Let’s be honest – when you think of prime locations for a pirate convention, Denver Colorado doesn’t exactly spring to mind. You can’t get much more removed from any sort of maritime community, and the high altitude might leave you a little giddy before you even crack open the rum. But then, you don’t exactly need water to engage in many of the very best pirate activities – carousing is best done on dry land, and dancing to some pirate tunes is just as easily achieved in a hotel ballroom as on the deck of a ship. And that was the beauty of BrethrenCon 2010 – a single hotel for a day was made ground zero for pirate enthusiasts from miles around (Colorado does indeed have a surprisingly large and diverse pirate population.)
The con was held at the Mariott in Denver. A swanky enough hotel, with a surprisingly friendly and accomodating staff considering the nature of their unwashed tennants and convention goers. For the purpose of the con a wing of the hotel was reserved – vendors were lined up in the hallway making for a slightly cramped (but not overly so) shopping experience. Wares included many piratey odds and ends – jewelry, replica weapons, jolly-roger novelties, and so forth. Larger scale clothing items weren’t much represented, although one vendor did have some pretty swanky straw pirate hats (I forgot to get a card, but I’m mighty suspicious it was these folks.) The festivities opened at 12 p.m. (ish), with myelf and Captain Jack McCool providing some opening statements to put everyone in a piratey frame of mind (not that most needed any help with that.) Once the convention was started off proper, the afternoon became a blur of pirate activity. No fewer than 12 pirate forums/seminars were in the offering, with subjects ranging from pirate myths to lady pirate attire and voodoo. My own two forums, A Crew Full of Jacks: The Pros and Cons of Disney’s Influence on Pirate Culture and A Clean Pirate is a Sissy Pirate: Words of Wisdom Before Beating the Crap Out of Your Pirate Wardrobe went very well, although Crew Full of Jacks proved surprsingly shifty to stay on course (I should have brought a compass.)
For those in a less scholarly frame of mind, the Tortuga Tavern and adjoining activity room offered the chance to drink and hang out with fellow pirates, as well as participate in a trournament of Liar’s Dice and a shanty sing. Or for those wishing to truly veg, the ConSuite no only made available a host of munchies, but also various pirate films screening throughout the day.
A busy afternoon having come and gone, the evening was highlighted with the Undead Buccaneer Bash. Dinner was served in the hotel ballroom, featuring a selection of jerk chicken or mahi tuna, along with coconut rice and fried plantains (a very suitable meal for any pirate. ‘Cept the veggie pirates, I suppose. Lucky for them rum is vegan.) Entertainment was first provided by Mondragon, who’s celtic/folk music encompassed a healthy dose of maritime and drinking songs. Next up was Pandora Celtica, who took a somewhat more humorous, offbeat approach to their a cappella performance. These first two acts were very fun – a bit on the well polished, Ren-faire side of pirateyness, but still quite good. Third up was my own self at the DJ booth, bringing my best dose of whole-hearted “pirate” to the equation, entertaining requests for Alestorm, Pirates Charles, and a sizeable selection of pirate electonica dance. Widow’s Bane concluded the musical entertainment with their unique undead-hobo-folk songs – very few of which were overtly piratey, but certainly in keeping with the pirate (and of course, undead) spirit of the Bash. Aside from food and music, the Buccaneer Bash also featured a costume contest (with awards for general and undead pirates), as well as the conclusion of an all-day competion for the Convention’s King/Queen (the competion being comprised of soliciting donations for charity.)
BrethrenCon 2010 definitely made for a very compact day – my greatest complaint is that I couldn’t be in two (or three or four) places at once, as there was just so much going on (which is always a good sign.) While its single day format and mostly local musical talent might not yet make this convention the “must attend” event for pirates nationwide, I think it’s definitely one to watch. Colorado pirates should certainly rejoice at having such a fantastic convention at their own doorstep, while long distance pirates should pay close attention lest miss out on Denver’s transition into a new pirate haven.