MONDO EXTRAS

TARcon XIV

For someone who lives in flyoverland, I've met more than my share of celebrities. Real celebrities even, as opposed to reality celebrities, if you grok the distinction. But after five years of writing for this site, I was beginning to think it a little weird that I'd never met someone I'd recapped. My first TARcon in New York City seemed like a good way to change that. Of course, the first person I spotted from my history of recapping was Eliza from Survivor 9. Which makes a certain perverse kind of sense, I suppose.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The night of the TAR finale, I presented myself outside the door of Stitch, a bar/lounge in the Garment District. The Race fans welcomed me, a TARcon virgin and one who dared attempt to succeed the formidable Miss Alli, with open arms. Which was nice because I went in not knowing a soul. I'd do some gratuitous name-dropping here if I could remember more screen names and not just real names. By and large, the crowd was pulling for Tammy and Victor, with a small pro-Margie and Luke contingent. There was even one person who said, "I love Jaime!" Takes all kinds to make a TARcon.

The show itself featured a lot more audience participation than I'm used to, and without closed-captioning and the show's ever-present subtitles I'm not sure I'd have been able to follow it at all. But the cheer that went up when Tammy and Victor ran to the Finish Line first was pretty clear. I'm not saying whether I participated or not, except that I totally did.

I was told that at a non-recession TARcon, one could barely move around in here from the press of bodies. Unlike this one, where before the show there were wide avenues inside the place to move around in. Yet somehow, after the closing credits flashed and the bar switched the big-screen TVs over to Celebrity Apprentice (because we're not picky as long as it's reality TV, right?), the place had filled up considerably.

Drew (TAR 1), who I understand is something of a semi-regular at these things, had shown up, and had set up at the bar with some friends, none of whom was Kevin. I went out to the sidewalk to get some air and talk to some people, which was when I spotted Eliza, Eric (TAR 7 and TAR All-Stars, and by the way his hair is looking great), and someone else from Survivor whose name nobody around me could remember. Miss Alli used to say that reality TV vets have a clear social hierarchy with Survivor at the top, but on this place, on this night, that was flipped on its head.

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