Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pantheacon, 2015: Saturday

I woke with the dawn, as always, feeling not as good as THURSDAY or FRIDAY, but
darned decent for 'lets-call-it-5-hours-of-sleep'.

I had breakfast at Cafe Ho-Hum with James and Anne, who were still a big googley-eyed after their first full day on Pconitude.
9am found me at "Protecting with the Sidhe" which I was interested in, but when I saw that the presenter was wearing spike heel boots, had a dykey flip haircut AND an Irish accent, I was suddenly paying SUPERCLOSE attention.
Lora O'Brien proved to be as brainy as she was beautiful, presenting a refreshingly practical, no-nonsense approach to keeping the Fey on your side, illustrating her bestiary with several entertaining stories that pointed up the do's and don'ts of working with the Others.
I bought her book, A Practical Guide to Irish Spirituality, but did not hang around to get
Lora has me wide awake at 9am 
it signed. Fanboy fail!
Speaking of acting like a Rockstar, it was time to get an early start on prepping for my show. Yes; 8 hours before the start time.
Hey, don't look at me like that: I had a lot to do.
First off, and most important: Naptime!
After that it was my yearly ritual of laying out every single thing I would need for the show, all over the bed, and visualizing the entire process, from Mark the video guy showing up, to handing out the event ribbons afterwards.
All of the things.
After I had packed all of that into my two big jute bags I had some free time, so I went to the vendor room and prowled for awhile. My big purchase was a Cthulhu shirt done up as a medieval woodcut.
I'm not a big fan of the "HelloKittyization" of the Dread Old One, and so anything that renders Mighty Cthulhu as gigantic and scary is gonna make me go "Here, take my money".
The Latin translates as "When the stars are right, R'yleh will rise". I wore this to work, and the only customer who remarked on it was a very devoted Roman Catholic woman who could read Latin and who didn't think this was funny AT ALL.
Which, of course, just makes it even cooler to me. Haha! My humanoid Octopus-Dragon ate your Elder Gods! Neener-Neener!

Which, of course, translates as "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"

Outside of the Vendor Room I bumped into Amanda, the President of Community Seed, who had just come from the " Tradition vs. Innovation" panel and she was chock-full of bubbly ideas for our little non-profit.

We discussed how the stories we tell in our big cross-quarter rituals are all based upon archetypes that we pagans know well. And as such, it really doesn't matter how old the stories are. Or, how young. As long as the tale is accessible by beginners and resonates with all the celebrants, the sky is the limit.

Most of the cast of Somewhere, over Lughnasadh.
Amanda was the Scarecrow, and Jason, the Lion.
So I felt even more proud of the epic production we made of Karen's Wizard of Oz ritual, that I transformed into Lughnasadh, 2012. In the future expect ever more levels of deep wackiness from my merry band of witches!

2:30pm found me amused, as always by Cafe Ho-Hum. The depth and breadth of their "Don’t-give-a-shitness" is ever breathtaking.

Following lunch I was button-holed by Willow, the High Priestess of our upcoming Beltane Rite. Being on the board of a Non-Profit means you are never really ever 'off shift'.

They can't even be bothered to take
the safety seal off the new jar. Wow.

But the main reason I was devoting so much of my early Saturday to prepping for my late show that night was because I was NOT going to miss Jason's sermon linking "Heavy Metal and the Occult".

And, as always, my Pretty Hair Twin did not disappoint.

