Friday, July 04, 2008

Slayage Conference In Portraiture

I like to make things sound more important than they are. :)

Here, finally are the piccies of my trip to Arkansas for the 2008 Slayage Conference (thanks to my friend Sue, who pretty much took all of them). I talked about the conference extensively in seven other blog posts, which you can read here. First, here is the infamous Ta Molly's, the restaurant with the Irish name and the "Mexican" food. (Read: processed gloop over a burrito) But we were hungry, and it worked. Even if it was a dry county and there were no margaritas to go with it.

The next day we ate at the Sonic burger place, a drive-in (or walk-up, which is how we used it). Across the street was "God's House." As Ryan noted, it was empty. It cast an eerie (yet giggly) pall over our lunch. We must have referred to it half a dozen times over the next few days. "Yes, but we ARE close to God's House, so..."

Our first night we stayed at the Hampton (you can see the side of the hotel in the Ta Molly's pic, which shows you how close we were to the restaurant). The next day we were moved to Captain Henderson House, which was an absolutely GORGEOUS mansion located across the street from the university. Here are some views of it from the outside.

This picture on the left shows you how close it was to the university (well, okay, no it doesn't, but see all those trees on the right? Hidden behind those is the college). We'd just have to walk across the street and across the beautiful campus to get to the building where most of the talks took place. On the right, at the end of that veranda you'll see the table where we spent a few nights chatting with the other keynote speakers and the conference organizers about television, politics, and other pop culture topics. I miss that veranda...

Here I am with my traveling buddy, Sue. Are we the most adorable conference-goers you've seen or what? Okay, we might have some competition with our buddies from the shuttle, Ryan and Ian. Here we are standing outside the Burger Barn (moments before walking up to the door and realizing they're CLOSED on Sundays). Ian's in the blue shirt, Ryan is on the right. I forgot to mention one of the funniest things Sue and I saw, and it was at the Burger Barn a couple of nights earlier: when we were waiting by the front door to be seated, we were standing next to these two huge baskets, one full of matches, and one full of mints. If you hold your arms out in front of you and make a large circle by touching your index fingers together, that's as big as the baskets were. This woman with a gigantic purse came up and dumped the contents of both baskets into it! (She left a handful of mints and a couple of matchboxes, so she wouldn't look greedy or anything...) It was hysterical. Anyway, back to US. Here we are goofing around with a Slayage Registration sign. (We put it back when we were done.) Hey, you can't go to a Buffy conference and NOT take a picture of someone pretend-staking another person!

Now, I think the thing I talked more about than anything else was the ginormous bugs they have there. So now, behold: one of... THE BUGS.

We put the beer bottle there so you'd have some perspective, but I should note... that beer bottle was the size of me. Yes. Seriously, it TOTALLY WAS. Therefore, as I said earlier, that bug is literally the size of my foot. Hey! I heard that! I am TOO telling the truth! OK, I'm not. But the bugs were still huge and scary. HUGE.

Okay, more fun. I mentioned the awesome portraits of the Henderson beauty queens, and here they are! As Sue says, they're very Twin Peaks. I also mentioned numerous times that Henderson was in a dry county, which shocked everyone. Here is Sue's contraband bottle of wine, hidden so cleverly in this brown paper bag. (She carried it around all weekend and would occasionally lean down under one of the conference tables to take a slug. She's such a boozer. She says that because I don't drink it always makes her feel MORE like one. Oh, Sue... the first step to overcoming your problem is taking responsibility for it...) I reassured her it was well-masked in the bag, and everyone would assume it was her laptop.

Here is what Captain Henderson house looks like when you first walk in. Apparently the majority of their business is weddings. Who wouldn't dream of descending those stairs in a bridal gown? And this was the sitting room just off the front entrance, complete with a grand piano. I stroked the keys, but didn't play it. I was deeply in love with it.

This is the gang of lovelies at breakfast at the B&B. On the left is Elizabeth, Rhonda, and Mary Alice. On the left, starting closest to the camera, is me, Matthew, David Lavery (with his back to us ALL), and Jeanine Basinger, who is sort of obscured. She was no doubt talking about something very fascinating and amazing, and was just about to do her keynote on Joss Whedon. Matthew and I, however, were embroiled in a discussion on David Bowie, so we had more important things to discuss at this moment.

On the last day, Matthew took Sue and I to the amazingly titled Pig Pit, which everyone had been joking about the entire weekend. Sue and I split a sandwich because we weren't that hungry, but I still dream of it. I would go back to Arkadelphia in a heartbeat just to have a sandwich at this place, it was amazing. (That's Matthew and I standing in the parking lot while Sue takes the pic... she loves taking pictures of my butt.) And here I am on the plane, pointing to my lovely seatmate, the toilette. Yes, we were seated in the very back row. Had the plane broken in half over a mysterious island, I would have been in the tail section. But I would have been a WAY more effective leader than Ana Lucia.

I shall leave you with the sign that hangs over the entrance to the Burger Barn. I'm happy to say, I don't feel like a stranger to those parts anymore.


Ian K. said...

This is great! I am so excited to finally have pictures to affirm those great memories...we so need to have a reunion special, Nikki...and definitely before 10 or 20 years.

Cedar said...

LOL. Okay, Nikki, you've made my day today with this post (despite my veranda envy). Over at the Hampton hotel, we too drank some not-so-well-hidden-in-a-brown paper-bag wine, thanks to a savvy attendee who made a trip to the Hot Springs' liquor store and generously shared her purchases. (Thanks again, B.!) In the lobby, we watched DVDs while sipping our "tea"--not as wonderful as beer on a veranda perhaps, but we saw no sign of giant bugs, and we managed to watch at least six episodes of Buffy and Angel over two nights of festivities.

Ryan said...

I love it!

And I second Ian's request for a reunion. I can't wait for friends to see these.

Nikki Stafford said...

Ian K: Ooh, yes, a reunion special! Can we wear our matching glitter outfits with the flare pants? I want to be Jan.

Cedar: Yes, I think it was Hot Springs where we bought drinks, too! Sue even offered to buy drinks for those under 21 (sheesh, on top of everything else, she's an ENABLER!)

Ryan: I'm with you guys. Let's say... 2010? Sacramento, maybe? We'll even let Joss come along. ;)

Cedar said...

Next time at Slayage...
(That's what I kept saying after 2006 too!)

The Chapati Kid said...

The Henderson house staircase looks like the house staircase from Six Feet Under...

Sue K. said...

Ah - such great memories - definitely need a reunion special Ian and Ryan! Thanks for divulging my (not so secret now) secret alcholism, Nik! :) The photots totally make me want to go back and hang with our group!! All my friends are so glad that they now know where God's House is - you just never know when you may need to make a visit! Great times! Can't wait to 2010.