HOW BARBEE GOT HIS GROOVE BACK (at BizarroCon ’10)

Last weekend I went to BizarroCon.  Everything I write in this report is true, real, and totally happened.  Thus is the tale of BizarroCon 2010…..

THURSDAY

My wife and I caught a ride to Atlanta and began the trek to Portland.  Before our plane takes off, we stuff our faces with a slice of Sbarro, which is damn good pizza.  Around 4:00pm we board our flight, and thank the gods because there are mini-TVs in all the seats.  I watch some CNN before settling on Comedy Central for some of my favorite cartoons.  Flying doesn’t normally agree with me, but cartoons always make me happy, so the trip wasn’t so bad.  When we arrived in Portland, we took a cab to the beautiful Edgefield hotel.  The cab driver was a Russian guy who charged us forty bucks.  Sonya and I hurried into Edgefield and checked into our room, which was on the third floor and very nice.  We hurried downstairs to catch the other bizarros in the winery for a live performance by the great Andrew Goldfarb.  We said hello to Kevin Shamel and Eric Hendrixson, and caught the tail end of Goldfarb’s show.  Then we had some much-needed food with Nicole Cushing and her husband at the Power Station restaurant.  There was some more mingling, and much hugging, and before long Sonya and I had to sleep….

FRIDAY

I woke up early for the bizarro workshops.  I had a story concept to present, but something that morning made me lethargic and apathetic.  I didn’t want to get out of bed, or even leave my room.  But I slapped myself in the face a few times and forged ahead.  Sometimes we have to fight against our baser instincts, like laziness, in order to actually accomplish things.  So I hurried down to the first workshop, led by Carlton Mellick III, Jeremy Robert Johnson, and John Skipp.  I ate some nice biscuits and gravy during the class.  And wouldn’t you know it?  John Skipp REALLY liked my concept.  A lot of the class did.  Now filled with gravy and confidence, I knew things were looking up.  Troy Chambers even began stalking me that day.  I made it through to the next workshop and had my wife Sonya sit in as my assistant for John Skipp’s “CHUNK-STYLE PLOTTING”.  Once again, he liked my story and he REALLY liked Sonya’s handwriting.  Hopefully said story will see the light of day, but it’s not the only good idea I have.  Later that day, we attended the Bizarro Writer’s Association meeting, then headed over to the Power Station for food and a secret meeting with CM3 himself.  We were terribly nervous about that meeting, as we’d been looking forward to it since first being published in the NBAS a year ago.  But my pal Shamel told Sonya and I to relax.  We went and sat down with Carlton Mellick and he offered me a spot in Eraserhead as a bizarro author.  I was insanely happy.  We talked a bit about what this offer meant.  Mellick was generous with his knowledge, and I thanked him profusely.  I would’ve drunk a celebratory beer, but I promised Sonya I’d refrain from drinking for the weekend (since I’m not much of a drinker anyway).  Afterward that totally surreal moment, Sonya and I hung out with Kevin Shamel and Jeremy Robert Johnson, who is one of the smartest/funniest bastards on the planet.  And now that he’s procreating, normal humanity’s days are quite numbered.  It was quite fun and a load off my mind.  I try not to think about it lest I become drunk with power.  In my younger days, I figured it was impossible for something like this to happen.  I’m extremely happy about being “an official bizarro author,” and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  Later that evening, I gave a customized action figure to Kevin Shamel, because it was a rotten little animal superhero and the most appropriate gift I could imagine.   I also gave a weird squid/punk/warrior action figure to Carlton and Rose, just to express my eternal gratitude to them…..

SATURDAY

Still on Eastern Time, I was wide awake around 7:00am.  It was hard for me to stay up and party into the night with everyone, and I missed that.  But I comforted myself with free breakfast.  I feasted on pork and fruit and croissants and coffee and then we all wrote a story using the randomized story generator method.  We had an hour to write 1,000 words, and I wrote a story about an electrician in an orange juice factory who must overcome a mysterious outbreak of banisters.  It was totally dumb, and I wound up drowning my electrician in orange juice by the end.  The rest of the day I got to hang out with lots of people, including some of the new NBAS’ers (otherwise known as the Magnificent Seven).  These are some very creative boys and girls, and I highly recommend checking out their books.   Sonya and I were also able to catch up on our wish list.  For reasons of poverty, we were unable to get Chris Genoa’s new book or any of the NBAS books.  I also had my heart set on getting a copy of Mykle Hansen’s “Cannibal’s Guide to Ethical Living,” but every copy was snatched up before I could get one.  But we totally WILL get all those books soon, because I know they’re going to be awesome.  Then I had a reading, along with some authors I really admire like Cody Goodfellow and Robert Devereaux.  Everyone seemed to like my reading, and Cody Goodfellow even told me how much he liked my story concept from John Skipp’s class.  Goodfellow is a really smart writer and a damn cool guy to boot, so it became much harder to suppress my ever-growing ego.  Later that day I found Sonya talking with Robert Devereaux, of whom we’re both huge fans.  I hung out with him a bit also, and Sonya and I agreed that he’s an extremely nice man who happens to write extremely disturbing fiction.  My favorite kind of author.  Later that night was the main event of BizarroCon: the Showdown.  Jeff Burk showed us his Super Giant Monster Time game show performance, and everyone enjoyed the ritualistic “Ask Kevin Donihe” segment (but then again I’d be entertained watching Donihe read the phone book, so I’m biased).  Jeremy Robert Johnson gave my wife tax advice (told you he was smart) and insulted me several times, for which I was very honored.  Since Halloween is our anniversary, I bought Sonya a super-creepy felt painting by Andrew Goldfarb.  I can’t express how awesome that guys is.  A true renaissance man.  Anyway, I entered into the Showdown, and with all the coffee I’d been drinking, I feared I’d pee myself.  Luckily I did not, and I was able to say a few lines in my Christopher Walken voice just to prove that I could.  My Showdown performance went as well as can be expected.  I didn’t win, but then again I didn’t wear a flamingo costume, a cow-pope costume, or a tin foil Road Warrior costume, so I guess I never had a chance.  Totally exhausted, Sonya and I turned in for the night…..

SUNDAY

We arose the last day, and prepared for our flight, which left at noon.  Sonya and I checked out of Edgefield and stood in the lobby, saying goodbye to all our bizarro pals.  I didn’t get to say goodbye to everyone (or hello to everyone for that matter), which sucked.  If you were at BizarroCon and I didn’t get any bonding time with you, know that Uncle Dave totally likes you in the most nonthreatening way possible.  Around 10:00am, Sonya and I caught a cab to the airport with the help of my fellow Horseman Patrick Wensink.  We checked into the airport and chatted with Patrick while we waited for the plane.  Despite both being in the original NBAS, I never got a chance to really hang out with Pat last year.  And I was missing out, because he’s a cool guy.  We took our flight, and it DIDN’T have mini-TVs in the seats.  But that was okay, as I had plenty of reading material.  During the flight I read “Clockwork Girl” by Athena Villaverde in the Bizarro Starter Kit Purple.  We landed in Atlanta at around 7:00pm and said goodbye to Patrick.  He had to wait for his next flight up to Louisville.  Sonya and I caught a shuttle ride to Forsyth and JUST BARELY got home before “Dexter” started up.  As we depressurized from our insanely awesome trip, it felt like we went down the rabbit hole just for the weekend, and we’d been spit back out into reality before we’d even gotten to see all the weirdness that was down there.  But I think that every time you go to BizarroCon, you lose your grip on reality a little bit at a time.  That’s what makes it so great.  Hope to see everybody again next year.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: