Tag Archives: conventions

Otakon Bypass

It was bound to happen eventually, but I’ve decided to skip Otakon this year. Partly due to budget and work related issues, but also because maybe last year’s trip was the peak of my Otakon experience. Last year not only was the trip fun, but for the first time I got to share it with my wife.

Doing a con solo is still a lot of fun, but to share the experience with the one you love the most, well that can’t be beat! And maybe because of that, I wasn’t that worked up about going again this year since she couldn’t come. Nine Otakons in a row is a pretty good run, and almost 13000 miles of driving!

I still think Otakon is great, and the people I’ve met there, awesome! But maybe I’ll wait until the con moves to DC in 2017 before I make another appearance. It’ll feel funny not being there this year, but I’ll be back. Besides, I’m not sure I can stay away for 3 years. LOL, such an addict.

A funny thing on the way away from the con…

A funny thing happened on my way to not going to Dragon Con. I actually got to go! Not only did I go, I got a room in the Sheraton just 3 days before the con. I had a great time and met some awesome people!

Weeks later I still haven’t unpacked all of my stuff yet. Too much going on here, but once things calm down some more I’ll unpack and write some more. In the meantime, here’s a link to my pics!

Dragon Con 2013 Pictures

 

DragonCon-2013025

DragonCon I Miss You Already

Sadly, after having what turned out to be a pretty fun Otakon, I’m going to have to miss Dragon*Con this year. I really am old enough to know better, but I just didn’t get my financial ducks in a row in time to make the trip. So I’m doing the responsible, or even “grown-up”, thing and passing on it.

I have a milestone birthday coming up in a few years, so I’ve already started making plans for Dragon*Con to be a part of that celebration. Still, it hurts to be missing the fun this year. So to all who will be descending upon Atlanta next weekend, I wish all the best and an awesomely fun time!

C2E2 Way Aftershocks

C2E2 2013 will be for me perhaps best remembered for passing a certain personal milestone in my cosplay experiences. But first about the con itself!

This is my 4th C2E2 and all I can say is that it just gets better and better, bigger and bigger. Chicago’s McCormick Place is a great place to have a convention, and C2E2 is doing it quite well despite the ever growing number of people attending the 3 day event.

For me the main focus was getting to the J. Michael Straczynski panels which were great. And I got the bonus of a Joe’s Comics t-shirt and an autographed copy of the premiere Ten Grand comic! Further bonus points were racked up getting to see Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan. So my C2E2 nerdgasm was in full effect.

The Mach 5, GO! GO! GO!

Friday got off to a good start, finally meeting in the flesh @ButterflySamurai and gushing a bit about how the Black Cosplayers discussion thread on Cosplay.com was an early inspiration for my forays into cosplay. A bit later I ran into Hentai Girl who I met a while back at Otakon. I pretty much ran into most of the people I know from attending cons over the years, so I felt pretty lucky!

Saturday started busy. I knew I was going to get to McCormick late because I was attending my son’s Project Syncere presentation earlier in the day. This also meant that there was a good chance that the close lot would fill up, which would mean quite a hike in Uhura’s go-go boots. To avoid this, I got a ride to the con from my wife. Stepping out of the van at the center, I felt like a kid being dropped off by his mom. LOL

On the way in, it turned out that I was right behind a representative from the Anovos booth who asked me to stop by. Anovos makes some beautiful, high quality, Star Trek uniforms, including the classic mini-dress like the one I was wearing. So I stopped by the booth to talk a while and ogle some of their work close up. A bit pricey, but oh so beautiful!

Saturday was a lot more crowded than Friday. And more crowded than I remembered for the same day last year. So I was sure that the huge line I was in to get an autographed copy of Ten Grand would outlast the number of copies. While this was going on, the streams between work and cosplay finally crossed.

I knew a group of my coworkers were coming to C2E2 and I was planning to meet up with them. Of course I did not tell them ahead of time that I was cosplaying Uhura, only that I’d be in Starfleet uniform. LOL So when they finally found me in that line after a few minutes of phone tag, they were suitably surprised and impressed by my handiwork! (“Oh hell no!” He exclaimed.)

This proved to be a major milestone for me, as I’d never revealed anything about my crossplays to anyone I worked with in the past. It’s not the sort of thing you can just tell people about because, and here’s my vanity, whatever image they make up in their minds will not be anywhere near as good as the real thing. I feel like this is something I have to show people in person. Now I think I know a little bit how it feels for LGBTQ people to come out. In any case, there’s no going back now!

