Part 2 of my Autumn Dream report.
The other half is here.
Why did I keep going to Ani-Magic?
To let the anime convention-going fans in the Antelope Valley know that
our convention exists.
To "wave the flag." To have another point of
contact with Animé Los Angeles members and potential volunteers.
To give away refreshments where the convention has no con suite, so that
people can stay hydrated even when they're broke.
I've said this before, but it's worth repeating: Autumn Dream bears almost
no resemblance to Ani-Magic. There's some continuity in staffing, a small number of diehard repeat attendees, and a completely different "feel" to the convention. It was held in the Poppy Pavilion at
the new Antelope Valley
Fairgrounds (left). I think they missed an opportunity to put up
CK to change the name to Pocky Pavilion.
And I was mildly disappointed that there weren't any concessions
offering food on a stick. I know they roll in and out for special events,
like fairs and swap meets, but still I hoped they might show up.
( The official hotels for the convention were the Hampton Inn & Suites (left) and its sister hotel next door, the Homewood Suites... )
On top of that, (almost) everything was in one huge barn-like room.
a look at their Program Guide (PDF).
Take a look at page 9. Saturday live program items are at 9:30 am, 11:00,
1:30 pm ("Meet Kyle Herbert"), and 4:00 pm. Sunday is similar. Four
panels? One track, four timeslots on Saturday, that's it? No wonder
people were wandering around, bored, with nothing to do.
( Incidentally, the only way to get the 20-page program guide was to print out the PDF from the website... )
( I've always paid my way at Ani-Magic... )
I attended the
library_lynn and several others. While we were there,
some Ani-Magic/Autumn Dream staffers came to us to talk about volunteering
for Animé Los Angeles, such as Grace Nua (right).
We didn't go seeking out staffers -- we just set up our station and
waited for them to come to us. We had one staffer stop by as late as
pm Sunday to talk about working for us. (She hadn't had a break before
( I made sure we didn't criticize the convention, even when someone (left) asked me point-blank whether Anime Los Angeles was better than Autumn Dream... )
So anyhow, about our Animé Los Angeles presence at Autumn Dream:
we just kept to our area. The Dealers Room apparently didn't fill
up, dealers-wise, which would explain why we were offered a free second
( I printed up some huge posters on the Bertha at the Tower to decorate our space... )
( Revell even stopped by for a while on Sunday and talked to my minions (left)... )
This gave me an idea for a small program track: "Your Next Convention"
which would be a bunch of half-hour timeslots, one for each convention
that wanted to participate. Each convention could give a presentation,
hear comments about "last time" and answer questions about "next time,"
and basically have a little fannish inquisition. The last day of the
convention would be perfect, because people are thinking about where to go
next, and it could be held at a table near Registration because generally
Reg is pretty quiet on the last day.
( I came away from the conversation with the distinct impression that he thinks because I've kept quiet for three or four months, everything's fine between us... )
And Autumn Dream this year had at least 750 attendees, based
on what I heard Saturday night from either Jack or Revell.
( Most of them were families from the Antelope Valley who had never attended an anime convention... )
But enough about what Revell had to say about this year's convention.
What did I actually do at Autumn Dream? Well, I'd booked two rooms
at the Hampton Inn. I
had enough Hhilton Hhonors points to get a free room just for the Minions.
Melissa De Mello (right) was in charge of that room, with
summoner_lenne9 sharing the space. The room that Lynn and
I shared had an
extra bed (we had that in case selinawoman made it out), and
we put Rachel Dorfman there.
Sarah and Willow (left) got in some "minion practice" during the
weekend. The two of them, along with veterans Melissa and
the core of the Minion team for 2008. We'll be training up the rest of the
proto-minions Thanksgiving weekend, at loscon, where (if all
goes well) we'll give them phones or walkie-talkies or something and
Melissa will sit back and watch them fly.
Lynn and I made it to Lancaster late Friday night, so we just turned in
instead of seeing if anyone was still setting up at the fairgrounds.
Saturday morning, we found some breakfast somewhere and stopped off at
Vallarta Supermarket to get a couple
of cheap bottle openers (and some Mexican orange sodas).
As soon as we arrived at the fairgrounds we saw an old friend,
Jerry Shaw (right).
