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You may have noticed a lack of recap goodness for the last two conventions. I'm sure there's been some speculation about why I didn't recap this year's Anime Iowa or Geek.Kon, but it's time to confess the awful truth:
We were pulled off the air for retooling.
Yes, the fresh faces and mad mishaps during Convergence made the upper management of First Agent Productions realize that the normal routine had been getting a bit stale. Head up with Sarah and Evan, promote Geek.Kon, run a panel/table/party, drive back... after a couple years of this, the brass got fed up, canceled the Iowa recap and sent back a few notes.
So for the 2011-2012 convention season, they've shuffled the cast around a bit. You'll see more from characters that have previously been in the background, with plenty of fresh faces to liven things up. Sarah and Evan will step into the background, but research shows that you can't get enough of Scott and Nick F. so they're sticking around.
In addition, the management was rather unimpressed with some of the locations we've been hitting. Big cities are fine and Madison has a real charm to it, but Appleton? Iowa City? Stevens Point? They wanted to shuffle that too. Fascinated by the Wisconsin Dells talk between me and Chris Cason at Kitsune and ACen, they wanted to see if a small-town con could somehow end up there instead. These Hollywood types can sure make things happen...
None of this is true, of course, but it's a more convenient explanation for why there were no recaps for my last two cons, why Sarah and Evan are off the team and why Daisho is mysteriously in the Dells this year.
Actually, I should go into the whole Dells thing because Daisho pulled some pretty impressive voodoo of their own. About three weeks before the convention, the Stevens Point Ramada closed. Full on shut-the-doors, board-it-up closed. Somehow Daisho was able to not only secure a snazzy new venue for the place, but create a layout that accommodated all of their planned events, artist tables and vendor booths, all the while working around the other events going on at the Kalahari's convention center and communicating all of this information to attendees. Hats off to them for doing the impossible.
While moving to a different area code alienated a few in the Wausau/Stevens Point megalopolis, it cut an hour off my drive so I was thrilled! I woke up at ten, packed up the car, stopped downtown to sign a couple things for the state and reached the Kalahari at noon. This was, as it turned out, way before anything in the con was scheduled to start. Perfect.
The decor is certainly much different here. There weren't too many bronze animal statues at the Ramada. The place is also immense and the entrance closest to the part of the resort I was staying at was closer to the not-Daisho event going on there. It took a bit to feel my way around the grounds.
In another change of pace, I was volunteering this year. The last couple years, I treated Daisho as a nice way to chill after Geek.Kon. Daisho, however, has far too much energy for that and works best as a place to run around and have crazy adventures. Don't ask why volunteering serves this purpose. It just does.
Expect a lot of random cosplay shots thrown in. Having been off the air for a while, I was a bit rusty with taking story-related pictures.
Just as I was getting the lay of the land, Geek.Kon's new equipment head Josh (who once at a convention drove for, no joke, Miku Hatsune), arrived with our TVs for their video game room. Since the con hadn't really started yet, I couldn't get into the hotel room and our tables weren't out yet... let's help set up the VGR!
It's amazing how quickly this all comes together. Josh had to clean out his basement for the weekend, so he ended up bringing the lighting system as well. Since Daisho has never had a lighting shortage in main programming, they ended up being used for the Rock Band stage. Because why the hell not?
Along the way, I ran into Kitsune Kon's delegation. They lauded this year's Geek.Kon (paid attendance 1625!) and we were both eager to help each other out in the future. I followed them into their party room and was impressed by its size, hoping our room would be just as nice.
Since the ambassador tables were still MIA, the next step of the operation was postering for next year's Geek.Kon (sorry, can't change everything). Unfortunately, as is common with new venues, particularly expensive ones like the Kalahari, we weren't allowed to put flyers on the walls. This is a routine problem at places like ACen and Iowa, but this one was a little weird as Daisho had spare easels, but no spare boards to put on them. Late night talk show host/No Brand Co-Chair Pher was lamenting the same problem and we came up with an intriguing solution- borrow Daisho's surplus easels, make a Walmart run and go halfsies on a couple foam boards.
It became thirdsies when I saw Wausabicon staff in the Walmart checkout. Looks pretty next to that giraffe.
Actually, that giraffe and his savannah buddies were the subject of some major anxiety among Daisho staff. Those bronze statues are a tad on the pricey side and just sitting there in hallways soon to be full of rampaging Dai-jin.
At times, Cheesus would stand in the hallway and make it her sole duty to remind people to keep their hands off the elephants.
The room ended up being an okay size, but on the fourth floor of a different building. It was technically close to the convention center, just not in the right building. Or the side of the convention center that Daisho was actually using. I was far less excited about running a room party here as I had been about running one at the Ramada.
Still, it wasn't as bad as Day Glow's location. They booked a suite and hoped to run a party themselves, but ended up in a key-controlled area on the opposite end of the resort. For reference, the convention center is along the left side of the above picture. Day Glow's room was...
...see that sign in the background? Right around there.
Since they did have a suite and I had lots of time to kill, I followed them in to check it out.
It was basically two hotel rooms stacked next to each other, bathrooms and all. Is very nice.
While wandering around, I strolled through the waterpark area to see if it was worth swinging by over the weekend. My volunteer schedule left me free Saturday afternoon so it was a possibility.
The park was even stamped with the Natalie Seal Of Approval. Jazz hands!
Seriously though, it was pretty sweet.
Still no tables, but at least the con's about to start... so let's go to page two.