|My notes as they stand
on Katsucon 2003...
The Short Notes...
I never intended to go to Katsucon 9. A combination of a bad financial situation, no cosplay plans and no particular events I *needed* to attend put Katsucon on the drop list for 2003.
I hated to miss it, as it would be the first Katsucon I’d miss since I started attending conventions back in 1997. So when the opportunity arose for me to attend with almost no cost, I packed my bags, tossed them in my friends SUV, and we were off.
Little did I know it would keep me from leaving! I
was one of the individuals trapped for a convention that has been called
As convention goers are wont to do, this simply gave everyone the opportunity to throw the LARGEST DEAD DOG PARTY EVER. As I will directly quote from one attendee, “Katsucon was better after then con than during!”
As for myself, I never really saw the convention. I fully admit I was there primarily for my friends, who all did some serious convincing. “Here, we’ll give you room, food, and backrubs!” Oh wow, ow, I don’t know, you’ve twisted my arm, so painful, I guess I’ll go. ;) I collected on the room and board, scrounged pennies where I had them, but never did get a backrub.
One final note. We’ve discovered the formal soda formula for Katsucon. We call it the Katsucon Formula. Take two parts Pepsi Blue, one part Mountain Dew Code Red – and you’ll get a fine, berry flavored Purple soda. It’s actually quite tasty. Top it off with fresh snow for a Katsu 9.1 Mixer. (Thanks to the originators and guinea pigs, including Octavian, Zyvernia, Nicole, etc.)
Anyway, pull up a chair, warm your toes by the fire, and enjoy the coverage. :)
The Long Notes
Written February 18th, 2003.
I’m going to comment in a scattershot manner here, as it has been a while since I’ve written one of these. My apologies for the ramble-fest.
“This is the con that never ends....”
I just got home.
IF you didn't get out of the hotel by 4pm, you were stuck for a day, as a state of emergency locked down the Virginia and Maryland states completely. Even hotel employees were stuck: people who attempted to leave via car were pulled over and told to go back to where they came.
Reported tickets of up to 1000 dollars were heard of for attempting to travel during the lockdown. Restrictions were lifted 4am.
Closing ceremonies was the best attended CC I've seen at Katsu in a long while. At Closing ceremonies, it was reported that with over 300 people stuck, the hotel was gracious enough to donate two event rooms. This would end up being dubbed "Katsucon 9.1" by the con chair, and formally opened.
Video 1 remained open, with unaired episodes of Invader Zim hosted by the voice of Gir.
The room that was formerly art show was filled with square and round tables and turned into an artist’s alley. Round tables in the center provided gaming space and relaxation areas. Some tables got taken up by video gamers as well. Steve, Robert, and other guests popped by, stories and sketches and autographs were handed out pretty much all night.
Staffers provided munchies and even in some cases hot food for the attendees. As of Monday around noon there were STILL people partying. (And hoping they could leave eventually.) Reports state that people partied till Tuesday morning.
My hats off to the con staff and the hotel for managing this glitch so effectively.
The con itself?
Well, I admit I saw very little of the con as I was being a bum the entire time. From what I can see, it was fairly crowded. Dual Jewel was a gigantic smash among the j-rock fans.
Tech crew for cosplay seemed to suffer from the usual horrible glitches caused by Murphy. (I'll be polite and leave it at that.) Bob Baranek, Kat Andrews, Dave Z., Tikki and Carolina showed up with a Five Star Stories group that left people breathless.
The winner of the cosplay was actually a VERY funny skit involving a twist on the song "The Devil went down to Georgia". Any skit that gets a rousing ovation from the cosplayers in the green room is an EXCELLENT skit.
I have not heard reports of the Katsu flu. I suspect the blizzard is this year's Flu; it certainly kept enough people from going home.
My comments about the organization - The little I saw of it reflected a mature con with a system that is familiar to them. Even if some people would say that their organization is lacking, they know how their system works and how to run with it.
I think that a year of not having any anime conventions made the hotel realize that they were losing a cash cow. Katsucon's return to the convention was marked by AMAZINGLY accommodating hotel staff. Front desk counter was covered with anime based plushies and two TV’s showing anime. The restaurant staff was superb when I dealt with them during the snowstorm. Bar staff was excellent.
