Leprecon 41: An Effete Production

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Image obtained from www.leprecon.org.

Image obtained from www.leprecon.org.

Typically I attend conventions with an open mind. I know that not all events are bound to host programming that pique my interest therefore I keep expectations low in hopes that I will be pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, the “pleasant” in this convention was quickly squashed by profound disappointment. It’s quite difficult to dash my hopes for I am a person that prefers to find the light in every dark, dreary situation. Leprecon 41 was one of those events where the drab atmosphere threatened to quell my upbeat attitude. Allow me to explain…

Friday was my first introduction to this convention. The website promotes a “Sci-Fi, Arts and Comics” experience with a “Back to the Future” theme. Upon entering the hotel that hosted this event I was confronted with problem number one: there was no signage to guide me towards registration. Fortunately, a short trip around the hotel foyer, past the complementary bar and through a double set of doors lead me to the convention’s registration area. Here I encountered another issue: registration was not assisted by any form of line or access control which meant groups of eager friends and family members were gathering around the small check-in table. After a few attempts to catch the attention of the only volunteer with a computer I was finally able to register and be on my way.

Eager to put the first irritating moments behind me I proceeded into the exhibitor hall. There were booths selling soap trinkets, steampunk trinkets, steampunk books, steampunk jewlery…ok, so the exhibitor hall clearly had a steampunk focus with sparse inclusion of comics (two booths to be specific) and a few authors. This perplexed me. I expected to see exhibitors play off of the “Back to the Future” theme Leprecon 41 was aiming towards; instead, I found only reference to a few “time traveling” jokes and a plethora of post-apocalyptic wear. Even the art gallery lacked a theme (the gallery was a part of the exhibitor hall). Featured artists were talented, don’t get me wrong, but each panel of art varied to the next. It was a whirlwind of themes and it honestly caught me off guard.

A quick jaunt through the hall also opened my eyes to the limited options of this event. As I perused the booths I took time to read the program and discovered there was little focus on modern programs. Most of what was available catered to an older crowd. While that is more than acceptable, the Leprecon website boasted a more “lively” event than they delivered. Determined to press onward, I marked down events of interest and decided to return on Saturday with a fresh set of eyes (after all, I had just finished a day of work and perhaps my perspective was skewed by exhaustion).

Programming: Luluko and the Harp Twins Rescue the Con
Saturday was panel day for me. I started the day off with Luluko’s presentation on Cosplay Makeup. She did a wonderful job explaining the types of make-up she used, why she layered the way she did all while actually APPLYING the make-up to herself using nothing more than a phone’s front facing camera. Here are a few clips of her process during the panel…

Luluko Presentation 1

Luluko Presentation 1

Luluko Presentation 2

Luluko Presentation 2

Luluko Presentation 3

Luluko Presentation 3

 

After the make-up demo I wandered about capturing a few cosplayers and some local attendees on camera before proceeding to the “boot covers made easy” workshop. Surprisingly, this panel was also presented by Luluko. In fact, all cosplay/costume related panels I attended on Saturday were hosted by Luluko. She did a splendid job explaining her process with patterning and urged new cosplayers to research their efforts. Though her presentation ended earlier than expected I admit she taught me a lot about the struggles with crafting custom foot wear for cosplay. Looking for something outside the costume genre I landed on a concert presented by the Harp Twins. The description was intriguing: two harpists play game, movie and comicon themed music in perfect harmony. The room was a bit difficult to find and once I located it the lighting made it hard to film the twins however; I soldiered on and this was the result…

I listened to a few more songs (Eye of the Tiger, Sweet Dreams, etc.) before exiting the concert room to look for cosplayers (I noted on the program guide that the masquerade was shortly after the Harp Twins performance). Unfortunately, the turn out for this event with regard to cosplay was dismal. The few brave enough to don costumes didn’t seem to stick around and by the time the masquerade arrived only ten cosplayers performed. I cannot say I blame their decisions. The masquerade was more of a pageant and even though the room was setup for sound the MC did not play any sound clips as characters took to the stage. Additionally, Luluko, who had soldiered through four panels, was edged out of the judges ring by children. I am NOT kidding. They had non-costumed children assist with judging the cosplay masquerade. Not only did this reduce my level of respect for this convention it also revealed the lack of regard they have for the guests and volunteers who so passionately attempted to enliven the event. My frustration was at its limit. Though the program guide promised a costume ball later that evening I found I lacked the determination to attend the convention further.

Here are the two major complaints I have regarding this convention…

  1. The Convention’s theme WAS NOT present in the programming, events or exhibitor hall. Themes are what MAKE or BREAK conventions. They are what draws attendees and when they are misrepresented it feels like a deliberate ruse by the event to trick people into paying for the convention membership.
  2. The Convention Management CLEARLY does not respect it’s attendees or volunteers. RESPECT is shown through careful planning of programming; planning that allows your guests to take breaks in between panels instead of being forced to rush from one to another when the action is entirely unnecessary. RESPECT is supporting your staff as they try to promote your event and MEETING the expectations of your attendees by following the theme(s) you promise. RESPECT is earned, not stolen.

As always, I want to thank the volunteers and attendees that manage to make every convention I attend worth my effort. Below are a few happy faces that made this convention bearable…

Luluko

Luluko

Author @ Leprecon 41

Author @ Leprecon 41

Authors @ Leprecon 41

Authors @ Leprecon 41

Crafters @ Leprecon 41

Crafters @ Leprecon 41

Steampunk Cosplayer

Steampunk Cosplayer

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