What’s your name?
Most of my friends call me Darcyblue. That was a name that was basically given to me. My real name is John Wavrecan.
What is your role within Calgary’s brony community?
I manage the meet-up group in town. Essentially it’s a place where people can gather. It’s like any other meet-up place you can think of. What I do there is I host events and on a regular bi-weekly basis we go to a place called The Sentry Box and sit around and watch shows basically.
Can you explain what a brony is?
The simplest way to say it is it’s just someone who really enjoys the My Little Pony show. The name brony is gender neutral. My girlfriend’s with me and she’s part of the group too. It’s a bastardization of the words bro and pony.
Having never seen the My Little Pony reboot what’s appealing about it to adults?
I don’t know fully what it is. But in the long run it’s actually a pretty decent show. If you go and look at other shows that are on TV they’re not all that great. There’s a few that I can say are pretty decent. Some people like it for the animation some people like it for the songs some people like it for the story. So it’s really more on the person itself.
Has it grown outside of just being about the show? What do people do at brony conventions?
It’s absolutely crazy. There’s a lot of fan-made stuff. My girlfriend here is actually an artist and she draws plenty of pony art herself. Mostly fan-made stuff. There’s also a large calling for flash animation. There’s songs that are made music. Just about anything that you can think of that’s slightly artistically made someone out there has done something and made it into a pony thing.
How big is this community in Calgary?
Currently right now I’d say there are about 110 registered members. We have an average of about 30 people every meet-up. That’s an average.
What would you say is one of the biggest misconceptions about the culture?
That’s a hard one. My girlfriend just said you could write a book on that. When you go into any fandom it’s really one of those things where you have to look at it not from what you know of it but just go in there with an open mind. That’s what I had to do. Before I got into it one of my friends told me about it and I thought she was batshit crazy. I remembered the old show and I remembered just how terrible it was and how it was just a way to make money and et cetera et cetera. But it turned out to be a decent show.
I have to ask you about this because I’ve heard about it. Is there an erotic side to this whole thing? Is it like being a furry? How does that play into it?
I really don’t like talking about that part but I will tell you my personal opinion on that. Just about everything that has a remote fanbase to it no matter how minor it’s going to have some form of erotic desire towards it. No matter what there’s always going to be that one little thing. We try not to focus on it. It’s not something for us.
Are you saying that that’s not built into the culture at large but it’s more of a niche group?
Yeah pretty much.
Interesting. Is there in-fighting in the brony community? What are some issues in the community that people get heated about?
That’s more of a personal thing. I don’t think that’s something that I can actually physically say ‘this is something that everyone hates.’ It’s more of a personal thing so it’s not like I can say that without being overly opinionated myself.
What about when you talk to other people and they find out you’re a brony — do you ever feel marginalized for being part of this group?
They understand me just fine. All of us kind of have that closeted thing going on when we first start and when we finally open up and start telling other people we find out that yeah the community is actually a lot better than what people perceive it to be.
What about in terms of collectors items and costumes and whatnot — are you constantly trying to increase your collection?
Personally I’m not but my girlfriend is. Her bedroom is covered — there’s not even a single wall in her room that’s not covered right now. It’s pretty terrible. I have my own personal choice for what I like for that stuff just little trinkety things. Glitter tiny toys that sort of thing. But she goes all out.
What would be the holy grail item to collect?
It would probably be the rare convention-only cards that are out there. There’s only a limited run of those and they’re all foil. They’re all fancy. From what I’ve seen people want to buy them for like $100 or $200 some sort of ridiculous prices on eBay and places like that. The only other thing I can think of that probably is close to that is that DJ pony light-up thing that was at Comic Con. It’s a very fancy vinyl scratch thing it’s really cool.
Have you gone to a convention before?
No. I was assisting with a convention that was going to be hosting in town but that kind of flopped.
Oh really? What happened?
Uh… issues with management not doing any work and that was the biggest problem. It was all put on one person’s head and it was really disappointing.
Are you going to try again?
Well it wasn’t really up to us we were just there to assist. They never asked us and the times that they did it was like okay you’re right on the ball. I don’t know they needed more help and they wanted to do it all themselves and they didn’t understand that it needed to be more group-oriented rather than just two or three guys.
Where do you think this subculture will go from here? Do you think it’s reached its saturation point or will it keep growing and growing?
That’s a hard one to say actually. I think it’s more like a filter system or something because there’s always more people coming into it. Like all fandoms people get bored with it after a while.
I’ve noticed that in some fandoms people are wary of new members who aren’t as big of experts as others. Is that the same with bronies or are you open to all?
Not that we’ve noticed. With my meet-up I’m very open to it. You’re new to it? Then cool. Like what my girlfriend just said ‘What episodes haven’t you watched? We’ll watch it together.’ The community itself in that aspect is very helpful and willing to just go that extra mile for you. I’ve never met people who are as great as them.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Well the store could always use a little more promotion. We do have an online store that we use to help fund the group project. Pretty much all money goes toward making sure everything runs smoothly or to doing some fantastic crazy thing.
So what would be an example of a thing that you’re funding in the group?
I took everyone out to the zoo one day. That was about 20 or 30 people. It’s like I have an idea for an event do you guys want to do it? We have an annual barbecue as well. We fund that and I take donations. All the money goes back into the meet-up group. We fund it through our online store and through people donating.
What do you sell on your online store?
We sell buttons prints magnets stickers. Some of it’s pony some of it’s other fandom stuff — Bioshock Magic: The Gathering Pokemon . There’s some Doctor Who soon but we haven’t gotten on that one yet.
If people want to check out your group what do they have to do?
We totally allow people to just walk in if people are wanting to know what it’s all about. We’ve had people who were just playing Magic in the other area and have walked in on us like ‘what’s going on?’ and we go ‘Oh we’re the Calgary brony meet-up group and we do this and this.’ Yeah we allow anyone to come in who’s interested or just curious.