Convention Report: Anime Midwest 2016 (Part 1)

 In conventions

Summer time is convention season, and the midwest is a fun place to hit up a good con. And what better named con could there be than Anime Midwest? I was back as a guest of honor at this awesome convention, and we had a blast. Want to know what happened? Well, let’s talk about it…

After work I headed straight from the office to the hotel to check in, grab some food, and start the weekend of fun and hanging out. The Hyatt was the official con hotel, and I went to Guest Ops and get my badge and room key so I could drop my stuff off in my room. It had been raining earlier that day, and because of the humidity I decided not to go drop my stuff off at the convention center (and it’s a good thing I didn’t…and I’ll tell you why in a second). Instead, I opted to go have dinner at the Hyatt bar, during which time it rained again. HARD. Like, the ceiling was leaking in 2 different places hard. And when I say leaking, I mean it was like a waterfall in at least two places that I could see from where I was sitting with my burger and my drink.

On my way back to the room, a girl I didn’t recognize approached me and asked if I knew where Con Ops was located. Apparently her group was one of the burlesque dancers, and they didn’t have all of their badges yet, but were told they would be available at Con Ops to be picked up. I chatted her up for a bit while I walked her over to the location, and then parted ways. I went back to my room to relax for a bit, listening to some music and prepping my sketch cards for the show.

My buddy Russell Lissau (Old Wounds, Starwberry Shortcake) eventually showed up, and I came with him to the hotel bar to sit and chat while he had a snack and a beverage. He told me he had tried to go to the convention center and, because of the rain, it had started to flood! This is why I was glad that I didn’t go set up when I first got in. Apparently, the water in the convention center went all the way from the loading docks almost as far as our tables. We chatted for a few hours and eventually went our separate ways. Eventually my friend Brooke Stephenson (Fallen) showed up, and I helped her get her badges and drop her stuff off before we headed to the Green Room to hang out with the volunteers and staff.

Novembros reunited. With Brooke Stephenson

Greg Ayers had arrived before too long, and it was great to get to catch up with him. People came and went from the Green Room, and eventually I wandered around with Brooke before we parted ways for the evening.

Because I stayed up way later than expected the previous night, I skipped my usual routine of Friday morning workout (which I do regret; it always makes me feel better; energized for the weekend), and headed straight to breakfast. Russell and Brooke were already down there, and I grabbed some quick eggs before heading back to the room to grab my stuff and set up.

The show started around 1pm, and opening ceremonies were at noon, so I wanted to be set up and ready to go prior to the floor opening. Once everything was set, though, it was time to relax and walk around a bit before opening ceremonies.

The booth is all set up and ready for a weekend of selling

During opening ceremonies, it was an opportunity to connect with all of the guests behind the stage. I saw Analise from V for Villains, and also hung out with Samurai Dan and Lady Jillain, and also Chuck Huber. Chuck took off his shirt back stage and made a terrible joke (“Does anyone know a good vet, because these puppies are sick,” as he pointed at his arms), which I dared him to say on stage. Which he did. And now I owe that man a drink. They eventually got to my turn to go on stage, but I was being blocked by one of Lady Jillain’s Akida dogs. The thing was kind of scared to get off the stage, and it was completely blocking the stairs to get on the stage. So they handed me a microphone, and I started my monologue with, “I want to come on the stage, but there’s a terrified dog in the way!” I announced my panels and my location in artist alley, and then headed back to the floor for selling.

And sell we did. People started pouring into the place, including our fellow comic guests Steve Wallace (Reading with Pictures) and Sean Lindsay (Spinnerette). The rest of the day was spent selling, and then we broke for dinner. Steve and I had a panel that night at 9:30pm, right next to the room where V for Villains were playing their concert, which was about Kickstarter for Beginners. Considering the amount of noise we had to deal with from next door, the panel was well attended and very engaging about crowdfunding and Kickstarter.

After the panel ended, we met up with the rest of the group in the Green Room to unwind before going to bed. Friday was an epic start to a great / exhausting weekend, and it would only get better as the weekend went on.

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