Was it the biggest convention ever? Probably not. I tried to get attendance numbers but struck out (if you find any, make sure to post in the comments!). However, 2015 had 71,000 guests and I’m positive that the convention has only gotten bigger. So we’re getting close to 6 figure attendance here…
I have to say that I’m loving this new movement where museums have late night events to keep the community involved. This is my third After Dark event and I continue to have a great time. I am a big fan of the natural sciences, so anything held at Cranbrook is going to be on my must list. Since we’re only a few days away from Valentine’s Day, this event was focused on the science of love.
All of the CIS (Cranbrook Institute of Science) After Dark events start at 7pm and include a cash bar. Love After Dark had a selection of appetizers you could purchase, including spring rolls, shrimp cocktail, and strawberry and chocolate mousse drumsticks that were made right in front of you. I’m probably the worst food critic ever because I love all food, but everything I sampled tasted fantastic.
Except for the food and drinks, every single other activity was free, which made the night a lot more fun. We were there for a few hours and still missed a few things. Once you had your drink in hand and were exploring the museum, there was plenty to do. The first station we walked by was the “atmospheric hug”. It’s was strange as it sounds. You sit down in a giant, thick trash bag and they suck all the air out so you can experience what it feels like to sit in a vacuum. A lot of the more claustrophobic members of the group gave an immediate “hell no” but I’ll try anything once. It was weird and a little awkward and an experience I’ll never forget. I think my smile in this picture says it all.
From there we found the “Cupid Target Practice” station where you shoot some arrows towards a sheet with a target. One of my favorite things about this activity was that it was the right amount of “hard”. I’ve never fired a bow before in my life and after three failures, I was able to hit the target. Our more experienced members, Chris, was able to get it on his second try.
Right next to that was “Lyrical Love”, a trivia game where a group of people (four in the group I was in) are played a snippet of a music video and you have to pick the song. I was so sure I was going to win this and Motor City Geek’s Austin totally stole my win from me. But if he didn’t like pop culture as much as I do, we probably wouldn’t be friends. At least it was close!
The next section was right up my wheelhouse. Sex. (Because I’m a romance writer… obviously…) Local clinical psychologist and author, Dr. Myrtle C. Means, gave a brief discussion about sex in modern relationships. Dr. Means was a very eloquent speaker and it was fascinating to hear a public discussion about a topic that can become embarrassing fast. Dr. Means also wrote a pretty awesome sounding book that was complied after a clinical study where she talked to hundreds of couples about their single most pleasurable experience and put it all into one easy to digest recipe. Click here to check out her book!
There were a lot of other notable activities. The museum had 14 hearts hidden throughout the museum and if you found one, you’d be entered to win a prize. (Chris and I both found one. Sadly we didn’t win…) There was a presentation given by anthropologist Cameron Wood about the clothing and accessories around the world that can lead to some horizontal relations.
There were some folks there from Pets and Things Reptile Emporium that had some snakes and lizards for the crowd to hang out with. There was also and X rated spider demonstration that turned a few heads.
Another unexpected highlight for me was the Taboo game. There were about 20 different envelopes filled with taboo ideas hanging from the ceiling. The dirty words were obviously the most fun…
Overall, we had a blast. The crowd wasn’t that big which was a shame. I really hope Cranbrook will put more money and time into the marketing of these events. I think that if more people knew there was something so cool right in their back yard, they’d be thrilled. I also want to give a special shout out to John and Sarah. No, not the Terminator duo, but the awesome employees at Cranbrook who made our night extra special. Everything is better when the people behind the scenes have a passion and enthusiasm for the combination of science and fun!
Article and photos by Mallory, Austin, Melissa, and Chris.
I was beyond excited when I heard about the Midwinter Pleasure Faire. A ren fest? Indoors? During the dead of winter? This is the first year ever for the Midwinter Pleasure Faire, so I didn’t go in expecting it to be as established as other fests. I just wanted to go have fun and it’s safe to say it was a lot of fun. The Midwinter Pleasure Faire was held in the special events section of the Gibraltar Trade Center in Mount Clemens. This location worried me a bit. Half the fun of the outdoor fests is the ambiance of being out in the middle of the woods indulging in a fantasy life. What were they going to do to transform an empty warehouse into a fantasy land? An excellent fire breather helps!
While the illusion wasn’t perfect, I didn’t get an empty warehouse vibe. There was an actual jousting field made out of sand that was brought in by the truckload. The Knights of the Black Rose put on a great show.
There was also near constant (sometimes overlapping) music that added to the atmosphere.
And, of course, the awesome costumes worn by the attendees.
There was also a good mix of vendors there. An exceptionally large booth was set up selling kilts, there were some period piece clothes, swords, rocks to keep your whiskey cold, soaps, candles, graphic t-shirts, leather bound journals and a lot of other staples of the renaissance festival circuits.
Notable moments included the always entertaining pickle vendor,
Next year (and I do hope they do this event next year) I’d like to see a few more vendors. Also, even though the music was essential to the atmosphere, sometimes there were so many going at once they seemed to drown each other out. Since all the acts were pretty impressive, that was a shame. These are small things considering this was the first year for the event. Congratulations to the folks running the event on having a successful first year.
We went to have fun and we smiled almost the entire time we were there. The Midwinter Pleasure Faire left us wanting more which, in the end, is a compliment and the main complaint. Can’t wait to see it bigger and better next year!
Pictures and article by Melissa, Mallory, and Austin.
