PortCon Maine is New England's oldest anime and gaming convention, held annually in southern Maine. The fan-based convention's organizers are committed to maintaining a relaxed, small-convention atmosphere which focuses on promoting socialization among attendees, guests, artists, and performers.
PortCon Maine celebrated its tenth anniversary by changing the event from an exclusively anime/gaming convention into a multi-genre convention. Programming was expanded to include science fiction, fantasy, comics, pop culture, and everything in between. The move did not come as a surprise; the convention has always welcomed variety. It's masquerade, for example, has always allowed characters from any genre and has even encouraged originally designed costumes. To reflect the official switch, guests included comic magician Brian Brushwood in addition to voice actors Chris Ayres, J. Michael Tatum, and Daniel Kevin Harrison. Panels covered topics ranging from Doctor Who to podcast broadcasting to the personality archetypes represented in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and the main events tent was decorated with a large model of The Enterprise and a full-size replica TARDIS. Other events included the boffing tournament, Anime Unscripted, and Extreme Geek. Rainy weather crowded the small indoor areas of the con for the majority of the weekend, however the tent had much better ventilation and avoided the overwhelming damp stank of 2009's washout weekend. 2011 continued PortCon's tradition of expertly running a small con as if it were large, allowing it to maintain a well-organized, friendly, event-filled, and overall professionally-run feel.
Sketch and I arrived at the Wyndham Thursday night in the pouring rain, and unloaded and assembled the TARDIS in the main events tent with the help of Doug, PatD, several staffers, and a crowd of gawkers. The old girl looked smashing; she’d been rewired so that the lights blinked in time to the sounds and the antique phone I’d given Sketch made its con debut! Friday we got up early to check into the garage sale; unfortunately Sketch had over 300 items so it took a while. We then wandered the con in our Captain Mal and Cheshire Cat costumes until Sketch’s panel, “Props and Sh*t.” The place was packed, Sketch gave one of his best talks, and the attendees asked great questions. Afterwards I joined Doug to film our “Versus” segment for the podcast before heading to Anime Unscripted. The show was fantastic; Sketch was on his game, and Chris Ayres and Michael Tatum dominated. The fourth guy was so-so, but he didn’t blow the show. After dinner we headed back to PatD’s room and partied for several hours. We got a knock on the door and assumed it was security, but instead a teenaged attendee asked, “Is there a party in here?” PatD said “No,” and shut the door in his face. When we left 20 minutes later, there were about fifteen of them standing out there looking awkward in their pajamas. “Are you SURE there isn’t a party in there?” they asked as we filed out. Not for anyone under 25 there isn’t.
Saturday Sketch dressed as Flynn and EllyStar, Gale, and I wore our Sundae Best My Little Pony costumes from the ‘80s. With the popularity of the new show we were mobbed for photos. I helped Steve into his Rose Tyler costume for the masquerade; he had quite the bustline going on with my lingerie bra stuffed with Sketch’s Captain Mal gloves and facecloths! I filmed the show for the podcast, Sketch and EllyStar judged, and Steve and Jekka were hysterical emceeing as Rose Tyler and Amy Pond. The best skits included the Portal 2 one and a skit featuring mischievous faeries that made me laugh. That night we returned to the tent for Brian Brushwood’s performance; it was a shorter version of the program I’d seen at Dragon*Con, but this time I got to see it up close. I also caught the end of Mookie’s panel; he’s a talented and animated speaker with a real passion for writing. Sketch and I then went to Jeni's "Rule 34" panel, where Steve and Leelee had saved us seats in the front row. It was a packed house with people on the floors, standing in the back, and a large number of people were turned away. That night we returned to PatD’s room and thew back tequila shots with Brian Brushwood, Chris Ayres, and J. Michael Tatum.
Sunday I got into my Skuld uniform and went to Brian’s podcast panel. He was helping his audience workshop ideas for everything from titles and content to format and promotion and gave excellent advice. I took notes and revised questions for my interview with him later. Sketch and I wandered the con somewhat exhausted; we ended up in the staff suite watching “The Thing” with the guests. I interviewed Brian after it wrapped up and then Sketch and collected our stuff at the garage sale. I only sold half my stuff but I made over $200! Doug helped disassemble the TARDIS and we had a nice chat with Chris Ayres before we left. Perfect weekend!