I spent the rest of Saturday hanging out with them taking pictures of cosplayers and watching the cosplay contest on the main stage. A little boy cosplaying Optimus Prime brought the house down when he transformed into a semi right on stage. Other notable cosplays included a Bane with kids in a stroller, a woman as the Up house, and a huge Mechazord from Power Rangers. BTW, one of the panels I stumbled into of Friday featured Jason David Frank, the Green Ranger. He was totally awesome!

Sunday, Kids Day at C2E2, brought some more surprises. I had planned to bring my two youngest children who I thought would enjoy the cosplays, and artists panels. My youngest daughter wasn’t interested, but to my surprise and joy, my wife accepted an invite in her place. I had really wanted to show her how a well run professional media con looked, but she’s not really a fan of anything at C2E2, so I never thought she’d come. It would turn out to be a great day.

First, I’d never seen Sunday at C2E2 so crowded. I’d expected lots of kids, but not a crowd rivaling the opening Friday. But there it was, the next generation of fans crowded all around us!

And once more, providence was smiling upon us. While we couldn’t get into the Geek Girl panel, we did get into a comics writing panel which just happened to be in the same room as the R. L. Stine panel that followed it. R.L. Stine is the coolest old dude you’d ever imagine. I’m no kid, but I will be reading Goose Bumps now!

Our day ended with the Lion Forge panel. On Friday I had met a friend of a friend who was working at Lion Forge, so I thought it would be fun to learn some more about this new publisher. The titles and creative talent were all very interesting and I’m planning to follow them and see what develops. But the day could not have ended any better than when my son won the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet they were giving away in the raffle!

So it was a great C2E2. I took tons of cosplay pics and had the pleasure of showing off one of my favorite costumes to my coworkers (and my friend next door, lol). Will I be going next year? Oh hell yes!

C2E2 Begins!

Marshall_Lee_Day_TimeC2E2 begins today and I’m really excited! It’s been a way too long winter here in Chicago and much much too long since my last major con, Youmacon in Detroit last November. So I’m pretty excited about the guests (JMS! JMS! JMS!), panels, and, of course, cosplay! And I’m hoping to meet a cosplay friend or two in person for the first time. Yay @ButterflySamurai!

I don’t have any new costumes for the con this year. I’m just going be rocking the uniforms of my home fandom, Star Trek. Friday starts out casual with my “faux” Sisko from DS9. Then on Saturday my Uhura from Star Trek, the original series. I might do my Marshall Lee, Adventure Time, styled outfit on Sunday or bring on the Applejack if I’m really feeling inspired.

Generally, I try not to cross the streams of real life and cosplay, but I’ve got a growing number of friends and coworkers who I may just run into at C2E2. So things could get more interesting than usual. No worries, what will be, will be.

C2E2 just gets better and better, bigger and bigger, every year. No pressure though, no pressure. We’re all friends here, LOL.

Cleared for Anime Midwest

Last year I went a bit overboard with cons, so this year I was planning to cycle back a bit. But this month, I’ve put in a lot of overtime work hours and it reminded me of how important it is to have fun events to unwind. So I’ve added Anime Midwest to the 2013 convention schedule.

I had a great time at Anime Midwest last year, and with the con making the move to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, the same hotel Anime Central uses, things promise to be even better! It should also be a nice warm up for Otakon a month later.

Now I better werk baby! Those cosplays and videos won’t make themselves!

YOU BETTER WERK!
YOU BETTER WERK!

rock the off season

The end of Youmacon marks the beginning of my convention off season which means lots of development projects to turn my attention back to! I’m looking forward to it, especially since some of these are well overdue. Of course I’ll still be tweaking cosplays here and there, but right now no new costumes are planned until Spring at the earliest. Looking back, it was quite a ride. But now it’s time to rock some iOS and Android apps!

Youmacon and the Perfect Storm

As Hurricane Sandy pounds the East Coast, I finding it difficult to finish up the Sailor Mars project for Youmacon. Probably has something to do with the fact that the storm has trapped my wife in Philadelphia while visiting my daughter. So I’m a bit worried and distracted. Much like years ago when my youngest son was in the hospital a few days before Halloween, once I got to sewing, I could find some solace in the work. At this point I don’t know if I’ll be able to go to Youmacon this year, but I will try to finish up my costumes. I miss Youmacon, but I’m missing my wife a lot more right now.

