Posts tagged Florida SuperCon
Since the ripe old age of sixteen years old, I’ve been going to fan conventions. For those of you that know me well, THAT’S A LONG FUCKING TIME. (In short, I’m old.) Over the years, I’ve worked hard to be less of a grumpy old man of anime and more of a vocal proponent for the cohesion in the fan community… which leads me to the douchebaggery that was pointed out to me last night.
First – a lesson in anime conventions from the eyes of Tom Croom. I went to my first anime convention at the turn of the century (in the year 2000) and since then I’ve attended literally DOZENS of them. During that time, I’ve determined that there are three types of anime cons in the United States:
THE COLLEGE CON: These quirky little events are awesome, but they come with a limited shelf life. College based anime conventions either disappear when the main people running them graduate or when they outgrow a college campus and move on to larger spaces. I *love* college conventions. There’s a vibe at these things you just can’t replicate at other convention formats. (See JACON and Yasumicon as examples.)
THE HOTEL CON: This makes up the majority of anime conventions. Industrious fans get together and rent some hotel ballrooms and board rooms and fans gather to celebrate their love of Japanese cartoons and stuff. Hotel conventions create another set of experiences since events usually run all night and many attendees sleep (have rooms) at the event location itself.
THE CONVENTION CENTER CON: Yes, I know that sounds redundant, but it is actually a correct description. Conventions in convention centers are huge and offer a different overall experience due to massive size and availability of content. These behemoths, while less intimate than the other two, are a blast and keep you busy non-stop the second you walk in.
There are hybrids that occur on the evolutionary track of events (College Cons with a hotel running events; Hotel Cons with a small convention center attached; etc.) but the primary categories are, as far as I can tell, accurate.
For the most part, convention politics usually keep the playing area level. Hotel cons will bitch about other hotel cons while convention center cons rarely get caught up in any of the silliness that “teh dramaz” can bring. What sucks is when an event further on the event evolutionary process decides to take actions that mess with others that are still working things out.
WHICH LEADS ME TO CHIBI-PA.
Never hear of Chibi-Pa? They are the “class act” of anime conventions in South Florida. A West Palm Beach event, they’ve been a blemish on the Sunshine State’s fan culture for a number of years now. If you haven’t heard of them, I suggest you take the time to read this:
So why am I not a fan of a convention called Chibi-Pa? http://www.tomcroom.com/archives/7746
So remember my post about why Chibi-Pa (the West Palm Beach anime event) SUCKS? There’s an update… http://www.tomcroom.com/archives/7775
So what AMAZING thing have they done now? Well, there’s a small convention from the University of Miami Anime Club that started last year called Miami Hurricon.
As a college club event with limited resources, their one day convention takes place on a Sunday. Last April was their first year and a couple of weeks ago they announced that they were returning again in April of 2013. Good stuff.
Enter Chibi-Pa. The promotors of West Palm Beach’s anime event (that berates anime fans) CONTINUES to show their disrespect to the community at large. How? Yesterday they announced a mini “Chibi-Pa Sampler” event the same weekend as Miami Hurricon. Oh wait, I’m sorry – I meant to say the same fucking day as Miami Hurricon - which, if you recall, I pointed out is on a Sunday. A SUNDAY. Who does that shit? Really?
Local events like Florida Supercon (the largest geek convention in South Florida) have already thrown their support behind the “little con that could” be establishing their attendance at Miami Hurricon and allegedly even giving away free Pocky there.
So there you have it… Chibi-Pa is proving that they are still the same, sad little event that blamed local fans for their show failing in 2006. So what can YOU do about it? Here’s some suggestions:
- Email the promotor. His name is Jason Bailey and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell him how you feel. Let him know that what he’s doing is wrong.
- Post on the Chibi Pa Facebook page. This seems the be their main communication tool to their fans. Let them know that they are NOT supporting anime fans by creating conflicting events in the same region on the same day.
- Don’t go! The number one way to send a message to a company about bad business practices is to not support the business. There are always options and better places to spend your hard earned money.
Me? I’m not sure where I will be that weekend in April. If I have the time, though, you’ll probably find me in Miami.
UPDATE: It appears that Chibi-Pa got the memo… way to go Florida anime fans for speaking out! https://www.facebook.com/events/428254473922182/permalink/429318813815748/
This is that time of year when folks begin posting about how this year they’re planning on changing a zillion things and making thinks different somehow. For me, though, I’m not looking forward to changing… I’m looking forward to continuing.
