Posts Tagged ‘Convention’

*Game of Thrones Spoiler Alert*

Soooo I forgot to do a post on this costume! Back in January of 2014 a few friends and I did a “Red Wedding” cosplay from Game of Thrones. If you don’t know what the red wedding is, I’m sorry. Stop reading and don’t look at any of the pictures. If you do know what the Red Wedding is, I hope you enjoy this costume as much as I did. Don’t worry, we waited a tasteful 6+ months to debut this costume after that sad episode aired; we figured anyone really interested in watching or reading up to that point would have done so already.

Game of Thrones makes for the perfect winter cosplay. Arisia is held in January in Boston, so it was a little cold outside…but we weren’t cold! Our medieval garb allowed full-coverage and lots of comfortable layers. Really, aside from the hair extensions and gore, I could sleep in this costume. Yes, those are hair extensions. On the left we have the freshly stabbed Talisa Stark (aka Jeyne Westerling), in the middle is an impaled Rob Stark, and on the right is his grieving, forever silent mother Catelyn Stark. The dresses themselves were very straight-forward and we easily found patterns to accommodate us. The gore on my Talisa costume is all acrylic paint and nail polish (so that I wouldn’t be sticky. There’s nothing worse than having sticky, unstable gore on a costume that could smudge on someone else). Catelyn used my gelatin wound technique and nail polish to create her neck gash.

The above photo is of a cool Game of Thrones group that we ran into at the convention.

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Well that was sure different…. this past weekend Kelley and I attended the second annual Nauticon, New England’s only 21+ convention. Held in beautiful Provincetown, MA, Nauticon considers itself to be a “destination con,” and encourages guests to enjoy the beach and the convention routine simultaneously.

This was our first time attending Nauticon and my first time to Provincetown, period. So I didn’t really know what to expect besides the copious alcohol. We arrived around noon on Saturday to get our badges and….it was eerily quiet. We got our badges in two seconds and asked, “well, where is everyone?” Turns out, everyone was still asleep or hungover from the night before….oh. The convention only had 250 people in attendance, and I guess the vast majority of them liked to sleep in.

Panels didn’t start until noon either, so there’s no point in arriving to a convention like this early. We got into panels no problem while everyone was still in bed. Actually, we got into panels fine all day. No lines. No waiting. For anything. Ever. And the panels weren’t bad either; there just weren’t a lot of them.

On of the most interesting panels we attended was a makeup discussion hosted by a large group of Drag Queens. They answered questions ranging from “how to get started,” to contouring for everyday wear, to how to cover and repaint your eyebrows. They even did a little makeup on some of the women in attendance. I asked a question about contouring, and they had me come sit at the front of the room so they could model my nose and cheeks. It was a fun and eye-opening experience. since makeup was a big part of my costume for the weekend.

Kelley and I, unfortunately, were some of the only people there in costume. Others claimed to be cosplayers at other cons, but chose not to dress up for this extremely casual affair. We were dressing casual for us: original designs that weren’t too big or cumbersome. Our costumes were of “Victorian Secret Models,” an obvious pun and excuse to wear Victorian underpinnings as outerwear. We received compliments on our appearances, but not more than a handful of pictures. We didn’t see more than one photographer the whole time we were there. We only lasted in costume until dinner time, because we felt an extreme lack of enthusiasm from the rest of the con when it came to dressing up. Even into the evening, everyone else was wearing jeans, hoodies and sneakers.

Saturday evening the convention offered two very special events: The Diva Show, and the Luau. Both were pay-to-enter events, and we attended neither because they conflicted with our other dinner plans. We heard from others that the Luau wasn’t worth the money, but the Diva show looked like it would have been interesting. After dinner we got a drink at the bar and went to an awesome sing-a-long panel. The crowd got free jello shots for every five 80’s and 90’s cartoon theme song sung! It was tons of fun.

The Artist’s Alley at Nauticon was rather small.  A dozen hotel rooms were designated as booths and sleeping quarters for the artists and craftsmen. There was no dealer’s room which was a big disappointment, but at least the artists were offering a variety of wares. I chose to spend my money at the masseuse on site. She was offering chair massages by the minute, table massages, foot scrubs and paraffin wax for the hands all at a great price! After the sing-a-long, Kelley and I treated ourselves to sugar foot scrubs and hand-waxes. It was pretty awesome.

