As per prior invitation from Austen, Saturday was the day of descending like curious monkeys upon G-Fest 2000, a three-day convention dedicating to Godzilla- and other such Japanese giant monsters. I'm not a fan, but it's summer and anything goes. This involved waking at the godforsaken hour of 8 AM, but sacrifices must be made for friendship. I was introduced to Austen's friends from college, Alyissa and Ben.

There was a strange dynamic between them - they were boyfriend/girlfriend with an open relationship, and one of Alyissa's flings was at the con. As far as I could tell, Ben didn't pursue other women. Ouch. You imagine the toxicity of such, I'll pass. His lack of reaction towards Alyissa's flirting with other men surprised me, but I imagine he's had practice. She does seem to care for him though... Perhaps a good personal warning for future relationships, but on the other hand women want me when I'm taken. They were pleasant enough, tho the oil-water friend problem was there in slight amounts.

We took the subway to the con's hotel - making me one of the few people ever to be helped by the Los Angeles subway system. Entrance was expensive and they forced us to put our real names on the tags. On the other hand, I snagged some coloring pictures - super-deformed Mothra's too kawaii. After meeting up with Branden, we somehow ended up at The Evolution of Godzilla - an hour-long lecture on the different suits used throughout his film career. The sociological lessons taught by the fans' obsessive interest paid to the number of toes in each movie was more interesting than the lecture, and I ended up falling asleep and waking near the end. As could be expected, the majority of G-fans were male. Many were young, and some tolerant-faced parents were in tow. The discussion about which suit was best was great, seeing Japanese phrases being casually tossed between portly 40 year olds and hyperactive preteens. On the whole they seemed very balanced for fans, especially when I compare it to a friend's horror story about anime otaku at a con. Brr.

Food was procured from Hamburger Hamlet, and non-LA people gawked at the stars in the sidewalk while LA people tried not to look embarrassed. The billboard of Angelyne was of course a hit.

We returned to the con for an interview with the director of the Gamera movies. Painful - by the time the long questions were asked, translated into Japanese, answered, and translated back into poor English, we had forgotten the question, making the hard to hear answer an exercise in surrealism. We gave up and fled to the movie room, where Cowboy Bebop was playing in defiance of the schedule. Everyone enjoyed it, and I was reminded of why Yoko Kanno is a musical god.

We once again fled the con to find birthday gifts at a film book store, revealing much fun on the way. There was a Scientology business with staffers asking people if they wanted a personality and IQ test. Mocking ensued, and I took off running screaming "Xenu!" at the top of my lungs. Austen hit me in the arm, asking me if I wanted to be shot by a crazy Scientologist. The assorted Asian tourists, leather-clad clubsters and FUBU funders were amused and amused me in return. The film store surprised me with its academic essays on sadomasochistic erotic horror movies, bad '80s TV show books and John Wayne paper dolls. If it exists, someone's written crap about it.

Present in tow, we returned for the video contest. The first was stop-action and pretty long. The second was by Evan, a friend of Austen's friends and one of the few there I'd call a monster otaku. Slightly obsessive behavior and strange social skills, a slight lack of personal hygiene... It was his dream about Giant Japanese Monster University, with Ben, Alyissa and others playing students. Strange. Then there was a hellishly complicated CG sequence. The last one was an amateur movie of Godzilla duking it out, rubbery suits, exploding buildings and everything. The winner was a claymation titled "Destroy All Annoyances", featuring Godzilla crushing Teletubbies, Pikachu, and Barney. Cute, but it fails the art test - who's going to like it in 10 years? Pah. This was followed by the costume contest - only three contestants, but the two serious ones were amazingly detailed.

By that time the others were pretty sick of Godzilla. The day was ended by a run at the dealers upstairs. X-Files posters for the girls, only Masamune Shirow posters for me, since the booth with awesome Giant Robot T-shirts didn't take cards. And so was the convention - we missed out on all the films at the nearby theater. I'll live.