Bjarke Pedersen went to Wyrd Con One and wanted to share the experience. He needs no introductions; suffices to say that his illustrious larping career was recently crowned by an appointment as the Danish country contact for Nordic Larp book project.
More than 300 larpers met at the Hilton hotel in Costa Mesa for Wyrd Con, the first Knude-style larp-conference on the American west coast. Wyrd One, as it was called, was primarily a conference to play games, but also workshops on how to build or use weapons. Embedded into Wyrd One was “The Summit”, an American take on the Nordic larp conference Knudepunkt. Here larp-designers discussed their craft, the theory behind and around larp.
As a lone Dane amongst American larpers from all over the American continent, it was kind of exotic to talk larp with them. Expressions like: “low intensity”, “theatre style” and “light larp” were thrown around with ease amongst the participants who all but a few was in costume.
I primarily attended the theoretical debates at “The Summit”. Several of the lectures and panels gave a great insight into the American culture of larpers. Discussions like “larp is art” and “social diversity in larp” showed that the American larp-community is trying to move past their differences and work together and learn from each other.
There were several interesting debates. “The Art of Larp” hosted by Aaron Vanek did not contribute with anything not already discussed in the Nordic scene, but it is still an important debate to have for a larp community. Sean Branney and Andrew Leman from the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society told war stories from their more than 60 larps in the nineties. Most of them very well documented. During the “social diversity in larp” hosted by Ben Mandall it was showcased that American larp is much more than classic fantasy. Midnight Seduction is a series of game which borrows from both vampire-larp and BDSM culture. The US Army showcased Fort Irwin, a training facility with 1600 professional larpers playing Iraqi civilians and insurgents, preparing the coalition for war. All larpers had character sheets, clear goals, enemies and friends.
It was wonderful to meet parts of the American larp community and see they are much more than the “lightning bolt!” stigma they carry. We can expect a lot of good stuff from them over the next few years and I am looking forward to Wyrd Two.
More photos below:
Thank you Bjarke. Happy to hear that Wyrd Con One was a success, and hoping to see more exchange between the Nordic and North American scenes!