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listen up cats and kittens
even the smallest of cons are busy, active places full of lots and lots of people
and this can be daunting
especially if it’s your first convention ever
and especially if you’re suffering from some form of anxiety
some of you might already know that teal is the associated colour of anxiety awareness and so i’ve had the idea of wearing a teal ribbon around your wrist to say ‘please give me some extra space’
the name of the project is EXHALE, so displaying that word on your wrist can be an indicator too!
please spread the word - you could help a person feel safe
(NOTE: i’ll be handing out teal ribbon at any con i’m attending - you’ll next see me at doj-con in dundee on 4/13)
'CON'NON SENSE: How to Prepare & Pack for a Convention (a guide by Crowry) also featuring WHAT NOT TO DO AT A HOTEL
Okay, this post is going to be lengthy, so please bear with me. I want to talk about preparing to attend a convention, how to pack sensibly, and what NOT to do at a hotel. I’ve been attending cons for nearly a decade now and aside from that I have traveled often and widely with my family. I have also worked as hotel cleaning staff, and I know exactly how much someone will hate you for leaving the bathroom looking like a bomb of wig hair, eyeshadow, and toothpaste went off in it. (Hint: a lot.)
HERE WE GO
Starkid at Invasion Con: Did you have any senior pranks?
- Dylan: We had this olympic sized swimming pool at my school, so for ours - I graduated high school in 2005 - we spray painted this mattress and put it in the pool. But then it became so absorbent that it sunk to the bottom and no one had the strength to lift it out. They had to get a crane in to get it out the pool.
- Joey: We had this one guy who had been collecting Christmas trees for months. Just hundreds of these old Christmas trees people were throwing out. And he kept them in this canyon next to the school. So one night, a math teacher - who will not be named - left his classroom door open so they could get in. And they filled every room with these trees. Hundreds of them. They were everywhere and in the bathrooms they were putting them in the stalls. The rooms were just so full, filled to the brim.
PSA: HOMESTUCK COSPLAYERS
some friendly tips from someone who’s stayed in hotels a lot, for cons and for trips and junk:
- before you go to a convention where you’re staying in a hotel, go to the dollar store and buy at least one or two bath sponges (or get a sixpack off amazon for 5 bucks). don’t use hotel towels to scrub off all that gray paint!!! if you do, you’re basically ruining those nice white towels and forcing the hotel to throw them away if they can’t clean them.
- make sure to keep your gray paint in a ziplock bag when not in use, and if you get any smudges on countertops/doors/windows/etc, use some water and tissue paper or toilet paper to wipe it off. bonus points for people who have makeup wipes, which are awesome for taking makeup off you and your surroundings. (these are what i use; you can find makeup wipes at walmart, target and dollar stores.)
- for the love of all that’s holy, before you check out, at least try to rinse out the sink and shower. If it won’t come off with just water, using a hand towel to wipe off excess gray from a shower or sink will get the job done. i can’t say from a room service standpoint, but i imagine one slightly dirty hand towel is better than having to scrub down an entire bath to make sure the gray is gone for the next guest.
some other things that would apply to all convention goers include:
- remember that hotels will charge you if they think there is damage done to the room! so if you smoke, don’t do it inside a non-smoking room (there’s a flat fee they put on you if the room smells like smoke); if you need to wash off all that gray (or red or blue or whatever) and you leave multiple towels trashed and the bathroom looking like some kind of strange creature was murdered and drained in there, you may get charged!
- if your room gets pretty messy and there’s lots of trash around, make an effort to clean it up; even if it’s just shoving it all into that plastic bag you brought sodas in on the first day, doing some effort of house keeping yourself will save the staff some time and show them that congoers aren’t oblivious to the universe around them.
- if you can, leave a tip for house keeping. it’s generally a nice thing to do. if you don’t have money to spare, write them a quick note thanking them for their work.
- remember that what you do in your hotel room does affect the con! for larger cons (like ax/comic con/sakura con), it could mean stricter rules and less hotels willing to sign up for room blocks, which means more expensive rooms. for smaller ones that are hosted in hotels themselves (pmx/ala/conji), bad hotel etiquette from us congoers could mean the convention being kicked out of its location!
so uhhh when you’re at hotels try to be a cool cat and treat the hotel like it’s a secondary home, not a temporary living space that you can do anything you want in.
