The Once and Future Wizard
ConnectiCon was a very special weekend. Lots of great stuff happened, like being surprised by my wife (who had told me she was staying home this year). The Death Match was a thunderous, incredible success. I caught up with some old friends and made some new ones. ConnectiCon never fails to impress and uplift me.
I also did something special for myself. It was a small gesture that I didn’t really mention to anyone, but now that the weekend is over I’ll explain what I did.
I used to host local burlesque shows for a troupe I belonged to under the name THE WIZARD. (It’s in all-caps because I always dramatically proclaimed my name.) My costume was simple: a pair of pants and a kimono-like robe, both with cosmic patterns. It became my alter ego when I was on stage, and it became strongly linked to my passion for live performance. Being THE WIZARD was a lot of fun… until I had a very bad falling-out with that same burlesque troupe, whose members not only kicked me out but worked to ensure I would be unable to perform in other local shows. The details of that long story don’t belong on the internet, but the founder of that troupe (who remains a good friend of mine) agreed that it was a witch-hunt. The Wizard was gone, and the wounds that came with his destruction never healed right.
The last time I was The Wizard was three years ago, at ConnectiCon. I was double-booked for the convention and two burlesque shows on the same Friday night. I did an overnight drive to-and-from ConnectiCon for the show, and the next day I hosted the Cosplay Death Match. That year, I wore the robes of The Wizard. It seemed right, given my double-duties that weekend. I did not know it would be the last time I would don the costume.
This year, I decided to do something about those poorly-healed wounds. This year I decided it was time for some care and recovery. So this past weekend, for the 2018 Death Match, I wore the costume of THE WIZARD for the first time in three years. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing or what the costume meant to me. The robe didn’t even stay on very long, as the crowd always insists I do the Death Match shirtless, but it was on stage and the character was resurrected in my heart. I had to see if the old magic was still there.
The magic returned and old wounds were healed when the crowd, over a thousand strong, chanted my name. Not “The Wizard,” because I didn’t tell anyone about the costume’s meaning or origin, but my name, because this year’s show was so strong and entertaining. There was a moment during the Death Match where I was overcome with gratitude and told the crowd “I fucking love you guys.” It was a moment that meant the world to me.
Was it validation? Was it a measure of revenge as well as healing? Maybe it was a little bit of both. It was something I needed to do for myself, for my heart and soul, for my love of live performance.
I may never don the costume again. The character may finally go into the west. If that’s the case, at least now I can say THE WIZARD left this world on his own terms.