Skip

Look, Mildred, he's a lieutenant colonel! And she's got green hair!
February 14, 2010 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Last night at the Gaylord National hotel across the Potomac from Washington, DC, a strange confluence of events occurred.

In one of the large conference rooms, Family Life was holding a Christian-centered marriage enrichment conference. Across the hotel in the main ballroom, a large group of medium- and high-ranking officers and enlisted personnel from all five branches of the military gathered for the annual Wallow of the Military Order of the Carabao, an organization apparently dedicated to "fellowship" (i.e., hooch) and the creation of esprit de corps (mainly, so far as I can tell, by mocking the really high-ranking brass, military contractors and the usual military and political nonsense).

Taking over the rest of the hotel were the costumed hordes of Katsucon, an eclectic convention of anime fans, cosplay enthusiasts and gamers. Folks with seven-foot-long battle-axes and odd-looking firearms filled all the nooks and crannies of the hotel's main atrium; the TVs in the sports bar were all showing anime, and the casual spectator was treated to a bizarre crossroads of modern American culture. (Some links mildly NSFW)

Maryland retirees on Rascals scooting past Master Sergeants with sleeves full of chevrons and battalions of costumed, well, I'm not sure what-all. It was, in short, a total mind-fuck. Great fun.
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare (57 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
A christian centered marriage enrichment conference held at the gaylord? Okay.
posted by milnak at 11:11 AM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


This would pass as a great episode of This American Life
posted by wheelieman at 11:14 AM on February 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


this could only be solved with a Dance FIght!
posted by The Whelk at 11:15 AM on February 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


I have to ask: Does the Gaylord hotel chain offer steep discounts to conservatives and the military or something? Every conservative get together I've heard of in recent memory has been at one of the hotels, particularly the Gaylord Opryland (which sounds even more gay). The Daily Show always gets in a few cheap cracks, but I'm seriously starting to wonder why the conservatives keep on setting themselves up like this.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:16 AM on February 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nthing TAL, if only it includes a battle-weary sergeant saying something to the effect of, "These kids are the reason America is in the toilet."
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:17 AM on February 14, 2010


Man, I bet the hookup scene at that thing was fucking insane.
posted by box at 11:18 AM on February 14, 2010 [11 favorites]


More surreal still, my friends, more surreal still (start reading early on 2/13):

"Omg should I just interrupt the convention and start a fist pumping competition?! I just might have too... Ill tell yoda to get on the MC"

posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:18 AM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some links mildly NSFW

It would help if you could clarify which links those are.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:18 AM on February 14, 2010


>This si fi conv was in maryland and I only passed thru it but u have to understand these people. They live in fantasy not reality!

Clearly she went into the wrong hall...
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:22 AM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was hoping this would all end up in a drunken orgy, and Valentine's Day would be saved.
posted by not_on_display at 11:23 AM on February 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


A few years ago, I attended Dragon Con, a humongous sci-fi convention held each year in downtown Atlanta. Strangely enough, the Salvation Army decided to hold their worldwide convention the same weekend, in the same area.

Not knowing about the Salvation Army thing, a few friends planned a room party with a Catholic imagery theme. I dressed as a priest, and a female friend of mine, who accompanied me to the party, was dressed as a nun. Riding up in the elevator, someone asked us if we were with the Salvation Army. My response:

"Nope. We're with the Salvation Air Force."
posted by deadmessenger at 11:28 AM on February 14, 2010 [32 favorites]


folks with seven-foot-long battle-axes

Dude, gunblades.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:29 AM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher said:

Some links mildly NSFW

It would help if you could clarify which links those are.


None of the ones I linked to directly, and no partial or full nudity anywhere, but some mightily suggestive stuff is only a click or two away. Wasn't sure how to denote this and am open to suggestions.
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 11:32 AM on February 14, 2010


One year, CoastCon in Mississippi was held at the same venue with a dog show and a gun show. We scared the dog guys, the gun guys scared us.
posted by thebrokedown at 11:40 AM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Suggestive stuff is only a click or two away? That's pretty much true across the entire internet, isn't it?
posted by box at 11:40 AM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


box said:

Suggestive stuff is only a click or two away? That's pretty much true across the entire internet, isn't it?

