Archive for the ‘conventions’ Category
So I recently posted about a bazillion photos (part 1, part 2, part 3. that’s almost a bazillion, right?) from Anime Midwest. Yes, the people watching and cosplay was the highlight of the weekend, but I did things other than sit in the lobby and photograph people! The convention had tons of programming, there were panels about cosplay, about specific shows and fandoms, Q&As with famous voice actors, concerts, there was so, so much to see and do. Hubby and I went to a few panels together, but there were so many good panels that were all occurring at the same time, that it was mostly “You go to this one, I’ll go to this other one, we’ll compare notes later”.
Here’s a recap of what we saw and did:
The first panel we went to was called Dialects of Kansai. The woman who hosted the panel studied and lived in Japan, and was doing a series of panels over the weekend about Life in Japan. Students who study Japanese learn the “standard” Kyoto dialect, but Osaka uses a much older dialect and language patterns and casual slang that goes about about 1,000 years. I didn’t understand most of the Japanese she used, but it was a really cool panel. She also did the Kimono panel I went to later Friday evening.
I caught the last 20 minutes of the Q&A with voice actress Caitlin Glass, who anime fans know as the voice of Winry Rockbell, Haruhi of Ouran High School Host Club, Evergreen of Fairy Tail, Petra of Attack on Titan, among many other roles. She is such the perfect nerd! She said that as a child she loved the movie The Little Mermaid so much that she’d walk around imitating Ariel’s voice. She studied classical theater in College, and took the “never close any doors” advice to heart, later auditioning with Funimation in her home town in Texas. It was a huge crowd, and she was great about answering everyone’s questions and having a lot of fun.
In the last two posts, I mostly showed photos of Japanese manga, anime, live action tv, and video games. There were plenty of people cosplaying western comic book, movie, and video game characters as well! see?
Even Doctor Who and the Daleks made and appearance! I was able to catch up with one of the Elevens (I saw at least 3 of them) as he battled a Dalek-head. This guy, oh man did he have the physical mannerisms down! Acting the part takes the cosplay to a whole new level! (and yes, there was a number ten, but I couldn’t get close enough to get a photo)
Just joining us? You’ll want to read this post first.
Oh, and if i have misidentified characters, let me know in the comments so I can fix the captions. Google image search only gets you so far….
Jumping right back into cosplay photos:
Sword Art Online was another very popular show to cosplay, there were a ton of Kiritos and Asunas running around. Running Around, very hard to photograph.
Last weekend, hubby and I drove to Chicago for Anime Midwest. Over 6000 people converged on the Hyatt Regency and neighboring Expo center for autograph sessions and Q&A sessions with famous voice actors, concerts, panels, fan meet-ups, fashion shows, the dealer room, fandom specific activities, and the best people watching in the midwest. More a Cosplay convention than anything else, the lobby of the hotel and all areas outside were most definitely the place to see and be seen. it was all about the cosplay, with the most popular costumes being Kill la Kill, Madoka Magica, and Attack on Titan. Lots of younger people were dressed up, and the costumes these kids put together were simply incredible. Entire outfits, props, wigs, make up, the whole nine yards. Also? more Homestuck than I ever want to think about. I took a ton of photos, but for photos that are actually good, head over to Geek Girl Chicago’s recap.
You know how we’re always talking about how we want our conventions to be more diverse? We want more women, more minorities, more younger people? This convention was the definition of diverse. The crowd skewed on the young side, with plenty of kids and teens with parents in tow, and a huge crowd of 20-somethings. I saw all ages, all backgrounds, all skin colors, all everything. and it was beautiful. Everyone was cheering their favorite fandom, dressed to the nines as their favorite character, or in some cases, favorite two or three characters all at once. there were anime characters, video game character, a Maid Cafe, American superheroes, Disney princesses, you name it. Had I known ahead of time that there would be so many American characters, I’d have taken my Sabetha costume (don’t worry, I took a different costume!)
A few more quickie comments before getting to the photo dump (which lets be honest, you’re here for the photos, right?)
