I’ve been having some serious writer’s block about saying anything about this latest Geek Media Expo (GMX vol 3 – October 21-23 in Nashville, TN). So instead of a usual report, I decided to do a point-by-point with some photos.
This year was held at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel, which was a bit of a nostalgia trip. My first MTAC, MTAC GO in 2005, was held at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel. It’s been a long ride since then. It was fun returning back, but then I remembered the elevators.
The Flash Dash Speed Drawing competition yielded this gem: Pimpachu and the GMX Girls! The GMX Girls are the mascots of the convention, and the subject of this round of drawings was “a superhero team up with the GMX Girls.” What better superhero than Pimpachu?
Setting up for Saturday Morning Cartoons. I’ve done it every GMX, always associated with cereal and milk. That was gone by the first episode. We had some technical difficulties at first that delayed the event, but we got it going. Wrapped the showing with an episode of Jem and the Holograms, in honor of our guests Samantha Newark (voice of Jem) and Patricia Alice Albrecht (voice of Pizzazz).
This… Well… This is what happens at 3am Saturday night with a Twister mat open.
The hotel itself had just undergone renovations in some of the rooms. I couldn’t exactly get a picture of the persistent paint smell, but I did get one of a hastily assembled door handle.
And this can stand on its own.
You can view the rest of my pitifully few photos at my Flickr page. I really need to start taking time out of each con to take photos.
I also recommend visiting the GMX YouTube page to watch continually updated videos from the con. Especially funny ones like this clip from the exceptional Geek Slam:
(Off Topic: I am working on a new theme and design for the blog. I like this one, but the background is just a placeholder. Let me know if you have any thoughts.)
Sometimes I get so used to regular geeky/anime conventions that I forget that “normal people” actually go to cultural festivals. That happened this time with JapanFest, Atlanta’s Japanese cultural festival, where I helped with some of the anime viewing content. Turns out, Akira and New Cutie Honey aren’t the most family friendly titles (retrospect d’uh). Thanks to my good friend Jess Merriman of MomoCon with helping in the selection.
I even had to quickly end my Cutey Honey: The LIVE clips in my “Tokusatsu Heroes” (Japanese super heroes) panel because it has partial nudity (sparkles cover the NSFW bits, but still…).
JapanFest is a rather large Japanese cultural event held every September in Atlanta, GA. It’s often on the same weekend as Anime Weekend Atlanta (which I also attend). This year, it wasn’t, so I got to stay the whole time. Again the con promo thing, as well as running panels and video.
I’m often surprised by how large JapanFest actually is. Anecdotal conversations said over 10,000 people, and I believe it. We ran through most of our promotional stickers and all of our fliers at the MTAC booth, and most of that was within the first day. I’m sure not being on AWA weekend helped, but it gets fairly large numbers anyway.
As a cultural festival, the big draws are the events and the exhibitions, of which I hardly got to see. The exhibition hall was littered with vendors and sponsors selling and promoting. Including a bunch of Yamaha vehicles. More importantly and probably just as big of a draw, the exhibition holds a popular food court of various Japanese restaurants. I was able to get some delicious okonomiyaki for just $3.
It’s nice to see so many different people from what I typically see at anime and geeky conventions. As a promoter, I get to reach a slightly different audience. As a people watcher, I get to see a new variety of people who aren’t all used to the foreign and “strange” costumes and content that I more or less see all the time at anime shows.
As a panelist, it’s a different experience as the audience for this rendition of my Tokusatsu Heroes panel seemed less interactive but just as interested versus the other cons I’ve presented this at.
JapanFest falls in September every year, also known as the month I might as well live in Atlanta. As mentioned, it’s around or during AWA as well as near to Dragon*Con. All three are worth it for the trips. JapanFest is a more peaceful show, partially because of it only being two days and no night content, but also because the crowd is calmer. I’m glad Nashville has been getting a similar event in the spring, with the three-year-old, one-day Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, but I don’t see that supplanting the interest in going to JapanFest.
Off topic: how do you prefer seeing titles of works protrayed on the web?
- “Quotation marks?”
It’s been a while since I’ve done an actual convention retrospective. The reason is that I’m always working cons, usually promoting MTAC and GMX. As such, for the most part, the convention experience is the same aside from the friend experiences that are uninteresting to read or insider knowledge or critiques that I don’t feel comfortable discussing in my public forum.
