Last time on AwesomeCon 2017, I cosplayed as Sailor Mars and got to experience my first celebrity Main Stage event after losing several battles with my wig.
My original plan for the last day of AwesomeCon was to see the Stan Lee Q&A in the morning. But with queuing for a seat starting sooooo early, we decided to go easy on ourselves and leave just a little bit later.
I debated for a while about what costume I’d wear on day 3, but ultimately I decided to rewear Sailor Mars because people responded so well to it and expressed how happy they were to see my character. Somehow, no one else was dressed as Sailor Mars, even though I think I saw most other scouts in person or on social media, and I would have interactions later in the day that reaffirmed I made the right choice here.
Our first stop of the day was The Guild Reunion. This year marked the 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY of maybe the first web series I ever watched, The Guild. I absolutely loved watching those 6 seasons, so seeing the entire cast in reuniting in person was one of the highlights of my con experience. Again, a lot of questions were still directed towards Felicia Day (tellin’ you, queen of the nerds) but all of the actors were really great. (Really sad that Amy Okuda didn’t make it though…) If you haven’t seen The Guild before, I highly recommend it AND the amazing bonus videos that accompany it. (Those music videos are A+++.) It also made me happy to see Codex costumes at AwesomeCon (see Day 2). I probably wouldn’t have seen them at a con where Felicia Day wasn’t a guest, so I really lucked out with that.
After that panel, we skedaddled back over to the Main Stage to catch the Catherine Tate Q&A. I loved Donna Noble on Doctor Who and Catherine Tate is such a fantastic comedian. I somehow forgot about all the clips of The Catherine Tate Show, her sketch comedy show, that I watched on Youtube until someone asked what one of her most famous characters, Lauren Cooper, would think about AwesomeCon. She was so lovely and kind and funny, and I hope that she takes a fan’s advice to ask her agent about putting a Christmas special of hers on Netflix because I’m sure it’s great.
Although there were still other celebrity Q&As left to see, we were only a little bit interested in them and a lot more interested in spending the last hours of the convention at the Exhibit Hall. We had been hedging on a few purchases the past 2 days, but Ben finally walked away with a really beautiful Skyrim map and I was able to pick up a really cool gift for my dad. (Day 3 was on Father’s Day, so the gift was to make up for missing it and for his upcoming birthday as well!)
I had a lot of strange interactions with people on Sunday. There was the guy who came up to me while streaming to Instagram/Facebook Live and informed me that while I was on camera, no one gave me any likes, before walking away to find someone more like-worthy, I guess? A woman really loved my costume and told me I looked just like Sailor Mars and “You could be her twin!”, which is similar to her first statement but different in a way that left me feeling a little perplexed. A woman asked me for a photo and then handed me a leash to which this man was attached:
My favorite interaction, by far, was with a girl who was about 10 years old? She was with her dad and timidly approached me to ask for a photo. I’ll admit that I actually really love when people ask for my photo, even more when children do, because I basically go into Disney park princess mode and momentarily stop feeling the pain of my heels and my clip-on earrings to be look and be happy with a stranger. This girl looked so in awe because Sailor Mars was her favorite Sailor Scout! She told me that my costume looked great and I looked pretty in it, so I’m here feeling very good about myself as we take some photos together. Her dad then came up to me and thanked me himself because he knew how much his daughter loved Sailor Mars and said that they had been looking around the entire weekend for Sailor Mars, so they were very happy to have finally found me. With that, any regrets I had about rewearing Mars (and her heels) (and her earrings) completely vanished. I was SO happy to have been able to make this girl happy, and I’m only sorry I didn’t remember to say Happy Father’s Day to this great dad who knew what his daughter loved and was there supporting her to love those things.
Day 3 cosplay did not disappoint.