The hotel was spacious and down right huge, with plenty of public areas for people to socialize and take photos. Loud activities such as concerts were in the basement, as far from the hotel rooms as possible. Celebrities brought in for the convention did wonderful panels, gave autographs, and seemed genuinely excited about interactive with fans. The peoplewatching, oh my god, the people watching! I’d just sit in the lobby and watch people go by! There was a huge variety of panels, everything from anime show specific, to learning about Japan, to Cosplay tips and tricks, to Japanese street fashion, to fanfiction, to how to use Samurai Swords, to name that tune, to about a billion other things. The most popular events were, unsurprisisngly, the Masquerade Costume Contest, and autograph and question sessions with the attending voice actors, like Greg Ayres, Sonny Strait, Caitlin Glass, Johnny Yong Bosch, Chris Patton, Alexis Tipton, Laura Post, and D.C. Douglas.
Programming went very late at night, and around 11pm, most panels switched to 18+, and I was impressed with how strict they were about carding people. You had to show a convention badge and an ID. The two guys in line in front of me for the 18+ panel I attended were turned away, and the guys doing the carding chuckled when I said “I’m old enough to be those boys’ mom”. They let me in no problem.
photos! lets get to the good stuff!
at least until next year. Here’s my write up on the panels I attended. Good thing I wrote up notes while I was there, and typed up a draft of this a few days after returning. It’s been a few weeks now, and my memory is starting to get fuzzy! If you’ve seen my previous Confusion posts or the after action report I did over at SFSignal, some of this might be a repeat.
tldr: Panels at Confusion were full of awesome. Lots of surprisingly deep conversations happening.
With a heavy emphasis on genre fiction and literary tracks, panel topics included everything from trends in urban fantasy to worldbuilding, to using (or avoiding) bad language, finding an agent, polishing your manuscript, characterization, researching vs making-it-up, and about a gazillion author reading readings. There was also a large science track of programming, gaming, anime, weaponry demos and lots of Doctor Who. Guests and Attendees included many from our community – Cherie Priest, Mike Carey, Saladin Ahmed, Tobias Buckell, Ian Tregillis, Myke Cole, Wesley Chu, Jacqueline Carey, Peter V. Brett, Bradley Beaulieu, Seleste deLacey, Sarah Zettel, Brian McClellan, Lucy Snyder, Sam Sykes, Laura Resnick, Justin Landon (of Staffer’s Book Review), Peter (of Odd Engine) Steve Drew(of reddit/r/fantasy) and more. Cons are where friends meet up, and where new friends are met. I got chatting with new author Matthew Thyer, and went home with a signed copy of his novella, The Big Red Buckle (it takes place on Mars and is very cool, btw).
During the daytime, confusion is a family affair, and there was full programming for the 10 and under crowd, and the 10-15 crowd as well. This year had a few special events. Saturday morning was Author D&D which took place in the atrium. So long as you weren’t distracting the D&Ders, anyone could observe. Watching the authors roll their characters in the bar the evening before was pretty surreal as well. I am in a bar. Surrounded by famous people. Who are also drinking, but they are rolling dice and filling out character sheets. Absolutely surreal. Another special event was the live reddit AMA. we were lucky enough to have elquesogrande, aka Steve Drew, who runs the Reddit Fantasy subreddit. For a few hours on Saturday afternoon, about a dozen authors were furiously typing away on their laptops, answering your AMA questions. Convention attendees were welcome to stop in and ask questions, say hi and take photos. there was also Scotch in that room. it smelled magnificent. although they are out of date now, you can read all the AMA’s here.
I’m one of those geeks who loves going to the panels at conventions. Hearing experts discuss something interesting for an hour? um YES. Here’s a few words on the panels I attended (and by “a few words”, I mean more than you ever wanted to know).
I’ve been teasing everyone for about three weeks now that I learned how to build a Dalek. Welllll, I didn’t so much learn how to build one as I sat and listened to two guys talk about how they had built one. It was a panel at Legendary Confusion, a fan run scifi and fantasy convention held in the Detroit area. This con typically has a lot of Doctor Who themed programming, and let me tell you, there’s just something surreal watching a 5th Doctor climb inside a Dalek and drive it around, being chased by a posse of giggling children, most of whom are dressed as Doctor Who characters.
let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Saturday evening was a panel called Dalek!!!, by Alex Drummer and Kevin McCloud. it was basically their adventures in Dalek Building 101. Here’s what they had to say:
In the 1970s, the BBC provided plans for building a Dalek, which were intended for high school shop classes. The details plans are now online (I didn’t write down the exact website, but a quick google search found this, this, and this), along with a huge community of dedicated builders with tips on everything from eyestalks to electronics. As part of their presentation, they showed slides of the Dalek in different stages of being built.
