No Brand Con 2008

Friday (1) | Friday (2) | Saturday (1) | Cosplay | The Rest

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Saturday Night and Sunday
You Only Eat Pizza Twice

Rather than subject us to another dance-off with Greenboy, Trae and his band Happy Wednesday treat us to a short set while the judges do their judging.

They sung of sandwiches, suicidal birds, and the shortest and loudest Freebird cover ever. They also had a song dedicated to their lord and master... Cthulu.

Scott jumped up there for that one, before returning to the mosh pit of masquerade contestants.

After the cosplay over, it was a mad dash to the elevators... then a mad dash to the parking garage elevators that weren't completely full. The dance was forthcoming and the hoagies were wearing off. So Jasmine and Theresa decide to order pizza. They rope me and Tyler into it. Before it arrived, the dance started so we left Theresa to take care of that end while we started to groove.

Remember how I dismissed the Ohayocon dance? And how Jasmine and I are on a mission to bring anime to the dance at Anime Iowa?

The first two songs of the No Brand dance were openings to Bleach and Lucky Star.

And yes, I did the Lucky Star dance and yes, that's why we love No Brand.

They did work a little more standard dance-fare into the mix this year, which was fine. That was our cue to sneak out to the cool corner (er... cool cul-de-sac) and eat pizza. I scarfed about four slices before rejoining the fray and finding Cassie.

They had to play Caramelldansen. I don't why, but they had to. At least I tried to mix up the dance moves to avoid the same repetitive hand movements for three minutes. This isn't Para Para, after all.

The first hour of the dance was great- anime and J-Pop interspersed with random goodies like Shake The Naughty Body. Then they gave way to a techno set and half the crowd quietly filed out of the room, including... well, most of the recap's principle characters. Outside, after a breather, I saw another forum member, Noel, who I had chatted up a bit earlier in the day. After another short chat, we decided to give the set another go. I got my groove on for another fifteen minutes until we agreed to go outside until the good stuff came up again.

It did in due time. Here, a sweet Mario remix leads a group to make a human pyramid. I didn't understand the connection, unless somebody was planning to jump over them towards a human flagpole that hadn't been constructed yet.

Noel was my primary dancing partner throughout, although I had to return to Jasmine and the gang when Safety Dance came on. That's Jasmine's one requested song and it's only appropriate. I never heard my requested song, the first Pani Poni Dash opening, but it's possible I either missed it or they didn't have time for it. There was plenty of sweetness in that lineup.

Once the spinners finally forced us out of the room (but not before wearing us out with Thriller and Jump Around), it was time for the piņata party!

Yes, it's time for everyone's favorite pastime- destroying beloved Gundam staples!

(Insert joke about Relena or the obnoxious Gundam character of your choice)

It didn't stay tied up for long, although this attempt to "kick it to the curb" wasn't that destructive.

Popular weapons this year included a Guitar Hero controller, inflata-Vinnk, and best of all- another person. One guy grabbed someone else and used him as a bat.

But like every year, the most effective weapon was gravity.

And thus began the mad dash for Haro's sweet insides.

Yes... candy...

Despite the sugar rush, once the piņata was destroyed, the convention seemed to stop. Everybody quietly retreated to their rooms, the video games or the elevator, leaving anyone who wasn't interested in sleeping, gaming, or violating fire codes with nothing to do. I resorted to many things, including Neil's late-night panel of random videos (including his infamous Grave of the Fireflies video). Eventually, I gave up and slept. I did have a writing panel the next day.

I also still had Val's laptop. Slightly less dramatic than rearranging the on-stage musical instruments was trying to get this thing back into her hands. The original plan was to have her pick it up before my panel. Difficulty- my cell phone battery was dead and she was delayed trying to get her non-Ramada room in decent checking out condition.

First step- bring the laptop with to "The Ultimate Writing Workshop By Two Unpaid Authors." Miles' title. It was a good one.

Being 11:00 am on Sunday and lacking anime music and amazing prizes, attendance was sparse. Still, we had plenty of know-how and TWO laptops for reference. We only used mine, but damned if we didn't look professional. To counter that, Miles had one of those keychains that played sound- in this case, the death chime from Super Mario Bros. We used that any time either of us said something stupid... or someone came into the room and left when they saw us up there.

Let the record show we did pass on a lot of information on posting stories online, much of which didn't involve ff.net or fictionpress. I also plugged MST mercilessly, as promised.

When the panel was over I borrowed someone's cell phone and Val and I agreed to just leave the damn laptop somewhere and hope it would still be there when she picked it up. I couldn't worry about such matters- I had the variety show.

This year, I actually signed up to be a part of it. If people were willing to go on stage and humiliate themselves, certainly I could do so in the name of plugging the EALA.

Naturally, this was also the year people brought actual talent. One, in fact, did a brilliant a cappella rendition of a professionally-translated song from Fullmetal Alchemist. Lovely.

Other highlights included a great cover of a J-Pop song (in Japanese) and a dance off by two guys who actually knew how to dance. Their set included the (English) Pokémon theme and "Never Gonna Give You Up." It was great.

So then I get up there and since the first ending to Angelic Layer. And it was good. But how do you follow Rick Astley?

Next year, I'm doing Groovy or Edge. No more going easy on everybody.

Happy Wednesday followed up with another set, followed by To Slay Zombie Newton. TSZN gets pictured because it's the first band I've seen that brings a didgeridoo onstage. We also got another set from the Slants. What a way to close out the con- when in doubt, rock out until it's time to leave.

Everybody glomp Dan!

Unfortunately, it was time to leave. But after last year's post-con meal was so much fun, we did it again- another trip to Pizza Hut. Yes, despite the fact that we ordered pizza the night before at the dance.

We even got Nick to come along this time. Not quite Miles... but good enough.

And Tyler colors the box. Because somebody gave him crayons and boxes and they make such a great combination.

By Jasmine's request, it was then off to Coldstone Creamery for ice cream. I really needed to get going by this point, but I also didn't want to have a pizza aftertaste in my mouth on the return trip. Plus it's really good ice cream. Still not sure why I followed them to Borders, but I did, picking up the latest Eyeshield and School Rumble (neither of which were at the convention itself). But I swear I drove straight home after that.

Final attendance count at No Brand was 1075, and the con is growing up beautifully. As the torch is passed from the original founders to a new generation, I look forward to seeing how the convention continues to evolve. We're getting to the point where it's starting to graduate into the "midsize" category, and steps like bringing a band that wasn't all staff members (not that the staff member bands weren't great too) and getting a top-tier guest like Johnny Yong Bosch are good signs. For now, another quality production while retaining its quirky charms. Hard to ask for much more.

Except for maybe a little credit for the Dr. No Brand thing.

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