Monday, July 22, 2013

Steady As She Goes: Connecticon 2013

You are not in NYC anymore, Pucca.
It was a weekend of firsts: it was the first weekend where the weather was below 90 degrees; the first weekend I stayed in Connecticut instead of just passing through; it was the first time time I attended a convention that was not an anime or comic focused; finally, it was my first time at ConnectiCon.
UncleYo vouched for the convention every time I had a chance to talk to him. This year I was fortunate to attend as Press. Coming from New York it was a hop, skip, jump to Downtown Hartford by Metro-North. Not only that but ParfaitDoll was nice enough to offer me a place to stay.  Not only that but the weather held out to be perfect for a convention unlike the heatwave that continues in New York City.

The family that watches Korra together, stays together.

Which witch is which?
I must say that it was refreshing. As I've talk to many attendee goers, it was a con for those who did not or could not go very far and still wanted a con experience -- and you certainly get that at the Connecticut Convention Center. Unlike Otakon or New York Comic Con, ConnectiCon was a smattering of fandoms: there's anime, comics, celebrities and a panel room that always has something to do with Doctor Who.

Doug Walker autograph signing.

Little Witches Academia.
While Connecticon boasts an attendance of 10,000 plus people, it still felt small; which for me was a good thing.  I never had to worry about lines, crowds, or if I had eaten anything at all that day. Yet on Friday lines were still out the door and everyone was waiting to get into the Dealer's Room. There had been few occurrences where I waited in line for a panel—unless it was for Jim Cummings or UncleYo.

Marina Sirtis and Magic a la Mode.

Marina Sirtis a bit peeved there are people leaving for Doctor Who panels.

Lolita Fashion and Life: Wearing Daily - hosted by Ramble Rori.
For a convention in the middle of Connecticut, the Lolita fashion community is quite strong -- having not one, but three panels dedicated to Japanese fashion. There was a panel, run by Christina from Ramble Rori and Caro from FYeah Lolita on how to wear Lolita fashion daily and how to make your wardrobe more versatile (KISS).

Stick them with the pointy end. Perhaps slicing them is a better choice in this case.
Later in the day was a J-Fashion Show, featuring different fashions that you find wandering the streets of Tokyo.

Dolly kei; Shironuri; Cult Party; Aristocrat

Sweet Lolita; Gothic Lolita; Gyaru; Decora

Group shot.
Unfortunately I will regret due to the lack of seating (due to sword demos taken place the hours before) and dim lighting made for poor pictures on my part.

UMI sushi + tapas in Blue Back Square

Conveyor belt sushi in Connecticut. Who knew?
Since the show was the last thing on our list, Victoria and I celebrated surviving our first day with a sushi dinner. Umi is located in West Hartford in Blue Back Square – a fancy outdoor mall that reminds me of the Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham, MA. Umi is a conveyor belt sushi place that certainly stands out in the suburbs. I decided to try the sushi off the belt and it was good, especially if you went for the classic rolls. There were also odd flavors like BLT rolls and something called an Edamame Bomb.

Lolita Fashion 101 - the silhouette.

Swap Meets are good for those looking to clear and add to their Lolita fashion wardrobe.
Saturday we took it easy and attended the Lolita 101/Swap Meet panel. Oddly enough, I was told that the room was full yet when I peeked in again there were quite a few seats. However it was a constant rotation as the room was overpacked, leaving staff to ask any standing room people to leave. No matter where you go I suppose anything related to Lolita fashion will get a packed room. At the end of the panel was a swap meet for Lolitas or attendees to add or clear their wardrobe.

Jim Cummings Q&A
Jim Cummings Q&A started with the voice actor asking questions about his audience before they could ask their own question. This was intermingled with Cummings and Liz Landa actin out scenes from Star Wars (Winnie the Pooh as Darth Vader), The Godfather (Tigger as Micheal Corleone), and Gone with the Wind (Ray the Firefly as Rhett Butler).

Lastly was UncleYo's panel which was his and friends telling convention stories. There were so many to choose that he left it up to the audience to choose. Eventually it divulge into telling the story of how he and his girlfriend meet, and reading aloud fanmade fujoshi featuring UncleYo.

Penne a la vodka - sauteed portobello mushrooms and red peppers tossed in tomato cream sauce made with house infused jalapeno vodka.

Connecticut treats their congoers right.
Our night ended with catching a bite to eat at the Front Street Bistro across the street. I'm always weary of food around a convention, much less inside a movie theater. Front Street Bistro though made you feel like you were at a restaurant with it's outdoor dining and hardwood seating-- despite lines right next door to see Pacific Rim for the nth time.  The menu was a typical burger and fries joint, and I opted for a penne a la vodka. Overall I was impressed by the service at 8PM on a Saturday during a convention: waiter was attentive and service was prompt, even the food was excellent. The penne was not drenched in heavily ladened vodka sauce and had slices of portobello mushroom. Also if you still had your badge, you could get 10% off your bill.

Potato Pancakes. 

Vanna White waffle. There is fruit under that. Somewhere.
Sunday was all about the brunch.  Victoria took me to a brunch place she frequents a lot – Leo's Restaurant. It was your basic restaurant but the brunch was impressive and, I must say, creative. They had croissant-style french toast, a take on Huevos Rancheros, and a waffle named after a game show hostess. I went with potato pancakes...and could not finish. Victoria had a waffle that looked to be something from Milky Planet than waffle.

10 Most Important Things About Writing.
Once we arrived at the convention was I popped into a panel about how to improve your writing (i.e. Write a lot; Don't be a perfectionist; Experience everything).

Kokeshi Doll Workshop
Victoria and I also tried our hand at making kokeshi dolls.

To drink or not to drink all the tea: that is the question.
Lastly there was a tea tasting panel where for $1 you got a souvenir cup, went to table, and learned about the tea they were brewing. This panel was also popular and almost sold out. Again we were told it was completely booked, but by per chance we were able to secure the last two spots.

Dealers' Room

Haru Vamp as Bōsōzoku Black Lady with Sailor Moon 
Overall I had a wonderful first Connecticon experience and would certainly consider going again next year. It was the convention of my yesteryears when I thought AnimeNext was a big convention. It was a convention where I didn't have the race at opposite ends of the Javits Center at New York Comic Con to catch a panel.  

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