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.
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Day two started off bright and early (well, early for people who watched vampires eat placentas until 3:00 AM) with the second annual Lit Day. Or rather “Lit Track” as it was called this year as the event was expanded to a whopping two days. Seriously, Lit Day = love.
The D Word: Diversity
Moderator: Kate Schafer Testerman
Panelists: Rebecca Sherman, Jennifer Laughran, and Maureen Johnson
Kelly and Cassie-wa had big plans of waking early, showering, grabbing breakfast, and getting to this panel on time. They made it to the last 20 minutes (we blame it on Twilight). Which they were kicking themselves over, because it was such a fantastic group of authors and agents. The panelists frankly discussed problems in the publishing industry, like how does one change an industry that says black people on covers results in fewer sales? Authors want to write stories that speak to their readers, but how can they do this when others are worried about the finances? Maureen Johnson lightened the mood (of course) by talking about how one could reveal aspects of a character without it being too overt. Like how could JK Rowling have revealed Dumbledore was gay without it being awkward in terms of narrative. Her point was that JK couldn’t write about Dumbledore’s dating profile on maturewizards.com or anything like that. Diversity is an incredibly tricky concept to define and create authentically. Really thought-provoking and excellent discussion was happening, and then some over-eager Ravenclaw raised her hand. She prefaced her question by saying it may be too advanced for the panel (oooof), and then blathered about privilege. Kelly and Cassie-wa cringed a little, but the panelists were pros and answered with ease.
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Another year, another LeakyCon! And this one started off with a road trip through the wilds- okay not so wilds -of Route 80. Past a candy cane forest (eventually), sightings of a Super Raptor, the mayor of Barkeyville, PA (Barkley the Dog) and several random Dementor attacks. And maybe some grody rest stops in between. True story. You can read more about our roadtrip and all manner of fictional roadtrips in Kelly’s lovely and tear inducing post HERE. Wild road weasels beware.
Having been in the car for 12 hours and being from Jersey, our first thought upon arrival was – are there diners in Chicago? Answer: YES. We ate delicious food only a couple blocks away from the hotel. We then spent a really, really long time waiting for our room to be ready. We refer to this part of the trip as LobbyCon.
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Road trips are as quintessentially American as apple pie, suburbia, and crazy GOP candidates trying to legislate women’s bodies. The tradition is especially appealing to young adults, who have minimal funds but a (somewhat) functioning set of wheels. The interstate can take you anywhere; well, actually just to other states. And those states aren’t particularly exciting or better or worthy of being your “somewhere.” It’s just the somewhere represents something (shut up, it’s my party and I can be vague if I want to!). Your town, it’s a death trap; a suicide rap. You know what Coach Springsteen says – you have to get out now! Before you marry your high school sweetheart and have babies and get caught in the cycle of owing your Atlantic City bookie money. Okay, sorry. Enough with the Springsteen.
Road trip stories have always appealed to me – the sense of setting out to do something is there, but it’s really the journey taken that matters. Sure – Frodo throws the ring in Mount Doom in the end (uum, spoilers if you’ve lived in Gollum’s lair for the past 50 years?). But it’s the friends and changes made along the way that give road journeys their heart.
So imagine my surprise that for all my romanticizing of the open road, I realized that I had never actually been on a road trip. How do I still have citizenship?? I marveled silently. How did I even get handed my undergrad diploma without at least doing a road trip during Spring Break? It seemed my very being was now incomplete. Luckily, the chance to rectify this grievous oversight came about this summer in a happy confluence of events. Add some underemployed 20 somethings, stir in a love of Harry Potter cons, mix in a city within a reasonable distance, and voilà! A recipe for the perfect roadtrip.
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On Saturday, Cassie-wa and Stephanie were up bright and early because it was Starkid day! Hooray! We ate breakfast and then wandered down to the convention area where there was a COMICALLY LONG LINE. Naturally. We did not join it. We vaguely considered going to a tattoo meet-up, but decided against it. It was about 9am and people were waiting to get into the main room for the gothic operetta “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart.” This would be followed immediately by Starkid. Since we were there – and who doesn’t love an opera first thing in the morning? – we waited until the end of the COMICALLY LONG LINE line came to us and found seats.
And it was GREAT. We were both pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed the show. 85% of the cast had an amazing voice (the other 15% made up for it with enthusiasm!), it was well put together, the music was epically operatic. And there was a “mother reads her daughter a story to help her through a difficult breakup” frame story. We love frame stories.
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Our adventure continued on Friday with a morning of some much-needed SLEEP. Originally, we had planned on waking at the crack of mid-morning to stand in line for autographs, as Maureen Johnson and the Brothers Green were signing. But John had to leave due to complications from a colonoscopy (much more on that later, compliments of Hank), so we decided to be laze-abouts until noon, when we went to our first panel of the day.
If you haven’t heard of Mark Oshiro, here’s what you need to know. He reads and watches THINGS, and then he posts his hilarious reactions. Intrigued? Then it’s time for you to go here. Or here.
Anyway – the panel. We shuffled into the room, not knowing what to expect. Mark had entered before us, and was already sitting next to fans in the audience and taking pictures with them. It set the tone for one of the funniest and most relaxed panels of the entire con. His two friends went around the room and asked everyone to pick a number between 1 and 5, with the promise we’d find the surprise out at the end.
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The main event on Day 2 of LeakyCon was the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. We did not go see it. Mostly because, as we’ve mentioned time and time again, we do not like the Harry Potter movies. We admitted this to Scott Westerfeld when we ran into him the morning of the movie release (“Have you guys seen Maureen?” he asked when he saw us, as if we would know) and he replied, “Good for you!”
So we haven’t seen the movie yet, but what was cool was that LeakyCon got some special privilege to allow everyone at the convention to see the movie at 6:00PM despite the fact it wasn’t released elsewhere until midnight. We say this was cool for everyone else, and also cool for us because all the lines in the hotel magically (ba-dum-pum) disappeared. The line to pick up movie tickets was probably the longest at LeakyCon–which is saying something! Following the LeakyCon Twitter feed was an emotional experience in itself. Several people decided that “SobbyCon” was a fitting new name. The ever-evil Maureen Johnson even tweeted a pic of John Green trying to cover his tears. Note to self – never show weakness around MJ. For us, of course, “SnarkyCon” may have been a better choice.
However, there were some awesome shenanigans during the day. We were treated to two AMAZING performances – Potion Master’s Corner followed by Potter Puppet Pals on the main stage. That’s right – we went to a place where the internet is real!!
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