Faster than a sexy chupacabra, our last full day of LeakyCon was upon us. While we were excited for the day ahead and all the shenanigans that surely awaited, it was tempered by the knowledge that too soon it would all come to an end. But the encroachment of real life would not give us the wizard mopes. With caffeine firmly in hand, we set forth for more wonderful LitTrack panels, the hilarious Mark “Reads” Oshiro, and cosplay!
I Was a Teenage Author
Moderator: Maureen Johnson
Panelists: John Green, Holly Black, Margaret Stohl, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and Stephanie Perkins
Last year’s runaway favorite, this panel was repeated with some new faces and some familiar ones. Daniel Ehrenhaft read some “rock” lyrics from his days as a former song writer, complete with a song about McDonald’s. That boy was really wed to his job, even if he never stole the salad bar. Margaret Stohl read some truly painful teenage angst poetry, which was rife with ridiculous symbolism and metaphor. Thank you for all your readings about scratchy lamps and particularly about erect pens. John Green read from a story about fireflies and lost youth. Although somehow the reference to “‘Firefly’ metaphors” made the audience think immediately of Nathan Fillion and not the insect. Once again Stephanie Perkins read from her teenage diary about her then boyfriend and now husband Jarrod (happy face!) and Holly Black read from her ridiculous fantasy novella. Specifically about potions that could make you fall asleep for a few minutes OR FOREVER!
Hearing the ridiculous stuff your favorite authors wrote in their youth is a hopeful experience for any aspiring writer, that’s for sure.
In need of sustenance and with a lengthy gap in our schedule we met Jarrod Perkins (Stephanie’s husband from the above journal entries – HAPPY FACE!!!) in the lobby for a LeakyCon Foodie Meetup to eat some real deep dish pizza. Later renamed The Anti-StarKid Pizza Party because we were more interested in eating delicious food than watching a five hour StarKid table reading. It was a much better use of our time (in our opinion) because despite a 45 minute wait time, deep dish pizza is pretty damn delicious. Even if it’s completely different than what we consider to be pizza. (SIDE NOTE: We also had delicious Chicago Dogs that week so even though it was LeakyCon we were still were able to enjoy the true Chicago experience.) Good food and new wizard friends made this an excellent side adventure.
With everyone else resting, Kelly and Cassie-la went to watch a debate centered around whether or not Slytherins should be removed from Hogwarts/sent to the dungeons. Are they inherently evil or aren’t they? Etc. Etc. Our points: Snape, Wormtail. Case closed. The event was literally moved downstairs to the basement/dungeons because of StarKid (DAMN YOU STARKID!) and Maureen used some free time to flatter us. Time well spent. Although not as organized as a real debate might be, what with Andrew working against his own points and all, some pretty well thought out responses were made regardless. And Lev Grossman was beyond hysterical. The debate ended with Margaret Stohl and Lev summarizing key points. It then devolved into arm wrestling. On the floor. With all semblance of a normal debate gone, it was up to the crowd to decide. Obviously, the crowd voted that Slytherin should stay at Hogwarts (because really, if we’re kicking anyone out it should be the Hufflepuffs), and all was well. No mist involved.
After the debate it was just a trip down the hall for the last twenty minutes of Mark Reads Fanfic. As expected, smut was walked into, complete with some Hermione/Ginny loving as well as space wizards and a giant gang bang including Dobby, Dumbledore and Voldemort. Of course the room lost it at the line: “Dumbledore was about to ride Dobby like a child…” Oh, fanfiction. How we simultaneously love and hate you. We definitely don’t read it every Friday on Topless Robot, nor is Cassie-la working her way through every Giles/Anya fic ever written for fun. Nope, certainly not. Hashtag secrets! With the panel cut much too short to finish the often talked about “Hermione and the Pizza Boy”, Mark led everyone upstairs for an impromptu Wizard Story Time! Which ended up drawing quite a larger crowd than initially expected.
Some passersby would pause to listen to Mark’s reading, but when they realized this was not in fact a reading of Harry Potter, but of a story where Hermione and her twin sister “Emma” have naked tickle fights, they soon left. We still think life would be so much better if wizard story time was always an option.
