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This weekend I will once again be exhibiting with Faire Trimmings in the Artist’s Colony of Connecticon 2013. Held at the Connecticon Convention Center in Hartford, CT, Connecticon is already in its 10th year!

The artist’s colony is located on the first floor, in the same giant exhibition hall as the dealer’s room. There will be large crowds of people flocking to it, so really you can’t miss it. I will be in booth AC-37, which to my understanding is right next to the information booth near a major isle. That should make us pretty easy to find.

We will be selling one-of-a-kind costume accessories made from leather, fabric, feathers, and more. There will be jewelry, masks, and prints to sift through. If you’re a fan of steampunk, cosplay, crafting, or period clothing you should come check us out!

Artist’s colony will be open Friday 12-8pm, Saturday 11-7pm, and Sunday 10-4pm.

Kelley and I will spend the weekend at our booth in costume. So come by to take a picture or to say hello!

Hope to see you there. :D

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Here are some cute convention photos of Gaston and his Bimbettes from Connecticon 2012

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Finally the photos from Connecticon 2012 are ready! Here are a few highlight pictures from my Princess Kraehe cosplay, with accompanying Princess Tutu. You can find  more details on the construction of the costume on the Princess Kraehe Page! So be sure to check it out!

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I have returned from Connecticon 2012, and will now share with you my review of the convention.

Thursday night I attended Connecticon’s formal dance for preregistered guests only. I think that this dance was a fantastic way to encourage attendees to preregister. However, Connecticon wasn’t able to even announce the dance until a few days before preregistration closed. As a result, several people that I knew personally who would have attended the dance, we’re not able to because they didn’t get word of the event until it was too late. I am sure that there are many other con attendees who also missed out because of the late announcement.

Tardiness aside, I thought that the formal was a great success. They played great, popular, danceable music, and everyone seemed to be having a really great time. As the con-chair put it, “it looks like a prom in there.” It wasn’t nearly too crowded, and people for the most part, did abide by the formal-attire-only rules. I think this is the start of a wonderful pre-con tradition.

The rest of the weekend however, I found things to do to be lacking. The convention significantly downsized their dealers room, and artist alley. I found nothing of interest to buy, could spend only twenty minutes or so browsing before I had seen everything for sale, and what’s worse is that I heard the convention is planning to have all of the same vendors back again next year. That is no way to attract new guests! We want new merchandise, not the same stuff we didn’t buys this year.

Interesting panels were also in short supply. I didn’t attend a single panel on Friday, and on Saturday nothing caught my interest until the 18+ panels started running at 10pm.

Fortunately on Sunday the panels were a little less disappointing. I attended a very exciting demonstration of medieval combat, followed by a sword lesson, as well as a spot-on panel on how to talk to girls (which wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounds, nor was it a joke. The panel was actually really impressive).

The dance Saturday night looked to be a great time, though I mostly hung around outside because of the long line to get in. It was a beautiful night and the convention had plenty of outdoor space for socializing and hanging about. There are also a lot of bars in the area that are walking distance from the convention center.

The cosplay at the convention this year was a little sparse. I expect that a lot of serious craftsmen went to San Diego this weekend for the big one. But still, there was plenty to look at, and I found more variety than usual (as in the entire convention wasn’t dominated by one series for once, i.e. Naruto, Soul Eater, Bleach, Homestuck). Cosplayers were also very well received by those not in costume, as usual.

I did not personally have any bad experiences with Convention staff this year, though I have heard stories of others who did. The convention center staff on the other hand, who are associated with the building and not the convention, are always an absolute nightmare. They are rude, pushy, intolerant, judgmental and mean. I have come to expect this from Connecticon because of the consistently bad treatment year after year.

Other changes that I was disappointed to see where with the schedule. I know in the past people had requested larger type on the printed schedule, but I think things went a little too far here. The “pocket schedule” this year was as tall as a nine year old in a wig and wider than a lolita skirt. It was impossible hold unfolded, and an overall pain in the ass to carry and look at. I miss the one-day, one-sheet schedules of old.

The badges also got bigger this year, had no pockets for papers, and couldn’t fit in your pocket for pictures.

Overall Connecitcon this year was a disappointment. I had a grand time dressing up, having my picture taken, and hanging out with friends, but those are all things that I arranged. The convention didn’t really enhance my weekend other than providing us with a place to congregate.

If San Diego Comic Con overlaps with Connecticon again next year, I might be buying a plane ticket.

I will have pictures up here next week. Thanks for reading!
shaunart.net

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Connecticon has begun! But I won’t be arriving until 4pm on Friday afternoon. Here is my cosplay schedule for the weekend:

Friday 4-10 – Princess Kraehe (Princess Tutu)
Saturday 10-8 – Claudia, Gaston’s Red Bimbette. (Beauty and the Beast)
Sunday 10-3 – Tentatively Princes Kraehe.

Sunday is my whatever day. I always like to take it easy on the Sunday of a con so if I get lazy Sunday morning, I won’t be cosplaying.

