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Theresa Mather, artist.Photos online: Xanadu Las Vegas part 1: Arriving late Thursday night (17-Apr-2009) et seq.
The picture of [livejournal.com profile] theresamather is from the convention.

AniZona, then Xanadu. AniZona had a mix of a seasoned "old" (over 30) crew of concom, and its third batch of under 30 staff learning the ropes; while Xanadu had a small concom of over-30 people learning as they go. About 350 members attended Xanadu.

AniZona's supposedly trying to train up the younger generation. My conclusion: it's not working. If this is their third batch of staff, if they've managed to have a 100% turnover in staff twice, then there's something wrong with how they're going about it. And it's not because people don't want to make anime conventions happen in Arizona: Saboten-Con over Halloween Weekend, Phoenix Cactus ComicCon (they dropped the "Cactus" this year) in January, AnimeTuCon down Tucson way... (We'll gloss over Yaoi Jamboree for now.) Anime convention fandom has spread into Arizona.

As far as Xanadu: Jacqueline Mason, the lady who'd convinced me to sign up back in September, was no longer part of the Xanadu operation. I expected to find a con suite, but they didn't have one. They didn't have name badges for at-the-door members, just wristbands. And the hotel, the Plaza Hotel (ex-Union Plaza) stinks of cigarette smoke, not just the decades-old kind but the fresh kind from the guy standing outside the door to the ballrooms smoking. I'm not going back to that hotel for a convention again.

We're heading out to Bakersfield tonight, for a cosplay picnic that [livejournal.com profile] summoner_lenne9 is involved with. Should be fun.

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Nikki Costa with tattoo and ''Free Snacks'' sign (which has a tattoo in the corner). Photos now online:
AniZona 4: Late Thursday night (10-Apr-2009) New 16-Apr-2009
AniZona 4: Friday (10-Apr-2009) New 16-Apr-2009
AniZona 4 part 8: Saturday Morning (11-Apr-2009) New 16-Apr-2009
AniZona 4: Sunday (12-Apr-2009) New 16-Apr-2009
A stop at the PODS Warehouse (13-Apr-2009) New 16-Apr-2009
The picture of [livejournal.com profile] aesthier as "Morrigan" with the [livejournal.com profile] animelosangeles tattoo is from Saturday.

Part 1 of my AniZona report. The Friday night dance at AniZona was cut short at midnight, apparently because the DJ got tired or bored or something. Reportedly the fans weren't dancing that much anyway. Which reminds me of a card I need to write out and mail:

[livejournal.com profile] lynxcat, I owe you a major apology for not asking you back as DJ at Animé Los Angeles 4. Your dances in the early years were always well-attended, and you kept the energy going all night. I still remember that night you told me "They won't die! I'm trying to kill them, and they just keep dancing!" I made a big mistake in removing you (in order to to try to solve a different problem). It was incredibly disrespectful and rash, and I shouldn't have done that.

I realize that you've moved away, and are now married with a wonderful son, and have a new life almost completely independent of everything you left behind here in So. Cal. But I would be honored if you would come down next year, our convention's fifth anniversary, and take a shift during our Saturday night dance at the LAX Marriott (2010-01-09). Show these upstart otaku DJs how it's done, put some of your manic "Adrenochrome" energy back into this convention, and leave the fans wanting more.

Yours in fandom, etc.

I'll look up his address and get that sent off real soon now.

I've been writing a lot of notecards lately, in fact -- I've written over 200 in the past month or two, thank-you notes for everyone who worked at our convention this year. When I have time, I write until my hand gets tired, then stuff the envelopes and stamp them; repeat. So some of them have Arizona postmarks if I worked on them last weekend.

Melissa De Mello at breakfast. We had a fan table at AniZona, which was nice. [livejournal.com profile] ladymaxstarr rode out with me (left), and we took turns driving. A lifesaver, truly; if I had to choose between having a helper for the drive, and having one at the table, I'd take the drive to make sure I get where I'm going safely.

And the attendees at the convention seemed to have a good time. Which is not surprising: when people go to a convention expecting to have fun, they usually do.

Stephanie Bannon in the convention office. The schedule grid is on her computer. If I remember the numbers treasurer Stephanie Bannon (right) told me, 70% of the members pre-registered in the last month before the convention. (They maxed out their cap the week before, so there were no at-door membership sales.)

What did I think of the convention? I saw lots of people having a fun time. There were some details that were lacking, such as the signs... )

There were a lot of good feelings among the attendees. But there are some major issues with the staffing, so this is the last AniZona weekend convention for the forseeable future... )

It was an odd convention experience for me. AniZona's as old as Animé Los Angeles, so for it to end on such a conflicted note -- the regular attendees having a great time, but clear signs of early burnout on the part of the staff -- is hard for me to internalize.

I'll have more thoughts on the convention in my next post, along with some ponderings on the Arizona convention scene.

Tonight we hit the road for Xanadu Las Vegas. [livejournal.com profile] ala_mokita is on the road already, to set up a movie illustrators exhibit. (As I write this, he's about 60 miles from Vegas, while I haven't left Orange County yet.) Lynn, Melissa and I plan to wait until the traffic dies down a bit after rush hour and then we'll hit the road ourselves.


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Chaz Boston Baden

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