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Monday, July 8, 2013

A Bit About Anime Midwest

This past weekend I went to Anime Midwest at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, IL. It's a big anime convention, naturally. But with this one there has been some drama behind the scenes involving people behind the convention and things I won't get into other than my opinion that I didn't quite care if the con was ran smoothly and I didn't have to be witness to any of it. Like almost all cons, I spent the whole weekend there; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It was the first convention that I'd be bringing two of my hometown friends who normally don't hang with my con-going friends.

I was anxious to say the least. As Jim Gaffigan has said, mixing two groups of friends is stressful ("Yeah, these people don't know I drink. And don't be thrown by my British accent"). Would they get along? Would they behave themselves? My groups of friends do vastly different things on their downtime, mind you, and I didn't know how it would go. Minus the joking at my expense of torching the place, my doubts were unfounded and things went smoothly and they all made friends which was cool.

Friday my carpool of friends TJ, Melysa, and Caleb hit the road to Rosemont. I didn't get the best sleep so I had a nice headache most of the day. Waiting for other friends to show up, we scoped out the hotel and where the various event rooms were. There was a dealer room with all kinds of junk to spend money on, a game room, tabletop rooms, panel rooms, and the main ballroom. I actually attended some panels that day. The first one was "Breaking Into Comics" which was run by Russel Lissau and Steve Horton, two comic writers who have been around the industry. These two guys I have seen at other conventions around the midwest area, but I never much paid attention to them. The panel was interesting, but was mostly just people asking questions without a WHOLE lot of actual ins and outs of the comic industry. It was good insight, however. Also, I walked away with their main piece of advice; DO THE WORK. Just DO IT. If you want to be a writer, don't want to. Go be it. It's a strange thing to grasp, because if only things were that simple. But maybe it is. I need to get on that. Actually try my hand at writing something out like a comic script or a page layout or some characters sketches and see what I feel best with right away and work from there. I'd love to do it all but who knows. Much like the last panel, I went to "Making Webcomics Part 1", the first in a trilogy of panels all weekend about, naturally, making webcomics. It was interesting but didn't give me much more than the previous panel. Both were well done though, without any problems with guests or attendees.

The night ended by my showing my two friends around the con area and giving them the low down about where they could go and a bit about etiquette, since they missed the deadline to pick up badges that night. Late that night around 11pm, my friends Brock, Evan, Matt, and I went to the karaoke room to sing "Rocky Road to Dublin" as done by the Irish Descendants. We got the whole room clapping around and most of them joined in the merry jig that ensued. It was amazing and we will be doing it at any con we can and I can't wait.

Saturday was equally eventful, but my stress levels were all over the place that day so I didn't really do much convention stuff besides wander around. My good friend Brock presented his panel "A Primer to Doctor Who" which went over fantastically, much like the first time he did it at Kitsunekon a few months ago. The Masquerade, the costume contest, was that evening. It was... far from amazing. It was the least organized part of the con I could tell of. The line for it basically filled up the whole of the lobby in a horrible mass and was delayed by a good half an hour. Even after that delay the contest itself lasted maybe 40 minutes, most of it being the MC's rather unprofessional commentary. I asked myself if the contestants found him rude at all that he kept interjecting into their walk-ons. Whenever I could actually hear what he was saying (the tech crew had an off night it seemed), he was always doing the same joke of asking female contestants for their numbers. It wasn't funny the first time, nor the subsequent twelve times. But that may be harsh since the whole thing was a disappointment. I wasn't wowed by any of the costumes. Maybe I'm just to expectant of cosplay contests being a way for the best costumes to show off. Good work to all of the contestants though, I don't want to put any of them down because I know costumes are difficult regardless of what they are. But few of them really stood out. There was a group of Silent Hill cosplayers that did pretty well though.

That night, my friends and I actually went to an 18+ panel, one naturally for adults only. We had never been, so it was... an experience for all of us. The panel was taking volunteers to dub over Hentai games based on improv topics provided by the audience. It started out pretty hilarious but devolved into ear-piercing screeches of god knows what that lost any humor. To me anyway. Other people found it hilarious. After that we all lined up for the rave, the Saturday night party of lights, noise, and sweaty people gyrating and bouncing around to the beats of the music. I was there with my friends pretty much all night, on and off with breaks from the chaos. The night ended and the morning began sitting in my room discussing many things with friends Aaron, Kristen, Autumn, and Cody. Then I got about three hours of sleep. Maybe.

Sunday was a headache trying to get shit out of the room before noon. It all worked out in the end though. The day consisted of one last lap around the dealer room to buy stuff (I nabbed a Doctor Who licence plate border, One Piece figurine, and some comics signed by the aforementioned panelists). The afternoon was spent with our big group splayed out in the chairs in the lobby just talking about life, the universe, and everything, which is one of my favorite parts of conventions. Just as an aside, talking out loud about things just helps compartmentalize all the stuff that goes on up in your head, which I had a lot of.

The drive home was to the music of the Digimon Movie soundtrack. A mix of music from the TV show and hits of the late 90's and early 00's. Nostalgia up the wazoo.

It was overall a good weekend in terms of the convention itself. I avoided any drama and had a good time with friends. Personal anxieties of this particular weekend convention were for the most part unfounded. So I'll put this down as a win. I likely won't go next year however. It's mostly due to it being over the 4th of July weekend, but a little to do with the drama that I heard so much about that I just wanna be as far away from as I can. Neither I nor anyone I know personally is involved, but I just don't need to hear it; I just want to have a good time.

So with that I eagerly await this year's Ramencon in Indiana in September.

So everything's not perfect
Don't matter 'cause you'll rework it
Nothings holding you
Never stopping, never stopping, never stopping now

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