If you see me, please feel free to introduce yourself. I love meeting other cosplayers, crafters and artists.

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Now, for your entertainment, here is a preview of my Claudia costume. Make sure to check back here after the con for new pictures of both Claudia and Kraehe in full costume, hair, and makeup.

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Thanks for reading!

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Finally, the photos from the X-men shoot from Connecticon 2011 are here. I’d like to thank Christina Colon for photographing us in our costumes.

So our X-men cosplay group started off with just Cyclops, Mystique, X-23, and Sabertooth. But along the way we picked up a Nightcrawler and Rogue.

This is me in my Laura Kinney cosplay, a.k.a. X-23 as seen in Marvel vs. Capcom 3

This is Kelley as Mystique. It took us about two hours to paint her blue.

This is Ryan, whose oversized coat and shoulder pads make him look a lot scarier than he is. Though that is his real hair.

Finally, Lou played Cyclops with a light-up LED visor.

Here are the mutants with an edge.

My talons were carved from pine wood and riveted to detachable Velcro gloves which I made for the sole purpose of mounting these things to my hands.

And here are the all around good guys, the X-men.

Next, we pretended to fight.

What is a super hero photoshoot without a few action shots?

It was a good time.

My costume is made almost entirely out of PVC. You can read more about how I constructed it on the X-23 page.

I had made talons for my feet, but they were so hard to walk in, I took them off almost immediately.

Ryan (Sabertooth) is sporting some pretty snazzy fake nails which he sharpened and painted himself.

A little photoshop for dramatic effect: this photo manipulation done by Christina Colon

Here is a shot of Cyclop’s light up visor.

One of the toughest part of playing a bad guy is trying not to smile in pictures!

At the end of the day, we all had a great time cosplaying from the X-men, and hope to wear the costumes again soon.

Thanks for reading!

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Connecticon! The most diverse convention in New England. Connecticon has every genre that a Nerd could ever want: Anime, Gaming, Tabletop, Larping, Steampunk, Trolling, Comics, Memes, Literature, Fantasy, Webcomics, etc. I first attended Connecticon back in 2003, it’s very first year, and have watched it grow into one of the area’s biggest multi-genre cons. And this convention will continue to grow, as indicated by its massive increase in attendance this year. The official numbers have not yet been released, but the staff said that they almost sold out of badges on Saturday, and they had more panel submissions than ever before. Here is my review of Connecticon 2011.

Time and Location: The middle of July is a nice time to have a convention, especially when the building that it is held in has air-conditioning! The Connecticut Convention center is a great place to hold a large event. It is very spacious, and has relatively nice decor. Instead of the plain white walls that other conventions are filled with, Connecticon has pretty red carpeting, chairs, windows, and large staircases both inside and out which can be used as nice backdrops for cosplay photography. Because the convention is held during the summer, more people can attend because they have fewer commitments to school and sports. Though the weather isn’t always perfect, as we saw on Friday which was hot and extremely humid, Connecticon typically has a nice day or two, and very nice evening weather.

Parking: Parking at the Connecticut Convention center is wonderful. Connecticon set up a deal with the Marriot parking garage, which is attached to the Convention Center where attendees of the con could buy multi or single day parking passes for a discounted rate. What’s even better is, all parking passes came with in/out privileges!!  This is awesome if you want to leave the convention center to get food, have a hotel a few blocks away, or want to go home to change and then come back for evening programming. This year, a one day pass was only $15. So if you filled your car with five people, a one day parking pass was only $3 a person!


Food: Food at the Convention Center is a little limited. They have one vending area where you can get junk food like french fries, chicken nuggets, and lo mien, a cafe where they have coffee, donuts, and apples, and a starbucks downstairs in the Marriot. But that’s all that’s in the convention center. Plus the food is pricey. A small thing of french fries was $3 if I remember correctly. And I mean small. Plus there were not many healthy options. Hartford is a city, and so there is food in the are, but Hartford is also not a very safe city, and you wouldn’t want to have a group of young teenagers in conspicuous costumes roaming the city streets in search of food after dark.


Merchandise:
The Dealer’s room was very spacious, with a good variety of items for sale, I thought. They had manga stands, steam-punk booths, girly frilly things, dvds, weapons, and a lot of art and hand-made items in the dealer’s room as well. A big improvement from last year, they did allow bags into the dealers room this year. Last year there was an hour wait to get your bag back from the bag check, and some items were lost or damaged. While the convention still did not allow bags into the gaming area, letting attendees bring them into the dealer’s room prevented a lot of headaches. The Artist’s alley, as with all conventions these days, was over-packed. The room was both too small, and there were too many artists in it. There was not enough isle space to stop and browse, and still let people (in costumes especially) walk past.  The lighting was also a big problem, as it was very dim and unreliable. I heard several complaints about the lighting situation, but the staff said they were guaranteed to fix that next year by moving artist’s alley to a better location.

