We attended the first annual Faerie Con this weekend for a chance to see my mom and dad who were signing books as guests of honor. The original incarnation of the festival, called “Faerie Worlds“, has been celebrated for three years in hippie Oregon and one can't help but feel that the wide open spaces, trees and general vibe of that event were somewhat lost in the translation to a rather depressing airplane hangar-like, florescent lit, conference and expo center right next to the Greyhound Station in Philly.
But people still got dressed up and had fun and, thankfully, the dour location is right across the street from the marvelous Reading Terminal Market too. The convention boasted many vendors of crap with a few standouts: one man made flying dragon figurines out of saw dust (we got one for my dad) and another booth featured really impressive hand-made leather masks that would have been mine if I only had a couple hundred dollars burning a hole in my pocket.
Other artists, aside from my parents, present were the king and queen of the event, Brian and Wendy Froud, most famous for his concept art for the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth (both were shown at midnight during the convention), Holly Black, Charles Vess, and Jean Baptiste Monge and Pascal Mogueron, very nice French artists whose work is rarely seen in the US, so they were a particular treat.
But the big events happen after the booths shut down: Friday night's was the Good Fairy Ball (which we missed) and Saturday's was the Bad Fairy Ball (which we went to). Held at the Trocadero, at first we felt like we were walking onto the Goth Club set of Blade, only to quickly find it defanged when we learned that the bar only served bottled water and peanut M&Ms. Earnest musician Scott Huckabay was performing with his “guitar of peace” which was tuned into the shakra as the laser light show danced around him.
His lengthy performance was followed by a storyteller who looked so much like Zach Galifianakis that, for a moment, I was sure he was pulling off an elaborate joke/performance to my sincerest amazement and respect. It was not Zach. We left before the actual storyteller got to the actual story, he spent a long time exclaiming his genius, and there aren't enough M&Ms in the world to get me high enough to fully enjoy such boasting.
The other attendees were far more enthralling than anything on the stage, with coordinated dances like the Claw and the Victim, the Hoola Hooper and the long beaked man, to name a few. It was great to see such a wide variety of age groups dance and live out their fantasies with such abandonment: the gawky kid in the corner dressed as Puck getting groovy; the bride and count couple swaying to the rhythm of the shakra in their capes; the devil-horned giant man watching all with an imposing stare; the wigged and ancient tranny that was… well, just kind of weirding everyone out; they all seemed so happy to be there.
It's quite a testament to their passion that we were nearly the only people out of place without costumes. Yes, Jim and I found ourselves too cowardly and tired to put on our Renn Faire gear but, to be honest, it would hardly have helped since we lacked both wings and masquerade masks. I think the event is better suited to its original al fresco environment in Oregon, but for all the East Coast faerie lovers, the new location seemed to be greatly appreciated.