Returning To Youmacon

One sign of a good weekend are depressing thoughts of returning to work on Monday. By that measure, the weekend went pretty well! Youmacon is less than 2 weeks away now and I made great progress on my latest cosplay. A cosplay project that has already missed a couple of con date deadlines this year. It’s funny given that the Sailor Mars project is the really the only cosplay I actually planned to do this year. The two other new ones, Mamimi and Applejack, came about as larks. Of course, getting into cosplay was a bit of a lark to begin with, so no surprises there.

I missed Youmacon last year, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to one of my favorite conventions of the year. I still haven’t planned everything out, but that’s not unusual. Right now, I just want to see the guest events, do karaoke, and maybe, just maybe enter the hall cosplay competition. Youmacon was the first con I ever entered a costume into competition at. And I think the Sailor Mars cosplay is shaping up nicely enough to consider an entry. If you do crossplay, doing a Sailor Senshi cosplay is almost obligatory. And life is just too short to be holding anything back.

Anime Midwest 2012 Aftermath II: Another Late One!

Saturday of Anime Midwest would see the debut of my newest cosplay, Mamimi Samejima from Furi Kuri, aka FLCL. It would turn out to be a fun cosplay to wear even though she isn’t a character likely to get a lot of notice. That was quite alright with me since Mamimi herself doesn’t get a lot of notice which is actually not so bad if you’re planning to take pictures of other cosplayers. Oh, and Mamimi is into photography too, so it all fit.

Over the day I spent most of my time tasting panels here and there. One that I made an extended visit to was the Fanservice Renji QA which also featured the most beautiful Pocahontas cosplayer I’ve ever seen. Renji was pretty cool, a nice likeable guy who I first saw at Youmacon a number of years ago. Since that time he’s become a convention staple with some cool original music videos about the anime fandom. I enjoyed his masquerade performance too!

The Perfect Pocahontas

In the afternoon I was treated to The Pillowcases, a fabulous Pillows tribute band! I saw the Pillows years ago at Anime Central and they were awesome. The Pillowcases did not disappoint, they were equally awesome with bonus points! Mamimi had a great time rocking to her favorite FLCL songs. ^_^ The Pillowcases also did some other nerdy tunes including a cool remix of the Dr. Who theme song. Saturday night would bring up the the masquerade and later, the way too popular for the room, Midwest Karaoke Madness. The cosplays for the masquerade were quite good on the whole, but the night was stolen by a Chobits group with the cutest little girl ever as Sumomo who lead the audience in morning calisthenics! I also had the pleasure of helping a lady use her Flip camera to shoot some video of her daughter’s most impressive fur suited cosplay.

AnimeMidwest-2012102

After the masquerade, it was off to karaoke. One of my Midwest Karaoke Madness friends was disappointed that I hadn’t brought my Uhura to the con. Maybe I’ll bring her next year. Since this was my first Anime Midwest, I figured I’d stick with anime cosplays. The small room was packed and overflowing. Nevertheless, I got a song in and had some fun seeing old friends and new perform too! I bounced out briefly to go to the dance which I found was running late. Instead I found a dude rapping about video games and nerdy stuff. I learned later that it was MegaRan. It was freakin awesome! And now I know what nerdcore is! After that I went back to karaoke and did what is seemingly becoming a signature song for me, It’s Raining Men. This is coming way too naturally for me, but the ladies in the audience loved it and sang along!

I eventually got to the dance but did not stay too long before ending the day. I’d had a lot of fun already, and didn’t want to be greedy. And my Mamimi cosplay had gotten a really good shakedown.

Sunday it was back to street clothes. I made a few more photo runs and then a dealer’s room pass. If there was anything I was a tad bit disappointed in with Anime Midwest, it was the very small dealer’s room. There just wasn’t enough variety to spark my interest. I was hoping to find some DVDs and some suitable gifts to take home, but came up empty on that note. Still, I’d had my fun and was happy to head for home knowing that Otakon was just a few short weeks away.

Anime Midwest 2012 Pics

Anime Midwest 2012 Aftermath I

What can I say? Anime Midwest proved to be a small con with some big fun. While I love the sensory overload of the big cons, Anime Midwest was well worth the time and effort. Naturally I was feverishly finishing up a new cosplay before the con. Yeah, I can never just relax and get ready. LOL

Taking place over the July 4th holiday period, I was lucky enough to be able to take both the 5th and 6th off. So getting out to the con in Chicago suburban Lisle, was pretty low pressure. When I parked the car, it was over 100 degrees F outside. So I was less than happy when I learned that the hallways outside my hotel room were not air conditioned. Hot halls do not make for happy cosplay makeup and wigs!

