Blitz 2: The Beauty of the Internet and Con Season 下巻

One more beauty of the internet when it comes to con season aside from reporting just the news, you can report events. In fact, with a good enough venue, one might even be able to report directly from an event at a con. Sort of our own "live on the scene" version for the blogosphere. I've also, always enjoyed AWA since I started going way back at AWA 4 in 1998. I've yet to miss a year. However, since I come from one of those "Education First" families, I've not taken the chances to explore many other conventions. In fact, for the longest time, AWA was the only vacation I took during the year. As school winds down in the next couple of years, I plan on making some more con excursions, especially to some of the others here in the Southeast.

A good friend of mine, Matt Nicholson, does amateur photography. He's pretty good at it, despite my personal heckling of it. He does portraits and glamour shots, but he's also very handy at conventions; he's got nice equipment, he's a quick shot, and it's an excuse for a mini-vacation. He went to AWA last year as a freelance photographer from Kennesaw State University's newspaper, the Sentinel. Matt has graciously allowed me post some of his photos from AWA 11 last year that didn't make the cut this time around and we're working to qualify for press at AWA 12 this fall.

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This is me, relaxing from a hard day of Con activities; I'll be you're MC, Drew "I'm not as drunk as Dave Merrill" Sutton.

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The Con was held at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel and a portion of the Cobb Galleria Convention Center. What is especially good about the Ren Waverly is the lobby; while check-in may be a small issue because of smaller counters, the lobby is huge and spacious, which makes it a great place to chill, grab a drink and meet your friends. Here's another of the lobby:

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There's an annex hallway that goes from the hotel to the Galleria, making your trek to the dealers room away from the main events relatively comfortable. The con staff is also good about making sure to keep the walkways clean and un-cluttered from people taking photos and cosplay, instead opting to have people move out to places like where this photo was taken.

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Capitalism in Action is my glorious name for it, but most people just call it "The Dealer's Room". To each their own, I suppose.

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The two photos above were for AWA's showing of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children 『ファイナルファンタジーVIIアドベントチルドレン』, a beautifully CGI animated movie sequel to Squaresoft's (now Square/Enix) marvelous PlayStation RPG. While originally scheduled for one airing on Friday night, due to popular fan demand, two more showings on Saturday night were added for the folks who wanted to see the film but couldn't fit into the theater-sized room. I was in the room at AWA 10 for their premiere of Mobile Suit Gundam F-91 『機動戦士ガンダムF-91』 and that room is about the size of your standard movie house at the multiplex. To think that room was filled to, if not over, capacity for three solid shows and still had fans who didn't get a chance to see it is amazing. Also, the AWA Staff received many well deserved Kudos for adding more shows for the film the following day at their "Tell us what we did right or tell us what we did wrong" session during Closing Ceremonies on Sunday evening.

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But what is one to do when not in a viewing room watching anime or AMVs? Not in the dealers room exercising Capitalistic Might? Tired of just lounging around? GO TO A PANEL like these guys! Trust me, AWA is chock full of panels that are educational and interesting, even their industry panels (but hey, then again, I write this blog, too). While numerous con programs host panels for industry guests, advisement on model kits, talking about living and working in Japan - all things most anime fans are interested, AWA has pioneered panels of a more entertaining nature. Two of the more directly related to anime are Dubs That Time Forgot and Totally Lame Anime. These panels (Dubs was created by Mike "Anime Jump" Toole and TLA by Neil Nadelman) show some of the darker and more historical side of Japanese animation in the United States. While you may happen upon your new favorite title in the video room, TLA has provided more entertaining jokes for my entire circle of friends in the past year than anything else. Two other panels, Panel of DOOM (Created and hosted by Daryl Stuart) and Japanese Animation Hell created and hosted by Dave Merrill. Don't let the name fool you, Anime Hell usually has nothing to do with anime. Both of these panels are an obscure AV geeks wet dream come true. While some anime is featured, most of it is silly, goofy, live action stuff and just gives you some good laughs with good friends and fellow con-goers.

All in all, AWA is a great weekend mini-get-away that lets you meet your old friends, make some new ones (as I did with Moot and some of the 4Chan posse) and just, as the AWA motto goes, "For Beautiful Convention Life".

**EDIT - 2006.6.12 - Thanks to Dave Merrill for correcting me on panel creation and hosting, per the below comments. He also informed me that he doesn't drink as much anymore.



At 4:21 PM, June 13, 2006 , Blogger d.merrill said...

To be honest, I don't drink nearly as much at cons as I used to. Somehow I don't miss the hangovers.

Thanks for your praise of AWA! Personally I think it gets better every year.

Panel Of Doom is actually a Daryl Surat thing; Neil or I have nothing to do with it. Neil is pretty much 100% behind Totally Lame Anime. Dubs Time Forgot is usually handled by Mike "Anime Jump" Toole, but he didn't make it to AWA this year, so I brought it in.

At 6:48 PM, June 13, 2006 , Blogger Drew Sutton said...

Dave, thank you very much for the corrections, I will be sure to reference them in as corrections in the main post.

I've been attending the con for years (last year was my 7th)and I have to agree, personally, I think it gets better every year as well. So long as the con maintains it's level of excellence, it'll keep getting praise from me.

Here's to beautirful convention life!


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