He buzzed through a mountain of notes, 100+ slides and bunches of musical snippets with lightning speed and a laser-like focus. His enthusiasm was infectious and his multi-media juggling skills were admirable. The crowd was ROCKED. Righteously.
(And my iTunes bill was a bit ghastly after I tracked down a bunch of these awesome bands. Head banging has been happening here at the Freaky Tiki.)
Possession is 9/10ths of the METAL.
After Jason's big triumph it was time to set about burying him in the awesomeness of my own. (Not that boys are competitive, or anything.)
I had time to head up to 472 to get my bags and music stand before my videographer showed up at 5pm. I was lucky this year in that my show was just after the dinner break, meaning I had a clean 2 hours in the room before my start time.
Mark put down his cameras, looked around, and shook his head with a smile. Its always something with Club Max. This years adventure was the extreme lack of light. AGAIN.
Not that my friends didn't try!
Last year's solution was to summon two Union Stagehand friends of mine who came running and hooked up a couple of the overhead 'cans' for me just in time. This year, no such luck. There was only one row of lights left up there, and nowhere to plug them in, as the entire sound and light board was gone.
We would have to make do with the two bare-bulbed lights in the ceiling. So the first order of business was to take me off the stage and set my office up on the dance floor. Sigh. At least this gave me a nice, red velvety backdrop.
Although red curtain, red hair and my red face had Mark muttering about 'color correction' already.
In front of the stage ConOps had set up 40 chairs in a theater setting, as if someone would be performing on the perfectly dark stage. Lol. Only if they are wearing a motion-capture LED suit of lights.
Mark and I rearranged the seats into a horseshoe shape, closely surrounding me. Good
Yeah, it was comically dark in there.
thing I don't get stage fright!
I wasn't too upset by all this scrambling. At least I would be able to see some of the crowd!
I moved one of the 150lb. tables over next to me and set up my bag of props, water bottles and my bullwhip - just to see if anybody noticed.
At 6pm the Tech trio arrived with boxes of gear and set up the microphone for me. They were amused by our modifications to the stage set up and they liked my playlist of songs from 1965.
Getting wired up by Mark.
Admiral Karen and my friends slowly stumbled in, and we designated the floor chairs as my personal 'Box of Adoration'. Mark the videographer was delighted to have actual, visible HUMANS to film.
During the Mic Check I was amazed (as always) to see a full house. 7pm on Saturday means that my show was up against some heavy hitters, and yet 300 people had decided to forgo all that to spend Prime Time watching some guy who doesn't sing, dance, juggle or improvise.
As always, I am perfectly
at home, onstage.
I just read my 95 pages of script REALLY FAST. But folks seemed to like it. 
The show itself is just a blur. I always get way into the story I am telling, and I quickly had the audience with me - I could feel their energy - and together we took a walk through my parents wedding adventures, my first neighborhood, books I read and songs I frowned at on the radio, weird meals I've had in my life, the eternal wisdom of the Lance Gunn Thing, and finally a trio of stories of my Mother being absent-minded and falling down great heights and hurting herself.
My writing is always very rhythmical and every paragraph has its beats and timing. But there were many times in the 90 minutes where I would have to break the rhythm and stop because there was just too much laughter going on for me to be heard.
The Ovation, from Mark's POV. Yay!
And yes, these ARE the kinds of problems that you want to have. My reward at the end was a sustained standing ovation, which was very touching. I think somewhere my Mother was laughing and clapping too.
Afterwards I jumped over to my 'after game' table to hand out ribbons and show people my short slideshow about me and my family. Several folks wanted to take pictures with me, which is still an oddity for me. But a welcome one.
Soon though it was time to vamoose and let the next act get set up. I saw him frowning at the nice, large, useless stage behind him, and the extreme lack of working power outlets anywhere nearby.
We smiled and rolled our eyes at each other: Club Max, you are ever the Adventure.
Looks like Sharon and Winter were having
their own Lighting Adventures.
Karen and I hauled my suddenly extremely heavy bags and music stand back up to 472. My Admiral then opted to have her annual Pcon ritual bath. Me, I was still WIRED from the show, and needed something mindless to do, quickly.
Pandemonaeon was thankfully not scheduled directly opposite me this year, so I raced up there and danced my kilt off for a good 75 minutes. One of my favorite bands to see live, with some great new songs.
Dancing to RenFaire/Metal/World Beat music can be a bit challenging, as many of their songs are slower (metal), have bizarre chords and intervals (renfaire) and are in odd time signatures (world beat). But plenty of their fans were willing to have some fun with head banging in 7/5 time.
Good times on the balconies.
Afterwards I was finally a bit calmer, but not yet tired. I was on my own for now, but every hospitality suite I entered contained someone I knew, or a new friend who had just seen my show. I ate pretty much every spread I saw, since I had last had a meal 8 hours ago, and had expended about 10,000 calories during that interval. Nomnomnom-talk-nomnomnom-take a picture with a stranger-nomnomnom.
I found I was enjoying the balconies of these suites, because I wasn't Drinking (no drinks allowed there) and it was about 30 degrees cooler out there. San Jose is almost pretty after dark.
Jesamyn, Hank Vegas, Sabrina
I ended up at the Green Fairy Party, where I traded notes with Sabrina and Jesamyn, two of the many High Priestesses from the "Rite of the Grand Convergence" about what had happened at that ritual on Friday. Or rather, what hadn't happened.
We also marveled at our individual journeys from Solitary to Group Work to reluctant Leadership. Interspersed in this lovely intellectual exchange were plenty of super drunk people who would stagger up to us, blather on about something unintelligible, get Tequila breath all over us, and then ricochet off to some other corner of the party.
Gee, thanks (cough, gag). And um, crispydormicelockjawblissninny to you too!

Angus McMahan

(Pics of me on stage from Chris Illes and Mark Plummer. Trio selfie courtesy of Sabrina Baxter. Everything else from my trusty iPhone.)


  1. If you ask reallly nicely, I can lend you up to four cool-running theater-grade LED cans next year. They were the quarter accent color lights at Imbolc, and are quite configurable.

    1. Ooooh.......Consider it a request!