2012 was a hard year, but that’s not a bad thing. As friends and colleagues will tell you – I tend to be a workaholic. I love it. I love the feeling to things getting done and the creative process attached to it in my little geek universe. My friends (my team) and I put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into a number of projects that are now continuing into 2013.
Hell. We’re already in production for two unannounced things in 2014.
The best way to look forward, though, is to remember where you’ve been. SO, here’s my recap of one of the craziest years of my life. Enjoy.
- Reflected on a pretty exciting life thus far in this blog post. No clue what the year was about to bring.
- We were in the thick of planning InvaderCON II: DOOMCON that month, too.
- Took the first of what would be many trips to Los Angeles to work on Anime Expo and Project Anime.
- Randomly took an air boat ride in the Florida swamp because, you know, I’m random that way.
- Took another trip to Los Angeles for work on PA/AX some more.
- Took another trip to Los Angeles two weeks later… on my way to Japan for the first time. I spent eight days being the tallest person in the room.
- I went to Tokyo Disney SEA.
- I went to Disneyland (in Los Angeles) with the voice of Gir.
- I won a $500 Apple gift card for telling a goofy story online about my old IIc.
- Took a quick trip to Atlanta to look a party spots for some adult website.
- Was the best man in my best friend’s wedding… on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas.
- Saw Tom Petty in concert! I’ve wanted to do that for a long time.
- Went to Los Angeles again.
- Dealt with loss as my father’s wife passed away.
- Survived Year Two of Florida Anime Experience with the first ever appearance of Terri Hawkes (the voice of Sailor Moon!)
- Back in Los Angeles again… this time to visit E3!
- Return to Los Angeles at the end of the month to set up for Anime Expo and Project Anime.
- Survived the hell, horror, and amazement of Anime Expo 2012. My eyes were open to a lot of things that one week in Los Angeles.
- Found out a cheesy horror film I did in 1991 was finally coming out on DVD.
- Read the Steve Jobs book. I’ve revisited a lot in that book since then (after years of being told that I am “an asshole just like Steve Jobs.”)
- Returned to Los Angeles for Anime Expo follow up meetings… and new perspective.
- Ran, successfully, InvaderCON II: DOOMCON in Los Angeles. Amazing things happened.
- Finished laying the groundwork (after months of set up) for what has since become Talent For Cons by booking voice actors in Anime Expo and Florida Supercon.
- Announced a new show for the Jacksonville market called WasabiCon (since EXPcon had fallen completely off the radar.)
- Ran events at Gen Con in Indianapolis again. Good times!
- I spent a lot of this month recovering from the Anime Expo/InvaderCON/Project Anime stuff in July.
- Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia. I helped some Edgar guy host events at a party at the Hard Rock Cafe there. While there, I saw a sci-fi celebrities drunk daughter dance on a stripper pole. (I love my life.)
- Lots and lots of catch up work that month…
- Wound up visiting EPCOT on the 30th anniversary of the park’s opening. Turned out it was a clever day to take my friend Marc Perez there for his first time.
- Launched the very first PinUpalooza. It was a lukewarm event (after getting dates bounced around and whatnot) but we proved the event was a solid concept. Already planning Year Two.
- Because one con just wasn’t enough, we ran WasabiCon that same month, too. One of the best cons assembled in two months EVER.
- Took another cruise for my five year wedding anniversary with one of the most patient women on the planet. This time we found ourselves in Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. (It seems that I still need to write a blog post about this since I didn’t see one while writing this.)
- Spent Thanksgiving with my dad… because that’s what family does.
- Got blind sided (for the first time in my life) by a surprise birthday party. I have some amazing fucking friends.
- Launched ANOTHER new event in 2012 – Cosplay Christmas. It was holiday goodness that will return in 2013.
- Went to Busch Gardens for the first time in yeaaars.
- Was a groomsman in the AMAZING wedding of Troy and Kim Doerner.
- Returned to Los Angeles for the first time since July to start work on Project Anime 2013 again. Saw some geeky stuff.
- Spent the first Christmas in 13 years without my wife… but got to spend it with my dad. My heart was happy, but my lungs were in pain. (Long story.)
SO – cities I found myself in during 2012:
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
And now for that part we all do during a perceived time of renewal – plan for the future. So what are my goals in 2013? I have a couple of things to work on, sure, like anyone else. I like keeping things simple, though, so here are the three things that I will concentrate on in this new year.
- Lose weight. (Cliche, yes, but truly needed at this point.)
- Blog more. (In reading about my past year, I realize that I didn’t write as much about most of it that I should have.)
- Continue onward. (I created a lot in 2012; now I have to build it up even more.)
