I’ve just gotten back from Arisia 2015. Arisia is a science-fiction and fantasy convention that happens every MLK weekend (third Monday in January) in Boston (or Cambridge), MA. It was the first geek convention I ever attended, back in 2005, and this was my third time there. (Last year, I tried out cosplaying for the first time as Pikachu at Arisia.)
Unfortunately, I was there for less than half the con. (Didn’t make it until Saturday evening) and I didn’t sign up for any of the LARPs running there, but I had a great time. I got to see a lot of LARPers from the New England community (including an enthusiastic conversation about the upcoming Fifth Gate LARP, the Silverfire side in particular). I missed the Fairy Tales Ball, where they taught waltzes and contradances, but I did hit the dance floor for much of the Knowhere Club Dance.
I wore my Robin cosplay on Saturday evening and my Rabbit costume on Sunday (from the one-shot boffer LARP, Welcome to the Dragon Palace.) The Robin cosplay got more requests for pictures, but people did ask me what the Rabbit costume was for. One person even stopped me and asked, to my delight, “are you a Moon Rabbit?”
I saw a fantastic live performance of a radio show of “Star Seed”, an episode of the original Star Trek series, with all of the characters gender swapped. (I thought the strong and sultry performance of the female Khan was particularly brilliant, as were the sound effects, which were created right in front of us.) I attended a panel on comparing and contrasting the A Song of Ice and Fire books with the Game of Thrones TV show and another on historical costuming. I also watched the rather inspiring Masquerade, Arisia’s costume contest. Every time I’ve seen it, I say to myself, maybe I’ll enter something next year… maybe 2016 is the year?
I also caught the first hour of the Patriots – Colts game in the presidential suite was some excited Patriots fans. (And now we’re headed to the Superbowl! Go Pats!)
And I attended a panel called “The Quest: Behind the Scenes” with Adria Kyne, one of the contestants on the reality show The Quest. I watched the whole first season over last August and September, (I had really hoped the the LARPer from New England would win.) I often wondered about what went on behind the scenes and off-camera, and the panel answered a lot of questions I’d had about the experience. Their accommodations, while exciting and historical (it was filmed in a real castle) lacked modern plumbing and air conditioning and there was no coffee. (Yikes!) Eliminated contestants were put up in a hotel and got to see Vienna. I was definitely not the only one to think too many challenges blatantly favored the contestants with upper body strength. We heard about some of the drama that went on, and how the contestants in real life compared to how their portrayal on camera. And unfortunately, there won’t be a second season. My question for the panel was why, despite the fact that LARPing seemed relevant to Adria’s background (and LARPers had been specifically targeted by show for recruiting contestants,) the word was never mentioned anywhere on the show or in any of the promotional materials. I guess LARP isn’t cool enough and they didn’t want to market it as a specifically LARP related show.
After the panel, someone familiar looking came up to talk to Adria about a convention for reality show contestants that raises money for breast cancer research, but I didn’t put a name to his face until he said he was a contestant on Beauty and the Geek, a reality show that involved competing teams of an attractive woman and a geeky guy. I remembered that one of the two winners of season four was a LARPer from New England, and I had imagined that I might meet him at some local LARP event, and get a chance to ask a slew of questions… but it had been so long that I drew a complete blank. (I might be rewatching an old episode on youtube now.)
After the panel, a few of us gathered out in the hallway to talk some more about The Quest, and it segued (unsurprisingly) into talking about LARP. I heard a lot about Bicolline, a LARP which hosts the largest LARPing event in North America. They have an enormous, beautiful site in Quebec, dedicated just for LARP. One of my LARP dreams is to join the group of Americans who attend Bicolline one year, and now I want to go more than ever.
The registrar had closed on Monday before I got a chance to buy a membership for next year’s Arisia, but I plan to jump on it as soon as they go on sale online this summer.