25 June 2017

Buffy Will Patrol Tonight: Slayerfest 2017

On April 21st 2017, I went to a party dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This account of that very special night was written under the assumption that the reader is familiar with the world of Buffy and its many awesome characters. If you haven't seen Buffy, I posted a few links for you as well so that you can take your time and catch up on this pop culture powerhouse. I mean, seriously, you should watch Buffy.

This account was written with the help of No Time for Us, who organised the whole thing, and whose photos I will be using here. A special thanks to Too Cute to Puke, as well as to Babel, the nightclub that hosted the event.

As someone who had only discovered Buffy a year ago, I didn't even imagine that I would be a part of something as amazing, and inclusive as the Buffy fandom. Imagine then my reaction when, as I was scrolling down my Facebook feed I saw this

A Buffy fan party? A dress-up Buffy fan party? And within walking distance from I live? I immediately signed up, while at the same time wondering if it really was such a great idea to go by myself. You see, none of my friends are into Buffy, so going alone was my only option.

I rarely go to a party by myself if I know that I won't know anyone there. And by rarely I mean almost/mostly/practically never. I admire those who have the courage and the openness to throw themselves into these kind of terrifying social situations, but it's something that I myself have never been good at. But this was Buffy! I couldn't miss this party for the world. So just for that one night, I decided to leave my insecurities at home, and go.

That Friday night, after the sun had set, and the night city came alive under a chilly drizzle, I dressed in all black, painted thick black veins on my forehead and cheekbones, and channelled my inner Dark Willow.

As soon as I entered the club, my anxieties no longer had a leg to stand on, for I realised that I wasn't going to a party with perfect strangers but with other Buffy fans. And that, as it turns out, makes all the difference. At the bar, where they were serving a drink called The Hellmouth, I met with Buffy who was just stopping by after her death duel with the Master, Xander with the eye-patch (by the way, I didn't get the guy's real name so for the rest of the night I kept calling him Xander), and girl-Numfar who did the dance of joy for us.

Photo courtesy of No Time for Us

Pretty soon, I think almost every character from the show was there. It was so much fun seeing different versions of your beloved characters come to life, And I became giddy with joy whenever someone "recognised" me as Dark Willow.

There were at least five Spikes, of both genders; two or three Anyas in full bunny getup, and a very cool looking Faith. Drusillas of different races and nationalities were mingling with Buffys, and nerd-Willows were confronting their vampire doppelgängers, only with drinks instead of stakes. Speaking of vampires, I'm not sure exactly how many vampires we had at that party, since most of them were in stealth, but a few particularly brave vamps were showing off their vamp-faces, in all their lumpy sexiness.

Together with Buffy, Xander, and Numfar we made a pretty legit Scooby gang, but our gang immediately had to split up, since it was trivia quiz time, and we didn't register as a team, so each of us had to find a team that would adopt our lost souls.

I found a team of five, which consisted of two local guys who went as themselves, and a trio of friends who had flown in all the way from Australia for this very event. They were: vamp Willow, who was Irish, nerd-Willow who was Spanish, and the Australian newbie fan who had watched the entire first season of Buffy on the long flight form the Down Under to our kingdom of the North. He didn't have a costume but with his shorts and his Hawaiian shirt we decided that he looked the most like Spike when he was crashing in Xander's basement.

It was time for the quiz, and the MC, who was none other than Caleb, was leading us through the whole thing. And since we had people from all over the world, all the questions were written both in Swedish and in English.

The quiz was a lot of fun. Not winning the quiz was less fun, but I was glad to see that the winning team was the one that had Numfar on it. Soon, the whole room was chanting, "Do the dance of joy!"which, again, she did.

Photo courtesy of No Time for Us

As I sat on the balcony facing the main stage, I was struck by how much Babel actually looks like the Bronze. Mostly because it also has a balcony. The whole place looked beautiful too. It was as if Willow had used her decoration spell to turn a regular nightclub into a Buffy wonderland, I was particularly impressed with the Class Protector umbrellas that were hanging from the ceiling (I counted at least five), and the two large screens, onto which clips and stills from the show were projected. There were cushions on the main stage, and some fans were just having themselves a good sit.

And then there was the sing-along. Once More with Feeling sing-along. Imagine about a hundred and seventy people all singing Walk through the Fire, and I'll Never Tell at the top of their lungs. So. Much. Awesomeness.  

The rest of my night included dancing with Wesley Wyndham Price, hanging with Drusilla, and lip syncing to Total Eclipse of the Heart with a girl whose name I don't even know.

The playlist brought us back to the late 90's with Britney Spears, Spice Girls, and, of course, the Buffy theme song which the DJ played multiple times. I loved, loved, loved dancing to the Buffy theme song. It felt like I was living out some weird geeky fantasy.

The coolest thing happened when two stunt guys jumped up on the stage and started fighting and fencing, while Rest in Peace was playing in the background. One of the guys was sporting a long leather jacket, so I'm guessing he was supposed to be Spike? Then again, Angel was rocking a lot of leather too, so what do I know.

Sadly, I missed the finalé, and the costume competition (I was just so tired after a full school day *sadface*), but I know that Numfar was among the winners there too (do the dance of victory!)

I can, without a shadow of a doubt say that this was one of the best parties I've been to. When I first got obsessed with Buffy a year ago, I didn't think that I would get the chance to be a part of something like this. Because this show has been off the air for fourteen years, I didn't think that there was enough interest out there for a fan gathering of this calibre. I'm glad to have been wrong.

Seeing so many people from literally every part of the world, from Australia to Malmö come together like this was truly heartwarming. To say that Buffy stood the test of time is a gross understatement. The show continues to attract new fans every year, and as far as the veteran fans go, time hasn't done anything to diminish their love for this show or to curb their enthusiasm.

You can also check out the full gallery from the party on No Time for Us Facebook page, Buffy Will Patrol Tonight: 20 Years of Slaying .

I also recommend checking out the Buffyverse Wiki , as well as this video - Why You Should Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer , by Ian, a.k.a. Passion of the Nerd, as well as Bite Me!: An Unofficial Guide to the World of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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