tisdag 22 februari 2011

Knudepunkt 2011 part 1

2011 became the first year I visited the Larp Convention Knudepunkt in Helsinge in Denmark. Knudepunkt moves between the nordic countries Sweden (Knutpunkt), Norway (Knutepunkt), Denmark (Knudepunkt) and Finland (Solmukohta) each year.

Me, Sara Hjalmarsson who is making the international larp documentary Play it Live! and Tore Olbert, a member of Lajvfabriken Göteborg took Tores car from Gothenburg to Helsinge.

Tore and Sara on the ferry

When we arrived after a few hours drive and a short trip by ferry between Helsingborg and Helsingör and pulled up into the Bymose Hegn car park, I suddenly got hit by this wave of self doubt. What was I doing here, just a "common" Vampire and Fantasy larper, who usually can't get through a article on larp theory unless it's about her and doesn't have more advanced theories about larping than "sometimes it feels good, to feel bad" and "larp is not separate from life, it is part of a larpers life".

I confessed my feelings to Tore and Sara who cheered me on, got me out of the car and into the lobby where I was greeted by unknown larpers, given my welcoming kit and the key to the room I would share with Theresa Axner (her blog).

Sara getting me through the doors. Welcome on board.
Teresa Axner
We soon discovered it was time for dinner in the restaurant and went there to eat while reading through the program, something I had thought I was the only one who hadn't done. In the program there was point about always leaving one chair open at any time, and if you took the last chair, to pull up another one so there was always one free. If one kept to speaking in English, even with your countrymen, then also the theoretical discussions being held would be open to those who wanted to jump in. Both recommendations worked extremely well and I felt welcome throughout Knudepunkt. After eating we split up and I went on to watch a movie and attend a workshop about teaching dance to larpers and actually getting them to dance.

The movie was the larp documentary "Screw it I'll play make believe" about larp in California. It was Sarah Bowman who hosted the screening and since Nathan Hook had told me he wanted me to meet her, due to her interest in "Two Peoples..." I said hi afterwards.

The motto for the dancing workshop was "If you can walk, I can teach you to dance." I had fun and was sweating by the end of it. She really got me dancing and enjoying myself. Afterwards I hung around the bar with the co-writer to my upcoming larp Two Peoples... and discussed set design for it, while intoxicated.
 I stayed up til late, waiting to see my friend Onni arrive. Me and the other night owls made a corner to ourselves in the lobby, where I could watch over the door. The late night crowd was very international. Once Onni got there, I went to bed.


The second day I slept in late and missed breakfast. When I walked into the lobby, something caught my eye. On a flyer there was a photograph of a half naked, pretty young girl in fantasy clothing. Something within me sank a bit. Why was she there? Who was she, what was her character? It didn't seem to matter to the makers of the flyers. She was in the photo because she was sexy. It bothered me. I showed to some others. They told me about an event I missed the day before, The hour of the Rant. It had been.... problematic.
Someone said we should "go underground". I didn't feel like going underground. I looked down, on my chest and saw my name tag. While everyone else was talking to each other, I got the name tag out of it's plastic casing and beneath my name, and what country I came from, I added FEMINIST in bold letters.
I didn't know it then. But that FEMINIST probably made my Knudepunkt that much better for me. When people asked me about it later I said it was to "give people due warning".

Something subversive might have been going on here. But I don't know. And you did not get this from me.
The rest of the day was full of lectures, workshops and so on with Larp theory, and even if I got into one fight about "Come to Czechia. Seriously." using a line about there being pictures of sexy women at their presentation as a selling point while saying they wanted to make their games more available. I was kind of glad I did get into that fight.

Just a little lovin'
Something that really caught my fancy was the Norwegian, upcoming larp Just a little lovin´ by Tor Kjetil Edland and Hanne Grasmo. The themes are going to be friendship, desire and the fear of death which are very intense subjects who I'd love to immerse deeply into. The setting is upstate New York - the summer when AIDS came to New York City. There characters are one group of gay men, and one group of young cancer survivors with spouses. I signed up. I trust Tor Kjetil Edland.

I also had great talks with Adrijanna Skarphed.

On Saturday I went to a group talk with a players perspective on "Getting fucked up" and how to help people and yourself whenever that has happened. It was simply called De-Fucking. They were limiting numbers of participants, so I went to an extra session wich had less time. But we kept talking in an extra room afterwards. There weren't many war stories but it was more of a focus on responsibility and needs. It made me think of Maslows hierarchy of needs. 
I found out what was cooking for The Company P, which also is kind of interesting... and then after that I went to what was my original intent to go to, the Geek Feminism panel which was about to end. Getting out of that we were going to go to dinner, but the lines where so long we decided to get started on our clothes, hair and makeup for that evenings big Fantasy Swing dance (no, no that kind of swing, the other kind)

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