Kitsune Kon 2011

AMKE | Kitsune-1 | Kitsune-2

All told, we had six people crashing in our room. Every single one of us had to be somewhere at 10:00 sharp. And none of us were waking up early just to space out the line for the bathroom.

Saturday/Sunday
Drinking With You

I was pretty patient with the line since my 10:00 am event had nothing to do with the con itself. Rather it involved meeting with Mike and John H. about some Geek.Kon business, namely re-introducing boffer fighting into the mix. It's totally happening.

Our cosplay repair station at the table got some interesting customers: instead of needle and thread they asked for glue and duct tape.

Oh. I see now.

With my second and final epic panel block starting at 3:00, I asked their workforce head if they needed me to chip in anywhere. Other than play-testing DDR and giving Vic a tour of Appleton's medical facilities, I hadn't done a whole lot as a staffer. I ended up taking badge-checking for an hour in the vendor room, strangely my first-ever badge shift.

Also spotted my first-ever Korea cosplayer.

Traffic was fairly busy at the time, so it was hardly boring work. And, lest we get caught up in all the insider hobnobbery, Tiffany Grant naturally chose my watch to inspect the vendor room for an honest random run-in.

After a one-hour break, my second run of panels began, starting with the old standby Fanfiction Forum. I continue to do this one pretty much in my sleep (and pretty much did), but at some point I should probably revisit this to catch up on new trends, publishing options and the like, or at least strengthen my opinions on issues I can comment on. Despite being chairman of the whole damn convention, I'll probably still run it at Geek.Kon, mostly out of force of habit.

As luck would have it, I didn't have to move for the next event- the AMV Contest. Actually, since the videos were pre-judged and Richard was the host, I didn't have to be there at all, but since I had a working microphone from the last panel, I just kept on using it to stall for time while Richard and Herald set things up.

Eventually, Nick Izumi got up and sang songs from Dr. Horrible. Even better.

I darted in and out of the contest taking care of other things, which wasn't such a big deal because I already knew who won. I did want to stay for the awards presentation, but Sarah dragged me out of there early so we could pick some things up in the room and prep our final panel on the Battle Royale franchise.

Funny thing about that one... normally 5:00 pm on Saturday is a great time for a panel. Not so much when it's sandwiched in the schedule between boffer fighting and the costume contest's green room. Worse yet, since it appeared as Battle Royale, we speculated that it may have been interpreted as a boffer event itself. There were only about seven people there, with just three who had actually seen/read Battle Royale.

The panel itself was pretty lousy. I prefer panels that interact with the audience, so it was hard to do here. My one interesting feature, where the audience picks a number and gender at random and we probe that particular character (whether they be a star or cannon fodder), was kind of neat as we hit primary badass Shogo Kawada, insta-kill Hiroshi Kuronaga and one-note scenery-chewer Kazushi Niida. Everything beyond that more or less sucked.

Having survived The Program, our next challenge was daunting- dinner with the guests.

Normally, this sounds like crazy fun- eating out with the guests and select convention staff. With Sarah handling Vic all day and me helping (sort of), we were on the list to attend. However, things got stirred up a little when Vic didn't want to leave the hotel for dinner. There was a nice steak restaurant among the five or so establishments in the Radisson, so why leave the grounds? Answer was that Tiffany wasn't a steak person and preferred a place nearby with a broader (and less expensive) menu. Considering that Vic had been scheduled for five straight hours of autographs and panels that afternoon (and for the record, I pointed out this conundrum well before the schedule was finalized), Rez wasn't in a position to say no. Thus, Rez and Tiffany went in one direction, while Sarah and I took Vic to Lombardi's in the hotel. Chris Cason was allowed to choose, and he ended up tagging along with us.

Best meal of my life. The service was fantastic (the waitress recommended a wine that Vic and Chris thoroughly enjoyed), the stories were good and I introduced them to Sprecher root beer, making up for the missed opportunity at Geek.Kon (we tried taking Eric Vale to a Sprecher's Friday night, but it was closed when we arrived). Afterwards, I ordered a slice of cake "just so Chris doesn't have to be the only one with dessert." It was huge, but with assistance I finished it off.

The most surreal thing about all that was walking out of the restaurant and seeing Vic get mobbed by fangirls like he always does. If they only knew...

