Giant Robot Appreciation Society
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A random talk with Ken Koontz!

So how did you become a G.R.A.S. coordinator? I hear you ran your own screenings at the Edge for a while...

Mike Reparaz was running the show (and Geoff) when I started at Evergreen in 97, but they got busier and didn't run through some offical hoops that year (totally understandable) and while the weekly showings were especially suffering some of us, (mostly in C bldg) were really into alot of anime, building our own collections, and wanted to watch what we wanted to watch in a better place than our bunks and tiny TV's. So David Rigert and Aaron and I put up posters around A,B,C, and D for our weekly watchings in the Edge, and called ourselves The Horde.

What did you guys watch?

We cycled through a few different things (fansubs and stuff, Kodomo no Omocha, Eva, Fushigi Yuugi, One Piece, FLCL, Ghibli films, etc. One of my favorites was our Giant Robo on laserdisc), but mainly we were showing the eps of Evangelion as they came out. Not only were we SERIOUSLY obsessed with Eva, we ended up filling up The Edge with people every week. That series really was to blame. It was even the same when we showed it a couple of times the next year (once all 26 eps and the movie in one setting).

I hear that G.R.A.S. had a room at GeoCon back in the day... what was that like?

Mike and GRAS put alot of work into the Geo-con show, and I was one of those who warmed a chair all weekend, day and night. I hadn't ever seen so much anime. The next year Geo-con died, but I and many others were determined to do whatever it took to keep the 72 hour nonstop anime room alive, even without a convention. We knew it was the best part of Geo-con anyway! Mike was the coordinator and Starla and I were the co-cos. Mike and the Gaming Guild knew all the convention stuff and people who were involved in Geo-con from the outside, and we learned and did what we could to make a real anime convention surrounding the screening rooms. We called it Chibi Chibi Con because it really didn't involve all the elements or nearly the size of the national conventions. We also have to credit our friends who put on Baka Con in Seattle (what is now Sakura Con) who gave us some advice on what we need to have a Con. Then there was MOG, who graciously DJ'd our raves, one of the most awesome people evar!

Rumor has it that G.R.A.S. was able to get anime on the school's TV channel! How did that happen? Did it happen? (I have some of David Rigert's old G.R.A.S. commercials, but don't know much else.)

David's commercials were originally for the 2nd Chibi Con's nonstop screenings. We put them in between shows for fun and to fill in timing issues for our 8 hour VHS tapes. We got this great idea that we wouldn't have to change stuff between every show if we made 8 hour tapes so we only had to be there every 8 hours. Problem is, for me and Dave it was excrutiatingly mind bending work, doing nothing for weeks but watching and organizing our entire library of Laserdiscs, Tapes, and DVD's. That really made me an expert on all the crap that was out there. *.*

I don't suppose you'd happen to know how the soot ball from Spirited Away became the club's mascot by any chance?

Ya, the soot sprite was just something I put on most of my posters because I was above all a Ghibli nut. One Chibi Con I photocopied a bunch of all different sizes on paper and we cut them and flooded the walls of campus with them. We also made them out of black fuzzballs and plastic googly eyes and handed them out. Kawaii!

Last updated by Jonah, 11/14/09