Con Report: Kami-Con 2010

We got back into Savannah at 3:30 am last night after driving for like eight hours. Kami-Con was the furthest I’ve traveled for a convention thus far, and losing an hour between Alabama and Georgia didn’t help either. Despite that and the ridiculous weather over the weekend, Kami-Con was a good time and I even managed to get a few more pages of Rainbows and Rainclouds inked while I was there! And I remembered to take more photos of things other than cosplayers and my table this time, though I’m not sure they’re all that interesting and I also forgot to take pictures of a bunch of commissions. Can’t have everything, I guess.

Here is a picture I took while we were driving. Hanging all my paper crane chains in a gigantic mess from the rearview mirror is the easiest way to transport them without crushing them. My Wedgehead Uglydoll chills by the clock because I decided that Meg needed some dashboard decor.

FRIDAY

Kami-Con is another small, two-day college convention at the University of Alabama, but Tuscaloosa, Alabama is a longer ways away than Columbia, South Carolina, so this Friday wasn’t nearly as relaxing as the previous. Even though I confirmed a table a month or two ago, Kami-Con was a toss-up for a while because the original ride for my group bailed not long after said confirmation and without a replacement ride, a bunch of the others that had planned on coming also bailed. Then last weekend at Nashi-Con, Meg told me that she’d fixed her car up so we could go to the con, along with Stephanie (Chewi), who was the only other person who hadn’t bailed. But even fixed up, Meg’s car is like fifteen years old and she was worried about it not being able to make it to Alabama… so what ended up happening was:

Friday, we left Savannah at around one in the afternoon and headed for Atlanta where we would swap cars with Meg’s mother for the weekend. There wasn’t really a way to go straight from Savannah to Tuscaloosa anyway, so the detour didn’t impact our travel time all that much, but yeah. We stopped by Sonic on the way and traffic on I-75/GA-400 got really bad as we neared, so we didn’t get into Atlanta until around 5:30 or so. We stopped at Meg’s mother’s workplace to swap cars and talk briefly (she was very sweet and gave us snacks and water as well) before heading off again. Aside from better assurance that we’d actually make it to the con, it was a great swapping out cars for two reasons: 1) Meg’s car didn’t have a CD player, and 2) it didn’t have working air condition either.

Traffic was pretty blah for a while still, but with a functioning CD player now, we could rock out to my very last-minute mixtapes. Hurray for loud, obnoxious car karaoke! The music’s up loud because driving on the freeway is loud. You can hardly hear your own voice because it’s so loud, which means if you sound bad, no one will know. The only slight downside is the driver wanting to drive very fast when the theme to Batman: The Animated Series comes up.

We stopped at Waffle House for dinner around eight. When we got back on the road, we started seeing crazy light flashing on the horizon. We had no idea what it was for a good half hour, but eventually, it became obvious that it was lightning. I never heard any thunder, but that could have been a side effect of the loud music. The lightning was seriously ridiculous though. It was making all sorts of strange patterns I’d never seen lightning make — like a few times, the lightning flashed in a circular pattern. It was pretty intense. I wish I could have gotten some photos of it, but I only bring my crappy toy camera to cons since my DSLR is another bulky thing to carry. We watched the lightning flash crazily for about an hour before we finally hit the rain, and that only started to really come down once we got to the hotel at around 10:30 pm. Yes, it only starts really raining when we’re trying to unload our crap into the room. ~_~

The first room the hotel gave us wouldn’t open for some reason. It was kind of creepy. The card swipe would go green and the door could technically open in that I could push it in a crack, but then it’d hit something and stop. It seemed almost like the deadbolt was in, but it didn’t open quite far enough for that to be obvious, and considering the room was definitely empty (the curtains were open and we could see into it), that would be impossible, right? Right? After trying to wrestle the door open for five minutes, I went to the lobby to get a different room about three rooms down. I saw two con-goers while I did that. Not cosplayers, but obviously con-goers. Funny how they’re always easy to spot.

Nothing else exciting happens Friday night and lights were out at one. (Okay, well, I did finally get my 8th gym badge in SoulSilver before going to sleep.)

SATURDAY

Artist Alley wasn’t supposed to open until noon on Saturday though set-up supposedly began at seven. We didn’t need to be there that early at all, really, but I was inexplicably awake at 6:30 am and eventually got up around seven. I roused the rest of the small party and we went down to the hotel’s complementary breakfast at half past. I wanted to head out by eight, but Chewi had to iron her very wrinkled Haruhi cosplay which set us back a bit. And it started pouring down rain about five minutes before we finally did leave. We got slightly lost on the way to the con because there was a road detour (and raaaainnnnn), but Meg’s GPS actually knew what it was saying kind of, unlike most GPSes, so we found it in the end. Thankfully, the entrance of the Ferguson Center (where the con was being held) was covered, so we were able to unload everything before Meg went to find parking.

