Thu/Fri | Fri/Sat | Hetalia | Saturday | Sat/Sun
When I said it was the intermission, it wasn't the normal masquerade intermission between the entries and the awards. No, this was the intermission between the walk-ons and the skits. There was a big treat for us in-between, better even than my Dai Mahou Touge AMV. In fact, it was so special that we were not allowed to take pictures or video of it. The hosts cautioned everybody to put their recording devices away and enjoy...
Wait, pull them back out, there was one more walk-on.
Okay, now please put them away and...
Hey, that no-show is here after all. Bring her out!
Okay, NOW please... wait, one more?
Somebody get a phoenix down for that masquerade coordinator. With so many FF entries, someone's bound to have one.
Saturday Night / Sunday
The big treat for us was a live webchat with X Japan founder Yoshiki and the world premiere of a never-before-seen video of Yoshiki's fascinating history. Being one of the most (if not the most) influential J-rock bands ever, this was a Big Deal. In fact, this was so never-before-seen that ACen didn't know how long it ran.
It ran half an hour.
At this point, remember three things: 1) The masquerade started late, as it always does. 2) We still had to get through skits, judging and awards. 3) There was a dance after this, and several special guest Japanese DJs that weren't going to wait. Got all that? Good.
After the video came drama as the webchat was beset by technical difficulties. Yoshiki got impatient and left the set, to the disappointment of all. While ACen scrambled to fix the feed, Yoshiki walked on stage.
Yoshiki of X Japan walked on stage.
All the players sold it very well. These are the kind of cheesy theatrics No Brand needs to incorporate more for their plotlines.
Anyway, with the video over, everybody took pictures and video of Yoshiki on stage, until a staffer came by and politely told them that the "no recording devices" rule was still in play. Instead of a private press conference, Yoshiki insisted on doing it live on stage. At this point, the staffer came by and politely apologized- this part was okay to film.
After the press conference, the masquerade resumed again with the skits.
See, Erika, they even do the "cell phone lighters" bit at ACen.
As it turned out, the Caramelldansen meme has officially run its course. Like that, Pocky jokes and DDR before it, Lady Gaga was the dead horse du jour, with no less than four skits incorporating her. This sort of thing just happens at ACen, and most other cons for that matter. I'm sure it'll be all Gaga at Iowa as well.
I'll admit the Nurses dance routine was pretty good though.
There were some amusing skits, but they were few and far between the overload of bad taste, bad audio and Bad Romance. We left early, only regretting that we missed out on the ridiculous flustercluck they had at the end.
Friday's Russia and Japan stop by in Beetlejuice cosplay.
Once again, there was a small crop of regulars sticking around through most of the party, with several folks coming in and out. We put in the first season of Red Dwarf for entertainment, which was nice as it freed me up to take strolls downstairs.
Finally found No-Face and got me a soap token. As advertised, Bob was in character throughout.
While dragging Sarah and Mitch down to find him and get pics/soap tokens, we also got to experience the post-masquerade buzz, where many of the best entries are out in the hallway for possibly the only time of the convention. It's one of the most underrated moments during large cons.
And the most realistic Cloud cosplay ever.
We found No-Face, got our pictures and headed back up to catch the end of Red Dwarf. The party wrapped up around 3:00, even though a few people getting out of the rave wanted to party after we went to bed.
Sunday, we had nothing on the schedule. Thank goodness. Despite not having elevator access, we still managed to get everything back to the car by 11:00 and hit the dealers room one more time.
Along the way, we caught Nabeshin participating in the Lupin photoshoot.
We also caught Scott wearing all the paper cosplays he made for the year, even bringing back the Laughing Man mask he's used in years past.
With nothing else to do and subdued interest in the AMV awards, Sarah decided to hit the Gaia feedback panel. I got in line because I was bored, but that soon changed.
Random ACen staffer was summoning folks over for a random raffle. With nothing better to do, I was in. Sitting next to somebody who had stumbled upon a doujinshi with the ever-popular France-Latvia-Sealand pairing (figure that one out), I won nothing. But one of the IRT guys won a t-shirt and gave it to me because he's IRT and probably had one already.
Incidentally, the security team was generally far more polite and courteous than in year's past. I was impressed with their effort to maintain peace while not being complete brutes. Your move, Detour.
With the Gaia panel focused on doing collaborative group activities centered around suggesting new ideas for the site, and me not being on it, I spent the next hour or so wandering aimlessly. It was so much fun.
Let's see, a couple of the artists and vendors were requesting Geek.Kon submission forms, so I obliged them. I ran into the masquerade hosts and now-revived coordinator and had a chat about what could have been improved and stuff for me to keep in mind when hosting. As it turned out, the whole Yoshiki thing was a last-minute addition and delayed things so much that they had to end the masquerade prematurely before all the awards were handed out. It was, in short, a godawful mess.
I also found out that no, we are not supposed to post Yoshiki pictures, hence the lack of Yoshiki pictures. Good thing everybody at the masquerade ran into the coordinator later and found that out.
On more trip to the exhibit hall, I took down our table. The not-our-bedsheet had been returned to its rightful place on the not-our-bed and Evan took most of the equipment with him- he had to leave early as he was graduating. I was impressed that he showed up to begin with: graduation was the reason I missed 2004. But a few banners and flyers were still out. so I took care of them. In the meantime, I got good chats in with Mitch, Anime Detroit, and upstart QC Anime-zing in the Quad Cities. The con chair for that is also their print head (much crying in beers over program book production) and the room party head for Iowa, so there was lots of common ground to be had.
For my final feat, I ran into no less than three Hetalia groups on my way back to the Hyatt.
Note the Greece that snuck in there at the last minute. The second group was also in the vendor hall and the Beetlejuice duo were at the cafe, which for the first time was a permissible entrance to the dealers room (reducing the rat maze significantly).
With the goodbyes taken care of, I picked Sarah up from the Gaia panel and we headed back to the car. We stopped at the Denny's a few blocks south for lunch/dinner, joined by Scott. Overall, things went well, we got several pre-registrations, and it was just a good time, despite the usual issues that always plague ACen.
Most of the discussion was how to make Scott's Shou Tucker cosplay even more dark, a difficult feat since he's already cosplaying Shou Tucker. We came up with giving him a World's Greatest Dad coffee mug.
And on that note, see you at Iowa!
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