Sunday, August 28, 2011

Adventures at Mer-Con & the World Mermaid Awards - Part I

I've been holding off writing a Mer-Con and World Mermaid Awards report because I've basically been sleep-walking through life since I returned from Las Vegas two Wednesdays ago ... had to plunge straight into pulling on all my animal husbandry skills on the farm and deal with the death of a gorgeous newborn lamb who didn't make it through the week despite having an utterly devoted mother (sobbed so much my dog Jake started shaking and consoling me!); cleaning up the family home for my parents who were returning from overseas after a near four month stint in Europe sailing through the Norwegian fiords, visiting the restored historical and cultural German city Dresden that had been bombed into oblivion during WWII, scoffing gelato on the Cinque Terre Trail in Italy and climbing the Alps in Austria amongst other activities. Then straight into a weekend of GRAPHIC at the Sydney Opera House followed by a week where I basically decompressed. I only really got my groove back yesterday. It wasn't jetlag, as I can sleep on planes and have no problem with multiple time zones, but more a case of sheer exhaustion after many months of working five jobs and running the farm by myself. Had to deal with broken plumbing, fox raids on the sheep pen, and lots of other things that just sadly and badly went wrong during a miserable Sydney winter.

Anyway ... downloaded pics yesterday and thought you might want to have a quick look at them. Las Vegas was pretty full-on so there was no time for R & R. MerCon and the WMA had shifted from the Mirage to the Silverton Hotel which was located 11 miles off the strip and had changed from a two-day event to a one-day event (see previous blog post). I had decided to keep my booking at the Mirage because I had already despatched two boxes of goods to the Business Centre before the announcement was made that the convention had moved. The other reason was that the special rates we had obtained were considerably cheaper than even the 20-25% off sale prices being advertised through Vegas accommodation websites. I don't get a chance to actually stay in first class accommodation very often and I just thought ... indulge, Julie .... it's your birthright. I indulged all right ... the room was lovely and the bed was the type you just want to snuggle up in all day and order room service. Alas, it was not too be. I kept late hours and had early mornings.

After arriving on the Wednesday, I had a quick shower and then picked up two boxes of merchandise from the Business Centre. I then headed off to the Bellagio to pick up some Cirque tickets for my sister before making a pit stop at the Jean Philippe Patisserie to indulge in some window drooling at the delightful sweet treats. I vowed to have one cake a day but it just didn't happen... we were far too busy so a raspberry tart on the first day just had to do.

Back at the hotel, I was expecting my friend and diva (I say this in the most loving way because she was born to stride down a staircase at a Broadway musical and belt out the signature song to a standing ovation!) Katherine Benoit from Wisconsin who has been my pen pal since we were 13 after we met in a NYC camping ground. There was a loud knock at the door and she swept into the room to give me a big loving bear hug. I bestowed on her some cans of passionfruit pulp which she craves and can't get back home plus a Black Mermaid™ Vegas t-shirt, and she gave me a lovely bottle of an obscure perfume that I love and I can't find back home. We then grabbed some eel sushi and looked for spas that offered manicures / pedicures and hairdressing services at a decent price. It was not too be. The starting price for a shampoo and blow-wave was US$85, which is just plain ridiculous. We didn't have time to go off the strip to look for alternative salons so I accepted the fact that my hair wasn't going to be mermaid-like in any shape or form during our stay. Turned out the budgeted beauty money went on cab fares to and from various venues (the buses were fine on the strip but a bit unpredictable otherwise).

The next day was my birthday but we were in full work-drill mode. Kathy gave me a lovely watch with mermaid trinkets inside the clockface, a gorgeous mermaid pendant and a purple glass slipper to reflect my love of shoes. We then shoved all our Black Mermaid™ Vegas product into a suitcase and caught a cab out to the Silverton which turned out to be partly a mermaid-themed hotel with a mermaid bar, a gallery wall of Will Cormier's gorgeous mermaid artwork; a huge aquarium, which showcased mermaids feeding the marine life at scheduled times; and an indoor waterfall with its own live ducks near a fishing shop.

Checked in our suitcase with the bell-hop and proceeded to look around. The front desk didn't know much about the convention so we just explored. We met Arlene Brooks who was a mermaid at Weeki Wachee in Florida in 1967, who turned out to be sharp, energetic and hilarious in one sprightly mer package. Also found the pool which was to be the venue for the Hannah Pool Party the following night. It wasn't very big so we wondered how all the mers were going to fit in. Sat down at the mermaid lounge in silver scale-like mermaid tail chairs suitably named after mermaid or ocean characters – Arial, Flipper and the like – and watched luminescent jellyfish in the tanks behind the mermaid figurehead sculpture.