At the same time, you paid for this. Hotel rate was, for that particular hotel, a little bit high, especially since last minute shoppers were able to get a better rate. Bellcap service and getting a cart required a fee. Soda from vending machines was a whopping 2 dollars. Con attendees were FORCED to park in valet parking until the lot was full, however they did drop the valet rate to 10 dollars. (People who were initially annoyed about this were VERY happy when the snowstorm hit..)
My interaction with the staff was fairly limited. For the most part, most of the staffers and senior staffers I dealt with were weathering the con well and even, when they could, enjoying themselves.
There was one regrettable exception that I ran into, Friday night. It left me frothing at the mouth in shock afterwards.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I don't care how tired, irritable, or drunk you are. Senior staffers should NOT be standing in a crowded elevator telling people who are NOT con attendees, "NEXT TIME, TAKE THE STAIRS!" when they get off on the fifth floor. They also should show a LITTLE dignity and or contrition when told that the person wasn't even a congoer.
Furthermore, they shouldn't then continue on to tell the rest of the elevator passengers, "From now on, if you are on the 6th floor or below, you MUST take the stairs or face consequences." Joke or not, you paint yourself off as outrageously rude.
Especially when you then continue on to say that you're being a "Bitch", it’s the red hair you have, and you really don't care.
To that senior staffer and all you other people who insisted on booing people who were simply riding the elevator.. I understand that frustrations mount when the elevators are slow, and people take the elevators to limited areas. However, never assume you know why someone's taking the elevator. Maybe they've been walking all day. Maybe they have a blister. Maybe they have a condition. Maybe their disk as slipped. Whatever the case may be, you don't KNOW that they deserve booing. Would you appreciate it if someone gave you a hard time when you didn't deserve it?
One final tip on that. You also never know if someone's armed. So relax, be patient, and don't stress out over something as minor as an elevator wait. You'll enjoy life more.
As is my usual habit, I tend to hop from gathering to gathering, and eventually just hang out with people in the lobby, socializing till the sun comes up. This convention was no different.
Friday night found me wandering around, eating, chatting, and finally sitting with cosplayers in their sweatshop as they did last minute preparations for their skit.
Saturday night again had me wandering. After crushing my knees repeatedly taking photos of the dragon dancers, I ended up hopping from party to party, saying hi and generally socializing. Parties for the most part were allowed to run till fairly late at night. People seemed to have a good time all night long, oblivious to the piles of snow forming outside the hotel...
The convention was fairly crowded, and there were no small number of costumers. Despite this, I found that I limited my shooting. I admit fully that I’ve gotten very picky about when I’ll shoot a photograph for the website.
Maybe I’ve gotten selective out of a sheer need to cut down on the number of photos I have to later edit. Perhaps I’ve developed my eye for craftsmanship, lighting, and situation. Maybe I’ve just gotten lazy.
I know this much: I really hate mob photography. When there are over 60 photographers trying to get the same photo over and over, I really wonder if there’s a point. So I admit it, I try and wait till people are done, and then ask people if they mind taking some time to set up a good shot. Unfortunately this is a slow process, and I take less spontaneous shots. On the flip side, I do seem to be getting better posed shots.
Things are always changing, and I guess my focus at conventions is changing yet again. This won’t stop me from shooting though, and I hope you all continue to enjoy the results.
Katsucon 9.1 lasted for an almost ludicrous amount of time, but from what I understand, people kept themselves entertained for 5 days straight. One wonders if the idea of an organized, fan based dead dog party on Sundays is something that could become a regular practice?
Most of my fellow congoers these days find that Sunday night at a convention is really the most enjoyable part of a convention. Perhaps this will be the birth of a quasi-4 Day convention?
That’s it for this ramble. Enjoy the photos.
Any con where I spend 99% of the time simply relaxing and chatting will generate a huge number of shoutouts. There’s no way I can get everyone, and I’m sorry if I missed anyone in this list. In no particular order, here are people who made the con particularly enjoyable!
Norm : Thanks for coming down to pick me up – there would have been no Doc at the con if you hadn’t done that. We had a nice adventure getting to the con, didn’t we? :)
“Jinnai” John : It was nice to hang out with you when you *WEREN’T* working at a convention. Remember, all you need to do to get a good con experience.. is not chase after it so hard. :)
Nicole : Thank you for the rooming offer, rooming with you, John and the others made the convention viable. Having a sleeping Doc in the hallway would have been a drag. Hopefully I didn’t keep anyone awake!
