I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Columbia = Middle Earth

Thanks to the writer's strike, I recently happened on the documentary "Darkon", which chronicles the lives and game-lives of the participants in The Darkon Wargaming Club. This club started in Balto-Wash when I was in high school. I was involved with the faerie realm during that time. At least, to the extent that I was a RenFest carnie. The Festival was held in Columbia's Symphony Woods back then. It was like a pilgrimage for the D & D gamers, girls with closets full of bodices, and other assorted artsies who would assemble there.

Back in the day, I went to a Con or two, and a few role-playing games, though none of the foam fighting variety. I'd heard tell of Dagorhir and I guess Dagorhir begat Emarthenguarth. I knew of them. And I guess Emarthenguarth begat Darkon. So I watched intently, thinking I might recognize someone. I didn't, but the movie did immediately transport me to that time in my life and those people.

The movie's been accused of exploiting its subjects. It's true that it's hard to watch, when real-world friendships start to unravel over game alliances, or when it seems that some of the gamers have more important life issues to tend to than the game. But, and now maybe this is my sick sensibility, I came away feeling nostalgic. Watching "Darkon," like watching "Hairspray" (the real one, with the incomparable Divine in the mom role), makes me proud to come from such weird and wonderful people.

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