04 June 2011

Monster Camp and some Zoo

8 Sampsonia Way on Google Maps is where I first learned about LARP. Its existence made complete sense to me. Then I encountered it in The Wild Hunt, the insane Canadian movie wherein the game and real life become confused. That movie introduced me to the structure of LARP performances, and I first heard LARP talk.

The documentary Monster Camp examines a chapter of the game in Seattle. It's actually one of two LARP documentaries streaming on Netflix (the other is Darkon). I like that they're both classified as Genres: Documentary | Fantasy on IMDb, and I really like the message board discussions about them, especially this post. To quote:

"Anyway, my opinion on LARPing:
I personally think it's a lot of fun, because I think of it as interactive improvisational theatre. You've got a costume, you've got a character and a setting, and everyone is contributing to a story and trying to make it as interesting as possible. =) However, I think it crosses the line when it becomes escapsim, or a sort of self-medication. If you seriously wish and desperately pretend to be your character, then there are almost certainly some real-world issues that are in need of remedy. But, as long as you're doing is as a fun aspect of life as opposed to a replacement, it's awesome. =) Just keep it healthy."

There are captivating dimensions to the game, and many of them are well-explored in Monster Camp. I think the concept of two people in LARP costumes fucking is rather interesting, just like I think furry sex is interesting.

I first learned about furries from the MTV documentary Plushies & Furries, and then later met director Rick Castro. He owns a fetish gallery in Los Angeles, the Antebellum. He also hosted a monthly fetish screening at the Egyptian in Hollywood. I attended Zoo with a group of friends and remember one question during the post-Zoo discussion about whether or not the zoos, animal lovers, were regularly penetrated by horses. Poor Rick Castro made a face, and I realized he'd been cornered into visualizing horsedick penetration. Then I realized I was also considering the logistics of horsedick penetration, and my friends had funny facial expressions too. Castro replied, quite seriously and not without disgust, that a horse's penis is too large for a human's anus (the documentary Zoo specifically concerns itself with an instance of deadly horse-in-human anal sex). What a relief. Afterward my friends and I discussed similar aspects from the movie, off and on, during a mostly quiet and weird ride home. You could say we both wanted to talk about it and not think about it; couldn't help think about it and couldn't figure out how to talk about it.

Monster Camp does not directly state that there is costumed sex, but sexual dynamics, in-game and real world, are discussed. None involving animals for your information. It's more like: one gameplaying couple's relationship is strained because within the game the girl is the mate of another male. On the flip side, she accuses her boyfriend's character (but not him) of being too flirtatious. Sometimes the roleplaying goes too far and feelings are stirred that linger beyond the weekend of LARPing. Two of the LARPers, at least two, have not successfully graduated from high school, although they're into their 20s, and if I understood correctly one of them still attends high school. It's his fifth year being a senior. It must be night school by now right? I probably don't have to tell you that some of them, including these two, play too many videogames. Some of them are parents, and some parents bring their kids.

One father, also writer of the game's plot (jealous), has an eight-year old daughter. He tells a story about his daughter complaining to him that he plays too much World of Warcraft, while he's playing WoW (he's both telling the story while playing WoW and the story itself is set during an instance of him playing WoW), and there's a look in his eyes and tone to his voice that makes me think the daughter lost that round, had lost rounds before, and will always be second in his life to videogames. His intensity reminded me of the man in Cinemania who assaulted the lady in front of him during a movie, and then finished the movie, knowing the cops were in the lobby waiting for him.

There are the game's sunnier sides as well. One lady in a wheelchair doesn't leave the house much and enjoys her interactions with the group of LARPers. She sews and designs costumes for them. At the events she sits behind a table and forgets for a little while how she is lonely and in a wheelchair. She does not forget to hand out the lizard zombie costumes.

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