The BiG "O" CoN
The Rocky Horror Convention in Wichita, KS - June, 2003
Friday
~ Friday Night Party

Saturday
~ Clue
~ Fetish Fashion Show
 Shock Treatment
  ~ Part 1
  ~ Part 2
 Rocky Horror
  ~ Part 1
  ~ Part 2

Other Pages
~ Miscellaneous Candids
~ The Orpheum Theater
~ Around Wichita

 

Other People's Pages
Shawn McHorse's Pics
Bill Ung's Pics

Related Pages
The Crazed Imaginations Convention Planner

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Wichita, Kansas
As I said on the opening page of this convention set, one of the features of any convention is the locale. Let's face it though, Wichita is by far not the bastion of civilization with a lot of culture and diversity - honestly the convention was probably the most interesting thing going on in the town that weekend. There was certainly no way this place was competing with the likes of Hollywood and Vegas, and heck, even Orlando or Tucson, that were hosts to recent conventions as well. I tried to make the best of it, and here is my personal take on the city...


A makeshift panorama from my hotel room window

 
The parking garage on the left belonged to the hotel, and was pretty much indicative of a downtown area that at one time probably thrived enough to justify its building/existence, but now, even with the convention, they pretty much didn't even fill the ground floor. That large octagon shaped building behind the garage is, I believe, the tallest building in Wichita (and about the same height as the suburban apartment building next door to where is used to live in the Chicago area).

   
I'm not exactly sure what was going on here. I think I heard a lot of yelling and took these pictures thinking they were convention people showing up to the hotel (they turned out not to be). It was probably some type of Wichita style drug deal
 
One of the "Dealer's" cars. I have no idea what it says...


The view down the street from the hotel. Unfortunately, I never went in this direction the whole weekend, so this is the best view I have of the bridge and the metal flame type sculptures on it

 
The "Old Town" (from what I hear, the big deal in downtown Wichita)... and the Gas Station / Sandwich Shop place we had lunch in - an experience that was pretty much surreal...



A couple of building shots that I liked...


I took a picture of this because of the tiny, and only, window on the side of this building. I'm sure there was some significance to its size and placement, but I never figured it out.

Downtown

The Creepy Metal Sculpture Series
Essays by jefF
This was definitely the enigma of Wichita for me, and I'm about to write more about this than the rest of the convention combined because of it. I'm obviously an out of towner, so the possible cultural significance of these Creepy Metal Sculptures, if any, was completely lost on me...
Perhaps in some effort to make the near barren downtown Wichita area seem more populated, or maybe in a tribute to the trials and tribulations of the people of Wichita and even Kansas proper, or maybe just some son or daughter of some higher government official found a way to be paid for their artistic venture. Anyway, I bring you the epic that is the Wichita Creepy Metal Sculptures...

The Cow on the Sidewalk Goes Moo
(and prepares to eat fowl for dinner)


This was the first one of these I ran across. At this point I wasn't aware of the number of these Creepy Metal Sculptures that populated the downtown area. I thought it was simply a sculpture tribute to Midwest/Kansas cattle country. It did seem unusual, the calf looking at the birds on the ground (as anyone that's watched a cow for any length of time will tell you, they are mostly indifferent to just about anything in the world around them) - but I figured there had to be a hook here to sell this sculpture, like the cows on parade thing a few years ago they did in Chicago (and some other cities across the world) where they painted the cows with themes. I guess this here made the cow scene more "touching" and less like two metal lumps in the middle of the sidewalk, that otherwise looked like 100,000 more livelier lumps scattered in the fields around said town in said state.

Hopscotch

This was the second one I ran across. At first glance, I didn't realize it was a Creepy Metal Sculpture, but I eventually figured it out. The approaching couple saw me taking pictures and the guy decided to ham it up for my camera. I thought the sidewalk stone inlay hopscotch layout was interesting, though the cat seems more than interested in something that a real life cat wouldn't even give a second of attention to - unless the girl was holding a can of cat food.

Man Abandons Briefcase to Pee in the Street

At this point I figured out there was a series of these Creepy Metal Sculptures. This one, of a guy reading his paper, is interesting because he has chosen to walk away from his briefcase next to the bench - much like they do in most major cities while waiting for a bus to come.
However, this one had a bit more thrown in. In between the man and his briefcase are several low pressure fountains in the sidewalk, eternally separating the perpetually inanimate barefoot man from his briefcase like the river Styx. The man will never get his bus, will always have a puddle at his bare feet as though he wet himself, and will always be separated from his briefcase. Maybe it's symbolism, a message to separate yourself from your work every now and then by using some makeshift moat in your life - I don't know... art is sometimes lost on me. All I know is he'll be reading page 7 of that paper forever. 