We were able to meet up with my coworker Joe again and I was able to convince him that he needed a throw pillow. (I didn’t realize how well I could anticipate what Joe wanted and how much influence I had over him until I realized that I was able to persuade him to attend AwesomeCon to see David Hayter in the first place… and then to buy this pillow.) I was also able to meet up with my Instagram friend, Eric, who is a co-creator of the #strideby hashtag and took this fun Boomerang of me:
Before we knew it, the Exhibit Hall was closing and the con had come to an end. As I walked out of the convention center, I still was getting photos with folks, with one person even asking me for my cosplay page. I laughed because this was literally my first time cosplaying someplace! (In retrospect, I probably should’ve just given him my social media for this blog right here.) People were still trying to ask me for photos as I walked to meet my ride home, and I closed the car door just in total amazement at how AwesomeCon exceeded my expectations.
With that, I wrap up my AwesomeCon recaps. If you’ll recall, I was in a bit of a funk since… May? While I don’t know if it’s over, AwesomeCon was definitely a high point during that prolonged low. I was so happy during those 3 days, even through the wig panic and the hanger and the strange dudes and the foot pain. I am also so grateful to Ben, who had a great time himself but definitely placed my desires above his own the entire weekend. (After all, he watched so many celebrity Q&As for people he didn’t have a clue about at all! We only recently watched The Guild because he was drawn in enough by the actors to be interested in watching.) (It’s good, go watch.)
What are your favorite cosplays from Day 3 that I managed to snap?
What convention should I attend next?? I wish I could go to NovaCon, because it’s another local con that has some cool guests, actually, but I have a conflict that weekend. I was considering trying to go to New York Comic Con but Saturday passes are already sold out, and I don’t know if I can handle a con of that size so soon after my very first one. I am currently thinking about some of the anime conventions (namely Otakon, which is coming up soon) but I am so out of the anime scene that I’m not sure I’ll be hip enough to understand the panels and stuff!
Let me know about conventions that you love and think I should attend! I was so in love with the entire experience that I am already considering traveling just to go. This could get dangerous…
Last time on AwesomeCon 2017, I cosplayed as Blue Dress Ariel and spent a lot of time walking the Exhibit Hall, enjoying my first-ever convention experience.
Saturday was a really incredible, dare I saw awesome, day.
I was breaking out Sailor Mars again, fulfilling my costume dreams AND my convention cosplay dreams, and I was pretty dang psyched about it! Because this was my first convention and I’ve had red hair for all of 2017 (and have natural brown hair vs. the black-violet hair that Sailor Mars has), I decided I’d attempt what I failed over Halloween:
I would wear a wig.
Spoiler alert: I left the convention center not wearing my wig.
In fact, I didn’t make it very far at all with my wig. Because my Mars cosplay includes heels and is much more clearly a costume versus my Blue Dress Ariel outfit, Ben had us Lyft into DC rather than take the metro. As we pulled up to the convention center, I could feel the wig start to slip. You see, with the wig being quite long in the back, it was back-heavy, and I didn’t really have it particularly well-secured to my head.
Even as I was stepping out of the Lyft, people were recognizing me as Sailor Mars and stopping me for photos. Those are probably some of the worst photos of me, as my wig was slipping and I think it was fairly obvious that it was! (Folks were so kind, though, and told me that I looked just like the character. Except I’m pretty sure Rei’s hair was never falling off her head, revealing different-colored hair underneath.) We walked in, went through security, and immediately went to wait in line to see David Tennant talk about space and time travel. While I was realizing that the very friendly young girl in line with me was not the child of the couple next to her and was just standing there by herself talking about Doctor Who to whoever would listen, I came to a terrible realization:
My wig was straight up just falling off my head.
The wig was already making my head hot, but this realization made me break out into a full sweat. People were still trying to compliment my costume when I made the executive decision to take off my wig and go to the bathroom to try to secure it to my head better. (We had a very long line ahead of us so I wasn’t too worried there.) In the bathroom, women and girls were still telling me that Sailor Mars was their favorite or how much they loved watching Sailor Moon, which was so lovely to hear. Regrettably, I was not as cordial in the bathroom as I was outside or even as I usually am in a bathroom because I had bobby pins in my mouth and was furious combing through my wig, still sweating from just how anxious the situation was making me feel. When I finally got my wig back on, I realized my face was starting to get a bit shiny from my makeup trying to contain the stress-sweat.
