It is Saturday night on October 20th as my fiancé and our close friend arrive at Bad Wolf Bar & Grill, a Doctor Who Themed bar which is hosting Barcon 2018. This year’s event features the longstanding band The Suzaku Seven, a very high energy and fun band which covers anime themes and J Rock (Japanese rock and roll) all of which compel one to get up and dance.
I have dressed my fiancé in a pair of 11th Doctor (played by Matt Smith in the new series of Doctor Who) suspenders and the matching bow tie I once wore as a costume. For myself, I pinned on a few Watchmen character buttons I have procured over the years, as well as one of the original Suzaku Seven buttons from when the band was first formed by the bass player, Dreux Blalock. Guitarist Tommy Deville appreciates the sentiment immediately. Since I last saw the current members of this delightfully eccentric band, Tommy and the lead singer, Meghan, have gotten married (as I soon learn). I congratulate them and say hello to Dreux before the fire show begins.
Set to very appropriate, suspense building music favorites from the late 70s and early 80s, the fire show commences. One man eats fire and blows it into the air using a mouth full of (presumably) liquor. A woman in belly dancing garb dances seductively, twirling around holding blazing swords and balancing them gracefully on various parts of her body. A second woman twirls around in her breezy skirt holding twin torches. Dreux and a couple of others stand on the sidelines with blankets and fire extinguishers. These people are VERY professional, but fire is a force of nature, especially on such a blustery night. The show goes off without a hitch, leaving the audience breath taken.
Between the fire show and the live set featuring the Suzaku 7, I take a chance to mingle. Many of the crowd present have known each other almost forever. One woman expresses her adoration for the event as well as the fandom scene in general. She tells me how much it means to her that, as a mother of a kid who does not quite fit in with many of his peers, he has, as she does, a place and a group of people so accepting. A place where she and her son can have a great time around others with common interests and be themselves. I observe and agree this crew certainly is a family in its own right.
Soon, the Suzaku 7 take the stage. They are even more catchy, fun, quirky, and upbeat than when I last saw them play several years ago in their early, incredibly remarkable days as a working band. I reminisce about sitting in on many practices as enjoyable as if I were being given a private live performance. I, along with my companions and many men and women in amazingly elaborate Halloween and other costumes (something this crowd is known for is its knack for assembling in the very popular art of cosplay). After the exemplary performance featuring the current band members clad in their band present, smartly designed individual costumes, I sit down with them for a very enlightening, fun chat about them and the Suzaku 7 past, present, and future.
The officially day-long event was filled with plenty of gaming and other fun fandom-related activities usually only accessible to New Orleaneans attending weekend-long conventions throughout the Gulf Coast. After hosting, owners Tim and Alicia Dardar are much worn for the wear; as they were attending the very exciting, still very lively after party, they were unavailable. However, Alicia promises as we depart to send me their thoughts as well as further information on Barcon, as well as their bar.
* Alicia sent the following to me via Facebook messenger.
Bad Wolf Bar and Grill has been a sanctum for the Dorks, Nerds, and Geeks of the Greater New Orleans area since 2014. Last summer (June 1, 2017) we moved from our original location in Marrero to a much larger and more convenient spot in Gretna (2010 O’Connor Street). We are now super easily accessible for people on both sides of the river since we are right off of the West Bank Expressway!
We are so much more than your average bar! Not only do we have some of the best made-from-scratch food you will ever find in a bar and delicious specialty cocktails made with nothing but the highest quality ingredients, we are also the only game shop on the Westbank! We have RPG books, miniatures, tabletop wargames (Warhammer, Star Wars Legion, Star Wars X-Wing, Battletech, etc), card games (Magic the Gathering, Star Wars Destiny, Pokemon, etc), and accessories available for sale in addition to about 200 board games that you can rent on or off property! We also have three pinball machines, two Diamond pool tables, dart boards, and a very unique events calendar to keep you and your friends entertained!
We like to focus a lot of our events on giving back to the community so we do a LOT of charity fundraisers. On October 6, we helped raise almost $3,000 for the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans and we have three more fundraisers coming up within the next month (Oct 27: Scaryoke with a fundraiser for Breastoration; Nov 3: fundraiser for a couple within the community that has fallen on hard times; Nov 24: Wolfenoot, a fundraiser for Bluetails Dog Rescue in Marrero). Outside of the bar, Alicia is the Event Coordinator for the Autism Society of Greater New Orleans.
A little about Tim & Alicia:
We have been married for just over 10 years. We have two sons: Benjamin (10) and Joseph (4). We’ve both been in the bar and restaurant industry forever (about 35 combined years of experience). We are a really awesome team and we like to think that our dynamic as a couple is part of what drives our success at Bad Wolf. If we didn’t love each other as much as we do, this crazy stressful business would have eaten us alive by now!
It has, without a doubt a great night for all! Everyone has a little nerd in them, and where better a spot to proudly exercise it?!