Time to be done with 'Cosplay Drama'
What happened this week in terms of cosplay that I saw?
- More about the CONsent Movement
- Cosplay Photographers and getting paid
- Jessica Nigri’s lack of permission for selling a photo
But what was more abundant that I saw this week on my personal feed than all of the three above?
- “Getting really sick and tired of this cosplay drama. Cosplay is about having fun.”
I’m sorry if this is a little shocking to everyone, but cosplay isn’t just about having fun. I know, mind blowing, yes? But let us think of a few things about cosplay.
Cosplay is a growing world wide hobby that connects people via conventions and the internet with their hobby. These are people who can be into cosplay for reasons such as: craftsmanship, overcoming personal social boundaries, making friends, showing appreciation for a character, wanting to be socially accepted, omgIjusthavetowearthat, ect. No one person’s story is the same when it comes to why they love cosplay. These people who buy or create their own costumes will also feature themselves in performance or craftsmanship competitions, and out of this be naturally competitive in cosplay. They go to these conventions amongst other con goers and mix with a multitude of fandoms which they may, or may not like. They interact and are photographed by professional photographers, beginner photographers, other cosplayers, staff members, panelists, security, guests, other convention goers, and regular people outside of the convention. They interact with people of the same fandoms at photoshoots or mix and match with other fandom followers in a relaxed place in the convention or possibly backstage at an event like the Masquerade. They trade information with people and connect via the internet, and cosplayers who utilize a fan page connect with hundreds, if not tens of thousands of fans online. We share each others work online while also posting our own. We make friends with other cosplayers, and sometimes the relationship grows deeper or just falls apart.
Cosplaying above all else is a hobby that is run majority on being social with others. The heart of you doing it might be simply to dress up as your favorite character, but in the end you will become this character in order to socialize with others (or attempt to.)
So why is it that cosplay cannot be just about fun? Because people don’t socially interact the same way and do not agree with each other. You have millions of cosplayers who are from different towns, different countries, speak different languages, believe in different religions or philosophies, believe in different political ideals, were all raised differently, have different kin and different family, ect ect. Though you may not think you bring these in with you when you cosplay, these are the fundamental ideals that build you as a person. So when you put several thousand people together in the same location with only ‘cosplay’ as their only similarity, there is going to be friction.
Cosplay is not a perfect hobby. If you expect to interact socially with other people in this hobby you have to come to realize that there is going to be problems and there are going to be disagreements. And that people are going to want to vocalize that there are problems in the community and either be even toned about it or radical off the wall.
When you throw down a cosplay disagreement as ‘cosplay drama’, you spit in the face of the debate that might be rather important to the growth of our community.
- CONsent isn’t just a bunch of girls in sexy outfits complaining that they hate being called ‘fuckable’ at con. It’s a microcosm of a fight against rape culture and other types of harrassment in our own community.
- The fight over paid/free photographers is more than people being cheap. It’s also revealing a lot of issues when it comes to photographers at conventions now having to face the fear of being hit with needing to make licensing issues at conventions in order to have their own light equipment or professional gear with them.
- The issue with Nigri selling a picture isn’t some photographer complaining he’s not getting paid, it’s an actual case of copyright infringement and was trying to spread the word to get her to take down the piece when he wasn’t being taken seriously.
Calling any of these issues ‘cosplay drama’ is attempting to put up a wall between you and the ‘issue’ because you do not want to deal with it. You want to keep this ideal that cosplay is a ‘perfect hobby about fun.’ But the nice thing about cosplay not being perfect is the fact that it keeps it fluid, evolving, and growing more and more every day; it has no founded rules or moderators that need to keep it perfect.
At the same time you cannot cherry pick a topic based on its format. I’ve seen the same people this week share the Wonderwoman cosplayer photo on their facebook page and a day later complain about how CONsent is nothing but drama.
There will always be the radicals that over-blow everything, that’s part of having different people in a hobby. And it is alright to be at the sidelines and just not give a crap about what is going on: that is a logical choice as well. But by summing up any issue growing in the community as a ‘cosplay drama’ simply limits yourself in helping an ever growing community involved because of an innate fear of the hobby changing.
Unless it is someone specifically picking out other people to make a mockery of them, not all social discussions in our community are drama. Its something that people want to talk about to fix (or unfix) so let them discuss. Time to get rid of ‘cosplay drama.’