interview conducted Fri. September 1, 2023
by Jen “Lil’ Bit” Schleusner
(notice: interview has been edited for clarity. Out of respect for the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike and in accordance with Dragon Con policies, no conversations were held or questions asked involving any participants’ struck work.)
Jen: I wanted to talk to you first about – I think this is going to be your third or fourth year co-hosting the masquerade with Tony?
Eddie: Yeah, it’s probably fourth year. Five or six – Yeah – that’s about right.
Jen: Since you were already coming to Dragon Con and obviously enjoy your time here, did Tony have to arm wrestle you to get you to start co-hosting? Did they just ask you, were you already interested in the costume contest?
Eddie: I didn’t write anybody and say, “if you don’t put me in the costume [contest], on the masquerade, I’m not showing up.” I think one year, I didn’t get invited and it was like – one out [the] past 13 years or something. And there was, I think a minor, you know – revolt. And so I think at that time they were like, well, “what if you come and host the masquerade?” Great. “What if you participate a little bit more with that?” At least that’s the way I remember. They were like, maybe that would incentivize you and at the same time help us out. And so I started doing that with Tony and I just love Tony.
Jen: Well, you both have such a great banter with each other.
Eddie: Oh, thanks. Yeah, he’s just the best. So I look forward to it.
Jen: Has there, throughout the years, been any one particular costume that has stood out to you for either the work that went into making it or just something you’ve never thought you would see somebody come out wearing?
Eddie: I think this year’s may be the topper. Yeah. Because we’re coming out as Ken and Barbie and I don’t know, I think…
Jen: Which Ken are you doing?
Eddie: If he makes me wear the roller..
Jen: The Roller blade outfit?
Eddie: Roller skates or whatever, because it’s the new one. I guess – he sent me the very bright colors.
Jen: What? He’s not going to put you in the “Kenergy” fur coat in Atlanta? (laughing) In a hundred degree weather?
Eddie: Oooo, right? I don’t know. We’ll see. We’ll see. I loved doing Willy Wonka. That was cool. That’s one of my favorites from when I was a kid.
Jen: Do you get a chance when you’re here at Con to – let’s use Adam Savage as an example. He’ll do a day incognito in costume, so that he can walk around and not be mobbed. Do you feel like you need to be in costume?
Eddie: I do. I do. I’m constantly being mobbed by my fan
Jen: You’re one fan? (laughing)
Eddie: Yeah (laughing). Everywhere I go there they are – “Ahhh!” No, no, I’ve never had to go incognito.
Jen: So you do get to have a chance to walk around and experience the con like everybody else?
Jen: Do you think there’s something that sets apart Dragon Con for you – as an attending professional from other conventions that you’ve had appearances at?
Eddie: Well, Dragon Con is my favorite. It’s my home con, I feel like.
Jen: Yeah, a lot people feel home here.
Eddie: This convention has treated me the best and they continue to invite me and I got to be the Grand Marshall of the parade one year and you know, they have my back and I have theirs. So it’s great to find.
Jen: It’s good to hear from the other side that somebody feels that this is home, the same way that all of us as attendees feel that it’s home and a really cool experience.
Eddie: It is. It’s reciprocal.
Jen: Another question I have: I think you’re about to hit 23 years sober in December? Have you, let’s again use Dragon Con as an example, because there’s a huge party atmosphere here – What are some techniques you would advise to people who are coming to a con like this and still want to participate in the party life, but are maybe worried about peer pressure or they are also living a sober life or in recovery – like tips to be able to enjoy the nightlife?
Eddie: You know what? I just had an idea. I should do an AA meeting here.
Jen: They do have one.
Eddie: They do?
Jen: Yeah. It’s called Friends of Bill W. People do still want to enjoy all the parties and all that. Sometimes people are looking for tips and techniques on how to navigate through this big night time party atmosphere when there is a lot of alcohol and things.
Eddie: Well, here’s the thing, you are either going to drink and use or you’re not. You can put up all the barriers or whatever. A human is going to find a way to get past them to get what they want. I don’t know how to answer that one, other than to say if somebody’s peer pressuring you into drinking and you’re trying not to drink – that you shouldn’t hang out with them, because they should be looking out for your best interests and somebody who’s trying to make you drink when you don’t want to drink – You probably don’t want to be around them. I don’t know. We’ll start – They can come to my room (laughing) and watch Naked and Afraid Together and drink Diet Coke. I mean, if you don’t want to drink and use – I, sorry, I apologize. I’m trying to think of something that’s helpful.
Jen: No, there’s no apologies necessary. Saying to remove yourself from a situation is a good tip right there. Because some people don’t think of that. Some people think they just have to stay there and take it. Not take the alcohol, but take the pressure.
Eddie: Right. Yeah. Don’t take the pressure. That’s what I’d say.
Jen: What were some of your nerdy or geeky influences growing up? Like favorite toys, favorite comics to read? Favorite books?
Eddie: Oh, Godzilla. I have Godzilla tattoo and then Godzilla written on my arm. I’ve got Don Martin’s Captain Klutz on my shoulder. Don Martin from Mad Magazine. He was my favorite artist growing up. I was a huge Mad Magazine fan growing up. Marvel Comics, the Incredible Hulk, Sspider-Man, Deathlok, Werewolf at Night, Night Thing.
Jen: So some of the darker monster stories.
Eddie: Yeah. All the Universal – Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein and Dracula and all that stuff. I loved all that stuff too.
Jen: have you ever gotten yourself a rubber Godzilla suit to stomp around?
Eddie: I’ve never, I was going to go to a furry convention dressed as Godzilla (laughing) with the flaming Tongue, so that would’ve been one step beyond. But no, I have not. But I had my Godzilla tattoo. It’s so funny. It really wasn’t what I had imagined and it turned completely black.
Jen: Oh, when the ink pools up…
Eddie: Yes and plasma.
Jen: I’ve had that, where it looks like a big liquid bubble…
Eddie: Just a big bubble of black. And I was like, “What have I done?!” I couldn’t go to sleep. And then a couple days later it kind of “bloop” appeared.
Jen: Thank you for your time…
Eddie: Well thank you my love, really appreciate it.