Sunday, June 27, 2010

Perth Supanova 2010 to infinity.

"Saturday. Sci fi convention."

As innocent as Ash's text was, the weekend-defining undertones it held could not be questioned. I'd never been to Supanova before and I had no idea what to expect besides a high concentration of nerd and cosplay in one place, which is an equation I have no trouble getting down with. The satisfaction I gained from the prospect of actually attending a sci-fi convention only grew stronger when I mentioned it to people that wouldn't dare set foot inside a Gametraders, let alone a convention full of costumes and hardcore anime experts. It seems as though regardless of how much the internet and video games and technology in general run everyone's lives, the general public (or 'norms' as they're now referred to) are still afraid to accept that unless you're in a varsity jacket and a soft top jeep with Maroon 5 on full blast, it's no longer kosher to persecute someone because their general interests differ from yours or because they happen to enjoy dressing up as Japanese schoolgirls with ridiculously large swords once a year.

Doesn't matter, I went and they didn't so I win by default.

I got there a little later than the group I was meeting. I put this down to the debaucherous evening prior and an extended mini-ring dunk session that went longer than extended. That, and Transperth. Of course on the one day of the year I actually need to be somewhere on time the fucking trains aren't running. The replacement bus was useless, the driver had no idea where he was going and the only reason I ended up remotely close to the Claremont showgrounds was an old lady sat next to the driver who happened to know Perth's entire geography street for street. Everyone on the bus was yelling at her and disagreeing with her directions but she just sat there like a trooper, channeling her inner google maps and simultaneously shutting down the ignorant passengers with her extra-terrestrial knowledge of the Western Suburbs. She actually started glowing at one stage, which got me even more excited.

After an inconveniently long walk I entered the showgrounds and was immediately greeted by a very convincing Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach. They were just walking around like whatever, carrying showbags and chatting quietly amongst themselves. I imagine they were discussing the benefits of flower power and how much of a jerk Bowser is when he's drunk. As I ventured deeper into the grounds things became even more surreal. The effort these people had gone to with their costumes was admirable and envy-inducing. I seriously can't describe how entertaining it is to see all your favourite cartoon, video game and film characters all just hanging out smoking cigarettes and acting out epic battles with inflatable swords. So much better than walking through the city and seeing all your favorite cartoon, video game and film characters all just hanging out smoking cigarettes and acting out epic battles with inflatable swords.

I saw my friend William in the smoking section and he informed me of the $25 entry fee and the pointlessness of parting with said fee considering my late arrival. William's a resourceful fellow though and managed to fashion a brand new media pass out of an old media pass and a little teamwork. As soon as we entered we had to go straight to the cosplay finals because that's where everyone else was. With this weekend being our collective first or second supanova experiences I expected the group to be sitting cautiously in the middle-back rows. That way as you become a more recognized member of the cosplay scene you can move a few rows forward every year. I was wrong. William escorted me to the very front row where Ash, Benny, Eliott and Tim were all sat on the floor, completely mesmerized by the dedication of the finalists on stage. We finally realized the meaning of life and went to heaven at the same time.

Even more mesmerizing though, was the zany and equally charming MC for the proceedings. He was a short guy with the most epic sideburns I have ever seen. Considering the fact I was at a sci-fi convention, the sideburn competition was stiff and this particular MC's cheek warmers were probably the reason he got the job. He was wearing a totally sweet purple blazer and some skate shoes as well, which perfectly accompanied the aspiring comedian/common forum moderator vibe he was laying down. Armed with the words 'awesome' and 'great', he was a capable host and had all of us rolling in the aisles with his unique mix of inside jokes and anime knowledge. He even got some flowers from a couple of swedish maids. At the end of the ceremony we all agreed that he deserved them.

Afterwards we were free to roam the grounds and checked out a few stalls before squeezing into Ash's car (I pretended it was his mum's minivan for effect) and making our way home, being sure to make as many references to pop culture as possible whilst planning our costumes for next year. So impressed by Supanova 2010 I was, that I made a return trip the following day for a second dose of euphoria. The second day was even better than the first (not possible, I know). Ash had taken a similar initiative and I located him and Sean (who was possibly more blown away by the convention than all of us put together, he was actually convulsing at one stage) who were both standing in line to see the master of human produced sound effects, Michael Winslow. I don't even want to talk about how amazing that was. I will say he reproduced the sound for an the entire Star Wars episode IV tie-fighter attack scene using only his voice box and a fine grasp of topical comedy. He did so much other amazing stuff but you weren't there so I'm not going to tell you what they were. I brought my other friends Tim, Matt and Blake to the second day as well, they fainted 14 times each which was understandable.

With an Eliza Dushku sighting towards the end and a few more gasps at even more incredible costumes, we were spent. I had officially reached nerdgasm. To balance the weekend out we went skateboarding at the nearby Claremont park and our status as life all-rounders was re-instated. Supanova is now my new favorite place in the world. The only time I've ever felt so surrounded by genius and universal culture is any time I play video games, which is great because that's a huge part of the Supanova aesthetic. There were no businessmen there, no bus drivers, no football players and only a few babies, but they were in costume as well so I gave them a pass. If any of you have an ounce of interest in pop culture and awesomeness, I suggest you book the next Supanova weekend off. Single men would especially be encouraged to attend on the strength of the girls in attendance, most of whom are dressed as scantily clad comic book characters ftw. There's seriously something there for everyone at Supanova, granted you aren't a businessman, a bus driver or a football player.

*All photos courtesy of Ash and his newly formed cosplay photography company, CosVision.