So here we go…
Each year (well… almost – I think I skipped last year) I take the time to look at how many geek conventions currently exist “on the scene” in the land of Florida. This was originally a list of only anime cons but with so many cons “featuring anime, too!” the fandom scene as really become a convoluted mish-mash that looks like an all you can eat nerd buffet.
So here’s what I’ve found for 2013. If you find one I’ve missed, then let me know (by commenting) and I’ll add it.
2013 FAN CONVENTIONS IN FLORIDA
(21 AND COUNTING) (23 AND COUNTING)
SwampCon (Gainesville, FL)
ANIMATE! Miami (Miami, FL)
MegaCon (Orlando, FL)
FreeCon (Tallahassee, FL)
Tampa Bay Comic Con (Tampa, FL)
Khaotic Kon (Tampa, FL)
BelleCon (Jacksonville, FL)
Orlando Comic Expo (Orlando, FL)
Florida Anime Experience (Orlando, FL)
MAY-HEM (Orlando, FL)
OASiS (Orlando, FL)
KnightroKon (Orlando, FL)
Salty Bay Con (Tampa, FL)
MizuCon (Miami, FL)
Florida Supercon (Miami, FL)
MetroCon (Tampa, FL)
Anime Festival Orlando (Orlando, FL)
Mythicon (Orlando, FL)
UmiCon (Daytona Beach, FL)
Spooky Empire (Orlando, FL)
Necronomicon (Tampa, FL)
WasabiCon (Jacksonville, FL)
ShadoCon (Tampa, FL)
Holiday Matsuri (Orlando, FL)
Earlier this month I hosted a panel at Florida Supercon called “A History of Florida Anime Fandom.” In the panel, I tell stories about anime fans in the age of anime clubs and VHS players to wide eyed locals. Once I get through the initial dozen or so Florida anime conventions, I ask the audience to name conventions they have heard of and cross them off a list I bring with me to the panel.
(For the record the list has over thirty names on it now.)
Since I was in South Florida, Chibi-Pa was brought up by someone in the audience. My answer: I can’t stand the convention or the guy that owns it.
That might sound pretty harsh, but the fact remains that they guy has been an “that asshole” on the Internet not just to me personally but also to Florida’s anime fans. Every time I explain it at the panel, I always end my little rants with “look it up on the Internet.” Today, I wound up doing just that. Thus, the next time I host the panel I can just point people to this post.
After some of the usual Interwebz shenanigans on forums, Livejournals and via email, Chibi-Pa’s official site posted the history of their convention. In it (under the “About” section) it cited the founder of Wasabi Anime (me) as a the reason they kept going. The were intent on “proving WasabiGay wrong about too many conventions.” (That last part is an actual quote.)
Added note: for those of you new to my blog, my handle for a number of things online has been “WasabiGuy.” The misspelling was someone’s (allegedly) clever way of slamming me. That said, if you’re on Xbox Live, that’s still my handle. Add me!
WHEN IN DOUBT, BLAME THE FANS.
I can take insults; it comes with the territory of being any sort of personality at events. The moment when Chibi-Pa went from “annoying” to full on “asshats” was back around mid-November of 2006. After a failed attempt to put on the convention again, they posted a message for all to read on their main page. I’ve taken the best paragraph from the message and bolded and underlined the most interesting part of it. Check it out:
“So Lynn and I decided to make this announcement considering we believe that there is no chance that we will be able to come up with the required monies in the next 10 days. On that note we would like to apologize to the people who have helped us and worked very hard to make this event. We apologize to vendors and advertisers that wanted to come to our event. We also apologize to the artist who have lined up to attend Chibi-Pa. On the other hand we do not apologize to the attendees that came to our website and saw the donate button. $1 form 1000 people may have kept Chibi-Pa alive. But you are so busy worrying about your daily lives that you do not care about the big picture. And for that you can stay home and twiddle your fingers. Maybe you can dress up like your favorite anime characters and go to the local mall. Just pretend your at a free anime event. Cause thats as good as it gets for now.“
The team at Wasabi Anime is mired in projects now spanning the U.S. Before the year is over, we’ll have appeared in Atlanta, Indiana, Miami and Orlando. Next year there’s even the threat of finding ourselves in Los Angeles. We just can’t be everywhere all the time… but DAMN, how I wish SOMEONE would pick up the reigns in West Palm Beach and put on a quality convention the fans there deserve.
So endeth the post.
For the complete Chibi-Pa “blame the fans” page, click here.