Next event- the dance.

It was actually really good, one of the better ones as far as convention dances go. Music was both upbeat and suitably geeky, they had balloons and beach balls to keep things entertaining and people seemed to really enjoy it. I bounced around for a while before my legs gave out and I remembered I had been wearing the same staff shirt for the last two days and was hoping to wear it again Sunday.

We walked around for awhile, looking for a suitable late-night activity. Once again, compromise set in and it ended up being Apples to Apples. We really have no life.

At least this time, we brought it out in public and let pretty much anybody join in.

That's right... anybody.

Big Daddy's confession of love to Black Mokona aside, this round's crop of selections wasn't nearly as entertaining, although Chazz was happy to receive and use one of our custom cards on Juicy, beating out my Zucchini with a heaping dose of Tentacles.

We tired quickly and while I was pretty exhausted, I wasn't feeling like turning in yet. Sarah and I roamed around, stopping by the staff room and eventually settling into the video game room where Mike was playing Goldeneye 64... his way.

I was ready to play him in multiplayer. Instead, he was glitching the cartridge in creative fashion. Dance, Natalya, dance!

We also played the ET Atari game, which they had for some ungodly reason. It is as unplayable as you've heard.

This was where I tried out the keyboard on Rock Band, which I was quite good at, acing songs on Hard in no time.

Evan and Sarah also got into some DDR, after I took on Mike. I won on score, he won on Perfect Attack. It was a good match.

It was also time for bed, having killed time long enough.

Sunday brought us candidate Cthulhu with Geekbot, now with Rodgort!

It also brought us lots of running around while we tried to get everybody's stuff out of the hotel room, a daunting task with three different travel parties and six different agendas for the day.

I ended up sitting at the table for most of the day as my panels were finished, but Evan and Sarah had a few to deal with still. At some point in the day, I was apparently conscripted into driving Chris Cason to the Green Bay airport.

Let's see, staffing a convention feeling out a new venue, DDR knowledge tapped, office supply run Friday morning, attendance exceeding expectations and seriously cramping the hotel, running a fanfiction panel, judging the AMV Contest, and somehow stuck driving a voice actor to an airport in a different city...

...This whole weekend was Geek.Kon.09 all over again.

As we left, we ran into Tiffany Grant checking out (taking a hotel shuttle to Appleton's airport). For no particular reason, she gave me half a gallon of distilled water. At least she didn't autograph it.

Other than another fun conversation and Chris noticing the Babbit plushie in my car, dropping him off was fairly routine stuff. That's probably why I keep getting tapped for these jobs. I got back midway through the post-con Q&A panel, where the feedback was positive. There were of course criticisms, but the atmosphere seemed very upbeat and excited more than the board meeting feel of Milwaukee's Q&A. It was an appropriate way to wind up what turned out to be a very satisfying convention.

Oh wait... cleanup.

Packing up the video game room was the crazy part, as it usually is. We offered a bit of help here and there, as did Evan, Mike and Red.

So many games... it's so pretty.

The accessories were pretty nice too. I'm not sure if I've even seen a Super Scope before, let alone see one attempt to be used.

After running, lifting and sorting for three hours, Kitsune Kon finished up and headed to Olive Garden for the post-con dinner, always my favorite part.

We call it the Dead Dog party for a reason.

Tired as we were, it was a fun wrap to a very satisfying convention. It was far from perfect, of course, but Kitsune Kon made it very easy for the energy from staff, guests and congoers to make everybody feel good about the whole thing. Their attendance (1050) was fantastic, they used a lot of local flavor and created an atmosphere that made people, especially locals, feel like it was their convention, much like No Brand once did. Best of all, unlike Milwaukee, Kitsune Kon seemed to have the fundamentals down. Almost all of the criticisms about it, while valid, were more intermediate- masquerade procedures, vendor placement, the fine craft of panel scheduling. Stuff that nobody gets right the first time. They had the basics down pat. It wasn't as flashy as Anime Milwaukee, but it felt more fulfilling and easier to identify with. So we welcome Kitsune Kon to the party of Wisconsin conventions.

And then we deal with the ensuing hangover. At least we have a whole five weeks before Anime Detour.

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