måndag 1 juni 2015

KultCon 2015 ConReport

KultCon has always been a bit chaotic, but this year the chaos was not as evident as previous years. Most of the chaos I noticed surrounded the stage, with light and sound not working properly, with not enough rehearsal and prep time, and with unclear planning. But other than that KultCon felt quite calm.

The stage was larger than it ever been before, it even had a backstage area. This gave all stage activities a much better impact. They had even installed a flame-thrower for one of the guest acts, something I’ve never seen at a Swedish con before. The stage has always been the heart of KultCon and this year was no exception.

The opening ceremony was okay. The MCs told bad (but funny) jokes, the guests did some dance. I find dances to be boring, but they were well coordinated and had a clear and thought-through theme, so I endured.

After the opening ceremony I had a proper look around the convention. The dealer’s room had all the standard stuff I never want to buy, there were a small artist alley, and a “visitors sales table” (had I known this then I would have brought some stuff to sell). I also found an activity corner, a board games room, a movie theatre, a few visiting cons, and the cosplay workshop. So overall a very standard setup.

The food at the con was a bit boring, the most “food-ish” things I could find was a baguette, microwave-pizza, and toast. Unless you ventured out in the rain to the convention-grill. The grill sold hamburgers and hot dogs, but due to the almost constant rain they didn’t get that many visitors. I tried a burger and it was okay, but I’m sure the grill would have been a success if the weather was better. Previous years the café had quite a large breakfast menu, this year it was substantially smaller. I did find that the Maid Café had a better breakfast menu, so I had my breakfast there. I do not really enjoy Maid Cafés, I find it to be quite awkward to have the Maids act all cute and social, but they left me alone so I could have my breakfast.

The staff were all friendly and helpful, I never encountered anyone that was angry or mean. In fact, when I told them that I had hurt my hand they got me someone to help me carry my luggage. I’m not sure if this was just because I was an invited guest, or if a regular visitor would have gotten the same treatment, but it was kind of them.

Speaking of being an invited guest, I was invited to give a lecture in Male to Female Crossplay. It was my first time ever giving a lecture at a con, and I was very nervous. My stomach hurt, and I went to the bathroom like 4 times in ten minutes, but two slides into my presentation all my nervousness disappeared and I could talk freely. It was actually quite fun, I knew what I was talking about, I had physical items I could show, and I even managed to make the audience laugh. I’m thinking of fixing up the lecture a bit and maybe ask to give it at NärCon.

Being a guest gave me access to the staff sleeping halls, and I liked them a lot. The halls themselves are standard class rooms, but there where something that made me sleep very well in them. Maybe the fact that the temperature was just right, or maybe that it was not too crowded, or maybe that everyone respected the “keep quiet” rule. In any case, the sleeping halls was the best I’ve ever experienced. The only thing I can complain about was that the showers wasn’t open for regular visitors the first night (I managed to get into the staff showers).

I didn’t see much of the Cosplay Chess, mostly because I know how it always goes, and this year was no exception. Super long character introductions, boring movement, way too short battles, and confusion about who should stand where (even when using my custom made Cosplay Chess program). I feel that CosplayBoardGames (the chess organizers) need to speed up their improv-chess, and plan and rehearse their pre-planned-chess more. I know that they have recently restructured how they do things, so maybe it will be better in the future.

KultCon has become known for their beginner friendliness, it has become a great arena for people to try new things. It was my first time giving a lecture, they always have at least one complete new judge for the cosplay contest, and the contest itself draws a lot of beginners and people who compete for the first time. The contest held a good quality, the cosplayers where great, and everything ran seemingly smooth. There where surprisingly many contestants for the size of the con, but not so many that you would lose focus or get bored. I had a hard time deciding who to vote for, so I ended up flipping a coin. The winners were presented during the closing ceremony and it was so beautiful. When all the winners had got their prices they stayed on stage, and then another prize that I didn’t know of was announced: “Cosplay of the Year” that would get a golden ticket to the Swedish Championship. The winner of this grand prize was one of the winners that already stood on stage, and when the judges said her name you could see that she couldn’t believe it, she dropped her prop in surprise and fell to the ground crying of happiness. It was as if taken from a movie. She deserved that prize.

KultCon 2015 was an okay convention. It had all the standard things you expect, but not much more. The cosplay contest is truly the main event. KultCon is a convention that still feels like a true convention. It was however my friends that made KultCon 2015 so memorable, without them I would certainly have been quite bored.

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