The Geekiary’s 2014 Convention Round-Up!
Many of The Geekiary’s authors are frequent con-goers, and this year was one busy year for a few of us! So here is our first annual Convention Round-Up post, where we talk about some of our favorite convention experiences from 2014…
Which conventions did you attend this year, and what was your favorite of them all?
Tara: I attended a total of seven conventions this year. Most were as press (MegaCon, Con Carolinas, SDCC, Dragon Con, Walker Stalker Con), and of course I organize Ice & Fire Con, but I also got to be a guest at MonsterCon this past summer, and I attended Con Nooga earlier this year just for fun.
I suppose I’m not supposed to say that Ice & Fire Con was my favorite, considering…therefore I’d have to go with Con Nooga, though Walker Stalker Con was a close second, and Con Carolinas was amazing because I got to meet George R.R. Martin. That said, though, Con Nooga – which is a smaller convention that takes place in the winter in Chattanooga, Tennessee – encompassed some great panels, wonderful people, and super fun nightlife, so again, if I don’t name Ice & Fire Con my favorite, it would have to be that one.
Charli: I attended four conventions this year: MomoCon, MonsterCon, Dragon Con, and Anime Weekend Atlanta. Dragon Con was my favorite because I literally ran into Sir Patrick Stewart while crossing a street in Atlanta! I did a 180 and asked if I could take a picture, but he declined as he was in a hurry and attempting to go unnoticed. Still, one of the greatest moments of my life, and definitely of my year!
Ashley: I attended a lot of conventions this year – Con-G, Costume Con, Ice & Fire Con, Anime North, Anime Midwest, Atomic Lollipop, Dragon Con, and Teslacon. It’s very hard to choose a favorite because I enjoyed each of them for different reasons. My favorite this year would have to be Dragon Con, whereas in past years it’s been Teslacon. This was my second year attending Dragon Con and I think the fact that I knew and felt comfortable around more people really helped to make it feel like there was always something to do, always a party I could join, and that even during the day I’d be bumping into people I know from online but who live so far away in real life. I do have to give a shout out to Teslacon, though! It’s a fabulous mid-sized convention that usually beats Dragon Con hands down. I have a tight-knit group of friends at Teslacon and this year we threw an especially memorable room party, mainly because one of our members performed a live Victorian “surgery”.
Video Credit: Dark Catt Studios
Undie Girl: I attended BiteCon in LA, London MCM Comic Con, Sydney Supanova, Creatures of the Night (Sydney), and Sydney Oz-Comic-Con. It’s always hard to pick a favorite because something cool happened at every single one of them. MCM Expo was the first con I’d ever been to that started as an anime convention, rather than a comics, which was pretty cool. And at Supanova I got to see Stan Lee – it was pretty amazing. But I think if I have to pick one it’s got to be BiteCon because Teen Wolf was my main fandom about 3 years and BiteCon was both the pinnacle of my involvement with Teen Wolf and the end of my obsession. BiteCon was an amazing fan run convention and I had a great time, but that was pretty much it for me and Teen Wolf.
Did you attend any panels or roundtables, and if so, were any of them particularly memorable?
Charli: I really enjoyed the panel with Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and Scarlett Byrne (Pansy Parkinson) at Dragon Con – they seemed to really enjoy themselves and the convention. They talked about dressing in disguises and attending several dances and parties. I thought it was cool that they got to experience some of the things that fans love about conventions while being on the celebrity guest list.
I also loved MomoCon’s Avatar martial arts panel with Sifu Kisu. The assistants (and Sifu Kisu) demonstrated many different martial arts styles, telling how the bending styles from Avatar were derived from them. This was my second year attending MomoCon, and his panel is consistently my favorite one there. I caught him after the panel for a picture, and he was polite and obliging!
Ashley: I’d have to say Con-G tends to have my favorite panels. It’s a smaller convention but some highly-skilled craft and prop makers attend. I’ve sat in on some very informative panels on leather working and different molding processes. Costume Con also had many highly-skilled crafters, but the most memorable panel there was the one on Heroes of Cosplay, as they had some of the judges in attendance from one of the episodes. It being such a controversial show, with many rumors flying around about it, it was nice to hear a bit more reliable information about the filming process.
I should also mention that being able to attend Greg Ayre’s panel on bullying was a highlight. I’d previously watched his panel on YouTube, and as a fierce anti-bullying supporter, I was so glad I got to see it. Unfortunately I was too shy to actually comment at it like I’d hoped.
Tara: I would have to say that my favorite panels almost always take place at small conventions. While I enjoyed several of them at SDCC – most specifically the Wonderbook panel – the writing panels at Con Nooga were definitely a highlight, as were the George R.R. Martin reading and Q&A at Con Carolinas
Undie: I saw a panel with a bunch of fantasy/sci-fi writers (including Robin Hobb) about gender-speculative fiction at Sydney Supanova. That was both super interesting and super depressing because most of the panel didn’t seem to think there was a significant gender disparity.