We then found the actual space where Mer-Con was being held – a large white room with a stage, chandeliers and what looked like ornamental antlers around the place. The hotel conference manager said we could only set up the next morning at 6.30 so we left and then proceeded to play every mermaid (and sea monkey) slot game we could find at a $1.00 per gaming machine. Lost everything (by that I mean about five bucks)!

We were starving by now so we grabbed a meal at the buffet which I am sorry to say was not that good. We ended up only eating once a day for the first five days because by the time we made it home each night, it was far too late to eat as it would have stressed out our digestive systems. We caught a bus back to the terminal outside the strip and then another bus to our hotel then had a quick nap and got ready for a book signing at Barnes & Noble which was about 15 miles out of town. The cab driver was quite amusing. He offered to take us to a bookstore that was actually in town. We had to explain our rationale to him because he had no concept of a signing.

At the bookstore, guest of honour Hannah Mermaid read a passage from Carolyn Turgeon's Mermaid (a beautiful retelling of A Little Mermaid which I've just started reading), followed by readings from Tera Lynn Childs who writes the Fins series for young adults, Matthea Harvey who writes and recites mermaid poetry that even a philistine like I can understand and appreciate, and the effervescent Mrs Weeki Wachee Kylee Trochee, resplendent in a blue tail as opposed to Hannah Mermaid's shimmering green, yellow and pink tail. And for all you mermaid neophytes ... remember that in the "mer" world, the tail is everything.

Vampire Black Mermaid™ Rises From a Watery Grave

Jozef has surpassed himself again with his inventiveness. There was no brief or discussion for this year's Halloween Black Mermaid™ design – we knew he'd nail it and he did. Here's his answer ... Twilight and Dracula meet Black Mermaid! This little one is called "Fanged Beauty" and she's now available at the Black Mermaid Boutique in a range of t-shirts, prints, greeting cards, postcards, and other collectibles. Oh ... and she is now on the profile pic of our new Black Mermaid™ – Official Site FaceBook page in case you want to join up.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Dream of Jeannie Dreams of Mermaids

"Whenever I hear the blare of a foghorn or see a picture of a mermaid or a young couple madly in love, I feel as if I've been Jeannie-blinked back into my childhood, happy and secure.
The foghorn, you see, reminds me of San Francisco, where I grew up. The mermaid reminds me of Dolfina, the famous "Girl in the Fishbowl" always on display at the Bal Tabarin restaurant in North Beach, where my parents often used to bring me when I was very young ..."

This is the opening to Barbara Eden's autobiography Jeannie Out of the Bottle which we recently picked up and read. It so happens, that after mermaids, genies are our next favourite magical beings. And so, IDoJ became a favourite show of ours while we were growing up. We were enamoured with Jeannie's pony tail, her harem outfit, her gorgeous face and, of course, her spunky "take no prisoners" attitude. And Jeannie had the magical powers we all coveted. Jozef even has a Jeannie Barbie doll and Julie has a Jeannie cookie jar and a television show lunch box in her office.

We're also delighted to say that at a recent Supanova in Sydney and Perth, we were honoured and privileged to have given a copy of the Elf~Fin Preview to the beautiful Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman (who is quite tall and gave Jozef a playful punch in the arm after the latter declared that he loved Larry in several recent episodes of Desperate Housewives!) and the ever funny Bill Daily. It seemed only natural to read Ms Eden's bio because we are such big fans of the show and also of many of her movies – most notably The Seven Faces of Dr Lao with Tony Randall, as well as The Brass Bottle, also with Tony Randall and featuring Burl Ives as the genie.

So it was a surprise when mermaids got a mention in her book, which tells the story of her show business life and delicately lifts the lids on some behind the scenes gossip.

Here are two nice little ABC interviews with Barbara.

Anyway, check if out ....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

BMP at Manly Zine Fair

BMP will have a table at the upcoming Manly Library's 2nd Annual Zine Fair, which is part of the 2011 Manly Arts Festival in Sydney, Australia. Manly is a town on the ocean so it's quite fitting that we bring in some of our mermaid comics.

Here are the details:

Venue: Manly Library, Market Place, Manly
Date: Saturday 3 September 2011
Time: 10am to 1pm
Cost: Free
Contact: +61 2 9976 1747

For further information go to the Manly Arts Festival website.

