I’m spending the weekend in Dallas for this year’s annual SusCon. For those that don’t know, SusCon is an annual event hosted by Suspension.org‘s Allen Falkner. The point of the weekend is for suspension crews from all over to come together to learn from each other, and of course have a good time. This weekend is very much a learning weekend as crews bring not only their most experienced members, but also new members who are learning the ropes.
This ended up being a bit wordy, so I’ll save some space on the main page by bumping it behind a click though. So just click the read more button to see the rest.
After an early flight out of Buffalo on Thursday, and a short layover in Atlanta, myself and members of iHung and IWasCured landed in Dallas only to be greeted by grey skies and rain. Once we got settled into the hotel, we hopped in a cab and headed down to the SusCon space. This year’s location is the same as last year’s; an unassuming warehouse outside downtown Dallas. To see it from the outside, you would never guess that inside was a bustle of activity.
Thursday isn’t officially a SusCon day, rather it is a day for volunteers to come and help clean and set up for the weekend. With only 20 people around, the warehouse feels empty, yet the air is alive with anticipation. Whether it was friends reuniting, or strangers meeting for the first time, there is an unspoken acknowledgment that something significant is on the horizon. Introductions go by quick as it’s time for all hands on deck. The space is a mess. Trash from destroyed art is everywhere, light fixtures are on the ground, toilets have yet to be installed, and the kitchen is so full of junk the food is laying out on a bench in the main space.
Without anyone asking for help, everyone jumps into action. As people slowly trickle in throughout the day the first order of business is to get dirty. The kitchen team is hard at work prepping food for the weekend. Last minute calls are being made to confirm deliveries. Loud music is now pumping out of the speakers as this organized chaos moves about the room. I get a chance to talk to people as we’re cleaning and with everyone the feeling is evident, they all want this weekend to be something they’re proud of.
In the early afternoon the skies begin to lighten and the dust being swept out into the courtyard catches the rays of sunshine peeking through the clouds. With the sun comes the heat, and you can see everyone slowing down. Thankfully with everyone helping, most of the work is finished. The trash is cleared, the lights are on, and the toilets are flushing. The music has become quiet and voices are now echoing throughout the hall. You can hear the satisfaction in those voices, knowing that in a few short hours this place will be filled with people who all share the same passions that they do.
By the end of the first day there are well over 50 people who have shown up early to help. From California to Canada, from Norway to New Zealand, one thing is on everyone’s mind: SusCon has begun.
I get up late on Friday, and after finishing the news of the week I head over to the warehouse. By the time I arrive the event is in full swing. I get my registration paperwork filled out and are lead on a tour by Jason from iHung. While I was sleeping back at the hotel, the had taken the first shuttle bus over and set up all of the necessary stations. What was once an empty room with no lights, was now the suture station, with all the necessary equipment and supplies. All the suspension points had been selected, and there were already people in the air. The tour concludes with a peek at the outdoor points, including a return of “The Dome”, a massive PVC pipe structure.
I’m not there for 15 minutes when the call goes out for the team leaders to gather for the first official meeting of SusCon. Allen welcomes everyone, and dives right into business. This meeting isn’t about telling the crews what to do, it is an opportunity for voices to be heard. The agenda is simple, “How can we improve from last year”. One by one the suggestions come flying in. One of the key points made is that this weekend is a learning weekend. Each team has a number of members who are considered trainees, so all teams are being encouraged to step up and involve their trainees in every step, from prep to clean-up, piercing to bleed-out.
As Friday is registration day not much is left to do. The only thing left on the agenda for the day is the welcome party at Dallas’ Lizard Lounge.
I’m kicking myself for not bringing my camera, as the show itself was something to be experienced. Southtownbaby kicked off the show with a beautiful crucifixion suspension high above the crowd. Following the suspension, Mosh took the stage. The entire room was transfixed on her while she performed a classical burlesque routine. Finally Swing Shift Side Show took the stage and as usual blew the roof off. After a short intermission, everyone returned for a second performance, and were joined by Genne Laasko, modeling her line of incredible jewelry (which I featured a few weeks back). Of course I would be remiss without mentioning the fantastic job Havve did hosting the night’s festivities. Interweaving parts of his own act into the time between tonight’s guests made it a non-stop roller coaster of blood, sweat and whiskey.
Now you’re probably wondering where the photos are. Well it seems that in my rush out the door I grabbed the wrong USB cord, so all of the photos from the past two days are sitting on my camera. Hopefully I’ll find someone today who has a compatible cord as Saturday is the biggest day of SusCon. I’ll check back in tomorrow, hopefully with some pictures.