When I was walking back to my hotel to bid Hartford and ConnectiCon 2010 farewell, I had to walk through Riverfest, a celebration that takes place near the Connecticut river and takes place at the park between the hotel the convention took place at and the one I stayed in. I picked up some fried dough, as is my way, and checked out the music.
Normally I would enjoy an event like this, especially with the promise of fireworks that evening. (And if you’ll forgive me for saying so, Hartford has some of the hottest females in the state.) It should be something I would enjoy and one would think that it would be a topper to a three-day convention.
It wasn’t. I left as soon as my dough was finished. The question is…why?
I already stated all this in the day 3 audio post, but it bears repeating. Riverfest seemed so far removed from the pseudo-fantasy world I just left. It’s as if the two experiences would clash against each other. Maybe I wasn’t ready to rejoin the real world just yet, and merely going home was the best I could muster (although I did stop on the way home for supper, fried dough only goes so far after all).
I do have a few regrets. Next year I really need to make sure the shoes I take are comfortable enough for walking around a convention (luckily I had my dancing shoes with me, or the bad foot I developed would have been even worse, and even then I had to sit down and take the shoe off). Because of that foot, I missed or was late for some panels, although not keeping track of when what started didn’t help in cases.
I had brought a bunch of business cards to promote the site. I even made individual Jake & Leon one panel strips on the back, and had thought about doing a contest with them. I didn’t pass a whole lot out, and since a lot of the jokes involved cosplay or anime/gaming references, I can’t just drop them off at my local comic store.
At the hotel I ended up at breakfast alongside this guy named Jeff. He didn’t have his costume on at breakfast (I did see a few on Sunday who did) and I didn’t get a pic of him in his outfit later or get to meet his girlfriend. Get this. He lives in…I think North Carolina, while his girlfriend lives here in Connecticut. He traveled all the way up here (with his dad, who enjoyed the hotel) just to go to the convention with her. That’s love, people.
At the end the Nerdfit Network‘s “Now Your a Man” panel I asked “the Internet” (I think his name is Eric) about something and he had said if I wanted to he’d get together with me and give me some tips on how to pick up women. Sounds awesome to me, but our paths didn’t cross again. Hopefully if he’s ever in these parts again I can still hit him up for some advice. We all know I need it. 😀 (Seriously, if you read this and you’re ever in Connecticut, look me up.)
So what did I enjoy about the convention? A lot of things. I loved seeing people in their costumes. I’m not the type of person who would wear more than a cape. However, I love the imagination that gets put into many of the costumes, even the ones that they didn’t make themselves. Obviously, the more of a labor of love it was, the cooler it was, but I was impressed by the imagination used, especially the more generic ones like “catgirl” or even “zombie” (and usually I really don’t care about zombies) but as you saw in the pics and will see in the videos, some of them looked darn good.
I really enjoyed watching people express their fandoms. As a would be comic writer I would be thrilled if one of my creations ended up as a cosplay. As it stands, I’m not sure how a Jake or Leon cosplay would even be possible, but I have other characters I want to bring into the multiverse so there’s that.
The kinship between everyone there was also of interest. ConnectiCon is a convention that celebrated sci-fi, anime, gaming, and all that goes with it. These are the people too often ostracized by the general public. Maybe not sci-fi so much but gaming is constantly under fire and anime isn’t really understood, just like Western animation really. Here they can be themselves, or even not be themselves and be someone else for a while. Here they are accepted among their peers, which can span generations and walks of life. It breaks down barriers and escapes the cruelties of the real world, something fiction used to do but doesn’t do enough.
Let’s face it, I’m not technically “one of you”, whatever that may mean. I still have trouble relating to people. While I did get my share of the “free hugs” I still had to approach someone and I’m not always comfortable with that. I didn’t make any “long lasting friendships” that I know of, much less meet a woman who shared my interest. (For the uniformed, hugging isn’t always sexual, and not knowing who was single, legal, or in some cases female–you know how some cosplays go–makes meeting someone to cuddle with hard. Hugging is easy.)
I don’t cosplay, I don’t drown myself in the “geek culture”, which is why I refer to myself as a “demi-geek” along with not having the IQ of your average Beauty & The Geek contestant. I enjoy sci-fi and animation and that’s it. My outlet of imagination comes in the form of stories. However, the creativity I see in these events…I guess I could say I’m a fan of them.
Yes, I’m a fan of the fandom as much as what we’re all fans of, my one connection to the ConnectiCon community. In many ways, though, I’m still something of an outsider, and as one let me state that if anyone tells you you’re wrong for putting on a costume based on a “Japanese cartoon”, they’re wrong.
However, I would wish to see the love, skills, and creativity that you bring to the conventions extend beyond this or any other convention. Imagination is the spark of creativity and creativity the spark of life. The things you create could lead to many things in the future in entertainment, fashion, or art. Even architecture could benefit from the skills I saw on tap and who knows what else? I don’t just see kids in costumes. I see a future that isn’t bound by some of the issues that plague the real world.
The “real world” seems determined to suck fun and creativity out of life. Kids shows are dumbed down to nearly nothing, and that’s when you can find them. (The “maverick” response can lead to going to far the other way, mind you.) That spark of creativity and fun is replaced by a desire to turn kids into mindless robots that lose innocence, the soul of imagination and creativity. A lot of things I grew up with were considered fun and exciting but now are laughed off as “corny”. That’s pretty sad, and I reject the angst-ridden multiverse that Hollywood and comics have become as well as the real world.
I accept its existence, but the thought that “this is how the world is, so don’t fight it” is wrong! While there are still some things I won’t “open up to” based on how I see the world, I prefer the world I saw at ConnectiCon. Maturing doesn’t mean losing that spark of life, creativity, and fun from our youth. You want to keep kids out of gangs, off drugs, and hopeful for a better world? Check out these cosplayers. They aren’t in denial of the world as it is, but see the world as it could be (just with big robots, superpowers, and weird gadgets). And the best part? They don’t even realize it.
They aren’t even thinking about changing the world, recreating reality or any of that. They just want to live their lives. Combine that with only the stark realities we can’t avoid, and they see a new, often better world (if you count a zombie invasion “better” 😀 ) than the one we have. They know how to deal with the stresses of the world without going insane or suicidal. Theirs is a beautiful world and that’s what I want my own attempts at fiction to be.
I want to thank everyone who participated for allowing me to visit your world for a while, to be a silent observer in it (and occasionally letting me hug you because you were just so darn cute 🙂 ) and forget how crappy the real world can be, if only for a few days. I may never fully plug in because I am an adult, although one who still lets his inner child out now and then to see the beauty, innocence, and light of the world still exists. Never let that imagination die, but please use it–not to deny the truth about the world, but to show why we exist. That the world is worth living in. To see that silver lining. To seize the future.
A few days have passed and I’ve reintegrated with the real world, but I hope to carry part of that other world in my mind and heart, to remind me that regardless of what is to continue to hope for what CAN be. That, along with the various panels, is why I started going to these things and hope to do so again.
Special thanks to Kiarrens from the ConnectiCon forum for catching some of my typos. That’s what happens when you type in a rush.