Everfree & Me

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written by Lillian Wong (@lillyums)

I’ll admit it. I started watching the first two seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (MLP:FiM ongoing) on Netflix at the beginning of this summer and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was pretty funny, but what I really asked myself was, “why did I enjoy it?” The presence of adult humor and including background ponies that referenced movies and TV shows (The Big Lebowski, Doctor Who).  I did a little bit more research and get this – Amy Keating Rogers, the head writer of The Powerpuff Girls and also worked for Dexter’s Laboratory, was also a contributing writer for MLP:FiM,.  The creator of MLP:FiM is Lauren Faust, who also wrote over 100 episodes of The Powerpuff Girls. Her husband, Craig McCracken, created Dexter’s Laboratory.  I could imagine that after reading such an extensive list of talent, it all made sense. In addition, the first season was rather incredibly sexist and I loved it (all girl ponies, and all the boys were either douchebags, nerds, or servants). Soon after, I heard there was actually a MLP:FiM convention coming to Seattle on August 17-19 and I decided to check it out.

One of the biggest things I support at conventions is the attending independent artists who sell their handmade work.  I love artwork in the form of posters, paper, toys, pins - you name it.  I was only able to attend the Everfree NW Convention for one day, and there are so many things to highlight in this review.

Panel Highlights

I wanted to check out the panels and be able to associate a face to the voices. Voice actors (VA) these days are not acknowledged or appreciated enough.  So I figured this would be a great time to see them.

The Mane Six (Minus Two): I didn’t get a chance to get in and see this panel but one thing great about this convention, that many other conventions are picking up, is the live viewing of the panel in another location.  So I did just that.  Present was Tara Strong (Twilight Sparkle, and Bubbles from TPG!), Andrea Libman (Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie), Tabitha St. Germain (Rarity), Cathy Weseluck (Spike), and special guest Nicole Oliver (Princess Celestia).  They were such a great group of girls, and Cathy Weseluck kept talking like Spike! Not only that,  Cathy Weseluck has an extensive list of portraying chracters in a lot of anime series; including Death Note, Mobile Suit Gundam, Ranma ½ , and more.  I love anime, even though I only usually watch subbed videos, it’s still really great to see someone in MLP coming from such a prestigious pedigree.

Some really interesting things I learned about the VA’s, and other highlights of the panel:

Lauren Faust has worked on over a hundred episodes on The Powerpuff Girls, so MLP:FiM isn’t just for girls, it’s for everyone!

Tara Strong:

Tara Strong’s charity project: Kiki’s Treatment Fund, she helps raise money for Kiki Havivy’s treatments not covered by insurance for her brain tumor!

She did the voice of BUBBLES!! (from The Powerpuff Girls)

She did voice acting for Futurama!  She can’t say which character, but keep an eye out for her piece in Futurama! She’s also done voice acting for Family Guy, King of the Hill, and Napoleon Dynamite.

She once went through a McDonald’s drive through asking for MLP pony toys in her Twilight Sparkle voice.

She is twitter obsessed – she loves to talk to Bronies! But she’s also had death threats and haters :(

Andrea Libman’s charity event: Ride to Conquer Cancer, a biking event from Vancouver BC to Seattle to help raise money for cancer research.  She is the top 5 contributor right now thanks to the bronies!

Nicole Oliver:

She got stalked by Bronies – the host strongly asks the fans to respect the privacy of our VAs.  Isn’t that nuts? People who go this far!

What Nicole Oliver thinks about the term ”Brony”: She’s feels like it’s been overwhelming, uplifting, encouraging, and what the fan base stands for how is she would want to walk through in life.   Bronies have great qualities and should be admired and followed!

The Guys of MLP: I attended one more panel later on – “The Guys of MLP” hosted by DustyKatt with Peter New (Big Mac), Lee Tockar (Snips, “Steven Magnet”), and Andrew Francis (Shining Armour).  I loved it – these guys are incredibly amusing and talented.  While my favorite male pony is Big Mac (with his trademark one line “Yeeupp!”), I have to say after this panel, my favorite male voice actor in My Little Pony is Lee Tockar.

