Wednesday, April 20, 2005

From cool to suck in 2.3 seconds

Things seemed to be going so well. Spring had arrived, I personally dressed Claudia Christian in a corset and I was making some money. Then, someone turned the knob on the dial of my life from 'groovy' to 'suck' to 'waaaaay suck'. Let me 'splain.

When you see me at a con, or a Ren Faire, doing my thing. That's the easy part. Even when its 37 frickin degrees and the wind is attempting to transport both me and my tent to the land of fucking Oz, THAT is still the easy part. The hard part is all the shit that has to get done to get me there, set up and ready to rock. I spend far too many hours searching the internets and various publications to find venues for my business to sell at. Once I find a show that I've never done before, I need to check its website, determine if it looks promising, check its date, see what media guests (if any) are attending. How much is the fee? How far away is it? I spend a crapload of time doing this stuff so that I don't waste time and money doing a show like the Four Winds Ren Fair in Tyler Texas (The Gold fucking standard for suck-ass shows and my greatest mistake).

Luckily, once you've done a show and its turns out well, you know to keep it in mind for next year. Such was the case with Marcon. I've attended for years and last year we did good sales. I was keen to do it again this year. The trouble is, you need to keep track not only of the show dates, but the various dates you need to have paperwork and payments submitted by. I dutifully submitted my application and vendor fee back in February but was getting antsy that I'd heard nothing back. Now I know why. It appears that I submitted my application 2 weeks too late. They would have told me this but they also seem to have LOST MY APPLICATION AND CHECK.

Now I have a pretty big hole in my schedule. It's likely too late to get into another convention at this late a date. I'm scrambling to find something. I've pickled up a Klingon event near Akron this weekend but its a crap shoot. I have no one to blame but myself and that is a pretty shitty feeling.

In a last ditch Hail Mary I am contacting other merchants at Marcon to see if any of them will sell me one of their tables. I have a lead. It might cost me a corset (as an incentive/bribe) but its worth a shot. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Perks of the Job

Sometimes my job is not the glamorous, action-adventure film I make it out to be. Sometimes I am stuck in Muskogee Oklahoma for a month slowly going mad. Or desperately erecting a tent in the rain at 6am to replace the one destroyed by a storm.

But sometime it IS the glamorous, action-adventure film I make it out to be. Sometimes it DOES NOT SUCK to be me. Case in point:

Last weekend was Vulkon, a rather small Sci-Fi convention held in a non-descript Holiday Inn in independence Ohio, This was an autograph show. The event owners bring in 2 or 3 big names. Fans pay a good chunk of cash to get in a long line, buy a photo from the Con and get it signed by the star. You get no time to talk with them and cannot have them sign your own item.

My lovely wife and I are working the dealers room. Most vendors are not doing well. Attendance is down. No one seems to be buying. Could it have anything to do with the fact that there isn't one goddamn hand made item for sale? Everything is officially licensed Paramount or Star Wars bubble-plastic crapulence. Much of it is being discounted so the dealers can make table fee.

We on the other hand are doing ok. After all, we sell very hot corsets. At the end of the day we begin getting ready to close up and head home when a voice says from behind me "I'm in trouble, and I was told you guys could help me out."

I turned and found myself looking into the beautiful eyes of Ms. Claudia Christian. For those of you who are unfamiliar, she is the actress who played Commander Ivonova in the very cool series Babylon 5. In case you can't remember what she looks like, here is a refresher:

Of course, she didn't wear such an outfit on the show, it is meant only to make you hate me more than you may already. (BTW, you can buy this image and several others here)

As a former butler I am trained to be unflappable so I maintained most of my cool when I replied "Certainly, how may we be of assistance?"

Apparently she had thought she was flying out that night, but her contract called for her to attend a banquet at the hotel and she had 'nothing to wear'. We quickly sprang into action and provided a lovely corset and shirt to replace the rather plain shirt and hoodie she was wearing. This required her to remove these items which was done with the assistance of my wife as I discretely turned my back. (The dealers room was almost empty by this time). As I finished tying her up I suggested she pull down on the shirt we had provided to better show off her figure but she was already ahead of me. "I've been to enough ren-faires to know what to do" she said.

Claudia goes to Ren-fairs! Glee!

She was very funny and quite personable during her fitting and we sent her off to the banquet in good spirits. Did I get a photo of this amazing event? Oh course not! I am an idiot and did not have my camera. I pound my head against the table.

'So you have no proof that this actually happened. Is that what you're saying Steve?'
Oh you cowardly non-believers! The next morning I took my camera, but alas, she was gone. The corset and shirt were left on our table with the following note:

Apparently her flight left fairly early. I have minions working to locate any pictures taken of her in the outfit. If I locate any I will post them here. Several women did in fact show up on Sunday saying Claudia gave them our card including an very pretty young woman from New Zealand named Mary Oyaya who plays one of the Jedi in the Star Wars movies. (you can see the her and the guests in attendance here) She should be ordering a corset in the next week or so.

Sunday, April 17, 2005



Vulkon sci-fi convention in Cleveland.
Sunday. We've been open less than an hour when the fire alarm goes off.
We grab only the essentials; the credit card machine and ourselves. It
appears to be a false alarm though. Too bad, our stock is insured.