This marked the third year in a row that I’ve been to ConnectiCon. I’ve gone to some other conventions and fairs before, but this one is definitely my longest-running, though I’m honestly not exactly sure why. No singular thing really stands out to me that would make me want to come back – the panels are interesting, but not supremely tailored to my interests. The rave is fun, but a bit young. The food… we’ll just skip that part completely.
So while I was wandering around on Saturday morning, I found myself wondering what keeps pulling me back, year after year.
What I finally came up with was the atmosphere. Conventions like this have a bit of everything, and the people are almost universally open and welcoming. True, there are the rare outliers, but most of the time all it takes to start talking to someone is a simple “Hi, what’s up?”. And that’s rare.
In the interest of brevity and sanity, I’ve isolated a few of the more exciting events from the weekend below:
The Burlesque Show
Friday night found Big T and myself wandering around the convention hall, checking out things to do. I had already registered with the panels group and done a bit of volunteer work (consisting entirely of walking around with a clipboard telling people to quiet down), so we were just moving around aimlessly looking for something to do. Allison had broken off from us to check out a few smaller panels that I honestly wasn’t at all interested in, so it was just us guys for the night. And what’s the best thing to do when it’s just the guys?
A burlesque show.
That’s right – for the first year ever, ConnectiCon was putting on a burlesque show courtesy of a group of ladies called the “SlaughterHouse Sweethearts”, a group who I’d actually seen before at a few Boston parties. And so, we hurried in and took our seats.
I think the strangest part about the already-strange show (one of the ladies was, initially, dressed as pikachu) was the MC… They picked the artist behind a rather large webcomic to introduce the ladies, but they didn’t take into account the fact that he was bringing his wife along with him.
Now, you’re probably thinking “ohh no! His wife got angry at him for introducing burlesque dancers!” Not so much. Instead, the poor guys wife stole one of the microphones, and kept yelling at him to take his clothes off.
Yeah. It could have been more than a little awkward, but it fit into the show quite well, and everyone had an amazing time.
After the show T and I wandered around a wee bit more, but the convention hall was pretty much dead at that point. A few people milling about, but nothing really major was going on. So, we headed back across the river to retire for the evening.
Being the Guard of the Dealers Room
As I mentioned, I did some volunteer work for the convention while I was there. Not for any real material gain (since I already had the free badge), but more as a way to stave off boredom and to feel accomplished – one downside of being unemployed is that I don’t generally feel like I’ve gotten anything done. Getting to play foot soldier for the convention staff felt like a way to alleviate this.
And did it ever. When I walked in, they gave me a cool orange shirt and sent me to relieve one of the guys who’d been standing watch at the dealers room for the last two hours. I felt bad for the guy… exactly up until I arrived at the gate he was “guarding”.
Half of the fun of any comic convention is seeing the costumes. People spend months working on some of these, and the craftsmanship shows. You can walk around the hall and meet people, looking for amazing costumes… Or, as it turns out, you can simply sit guard at the dealers room, and have all of the awesome people come to you.
So, that’s what we did. The guy I was supposed to relieve refused to leave, and so I stayed alongside him, helping out for nearly two hours. We chatted, joked, and oogled some of the most impressive costumes that I’ve ever seen – from massive gowns to guys with working articulated wings, from five-foot scythes to full body armor, we saw it all. Heck, I even saw one guy dressed as a fully armored Space Marine – clocking in nearly 7ft tall.
Aside from the costumes though, the guard-dog posting had another fun advantage to it – I got to scream and yell at everyone walking in. We had to make sure that everyone entering the dealers room had a badge, and that the badge was for the correct day – thus, we had to see the front panel of the badges. Unfortunately though, said badges would often time spin around, with the back of it facing us instead of the front.
And that’s where I came in. I swear, I made up at least 50 variations of the simple phrase “turn your badge so we can see it!”, ranging from “BADGES FACING FRONT!” all the way to “Hey y’all, git dem badges facin tha right way ’round!”. I even did a little dance to go with it, twirling my fingers around to mimic spinning a badge.
I think my favorite part was when a whole group of costumed con-goers started dancing, when they mistook my finger-twirl for a dance request.