Saturday night, instead of having any convention-organized events, the con left it up to the attendees to throw room parties. There were two guest organized events in a designated “party block” of the hotel. One shindig that Kelley and I attended was hosted by a group called “Barfleet,” which is a collection of nerdy bar-tenders, and drinkers who throw parties where they serve their own alcoholic concoctions for free! The stuff it strong, so they only pass out a little of each drink, but it is free. I couldn’t decide if receiving home-made alcohol in a hotel room from strangers for free was cool or sketchy, so I stuck with water. But there was a DJ and a  lot of good company, and IDs were being checked at the door, so it was fun either way.

Another cool late-night attendee run event was a swing-dancing panel, thrown together last minute by a few very talented attendees who actually knew what they were doing. We learned several basic steps and a few turns and twists too!

Sunday was a very low-key day at the convention. We didn’t go to a single event; everyone just sat in the hotel lobby coloring and networking. It was kind of fun to just hang out and talk. And we got to walk on stilts? Only at a convention, I guess.

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A few weeks ago I got to take a behind the scenes look at Animaine 2012, one of New England’s up and coming anime conventions. We toured the staff facilities, met with the team, and even had an exclusive interview with the con chairman and chief of staff. If you would like to read my article from the standpoint of a NerdCaliber representative, please follow this link: http://nerdcaliber.com/a-convention-behind-the-scenes-animaine-2012-staff/

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Hey all,

My cosplay group “Meta Cosplay” has a brand new facebook page. We have been cosplaying together for several years and have finally gotten around to making an official fan page on Facebook. You have seen the group’s work featured here on this blog several times already cosplaying from the X-Men, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Beauty & The Beast.

We already have our next cosplay in the works, so like our page and stay in the loop! https://www.facebook.com/MetaCosplay

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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.


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.


Thanks for reading!

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Hey all,

This year was my first time attending the Granite State Comic Con in Manchester, NH.  It was also my first time back in Artist’s Alley since I was a teenager! I have been selling at other festivals in the mean time, but I haven’t been a vendor at an anime convention in a while. Part of the reason is because most artist alleys have just gotten way too big. The overcrowding, ridiculous competition, and huge discrepancies in the quality of work is discouraging at most large conventions. Granite State Comic Con was a wonderfully refreshing change of pace. This con was only one day, Sunday, and ran from 10-4pm. It was small, quick, and painless. It was also a great family convention.

I exhibited this year with a friend, Kelley; we split a table, and tailored our services and inventory to fit a younger audience. Because of the small size of the convention, we were able to do face-painting, temporary tattoos, and caricatures on-site behind our booths. That is something that NO large convention would ever let us do. We were able to get an extra chair from the staff, bring one of our own chairs, and have people sit behind our booths inside the artist square. Our neighbors were very friendly about it, but we made every effort to stay as compact as possible regardless. At most conventions, we would never be able to get an extra chair, and the space behind booths are normally way too small to have more than two people behind the table. Let alone a child and their parent. At big conventions, you also have to be concerned with blocking the narrow hall-ways, so chairs or standing room in front of a booth is also out of the question.

We met some really nice people at this convention too! Everyone was so friendly, and all of the vendors seemed very passionate and professional. Artist’s Alley was combined with the dealers room and I think that really encouraged steady traffic.

I didn’t get a chance to go to any panels, but I heard good things about the costume contest from other con-goers. The costumes in general were very good when present!

The ridiculously low admission was also a huge plus with this convention: $8 for adults and only $4 if you were in costume! That is just unheard of. The price of a booth was also very affordable, and it included admission, which fewer and fewer cons are doing these days, which I think is ridiculous. If you are renting a booth, you are there to work, not have fun, so give the vendors a free pass or two!

Overall I was very happy with my experience at Granite State Comic Con. Though it wasn’t a huge money maker because of its small size and short duration, it was a very small investment with cheap parking, and great people. I will definitely go again!

I left my camera in the car, but I did take this picture on my phone of Kelley, my table associate, with a balloon sword.

Don’t forget to check out my work at http://shaunart.net

Thanks for reading!



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Hey Everyone!

I will be exhibiting at the Granite State Comicon Artists Alley this Sunday, June 10th, 700 Elm Street, Radisson Center – Manchester, NH

The convention is a one-day event, and runs from 10am – 6pm. The artist’s alley opens at 10 and closes at 4pm. I will be exhibiting with a friend, and together, we will be doing caricatures, selling prints, henna tattoos, face painting, and more.