This Dalek, which has been to multiple local conventions in the great lakes area, was built as part of a grant. Inside the base is a wheelchair base, so you can literally ride around inside the Dalek. It comes apart in three pieces: the skirt, the shoulders and the collar.
The arm and gun are mounted on foam balls so they can easily be rotated and manipulated from inside. All in all, it cost about $800, and other than the wheelchair base the majority of the bits and pieces came from JoAnn fabrics and Home Depot.
During the panel he took the Dalek apart and then at the end everyone was allowed to go up and see the pieces up close. In fact, it had to be taken apart, because the base is 2″ wider than a normal door frame. Then we carried the pieces out into the hall, put it back together, he climbed inside and drove it around followed by a giggling, shrieking posse of children, many of whom had come right from Masquerade and were still dressed in their Doctor Who themed costumes.
Yes, yes, I know you’re all desperate to read 3500 words about all the panels I attended, who stole the show at Opening Ceremonies, how I introduced myself to Sam Sykes, and what Cherie Priest was really doing in the bar on a friday night (rolling for an assassin).
but more than that, you want to read about how to build a Dalek.
but even more than that, you want to see photos! Okay, here ya go! (Dalek building post is coming soon. Sooner than the post about panels)
Short Legendary Confusion write-up here. Longer one coming soon.
but what’s important is that I cosplayed Sabetha Belacoros. Click the link if you don’t know who I’m talking about. A very kind and patient friend made the dress and the jacket. The hat fucking rocked.
Pics or didn’t happen, you say? feast your eyes on this, baby, because I’m having a shameless egotistical moment.
this is my favorite photo. frankly I think I look stinkin’ adorkable in it. Even though I look like a hobbit.
without the props, so you can see the jacket a little better. the trim is some polyester black velvet I had sitting around and was so slippery it had to be sewn on by hand.
Warning: massive photo dump ahead.
Continuing my post from yesterday about the awesomeness of ConText26, on Saturday afternoon we went to a few more panels:
What Editors Want, with Faith Van Horne, John Joseph Adams, Jason Sizemore, and Scott Sandridge. This was one of my favorite panels. They talked about common errors seen in manuscripts (such as not following submission guidelines, the story submitted doesn’t match the style of genre of the publication, bad grammar), the author-editor relationship, and how the anthology editor decides what order the stories should in be. Frustration with not being able to take great stories came up more than once, where an editor was putting together a themed anthology and had to reject an excellent story simply because it had nothing to do with the theme.
A big part of the discussion was What Do Editors Really Want?
- how did you put a different spin on the idea?
- how is your approach different to everyone else who has used the same device?
- originality is better than polish
- how is your character different? what do they care about? Why should the reader be interested in them?
- humor is a plus. Just make sure you are laughing because the author wrote it as a humor piece!
During the Q&A time I asked how they each got into editing, and what steps someone who is interested in that aspect of the business should take. The advice was to volunteer as a slush reader to get a taste for it.
Non-Human Characters, with Elizabeth Bear, Matthew Cook, Linda Robertson, Dave Creek, T. Lee Harris, and Scott Sandridge. Another excellent panel! Be the character an animal, alien, shapeshifter or humanoid who isn’t human, they can’t just be the classic Star Trek “dude in a rubber suit”, or the person with nose ridges and lots of ear piercings. The authors talked about their techniques for writing non-human characters, which included tossing a lot of questions out to the audience. What sensory experiences does your character have (maybe they depend on smell?)? just because we are base-10 doesn’t mean other creatures will be, especially if they don’t have 10 fingers. What about symbiotic relationships? If you are on an alien planet, the environment of that planet will affect everything about the creatures who live there, everything from their physiology to their economy to their moral culture.