 2) an orange peel
and, 3) a picture of Eve Arden.
And wouldn't you know - somebody DID!
I slept through the Fairie Tent Revival. (Sorry, sister Jenya!) I'm blaming Absinthe and hockey. I awoke with some time to kill, so I headed down to the Front Desk to check on my other hotel room, that I was giving to a friend.

I had reserved this room back in March, adroitly (I thought) not mentioning Pantheacon in the process, thinking I could sidestep the Room Lottery system. I had confirmed this reservation the week before, but wanted to make sure that all was kosher before my friend arrived later in the evening.

And yep - you guessed right again - Poof! It was gone. The Doubletree was suitably apologetic (and overbooked) and graciously booked my buddy into the Courtyard down the street, for two nights, for frees! (Plus one complimentary long distance phone call!)

So that made THAT text conversation easier to begin. "I have good news and bad news, man".

Back in the room I had to blow off the 3:30 offerings, as it was now official "process" time for my show at 7pm: First off, shower and shave. While blasting my iPod boombox in the bathroom, of course. The demon in 666 next door didn't call down to the front desk or anything, so I think it was cool with him. The wall just bled a little - which I took as a warning. Fair enough, Hellspawn.

Next up in the Process was the laying out of the everything I brought to Pcon, all over
A good pic of one of my gear bags. I am assuming
that's why Admiral Karen snapped this photo.
the bed. Every bauble and cord, every comb and binder clip. Below that I arranged two empty bags. 

Then I slowly go over the entire show in my mind, from walking into the room, to walking out. And I carefully select every item I will need, and pack it in reverse order into the bags. Script of course, Pot the Nake, my top hat - all the way down to a nail clipper.

I got a text from Admiral Karen at 4pm: "Ho-Hum". I ordered The Worlds Most Boring Salad, and it did NOT disappoint. I mean, it did disappoint, but in doing so it lived up to its name. But I need light fare at these times, so "1/3 the taste of a real salad!" was just the ticket.

Back in 664 it was the last step of the Process: The last flip through the script: circling, underlining, enunciating. I don't over rehearse my shows, and the run-throughs I do are weeks apart from one another. So it always fresh and delightful for me, and hopefully that transfers to the audience.

The nice thing about a 7pm start time is that you have the full Dinner Break to get ready. (That IS, if no one is in your ballroom, rehearsing, which is what happened to the 1899 ritual on Sunday. Foreshadowing.)

Yeah, I think that's enough light.
Club Max had been closed for most of the past year, and it showed. The place had that 'freshly looted' feel to it. Specifically the chairs and tables were all over the place, in random groupings, like the club had just been at sea during a gale.

Also, and this was weird - there was a microphone on a stand in the middle of the dance floor, that was live, and hot. I walked by and burped and scared the pee out of myself.

Mark (my video guy) and I moved chairs and tables around as best we could. The biggest problem was the lights. Specifically the lack of them. Or, the holes where they used to be, to be precise.

I couldn’t see my script, and Mark couldn’t see me not seeing my script. Time to call in the big guns. A quick text to Katie and Kelly, two theater tech roadies (and lighting experts), and they were on the scene in 5 minutes. I love my friends.
Kelly and Katie, frankly horrified by what they are
finding up there.

After a lot of standing on tables and scratching of heads, they jury-rigged a light on me (So I could be seen) and a backlight (so I could see).

Amazingly everything was ironed out BEFORE the scheduled start time, which is unprecedented. I didn't know what to do with time to spare! Luckily I had written a brief piece I entitled "Mic Check" for just such a rarity.

I may do more of that for future shows; a little 'bonus feature' for those who actually arrive before the start time.

The seminar went very well. All the seats were filled and people laughed where they were supposed to laugh, listened when they were supposed to be intrigued, and said "Ew!" during the gross parts. At the end I received a long, sustained applause, which is literally music to my ears.

Death takes me to lunch.
All the months of honing those 11,000 words is worth it if I know I have touched and moved the lovely folks who grace me with their blessed presence.

The nicest thing I heard in the receiving line afterwards was from a woman who does stand-up comedy in L.A. "I do 7 minutes and it feels like an Eternity. You just did 10 TIMES that!"

Admiral Karen and Rox and I schlepped all my music stands and stuffed snakes back to the Neighbor of the Beast, where Karen face-planted (her 4am Hockey game finally caught up with her).

Rox likewise peeled off, and I was left at the elevator.......alone.


Dressed in a kilt, an extremely gay shirt and totally wired from the gig.
I mean, its totally a gay shirt, right?
(With Amber, Jason and Chris.)

Off to the Green Fairy Party? Off to the California Pagans MeetUp in the ADF suite? Go catch the last set of Pandemonaeon?

Alas, no. At that moment I got the text from my friend, who had just arrived and wanted the hotel room that I had offered. I could tell from the wording that an awful day had just been had and this was confirmed when I met 'em at the Registration table.

Ugh. You look like someone just shit the beat out of you, buddy.

So after registering and getting badges it was off to the Courtyard by Marriott, which is trying really hard to be quirky and funky and hip, but isn't really succeeding. It's just a Holiday Inn Express with leather furniture.

Ari and Amber. Aaaah, fellow redheads. Yummy!
(And yes, those ARE panties above Ari's head, which
does not necessarily mean that they were on her mind.)
And small rooms with too much furniture crammed in them. But the staff were great and accepted our pointing back at the DoubleTree as proof that we were supposed to get a room here for two nights for free and that they (point point) would be paying.

The front desk clerk even left his post to drive us back to the DT in their own shuttle van. Then again, maybe he just wanted my kilt and totally gay shirt out of his lobby.

By this time all of the scheduled activities had ended and my friend looked like they could REALLY use a stiff drink. Or 6.

Green Fairy Party it is then.

All of the above, I think, qualifies me for a "friend of the year" nomination. But what wins me the award is what I did next for my buddy.
This was approximately my view
by 2:30am on Saturday night.

I met lots of folks at the party who had seen my show and were now fans. And one of these was SUPER SEXY, and flirty and smart and seemed to be here by herself. And voila - she and my friend had an interest in common.

And by the end of the night they had their tongues in common.

Wingman, for the win!


Angus McMahan


  1. Don Barks, Tech HeadFebruary 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    "Amazing" is what the Tech Crew pulls off for our presenters every year! I am so proud of our staff! We thought we had a lighting rig donated this year, but it fell through at the last minute. :(

    Club Maxx is that "special" friend that gives a little something to staff and presenters each year. I heard your humor was very well received.

    1. The stage would have been fine if I was just performing, but extra lighting was needed for my videography guy. Its all good - and I did appreciate the microphone set up.