In this issue...
Even more recently, some of the FDC walk-arounds that have assumed the roles of Disney villains have banded together into the Bad Guy Coalition (BGC). [Note that "guy" should be considered to be gender neutral - Ed.] This month, DIS' 'n' DAT gives these villainous walk-arounds the opportunity to describe who they are, how they came to .Rd , and exactly why they decided to join the BGC. Their responses, slightly edited, follow.
They made the Ancient Ruins their head-quarters, and tried to build up the coalition with all sorts of WalkAround positions... "not ONLY the bad guys... I think we almost had Cinderella interested for a while. Not all the goodies can get along," she quips.
Dawnie says that the basic reason for starting the BGC was because King Louie and herself were getting a lot of slack, being the only two "bad guy" walkarounds. Everyone else had chosen "good" characters. "Well, PJ... I mean, King Louie and I liked our baddies better. We made a lot of `enemies'." She mentions that on .Rd , she's sure that if she ever actually met any of the people from the newsgroup, she'd love some of these people she is supposed to be warring with. "There must be Honor Among Thieves, so we decided to come together, so we wouldn't be double crossed. Of course, to show that we weren't trying to make real-life enemies, King Louie and I would have [their own] squabbles on the Internet."
In one of the BGC exchanges, Dawnie reports that the SuperBanana 2000(tm) backfired all over her in its trial stages... "a LOT!"
Melyssa, who will turn 28 in October, worked as a Foreclosure Specialist for Sibley Mortgage Corporation until July, 1993. While she enjoyed the legal aspects of her work, she found that there were very few customers that were pleasant to deal with. The customers found that it was always easier for them to get upset with her than to deal with what was happening to their houses. So while she enjoyed having five attorneys working for her, she gradually became very disillusioned about humanity in general. Finally, after four years in the banking world, and after beginning to go through a bottle of Mylanta per week, Melyssa decided that she needed to go back to school and get her teaching degree in the most important area of her life, music. She explains: "I want to have the chance to pass on my love for the beauty and passion that is around us all in the form of music, all types of music. This will be my chance to have a positive effect on the world. If I can give one student a sense of enthusiasm, or a reason to keep coming to school, then I have done my job."
Melyssa discovered .Rd after logging onto her student account at the college. As she read the newsgroup, she noticed the fun that the members of the FDC were having and sat down to decide which character that she would enjoy being. It did not take her very long to settle on Ursula (the Sea Witch). The idea of being a villain was extremely appealing. "As a `Bad Guy,'" she says, "I can do all of the things that I always wanted to do but that you cannot get away with in the `real' world." Soon afterwards, she received a note from Dawn Both, FDC Malificent, inviting her to become the Vice President of the BGC. At that time there were only three members in the BGC: Malificent, King Louie, and Ursula.
Over the last few months the FDC Sea Witch has undertaken an extensive recruitment campaign and has built the membership to almost twenty members. "We have joined together to fight discrimination against Bad Guys," she explains. "So many people forget that if it weren't for us, there would not be much of a plot to many stories." In addition. she's recently started a BGC Mailing List and has begun to send Coalition updates to BGC members whenever things happen that they should be aware of, including new members joining their select group. She reports that she's looking forward to building the BGC into a force to contend with.
Stepping out of character, Melyssa reports that her life goals include singing with Geoff Tate from Queensryche, voicing a character (preferably a villain) in a Disney animated feature, receiving a Disney Teacher Award, and reaching one student who has been dubbed "unreachable."
His hobbies include playing piano and synthesizers, pinball, volleyball, paintball and is the GM of an e-mail wrestling league [Wrestling via email sounds like a safe sport to me - Ed.]
Of all the FDC Walkarounds, the Big Bad Wolf considers himself the most qualified to be the real thing. [I know a contributing editor that may not agree - Ed.] He's been doing costumed character work on a volunteer basis for almost six years and currently owns four animal costumes (lion, dragon, teddy bear, and of course: wolf). He also worked a season as a character for Six Flags Great America, doing both Sylvester and Wile E. Coyote, and he current performs as a dancing bunny rabbit and other characters alongside a friend who is a professional mime and magician. The FDC Big Bad Wolf has a life-long dream to be a mascot on the professional level. "I know I have the talent and the creativity to do it, but I haven't come across an opportunity to prove myself," he reports.
