It was a first time convention to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on the second weekend of January. Not much was announced about it except for the whopping $10,000 Cosplay contest prize. There were no announced panels and almost zero advertising.
When there is a first year convention, the bar of expectations is pretty low. On a scale of San Diego Comic Con (massive behemoth of conventions) to Alternate Press Expo(one room chock full of artists), first year conventions in general don’t even make the grade. Running a convention is super difficult and a first year has so many obstacles to go up against. I expected to see the signs of a convention straining to make it work: frazzled employees running around, vendors possibly bored, handwritten signs, black&white program books, attendees getting lost, or some minor grumbling.
As I walked through the bustling crowd of a Soccer expo, my expectations lowered a notch when I rode the escalator down to Kentia Hall. For those who are unfamiliar, Kentia Hall is really an overflow parking lot area. It has been known to hold the space open for small conventions but it is hard to dismiss the markings of the parking spaces.
At some point down the escalator, the noise from above faded away to the vacuum of silence that greeted me. I worried that the convention had cancelled and I had made the metro trip for nothing. It was only after I received my wrist band and walked through the doors that my disappoint plummeted to the bottom of my gut. It was what any convention organizer or attendee should fear: the convention was a ghost town.
Lined up against the walls were the tables filled with bored and increasingly agitated talent. Talent that included Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon) and Carla Perez ( who played Rita Repulsa in Power Rangers). Meters away was the clustered area of vendors–full of bored and agitated vendors. A small traffic of attendees floated around. A quick walk around, that took less than 10 minutes, also revealed the random personal helicopter company and some sort of scooter demo. Even further way was the stage with a long line of cosplayers signing up for the contest.
The cosplay contest was hours away and there was absolutely nothing I could do. I almost did not come back the next day until I learned that several of the designers walking the fashion show stage were people I know. Knowing what to expect, I went back to the convention on Sunday, and was not even surprised to see the convention even more deserted than Saturday. Waiting for the fashion show was only tolerable as I found my friends and hung out. It was this way, I was able to see the one lone convention person frantically organizing the fashion as a good third of the designers and models had no-showed. Granted, I completely understand the reason. Why go through that effort for an audience of less than 30? An audience that dwindled even further after the completely unnecessary fashion show intermission? Still, it seemed rather callous and shallow. If you say you’re going to be there, you should commit.
So the designers and the models that stepped up to the challenge deserve a huge round of applause and recognition. Even as they smiled and strutted their stuff to an audience of mostly empty chairs, they were all professionally amazing. Even though everything else a colossal disappoint,the designers deserve complete kudos. So I spent my energy filming the only golden nugget of the convention.
If, if, this convention were to try their hands at a year two, I would suggest making this a one day convention and providing more entertainment for the attendees. Although attendees will spend money at a convention, that is not what they are there for. Panels, live entertainment, something.
All in all, it was unfortunately not the greatest convention to start off the comic convention season.
Comic Excitement Convention Designers:
- Bunny Over the Moon: https://www.facebook.com/BunnyOverTheMoonStore/
- Wagashi Kimonos:https://www.facebook.com/wagashikimono/
- L.Royalty Clothing: https://www.facebook.com/LRoyaltyclothing/
- Heroes Within: https://herowithinstore.com/
- 1138 Clothing: https://www.etsy.com/shop/1138Clothing
- Geeky bands: https://www.facebook.com/GeekyBands/
- Commons Only Clothing: https://www.facebook.com/CommonsOnlyClothing/