Admission for adults is only $8!!!

The convention will have costume contests, panels, and special guests.

If you are in New England and want to check out a small, up-and-coming convention, then you should stop by!

You can find more information on the convention on their website: http://www.granitecon.com/


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2011 was my first year attending New York Comic Con, what I thought was the Holy Grail of East Coast Con-ing. It’s the largest comic convention on the East coast and with that title comes a lot of hype. My expectations were set pretty high for this convention because of how much attention it gets on television stations like G4 and Funimation, which plays clips from the NYCC all year-long. Because of the extensive media attention, the pressure was on to deliver the kind of experience promised in those flashy adds.

In this review, I will give an honest account of my Comic Con experience. This review expresses my opinion, and my opinion only, unless otherwise stated. I consider myself a pretty average con-goer in terms of what I attractions I like to see, and what topics interest me. I hope that by sharing my convention experiences, other con-goers will use this knowledge to have more fun in the future; whether that means planning ahead to avoid the problems that I encountered, or making sure to see a certain attraction next year. I also hope that these convention reviews will help con-goers make an educated decision on whether or not to attend that convention in the future.

Front hallway Sunday

Time & Location  Mid October is a lovely time of year for a Convention in most cases. The weather isn’t too cold, but you also won’t be hot, and it is a fairly dry time of year. Unfortunately, Friday of New York Comic Con, which was on Oct 13-16 (yes, four days) was hot, sticky, and rainy! Ick. Saturday and Sunday, fortunately had much nicer weather. Though I am a fan of the time, the location was not my personal favorite. I do not love New York City (if you do, you can skip this part); I find New York to be a really really uncomfortable place to exist. Everyone is in such a rush, no one is friendly, and we had a lot of people asking us for money all weekend. The city is really dirty and we were constantly walking through pockets of bad air that smelled of feces, gasoline, rotting food, and smoke. The subway is also dumb; you would think that you could get on a train heading in the correct direction, and by transferring to other trains, get where you need to go easily. This is not the case. The subway system is extremely disjointed, it doesn’t cover the whole city, and the maps are terribly hard to read. New York City is also not a great place if you are on a budget. I found food prices to be at least 50% higher than in Boston and Hartford, cabs are expensive (and with the traffic they won’t get you anywhere fast anyhow) and hotels start at $200 a night if you want the most basic of comforts.

No, New York City is not my favorite. The convention did make a small effort to make guests more comfortable however with hotel blocks and shuttles running back and forth from the hotels to the conventions. The hotels were all far away, however, and though I didn’t take the shuttle myself, I heard that you had to wait around for it. Still, it’s a nice offer, and I only wish that there was enough convention hotel space, at a low enough cost, for more of their guests to enjoy it.

Josh Playing Zelda: Skyward Sword

Show Floor One of the biggest draws of this convention is the show floor, similar to a dealer’s room at other conventions. It is an absolutely massive room, filled with vendors, artists, and industry leaders like Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Capcom, and Ubisoft. Obviously the vendors and artists are there to try to sell you stuff, but the industry booths are there to let you play their unreleased games and give you free stuff, which is awesome. Nintendo was particularly generous this year, offering a different free souvenir for each awesome, unreleased or brand new game that you tried. I collected quite a bit of free stuff over the course the weekend, either by playing games, standing in a short line, or just walking around and having stuff handed to me. You can read more about the free stuff that I got in this post on free stuff at NYCC.



Zelda Banner over the Nintendo Booth

The down side of the showroom, was that it was so crowded that you couldn’t even breath. It took almost an hour to get from one end to the other because everyone was so packed in there. If you were in a costume, forget about it, anything delicate would be trashed in that mob. Lots of pushing, shoving, and being poked by people’s sharp props or papers. Ouch! The show room was not a place for the claustrophobic, small children, the easily bruised, short people, wide people, or the handicapped. It was actually, really annoying and uncomfortable the number of people allowed to pack into small isles and booths.