When asked how he hooked up with .Rd , he replied: "I discovered .Rd the semester following my season at Six Flags. I subscribed hoping I would find other individuals who also worked as theme park characters. I've experienced a lot as a costumed character, but I certainly haven't everything. I was hoping that other people could share stories or give me some tips that would help me become even better. And if I managed to make a new friend or two, all the better. I haven't found as many furry compatriots as I had expected, but I certainly wasn't disappointed in the new friendships department!"
He reports that he's not sure exactly how he found out about the FDC, but lurked for a while trying to get the gist of it. When he found a chance to jump in, he chose the Big Bad Wolf for two reasons - he has a mini-obsession with wolves and he just HAD to be a villain (more on this later). He had decided that if he was going to be a Disney theme park character for real, it would be the Big Bad Wolf or Tigger... and the latter had already been taken.
The BBW's first couple of postings didn't go quite the way he planned. He forgot to add his sig file to his first post, so almost nobody knew who he was. True to form, he started establishing himself by hoarding Eyeore's tail. "I didn't get SPLOOSHed - I got shredded in a fight with Rajah and injected with something I STILL haven't been able to identify! I've toned down the act a little bit since then, but I haven't toned down on my craftiness! All of you nicety-nicers better keep your eyes open, especially you, you allergy-spreading gnat!"
The Big Bad Wolf sees the Bad Guy Coalition as the anti-establishment of the FDC. It's their job to make sure things stay interesting and dangerous in the newsgroup, to plot the dastardly deeds (like the kidnapping of princes) that make all Disney features what they are, and to remind everyone "that the FDC World, just like the real world, is not a life-is-beautiful-all-the-time-and-I'll-be-happy-to-see-those-nice-young-men-in-their-clean-white-coats-and-they're-coming-to-take-me-away-ha-ha! kind of place. If it weren't for the BGC, the FDC could become the cure for insomnia. (Well, except for the times when pixies and magic carpets fall in love, but that's another story.)"
When asked why he joined the BGC, he reports "Actually, I found out about the BGC long after I chose to be the Big Bad Wolf. It was a natural step for me, and besides, I figured I could use the extra protection in case I got into another scuffle with a tiger. There's just something to be said about being a villain. Just like almost everyone had a favorite hero, they have a favorite villain, the one person/creature they love to hate. Of all the character types I've played, the two I enjoy the most are the stooge and the bad guy (not necessarily in that order). Some of the most memorable characters from TV and movies have been the bad guys. I don't know if it's psychological or what, but I think that whenever a person sees the villain, they can almost always identify with him/her in some way. But the bad guy's traits are blown so out of proportion, we can still distance ourselves enough from him/her."
Being the Big Bad Wolf gives BJ a chance to bring out a side of his personality that usually stays hidden. He says that he has always had this squeaky-clean choirboy image around him when he was growing up ("you know, that kid who couldn't do anything wrong no matter how hard he tried?"), and he hasn't quite been able to completely shake it. With this character, he can lay aside the "goody-two shoes" stuff, do almost all the things his conscience wouldn't let him get away with in real life, and still have fun doing so.
So, without further ado, we present from the home office of "I'll Sue" City:
Nothing, in fact, could have been further from Capitol Hill, as the great and the good of .Rd congregated in the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World. September 8th, 1994, saw twenty-five of the happiest people on earth gather for a day of ears and cheers in the shadow of Cinderella's Castle. Notable luminaries in attendance were Michael "Tarzan" Connors (who disappointed many of the park visitors that day by remaining fully clothed), Hollis "Wild Turkey" Ambrose (who was inviting anyone and everyone to join him in a little light refreshment), Judy and Michael Tuchman (who appear willing to single-handedly build Disney's America if that nice Mr. Eisner loses his bottle), Joe "with the magic chin" Vecciarelli, Carol "scourge of Whispering Canyon" and Rich "the shampoo squirrel" (AKA the Kosters), Arnold "the travelling office" Tang of Rec-Arts Magazine Fame, Margaret "trying to stay awake," and (pause for brief but tasteful fanfare) the one-and-only Sean Squier (at whose feet we genuflect in abject servitude). Also there (but too quiet, sensible or normal to have made the "A" list) were Paul Anderson, Steven Back, Tony and Tim Batts, Carl Barks, Tony Harris, Tom Joyce, Michael Lott, Karen Morrison, Pauline Rodgers, Heather Stehman, Stan Sroka, Janet Stowe, Jim Walt and me. Actually, Stan could have made the "A" list too, but he's way too big to insult (even from 4000 miles away).
