My wife, Gretchen, and I descended on Portland Thursday to partake of the first ever BizarroCon. We gave Forrest Armstrong a lift from the airport and met up with Carlton Mellick, Rose O'Keefe, Jeff Burk, Gina Ranalli and Garrett Cook at Powell's bookstore. They had copies of my books on the shelf at Powell's. I was kind of blown away. It had a little tag and everything like one of the employees had actually read the book. From there we went to the Edgefield in Troutdale, a beautifully scenic hotel/brewery. We were met with others including but not limited to: Bradley Sands, Eckhard Gerdes, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Cameron Pierce, Molly and Kevin Donihe. I was happy to see Kevin was as weird, sleep deprived and road weary as ever. I was also glad to finally meet Jeremy Robert Johnson and I will now offer this brief digression:
I have attended a couple of cons this year and this is how many conversations go:
Them: Hi, I'm So-and-so.
Me: Andersen Prunty. Andy.
Them: You have anything out?
Me: I have a couple of books with Eraserhead Press.
Them: Oh, bizarro, huh?
Them: Bizarro... That's like mustaches flying off people's faces and fucking things until there's an explosion of blood and possibly other mustaches, right?
Me: In a nutshell.
Them: I have read Jeremy Robert Johnson. What's he been working on?
Me: I don't know Jeremy. I've never met Jeremy.
Until now... and I can gladly unveil that he has been working on Prince Lemon. I won't even begin to describe it. It might be written. It might be audio. It might be performance art. I do know this: Prince Lemon is awesome. You will laugh until you melt and then you will seep into the ground with a sonic scream.
The next morning began with Jeremy blowing the conch (not a metaphor, the guy actually has a functioning conch shell). After the conch we went to various panels and workshops and had another exciting evening of hanging out at the Eraserhead Press release party (Apeshit by Carlton Mellick III, The Kissing Bug by Daniel Scott Buck, Rampaging Fuckers of Everything on the Crazy Shitting Planet of the Vomit Atmosphere by Mykle Hansen and Shark Hunting in Paradise Garden by Cameron Pierce). Afterward, Cameron Pierce challenged everyone to an arm wrestling contest. I don't know if you've ever met Cameron Pierce but he is an awesomely intimidating figure, with arm diameters only matched by the fabulosity of his hair. Needless to say, Pierce beat everyone. Then we loaded him into a car and took him to a local redneck bar where he defeated and beheaded 38 truckers, loggers and alpaca fuckers. Gretchen, Gina, Kevin and I escaped briefly to go to Voodoo Donuts, a really great donut shop in downtown Portland. We stole a local bus, filled it with homeless people and took them all back to the book release party to slurp up some of Rose's homebrewed beer. The evening ended in a haze of blood, exhaustion and regret.
The next day was filled with readings. Fruit flies invaded the reading room. The air was thick with them. I'm pretty sure I now have flies laying eggs in my brain. Such is life. The Wonderland Award ceremony was held later in the day. Congratulations to D. Harlan Wilson for winning in the category of Best Bizarro Novel for Dr. Identity and Gina Ranalli and Gus Fink for winning in the category of Best Bizarro Story Collection for 13 Thorns. It was worth it just to see the reclusive Gina Ranalli have to speak in front of all those people. Aided by her posse, she did a wonderful job. The Wonderland Awards were followed by the Bizarro Contest where entrants competed to see who was the most bizarro. I offered the crowd a taste of the vocal stylings of Jennifer Love Hewitt but they weren't biting. I guess I will just have to listen to her in the comforts of my home and cry softly for the victory that never was. Congratulations to Garrett Cook, however, who won the contest with his extremely bizarre stream-of-consciousness rantings.
We concluded the evening by burning down the hotel and taking Eckard Gerdes and Bradley Sands back to the airport. I hope everyone else survived. May there be a next year.