Kami-Con’s Artist Alley was in an open space rather than a room. The only other time I’ve not been in a room was at EXPCon, which was kind of a bust, so I was a little apprehensive about this. When we got there, Michael and Harper were already setting up their monstrous booth, so Meg, Chewi, and I set up a little ways down from them. The Alley was basically a lounge area across from some kind of food court so there were a ton of couches and benches. As such, a bunch of the tables had couches/benches instead of chairs. This was kind of weird. The Alley staff were really nice though and got chairs for anyone that wanted them. I decided to go ahead and set up with a couch behind the table. I mean, that’s more room for me to set stuff so I’m not always reaching under the table, right?

This photo’s actually from Sunday, but whatever. Are you tired of seeing photos of my table yet? This was my second time working a convention without Cat, but it was my first time bringing the entire table set-up without Cat since I wasn’t allowed to have it at FWA. As such, I had a lot more room than usual! It was pretty weird, honestly. I kept setting up to save room for Cat’s stuff and then remembering that I didn’t need to. The banner’s also hung crooked because I suck at lining things up by myself, lol. I was able to use up all the space no problem though. Even if weren’t graduating this year, Cat and I are reaching the point where we’d need to start getting separate tables anyway because we both have so much work to display.

Moving forward, though we’ll likely be doing a lot more cons separately, we’ll both be keeping the same table set-up with the red table cloth and Fake Lemonade banner. When we do end up working the same con though, we’ll have two tables next to each other that look identical.

Meg’s table! I need to get some awesome stand/shelf things for my minicomics too.

Chewi is looking very alarmed for some reason. I think this was her first time tabling solo, so maybe that’s why.

Since we were out in the open, I don’t think there was really a point to having “official” AA hours, which were supposed to be from noon to seven. There were people wandering around as early as ten and if they wanted to buy things, then by golly, I was gonna let them buy things. Being situated next to the food court and the stairs also helped. Even so, most of the morning and early afternoon went kind of slow and I was able to get a few pages inked in that time. And take pictures of people.

Pretty awesome Pokemon group, yeah~. I didn’t take as many cosplay photos as usual though… I think hitting four cons (five if you count SCADCon) in a six-week period kind of made me lazy about taking pictures of people dressed up. There were a lot more Yu-Gi-Oh cosplayers running around than usual, including a pretty awesome Seto Kaiba and an ambitious Blue-Eyes White Dragon. This was probably because of Little Kuriboh‘s presence. For some reason, I didn’t get a picture of any of them. :c Chewi also reports that there was a cute kid dressed as Mokuba, but I don’t think I saw him.

I did another trade with Michael and Harper where I draw them promo art and they make me a hat. Though since I don’t have a need or room for another hat at the moment, I gifted the hat to Chewi, who requested the Prince. The hat was finally done this weekend! Chewi was Haruhi on Saturday but had forgotten her yellow headband. Obviously, the Prince’s head is a good replacement.

I really want to see more people cosplay random Pokemon character types. Apparently the Bugcatcher is a popular choice since this is the second I’ve seen this year.

I stared at this girl for a while before asking her who she was because damn, she was familiar. Of course, she was Yin (Darker than BLACK), but I didn’t recognize her immediately because her hair wasn’t pulled up. Her companion was also Hei, which I didn’t realize until I saw the green lining of his jacket because nothing else would have given him away as Hei (hair was wrong, no mask). Saw kind of sad about this since it was a really nice jacket. I saw another Hei on Sunday. He didn’t have nearly as accurate a jacket, but he had the hair and mask, at least:

I had one major commission Saturday morning by a very out of place looking guy. Anime/manga obviously wasn’t his thing, but he commissioned me for colored chibi versions of his nieces. It took me about an hour and half and I was pretty happy with the outcome. Unfortunately, just as I finished, I got distracted by other customers at my table. The commissioner returned in this time and I handed it off without getting a picture first. Saaad. Traffic picked up around 2pm and I did a few sketch commissions that I also forgot to take pictures of. Luckily, one of them scanned and posted theirs on dA:


Commission by Kiriska
by ~pklovestormomega on deviantART

And then a Soul Eater group started a Caramelldansen across the hall from me.

This was the cafeteria eating area directly across from me. I guess people were getting hungry in the mid-afternoon, which is why traffic increased? Little Kuriboh’s panel was at 3pm and I really wanted to go, but I was very uneasy about leaving the table unattended for an hour, especially without Cat there to watch things for me. Meg was sitting beside me and kept an eye out when I needed a bathroom break or whatever, but she wasn’t familiar enough with my merch and where I stored everything to be able to sell things for me while I was gone and was busy enough with her own table anyway. So I skipped the panel. Oh well. I kept hoping that he would wander around the con, but I guess this was unlikely unless he didn’t mind being mobbed by people.