The Boy Chases Down A Turtle
(and the turtle surprises him and he wets himself)

Coming upon this one, I saw a small child pushing something in the street. Not wishing to be fooled again, I assumed this one to be a Creepy Metal Sculpture from the start, and was not disappointed. I took the first picture, then the second - then BAM, as I positioned myself to take the third, I witnessed the epic struggle that was this scenario as well. My best guess here is the boy was pushing his little peddle car down the street. Mayhaps to run the turtle over, or simply in the much more innocent search of his lost turtle. However, the turtle here has turned the tables on the boy and surprised his ass by hiding around the corner (heck, I didn't see him until the third pic, why would the boy!).
To add perpetual insult to this scene, this too has another mysterious sidewalk fountain involved in it, presumably to teach real life children a lesson about animals and the dangers of them surprising you (as I learned the hard way when I was about this boys age, with a dog that was determined to nab the bowl of Cheerios I had with me... if only I had this Creepy Metal Sculpture to teach me...). I didn't pee myself; either before IRL with the dog, or now with the flashback caused by this Creepy Metal Sculpture recollection - but this boy apparently has. I don't believe the wet paper was a permanent part of the display.
 

The Commons

It might not be obvious, but there isn't a single real live person in this picture. Every human like figure here is a Creepy Metal Sculpture. I didn't find most of these particularly interesting, at least not as interesting as the picture as a whole, so there are no individual pictures of them except...

The Singin' Cowboy

Located to the left of the above picture, this one WAS interesting enough to warrant his own picture. Apparently Wichita, unlike other major US cities like New York and Chicago, has a lack of street performers. I know that I was feeling lost and out of sorts not being able to throw a buck into the hat or guitar case of some random guy using his year and a half of music education to now pay his rent and student loans though the good graces of commuters. Though this guy really needs to learn about street performing as neither his hat nor his guitar case are open on the ground to accept donations.
This one did cause me to do a double take, in at first I thought it MIGHT be real, but I concluded it wasn't when I realized that his guitar has no strings, and hence no sound was coming from it. Who knows though, maybe they're invisible strings that only the dog can hear - which is why we're observing yet another intensely interested Creepy Metal Sculpture animal - interest that a real life counterpart would never be able to muster unless there was some type of food involved. I don't expect him to ever be able to afford real guitar strings, or even dog food to keep even the animal's attention, with no way to accept donations. But he IS better off than the guy with the briefcase, as he does have his guitar case right next to him and is not proverbially peeing himself - thereby proving that singing street Creepy Metal Sculpture cowboys are happier than reading bus-waiting Creepy Metal Sculpture businessmen. Though the cowboy does have a perpetual type of torment in the form of the stool that he will never be able to sit down on - it even torments the dog too, not being able to mark it either.
 

The Fox and His Dinner

This one was really interesting. As I came up on it, I was quite amused by the fox (or is it a coyote - I'm calling it a fox here) as he looks up at the bird sitting on the newspaper/garbage can kiosk, as if to taunt him - and, as the theme of the Creepy Metal Sculptures goes, it is a perpetual torment...
But wait! Upon further examination up the road we find a fox with a successful capture and kill in its mouth! It's not really clear to me if this is supposed to be a succession sculpture and the fox DID get the taunting bird, or if this is an altogether different fox and not so lucky bird.
Either way, the children in the third picture seem to be indifferent to the lesson the latter bird is trying to teach them just 20 feet away. They would do well to not torment the fox that doesn't have dinner yet...

 
"Look, Up In The Sky..."

I approached this one assuming it was a metal sculpture, as I pretty much did anyone that I saw on the street in Wichita from this point on - as it should be evident her that there were more Creepy Metal Sculptures on the street in Downtown Wichita than real people, so that was the safe bet. I took a couple of pictures while coming up on the woman and her child, wondering just what the heck she could be pointing out. Up until this point, the Creepy Metal Sculptures seemed indifferent of anything and anyone not made of metal, so I assumed it was something most likely made of metal. Once I got into the vantage point of the pair, I found that they were patriotically pointing in the direction of the US flag atop the building across the street. I'm not sure why... maybe the commie kid needed a patriotic refresher course, or maybe they're not even pointing in the direction of the flag - it's probably in the direction of an ICBM missile that'll one day be headed for Russia and its course will take it right through the sky path of this pointing mother...

