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Dr. Mercury Reads At Balticon - J.R. Blackwell
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blackwell
blackwell
J.R. Blackwell
Friday, June 4th, 2010 11:17 am
Dr. Mercury Reads At Balticon

Dr. Mercury by Paul SulskyWriting about Balticon is like writing about theater - it's difficult to convey the whole experience.  If I tried to cover everything that happened at the convention, I would have to write a novella about it. So I'm just going to stick to the highlights.

This post is about Friday night, and it requires a prequel.

PREQUEL:

I had a reading scheduled for Balticon, and I was a little nervous about it. Not nervous about doing an actual reading - I love talking in front of people- but nervous about boring other people with the same stuff they've already heard before. Or maybe I was just worried about boring myself.

I wanted to take my reading to the next level, to do something memoriable, but something that added to my material, rather than distracting from it. Then I had the idea of reading as Dr. Mercury. Of course, I have this problem, where I am a complete weirdo, so it's sometimes hard for me to judge what will be awesome versus what will just make people cry.

But that's what friends are for - to push you out or to reign you in. I'm glad I have friends I can go to and ask "Is this Mad?"

So I went to my friend Kate and Holly, where I had near identical conversations, where we weighed the Pros and the Cons of reading for Dr. Mercury at Balticon. Both Kate and Holly assured me that performing as Dr. Mercury would be awesome, and that even if it did fall flat and didn't go off well, that I would be falling flat in front of my friends, and that they would forgive me.

There is no gain without risk. And boy am I glad I took that risk.

FRIDAY NIGHT READING:
Dr. Mercury entered the reading to Lady Gaga's "Teeth" which is a song that wasn't written for Dr. Mercury, but really could have been. The opening lyric is this:

Don't be scared
I've done this before
Show me your teeth.

Yes, Lady Gaga. Oh yes.

Photo by Bruce Press, Bruce Press PhotographySee that expression Dr. Mercury is making? It's partly shock, because the room was completely full. Usually, and I know other writers understand this, readings have about five people  - if you are lucky - two of which are direct relations. This room was small, but it was packed - standing room only. I was stoked. Can I say that? Yes. Stoked.

The reading was part reading, part performance art. There is an audio recording, which I'll be posting soon, and lots of pictures, my favorite of which were taken by Bruce Press and Paul Sulsky who did this amazing job capturing the character. Mur Lafferty was nice enough to agree to be kidnapped for the reading, where she read a fantastic peice about Dr. Mercury that was written by Filamena Young.

Photo by Bruce Press, Bruce Press PhotographyLater, Mur read from "Her Side" which is a book we collaborated on together. There were early signed editions of "Her Side" available at the Con. Mur read from the most  sexual, bloody piece of the book. It was great. I think we may have shocked a few people. Which was perfect.

Being Dr. Mercury was great. She has attitude, she has style, and she gives me the opportunity to wear a top I've never gotten to wear outside the house before. Reading in her voice was fun, and hearing people laugh at the funny bits -throwing stones at dolphins- was such an ego boost. It's great to hear people reacting to my work. So often writing is an isolating thing, and though I enjoy having time alone, there is something amazing to hear people react to my work.

I am so happy that people took the time to show up to my reading. It was fantastic to see everyone. Thank you to Jared for helping me get dressed, to Richard for pressing the button on the boom box, to Susan for the boom box, to Paulette for recording and Bruce and Paul for the freakin' amazing photos.  It went better than I even imagined it could.

Sometimes taking risks pays off, which makes all the little mistakes on the way totally worth it.

A few notes about Dr. Mercury's top, because there have been some, rather, um, pointed questions.  I shall address them here:

Q: Oh no! Isn't that top uncomfortable?

A: The top, though it may not look like it, is very comfortable. I could wear that top all day. It's an expensive, well designed, lined, leather top. If you pay a lot of money for a really well made thing, that thing may LOOK uncomfortable, but feel marvelous. The top felt marvelous.

Q: It looks like you are about to have a fashion emergency! What if your boobs fell out?

A: I was a burlesque girl for two years. You do not become a burlesque girl for two years without learning something about how to prevent fashion emergencies. The girls did not pop out and could not have popped out, and even if they did pop out, you still wouldn't see any nip. Seriously. Burlesque Girl - I know how to handle boobs. Especially my own. Relax. Take this paper bag. Breathe slowly.