At least I got to see this awesome Tuxedo Mask. He was pretty hot, not gonna lie.

I managed to finally get rid of a lot of old stock at Kami-Con, including my old Sasuke and Itachi prints from two years ago and a few crappy originals I’d been trying to peddle off for forever and the last of my lucky stars. I think part of this was because I had a lot more room to display things so people didn’t have to dig through binders to see them. I also had people actually ask for my tip jar. :o Because of space issues, I hadn’t had a tip jar out for a long while, but since people asked, I made one really quick with one of the small boxes I had. Yay, tips!

Things really wound down around six when the cosplay contest was going on. We lingered, but activity didn’t really seem to pick up even after the contest, possibly because there were no major con events between the contest and the rave at ten, so people disappeared to go eat dinner or whatever. So we decided to start breaking down for the night around eight. Since we weren’t in a room, we couldn’t leave everything up, but the Alley staff said we could leave our PVC set-up and stuff if we wanted. Hallelujah. I hate breaking down and putting that thing back up.

We packed up then found an Applebee’s on the GPS and headed straight there for dinner. Throughout the day, we’d heard there were some tornado warnings going around, but thankfully, by the time we left the building that night, the weather had calmed. And anyway, it’s not like it’s the first time we’ve had shitty weather at a con (tornados @ MomoCon ’08, severe thunderstorms @ MomoCon ’09, rain and flash floods @ AWA ’09, and more rain @ MomoCon ’10).

Chewi got a smoothie that had a face.

Got kind of lost on the way back to the hotel after dinner because I thought I could navigate without the GPS and didn’t realize that we’d gotten a bit turned around after leaving the con site. Derp. Got back to the hotel probably around 10:30 pm. Chewi gave me a haircut and we watched an episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood dubbed on [adultswim]. Was Winry’s voice always so obnoxious or did it just take me this long to notice? After that everyone basically just passed out. I never realize how freakin’ tired I am until after I finally eat for the day.

SUNDAY

I didn’t sleep very well Saturday night for some reason. I woke up at 2:30, 4:30, 6:00, and then every ten or fifteen minutes until 6:50, when I got up. The morning proceeded pretty much the same, except Meg slept in a bit instead of joining us for breakfast and Chewi decided not to cosplay for Sunday. We caught a few minutes of Scooby Doo on Zombie Island on TV before heading out at 8:30 or so. The weather was much better on Sunday, but when we got to the Ferguson Center, the doors were locked. :|

A pair of dealers joined us shortly after and said that the same thing happened last year. Then someone noticed that the side door to the stair well might be unlocked and lo and behold, it was! So Meg sneaked in through there and opened the door for us from the inside! Woohoo! The lights were all out, but we started setting up anyway. Unfortunately for the dealers, the Dealer’s Room was locked separately and they still couldn’t get in. It didn’t take long for others to start showing up though, and I guess the doors were unlocked officially at some point.

America and Bandit Keith having a brofist moment.

Also: random guy on unicycle.

Traffic was even slower Sunday morning than Saturday, so at 11am, I decided to go ahead and check out a few minutes of the joint panel with Little Kuriboh, Vic Mignogna (VA for Ed from Fullmetal Alchemist and Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club, among others), and Robert Axelrod (VA for Lord Zedd from Power Rangers, among others). I stuck around for about ten minutes, during which there was some impromptu singing and lulzy silliness. It was pretty fun and also kind of interesting. I think Vic has been a guest at pretty much every single con I’ve been to, but this is the first time I’d actually seen him in person. And his normal voice lapses into Edward Elric a lot, which was weird, especially after seeing an episode of Brotherhood the night before.

Here is my crappy, crappy photo of the panel! When did Little Kuriboh grow a beard?

Would have liked to stick around for the rest of the panel, but I ran back to man my table instead. Such is life. v_v Sunday never really picked up, but a lot of people who were mulling over purchase decisions did end up going through with them. One woman in particular had a ten-year old son that was an artist and kept stopping by to talk to Chewi, Meg and I about all sorts of art-related things. She eventually bought the minis of my 24hr comics and commissioned me for two portraits of her dachshunds, which I remembered to photography, even if they’re crappy photos:

These dachshunds came rather late in the afternoon and shortly after, I was commissioned for a dragon badge by someone else. I was a little worried about being able to finish on time since we were supposed to be out of there by five, but I ended up finishing them with time to spare.

The closing ceremonies were at four and the raffle that was going on was at five. The three of us were pretty much the last people left in the Alley. We made a few last-minute sales and finally started breaking things down at 5:30 or so. By six, we were on the road again.