Friday, I wore my Stocking cosplay which has proven to be one of my favorites. The wig is hard to manage, but I love this costume and the gothy makeup style I can use with it! Since it was a small con, I activated small con picture taking mode. Even at a large convention, the chances of most cosplayers finding pictures of their cosplays online is fairly small. So at smaller conventions I make an extra effort to take pictures whenever I can. Then afterwards I place them on my Flickr account and squawk about them on Twitter, Facebook, and this blog so that they are easy to find.

One of the first things I noticed was all of the Homestuck cosplay. This had to be the largest single contingent of fans at Anime Midwest. And my oh my were they having a great time. They were literally singing and dancing all weekend long. They were closely followed by the Hetalia fans. Oh my! ^_^

AnimeMidwest-2012009

After opening ceremonies I went to the first guest panel featuring voice actors Jamie Marchi, Ian Sinclair, and Joel McDonald. Greg Ayres popped in briefly as well. This was one of the biggest reasons I decided to attend Anime Midwest. I first saw Jamie at Kollision Con last fall and really liked her. At most of the cons I’ve been to, the actors have proven to be really fun, smart, and entertaining.

I wanted to asked Jamie a question about the English dub of Panty and Stocking. She’s the voice of Panty and the English script writer. But the *ahem* language I’d need to use just to ask the question forced me to wait until the after hours panel. That panel was totally off the hook! At the beginning, each person who wanted to ask a question was required to use at least one swear word in asking it. Over the course of the evening, that number increased to five! The Panty and Stocking dub is awesome! My question was who came up with the exclamation of “Repent Motherfuckers!” during the angel transformation sequence. Jamie said that was her idea. And it fit the lip flaps perfectly. It definitely fit the flavor of the series, that’s for sure.

By the end of the panel, the white board was covered with numerous depictions of genitalia, and I’m sure we had all earned ourselves a thoroughly soapy mouth washing! I rarely swear, so I think I must have used up at least two weeks worth that night.

My first day finished up with a costume change to my Miho cosplay before the Friday rave. Miho has become my go to rave cosplay. She looks like a goth rave girl anyway. Though I’m not completely sure what she looked like to the people I encountered in the elevator on the way to the dance. Apparently, the hotel was also host to a wedding party that night. So my purple hair caused a bit of a stir and one young woman was unsure whether I was a woman or a man. As we left the elevator, she apologized profusely for possibly using the wrong pronouns in reference to me. I assured her it was quite okay, quite happy, as any crossplayer might be, to have done a good enough job to engender such confusion (pardon the pun).

I had fun dancing, but wasn’t too hot on the music. So I only stayed a couple of hours before drawing my first day to a close. The next day would be Mamimi’s big debut. But more on that later.

AMKE Approaches!

Laverne and ShirleyYeah, I’m waaaaay behind on my writing, but it’s all good! Anime Milwaukee is coming up next weekend! I’m not really sure what to expect. Some friends went last year and seemed to have a good time. So when I saw the AMKE table at Kollision Con, I started making plans to go. Besides, Milwaukee is a short 90 minute drive from Chicago. And having missed Youmacon and Ohayocon, I’ve been trying to fill my con void with smaller cons leading up to C2E2 and Anime Central in April.

No new cosplays planned, just bringing out some old faves, that I haven’t quite decided on yet. I’ve pretty much settled into one new cosplay per year now. And this year I want to continue focusing on cosplays I’ve always wanted to do. So I’ve got Sailor Mars in the works and maybe one or two more in the works over 2012-2013. You never know which con/cosplay will be your last, and I don’t want to have any regrets when that day comes!

a good weekend

One of the marks of a good weekend is that it makes it hard to get back to work on Monday, in a good way of course. I went to the 2nd KollisionCon this weekend, and while the con was somewhat smaller than I had hoped for, I had fun nevertheless. I’ll write more about that later. For now, I’m looking forward to getting back to work on both my development work and book writing projects!

Beaming Down To The Official Star Trek Convention

Star Trek 45th LogoStar Trek is my home fandom, but it’s been many years since I attended my last Star Trek convention. When I started attending cons, they were all fan organized. This meant all kinds of fun and sometimes quirky panels and events in addition to guests appearances and dealers.

Somewhere along the way, a company called Creation started doing Star Trek conventions and while they got really great guests, they were somewhat lighter on the quirky stuff that probably tended to violate somebody’s licensing rights. After a break of a few years I heard about anime cons and started going to those where the for fans, by fans vibe is still very strong and vibrant.

That said, I had not initially planned to go to next weekend’s Official Star Trek Convention in Chicago, but actually Rosemont. We were hosting a potluck that weekend, and I didn’t want to be a jerk and duck out on it for a con. I didn’t even mention that there was a con.