Then it was back upstairs to change into our outfits for the Lit Track Reception/Esther Earl Rocking Charity Ball/Wrock Wreggies. With Cassie-wa as Fionna, Cassie-la as Effie Trinket, Kelly as Merida and Stephanie as Isabelle Lightwood we all headed downstairs to mingle, drink free alcohol, and eat free food. Some of those things ended up happening as we got to meet with lovely literary agent Rebecca Sherman, authors Laini Taylor and John Green, and Mark Oshiro. For some reason at the Lit Reception you learn lots of secrets about movie rights and plans that you’re not allowed to mention so nyah! Also John Green might compliment you on your cosplay and say something offhanded about disco mermaids, at which point you might be mobbed by some of John’s fangirls. You also might get complimented by Stephanie Perkins and Jennifer Laughran, which will make your fangirl heart flutter. And Laini Taylor (besides being incredibly nice!) gave us some simple but striking advice. She asked if we were writers, and we faltered a bit. She said if you write, you are writers. Hearing this from such a wonderful author was genuinely inspiring.
We snuck in time to eat before the Esther Earl Rocking Charity Ball and were awarded with getting to quiz some non-convention attendees in return for free drinks. One of whom really knew his Harry Potter stuff! Accio Firebolt indeed. The ball was the typical nice mix of top 40’s and random (the “Duck Tales” theme for example) and great people watching! We met the craziest/most in-character Bellatrix ever, and were able to witness a Darth Vader standee offering free dances. Somehow he ended up onstage at the end of the night. We also witnessed John Green first moshing on stage (well, more pogoing. But you are perhaps not interested in punk show semantics, dear reader). And then he stage dived (dove?). Regardless – John Green let hundreds of strangers touch him and hold him several feet in the air. LeakyCon is a strange and wondrous place indeed.
Meanwhile, Stephanie and Cassie-wa headed off to the Wrock Wreggies… See picture of the crazy awesome bus that came to pick us up! Amazing. We arrived, were briefly hassled by muggles, but then there we were – inside with our people! And we mean really our people, because sometimes LeakyCon is a little overwhelming with insane “Glee” fans and the Starkid people are kind of intense – so getting to Reggies for this show was just perfect. We got to see friends who also came from Leaky, and some who were just there for the wrock show, and it was awesome. We came in to Letters from Dumbledore performing – this was actually Dreary Inferi backed by Diagon Alley playing popular wizard rock songs by other bands so it was awesome, obviously. They were followed by Kwikspell – Beth was amazing, of course. So glad we got to see her play again! And then there was this band called Justin Finch-Fletchely and the Sugar Quills – Justin had Steph Anderson on bass and Jarrod on drums and it was just an epically awesome set. We can’t even describe it really except to say – I FORGET WHAT 30 IS FOR!!! So. Fantastic. And then Diagon Alley. Seriously freaking love them. Can never forget the feeling of dancing your ass off to their songs and screaming at the top of your lungs. And then you hug and sing Quiet Night on Diagon Alley and it’s just perfect. Cassie-wa and Stephanie cannot wait for WrockFest in October! (Sign the fuck up right now: http://wrockfest.com/)
While the sisters were wrocking out, Cassie-la and Dippy stayed behind to spend a little more time at the Charity Ball. There they got to people watch some more, falling in love with LeakyCon’s only drag queen and getting to witness John Green dancing and crowd-surfing before heading to catch the bus to join the Kingsburys at Reggies. This quickly turned into its own mini-adventure while very drunk girls, hipster boys and wedding participants provided much amusement. Not to mention getting shunned when they walked into the wrong bar. Ruh roh! Firmly entrenched as those weirdos who went into the punk bar in costume, they found the right bar and we reunited just in time to see Diagon Alley. Punk. Wizard. Wrock. Fabulous!
Right after the show ended, we were ushered back onto the bus – after a disappointingly short time to say goodbye to people. But we returned to the hotel because in the morning we would depart!
We left our room at about noon and went to free breakfast! Amazing free breakfast! Mad props to the Hilton for providing that one. Did another round of the hotel to say goodbye to people, saw Snape playing piano as the sunlight streamed in, dragged JFF out of bed, put him in the car with all our stuff and then were off back to Jersey. It was a long, long ride, but we made it.
Usual post-con depression was put off slightly by sheer exhaustion and the promise of the Harry and the Potters show in Asbury Park on Tuesday. Even knowing the wizard party would continue, it’s never fun saying good bye to the amazing people you met and the wonderful spirit created at LeakyCon. This year seemed more final somehow, as news of LeakyCon 2013 traveled quickly around the con. Road tripping to Portland would be insane, and London would be too expensive. So as of right now, it looks like this will be our last Leaky until 2014 (when hopefully it comes to the center of the universe AKA New York/New Jersey). What are we going to do with ourselves next summer?? No wizard parties, no dressing up, no Stephanie Perkins reading us journal entries…*ultimate sad face.* Anyone have a TARDIS we can borrow?