BMP House Keeping - August 2011

Just some quick notes for our readers and followers:

(1) We have about 35 copies of the original Elf~Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed Preview left. Once they are sold, you will have to wait until the official comic book series is released in 2012 to start reading the story. Remaining orders will be processed in the order we receive them until we sell out.
(2) Orders will be processed until Friday 5 August, which is when Jozef will be coming over to sign books. After that we won't be able to send out anything out until the week of Monday 22 August, which is when Julie returns from the USA. If you order any books during that period, we ask you to be patient until we can despatch them.
(3) We have tried valiantly to get our new website up before the WMA but alas, it is not to be. The designer has done a great job with it but it is a finicky site and it will take us a long time to "populate" (a bit of techy jargon here!) with all the information, images and links we'd like to have up on there. The other thing is that although the domain name is lodged with one hosting provider, we still have the old site on another hosting service and we need to do a big switch. Consequently, we could lose up to 48 hours of email contact and this is something we can't afford to do during August as we are in delicate negotiations at the moment in regard to our own activities, as well as some Australian Society of Authors activities we're involved in. So we're asking for your understanding on this matter. We'll start working on it from September so it should be up in the last quarter of this year (plus we're exploring how to add fan forums to it so you can engage with each other on Elf~Fin topics!)
(4) Unless some important information comes up in the next few days, we won't be blogging until the last week of August and then ... watch this space for WMA and Mer-Con pics!

Mer-Con and World Mermaid Awards Change of Venue and Dates

The World Mermaid Awards and Mer-Con (Mermaid Convention) which is being held in Las Vegas next week will now be running on Friday 12 August as an all day event from 8am to 11pm at the mermaid-themed Silverton Casino.

Mer-Con released the following statement yesterday:

The World Mermaid Awards, featuring the wonderful Hannah Mermaid and MeduSirena pool shows, is changing location to another Las Vegas resort pool!

At the last minute,The Mirage, (our original venue), told us they don't have a permit for people, (*MERMAIDS included), to swim in the pool or be near the pool after dark. In addition, they had assessed hidden fees of about $150,000 for food and drinks, based on our estimated attendance. They were attempting to have me pre-pay for every one's drinks for the pool party, (at about $100 per person), and would not let me do a cash bar for everyone to buy drinks. I could not afford to buy every fish their drinks, and then not even swim. :(

So...we focused our energy and came up with a terrific, positive solution! We are going to have the Awards Ceremony poolside for all the Mermaids and Mermen at the Silverton Mermaid Hotel on Friday, Aug. 12th!

*An exact itinerary will follow shortly and will include the World Mermaid Awards, our Pageant, our FABULOUS performers all day and our amazing vendors! 8am till 11pm.

OF NOTE: Another factor that was of concern to us is the fact that The Mirage has captive dolphins and the World Mermaid Awards and Mer-Con event became a target for a huge protest and negative publicity. So, along with the fact that we could not swim in the pool and the hidden fees, it was impossible to stay at The Mirage and deal with all the controversy and protesters. *It was actually unsafe!

We will make sure all the Mermaids and Merman who come to Las Vegas for the weekend will have an AMAZINGLY enjoyable experience! We are doing the best we can under the extreme circumstances that have come up. The Silverton is a Mermaid-Themed Hotel and is has a 117,000 gallon Mermaid Tank!

ALL TICKETS are still valid!

Also if you purchased all 3 events at FULL PRICE, 1 World Mermaid Awards, 2 Hannah and MeduSirena Pool Party, and 3 Mer-Con Ticket combined, you are eligible for an upgrade to the VIP POOL Party listed below for only $75 - Contact me if you interested. If not we will have have a partial refund for the ticket price difference within 45 days. New ticket prices will posted soon.

The VIP Mermaid Pool Party with Mermaid shows will include Hannah Mermaid and MeduSirena, with many more mermaids! The VIP event will start at 4 p.m., including a buffet with an open bar and we will go on into the wee hours of the night. Everyone will be there! Here are the details:

Mer-Con ELF~FIN Cover

As previously discussed, we are releasing the Elf~Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed Preview in a special Mer-Con edition. This will only be available at Mer-Con and the World Mermaid Awards on Friday 12 August 2011 at the new venue – the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas. Only 250 have been printed. Although they are numbered, they do not include a Certificate of Authenticity and we will not be keeping a register of sales like we did the original pink-cover edition. The point of difference is that this one has an additional wrap around card cover which includes this new piece of artwork on the front and a Mer-Con specific back cover. The advertising inside has also changed. Hope to see you all at Mer-Con!

Stolen ELF~FIN Booty – DO NOT BUY

Just letting you know that Elf~Fin: Hyfus & Tilaweed Preview (limited edition) #152 was stolen while we were attending an event earlier in the year. Furthermore, issues #144, 145 and 146 were went missing on route to a customer. If any of these issues appear for sale on the secondary market, please do not buy them as they are ill-gained goods (and please let us know via email on We have kept a register of all buyers for this edition, as each comic book included a Certificate of Authenticity.