Being a geek doesnâ??t imply being a social leper anymore. Perhaps itâ??s because pop culture loves the zero-to-hero storyline, where the smart, sensitive and quirky geek who stays true to himself bests the school bully and gets the girl. For whatever reason, the heyday of the all-American jocks and cheerleaders seem to be over, with geek chic on the rise.
An integral aspect of geek culture is conventions. We all know about Star Trek conventions for Trekkies and Twilight conventions for TwiHard fans. But have you heard of some these more obscure conventions, who for some reason seem to remain so popular?
Anthrocon is the world’s largest convention for people who love anthropomorphics, which are humanlike animal characters with humanlike features â?? in other words cartoon animals who can walk and talk. The theme for Anthrocon 2013, is “The Fast and the Furriousâ?.
If you havenâ??t seen the Coen Brotherâ??s comedy The Big Lebowski, youâ??ve missed out. However, as cool as the The Dude is, how does a 1998 film maintain a dedicated following willing to attend annual conventions 15 years on? Nonetheless, man, the Lebowski Fest continues to celebrate the cult classic with white Russians and bowling.
Gathering of the Gargoyles
Gargolyes was a short-lived Disney cartoon cancelled in 1996. Somehow, the fan base was so loyal and dedicated that the annual Gathering of the Gargoyles remained a popular event from 1997 all the way into 2009.
The fact that there may be conventions of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is in no way unexpected, as there are legions of girls who idealise the franchise. But a convention specifically for men from their teen years through adulthood who call themselves Bronies is not so expected. One of the most recent â??maneâ? events of BronyCon was the comedy show, â??Whose Line Is It Anypony?â?
Blobfest is a convention held annually in honour of the 1958 film, The Blob. Yip, The Blob has an annual convention more than half a decade on in the town of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania â?? one of the filming locations. Activities include a re-enactment of the scene in which cinemagoers run screaming from the town’s theatre.
So Why Do We Have These Obscure Conventions?
Perhaps these cartoons, films and characters have some sort of secret quality to them that is lost on most â??normalâ? folk, and these conventions provide a platform for bringing the enlightened few together. Perhaps geeking out at run of the mill comic-cons became too mainstream. Perhaps itâ??s a badge of pride, that shows that youâ??re not ashamed to have interests out of the norm, and that youâ??re not just a black sheep, but a pink and purple polka dotted My Little Pony sheep.
Whatever the reason and no matter how bizarre or obscure we might think them, these conventions show that everyone has the need to seek out like-minded people to share a love. An interesting point would be whether these genres would still inspire such ardent devotion if there werenâ??t regular gatherings giving that sense of community and identity. Perhaps then, whatâ??s important isnâ??t so much simply the topic people celebrate, but the chance to celebrate it with others. Where the weird in me meets the weird in you.
After making use of a conference venue Cape Town, Queenie Bates an avid researcher and writer, felt inspired to find out some of the more unusual events conference venues have witnessed.