Guests Another reason that Comic Con appeals to so many people is their star-studded line-up of guests. You can find people from every corner of the entertainment industry at this event: artists and editors of DC and Marvel, Japanese film director Makoto Shinkai, Mark Hamill, Jay and Silent Bob, Chris Evans, world-renowned cosplay celebrities, creators and voice actors from Cartoon Network hits, and so many others. There was an entire section of the convention dedicated to autographs, and many people of importance had booths where fans could go meet-and-great. Though it was really hard to get in contact with the big-name-guests (for their own safety) it was surprisingly easy to track down and meet the sort of people who at other cons, you would stand no chance of getting near. As a member of the press, I was privileged enough to have scheduled interviews with Award Winning Cosplayers Kenneth Pingad, and Yaya Han, nerd comedian and speaker Uncle Yo, and the creators and voice actors of Adventure Time and the Regular show on Cartoon network. Meeting these people was a blast and an honor, however it wasn’t that hard to find them! I think even if I wasn’t a member of the press for NYCC, I could have still had the chance to meet most of them.

Jake Balloon

Food Food in New York, as I said, was at least 50% more expensive than Boston and Hartford. Inside the convention center, food was 100%-200% more expensive. There was a food court with pizza and Starbucks, and some stands with popcorn and pretzels. For real food you did have to venture out into the city. About four-blocks down 34th street there was a Wendy’s, a TGI Fridays, a Diner, and other places to eat. There were also food carts parked outside of the convention center all weekend. There was food around, yes, but you had to pay quite a high price for a nice place to sit down and relax. Personally, I didn’t have time to relax. I was living off food that I packed for the weekend (which saved us a ton of money BTW) and Wendy’s for dinner. 😀 I survived.

OMG! We found a pocket of air big enough to take a picture in!!!

Lines THE LINES! The lines were absolutely terrible!!! You go to a convention to go to panels, and main events, right? Well a lot of us do–most people like to see a few panels over the course of the weekend to feel like they got their money’s worth. Well good luck at NYCC getting into ANYTHING. At NYCC, if you take away the value of the spectacle that is 100,000 people crammed (yes, crammed) into a very large convention center, you are essentially paying to shop and to stand in line. You are not going to get into any events after standing in line, you are only going to stand in line, and staff will tell you the whole time, “you’re probably not getting in.” The problem was, the convention staff were not clearing the floor between panels and main events. SO. If you wanted to see an event that started at 7pm, you had to get in line at 10am, when the convention OPENS. Here’s why. Let’s say there’s a main event at 11, 1, 5, and 7. Well, everyone wants to see the event at 7, in this case, the Avengers special super-secret unreleased footage panel. Everyone at the convention wanted to get into a room that holds 3,000 people. 100,000 people at the con….space for 3,000. See the problem? Now, there are only 5,000 people who want to see the 1 o’clock panel, but those people are going to get in line at 10. Some of them will get into the 11 am panel, but most of them wont. They just want to get into the 1pm panel. Now, people do not have to leave the main events hall when their panel is over. They can stay there all day. So. When the 11 am panel ends, not everyone wants to sit there all day, so they leave and the 1pm people go in. These people want to see the 1pm panel, and EVERYONE wants to see the 7pm panel, so they’re going to sit through the 5pm panel instead of leaving and getting back in line.

This is a line. Or what is trying to be a line.

Now as these people sit here (as I would if I were them) people are getting in line for the 5pm panel, and then for the 7pm panel. But wait, no one left from the panel before, so no one who lined up just for the evening panels can get in!!

I got in line for the Avengers panel 2.5 hours early. But the line was already 7,000 people long because it had been stacking all day. There were no separate lines for each event, only a line for that room. Some people for the 5pm panel got in, but NO ONE who was there ONLY for the Avengers panel got it. They had to have sat through the panel, or the two panels before the Avengers panel in order to stand any chance of getting in. LAME.

Main events wasn’t the only problem. In order to get into ANYTHING you had to wait in line at that room ALL DAY. What a waste of a good convention! There were no time restrictions for how soon people could start lining up, they didn’t clear the room between panels, and there was no designated seating for press. The convention invites members of the press to the con to provide it with media coverage, the write stories about it, to make videos about the con, and to spread news of the con across the land. But how are we supposed to do that when we can’t get into anything!? Now, I’m not saying that all press should get in before regular attendees, that would be silly and unfair. But there should be a very limited number of press seats, proportional to the size of the room, and a separate press line as well. That way, press is only competing against other press for the seats, and attendees competing only against other attendees. You guys want to see videos of events on Youtube, right? Well let the press in so we can film!!!

