Well, I’ve been rather excited about Katsucon since probably December when I decided that nothing was going to stand in my way this year to go. I haven’t been to a convention in a really long time. Particularly an anime convention. Mainly because I fell out of touch with anime somewhere along the lines of high school/early college. But, this hasn’t stopped me from loving fan culture and the idea of conventions. So, yes. I am one of those con goers who goes because I am a fan of conventions and the atmosphere they provide. But, this year’s Katsucon had a slightly different purpose. Not only was I going to go and have a grand time with myself. I was going to go to try and observe people…since I am getting my master’s degree in fan culture. What better way to observe than to actually experience? There isn’t in my opinion. What you are about to read is my account of the weekend I spent at Katsucon 18. It’s full of some complaints, photos and of course a hell of a lot of fun . It’s also long. Sorry about that in advance. I guess, just sit back, relax and I hope I don’t lose your attention too early on in my writing.
Katsucon began on Friday with me actually waking up feeling rather good. I should probably explain that Thursday night I thought I was getting sick with some kind of bug that the university had e-mailed me about. I wasn’t. I was just being a hypochondriac about it and had convinced myself I had the symptoms. The main point here is that I had a dream where I reorganized the files in my head (which were all unnamed for some reason) and I woke up feeling fine. More than fine actually. I was excited. For once, I was really thrilled about going to a convention as an adult. (Side note. I feel I should probably mention if you haven’t already figured it out that I’ve been going to conventions since I was really young…I just haven’t been in a while.)
I packed my things…meaning all of my geeky/fangirlish t-shirts and my two costumes for the weekend, adorned my geeky (but slightly true) “I’m not a psychopath” shirt and I headed for the metro. The plan was simple. Emma, Manya and Beth (friends I’ve had since high, middle and elementary school respectively) were driving down from Baltimore and they would pick me up at the metro stop closest to hotel/convention center. They were supposed to arrive around 1pm, so I planned my trip around that. However, as with most plans they didn’t go accordingly.
I caught the bus just as I was supposed to and managed to finagle myself along with my suitcase, backpack and garment bag comfortably into a seat where I wasn’t in the way too much. As I hit Dupont Circle and went to transfer to the metro, I realized that the entrance the metro I had picked was out of service…so I walked to the closest one at Farragut Square which was about 3 blocks or so. During this point in time, I received a text from my friends saying that they wouldn’t actually hit the metro station to pick me up until 1:30pm. I knew then that this was going to be a bit not good. I actually caught the metro immediately as I arrived on the platform and made my way to Chinatown, where I transferred lines and headed towards Branch Ave. I arrived at Branch Ave at 12:45pm. This would have been perfect except that I was 45 minutes early. So, I sat about at the metro station listening to Cabin Pressure and deducing people who wandered near enough to me. Eventually 1:30pm hit…and I got a text saying that they would be another 20 minutes.
Complaint #1: Waiting at the metro for over an hour for your friends to pick you up. Blargh. Also, they forgot a bag they were supposed to bring me.
They did get to me though and we piled in the car to finish the leg of the journey. We arrived at the hotel/convention center, checked in (where I saw a John, Sherlock and Irene from Scandal, but didn’t get a chance to ever see them again or take their photo) and then I changed into my Sherlock costume.
We wandered about the convention for bit checking out the Merchant’s room, getting lunch/dinner (seeing as I only ate one meal on Friday…was rather smart of me…), and then at 8pm I went to a panel entitled, “Fanthropology” where I proceeded to possibly make a networking connection for my master’s degree. Never thought that would happen.
Good thing #1: Making connections professionally!
The panel on “Fanthropology” was actually really interesting. It was run by a guy named Charles Dunbar (his website can be found here) who has his MA in Anthropology and wrote his thesis on the con going experience. Listening to what he had to say actually gave me some great resources for my own research.
After the panel, I wandered a bit on my own trying to find some John and Sherlocks. But, sadly I did not find any. So, I returned to the room and changed back into my normal clothes. My body thanked me as binding is quite painful if you’ve been bound for a while. I sat in the room for a bit, had a lovely cocktail mixed by yours truly and then got ready for the next leg of the adventure.
Around 12am, Rochelle (another friend from back home) and I decided that we were going to a panel called “Documenting Fandom”, which was about what it sounded like. Sadly, though the panelists never showed up. So, Rochelle and I ended up wandering for two hours looking for more John and Sherlocks. We saw a set (or at least I thought I did) wander by on the floor below us, but before I could chase after them they had vanished.
2am rolled around and we had planned on going to another panel about plus sized cosplay. I was actually looking forward to this. Not that I’m a really big girl, but sadly due to my bone structure I will never be anything smaller than a size 10, and I’m ok with that. It’s never stopped me from playing characters that are a little adventurous. (I’m currently a size 12 for reference/if you care.) Unfortunately, the panelists didn’t show up for this one either. So, back to the room we went, where I was actually exhausted. I changed into my pajamas, made some tumblr updates, read some fanfic and then passed out around 3:30am.
Complaint #2: Panelists not showing up for panels.