David Tennant Explores Time and Space was really great, though! I often forget what his natural accent sounds like, and he’s just a very charming man, so the session really energized the completely PACKED Main Stage hall. It was so cool to hear a beloved actor talk to scientists Dr. Grant Tremblay and Dr. Matt Shindell about time travel and what could be possible. David Tennant had some interesting insights on the matter, along with some great stories about acting and being on Doctor Who.
He asked the cameras to zoooooom in on his shoes because they were a very, very ratty pair of trainers. The story behind his strange shoe choice is that he wore his absolute worst shoes to DC under the assumption that he’d be purchasing a new pair of shoes at the airport and be able to finally say goodbye to those terrible shoes. Unfortunately, this did not play out as he expected, and the timing gods deemed that David Tennant would make his public appearance wearing literally his oldest and grossest shoes. He also admitted that he didn’t have a lot of advice for aspiring actors other than:
Don’t be late. Learn your lines. And don’t be an arsehole.
This was my first Main Stage event and it wouldn’t be my last, and I was so so excited to be able to see David Tennant in person! With my wig panic mostly subsided and a really great first event down, I was so ready for the rest of this convention! Next up: the Felicia Day Q&A.
One of the biggest sources of confusion during this con was how Felicia Day was in a small panel room rather than on the Main Stage. (And Wil Wheaton, too!) She is a HUGE figure in nerd culture, so seeing how many people were lined up early and crammed into the room (and turned away as well!) made me really wonder why she wasn’t a Main Stage celebrity guest. Her Q&A was really great (and I heard that even at other panels she was moderating, many fans directed questions to her) because she’s a really eloquent speaker, she is very kind to her fans, and she’s just an all-around awesome lady. Plus she recently had a baby and published a book, so it’s a very exciting time to be Felicia Day… or a Felicia Day fan, I suppose!
Before the panel started, I was admiring a girl in front of me who had a fantastic costume and a bright true-yellow wig that seemed secure and not trying to leap off of her head. While I was staring at her wig, she turned around and complimented my costume, asking if she could get a photo after the Q&A was over. I said of course but lost her in the hubbub of leaving the small panel room. And I started to feel some slipping…
No time for wig slipping! We needed to eat lunch or we wouldn’t be able to eat for several hours because of certain schedule constraints we had. We headed to one of the food areas where Ben and I waited in line to get food when I felt more and more slipping. I could feel my wig panic seeping back in and as my panic-induced sweat started beading up on my forehead, the wig only slipped more and more. There I was, standing in the middle of several lines of people AGAIN, and I had to do something.
I ripped off my wig in the middle of waiting in line and shoved it into Ben’s backpack.
I didn’t know what else to do! My hair was a COMPLETE mess at this point and a lot of people (and children, I’m so sorry children!) just watched Sailor Mars take off all of her hair in a flustered fit. At least I later had a turn of good luck when I was able to snag a little table for Ben and I to enjoy our sandwiches at, because I really need to just sit and wallow in my shame for a bit.
I was bested by my wig. I would not try it again. I admitted complete defeat.
As I was eating and waiting for Ben to come back with his food, someone came up to me and asked for my photo. Oh no. Ohhhhh nooooo. I said “Sure, of course!” and then proceeded to wipe all the whatever was on my face off, try to make my hair behave, and put my gloves back on for this photo:
In any case, my wig panic had me very flustered and needing to just sit and recover for a while, but I was ultimately very relieved to have lost my battle with the wig. It meant I didn’t have to worry about it anymore, even if my hair was now less accurate to the character than it was before.
From there, it was off to the Exhibit Hall. Earlier, we were in the wrong line for the Main Stage and had accidentally found ourselves in the Exhibit Hall line. Luckily, we were able to stroll in, although it was SIGNIFICANTLY more crowded than Friday. There was some bumper-to-bumper pedestrian traffic and a lot more cosplayers sitting on the floor trying to catch a moment’s rest.