Lines: Overall there were very few lines. Though there were required lines for main events, there wasn’t any problem getting people into the events. There were a few problems with some of the more popular panels filling up rapidly. I myself waited in line to get into the Uncle Yo stand-up comedy act because all seats were filled for the first half of the performance. I eventually did get in, but missed most of what I wanted to see. Connecticon staff did film the act from the beginning, and are going to post it on youtube for those who were not able to get in.

Staff: The Connecticon staff, as always, were very friendly, helpful, and patient. There was one red-head who, though not a member of Connecticon’s staff, but probably a panel leader, as explained in the comments below was really rude and cold to a group of boys in front of me in line for that same Uncle Yo act. When she walked to the front of the line to enter the room, the boys, who were first in line, told her that the panel was full, as we all had been doing for attendees that were wandering ahead of the line without noticing (?) that there was a line. She then proceeded to shove her “event leader” badge in their faces, and point to the title without a word, but with a very angry look on her face. She had no uniform on, and was bringing another what-looked-like-an-attendee into the panel with her. The boys had no way of knowing that she was a staff member (or she was pretending to be at least), and were perfectly polite in their attempts to prevent cutting in line. (There were no other staff members actively guarding the door) But she responded to them with a very unprofessional gesture.

Though the Connecticon staff was very professional, the Convention Center staff was anything but. Now, to be clear the convention center staff do not have anything to do with Connecticon. They are employees of the convention center itself and cannot be held accountable by Connecticon. However, they do have an impact on the convention experience, so I am including them in my review. I found the convention center staff to be generally unpleasant. They all seemed quite miserable and annoyed at the “kids” in Sci-Fi outfits intrusion of their convention center. They were mostly rude, did not listen to attendees when they had complaints, yelled at con-goers for running repeatedly when once would suffice, and even worse, I saw more than one convention center staff openly ogling some of the female convention attendees. If their job was to make guests feel welcome, they did a great job failing.

But again, the Connecticon staff, volunteers and paid employees, were very pleasant!

Main Events/Panels and Scheduling: The only problem with the programming at Connecticon is the there just aren’t enough hours in the day. There was a lot of really great programming this year, and though I was busy all day every day, there was still so much more that I wanted to see. I seemed to end up at a lot of comedic panels and events, which were quite entertaining. But that’s not all that Connecticon had to offer; the variety was outstanding. There was everything from giant robots and drawing with light,  to Lady Gaga and “My Little Pony”.  I thought that the “Death Match” was very entertaining, and the addition of the zombie hoard to the main events crew was very effective. The comedy tour and “Hater’s Gonna Hate” trolling panel were hilarious, as was the Uncle Yo act.  The boffer tournament was great fun to see as I strolled about the exhibit halls, and the con feedback panel was very informative. The screening rooms were a bit difficult to find, and I did not see many people in them, but there were some grate titles on the schedule. I suggest you take a look at Connecticon.org for a complete look at this year’s schedule, if you’re curious to see the vast variety, as well as what you missed.

Cosplay: From what I could tell, there were not as many really well put-together cosplays as last year. There were certainly still some really awesome costumers, and as with the programming, the variety of costumes was very impressive, but in the past I remember looking out over the crowd and seeing a sea of costumed figures. This year, there was a larger ratio of street clothes to fantastic and colorful costumes than I expected. As for the individuals themselves, I found all of the cosplayers that I interacted with to be very friendly, and willing to pose for pictures as well as talk about their costumes.

The general population’s response to my own cosplay was very positive and well appreciated. I received a lot of compliments on my appearance this weekend, and even those who did not have a camera on them went out of their way to tell me, and other cosplayers that they looked great. The staff was also very understanding of the challenges that go with cosplaying. I myself stored my convention badge in my boot so that it would not be in my photographs. Because of this, it took an extra second to pull it out and show a staff member before I entered an event hall. All staff was patient, and some, just seeing that I was in costume, and the chain of the badge poking out of my boot, said that was sufficient evidence that I was a paying attendee and let me through without me having to take out my badge (even if it does only take a second).

Other notes: Though not perfect, Connecticon is constantly making improvements; at the convention feedback panel at the end of the weekend, the staff let the audience in on many of the changes that they plan to implement next year. All of which sounded great to me. The most significant improvement to look forward to, I think, is the release of a new website. Connecticon’s website has long been known for how terrible it is. We are a community of nerds–surely by our powers combined we can do better than a site a that looks like it was built and hosted in 1999 for free. Well apparently this issue is finally being addressed, and soon Connecticon will have a site that suites its awesome.

Anyway, I give Connecticon 2011 4.5 out of 5 stars. I heard a lot of attendants say that this was the best weekend of their lives. I don’t necessarily share in that level of enthusiasm, but I still had a really great time. As I said earlier, I wish that there was more time in a day so that I could experience more of Connecticon. There was just so much going on, I feel like this con could run a second weekend no problem. The people were great, the activities were great, and the parking was so affordable! Yay Connecticon! Keep up the good work.


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