Posts tagged ExpoComics Cancun
The other MAJOR difference in American fan conventions and Mexican? SUNDAY IS THE BUSY DAY.
I took more photos over the weekend of some amazing cosplayers including:
It was busy as soon as the doors opened and we spent the time watching the hoards of people pile in. The air conditioning couldn’t take the load, though, and eventually everyone began to get sweaty.
Mexican fanboy funk kicked in.
Needing a break, Troy and I took a walk to the local market to buy some authentic fake Oakleys (because I left my sunglasses at the hotel.)
it was there that we encountered our first Mexican drug dealer. Here is what we said to us almost verbatim:
Hey guys, you looking to buy something? I got everything. I can get you weed. Cocaine. Prices cheaper than Kmart, man.
Troy and I both came to the same thought: “They sell cocaine in Kmart?!” I mean, we DID see hard liquor in Walmart. LOL
Needless to say, we said no gracias and made our way back to the convention center.
Back at ExpoComics Cancun, Chris bad befriended a unique flavor of fanboy: Gears of Wars Cosplayers. Imagine a group of manley men in manley GOW2 costumes walking around in a group after a tournament chanting “GEARS OF WAR! GEARS OF WAR! GEARS OF WAR!”
Now add in the Mexican accent.
These guys were some crazy motherfuckers. No more so than their American counterparts, but they were dedicated to their fandom in the best possible way. After the Gears of War 2 tournament, the cosplayers all approached Chris and gave him one of their foam gun replicas… “for our number one favorite Gears of War fan!”
Great fans and great people.
When you walk around the hotel district of Cancun, you get slammed with people everywhere trying to pitch you on coming into their clubs and the multiple open bar specials. There is one place on the strip, though, that just SCREAMS ultra-cheesey at every turn: Coco Bongo.
Proof of the loosey goosey attitude regarding copyrights in Mexico, the show advertises using giant statues of The Mask, Beetlejuice, Spiderman and other pop culture icons all across town. On billboards for the self-proclaimed “Show & Disco” you can find photos of Axl Rose, Madonna and even Frank Sinatra. Based on their advertising, it was really hard to try and define exactly what the club offered.
Tickets are $68 American on a Saturday night, but I had coupons (supplied by the ExpoComics Cancun promotor) for only $25. Shannon and Angie went ahead to check it out – and Kim and I soon followed.
What we all saw was nothing short of amazing.
The inside of the club is gigantic. It’s one of those larger than life rooms filled with (literally) thousands of people dancing, partying, and watching the giant stage above them all. Basically, Coco Bonga is a dance club that runs a show from 11:15 PM to 3:00 AM (with the club itself closing at 5:00 AM) containing celebrity and character impersonators “performing” with stage dancers, an IMAX size video screen, and dance remixes of popular songs.
The ones I saw:
- Guns N’ Roses – complete with costume changes so the “Axl” was wearing the same costumes that appeared in the music video footage behind him… even the kilt.
- Shania Twain – she felt like a woman.
- The Mask – who kept pulling women onto the platform in the audience. As he was pouring shots of tequila in their mouths he pulled their skirts up so the audience could see their underwear… usually thongs.
- Madonna – same format as Guns N’ Roses; music videos, costume changes, backup dancers, etc.
- Spiderman – instead of describing the awesomeness of the acrobatic work, just watch:
During all of this, the bar was an OPEN BAR. Cheap beer and strawberry daiquiris (for Kim) flowed the whole night. On a regular basis, partiers were treated to giant balloons dropped in the audience, confetti, nitrous sprays (to cool everyone off), glow sticks and more. The effect was non-stop.
Just like Carlos & Charlie’s the night before, Coco Bongo is a MUST DO if you’re ever in Cancun… regardless of its cheeseball advertising. Shannon and I finally made it out of the club around 4:00 AM (and the party was still going.) Here’s me after a lot of beer and drenched in sweat doing the obligatory post-club food which, in Mexico, is tacos:
Saturday in Cancun was our opportunity to answer the ago old question: Are the Mexican geek conventions like American geek conventions?
After sleeping in and waking up to the ocean outside our balcony, we began prepping for our first day of ExpoComics Cancun. The event, produced by Ecreativo, is an anime and comics fan convention that takes place annually in Cancun, Mexico.
A convention center event (it takes place in the Cancun Center) as opposed to a hotel based convention, the show opened its doors at 11:00 AM with a dealer’s room that doesn’t close until 10:00 PM… a far cry from the the event’s American cousins.