The show room from above. Oh, the crowds. ;-;

All weekend I only got into two events: an Indie Toy Maker’s Panel, and the Masquerade (which I waited in line for 3 hours for). The Toy Maker’s Panel was awesome and informative, and the Masquerade was an average, middle-of-the-road show. Nothing more or less special than any other con. Not really what I expected from NYCC. Overall, I was incredibly disappointed with the lines and line management. There was cutting, shifting, re-ordering, and moving of the lines. I understand that it is not easy to manage such a large group of people, but having a firm plan to begin with, and sticking to the plan is the only way to keep order. Changing the structure of a line half-way through is only going to cause chaos.

Staff The staff for the most part was really nice and helpful. There was a jerk or two here and there, but for the most part they were pleasant people. They were however, overwhelmed, it seemed. There weren’t enough staff to manage the volume of people and therefore, we had issues with the lines and crowd-flow.

Giant Optimis Prime

Main Events/Panels Normally I would write a whole section on what I thought of the panels and events. But, seeing as I didn’t get to go to very many, this section is going to be quite short. Again, the Toy Maker’s Panel was great: informative, fun, run by knowledgable people. We waited in line for an hour for it, and only got in because it was late-night, but still, a very good panel. The masquerade, again, not so special. A few really awesome acts, and a bunch of okay acts. If you’ve been to any masquerade before you know what this one was like.

Waiting in line for the Avenger's main event, trying to have a good time.

Cosplay Another area in which I was disappointed. I expected the biggest convention on the east coast to have some of the biggest and best cosplay. Well, I couldn’t really find much. There were some people dressed up, sure, but the percentage of people in costume was minuscule. I understand why! This is NOT a cosplay-friendly con. The crowds were too rough! There was no room for cosplay and no room for props on the show-room. The crowds were so large that picture-taking was really quite impossible except for off to the side of the con in an unpopulated corner.

Though the coat and bag check were nice options to have available, they were not complimentary, and it costed $3 to check your coat for the day (More for bags but I don’t remember the cost). Even if you checked your bag, and road the shuttle, you still had a long trip from the hotel to the convention and it wasn’t easy to get back and forth to get your things or touch up your costume when needed. Also, heels are deadly in NYC. The roads are bumpy and lumpy and uncomfortable. Because no one was getting into any panels, there was really no sitting down all weekend either. So you’re on your feet for three days straight, walking around a con and then walking to your hotel. My feet were DYING and I was wearing flat sandals all weekend.

The costumes that I did see were pretty good, but it was so hard to move around, so hard to find space to take a picture in, so loud that you couldn’t get a cosplayer’s attention, so many people walking in front of the camera. Ugh! It was exhausting and I’m really glad that I didn’t cosplay. I never would have had time to see the con if I had to worry about a costume in that environment.

Josh waiting in line for the Toy Maker's Panel

Other Notes Price of admission is $75 for the weekend, however this does get you admission to both New York Comic Con and the New York Anime Festival, but honestly NYAF has kind of shriveled into a small extension of NYCC and I don’t really consider them separate experiences in any way.

Phone and internet service is something else I would like to touch upon: there was none. You had to pay to use the Wifi, and even then it was spotty. Even Marvel was having trouble with the Wifi and had to cancel certain events that required internet access. Phone service was also very difficult to come by, making it impossible to find anyone or keep up communication. So if you are considering going next year, you’d better have a designated meet-up place, because if you get separated from your friends, good luck finding them in a sea of 100,000 people without the use of your cell phones.

Personally, I would not pay $75 to go back to New York Comic Con next year. Even as a member of the press, who gets in for free, I would have to give it serious thought, and maybe lower my expectations a lot. I had a little bit of fun, but not a lot. It was exhausting battling all of those people, and while I liked the free stuff, I then had to carry it all, in addition to my back-pack all weekend. I packed very very light, but my back and feet were really feeling it even on Friday afternoon. I also would have had a better time if I had gotten into more events. Wandering the halls gets boring, but waiting in line is depressing too! All I wanted to do was see some cool panels, but that proved near impossible.

Really good ribbon-dancing-Pheonix act from the Masquerade

I am giving New York Comic Con 2011, a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

I like free-stuff, cool guests, and playing games, but I don’t like waiting in line all day, getting trampled, getting lost, not getting into panels, and not having cell phone service.

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What a busy week! The con was a week ago and I’m just getting around to making updates about it! Any how, as I do for every con I attend, here is my convention review.