Dragon*Con 2011 is my fourth, and it’s the first vacation con I’ve had since probably the first one, except I still volunteered at that one. Honestly, I expected to be somewhat bored, but that didn’t happen. That’s the great thing about Dragon*Con. There’s so much to do and see at the con that boredom rarely happened. What downtime there is was spent resting and recuperating (and chowing down on sandwiches we made in the hotel room).
(It’s also the 25th Dragon*Con, which means it’s as old as I am. Slightly intimidating, but not near as much as its tens and tens of thousands of attendance.)
That’s not to say I don’t have fun at the cons I go to working. Just ask the folks at Seishun Con. The freedom of responsibility is liberating though. If I had to put a name on a specific thing, it’s getting to sleep in.
The con was not without any work though. As I mentioned two posts ago, I performed two panels: DC Animated Universe and Tokusatsu (Japanese Super Heroes, kind of thinking THAT should be the name for now on). Both went very well and had decent attendance. I constantly find my weaknesses in public speaking and preparedness, but the feedback was positive, so I know I’m on the right track.
(In the middle of my toku panel, my friends made a drinking game out of every time I said “Power Rangers” or “Kamen Rider.” They ran out of their drinks in a matter of minutes.)
Along with not working with a con, I got to experience the dreaded walk-in registration, which wasn’t all that bad (except for my wallet *ouch*). I got through it in under an hour. Dragon*Con’s walk-in process is interesting in that there are three unique stations (each with multiple staff and terminals) to process the walk-ins: the payment station, the registration station and the badge pick-up station. You pay at the first station, divided into cash and credit. Then you take your registration form you fill out in line for the registration station to enter that data in its systems. Finally, you are sent to badge pick-up where the relevant data is printed onto a sticker and put on your badge. Now you’re good to go.
Everything I’ve heard about pre-registration is that it breezed by compared to years past, as long as you had your postcard. Dragon*Con switching to a barcode scanning system so they just scan your card, hand you your badge and send you on your merry way.
Recreationally, I spent the con hanging out with many good friends. I didn’t even go to as many panels and events I expected myself to do now that I could. I did make time for two TWiT panels: Tech News Today and NSFW (both of which are available online, being free podcasts and all). Both were pretty interesting, and the NSFW one was really funny with a dancing Red Skull and a xenomorphic alien trying to make out with Veronica Belmont.
Speaking of guests, my roommate passed by probably the best Felicia Day costumer at the con… who turned out to be Felicia Day. Seeing guests randomly walk by is one of the biggest attractions at Dragon*Con. It’s such a party con, a social con, and that possibility of socializing with your favorite TV stars is very alluring. I always feel off around people I watch on TV or follow online, never wanting to say anything for fear of seeming fanboyish.
Not that there is any shortage of people to mingle with anyway at a 50,000-person convention. It’s in fact the best part of the con. I spent all of Saturday night running into person after person I knew and catching up with several of my friends I rarely get to see anymore. People have their conventions made by meeting a beloved guest or snagging some awesome swag, but I love just goofing around and being geeky with all my friends.
But I also snagged some awesome swag. See you next year, Dragon*Con.
Check out the rest of my Dragon*Con pics at flickr.com/nikoscream
There are few more laborious and chaotic ways to spend your Labor Day weekend than to head down to Atlanta for one of the largest multi-genre conventions in the country. That’s right, Dragon*Con.
The convention going into its 24th year featured 35 tracks of content, over 3,500 hours of programming and more guests than you can shake a bat’leth at.
Every summer season in Tennessee is ushered in with a trip down to Arrlington for the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, which occurs every weekend in May (ok, not technically summer yet, but deal with it). This 25th anniversary of the festival continues to take visitors into the centuries-old world of merriment.
My first convention of a new decade. Speaking of a decade, Ohayocon celebrated its 10th anniversary with this convention. It’s been my third year attending. Oddly, while I went up to the convention in Columbus, Ohio expecting it to be covered with snow like last year, it was pretty bare but still cold, and the snow storm hit Tennessee while I was gone. Even without the snow, it was enjoyable.
I didn’t really get to do much of the con stuff. I attended very few events. However, I got to see plenty of people, including OSMcast (which has Aaron Dismuke’s phone number as 209-676-5463).