Ponycon brings sweetness, smiles and bronies to Brooklyn Heights
‘My Little Pony’ fans: 'It's infectious'
On the coldest weekend in a decade, Brooklyn Heights was filled with sunshine and smiles as more than a thousand fans of the “My Little Pony” animated TV show flooded into St. Francis College for PonyconNYC.
Attendees played games, participated in workshops and wore manes and tails that matched their favorite pony characters, among them Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, Apple Jack, Rarity and Fluttershy.
As most people with kids know, My Little Pony (MPL) is aimed at children, especially little girls.
But in a modern-day twist, the majority of convention attendees were grown adults, including a large number of MLP-loving men, known as “bronies.”
Bronies, as the Brooklyn Eagle reported last week, are sometimes mocked and often misunderstood.
While it would be easy to be cynical, this reporter can testify that the convention was attended by an unusually high number of sincere and gentle people.
At one point, after a MLP quiz in the auditorium, eight or nine grownup musicians and their friends lined up across the stage and spontaneously broke into an all-male rendition of Pinkie Pie’s “Smile Song,” which goes like this:
Come on every pony smile, smile, smile; Fill my heart up with sunshine, sunshine; All I really need’s a smile, smile, smile; From these happy friends of mine.
There was not a smirk in the house.
Nick Clubb, 17, done up as Dr. Hooves, told the Eagle that he traveled to Ponycon from North Carolina. Clubb has been a fan for about a year.
When asked why older guys liked MLP he said, “I’m not sure why myself. [But] it has good characters and a good story line.”
Alyssa “PoorOldKilgore” from New Jersey was dressed as Fluttershy in yellow, from wings to hooves. “I bought the dress and put the ‘cutie mark’ on the flank, she said.
Alyssa said she has been a fan since last year.
“When you actually watch the show, you can tell why science fiction fans and nerds like it. I was a ‘Next Generation’ fan, and John de Lancie is one of the characters.” She compared Ponycon to Comic Con, where “you’re around your own kind.”
Alyssa’s husband George Berger, as a life-long student of animation, admires the artistry behind MLP. “It’s all done in Flash,” he said. “It’s so freakin’ well done it’s mind blowing!”
George said MLP’s atmosphere “is infectious.”
MLP “touches on an innate desire to find something positive, innovative and fresh. People are more aware of a grim darkness now. This is a pure, friendly, happy thing to do,” he said.
Some MLP fans may have “social inequities, and they’re not understood by normal people,” he mused. “Here, people feel comfortable.”
Plus, “My wife looks great in costumes,” he said.
Among the bronies were real, live little girls, like Andrea Knudsen, age 8, from Harlem.
“Twilight Sparkle is my favorite pony because she can fly and has magic powers,” she enthused.
Pony power pop
A number of performances took place on Ponycon’s “mane stage.” Members of the Indianapolis-based pop-rock band The Shakeups in Ponyville were in pure My Little Pony mode.
Vocalist and keyboard player Savannah O’Connor, who sings as the baby-voiced, pink-maned Savvyshy, told the Eagle, “We started doing pony music a couple of years ago. Now we have two full-length albums.”
Savannah’s husband Patrick, the band’s vocalist and guitarist whose alter-ego is “Twi-fi Sparklecaster,” writes all of the music, and the six-piece band records out of their home.
Savannah and Patrick met at a MLP convention. “She dressed as Fluttershy,” Patrick said. “Now we’re married.”
The MLP genre is quite a change, Patrick said. “I’m used to playing bar shows and 21-plus clubs.”
Sometimes the group is heckled, Savannah acknowledged. “Then Patrick plays a guitar riff” and the heckling abruptly stops.
“You have to prove yourself more musically” in an MLP band, Patrick said.
The Shakeup’s success is “amazing,” he mused. “At our first pony convention, everyone was singing our songs back to us. Even though the show is made for little girls, I feel it has broader appeal to older male fans.”
Other Shakeups band members include vocalist Bitsy McCann (“Bitsy Pie”), who threw candy into the crowd before the show, drummer Steve-O Dash, bassist Rari-Lee, and vocalist “The Incredible Apple Sass.”
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