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To sum up this panel, here are some amusing tidbits I’ve learned about the VA’s:

There was a twitter bet between Lee Tockar and Peter New: the bet was that Lee wouldn’t get more than 250 followers on twitter and that if he reaches 2500 followers he would show up to Everfree with a mohawk. Peter New decided to participate as well, and decided to show up with a half beard if Lee reached 2500 followers. Well.  Lee Tockar got more than 2500 followers. ;)

Peter New:

He’s got a mini-series booked! Super secret, he won’t tell us.

And he’s got more stuff going on….that he can’t tell us about. But we’ll find out soon!

He was asked to do Shakespeare in Big Mac’s voice. That was funny :)

Lee Tockar:

His “Steven Magnet” character was actually originally named “Sea Serpent” but due to some spell check correction, it somehow came out to be “Steven Magnet” instead.

“Steven Magnet’s” voice was originally supposed to be a regular voice – the director requested the voice to be more “flamboyant”. It was pretty funny how he explained this.

He has secured a quarter million investments for his upcoming FanBuilt project (CONGRATS!). It’s a project that gathers young voice actors and animators to create a show that highlights all the works that fans do on shows they love.  His online TV show will be live through EverFree Radio when it launches. More details here.

Andrew Francis:

He once tweeted that he was thrilled to be voice acting for Shining Armor, AND it wouldn’t be that bad to be in a room full of girls.  Hasbro asked him to take that post down immediately… this was obviously before he knew there were bronies.

He has a new project which involves shows through Disney XD (SECRET STUFF!) and they are producing a cartoon called Nut Jobs. Not a whole lot of details but we’ll find out soon. Too many secrets in this panel… geez.

Autograph Panels

: I attended my first autograph session for most of the VAs.  It was $20/voucher, and I decided, why not, I’m going to support the voice actors. I purchased 3 vouchers to get an autograph from Peter New, Andrea Libman, and Tara Strong.  Andrea Libman was nice enough to sign two things for me :) She signed the exclusive Everfree Northwest promo Fluttershy card <insert photo>, and the poster I purchased from Katie Williamson at the Dealer’s Hall with all the voice actors that would appear at this convention.  While I was in line for Tara Strong (LONG line), Lee Tockar, who was seated next to Peter New, called me over to sign my poster because I guess he got jelly that I got Peter’s autograph and not his haha.  That was funny.

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Another thing to note was everyone, I mean EVERYONE broke out in song.  It all started with these guys in front of me singing all the songs in MLP (I admit I was a little wierded out) and then next thing I know another group of guys started singing and then EVERY ONE started singing.

No. I did not sing…I only know the first two lines of the theme song!!! (“My little pony. My little pony.”)

Let me tell you, Tara Strong loved it, got up on her chair, video recorded it, and put it on the twitter. Yes. It is on youtube.  No, I don’t know the twilightlicious song, and didn’t hear about it until that day.  Apparently Tara Strong made a twilightlicious song.

These guys are hard core.

Dealer’s Hall

The Dealer’s Hall was pretty much what I expected – various artists selling handmade crafts, jewelry, toys, plushies, posters, pins, and so much more.  Basically anything you can put a pony on, you can find them here. My personal favorites are usually pins, prints, and plushies! But I also have seen amazing and talented work here, and will note them as highlights of this hall. 

My main goal was to snag the Everfree exclusive 2012 Fluttershy Promo Card.

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While it may be going for 100+ on ebay right now… stupid me, I went to get it autographed, but she signed it addressing it “To Lillian” AND I had it laminated for a dollar because I didn’t really have a safe place to put it (the corners were starting to look less new even though it was sandwiched in between things in my purse). I’m pretty sure this just got devalued by 100%.

However I spoke with many artists and bought tons of swag… but I also wanted to highlight some incredible work from these artists:

Katie Williamson and her cute little bookmarks! I also purchased the Everfree poster from her.

