A few friends and I…
Celebrating at Jeff’s house for Halloween. Wonderful night. Friends, good, costumes, drinks, dancing, …
Another year, another dragon*con. The closest thing I have to an annual vacation. 5 days in Atlanta with friends and 50,000 additional crazy people. Less dancing on my part, this year, for various reasons. It’s a strange time… always seems to include fun, friends, tragedy, illness, food, lust, costumes, and more. There’s the old and cranky people, and the young and crazy. The obsessive, and the laid back. But you know… despite being 4 days full of often intoxicated, sleepless, hyped up people, everyone I have ever met there — in the halls, in the events, in the rooms, in the elevators — they have all been friendly and happy. That’s kinda weird.
Up in New York, Ren Faire was always a lot of fun. A once or twice a summer trip. Having visited other fairs since, I can tell you it’s definitely one of the better setups. Permanent buildings, decent infrastructure. Lots of fun to go and enjoy the weirdness.
But down here, I have friends. Weird friends. Weird friends with weird interests. And some of them really get into Ren Faire. Specifically the Maryland Renaissance Faire. Many, many times a summer, even. So much so that it’s a good bet if I went to the White Hart tavern on any given weekend, I would find people i know. Immersing yourself in the weirdness is one thing… doing so with a bunch of people like this makes it awesome.
Another year of Dragon*Con has come and gone. I think I have mostly recovered, now. Though I still haven’t completely unpacked.
What was new this year, for me? New people, as always. (Tiny, drunk lesbians. Impossibly sweet, little, Indian woman. The lady with the most awesome job ever. “Don’t panic” girl.) And dancing each night until 6am. (Well… white guy “dancing”). Hearing Bruce Schneier, Alice Cooper, James Randi, Anthony Michael Hall, Billy West, and David Prowse speak. Nothing really special from the vendors this year… a couple pins and some pieces of art. Though there was an awesome gift for a friend, found in the artists’ alley.
As always, the real enjoyment for me is relaxing with friends and taking pictures.
The family reunion was at the bass club in San Angelo again this year. Same old everything, but that’s kind of the point. Took Heidi. Family likes her better than they like me. But they’re quite disappointed to learn i’m not gay.
(As always, tons more photos on flickr.)
But those are some of the points that floated to the surface, when I consider the whirlwind stew of crowds, panels, badges, Diet Cokes, swishy skirts, feathery hairpieces, earplugs, DragonCon TV, people-watching, masquerades, escalators, fountains, cheers, novelty tee shirts, kilts, stompy boots, steampunks, goths, fairies, mostly naked people, Krispy Kreme donuts, squinting at small print, shouting to nab the attention of friends, hanging off balconies, photobombing by accident, photobombing on purpose, nachos at Moe’s, the Hyatt bar, the smokers’ pavilion, the tracks, the joys, the trials, the confusions, the rewards, the unfortunate costumes, the brilliant costumes, the friends and the foes and the people who become your new best friends in the elevators, the mundanes who had NO IDEA wtf was going on they were just here for a football game OH GOD, air mattresses, corsets, hairspray, rum, devil babies, angel babies, running out of time, shopping for goodies, trolling for schwag, handing out handbills, trying to stash all the business cards and CDs and postcards that people handed me while I wasn’t carrying a bag, and trying to sound intelligent for hours at a time against all odds.
– Cherie Priest, DragonCon: The Recap
So I was recently in a photo show, at the Washington School of Photography. (I’m not a student, but it was an open call for entries). The theme of the show was “faces”… specifically human faces. I only had 1 day’s notice to select photos and mail them in, but 2 out of my 4 submissions were chosen for the show.
I’d been waiting until after the show opened to display the chosen images. One is old, and one is new to most people.
So what did I think of the show? Eh. I was kind of hoping… or expecting, that since it was hosted by a photo school, and in a city with so many photographers, that I was going to be lucky to get into a show and have my work surrounded by pieces much better than mine. That people would have wonderful concepts, or capture special moments, or show amazing skill. But I didn’t really see much of that. At least half the shots were travel photos, captured in the moment, and not with any great eye. Then there were some generic portraits. The only one I would have called ‘conceptual’ didn’t even have a face in it, implied or otherwise. And listening to the judge speak, it sounded like she made her selections on the way out the door to lunch.