Before long, it was time for us to get into the only celebrity meet-and-greet-type line we would wait in at all, because I was one of the lucky fans who got tickets to an Edgar Wright autograph session, along with my friend Annie! Even though I had just asked him a question at his Q&A at the Baby Driver screening, I was really excited to be able to meet him up close. He signed another Baby Driver poster for me (the same one I got after the screening) and I was able to thank him again for coming to DC and answering my question on Thursday.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to spend much more time in the Exhibit Hall as it was off to see the Jason David Frank Q&A at the Main Stage. Growing up, I was an ENORMOUS Power Rangers fan. As one of many young girls who wanted to be the Pink Ranger, Tommy had a special place in my heart, so I was thrilled to see him in person.
Jason David Frank was… not quite what I was expecting him to be. He had so much energy but not in the way that other celebrities that we had seen and would see did. As soon as he walked on stage, he had his phone and was interacting with a Facebook Live audience. Do not let anyone tell you that JDF is not dedicated to his fans, because he is. He frequently mentioned Facebook Live during his Q&A and even had a giveaway for those fans that he prioritized over a giveaway he did for the people asking him questions. But what worried me wasn’t this steadfast love for his fans, but just… attempting to follow his thought pattern. His answers were all over the place and I felt a little concerned for my Green Ranger! I remember in particular that a fan had asked about security at these conventions, because Jason David Frank was actually the target of an assassination attempt at another convention earlier this year. I didn’t know this, but his answer about having security guards that didn’t do anything being the reason that the attempt happened was strange, second only to his proposed solution that security pretend they are doing something and act busy. “Act busy!” he repeated over and over, pantomiming things that security could do to feign security-ness. In any case, I think he is finding some great success with his new gig playing Bloodshot and I wish him the best! As disorienting as his Q&A session was, it was still super cool to see him in person after idolizing him for so much of my childhood.
After debriefing with Annie and Ben to confirm that we were all concerned about the Green Ranger, Annie split off to go to the Wil Wheaton Q&A while we circled back in the line to see the John Barrowman Q&A. I felt guilty dragging Ben to this because he had no clue who John Barrowman was, having never seen a single thing he’s been in, but John Barrowman is something of a legend at these geek conventions and knows how to put on a wonderful show for everyone. He strutted out in heels and a TARDIS onesie (or as someone exclaimed gleefully, a romphim) and was everything any fan could hope for him to be: loud, suggestive, funny, charming, supportive of the 17-year-old girl who covered the depiction of bisexuality in the media…
He told us a funny story about his in-laws (it involved his husband’s unexpected appearance during a livestream) and reveled in how his ASL interpreter signed the phrase “hung like a donkey”. We learned that it’s tough being recognizable when you have “old man hair” in real life and are accused of looking like someone famous… but way older! He wrapped up the Q&A singing Frank Sinatra for us and I left feeling so giddy and energetic. Even Ben perked up significantly after being very confused by the Jason David Frank session and despite not knowing who John Barrowman was. By the time that panel had ended, we were ready to go back to the Exhibit Hall and maybe, finally, purchase some items that we were contemplating the day before.
Unfortunately, the Exhibit Hall was closed already! It closed a lot earlier on Saturday than it did on Friday, and we were pretty disappointed. We had no choice but to turn back and go to the video game parlor, where Ben completely destroyed some kids at Halo. Lemme tell you something: Ben may not have played Halo in a long time, but that game raised him when he was in middle school. He has clocked more hours as Master Chief than I can even fathom. So despite “going easy” on the tweens with the other controllers… they really didn’t stand a sliver of a chance.
While we were gaming, we regrouped with one of my co-workers, Joe, who I was able to persuade to attend AwesomeCon by telling him that David Hayter was going to be there. As a huge Metal Gear Solid fan, Joe essentially came out just to see David Hayder, who voiced his favorite game and whose voice acting is actually an aspiration of Joe’s! (Later, Ben commented that Joe had an excellent voice before I told him that he did some amateur voiceover work on the side.)
After catching up on our AweseomeCon adventures, we met up with Annie and Connie to grab dinner. It was Joe’s first time having poké AND his first time trying mochi ice cream, and it was very delicious. I imagine that passerbys who saw Sailor Mars in the window eating poké were a little confused, but I had an awesome time with my friends, cosplaying, and seeing these great celebrities. I was only sad to think that there was only one day left of this convention. I didn’t want the fun to ever end.
Who are your favorite cosplays in this batch? I have already professed my love for the glitter-bearded Emma Frost and the awesome group crossover cosplay.
