Anime Unscripted: Cast
FMV Contest: "Gravity of Love"
Masquerade: "It Meant Nothin To Me"
Gravity of Love FMV:
Best Group Craftsmanship, Masquerade
Best Concept, FMV Contest
2nd Place Performance, Masquerade
Our Special Activities:
Shiva, ChibiRinoa, Shiva, Barbara Newman, Shiva (x2)
ConnectiCon is a medium-sized multi-genre convention held annually in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. For its seventh year, ConnectiCon decided to focus more exclusively on the "multi-genre" concept behind it's creation, and successfully followed through on developing a greater array of programming to appeal to fans of science fiction, fantasy, comics, webcomics, and Western animation. As a result, the convention finally began to differentiate itself from other major New England conventions which focus almost exclusively on Japanese anime and manga. This change was reflected in everything from the convention's motto on its website ("Everything But The Kitchen Sink") to main events performances involving Steampunk, Batman, and Doctor Who. A revamped music video contest which allowed fans to submit entries containing sci-fi, fantasy, live action and American footage rather than just anime, and diversified panels, guests, and costuming events further enhanced the multi-genre atmosphere. For cosplayers, the Masquerade, Hall Contest, Cosplay Chess match, Cosplay Dating Game, and Cosplay Court Case gave them opportunities to show off their costumes and perform in whichever area of fandom they so chose. This widespread change in appeal was both noticeable and welcome, and hopefully the convention will continue to grow in this direction.
Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
ConnectiCon got off to a rocky start for both of us Thursday; Sketch had been invited to bring his TARDIS by the staff for use in main events, but a lack of communication as to how to get it inside the building led to a confrontation between ConnectiCon staff and the convention center staff on who was allowed to carry the pieces inside. Finally the issue was resolved, with the convention center staff moving the pieces inside and Sketch and the ConnectiCon staff assembling it inside of main events. Shiva, meanwhile, was an hour into her drive to the convention with Steve when he realized he had forgotten his wig at home which was needed for their masquerade skit and so they had to turn around to go get it. By the time they were back on the road, their arrival had been delayed by several hours, much to Shiva's frustration. By the time Steve and Shiva got there and picked up their badges she was already stressed about the weekend, and Sketch, similarly, was stressing out over his Kurogane costume, which still needed a decent amount of work to be finished in time for the masquerade.
Friday morning Sketch wore Kamina and Shiva got into her Advent Children Tifa costume for the day. As soon as Shiva walked into the convention center, a Cloud carrying around JENOVA’s head stopped her for photos, and they took several funny ones. Majodere, Shiva, and Katy checked out the dealer’s room and Artist’s Alley before grabbing lunch and meeting up with Sketch, Steve, and Christina Vee in main events for Anime Unscripted. It was Shiva's first Anime Unscripted as a main cast member, and she was pretty nervous even though she'd done several guest appearances in the show before. She was relieved to be performing with Steve and Sketch, whom she was comfortable with, and Christina tuned out to be a lot of fun to work with. Despite a few bumps, the show went well and we got quite a few good laughs. When we finished, a bunch of attendees came up to the stage asking for our autographs which was completely unexpected - we'd never had that happen before!
After the show, Sketch met up with his masquerade skit group for a series of rehersals while Shiva changed into her Miku Hatsune costume for a Vocaloid photoshoot with Kurthy as Rin. Just as Shiva was adjusting her wig, Kurthy texted asking “Can it be Vocaloid timez now?” which made her smile. Shiva met up with Kurthy at her hotel room and Christa's mom took their photos, which came out really cute! After the shoot they met up with Sketch and headed to the dating game. Once the game wrapped we quickly ducked out to change into regular clothes before meeting back up for the AnimeCons.TV podcast panel we were co-hosting with PatrickD and Ellystar. Despite the late hour we had a good-sized crowd who really enjoyed our talk and laughed at Patrick's blooper reel compilation. Shiva also fangirled over a Bartz cosplayer in the audience, totally excited to see someone else who was a fan of the oft-ignored Final Fantasy V.
Saturday morning Sketch finished sewing his Kurogane costume and met up with his Tsubasa group to take photos with Christa's mom. Shiva, meanwhile, was enjoying the sunny, gorgeous weather in her Kingdom Hearts version of Rinoa, and did some fun outdoor shoots of Ellystar as Revolutionary Girl Utena, AkaneSaotome as Mrs. Monarch, and Steve and Majodere as Sayorayn and Sakura from Tsubasa. That afternoon we all headed over to catch the FMV contest; since ConnectiCon accepted all fan-video submissions instead of just anime videos this year, Shiva had submitted her X-Files tribute vid, “Gravity of Love” in the drama category. We loved it but we weren't sure how well it would go over with a young audience; The X-Files had been off the air for six years and started before some of the teenagers in this audience were even BORN, which was a little sobering. It got a pretty good reception from the crowd, but it was hard to tell if it was enough of a response to be a contender for an award.
Before reporting for the masquerade, Shiva returned to the hotel to change into Poison Ivy for her skit and was almost abducted by some creepy giant guy who made some sexual comment and then proceeded to CHASE HER when she tried to get away. She ended up running and made it to her room, slamming and latching the door behind her before he got there and started pounding on the door. Shiva freaked out texting everyone she could think of who could come help, and luckily the dude eventually gave up and left, though Shiva refused to go anywhere by herself for the rest of the weekend. We got Shiva escorted back to main events after calming her down, and finally were all seated together for the masquerade. Shiva's group knew their skit was absurd but it got some great laughs, and Shiva was recruited by the masquerade staff to assist co-hosts Ryan (dressed as the Joker) and Maddy (dressed as Harley Quinn), to do an improv piece with them between entries. Sketch's skit also went well, and everyone looked fantastic in their red and black artbook outfits!
While the judges deliberated we sat together on the floor in front of the screen in main events to watch the FMV winners; we jumped up when Shiva's video won Best Concept, which was the first time she'd received a technical award for one of her videos. She was thrilled to be recognized by people who are so good at making videos themselves as opposed to just winning by popular vote, and Sketch screamed "I love your leaves!" as she went onstage to accept the award. ChibiRinoa also said the video made her want to watch the show again, which was awesome. When they got to the masquerade awards, Sketch's group ended up winning Best Craftsmanship for their great costumes and Shiva's group received Second Place Performance for their Maury Povich spoof skit. That night Shiva and the crew partied in her room while Sketch hit up the Artist Alley party with his webcomic friends.
Sunday Sketch wore Kamina and Shiva wore her Cheshire Cat costume and we wandered the convention, checking out the Artist's Alley and the dealer's room. Shiva found the rest of the Wonderland gang in the dealer’s room, and ChibiRinoa did an awesome photoshoot with all of them in the BATHROOM of all places. ConnectiCon does have a pretty awesome bathroom with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, carpeting, and plush couches, so it made a better backdrop than it sounds, and the living room feel allowed everyone in the group - regardless of gender - to participate without feeling like they were making anyone uncomfortable. As things shut down for the day, we changed our of our costumes and helped Sketch disassemble the TARDIS in main events. Once the police box was safely stowed, we packed up our cars and caravanned to Uno's for a large group dinner just like last year, enjoying food, drinks, and conversation. At the end of the night, most of us headed home while Sketch returned to the convention center to pick up the TARDIS and haul it back to his place. Overall, we had an enjoyable weekend and we look forward to attending next year!