My noble silence was rewarded when the potluck had to be pushed back, and so the mission has been approved! Right now I’m only planning to go on Saturday to show off my Uhura cosplay and hopefully see Leonard Nimoy and Nichelle Nichols. If I could show it to her, that would be totally awesome!

In any case, I was feeling happy today from some good news and decided to order an original series style tricorder, phaser, and communicator to round out my cosplay. Hopefully they’ll get here in time. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing what may be Leonard Nimoy’s last con appearance!

ACen 2011 Aftershocks: Extended Edition

LOL, late with this as always. So here it goes! After about a month of commuting about 100 miles roundtrip everyday for work, I was really looking forward to this year’s installment of Anime Central. And, to make things sweeter, my AMV, Shinji Listen!!, was in the Drama Category finals for the AMV contest!

acen2011-001

Since my commute requires that I leave by 6 am anyway, I decided it would be a good idea to leave as usual on Friday morning in order to beat the traffic. Luckily, I’d finished my work on my daughter’s Hitsugaya cosplay and wouldn’t have to stay up late working on that. I really enjoyed making that for her because I knew that it was going to bring her a lot of joy to wear it at the con. My youngest daughter is a super high pressure over-achiever, just like mom. She needs to have as much fun as possible to blow off steam. It felt really good to be able to help her have a good time away from the pressures of school.

Leaving early paid off and I was able to get a good space in the Hyatt parking lot. And check-in was no problem. The super small room though, presented the first  challenge. But the hotel quickly sent up a roll-away bed at my request. It would be a tight fit for 6 people, but we would only be sleeping there on Saturday night. Friday night it was just me, so not really a problem.

I had plenty of time ahead of me, so I unpacked and set about ironing my costumes. Friday was to be split between my Mahoro and Tohya cosplays. Saturday would be all Stocking all day. I had decided to skip the opening ceremonies because the AMV contest was scheduled to begin at the same time in the Hilton. After rushing over there, not easy in a maid costume, I discovered that in true ACen fashion, the contest had been moved to another hotel and the early showing canceled. It looked like there was some kind of professional conference going on in the Hilton that day. The place was filled with middle-aged white guys in suits who were probably wondering what the hell this maid was wandering around for.

Anime Central has never been the best organized of the cons I attend and this year things seemed a bit more disorganized than most. Apparently a good number of panel scheduling did not meet the program printing deadline. So it was pretty dicey being sure that anything was happening where or when you thought it would. And given that the con was spread across 4 hotels and the convention center, it was quite a hike getting from one event to another.

acen2011-002

With the AMV contest a no go, I headed to opening ceremonies. After that I headed over to the Dealers Room and Artist Alley in the convention center to take pictures, my first pass shopping, and to say hi to some friends working there. For me the main Friday events were to be the FLOW concert, Karaoke Madness, and the Hardcore Synergy dance.

Before the concert I changed into my Miho Tohya costume. Nothing like motorcycle boots and a short leather skirt for a concert ya know! FLOW did not disappoint, they were awesome! They played all of their best anime themes and some other kick-ass songs I didn’t know. This was easily the best concert at ACen since the Pillows played a few years back. Ooh I wish I could get some of their music for Rock Band!

Next up, Karaoke Madness. As expected, there were a ton of people there. But for the most part things went smoothly. Unlike many anime cons, you can sing whatever you want at Karaoke Madness rather than just anime or Japanese video game music. I have mixed feelings about this. I think it’s great that it opens it up to a lot more people. But I really missed the chance to hear people sing some of my favorite themes while waiting for my turn to sing. And through an oversight, my turn to sing was skipped over. But it was okay, I got my chance to sing and I guess maybe I added a little bit more emotion to my rendition of Lion, from Macross Frontier, than I might have otherwise. I wish I hadn’t missed the Saturday night session as I heard they had more people singing anime songs that night. In any case, I still had fun and cannot wait to do it again next year!

After singing, I rushed off to shake it at Hardcore Synergy. I must say though I was kinda disappointed. I just couldn’t get into the beats they were pumping out. I got there during the last couple of DJs and just found the music undanceable. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but modulated noise just was not working for me at all. Other people were enjoying it, so it’s just my taste I guess… Next year I going to devote all of Friday late night to karaoke.

So my first day ended. I could hardly wait for the next day to begin. Saturday the rest of my family would join me, which is always fraught with challenge. One of my goals this year was to find some way for my wife to enjoy the con. Sadly, I would mostly fail in that challenge.