Time and Location: Once again this year, Anime Boston was held on Easter weekend in the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The convention center is a wonderful place to hold a convention, and the place was packed! I’ve got no complaints about the facilities, but the timing was pretty inconvenient. Easter weekend!? I know a lot of people were unhappy about that. I myself did not attend the convention on Sunday because of this, but I still had a good time Friday and Saturday. Perfect weather temperature wise at least. It did rain on Saturday, but was still warm enough to be comfortable.

Parking: There is plenty of parking for the Hynes at the surrounding hotels, though the rates are pretty high. I always park across the street in a garage. The max is $30 for 24 hrs. However there is no come-and-go option, meaning once you leave the convention center, you’re done for the day unless you want to pay another $30 for parking. The rate is $5 for every half-hour. Adds up very quickly.

Food: The Prudential mall and Boylston street (which the convention is on) has plenty of food options. It is Boston after all. No one was going to starve. However the food in the mall is a little pricey, and if you want something cheap you have to walk a little to get it. Not that its difficult to find cheap food once you leave the convention center. My cosplay group and I brown-paper-bagged it for lunch, and had dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen. Excellent food. But a tad pricey.

Lines: Very few lines at this con! No line to get my badge. We literally ran through terminal. And with the new masquerade ticket system, there was no lining up for that either. Not that I went to the Masquerade this year, but I didn’t see anyone waiting in line for it. The only time I waited in line was for really popular panels, and there were a few instances where the room was full and we didn’t get it, but there were enough other panels happening at the same time that if we didn’t want to wait in line, we could go and find something else to do.

Staff: I didn’t really interact with staff this year other than a few of them taking my picture. There seemed, in fact, to be a lack of people on staff. I don’t think I had my badge checked all con. Normally, there is a staff member guarding the door to every panel and the dealers room. But this year for some reason, people were coming and going as they pleased without ever taking out their badges….weird. Maybe they were understaffed. Kind of makes me wonder why anyone would buy a badge if they knew they could roam free without one.

Main Events/Panels and Scheduling: I didn’t attend any main events this year because honestly, we were really busy having our photos taken. I did go to some awesome panels though. There was a fantastic Miyazaki Panel which covered everything you’d ever want to know about his work, a historical costuming panel which with tones of tips and tricks for making better costumes, and a martial arts panel which explained what is and is not possible in a fight. The panels this year were exceptional, I thought. Not a single disappointment.

Cosplay: As always, Anime Boston was filled to the brim with cosplayers. There were so many cosplayers in fact, that it’s difficult to recall specifics….I saw a lot of Vocaloid,  and a lot of Panty and Stockings. I myself had a fantastic cosplay experience. Our costumes were very well received; I got a lot of very nice compliments and the group had our picture taken about 2500 times! Everyone was really friendly and when asked for hugs, everyone was very gentle and respectful of the costumes. Not a single “glomp.” Which was nice.

Other notes: The artist’s alley was VERY crowded this year. There seemed to be way too many artist. I couldn’t even look at anyone’s work. The walkways between tables were so narrow, that anyone who did stop to look at work would block traffic. Thus, I felt unable to look at work. AA needs either a bigger space, or fewer artists. I know that no one wants to hear that, but I don’t know how anyone sold well in such a dimly lit, uncomfortable space.

I give Anime Boston 2011 4 out of 5 stars. Wonderful Panels, great people, lots of cosplay, fantastic location, but Easter Weekend, lack of staff, and the very crowded hallways bring it down from a perfect score for me. Still, it was a really fabulous time. And I will continue to attend for years, I’m sure.

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Connecticon 2010 is over! After a long and exhausting weekend of otaku adventures, I am ready to write this review while things as still fresh in my mind.

Time and Location: As always, Connecticon was held in the prime of the summer-time in the nicest of locations. Though the weather was quite hot and humid this year, the Connecticut Convention Center is climate controlled and that AC was cranking out the cool air all weekend. There were even times when I was a little chilly!! But I would much prefer to be cold, than to over heat in a costume. It doesn’t take much really: wearing even just a wig greatly restricts how well heat can leave your body. Anyone in cosplay was super thankful for the air, I’m sure. But anyway, back to more about the location–conveniently placed in the city, right near the highway and several major roads, beautiful building with some great open spots for photos both inside and out. Perfect venue for a con, I think.