- Mexicans love to cosplay. Check out Mexican Sailor Moon:
(click here for other Mexican cosplay photos I took)
- Even though we couldn’t understand what they were saying, it was easy to read body language and actions. Thus, we were able to spot practically every stereotyped attendee: shy goth girl; socially awkward girl who talks in a funny voice; Narutards; dressed-to-sexy fifteen year old girls; screaming and running fanboys trying to glomp people; girls that think they are cosplaying if they wear cat ears; etc.
- Different dealers but the same exact merchandise. We looked long and hard for some uniquely Mexican anime merch and came up pretty much empty handed.
- Panels, costume contests, and the usual batch of events. Ever heard a Mexican with a Spanish accent singing in Japanese during karaoke. There is no difference in how painful it sounds.
- Con funk smelled the same.
- Mexicans don’t assume that the convention is a day care. We saw a number of young attendees, but they were with (shocker!) their parents.
- Attendees seemed more respectful of each others’ space. This is hard to describe in detail, but it all came down to a different “vibe” from attendees.
- Where American conventions find cosplay guests amusing, Mexican convention attendees see them as bona fide celebrities. I watched the girls from Cosplay Deviants sign more autographs than many voice actors at local cons.
- While not a standard at all American conventions, it is common to have a convention guide or even a schedule offered to attendees. The only schedule at ExpoComics Cancun was posted on a large banner at the entrance of the con (and on the website.)
- The Mexican voice of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons (aka Senior Burns). Check out this video from the convention. It is excellente.
Greetings from Cancun Mexico!
I’m down in here for the week enjoying the sun, surf and ExpoComics Cancun. That’s right folks: a Mexican Geek Convention.
We met up with the team from Cosplay Deviants and enjoyed beer, wings and other goodness with Latin ladies in orange shorts running around. During dinner, the discussion turned to the supplies we would need while spending time in Mexico and we all agreed that priority one was bottled water. After a little snooping on Google (or, thanks to my current IP down here, Google.com.mx) we found out that downtown Cancun actually has a Walmart.
PART 1: GETTING THERE
So “Tentacle” Chris Duplis, Troy from Cosplay Deviants and I decided the make the trek sometime around midnight because, you know, going to a Walmart in the U.S. after midnight means you only run into the normal people. In a foreign country it can’t be any worse, right?
Anyway, step one was getting a cab driver from our resort. We hail one that looks like every other vehicle in Cancun: something from the late seventies/early eighties that is probably being held together by duct tape. The man driving it was a heavy set amigo old enough to be my father and looked as if he would (quite possibly) die at any second. Seriously. He was wheezing and coughing so badly that he may have expired since our Excellent Adventure… but I digress.
We piled into the car and I popped out an “hola!” (one of the five words I have learn while here.) We discerned the he somewhat understood English and asked him how much it would cost to get to Walmart. He said 15 pesos as he immediately started driving us away from the hotel at a scary “Fast & the Furious” off the line speed. I spoke up and pointed out that we only had American dollars. He kept driving, though, like drunk NASCAR and told us that he didn’t take American money.
I said that’s a shame – since none of us had pesos.
After a few moments of grunting and breathing funny he said it would be $12.
Our driver then began inquiring as to why we were going to Walmart. ”Water” we all replied. I mentioned “toys” too, but that only served to confuse him. Chris and I both had high hopes to score some Mexican Transformers (which, for the record, ultimately failed.) As the line of questioning continued, we noticed that we were, in fact, being driven in a circle. The driver took us around the block and back within a hundred yards of the hotel. He then stopped the car and explained that he had to drop off lunch to his friend.
The driver proceeded to get out of the car and take a bag of “something” out of the hatchback and walk away from the car. I looked back at Chris and Troy (I was riding shotgun) and pointed out that the three of us were in an abandoned running car in Mexico late at night. We really were stuck in the plot of some bad buddy comedy film just waiting to happen.
Before we could hatch our The Hangover style plan, though, the driver returned. He pulled off of the curb and out into traffic… four f’ing inches from a very large bus. Seriously. He looked annoyed at the bus (as if it were, somehow, the bus’s fault) and then put the car in reverse and out of the way.
After that the trip to Walmart was smooth sailing – if you can stetch to define “smooth” as “driving in both lanes riding the yellow line at 70 MPH in car older than most kids in high school today.”