The smell of sawdust still hangs in the air as the wood burning stove pops and crackles nearby. It keeps the frigid winter night at bay as the Dog Might crew sits around the table, plotting and planning. But this time they are not planning a new project or marketing strategy. No, this time they plan to take on the Army of Lamashtu, Mother of Monsters that threatens their kingdom and with it the rest of Golarion. They are playing Pathfinder after a long and productive week. But worry not, for they have more than enough fight left in them to save the day.
The above is not an uncommon occurrence in the Dog Might workshop where The Mikes and Crew work day after day to produce wonderfully designed and handmade gaming accessories. The Dog Might team was nice enough to allow us a behind-the-scenes peek into their shop and see how gaming magic is made. With skilled hands and a keen eye for design, this team has put out six successful Kickstarter campaigns and hundreds if not thousands of beautiful gaming pieces.
From deck boxes to adventure chests and dragon sheaths, each of the products that Dog Might Games sends out has been designed, carved, sanded, stained and sealed all inhouse. Their most recent creation, the Dragon Tray comes in a number of designs, finishes, and interior fabrics making each one unique to the player.
Dog Might is a crew of great guys, making absolutely artistic accessories for every gaming need. So if you’re a gamer, check them out and get in on their Kickstarter while you still can.
This Week in Motor City Geek – Week of February 11th
This week anime takes over two different universities, people strip down to go running through the streets of Detroit for a good cause, and love is in the air at the Cranbrook Institute of Science. Also, cats.
Love After Dark
Cranbrook Institute of Science
Feb 9th, 2017
$10 for members, $15 for non-members, $20 for walk-ups
What is it? This event located at the beautiful Cranbrook Institute of Science explores the science of sex, love and attraction just in time for Valentines Day. There’s a whole list of entertaining events including a paleontologist going over the workings of prehistoric sex, a valentine making station, and a clinical psychologist discussing her recipe for ecstasy. There will be a selection of appetizers available for sale and all heart merchandise in the Science Shop will be 20% off.
LTU Anime Con 2017
Lawrence Technological University – Atrium Building
What is it? LTU Anime Con started with a group of friends who wanted to hang out and have a good time and has expanded to a fun unpredictable con full of people with a mutual love of anime, manga, video games and Japanese culture. There will be panels, vendors, tournaments and more!
Animania Presents: Con Ja Nai XXIII
University of Michigan – Modern Languages Building
What is it? Con Ja Nai is an established “not a con(vention)” held at the University of Michigan. Entry is free and attendees get to enjoy a maid cafe, various panels, raffles, game shows (like Anime Jeopardy and Name That Tune), awesome cosplay and, of course, all the anime you can watch.
What is it? Cupid’s Undie Run is a mile(ish) run in your bedroom-best on Valentine’s weekend. All proceeds go to benefit The Children’s Tumor Foundation and neurofibromatosis research. These runs take place in cities all over the country. Why run in your underwear? They have a really good answer for that. Because people with NF can’t cover up their tumors. They can’t put clothes on to feel more comfortable, so why should we? The pictures look like it’s a blast and it’s for a great cause.
What is it? This is a charity dinner event to benefit various programs at Catfe Lounge and the Ferndale Cat Shelter. The ticket gets you amazing live entertainment, a Cajun dinner from Howe’s Bayou and access to an auction table filled with items from some of Ferndale’s finest businesses, including concert tickets, massage gift certificates, gift baskets with everything from wine to art work, and more.
An escape room is a life size puzzle game. A group of people are locked in a room and must follow clues and hints to escape. The earliest ones were opened about ten years ago and they have been exploding in popularity. Motor City Geek was invited to take a behind-the-scenes tour of one of Escape Room-Zone in Farmington Hills.
When we arrived, we were met by the manager, Sean. He was, frankly, an amazing guide. His enthusiasm for the rooms was palpable and made the whole experience incredible.
He started us out in the first room that was built, the Mad Scientist room. Because we want to go back and experience it, we were careful to avoid spoilers. Sean gave us a demonstration of a few of the surprises (including lighting). The best way I can think of to describe these rooms is that it’s almost like an “I SPY” page in real life. I saw a lot of interesting and unexpected items from which you have to chose the important ones, helping you to solve logical, physical, and investigative puzzles.
From there we saw the Haunted Room. This is the recommended “date room” because it’s smaller, darker and more intimate. Once again I can’t give spoilers, but I think there might be a moment or two I’d scream out loud in this room! That might be because I’m a wimp, but I was excited by some of the surprises.
There’s a more kid-friendly puzzle room that you escape by playing your favorite childhood games. But the kid room got a whole lot cooler when Sean showed us the hidden door that led to…
The Bank Heist room! As a former teller at Chase, I’d like to think I’d rock this one, but as a teller, I never had to deal with bombs 😉 And yes, there are bombs.
Probably the coolest room there was the Prison Break room. This was a more complex room and it was complete with an isolation cell, group cell (yes, you ARE shackled to start off with) and another section we couldn’t see for spoiler purposes.
They are apparently building another room, museum themed, that allows up to 30(!) people to experience the escape room craze at once.
Worst part? I’m a scaredy cat. I’d probably scream. Multiple times. Best part? The building is haunted by a ghost named Lisa. Her origins are murky, but she’s been known to move items around while the staff is alone in the building. While Sean told us the story of Lisa a light in the room turned off by itself! He promises he didn’t do it… come investigate for yourself.