Monday, January 21, 2013

Fun and Fandom at Arisia

The Captain and Yeoman of
the Enterprise stop for pictures

Arisia 2013 was really my first real con.  I know, I know - sort of sad for someone who has been a fan of sci-fi and such ever since they can remember.  But I'm glad I had a chance to finally get to dip my toes into the con pool, and learn at least a little.  As well as have some fun, of course.

I wasn't staying at the con hotel, and that definitely drove the nature of my experience.  I'd have checked out a lot more of the later movies, sessions, and parties had I been on the property.

Most of my time was spent sitting in on panels, which had subject matter covering a wide, wide range of topics from fan interest and community, to media, writing, reading, costuming, and a whole lot more.  Even some rather, um, otherwise seemingly unrelated topics like BDSM 101.  Yep.  The panels that I found to be the most memorable of those I spent some time in were the "Small Press," "Avoiding Culturefail," and "Speculative Poetry is Awesome" panels.

The vendor's area, i.e. Huckster's Room, had a good mix of different products including books, tea, jewelry, and an array of costuming options.  I had a lot of fun just people watching there and elsewhere, and seeing how attendees wore their fantasy fashions.  Saw some excellent Borg and a few meticulous Victorian area dresses with elaborate wigs.  I enjoyed the juxtaposition of sipping a cosmo in a modern hotel bar while the lords and ladies strolled along, followed by Jedi with light sabers aglow.  

Things I wished were different.  Some of the topics covered in panels might have been better addressed by a single person giving a presentation for education/entertainment.  Panels can get a little tedious after you've been to a few in a row, and it would have been nice to break it up with other formats to get at similar information.  I wish the board game room had had more open tables, since one thing I might have done on the fly would have been to bring a favorite game and randomly see who might be interested in playing.  I saw Settlers of Catan and Power Grid, for example, but not Talisman.  The times I was there the place was really packed up with games and tables filled to capacity.  The dealer's room was a little tight, and not very well ventilated.  It shared the same open space with a small food court sort of thing and the art show, so all three of them suffered a bit from crowding.

But overall, it was a good introduction to the world of the con.  Next con I'm going to break out some of my own fun costuming and join in with that.  I'm also thinking I have some great science topics of interest to sci-fi fans that might make a really good lecture/presentation.  And I'm going to stay in the hotel and force some friends to come along.  Clearly, the best part of the con is the social aspect of sharing what we all love, and going with a group would obviously be a blast.

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