Well, within a couple of the larger Flickr groups I linked are some risque outfits. That's about it -- just wanted to make sure folks knew there was some content within those links that you might not want the boss to see.

And with that said, ducking out of the thread.
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 11:46 AM on February 14, 2010


Heh. I once worked someplace that was a block from Toronto's gay village and the weekend of Pride, half of the beds were taken up by people in town for the parade and the carousing. The other half were people in town for an international Seventh Day Adventists' conference. Some good conversations in the elevator that weekend too, I imagine.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:50 AM on February 14, 2010


Pat Robertson, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a guy dressed up as Pikachu walk into the Gaylord Hotel...
posted by sallybrown at 11:57 AM on February 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


Top it all off with the fact that the Gaylord National is like a giant terrarium overlooking a "main street"-styled strip mall with added condos (in other words, the creepiest and most lifeless planned community ever) and you have a perfect parfait of surreality.
posted by EvaDestruction at 12:00 PM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's somebody who thought ahead and wore an outfit appropriate for all three conventions.
posted by benzenedream at 12:00 PM on February 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


With a little work we can make these "coincidences" a little less coincidental, no? When's the next Tea Party shinding -- perhaps we could accidentally on purpose arrange an American Socialists for the Promotion of Atheism conference to go on right next to it.
posted by contessa at 12:01 PM on February 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Gaylord National+"Main Street" strip mall+Anime Convention Cosplay+Christian Marriage Enrichment Seminar+drunk military brass = The new version of The Prisoner that SHOULD have been made, instead of the one we got.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:11 PM on February 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


For the last several years, the Origins gaming/sf convention in Columbus, OH has coincided with Pride weekend. The first time I attended Origins, we ducked out of the convention center for lunch and unexpectedly found ourselves in the middle of the Pride Parade crowd. I'm still not sure which event had the better costumes.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:12 PM on February 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Anyone who's chuckling at the confluence of Christian fundamentalist values and "Gaylord": Edward Gaylord, the founder of the Daily Oklahoman, and his descendants are well-known and well-heeled rightwingers, so the confluence is not all that odd. Gaylord family properties include not only the Gaylord Hotel chain (and a ton of other real estate here in Nashville), but the Grand Ole Opry, CMT (Country Music Channel), and Spike TV, and their name's on the stadium of the Oklahoma Sooners (and a bunch of other stuff all over Oklahoma). Laugh and hurf-durf all you want. They're laughing all the way to the bank.
posted by blucevalo at 12:26 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Call me a grump and an old fogie (despite my actual age), but real fan conventions should be non-profit and run for, with, and by the fans themselves. And the distinction between "fans" and "pros" should be nebulous or non-existent. Bah, humbug.
posted by Justinian at 12:34 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, Spike TV is owned by uber-rich right wing old money?

It makes sense when I think about it, though.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:37 PM on February 14, 2010


Gaylord is a funny name. Ain't no amount of money or property ownership gonna make that go away.
posted by found missing at 12:41 PM on February 14, 2010


They're laughing all the way to the bank.

more like sashaying all the way to the bank amirite (NOT GAYLORD-IST)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:43 PM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


This reminds me of a story from a blizzard in the mid-90s, where the Orlando Magic team bus, including Shaquille O'Neal at the time, ended up at small hotel (think Ramada Inn) in the middle of nowhere. The hotel was hosting a Jewish wedding. Also stranded at the same hotel was the entire Marilyn Manson tour retinue.

Shaq was apparently giving autographs to blue-haired old ladies, while Penny Hardaway was playing darts with Twiggy Ramirez.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:53 PM on February 14, 2010 [11 favorites]


The ghost of Hunter S. Thompson was obviously having the time of his life....
posted by Skygazer at 1:03 PM on February 14, 2010


Okay, MetaFilter needs to set up some sort of Key Party to go with this.

You send Matt a grand in the mail, and then he sends back a plane ticket, costume, prepaid phone and reservation for a hotel room. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO CHECK WHAT CONVENTIONS/MEETINGS WILL OCCUR AT THAT HOTEL.