My body, however, wouldn’t me sleep any longer than 9am. Up I got and began getting ready for my day as Irene. Getting ready with my make-up and hair for this costume actually took much more time than getting into the costume itself. I attempted to curl my hair a bit (but, my hair sucks at that) and then pulled it back into a twisted bun. (Probably not exact, but I don’t really care). Then I applied my make-up, sprayed my hair the proper brown colors and put on my earrings, ballet flats and coat (yes, I did have more on than just the coat).
Complaint #3: The amount of time it took to get ready in this costume.
No one else was awake yet, so I took my key and went down the convention to find breakfast. In the process of finding breakfast, I actually found the Doctor Who meet-up, which I snapped a few photos at and then I scampered off to enjoy my intake of hot chocolate and bagel in peace.
After breakfast, I wandered down to the Artist’s Alley, where several people recognized me. Quite a lot of people actually. My favorite of which had to be the girl that I ended up buying almost all of my Sherlock artwork from. As I was walking about I hear from a little bit away, “Irene Adler”. I turned and walked over. Most people who had been calling me had taken my picture when I came over. When I walked over to her she took my picture, but also asked me (warning spoilers!) how I managed to escape from the middle east and if I was authorized to carry my riding crop in the witness protection program. We chatted for a bit and I bought a Sherlock bookmark and a commission for Esther.
Good thing #2: Being recognized and all of the Sherlock fanart!
My favorite part of the conversation had to be when she explained how she determined me to be Irene. She apparently looked over and went, “Hmm…that’s odd. She doesn’t look to be wearing anything under than coat. Why would she not be wearing…oh…right.” Love it.
After my excursion to the Artist’s Alley, I wandered back to the room and then wandered with everyone else for a bit before we made our way to another called “We Con, Therefore We Are”, where Charles Dunbar was on the panel, as well as some others. They discussed the evolution of the con and how we came to what we consider the modern con as well as predicting the future of conventions. It was also interesting as there was one guy on the panel, his name was Joe, who brought up a lot of counter arguments in terms of how cons are progressing. I quite liked this panel.
We went for food after the panel (which is actually when I realized how cold it was outside) and then we wandered to the Merchant’s room again before heading to a panel called, “Totally Subversive Toons”. The first few were from animes and I quite enjoyed watching them. But, then we got into the American cartoons and I knew most of the troupes. It was a two hour panel, but really could have been one hour and I would have been just fine with that. Two made it long and rather boring. Plus, the crowd was a bit raucous and the panelist was a bit too informal, but not engaging enough for my liking.
Our next bit of adventure then took us in separate directions. My friends went back to the hotel room and I went for a hot chocolate. This is actually when the excitement happens! As I’m standing in line waiting for hot chocolate, I see what I think is a Sherlock wander by with an iPod rick-rolling everyone. I then spotted a lone John Watson. I called out and she wandered over reluctantly holding her fingers up in a cross. I asked if she had seen Sherlock as I needed to return his coat. We chatted for a while, took photos of one another, and then I let her wander off as I probably shouldn’t monopolize on people’s time when they have other friends.
Good thing #3: Finding a lone John Watson. I got to ask where Sherlock was to return the coat.
I ended up sitting at a table with some people who I didn’t know and they talked with me. They eventually left and were replaced by others, who I also chatted with for about an hour before Manya and Emma came down to find me. I left the table and wandered with them when I was stopped for a few more photos of people who recognized me. One of which being a girl dressed as a tardis, who hugged me and another who looked at me and asked if I was a Sherlock yesterday. When I said yes, she said that she had saw me, but didn’t realized who I was in enough time and had been looking for me all day. They both took my photos and then I joined Manya and Emma on the floor to people watch and play Fluxx.
Two games of Fluxx later and the three of us got in line for a panel on mixing drinks based on the anime Bartender. I really should look into this one. It’ll probably be something I enjoy. The panel though (even without knowing the anime) was fabulous and I wish it had been a two hour panel instead of a one hour. Listening to mixology is absolutely fascinating.
Good thing #4: A panel on mixology that relates to an anime!
The panel ended and we happened upon a Homestuck draw thing, where I accidentally (well not really accidentally) found a girl who recognized me and had been dressed as Lestrade on Friday. This is where I found that I had missed the Sherlock photoshoot. This was rather upsetting to hear and I had been searching for Sherlockians all weekend…and I kept missing them.
Complaint #4: Realizing I missed the Sherlock photoshoot.
Good thing #5: Finding someone who had dressed as Lestrade.
After this, I basically went to bed. Or…well, I played on tumblr and then I went to bed. Only to get four hours of sleep. I got up Sunday morning, packed my things, showered and dressed as the Sherlock fan girl I am. I looked for more Sherlock and Johns, but only came upon a Jim Moriarty. I took a photo as the fangirl I am is wont to do. I had breakfast and then wandered back to the Merchant’s room and Artist’s Alley…where I proceeded to buy more artwork from the artist I had talked to the day before. (Though I forgot to pick up her card…)
Complaint #5: How did I forget her card!
We made one more trip through the Merchant’s room before Manya and Emma drove me home, putting me back in DC around noon.
Overall, my experience with Katsucon this year was rather enjoyable. I have about as many complaints as I do good things. I enjoyed a lot of the panels, I cosplayed for me and no one else, and I had quite a lot of fun with my friends. Nothing really got to me once this weekend. I’m hoping that next year will be just as good.