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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

What the Hell?! Con 2010: students let their inner geek go berserk

From Feb. 5 to 7, What the Hell?! Con descended on Guilford’s campus.What the Hell?! Convention first began in 2001. The Yachting Club, which organizes and hosts the convention, invites artists, game designers, filmmakers, musicians, and jewelry designers from around the country. Attendance for the Con has risen steadily every year, with a noticeable jump between 2007 and 2008.


After the opening ceremonies on the evening of Feb. 5, con-goers braved the cold and spitting rain to watch the Flaming Faeries’ fire-dancing troupe perform outside Dana. The Faeries have become a staple of the Con. In addition to the flaming hoops, torches, poi, and parasol, this year’s show featured a flaming cutlass and a boat with blazing oars.

Following the fire show, con-goers repaired to Duke to collectively read “The Eye of Argon,” an uproariously bad piece of fantasy writing. The video game room, hosted by Guilco Gamers in conjunction with the Yachting Club, also saw a sizable turnout.

Musician Tom Smith gave a concert in Dana Auditorium, delivering his take on many aspects of geekdom, from “Avatar” to Harry Potter.

The night concluded with the annual Crapathon, a strictly over-18 event featuring bad pornographic anime.


The second day of the Con opened to the sizzle of cooking vegetables and the clinking of utensils in the College Iron Chef event. Senior Wayne Flenniken took the victory with a much-lauded garlic cream sauce.

“My philosophy in cooking is making food palatable for as cheap as possible,” said Flenniken.

In Dana Choir Room, webcomic and comic book artists displayed their work and chatted with fans. Some held instructional sessions on writing, publishing, and artwork for aspiring comic book authors throughout the day.

“I keep forgetting to sell stuff,” laughed Jenny Breeden, author of the webcomic “The Devil’s Panties.” “Other, more corporate conventions are all about sales … Here, I get to see the faces of my readers.”

“There’s just a different vibe here,” agreed author Daniel Beauchamp.

Filmmaker David Howard, a senior at UNC Asheville, gave a screening of his short film “Alice in Wonderland.” The movie put a new twist on the classic tale, portraying Alice as a troubled 21st-century theater student thrust into a gritty Victorian Gothic fantasy world.

Finally, everyone filed into Dana Auditorium for the Geek Auction, where male volunteers are auctioned to a horde of screaming women. Once bought, the men are obliged to give one dance to their purchaser at the Dance held just afterward. The money goes to Child’s Play, an organization that delivers video – and other – games to hospitalized children.

The evening concluded in a whirl of glow sticks, gyrating bodies, and thumping techno music emanating from Dana lobby.


Dazzling sunlight graced Sunday morning as Alan Rhodes ’08 hosted the Dungeons and Dragons Killer Breakfast. Participants sampled bagels and cereal while Rhodes explained the adventure.

“You’ve been hearing reports of creatures with eyes that glow red like fire. Well, less like fire than red LED lights, but you don’t know what LEDs are, so you’re gonna go back to the fire,” Rhodes instructed.

Con staff arranged various boxes on Dana Auditorium stage for the annual Daikaiju Battle. Participants assume the roles of giants as they play-fight each other and wreck a cardboard city … la Japanese monster movies. At the end, senior Payne “The Bringer of Pain” Curlin rose victorious from the devastation.

Outside, sophomore Richard Johnson oversaw a game of Amtgard. The melee was cut short however, with the start of the closing ceremonies. The Con was over.

“It’s been a nice experience … I was impressed with the turnout. (All the guests) showed up, except for a few from far away,” said sophomore Tess Crocker, the Con’s chief organizer.

Combining all the elements of geekdom you could imagine, from anime to fire-dancing, from RPGs to FPSs, from dancing your feet off to talking with your favorite author, What the Hell?! Con has something for everybody. Hope to see you there next year.

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