Take the plane ticket and enter the hotel. You then get a call from Matt on the prepaid phone, telling you to go to the conventional hall in the provided costume. Who will be there? Mormons? Trekkies? Moonies? Cat ladies? Civil War re-enacters?

Then, you photograph and document the madness for MetaTalk.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:05 PM on February 14, 2010 [13 favorites]


I'm in. Do we get to fake accents? I love faking an accent.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:08 PM on February 14, 2010


Re: Main Street: I'm starting to wonder if the neoliberals and neocons don't so much want to destroy the middle class as leave a void where the middle class was and then manufacture a newer, better middle class to replace it.

I'm not sure if that's better or worse than just trying to create a society of haves and have nots.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:08 PM on February 14, 2010


Gaylord is a funny name. Ain't no amount of money or property ownership gonna make that go away.

There's a middle class, Republican voting neighborhood in my city called Gaywood, and there are streets named after opera composers.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:12 PM on February 14, 2010


Guys in the "not" link appear to be dressed as Mondo 2000.
posted by Artw at 1:12 PM on February 14, 2010


One year, CoastCon in Mississippi was held at the same venue with a dog show and a gun show. We scared the dog guys, the gun guys scared us.

Sounds kind of like a David Allan Coe song:
COUNTRY DEEJAYS KNOWS THAT I'M AN OUTLAW
THEY'D NEVER COME TO SEE ME IN THIS DIVE
WHERE BIKERS STARE AT COWBOYS
WHO ARE LAUGHING' AT THE HIPPIES
WHO ARE PRAYING' THEY'LL GET OUT OF HERE ALIVE

posted by NoMich at 1:30 PM on February 14, 2010


can someone please link directly to the NSFW stuff, so I can be sure to "avoid" it?
posted by rebent at 1:34 PM on February 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Gaylord is a funny name.

Ain't any argument from me there.
posted by blucevalo at 1:36 PM on February 14, 2010


FYI, Gaylord sold CMT and what is now Spike TV (when it was The Nashville Network) to Viacom (MTV/Comedy Central/used-to-own-CBS) a dozen years ago, about the same time Opryland closed down. But hey, CBS used to own what's now Sony Records, MTV was started by a partnership of TimeWarner and American Express, and ABC Family was originally owned by Pat Robertson (contractually, they can't kick 700 Club off the channel until 2199) and briefly owned by Fox/NewsCorp.

CABLE TV: You're probably upset with the wrong mega-corporation.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:41 PM on February 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, MetaFilter needs to set up some sort of Key Party to go with this.

You know there's another meaning of "key party" I think you should be aware of.
posted by mendel at 1:50 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Buncha damn weirdos, all of 'em.
posted by electroboy at 2:08 PM on February 14, 2010


Okay, okay, so not a key party. We'll call it an, uh, a tea party.
posted by box at 2:16 PM on February 14, 2010


Best Pyro Ever. (mildly nsfw)
posted by Big_B at 2:43 PM on February 14, 2010


Maybe this makes me a bad person, but I found Fat Chun-Li pretty funny.
posted by delmoi at 3:05 PM on February 14, 2010


I thought we performance artists in the Eighties were cutting the edge of weirdness, but what with cosplay, furries, and, hell, the Military Order of the Caraboa, we were poseurs, pikers, pissants.
posted by kozad at 3:34 PM on February 14, 2010


I like to think this card was stolen from the Christian group.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:38 PM on February 14, 2010


I should really go to one of these, but cosplay as an angry and confused outsider who's there for the UFO conference down the hall.

MetaFilter has got me to consider the one thing I thought I'd never do: go to an anime convention.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:41 PM on February 14, 2010


MetaFilter has got me to consider the one thing I thought I'd never do: go to an anime convention.

No, you did that all on your own. Congratulations?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:51 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did I miss the pictures of all three groups intermingled?
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 4:46 PM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


1999 was the first year that Otakon was held in the Baltimore Convention Center. It only had half of the place to itself, though, as the other half was occupied by a Nation of Islam convention. BCC staff were working overtime trying to keep the two conventions separated.