Heading in to figure out what the arrangement was for dealers setup, I ran
into Lenny Winkler (left). Although we haven't interacted much before, he
recognized me on sight and told me where to go.
( When unpacking everything and setting it all up, we discovered a problem... )
Melissa, Willow and Sarah met us on-site Saturday morning, and
we got to work setting up our space. Folding table and chairs, tablecloths
on the tables, rearranging the other chairs to make a little
conversational nook at the side of our space.
Assembling the wire cubicles along the back wall, taping up posters on the
high wall, putting out the snacks and water bottles neatly. Stamping the
special coupon code on newsletters and postcards, arranging ribbons for
sale. Easily 8 different tasks to accomplish. So we could have used more
help! We got it done not long after the hall opened, though, and settled
Melissa teased this pirate by taking and wearing his hat, repeatedly. So,
a rare photo where he actually has possession of his own hat (right).
also happens to be wearing a Pocky box, but I'm sure it made sense in
If you have the Animé Los Angeles 4
program book, there's a drawing of him in our Rum Party writeup.
has many friends... Jessica loved the giant enlargements
art, so at the end of the convention I took down those posters and gave
them to her. Konoe Suzumiya wasn't there, so the summer "postcard" went to
someone else who fell in love with it, and the winter art poster went home
( An interesting fact about our location... )
For dinner Saturday night, Athena recommended we go to
Primo Cafe (44599 Valley Central Way, Lancaster CA 93536). It was
delicious. I had the chorizo burrito, which probably doesn't come as a
surprise to many of you who've been reading my recent escapades.
We missed the Masquerade. Sarah was in it (sorry for missing it!) and she
was shocked that her group won "Best in Show."
has posted a complete set of videos on Youtube, look for
"4of7 Ani-Magic 08 Cosplay Contest."
I looked at the video. I didn't judge all of the entries critically, but
I'm confident their thrown-together skit was in the top three. Most of the
other presentations were very weak.
The five-minute stand-up routine
by the man whose "costume" was a
black sweatshirt with "NINJA" in big block letters was particularly
(Part 1of7, from 2:58 through 7:48, when the tech crew took
pity on the audience and cut his mic.)
Have I mentioned, by the way, that animelosangeles is looking for a
Masquerade Judges' Clerk/Timekeeper?
( The ''Rum Party'' had such a lovely location in the AVI's restaurant the year before (right).... )
( And we had lunch delivered to us on Sunday! )
( Sunday was about as slow as the last day is at many conventions. )
So we went home, and were in our own beds by midnight.
And as for next year?
( Revell's 21 October post on the Autumn Dream forums: 'On to Next Year' )
He talks about money and funding, and about an exciting program for the
celebration -- which he calls the tenth anniversary. No, "10th Annual
Convention" and "10th Anniversary" don't mean the same thing. If the convention started in 2000, then 2010 is the tenth anniversary. The second
annual convention was the first anniversary of the first convention, i.e. one year after, right?
So... oh, never mind. And as far as weddings and children go, his "any other con" claim is so weak it's hardly worth puncturing.
On the drive home, Sarah asked me if there was any anime convention
didn't have some sort of criticism of. That stopped me for a bit, and
had to figure out how to say what I wanted to say. I mean, I'll cheerfully
be critical of the mistakes I've made with our convention, so why should
I hold back anywhere else?
I finally explained that my issue with most regional anime conventions has
to do with my view that the Con Suite is the heart of a convention. You
can have a convention that just has nametags and a Con Suite, and it's
still a convention. (A "relaxacon.") Hospitality, and the fact that people
like to hang out with each other and break bread together: these are
important. You see at other anime conventions that people create socializing spaces, usually in the lobby. Why not have one of those socializing spaces have a few snacks?
We've done "mock con suites" at many local conventions, including
Ani-Magic last year and pmx this month. Some people have
started calling our Peanut Butter rooms "the con suite." (Another reason
to not go to every convention every year: we're not providing a reliable
service for XYZ-con, we're trying to promote our con at XYZ-con. XYZ-con
attendees shouldn't end up confusing our operation with something official
provided by the con, because then we lose the benefit of them associating the Peanut Butter Room with Animé Los Angeles.)
I'd like for other conventions to decide that a con suite is valuable, and
worthwhile, and of benefit to their members. I think the fans have
already discovered the value, we just have to wait for the convention
staff to see it and work for it.