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Childhood Relics had handmade plushies of the pets of the Mane 6! They were incredibly well done and amazing quality, and she even let me take a photo of her plushies! I ended up caving and buying Gummy, Pinkie Pie’s toothless pet alligator.  I loved her work. She also does other custom made plushies (and not just MLP).

Otaku Squirrel and his sculpted pony hair. Cost quite expensive…But incredibly talented to sculpt hair (I mean “mane”) so well using molds and resin. While I did feel it was overpriced, the work he put into getting this mold “just right” may have reflected that price.  The bodies were originally attached with an actual mane, but he shaved off their heads and tails and inserted his own mane and tail sculpt.

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Pixel Kitties and her my little pony crossover art – I love it, she had various art ranging from Marvel X MLP to Fallout X MLP to Dr. Who X MLP crossovers .  (My favorite piece of Pinkie Pie dressed as Loki…with text “Okie Dokie Loki!”).  Here’s a compilation of her prints at Everfree: Pixel Kitties Everfree Compilation. The best thing about her table was she had “beer” bottles (just regular bottles filled with grocery store branded soda) with custom made labels.

Kanamei on super cute metal pin designs for MLP!! See her custom made pins and pre-order forms here. (I’ll admit, I snagged a Derpy Muffin pin…)

Cosmic Unicorn cannot be missed, as she not only designed the cover art of the conbook, but also designed a set of posters for the Mane Six. 

Insomniac Overlord was also asked to design one of Everfree’s official convention poster of what dress Rarity would make to describe “Seaddle”.  (ha-ha-ha GET IT…) See it here!

Dea Thea Crafts had a great amount of space for her MLP crafts and they were all incredibly impressive work. She had handmade steam punk outfits for your pony, but best of all were her hand sculpted dolls of the human-Mane 6 and others.  No photos were allowed, so I didn’t take any photos of her booth at all, but you can find her on facebook and view her photos there.

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While these are definitely artists I would come back and shop for, I had to note the best booth of the whole Dealer’s Hall – This booth, “Sweet Apple Acres”, was decorated top to bottom, to mimick what would be Apple Jack’s shop.  It was organized by a group of people, two who were there at the time I showed up.  The lady was dressed as “Apple Jack” and the guy as “Big Mac”.  They played through their parts so well! They explained they are actually in the theatre business, which makes sense. “Apple Bloom” and “Granny Smith” were helping this booth out too I heard but not while I was there!

The Traveling Pony Museum

The Traveling Pony Museum had a room set up containing a collection of works by artists from the MLP:FiM fan community. It is an organization dedicated to acknowledge underexposed artists.  The collection itself in this room included paintings, drawings, customized plushies (super cute!), and customized dolls. I have to say my favorite was the Deadpool Pinkie Pie, it is definitely a well played character for her ;)

Here are some photos, not a whole lot to say about it other than GOOD JOB EVERYONE!

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Notable Cosplays

Not a whole lot of people were cosplaying but I had to note some and compiled a collage.  I have to say the best one was this girl’s rendition of DJ Pon3.

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The Finale

The most important event of this whole convention was the Charity Auction event that they held that evening. I didn’t get to attend as I had other arrangements for that late evening but it was a charity event with its sole purpose to auction off MLP items to have all proceeds go to the Seattle Children’s Hospital. Example of items included…. 2 NIB SDCC Derpy Hooves, a hand painted photo of Twilight Sparkle (and signed by Tara Strong), a cowboy hat (signed by Peter New), and much more. Isn’t that incredibly awesome? They raised $13,534 in total! All thanks to the bronies.

Overall, this was an interesting experience. Being that it was 1:10 girls:bronies did make me feel a little uneasy, but after a while it got easier.  I definitely enjoyed the Dealer’s Hall and seeing how there was so much talent being put to use.

There will be many more conventions and reviews! I hope you’ve enjoyed this bit!