RADmeets would not be RADmeets without the creation of a traffic blockage of some description, and so we started out by completely blocking access to the Mickey/Minnie topiary in front of the Castle (for those unfamiliar with the layout of the Magic Kingdom, this is the most popular photography spot for the world's most photographed building - get the picture?). A few brave guests would occasionally ask us to move aside, but we always managed to slip back in once they'd gone! Something of a disappointment, however, was the weather. The overcast sky prevented us enjoying the full .Rd synergy of third degree sunburn as well.
Judy Tuchman takes her role as FDC General Manager, Disney's America, extremely seriously! She came prepared with information packs and badges for everyone (and for several unsuspecting bystanders who were hoping to get that once-in-a-lifetime photograph in front of the Castle but didn't understand what was going on). The badges, by the way, were on sale at the Disneyana Convention for $5 a piece - so we must all thank the Tuchmans for boosting our personal Disneyana fortunes (can't imagine what they'll be worth by the time the park is celebrating it's 40th anniversary).
We managed to set up a group photograph, of sorts. One or two people, unbelievably, were too shy to be in the pictures (shyness being a previously-unheard-of quality on .Rd ) but that rather neatly solved the problem of having someone to actually take the pictures! Tom Joyce volunteered to be photographer and was instantly showered with cameras from all sides (eight or nine, I think). Sadly, I got back the same old camera I'd given him - I hope some of the others fared better in this little camera-swap.
In an amazing demonstration of unity and accord (something which the California .Rd gang have yet to achieve) we all went to watch the new "Legend of the Lion King" puppet show. Janet Stowe had the foresight to bring a "R.A.D." sign (it even had ears), but Stan relieved her of it and carried it himself. Stan, for those of you who have not had the pleasure, is about nine feet tall and so we had no trouble keeping the group together. He did bash a few light fittings in the pre-show area (since he forgot to take his arm down when we went in) but there was no serious damage (and no-one was going to argue with him, anyway). Part of the pre-show comprises the entire Circle of Life sequence from the movie - Rich and Carol started holding up cameras, umbrellas, etc. as the music reached its climax. Stan was still holding up the sign. Several other people started holding their personal effects up towards the screen (and, I'm ashamed to admit, I even held my camera up in a brief moment of weakness - but after taking some nice round yellow pills I'm feeling much better now). When we went into the main theatre I had the misfortune to be seated immediately behind Shaquille O'Neal (or, at least, someone who could have been his stunt double in a height contest). Rich and Carol started holding things up again. Stan still had his paddle in the air. People were looking at us.
With the promise of a surprise celebrity guest (who never showed up - Tink really is in training to be a press hack!) we followed the .Rd paddle over to the Tomorrowland Terrace. In the absence of the advertised entertainment (and no rain-checks either!) some of the more adventurous RADers began to improvise. Did you know, for example, that Joe Vecciarelli can balance a chair on his chin. The amusement value of this is, admittedly, short-lived, but one must commend the young man for exhibiting this hitherto unknown talent (and he's good at it too - future RADmeets will feature chair-balancing de rigeur, although those wrought iron models at the Blue Bayou might give rise to one or two dental problems). Rich and Carol did a brief dancing demonstration.
I usually find myself touring Disney parks with a note pad and pencil, but Rich has taken this to a new level by carrying a tape recorder with him. He has already posted all the embarrassing quotes which he extorted from us on the pretext of recording our thoughts for posterity, so I won't dwell on it here. The Tuchmans had to leave (or was it that they made an excuse and left - things seemed to be going downhill at that time!). The rest of us headed on over to Space Mountain, and after that for a spin on the People Mover (oops, sorry, Tomorrowland Transit Authority).
Lunch was at Tony's Town Square Restaurant. They must have known that we were a less-than-normal bunch, because they split us over three tables in different corners of the room. Unfortunately they had not bargained for some people's ability to use bread rolls as projectiles, and so two of the tables managed to disgrace the party within ten minutes. In an effort to calm us down, the restaurant staff brought out fluorescent green Mickey drinking straws for all of us (but that only made things worse). Our servers put a very brave smile on some people's attempts to do the Lady/Tramp spaghetti-sucking thing (something which they must see at least 100 times a day) - Heather and Michael made a very plausible and romantic-looking attempt, early rushes from the photo' lab suggest that Rich and Carol were taking the situation a little less seriously). The excitement reached fever pitch when Sean Squier came down from on high to mingle with the commoners. The Future CEO of the Walt Disney Company sacrificed his lunch slot at the executive cafeteria to "slum it" with his minions. We even managed to get some photographs of him (I have a particularly good one of Sean and Margaret "Tink" beside a sign that says "Disneyana Collectibles Old and New" - we'll have to get that one scanned in!). I actually bumped into Sean four more times over the next few days - that's more sightings than Elvis has had at WDW over the last two weeks (but only just).