Parking: The parking lot was attached to the convention center, and though it was not air conditioned, it did provide some shelter from the summer sun while walking to and from your car. I much prefer this to any parking lot. The Parking rate was $3 for the first hour and $2 for every additional hour with a daily maximum of $19. But, you could not come and go as you please on this rate. Fortunately, Connecticon was offering parking passes that would allow you to come and go as much as you please for a flat rate. Basically, you pay the daily maximum up front, and get to come in and out as many times as you want. This saves you money because on a normal parking ticket, if you stayed for 7 hours, then left for dinner, and came back and spent 4 more hours there, you would be paying more than the daily limit because you left the garage. Getting a parking pass from Connecticon protects you from this over-charging. Very good option, and cheaper than Anime Boston parking.

Food: The food inside the convention center was expensive and limited. I heard that it costs $6 for a hamburger, and so I choose to eat outside of the convention or bring my own food. Though there is a sign at the entrance of the convention center that says “no outside food or drink beyond this point,” the rule is not enforced, and I really don’t think that they can, especially in heat like that, people need to be able to have water and a snack with them at all times. (There were water fountains throughout the building if anyone is wondering). So anyway, food around the convention center: there was a Burger King within walking distance, and an awesome pub across the street. I will try to get the name and add it. Also there was a  menu for pizza in the convention program book, probably targeted to anyone staying in the hotel. So there were options, but as always, eating during cons can get pretty expensive and I am a firm believer in bringing your own breakfast and lunch every day.

Lines: For the most part, completely reasonable. There were a few short lines for registration and main events but they all kept moving and were nothing more than should be expected. There were no lines that I saw for ordinary panels or the bathrooms, and only a few small ones for the ATM and food in the con center. One line that I would like the complain about is the bag-check line for the dealers room and video game room. On Friday, they were requiring that you check your bag before entering either the dealers room or the video game area (they changed it to only the video game area on Saturday and Sunday probably because things got so bad). When I checked my bag, I didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes, but when I tried to get my bag back, I found myself faced with a line at least 30 minutes long. It looked like they only had 4 people handling 600 bags, and they temporarily lost the bags of myself, the two people in front of me, and the man behind me. All were located eventually but let me tell you, it caused quite the delay. I had to go in and locate my own bag myself because it was filed incorrectly and they could not locate the number. One poor girl in front of me was waiting a very long time for her lost bag, and when she got SOME of the CONTENTS of her bag back WITHOUT THE BAG ITSELF, THOSE CONTENTS WERE ALL WET! I felt so bad for her. I told her she should definitely complain and that this was unacceptable. I think eventually she got her bag back because I saw her from afar later with a backpack that looked like the one she had described. I hope that everything turned out all right for her because she had electronics in her bag. 😦

Staff: I don’t have too much to say about the staff because I didn’t have many interactions with them. They stayed quietly off to the side checking badges and doing their jobs. They were certainly visible and I never felt like the con was getting out of control, but at the same time I think that the staff knew how to sit back and let things happen how the con goers wanted them to. Most of the staff I saw were volunteers and so I’m sure that that added to the laid-back, low-obligation feeling that I got from the men and women who kept everything running smoothly all weekend.

Main Events/Panels and Scheduling: I will talk about main events first. I myself only attended Anime Unscripted and Cosplay Chess, which I was participating in. Both were wonderfully entertaining and worth going to. I heard from talking to other con-goers that the Death Match and the Art Fight were also entertaining and fun, but that the masquerade really wasn’t. But that’s only what I heard. As far as panels went, I felt that the schedule could have been a little more dense. They didn’t make hardly anything overlap and so I actually felt that there was a lack of panels to go to at any given time. I was lucky if one panel interested me all day. Maybe if they had opened a few of the role-playing rooms up to panels, there would have been a few more appealing options. Josh was very disappointed that the “How to not suck at Pokemon” Panel was canceled last minute.

Cosplay: The cosplay and responses to cosplay at Connecticon were awesome. I had a great time dressing up and role-playing: waving my finger at all the Team Rockets as Officer Jenny. And everyone else looked great too. I saw some really good cosplays, and they were from so many different Genres! From Star-Wars to Kim Possible, to Avatar, to D.C. comics, to Hetalia and Soul Eater. Surprisingly little Naturo and Bleach, actually.

I give this con a 4 out of 5 stars. Beautiful location, not to crowded, great mix of people and fun main events. Everything seemed well planned and I never encountered a single unpleasant person. However the days dragged on with a limited panel selection and the incident with the bag-check really detracted from my experience. But still, this is a con worth going to! Next year it will be held in the Connecticut Convention Center, July 8th – 10th.

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