[WARNING:LONG POST. CAFFEINE HAS BEEN CONSUMED]
It should come as no surprise to you fellow readers that I have my fingers on the pulse of many geekery events here in Los Angeles. Even though this city is imagined as full of celebrities (true), traffic (sadly, so true), and vapid/shallow people (that’s true, but take it for face value..), this city and the surrounding areas is teeming with geeks, from those who work behind the scenes to fans.
I only mention this because several newly minted LA geek dwellers have lamented that they have nothing to do. Nowhere to go. I of course direct them to appropriate outlets but I figured that everyone else in this country must have the same issue. So quick tip for those looking for local geekery:
*Meetup.com: this is my favorite site for finding local groups with similar interest (from cooking, to book clubs, to social events)
*Use facebook: Say what you will about social media, but in my opinion, this is the best way to find out about local activities and groups that interest you. Pay attention to events and what your friends like.
And it is through facebook viaa friend from the League of Extraordinary Ladies that I was able to attend an event I never would have heard of otherwise: Wyrd Con 4.
Wyrd Con is a convention celebrating various types of storytelling. Taken from the website:
Wyrd Con is a Interactive Storytelling Convention in the United States*. Focusing on ARGs, transmedia storytelling, performance theater, and Live Action Role Playing, also known as LARP, is a very old concept having been around for decades. However it is only recently gaining popularity in the United States.
If you have ever had a desire to solve the mystery, fight the enemy, or experience a world that mixes theater, costuming, and all of the story worlds you have heard of from Anime, History, or Science Fiction than Wyrd Con is the place to be.
All are welcome to attend.
As a very green and timid novelist-hopefully-in-the-making, this sounded like a great event to try out.
This year, the con was held allllll the way in Costa Mesa. Now for those not in LA, a twenty minute drive is normal/average. A two hour drive requires endurance and luck. Luck was not with me. It took me 3.5 hours. Lesson learned: don’t leave for going to Coffee Bean/Krispy Kreme at the last minute. You may be stuck in line behind the one mother who cannot decide if a glazed doughnut is healthier than a creme filled out as she’s surrounded by a herd of children.
I was only able to attend the programming on Sunday so I missed JIM BUTCHER on saturday. YES. I had to work. ::EXPLETIVE:: I am seriously going to drive myself crazy. I have missed meeting him THREE times now. ::HUFF::
I was able to push my disappointment aside when I walked into the registration/Vendor room. I am instantly distracted by crafts and shiny things. Here’s what I’ve noticed when it comes to vendor booths/artist alley: It can be so intimidating walking up to a booth. The crafts are beautiful but you don’t want to disappoint the vendor by not purchasing an item.So you breeze on by, barely making eye contact. If your guilty of this, no worries. Here’s my M.O: I breeze by, do a quick scan to appease my inner fangirl. Then I focus on a couple of times, peruse panels, then come back. These people have worked really hard on their crafts and the least I can do is to admire their handicraft. Sometimes, I will strike up a random conversation and will find out even more tidbits about their items. I am by no means rich, so if a craft table does tug at my heartstrings, then I shall ask for a card or website. Once I get home, I will immediately follow their websites. I have purchased many items this way and have become avid fans of several craftspeople. With the short time I had, I was able to peruse three tables. One had beautiful skeins of yarn. I wished I had a project that I could justify buying them! I didn’t get a chance to meet the vendor, so I have no website available. Just a picture. The company is called Red Dragon Yarn-Yarns inspired by games. Win. Another booth contained many,many shiny baubles. Alas, one of my favorite vendors who sold parasols, patches, belts, and so much did not have a website available but check out these patches that I snagged!
The first panel I went to was a surprise hit for me. Since the Leather and LED workshop was full and chaotic, I nipped over to the Language creation panel across the way. I figured if I wanted to write sci-fi/fantasy stories then I would need to create some language.
It was a small attendance so the panel became a great discussion headed by David Peterson. He is the creator of the Dothraki language for Games of Thrones and is the president of the Language Creation Society. This man is a wealth of overwhelming language. I learned so much that my head throbbed and I wished I had my AP English notes. It’s easy to forget how language and society are reflections and influences of what another. For you writers and RPG story tellers, here’s a “brief” rundown of what I learned:
* one way to create a new language for beginners is to change the order. English order is noun-adjective-verb. Try reversing it. Mixing it.
*Another way is to get ride of sounds. For example, arabic gets rid of “p”
*Or come up with a set of rules. Such as spanish, where you can’t start a word with an “s” like ” eschoole”
*In Dothraki, male names end in “o”, female names end in double letters (this was not apparent to me since I did not read the series)
*How slang came to create interesting origins. Bread used to be meat. What…
*The younger generation will always try to create a new language or adopt an older language. Anything BUT their parents language.
*English is a mongrel language. And I love that.
*Iceland. I can’t even wrap around my mind on the naming system. Daughters have the same last name as their mothers. Sons have the same last name as their fathers. So there can be different last names in a family.
* To distinguish similar named characters, you can always give them a catchphrase.
*How conversational space works.
To get an idea of how awesome David Peterson is, check out this video from TEDblogs video.
After a brief lunch and more zooming around the vendor room. I was able to jump into Dungeon Master. This is an improv theater show in LA that has six audience members join in a quest. I’ve heard of them before,just started dabbling in RPGs, so I decided to give them a whirl.
Before the event, you have the option to fill out a character card. You create a name, a class, and whatever else you like. I decided to use my ever default RPG name, Cerirose and my ever default class, Warlock. And guess who was selected to be part of the adventure party? Oh yeah.
It was loads of fun. In order to create a spell, you had to come up with a rhyming couplet. I am not good at rhyming so I came up with:
Now for your fears abound,
I smote you to a fiery mound!
Which sounded great in my head but my nerves made it come out all wibbly wobbly. Still got the spell going!! I was able to do a “combat” scene which meant fighting in slooooooow motion with foam props. The actors were great at improv. My adventure group was pretty hilarious. We had a german warrior who’s power was to tickle. You just never know.
There were pockets of rooms with local LARPing groups. LARP is Live Action Role Playing. If you’ve watched “Role Models”, then you have an inkling of what it’s about. I really want to try LARPing. It just seems so epic! You camp, you fight, you have a great battle. Heck yeah. There was even a Dresden Files LARP! I was too shy to jump into the intimate conversations but one day. One day I will earn my bravery achievement.
It was a short visit to Wyrd Con but as you can tell, it left a great impact. It was amazing and daunting to see the strong and dedicated story telling community in LA. No matter the market or media,story telling is strong and permanent. Whether it’s through words or through foam props, the imagination is fired up.
I am delighted that Wyrd Con 5 is much closer to me this time and it’s during my birth month. I shall embark on a longer adventure next year.