On the last day of CONvergence 2013, I lost my badge. I believe it fell off while I was being a back-up dancer for a karaoke performance of Skyfall. These things happen.
As I entered the main stage for the closing ceremonies, I had my ID out and my schedule of events to prove who I was. When I reached the volunteer at the front of the line, I started saying, “I understand if I can’t get in, I lost my badge and didn’t realize in time to get a new one, but–“
The volunteer stopped me and said, “I know who you are.”
I have a strong sense of constant guilt so I always expect “I know who you are” to be immediately followed by “And I know what you did.”
Instead the volunteer said, “Go ahead, Mr. Scrimshaw. I’ll see if someone can get you a martini.”
This is a short way to say, CONvergence 2013 was a great experience. I saw many great costumes including an adorable pink Dalek and a guy dressed as the Hulk trying to twerk. Some demons accidentally threw one of their prosthetic horns into my wife’s wine cup. They invented demon wine pong. They also agreed to buy my wife a new cup of wine. For demons, they were very reasonable.
I did 15 panels and shows with many awesome friends and collaborators. Highlights include, but are not limited to, recording a Doctor Who episode of my podcast Obsessed with Paul Cornell, Molly Glover, and C. Robert Cargill; the organized chaos of Drinking With Geeks; Comedy on the Internet (I finally got to do a panel with Rebecca Watson of the Skepchicks and as a fan of her work I was thrilled); My Monster (a one act play written and performed by myself and Bill Corbett, you can buy a copy of the script here), and an interview with Paul Cornell. The interview was planned as a One on One about Paul’s career, but Paul has a great policy to always have some amount of gender equity on his panels. So my wife, Sara, joined us for a great Two on One and the conversation was much richer for it.
It would take me another entire four day convention to describe everything that was great about this year’s CONvergence, so I want to focus on this: Professor Ass Lightning.
On Friday night, I recorded a new stand-up comedy show about superheroes called SUPER ISSUES. During the show, I described a new superhero named Professor Ass Lightning–a yoga instructor who developed the strange ability to shoot lightning out of his or her ass. I say “his or her” because both a male and female version of the character are featured in the show.
The character came about because I made a note on my smartphone that “all superhero names are better if you just add lightning.” But autocorrect apparently thinks “add” is a typo for “ass” and thus a hero was born. I used the idea of this ridiculous hero to poke fun at some of the tropes of grim, serious heroes.
I liked the idea and hoped others would, too. The laughs during the show indicated Professor Ass Lightning had made some fans. Indeed, the Professor did.
The next day, after a panel, I was delighted to discover that some industrious cosplayers had taken the time to create a Professor Ass Lightning costume based on the description in the show complete with yoga mat cape.
And here’s the back view with the titular bolt.
That was extremely cool. The panel after that, an artist brought me their awesome interpretation of Professor Ass Lightning.
Beautiful, haunting, and features the correct ass lightning sound effect from the show. ZWAPFFFT!
It was really exciting to get the immediate feedback that the show and the character had a true impact on the audience. SUPER ISSUES (featuring the adventures of Professor Ass Lightning) was recorded and if all went well, we’ll be releasing it as a comedy album a few months from now.
It was all personally gratifying but also a great example of why I love CONvergence. There’s such a spirit of adventure, excitement, and plain old absurdity that an idea can come falling out of someone’s mouth on Friday night and by Saturday afternoon the idea is on a piece of paper and on a human being and literally walking around the convention.
Alas, CONvergence is over, and all that’s left is to go untag photos on Facebook. BUT convention season is in full swing!
Next weekend, I’ll be doing stand-up and recording an episode of Obsessed with Paul and Storm at ConnectiCon. The weekend after that, I’ll be an attending pro at San Diego Comic-Con. Then a few weeks of this strange thing called the real world before heading off to Dragon*Con for a slew of panels and performances.
Until then, here’s a picture of Professor Ass Lightning shooting me in the face. Enjoy! If you can!