Dave “Gouki” : Again, as always your company is welcome. Thanks for providing crash space Monday night and the trip home on Tuesday. How do you manage to sleep in your house! It was like a freezer! :)
Mel : You’re violent and your breath tickles. :) This con needed a coffee shop, but they at least had ice cream, which was a reasonable substitute. Humm. What happened to that box of Cracker Jacks anyway?
Scooter : The cute and sexy thing definitely cheered me up. It took the trip home STRAPPED to the luggage, which is probably the best way to transport cute and sexy things. ;) Now you gotta come back to just hang out, since we barely had time to do more than play with your new camera. (Which by the way, is cute and all, but awfully teeny. Is that how you like your toys now? ;)
Richard (A.K.A. “Pocky”) : Sorry you lost your voice on Friday. That Ginger Beer is evil stuff. I want more of it. You still owe me a game of Big 2.
Scott “Octavian” : You’re still fascinating people with your contact juggling. Thanks for the crash space Sunday night, and thanks for the driving lead. I suspect we’d all have gotten lost in the depths of snow-bound DC without it.
Jeff : Dude, you rock, and dinner was too much fun. We need to initiate you into the rest of the crowd that always hangs out at the cons. You spend entirely too much time watching anime to be attending cons tho. ;)
Big Danny T : You’re BALD! Well okay, not really. Great to see you again, too bad we didn’t have time to hang out. 410 scared the living daylights out of me, you should have warned me the walls were sweating fanboy ooze.
Tom H. : Ahhh learned one, I have practiced what you taught and it was good. ;)
Lee (A.K.A. “Biggie”) : Ahh yes, its good for the old timers to hang out isn’t it? Saturday convention reminiscing was fun, especially when we get to sit and gossip about everyone else we know. .. Damn, I wasn’t supposed to say that out loud, was I?
Alex : Thanks for the heads up on the MGS2 stuff! I’m sure some people will have fun with that info. Also, we still have to sit down and race our cars sometime.. :)
Amy : Hope the backrub helped Friday night! Relaxing with you is turning into the common Friday night practice! I’m sorry everyone had to roll so early Sunday, I was looking forward to chatting with you and everyone else.. Ahh well, next con. :)
Andy : When it comes to prepping a convention room for sustenance.. You win. Hands down. I won’t even compete. :)
Carolina : GET SOME REST GIRL! If I ever see you trying to cosplay while doing the “fevered zombie” walk again, I’ll take you over my knee and spank you! Really! I mean it! .. ;)
Kat : I barely saw you this weekend! In fact, pretty much the only times I saw you were through a viewfinder, taking photos of you tied up tight in your costume! Okay, so I exaggerate. We still need to find some con time when we’re not both rushing around doing something costume related. :)
Bob : You’re insane, you hear me? You’ve been eaten by a giant dragon head! A gold dragon head! With lawn chairs as its minions! Experience the DEW man! Right, I’ll stop being random. Thanks for the intro at the bar, and I look forward to hanging out at Otakon. By the way, the escalator photos were amusing, though I think I blinded the artist alley people.
Aja : You’re right. It was nice for both of us to not be in a skit, and sit on the side commenting on all the people stressing out over cosplay. ;) We should do that more often. *evil laugh*
Erika : Remember to feed yourself when you’re at a con. :) It was nice to see you at a convention relaxing, and I hope you enjoyed yourself! The tattoo job was stunning!
Cosplay.com Crew : It was nice meeting the bunch of you formally! I know I only met about 30% of the cosplay.com attendees, but spending a little time chatting was good. You are ALL expected to come by the photo suite at Otakon! ;)
Mortal Kombat skit crew : MY GOODNESS I nearly laughed my limbs off with your ending! It’s too bad that the voiceovers didn’t work out, but thanks for including me anyway! At least I got in an “Excellent” when you went up for your awards. ;)
Additional shoutouts to Tikki, Marty, Christy, Kevin, G-Chan, Kaveman, Michelle, Jan-Scott Frazier, Steve B., and anyone else I’ve forgotten to mention!
Also... To those of you who kindly offered rides, room and floor space, food, and general support for me to come to Katsucon.. THANK YOU. I honestly cannot state how much taht touched me. You all convinced me to attend, just so I could spend some time with my friends. You've made me.. all.. sniffly! *SNIFFFFFFF* Okay, I'll stop, but really. Thank you all. :)
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