Have you ever been surprised by how a celebrity acted in real life?
Have you ever gotten to see a celebrity and s/he was everything you thought s/he’d be?
I resolve to cosplay at a fan convention this year.
While I excitedly prepared for my first-ever con, a lot of folks asked me questions like:
What do you mean, you haven’t been to a convention before?
But you’re such an enormous nerd?
How long have you been cosplaying for?
What do you mean, you’ve never cosplayed before?
But you’re such a gigantic and vain nerd??
The truth is, I didn’t have particularly good reasons for not attending a con before. One of the biggest prohibitors was that I didn’t think I belonged at a comics convention, specifically, because I don’t read comic books. But these conventions have evolved past the comics and have become much broader-interest fan gatherings that include nerds —like myself— who are not comic book readers.
In fact, as I was walking through the Artist Alley with Ben, I was lamenting how I felt a bit guilty walking through, because some of these artists were highly acclaimed comic artists whose work I was completely unfamiliar with and unappreciative of. As I was telling him how I didn’t know a single artist in the Artist Alley, and how overwhelming i was to be surrounded by so many vendors and artists and fans, I saw a corner table with something familiar on it…
… it was Dinosaur Comics and I was approaching Ryan North‘s table and I immediately started to panic. “Oh, do you know him? There’s no one there, do you want to go say hi?” Ben asked me. “NO we must leave now,” I whispered as I scurried away. Eventually, after walking a big lap around the Artist Alley, I summoned the courage to say hello and Ryan gave me a postcard! I’m a fan of his work on Dinosaur Comics and part of why I felt weird going up to him was that I wasn’t super interested in buying any of the merchandise he had? So I started feeling like I needed to buy something to say hi, but also that it cheapened the whole experience with the exchange of money… so I just said hi and he gave me a cute postcard to prove that I did it!
But let’s rewind a little bit for Day 1.
The morning started with cosplay prep! Since Friday is the chillest day of the convention, I went with my more casual Blue Dress Ariel look, which was pulled together by the Danielle Nicole bag I borrowed from my friend, Gretchen. I was recognized at a coffeeshop where Ben wanted to caffeinate (not knowing that Compass Coffee was offering free cold brews at the convention center that day – womp!) and the baristas seemed tickled to see the convention-goers in costume.
Day 1 was very low-key for us, and it was the day we were able to spend the most time in the Exhibit Hall, which worked out in our favor as it was the least crowded day. (In subsequent days, walking through the Exhibit Hall rows felt like pushing through molasses.) It was a bit overwhelming but I loved every single second of it.
Aside from meeting Ryan North, I was able to see a lot of really great cosplayers.
My dress was very popular at the convention, since it was a one-piece low-cost purchase from Hot Topic that really makes a look work, but I liked my added corset because:
It added more shape to the dress, which was quite a bit big on me and
It set me apart from the other girls wearing literally the same dress as me
That corset has become a great themed outfit investment, lemme tell ya!
We tried to attend a panel, but it quickly devolved into a big waste of our time. A few audience members in the front were talking more than the panelists, so the folks in the back could hear nothing, and it was a very pedantic and self-indulgent discussion on the part of both those talkative audience members and the panelists, so we dipped pretty quickly. I did enjoy that AwesomeCon had a FutureCon portion of the convention, and we were able to hear NASA scientists talk about how they are using lasers in space!
One of the big draws of AwesomeCon this year was the fact that Stan Lee was there! Stan the Man was booked all day for photos and autographs, but while I didn’t take advantage of those sessions, I was able to walk through the Stan Lee Museum. There were so many of his early comic sketches, movie props, memorabilia from other celebrities, and of course, so many Iron Man mech suits.
When the Exhibit Hall closed, we ambled over to the video game room before calling it a night with some ramen. I was more than thrilled to go back the next day with my higher-level cosplay!
I tried to hold back on photos to share but what would you like to see more of in the coming AwesomeCon recap posts? (And do you want to see more from the Stan Lee Museum because I have a LOT.)
Who are your favorite cosplays depicted? I had a real soft spot for that Ms. Frizzle!