I liked being in the show. I have heard good things about their other shows. So maybe it was just an unfortunate series of events.
I don’t think the photos have sold. If you’re interested in either, they’re both professionally framed.
I just posted my annual collection of photos, for 2009. (Yes… a little late). Same as always: It’s a collection of photos I took last year. The criteria for inclusion is subjective. Some I liked for technical reasons. Some for aesthetic reasons. Some were important events or people, (or cats). Some… I just felt should be in there. They’re not the best of the best… they’re just 2009.
In past years, I’ve felt like I didn’t do much. But towards the end of last year, going through my archives, I was reminded of how much had gone on, and with who. Flipping through these photos made me very happy.
(Click on any image for the whole set)
DC Shorts starts tonight. If you want to mooch off my free tickets, speak now or forever hold yourself.
(Or … you know… buy your own tickets… they put a lot of work into this festival).
21st birthday party tonight. All the cool people will be there. you know you wanna!
The opening reception for the DCist Exposed Photography Show is on Friday, February 20 from 5 to 9 pm, at the Flashpoint Gallery at 916 G Street NW. (Just a little over 2 weeks from now).
I have a photo in this show, and will be going opening night, (to make fun of everyone else’s work). Hope to see you there.
I am a very cynical person, especially when it comes to politics and patriotism. In fact, I have a hard time with the idea of patriotism at all. Having some glorious love for… a place. Yeah, I can’t do it.
But I did feel something yesterday, standing on the National Mall. It was frigid, and crowded, and made made me get up too damned early. And I really fucking hates crowds. All the ever do is confirm to me that most people are stupid. And this was a crowd of epic proportions — 2 million people. But through it all I was happy. And everyone around me was happy. The entire crowd cheered (or in the case of a Bush sighting, jeered) at the slightest provocation.
I don’t think we all realized how much we wanted Bush to leave. Yes, we’ve all* been trashing him. And yes, many people had countdowns on his term. And many others tried to get him arrested or impeached. But yesterday, there was a visible tension in every person, just waiting for the moment of change, (if you’ll excuse the use of that word). Wether it was the explosion of joy the moment the oath of office was completed, or the singing of “hey hey, goodbye” as a helicopter lifted the Bush family out of the capital, people just couldn’t wait to see him go.
(*I used “all” and similar phrases, because with approval ratings like his, Bush doesn’t have many friends left. He spent the last 2 weeks of his presidency basically asking people to not judge him too harshly.)
A politician running on “change” is like water running down hill; so I just ignore that. But Obama’s best attribute was that he gave people hope. The insanity, contradictions, and suspension of logic over the last 8 years — and the admittedly questionable practices of the last few administrations before that — have left me, at least, devoid of any respect for or expectations of the government. But along comes a candidate who doesn’t affect a man-of-the-people facade. He appears intelligent, ambitious, and energetic. He doesn’t appear to be tied to any major special interests. He seems open to whatever idea will best resolve the situation. With some of the first words of his presidency, he acknowledged groups of people and causes that most presidents ignored their entire terms.
People really did just explode in joy and excitement down there on the mall when he was sworn in. I knew it was coming, but was still impressed. I didn’t even know there was a 21 gun canon salute going on until I caught it on the video screens, because you couldn’t hear anything over the cheering.
The musical performances were great, with a classical supergroup including Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman, and an incredible rendition of My Country ‘Tis of Thee by Aretha Franklin.
Obama’s speech was wonderful overall, with just a few weak sections near the end. Whereas Bushes early speeches were all dire warnings about tough times ahead, (and that was before 9/11), Obama said “yes, we have serious problems that will require serious time and resources, but yes we can and will meet them and overcome”. It was inspiring at the same time it acknowledged our rough conditions.
As I said, I have issues with patriotism. But yesterday I did feel good. It wasn’t in a “we’re better than them” kind-of-way. It was people who felt the finally had a reason to be happy again, to take pride in what’s being done in their names.
The man has made a good start. Some of his first actions, on is first full day in office were meant to instill trust in the Presidency again. He highlighted plans for transparency and openness. He supported FOIA requests, and even indirectly promised to deal with Bush’s attempts to lock up the past President’s papers out of the public eye. He placed salary caps for his top staff. He’d previous banned staffers from taking jobs lobbying his administration. They’ve leaked plans to order the shutdown of Camp X-ray and to reign in some of the CIA’s more questionable practices. And that was all just cleaning house. He also met with economic and military leaders, and spoke with Heads of State across the Middle East.