Tara: Absolutely! I thought it would be hard to top the Andrew Lincoln roundtable I participated in at Walker Stalker 2013, but at SDCC this summer I got to take a selfie with Norman Reedus, and then George R. R. Martin saw me in one of my Cersei Lannister costumes and slipped me a Faceless Man coin. Year, made.
Charli: Obviously the Sir Patrick Stewart incident was the highlight for me. However, I really enjoyed talking to Vic Mignogna at Anime Weekend Atlanta. Additionally, talking briefly to Sifu Kisu at MomoCon was great! He even asked his assistant to take a picture of the two of us on his camera, which always makes a fan feel important!
Ashley: I’m too shy to actually do the whole autograph, meet the celebrity thing. I’m more the person who stands behind a group of people and stares awkwardly from a distance. So, nope!
Undie: It wouldn’t be a convention if I didn’t embarrass myself in front of someone I admire, so it’s hard to pick one that stands out. Cornering the Teen Wolf writers in the hotel bar at BiteCon was definitely a highlight, though.
If you cosplay, what was your favorite of your own cosplays and/or those of others? If you don’t cosplay yourself, did you take note of any really good ones this year?
Charli: I think my favorite cosplay this year was my Captain Hook. I made the jacket myself, and I loved the white lacy dress that went with it. I also participated in a Mulan group cosplay and it was just perfect! We had Mulan, the matchmaker, Shang, Mushu, Crikee, and Shan Yu.
Tara: I’m actually really torn on this! My Galadriel cosplay was a big hit at MegaCon, but I think I most enjoyed wearing Katya Kazanova from Archer (at both SDCC and Dragon Con), as well as Dee from It’s Always Sunny at Dragon Con. I was part of cosplay groups for both of those, and that’s always when I have the most fun!
As for costumes I’ve seen, I met up with an absolutely amazing Thranduil at MegaCon this year, and I also have a friend who cosplays Tyreese from The Walking Dead, and it’s one of the best TWD costumes I’ve seen to date. Those would definitely be my picks for top costumes of the year.
Ashley: Because Costume Con was in Toronto this year, I went all out for my most elaborate cosplay yet. It was The Princess of the Crystal from the anime Penguindrum. This was the first year I could honestly say that I was no longer a beginner, so I’m especially proud…even if I used tricks to hide what I couldn’t yet do.
I see so many great cosplays, it’s impossible for me to pick a favorite. I will say my best friend Cheryl’s Elsa cosplay really impressed me – she hand cut and sewed all the sequins to her bodice! It was an incredible amount of work and she looks fabulous in it.
Undie: I don’t cosplay, but I sure as hell admire people who do. I spend most of my time on the con floor, in awe of the talented people around me. Seriously, how do they do that? I have to say that I was impressed by how many Kamala Khans (aka Ms Marvel) I saw wandering around this year.
Did you make any interesting purchases or discover any great new vendors at 2014 conventions?
Tara: I’m not usually big on wandering the vendor room, but at Dragon Con this year I found some awesome Game of Thrones leather notebook covers and had to have them! Additionally, thanks to conventions like Dragon Con and MegaCon, I got to know a regular convention vendor really well. Ian Leino is a graphic designer who specializes in geeky mashups; his work is great and to top it off he and his wife Tammy are awesome cosplayers and great people. (And though it wasn’t purchased at a convention, I’m super excited about Ian’s Star Wars/Disney’s Haunted Mansion mashup t-shirt that a friend sent me as a birthday gift.)
Ashley: Anime cons are the death of my wallet. This year at Anime Midwest, I finally picked up my long-sought-after Gurren Lagann flag. It’s huge, and I have absolutely no room to hang it up, but I bring it to cons to hang in my hotel room windows and to act as a makeshift cape. This year I’m staying in a three bedroom suite at Colossalcon, and we’ve already concluded that one of the bedrooms will be converted into giant blanket fort. I already have plans for the flag to be a grand centerpiece.
Undie: To be honest, I spend most of my money on fanart (especially if it comes in button form) so I don’t spend a lot of time looking at the vendors – apart from the artists. But I found so many AMAZING fanartists this year that it’s going to take me a very long time to replenish my funds.
Be sure to check out our Convention Calendar page, where you can see which Geekiary authors will be attending future conventions and get the details on our past experiences. Additionally, check out Tara’s A Song of Cons and Cosplay column, which recaps her convention experiences and features cosplay interviews throughout the year. See you all in 2015!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is a fandom and geek culture expert, public speaker, and character cosplayer who is best known for her Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones), Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica), and Andrea (The Walking Dead) cosplays. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.