This one has en epilogue though, in the form of the preying Creepy Metal Sculpture attack squirrel that is no doubt going to run up the skirt of the mother - must be a commie anti-patriotic squirrel. I tried to justify the squirrel's motives as something else, maybe he was going to go for the garbage can next to them... but I'm sure that you'll agree with me that the squirrel has indeed targeted the mother and her child.
It occurred to me, in retrospect, that this may in fact be a beaver in this picture - albeit, still an evil anti-patriotic beaver. However, since beavers don't run up women's skirts, nor do they go through garbage cans to the best of my beaver knowledge, I couldn't even begin to think of a story that would put a beaver into this scenario and still have it make sense - so, it IS a squirrel.

A Cat and Its Dinner

While more subtle than the fox, this is still pretty much just as disturbing. Since we all know that Non Metal Based cats and birds just don't hang out to shoot the shit, it is pretty clear that the cat has just nabbed these birds and is just tormenting them by playing with them, waiting to eat them as they flop around never able to get away... if for no other reason than they too are metal and cannot fly. Though one of the smallest, I found this one of the most powerful of the series in expressing eternal tormet.

The Girl Directs Animal Porn Street Theater

Yeah, another one of those that looks innocent enough, but something just isn't right and it really is easy to figure out what is going on here. If it was JUST the girl and the pony, I could write this off as an innocent tribute to the children of Kansas and their ponies, because, let's face it, no more so anywhere else in the world outside the Kansas Heartland is a child more likely to get a pony as a present.
However, they just HAD to throw the dog in here, and the dog has some of his ideas about what's going to happen here, and we all know what they are - and it isn't simple sniffin' butt, lemmie tell you Chester. No non-veterinary personnel looks at a pony's nether regions like that without it being anything other than curiously suspicious at the least, and downright perverted and disgusting at the most.

Tormenting Child

I actually took the first picture earlier in the day, but HAD to return to take the second picture that night. This one is a classic tribute to the age old game of child tormenting child. Yeah, again, it tries to look innocent, like a brother pouring cool beverage for his sibling in this hot Wichita climate, but again, at this point we know what to look for as each edition of the Creepy Metal Sculpture series has a lesson or message. Why is baby brother / neighbor / random child on his knees, veritably begging to simply get a drink? Because he HAS to. And really, what the heck has that kid on his knees got his hand out for? To get the drink? I think not. His intended stop for those digits is no more respectable than the dog's eye for the pony guy in the previous scenario. And we all know that drink is going nowhere but onto the kneeling boy's head, whether the proper quid pro quo treatment that was requested by the older boy is administered or not.

Metal Horse

This wasn't part of the same series as the rest, it was commissioned by the business it sits in front of (there was a plaque/sign stating as much). I thought it was cool... kinda like RoboCop's horse - if he had one.

- - -


It was a plane and it was there in the middle of the sidewalk, so I took a picture

 
The first electric light intersection in Wichita. Thrilling, I know.

 
Some random Urban Decay


It looked like an abandoned building, but it sure wasn't. Only the doors on this side of it were closed. When I rounded the corner I saw a (about) 94 year old woman sitting in the open business doorway. I almost snapped a picture of her, but I didn't feel right about it because it somehow didn't seem dignified. I still wish I would have though, it would have been a good picture.


I found this interesting, with the missing keystone and all...


Decaying brick buildings were reasonably common


A Wichita Motorcycle gang...


I took this picture when I saw this guy loading up his flatbed trailer with a lot of crap. I figured I was seeing a not so bright guy who was about to spread a bunch of crap over the road a/o someone robbing the place and this was the best he had to do it. Him and another guy loaded some big painting into the back and drove off. Crap did not go all over the road as I expected. No word on whether this place was actually robbed or not, as I never cared enough to find out.

 
Some random overturned planters on the side of the road, except it wasn't evident why or what for.

 
I don't remember exactly why I took this picture - probably because of the sandbags.


Abandoned Downtown Businesses


Yet another one of the abandoned downtown stores.


I found this ironically entertaining. The article in the door of this abandoned store was about the stellar window dressing decorating and displays downtown, featuring the building... the building that's now completely empty. I'll bet whether the workers that cleared out the store on its final days knew the term irony or not, they sure knew the feeling of irony and left it there based on that.

 
(picture by George)
One of the many Kansas ACOE constructed reservoir lakes. They are, for the most part, creepy - since the areas they flood to make the lakes aren't pre cleared, there are thousands of submerged dead trees for miles. It's like driving through a vast dead wasteland... then again that's like much of Kansas as a whole.

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