Will be trying to go to Mall tomorrow. probably through Faraggut North entrance. call or txt to meet up.
With all the madness coming up next week… if anyone is brave enough to come downtown, and finds themself in need of a place to get away or to wait out the 2-hour estimate for getting into a metro station, feel free to get in touch. I live an easy walk from the mall.
‘Scuze me while I work my way backwards through the last few days:
Sunday was actually both relaxing and kinda productive. Started off the morning going to Eastern Market. No new toys, (although I found both TLR and folding cameras in good condition!). But I did pick up some fresh fruit. Went from there to the mall, looking for a carrying case for my newest toy. Didn’t end up buying anything though… not willing to pay $30 for a piece of plastic, when nicer cases for older models cost less. I understand the concept — that since the newer model is a premium object, the consumer is probably going to be able and willing to pay more for the associated accessories. But that’s not me. So I went back across town again and did some grocery shopping. I am loving the new Safeway. They’ve obviously been studying the success of stores like Wegmans, because they’re picking up a lot of their architecture and methods. I now have cheesecake! When I got home and realized it was only early afternoon, I went back out and picked up some frame so I could hang some of the art I’ve been gathering over the years. I like the new wall. Though it makes me realize my photo wall is too crowded, and I need to spread those out a bit.
Saturday started with a haircut. I am once again purty. Then meeting Kier to go to the Small Press Expo. I enjoyed it, this year. There was a lot of good, quality work. Past years had seen too many shoe-gazers and too much really weak art. But this year there was a decent range and a variety of styles. Picked up a couple things. And though I couldn’t convince anyone else to go, I planned on hitting Spellbound that night. It really has been a long time since I went. But my 9:30 “quick nap” didn’t end until nearly 2am, at which point it wasn’t worth it. Gawd I’m old.
Friday was normal amounts of work. Nothing special. That night, Stephanie came over for pizza and a movie. A movie with cameras and hawt, hawt, lesbian sex, of course. Was nice because I also hadn’t seen Stephanie in a while.
Thursday was a fairly average work day as well. Though I did manage to put together a piece I really liked, and somehow the client chose that version as well. (No doubt they’ll destroy it yet in edits). That evening, I met with friends at a local restaurant to watch the Vice Presidential debate. I gotta say, regardless of your politics, Palin really is just about the worst speaker I’ve seen in national politics in a long time. There were points where the moderator looked like she couldn’t believe what was happening, and stopped to ask Palin if she wanted to answer the question that had been put to her. Thankfully, we were also drinking margaritas, which is another first for me. (Hell, so far I don’t think I’ve had any repeats in alcoholic beverages). A really good, interesting taste, as opposed to the “fun” taste of the Woodchuck Cider. After the equivalent (due to refills) of 3 or 4 of those, I got a ride home. This was probably a good thing, because by the time we pulled up in front of my place, I had to stop and consider wether I would be able to walk up to my apartment without leaning on the walls. First time I’ve definitely felt the effects of alcohol. Though I still wasn’t plastered. Mentally I was okay. Mostly concentrated on keeping my head enough to walk. Had no trouble with my keys, and my typing actually drastically improved. So just the large motor skills. And there was no hangover to speak of, in the morning. (Though I’d been drinking water throughout, and had more just before going to sleep.)
Spent last weekend in Atlanta at Dragon*con. This was my second time down there, and my first time when I wasn’t obscenely sick. As expected, it was a lot of fun… a wonderful weekend. Got to see and do so much more, and spend time with a much wider range of friends.
What is it, this Dragon*con? Imagine every geek, nerd, dork, and freak you’ve ever met. Now multiply that by about 1,000 times. Send them all to Atlanta for 4 days of presentations on books, movies, tv, comics, and general pop culture; and make sure they have freaky costumes. 50,000 people. 4 hotels. Oh my.
Went to presentations by Lance Henrickson, Brad Dourif, George Takei, the cast of Firefly. Somehow managed to not buy a damn thing, despite hundreds of vendors. Went out to several REALLY good dinners. Took two trips to the Sundial, a rotating bar at the top of the tallest building in Atlanta, with amazing views. Spent lots of time with friends.
And I will so be back next year.