Saturday, July 15, 2000
So, bright and early on Saturday morning (the first full day of the convention), we head off to something called "Anthropomorphics." Frankly, we thought it would be something having to do with designing moving puppets (but then we realized we were thinking about "animatronics"). It turned out to be a talk by two guys about "Furries." It seems that a "Furry" is somebody who likes to dress up as an animal with human characteristics (which is where the "anthropomorphic" part comes in--although technically, it means ascribing human characteristics to an animal; so these guys are more reverse anthropomorphics).
One of the speakers likes to dress up like a big wolf (his costume head is shown below) with earrings and stuff. They have conventions, and some of them do clown-type gigs such as going to hospitals and birthday parties and what-not. There are apparently quite a few of these folks across the country.
(And, in case you think we're making this stuff up, check these web sites for even more information about Furries:
The part we liked best was learning a new word, "mundanes." As in, "it's hard to explain to mundanes why you do this." We understood the word right away (probably because mundanes wouldn't have crossed half a continent to see some guys who play with puppets).
After that we went to hear a talk by Terry Pratchett. Frankly, we weren't expecting a very good talk, because authors are usually terrible speakers (there's a reason why they're writers and not stand-up comedians or actors). Terry Pratchett however, turned out to be quite a delightful speaker and well worth it. He talked about his writing process, the "Discworld" series of books (there are 25 books in the series right now). He has a decidedly English sense of humor and also a sense of history about what he does and English comedy in general.
(At the beginning of his talk, he asked his "handler" for a drink of Stoli vodka. The handler had no idea what Stoli was, but said he would see what he could do. About twenty minutes later he came back with two different types of Stoli. He also brought ice. And he brought orange juice and grapefruit juice just in case Mr. Pratchett wanted a mixer! Talk about service!)
We now reached a point where there were no interesting speakers, so we went to the "Video Room." There, we watched the MST3K version of Colossus and the Headhunters (which we hadn't seen before). It was pretty funny (well, the MST3K comments were funny, the movie wasn't--it was pretty terrible). Then we went down to see the MST3K folks in person!
At the beginning of their presentation, they asked for all the "robots" in the room to come up front. There were three Tom Servo's and one Crow. Apparently, there are a number of fans who like to assemble their own MST3K puppets (and from miscellaneous comments, we think there's actually a recipe for the correct way to do it--such as at this guy's site: http://members.tripod.com/~tomservo21/ or this one: http://www.mst3k.f2s.com/bots/servo/servo.html or this one: http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/3539/servo.html).Two of the Tom Servo's surround Mary Jo Pehl
After playing with the puppet look-alikes they took questions from the audience (which ranged from silly to obscure to obsessive). They were pretty good about trying to answer them, although they didn't get very serious for very long.Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, and Mike Nelson
Then someone asked if Mike could do his "Torgo" impersonation (a character in the movie Manos, Hands of Fate). Mike complied and then--shazaam! Manos himself appeared! (Someone had come to the convention in that particular costume.)
After the talk, we went for a quick snack and then Robert got in the autograph line for the MST3K guys (Laura found a comfy chair and read several books). Robert stood in line for about an hour and a half!
But the long wait was worth it. Robert had them sign his copy of the "Save MST3K" ad from the Satellite News website (we contributed money, so our name is in the ad). They stayed until everyone had an autograph (at least another hour). This puts them in the Penn & Teller Very Classy group of celebrities (Penn & Teller will stay in the lobby signing autographs after a show until everybody has left). They took as much time as each person wanted and were very good about posing for pictures and smiling.
We went to the bar to restore some of our precious lost fluids (we didn't want to get dehydrated!). We avail ourselves of the buffet, which is very good American Food (fried chicken and pork chops). We catch the first hour of the MST3K version of Laserblast and then head down to the "Masquerade," which is basically a costume contest.
After all this excitement, we were too pooped to party, so we dragged ourselves back to our room and crashed.