Believe it or not, I normally don’t plan to go to Dragon*Con each year. When I do go, I’m usually only there for a day or two at the most. This year, though, I did the “full” Dragon*Con weekend experience by showing up on on the first day of the event and leaving on the last.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR ANY LURKING BOT-TARDS: A few years back, Wasabi Anime talked to Dragon*Con about having DARE! The Transformers Panel Ultimate make an appearance and we were turned down. Strangely enough, I still think Dragon*Con is a great convention… which must mean only one thing: That’s right, BotCon was a weak convention on it’s own.
Moving on… I’ve broken my Dragon*Con report into three parts: the good, the bad and the ugly. Here’s a breakdown of the good stuff that happened last weekend.
- While in Atlanta, Georgia I took the time to eat at Gladys and Ron’s Chicken & Waffles. (Post regarding this coming next week.)
- I ran into LeVar Burton in the elevator our first night at the Hilton and we talked Twitter while a somewhat intoxicated Joey Snackpants proclaimed in a less than subtle fashion “OH MY GOD IT’S LEVAR BURTON!”
- That same night, I bought Edward James Olmos dinner at Trader Vic’s and Mr. Olmos then convinced Joey Snackpants to watch the new Battlestar Galactica. Read that story here.
- My Favorite DC Tweet: @TomCroom thinks nothing says #fail more than a Power Girl cosplay with less than a B cup. #DragonCon
- We went to a great Stargate panel… and (it seemed) that I pissed of John de Lancie with my question. Read this and then watch this. That aside, Christopher Judge is a RIOT and needs his own panel next year.
- I spent an evening walking around with a bunch of Stargate cosplayers (including Shannon, Katie McAwesome and Joey Snackpants) and wound up at the Stargate Charity Party. While going from hotel to hotel that night, I had someone recognize me from events I host at Florida SuperCon.
- We ate chicken nachos not once, but TWICE! at the Metro Café Diner.
- I had my photo taken with Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. QUANTUM LEAP AWESOMENESS.
- I tracked down Paul Dini via his Twitter posts so Shannon could have him sign her Harley Quinn books. Social Networking WIN.
- We went to a second Stargate panel. Going to more than one panel at Dragon*Con is extremely rare with my group… crazy!
- I met Drew Curtis from FARK. I bought a book from him, he signed it, and we made fun of Florida together. Good times.
- I got to see a couple of friends around the convention including “Uncle” George Lowe and Erin Gray… both great people.
- After being friends with my wife and a number of the Wasabi Anime staff AND being on my Facebook, I met Brian from Making Mischief for the first time (in person) in five years.
- After about two years of talking online, I met Kelly from Convention Fans in person for the first time.
- I also met fellow Twitter users @SarahNFisk and @EricaDodd at the convention in person. It’s fun using the Interwebz to meet get to know new people. Even more interesting: Sarah had a a friend she was meeting in one of the hotels that night… and her friend’s roommates in the hotel were my friends Angie and Tentacle Chris. (insert It’s a Small World theme here.)
- My other favorite Dragon*Con tweet: @thatDJSpider: ‘steampunk: when goths discovered brown’ #dragoncon
- A record THREE panels! We went to the Battlestar Galactica one, too.
- We went to the Stargate Charity Auction and Joey Snackpants scored an actual prop from Stargate SG-1.
- I met and got autographs from Michael Shanks and Ben Browder. Michael and I discussed our successful marriages while Ben and I discussed the fact that John de Lancie is a “serious” man who doesn’t answer questions about fast food restaurants.
- Before leaving town… we had dinner at a Zaxby’s. (I love that place.)
As you can see, it was a busy weekend at Dragon*Con 2010. Tomorrow’s post… The Masquerade.
Sometimes staying at home CAN be a vacation.
Next month seems to be stacking up fairly fast. My weekends in September are starting look like this:
October may be limited to a weekend in Miami… November might be Las Vegas… and after that? Who knows.
In other news, the Bot-tards are still stalking my blog. Check it out here. Joey Snackpants and I are discussing the possibility of going back to BotFAIL next year in California to write a follow up for You Bent My Wookie. We’re even talking about spending the money on the insane top tier level tickets JUST to do a complete comparison and between how people are treated at the show when they are considered the “1337″ and how people are treated as general attendees (which we learned the hard way in Orlando.)
For those of you that missed it here and here – Richard Horvitz was a guest at Florida Supercon the weekend before last. He stopped by the Wasabi Anime Otaku Insomnia Rave dance party to say hi, and I brought him on stage with a cosplayer dressed as GIR. Zaniness ensued.
I thought the little girl dressed as GIR was going to explode from excitement when she got off stage and realized who she had just danced with. Pure convention awesome.