Q: What if I took a pair of scissors to your top? What then?


A: If you took a pair of scissors to my top, I might become as indecent as anyone else whose top you cut off with a pair of scissors. You can cut a t-shirt off with scissors and a person would be indecent.  Also, if you were to approach me with a pair of scissors and start cutting off the expensive top that my husband bought me, I cannot guarantee your personal safety, I really cannot.


Thank you to everyone who came out to my reading! Dr. Mercury may be back next year to read, we'll see how things go, but I know that even if I don't bring Dr. Mercury back, I am always going to bring something mad to the party, because even if it falls flat, or even if it's crazy, it's always worth it to try.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

11CommentReplyShare

chesh
ma na ma nah
Friday, June 4th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)

Sounds like it was amazing! I like the choice of entrance music.

Also, at risk of sounding pervy, my first thought on seeing that top was, "Hmm. . . if my significant other had something like that, I'd invest in lots of extra laces and a pretty pair of scissors."


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blackwell
blackwell
J.R. Blackwell
Monday, June 7th, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC)

My significant other got me the top - I think he would be horrified if it were to be cut up.

After all, he is the one who carefully laces me into it, and then delicately takes me out.


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teranm
teranm
teran despuine
Saturday, June 5th, 2010 03:11 am (UTC)

It's good to see that you have some form of outlet to let the other side out. I recently have realized via making a rude comment about a friend and then deeply thinking about it, that I have always suppressed that other side of myself. For some reason and I do not know why... I feel as if i need permission to release that self.. but have never found it. The closest is when I've been drinking. My friend pointed something must have happened to you to do this. I still don't know what it is though. I need to find a way to let go myself.
So it is inspiring to see someone finding a way to creatively release. Keep up the good work. And the top is Smashing!


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blackwell
blackwell
J.R. Blackwell
Monday, June 7th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC)

The healthy release of tension is always a fun thing.

It's the thing I like about Dr. Mercury - not that she says what I cannot - because she is fictional and talks about fictional situations - but because she CAN say what she thinks, whatever it is, without the consequences that we would face.

It's an adult power fantasy, at its core.


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kitewithfish
kitewithfish
kitewithfish
Saturday, June 5th, 2010 04:21 am (UTC)

The top is gorgeous- do you know where your husband got it?


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blackwell
blackwell
J.R. Blackwell
Monday, June 7th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC)

Thanks! I have no idea. I'll ask him.


ReplyThread Parent
deckard7
deckard7
Deckard7
Saturday, June 5th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)

Well damn if this didn't look like a lot of fun. Wish I could have seen both yours and Jared's readings.
Look forward to reading more...


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blackwell
blackwell
J.R. Blackwell
Monday, June 7th, 2010 02:31 pm (UTC)

Next year, Dr. Mercury will likely return for another reading. Well, that, or someone else will come read for me.

I promise to always make my readings something weird and fun.


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brother_osric
brother_osric
Brother Osric
Monday, June 7th, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC)

The top didn't worry me. Clearly those laces had the tensile strength of spring steel.

No, the interesting experience was listening to Dr. M. expound on her personality. It was ... disturbing. Even without the supervillain packaging, she captured something of the essence of horror. "See up there? That's Dr. Mercury reading. (Lord knows what kind of school awarded her that doctorate.) See over there? That's Spence squicking."


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blackwell
blackwell
J.R. Blackwell
Monday, June 7th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)

You really cut to the core of it there.

Yes, she's certainly got a bit of the horror package in there. She's all breezy in her speech, but what she's talking about is horrific. She's happy to murder and kidnap and steal and destroy, all for the joy of it. And she can't be bargained with money, because she's not interested in that. She's interested in people, and that makes her all the more disturbing.

Thanks for the kind words! It's always motivational to hear these kind of things.


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attitude_boy
attitude_boy
attitude_boy
Monday, June 7th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)

It sounds like it was a blast. Although I am not much into the spoken word, I think I will listen to the audio file when it is available.

I'm glad that you got positive, immediate, first-person feedback.


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