The weekend was plagued by several false fire alarms, which forced everybody to evacuate the entire complex-- a very large hassle, as you might imagine. BCC management assumed that the alarms were being pulled by rowdy kids and were considering banning Otakon from the premises in the future.

The truth came out later. You see, the Nation of Islam convention was only for men. While the men attended lectures and so forth, their wives and children were placed in a small room equipped with chairs and a water cooler, where they were expected to remain quietly until their husbands came to retrieve them. Several women in the room, desperate for some fresh air and a change of scenery, instructed their small children to pull the fire alarms.

Otakon has been held at the BCC every year since. To my knowledge, the Nation of Islam convention has not been held there again.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:53 PM on February 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Katsucon was the most poorly-organized and run con I've ever been too. I know the weather's been bad and it was a new location, but that whole thing was just a mess. Signage was nearly non-existent and the staff was grumpy (when they could be found).

I really should've turned around when I saw they wanted my name and address (without saying why) in order to take my money to let me into the con.

I'm glad other people had fun -- good for them -- but I know I'm not going to be back.
posted by darksong at 5:27 PM on February 14, 2010


Papa Bell, I remember reading that exact story. You forgot something. Also snowed in at that tiny hotel in the middle of nowhere with everyone else (Manson, the Orlando Magic, and the wedding party): the entire touring cast of Sesame Street Live.

hah, thank you google.. NYT: "Remember the bar scene from 'Star Wars' with all the animals?" Jon Koncak, the Magic's backup center, said yesterday in a telephone interview. "That's what it looked like last night. It was the twilight zone, man. A bunch of basketball players, Sesame Street and some guy with green hair dressed like the grim reaper, chain-smoking. You needed a video camera to believe it. I'm still trying to deal with it."
posted by citron at 7:04 PM on February 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


The host hotel for Twangfest used to play host to some kind of Baptist Convention and Beat Me in St. Louis, an S&M convention, all on the same weekend.

Both the Baptists and the kinksters appear to have moved to either other weekends or other venues, since I don't recall seeing either of them last year. Now it's all just music fans who are eating wuffles in the breakfast room and thinking of maybe going to bed soon right around the time all the pilots are getting up and going to work.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:30 PM on February 14, 2010


Sorry to hear that, darksong. I'm one of the behind-the-scenes lackeys, so I don't get down to the floor much. The weather did mess up some stuff in non-obvious ways. The convention forums do usually have threads after the con for discussion of issues, if you'd like to offer criticism.

That said, I'm actually posting this from the Gaylord, having returned from the Katsucon staff dinner. Tomorrow, we'll drive home.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:40 PM on February 14, 2010


I need to go to more random mid-sized conventions in major cities for coincidences like. A major convention hall (like Philadelphia) can hold a number of conventions simultaneously, and as loss as there isn't a single mega-con going on, you end up with 3-5 vastly different groups of highly eclectic/specialized people.

You could have a hotel floor with medical researchers, the BDSM play party, LARP sessions spilling in to the hallways, and oh so much more.
posted by Theta States at 11:11 PM on February 14, 2010


Wow, retinal damage: activate! I'd loooove to hear the origin story on that one. "Well, we felt Rainbow Brite was too dour and that LSD requires unnecessary proximity, so why not just roll some glitterbug fur in unicorn paste and apply it to a witches brew of saccharine while using Aqua's Cartoon Heroes as an incantation backbeat?"

DC area pedantry: National Harbor isn't across the Potomac from the District, it's on the same side...just across the Maryland state line.
posted by kittyprecious at 6:54 AM on February 15, 2010


Went to a Rocky Horror convention last year that was sharing a small convention-oriented theme hotel with a KNIFE SHOW. The second day, we browsed through the knife show; the organizers were pleased as punch to let us look around, saying that all conventioneers at that hotel were welcome at each others' things, and promised to check out the movies with the people playing funny dress-up. We picked up a few neat old knives, pretended to not see the tables with weird anti-Obama stuff, and left, stoked to tell our friends about how nice the knife show people were.

Unfortunately, I heard later that when the knife people came to look in at one of the screenings at the convention I was at, the organizers were kind of dicks. Go figure.
posted by jtron at 7:47 AM on February 15, 2010


« Older Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?   |   Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip! Blip! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post