Did you know, by the way, that pixie dust dissolves 30% off your lunch bill? Better watch that stuff, Geoff!
It was at this point that the group split up. Many of the RADers either had other plans for the afternoon or had just had enough, so it was a small (but select) band who headed back over to the Contemporary. Arnold, Jim, Michael and I were escorted as personal guests of Rich and Carol to their executive concierge-minus-three level deluxe suite. On the way I pointed out the five-legged goat in the mural - Rich (in what turned out to be the first of several Freudian undercurrents which the Koster family displayed that day) asked darkly if the fifth one was really a leg. The beautifully- appointed suite was dominated by a huge video graphics workstation/super- computer/r.a.d feed generator throbbing in the corner. Such is their dedication to the dissemination of Disneyana that they had transported this massive digital engine from its hermetically-sealed, temperature- controlled, air-conditioned home in a top secret New Orleans suburb directly to the Contemporary Hotel (made my little notebook PC look very tame).
We stood out on the balcony for a while, admiring the view and telling each other things about Disney World that we already knew, then Arnold got his computer out and started pulling up pictures of the FidoNET/ EchoEars day.
Jim had to leave us, but the (shrinking) group of die-hards headed over to the Disney Village Marketplace where Carl Barks was appearing at the new Art of Disney store. We stood in line for a while. Michael started chatting up the two young ladies in front of us. I was the only one with a legitimate purchase for signing, but the rest of the gang were lined up with all sorts of goodies (did you like the card, Charles?). Mr. Barks is actually quite old, and did not appear to be saying anything (he had two "assistants" to speak for him). Michael asked Carl to sign the "minuteman" bread roll which he had removed from Tony's at lunch.
Following a tip from one of the on-duty cast members we headed across to Chef Mickey's Lounge where there were free drinks and nibbles. We talked for a while about ... ummm ... what was it, now ... oh yes - Disney. Carol kept saying "virgin" (although she saved her best one for lunch at Coral Isle on the Sunday, but it's way too risque' to post here). Tom, Janet (and was it Pauline - my memory is fading) joined us again (r.a.d people can sniff out free cheese anywhere). Then we were joined by Wendy Eike and Tim O'Day of Disney Art Editions. They were doing the rounds of the lounge in case anyone had any questions - little did they know what was in store for them! Rich immediately whipped out the tape recorder and we bombarded them with questions. They gave us some excellent information on up-coming Disneyana (including some quite long-term stuff). Rich has all the details on this, but highlights include "The Imagineering Collection" (to be released on November 11th) and a collection of five fine art serigraphs (Herb Ryman, John Hench and Marc Davis) - all to be available through Disney Galleries and Disney Stores (not sure about parks yet, though).
We parted in the parking lot (although Michael, the bread roll and I spent most of the rest of the day touring WDW) and that was the end of the RADiFLO Disneyana Convention special RADmeet. For those of us who stuck around beyond the 8th, it was actually one long RADmeet with Michael, Arnold, the Kosters, Margaret, Sean and I meeting up all over the place for the next week. Here's hoping we don't have to wait too long for another mega-successful RADmeet, wherever it may be.
Wild Turkey, anyone?
Disney is the only life, the only life for me Now read, read R - A - D I got up this mornin', turned on my PC I was checkin' out r.a.d., readin' FDC And when my modem tells me that I'm on-line that's when I know my PC and me'll have a great time Disney is the only life, the only life for me Now sploosh, sploosh F - D - C >From the early morning to the middle of the night Anytime the feed is up the time is right And when the feed is down - the happiest place I'll head to Disneyland to put a smile upon my face Disney is the only life, the only life for me Now post, post R - A - D Now the thread is breakin' and I really gotta go But I'll be back here very soon - that you'd better know Yeah, my PC's overheatin' and my board is out of whack But that won't stop me, Mickey 'cause you know I'm coming back Disney is the only life, the only life for me Now bleed, bleed r - A- D!
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