PART 2: MEXICAN WALMART
We pulled in the Walmart parking alive, but not entirely of sound mind. As we got out of the cab, the driver stopped us and asked if we’d like him to wait. After mulling the pros (easier than trying to find a cab at Walmart) and the cons (absolute and almost certain death by automobile manslaughter) we opted to say yes. Here’s where we ran into another one of those quirky cultural differences: We offered to pay our fare for having gotten there ($12) before shopping and he refused stating that we could just pay him when he took us back. Try that in New York City sometime. They would not only want the fare, but in order to stay they would want something as collateral… your ID, a credit card, your first born, etc.
Finally, we stepped foot into Walmart. Would you believe the Walmart was practically just like every Walmart you’ve been to? The store’s layout/setup was very similar to the one near my house in Florida. The key differences, though, were in the brands that were uniquely Mexican that they offered. Otherwise, exactly the same.
Oh yeah – except for the fact that they SOLD HARD LIQUOR. Could you image how well that would go over with Middle America? That said, we strongly considered buying some tequila while there because nothing quite says “Mexico” like a good bottle of Walmart Tequila.
We checked out with GALLONS of water, some strange soda, and other odds and ends. Sure enough, “our guy” was still in the parking lot waiting patiently. We rolled our cart over to the cab and a Walmart parking lot attendee unloaded it for us and took the cart away. Chris, Troy and I loaded up for the wild road trip home.
PART 3: GETTING BACK ALIVE
The trip back met expectations. We almost died dozens of times and, on more than one occasion, we thought our driver was going to die based on heavy wheezing and breathing. Outside the hotel district was interesting enough, though. We saw:
-A giant 24-hour Burger King similar to the McDonald’s on International Drive in Orlando, Florida.
-Random American stores… Sam’s Club, Office Depot and others.
-Pirate Ships docked on the water (part of a local dinner show experience.)
We got dropped off back at the resort and hauled our bags up to the rooms. Life risking road adventures aside, the supplies have been well worth having for the weekend. Once in our respective hotel rooms we passed out. More tomorrow…
So tomorrow – er, later today, Shannon, myself and a few friends will be hopping on a plane to fly to Cancun, Mexico for a weekend of fun, zany foreign fan conventions, and Mexican food.
I was pleasantly reminded that packing for a trip on an airplane does not involve seeing how much tech stuff you can shove in a car (which is the norm for our convention travel.) Total win.
- Passport – check
- Laptop backed up before being packed – check
- Suitcase loaded to capacity – check
- Fully charged Nintendo DS and iPod for the flight – check
Anything I’m forgetting is forgotten at this point. Let’s hope they have whatever I’m missing at the local Mexican Walmart.
Expect photos and other fun stuff over the next few days.
IN OTHER NEWS: I got some amazing news a few hours ago about another celebrity guest at Florida Supercon who is (quite literally) a legend in my book. Hopefully they will officially make an announcement sometime in the next 24 hours. Stay tuned.
So you may have noticed that I’ve moved the blog off of Blogger and over to its own WordPress installation. That is because WordPress has finally worked in many of the features I first liked about Blogger back in 2008… so here we are.
In case you didn’t read on the old blog location, please change your RSS feed to: http://www.tomcroom.com/?feed=rss2
Now that THAT’S out of the way – things have been really, really busy with life and the newly reformed Green Mustard Entertainment, Inc. (formerly Green Mustard, LCC). I have been talking about the team at Wasabi Anime helping out with a ton of events and projects this year and next.
Yes we’re already planning for 2011.
Without giving away too much, here is how my year is starting to look:
- June 2010 – Expo Comics Cancun in Cancun, Mexico (tentatively confirmed)
- June 2010 – Florida SuperCon in Miami, Florida (as Wasabi Anime)
- June 2010 – BotCon in Orlando, Florida
- July 2010 – Ancient City Con in St. Augustine, Florida (as Wasabi Anime)
- August 2010 – Anime Festival Orlando in Orlando, Florida (as Wasabi Anime, tentatively confirmed)
- September 2010 – Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia
- September 2010 – Anime Weekend Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia (as Wasabi Anime, tentatively confirmed)
- March 2011 – Shuto Con in Lansing, Michigan (as Wasabi Anime)
- March 2011 – InvaderCON in Atlanta, Georgia (as Green Mustard Entertainment)
Throw in a couple of other side entertainment projects and consulting gigs – and you can see why I’ve been lax with my writing lately. Oh – and did I mention I have a day job?
So (again) here we are. More soon.