Aside from stopping for gas, it was pretty much a straight shot from Tuscaloosa to Atlanta. The sky had some pretty sweet clouds leftover from the storm. The sunset was also gorgeous, though I didn’t get any good pictures of it since it was setting behind us.

We got to Atlanta around 10:15 pm and stopped briefly at Meg’s mother’s place where we got some packed lunches/dinners and swapped cars. Then it was another straight shot back to Savannah.

It was a good weekend though. I was a bit worried at times because I felt a lot less busy than I did at Nashi-Con, but the numbers were about the same in the end. Not really sure how that works out, but whatever! MomoCon, FWA, Nashi-Con, and Kami-Con all had pretty different attendance numbers (though I’m having a hard time finding concrete figures for Nashi and Kami), but I’ve done about the same at all of them. How about that.

I’m done with con season for the most part now though. I know most of the major cons (AX, Otakon, etc) are still to come for the summer, but March/April was it for the southeast. Since I’ll most likely be in Houston after May, I’m thinking of doing Oni-Con in October, but I’m not sure yet, partially because Oni-Con’s management seems pretty disorganized right now. (Their website is bare of any info and it’s already almost May. Come on! Get your stuff together!) Not sure about next year. I’d love to keep hitting up the southeast cons, but it’ll all depend on travel costs. We shall see. We shall see.

In the meantime, I am also looking forward to this break so I can get back to work. (Wait, what.)

5 Comments

  1. Hi there! Staff member at Kami.

    I’m glad you seemed to do alright, and I wanted to go ahead and address a few things for you!

    1) Our official count was 1182 attendees.

    2) I don’t know for sure what your final opinion on not being in a room was, but the Ferguson Center was/is under construction, and we had access to very few actual rooms, so we put you all out in the open. I hope it went okay!

    3) Unfortunately, opening the building is out of our control. We have to rely on the Ferguson Center staff, and if they don’t feel like opening the building (which they are -supposed- to do), then there’s nothing we can do about it but call people and wait. We’re going to try to make sure it’s important that the center is opened up on time next year, but it’s hard to convince a football campus that anime cons are important.

    Anyway, hope that answered some questions and hope you enjoyed Kami-Con! Hope to see you back next year!

  2. Hey!

    1) Thanks for the official count. Stats like this are great to have and make researching future cons to attend easier.

    2) In the end, I didn’t mind being out in the open at all. Not having hardcore enforced hours was nice for flexibility. Being able to leave my PVC display up is one of the main reasons I’ve come to have having closed rooms, but since I was allowed to leave them up anyway, it wasn’t that big a deal. As I mentioned, being in the open space around the stairs and food court also helped with traffic since it was in an area people tended to hang out around anyway.

    3) I totally understand building staff not being cooperative. Nashi-Con, which was at USC, had similar issues, and even MomoCon, which has been running a while, isn’t exempt from uncooperative locked rooms. Hopefully, you guys will be able to get a better handle on those sorts of things moving forward. c:

    I hope to be back next year too!

  3. Shannon Huggins

    April 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Hi!

    Shannon from Artist Alley here. I’m glad to hear that you seemed to have a great time overall! Sorry about the Ferg not opening the doors and the weather being gross. Both are things that we have little control over and they’re endlessly frustrating (maybe the Ferg thinks that if they keep locking us out we’ll go away…?).

    I was also iffy about being out in the open, but our old Artist Alley room is under construction, so we had little choice but to move into the only available space. I think it worked out okay overall, though. We’re growing a lot, so most of the rooms are too small to contain us comfortably. If you have any suggestions for Artist Alley in the future, let me know! I’d love to see you, Chewi, and Meg next year!

    <3

    P.S. I never saw the unicycle guy! I wonder if he's the same guy that randomly unicycles down the hallways while I'm waiting for class. o____o;

  4. I think the open space ended up working pretty well this year. In the future, if you move back into rooms, and if you have to split AA between multiple rooms, just make sure they’re close together. That’s one of my biggest AA pet peeves — when there are multiple rooms for AA and they’re scattered all over the place.

    Re: unicycle guy! That may be the same guy since I don’t think he was an actual con-goer, lol! (No badge in the picture!)

  5. Shannon Huggins

    April 27, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I think if I can get my way, we’ll be in the same space, but down both hallways? In a continuous way, though, so people don’t think they’ve come to the end and then just wander off. Or… maybe the same set-up. I do not know! But I will think long and hard about it when I find out my options for next year.

    Unicycle guy is out of place wherever he is! It’s so surreal to watch a guy unicycle down a narrow second floor hallway. No one else EVER sees him. They think I’m crazy, but you have a photo for evidence!

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