It's about time I stopped putting off writing about this. So! Last weekend I flew on over to California to attend my first Anime Los Angeles convention
ever. It was also my first US convention in over 2 years, and I had a blast.
The funny thing is that when I reached the convention on Saturday, the first thing I did was pay for a badge and then leave. No wait, the first thing I did was gawk at how many Homestuck trolls there were. I'm convinced there were more of them there than Bronies; go figure. Anyway, I got my badge and met up with my friends. Then we left the con for a few hours to eat at a nearby Carl's Jr., shop for forgotten batteries and cables at Fry's Electronics, and pick up my friends' friend from Long Beach. THEN we actually did stuff at the convention.
Let me back up a bit here: a few months ago, I was contacted by
to help contribute art for the convention. I agreed, but I procrastinated and then was assaulted by a vicious week-long migraine. The deadline was upon me and I apologized for not contributing anything, and was told they already had plenty of art to use. But! They needed someone to color the artwork that the Artist Guest of Honor Stan Sakai
As you may or may not know, Stan Sakai is the author of the Eisner-award winning Usagi Yojimbo
and one of my personal heroes. I've loved the series for a long time, so as a huge fan I was honored and delighted to be given the opportunity to color his artwork. So I did! I didn't talk too much about it before the convention because I half-expected my coloring not to be used. The issue of distribution rights was never discussed with me, but since the convention is already over, I don't think there's any harm in sharing small versions of the artwork. Here is the art that Mr. Sakai drew and which I colored:
Appeared in the con booklet
Appeared in the con booklet
Used for the con's official t-shirt
Used for the con's official t-shirt (also on a poster)
Used for all the badges
(If it turns out I'm not allowed to post these, I expect I'll find out very quickly! And of course, I will comply in taking them down if requested.)
So the good news is that they did use it! The bad news is that they didn't give me any credit for it in the con booklet
. It was an honest mistake, but was pretty mad when I discovered this fact and went around complaining to all my friends about it until they wanted to tear their ears off. I admit that I was being pretty damn obnoxious because I was pissed. So after we finished doing errands, I dragged my friend Suspi with me to complain to con ops. They apologized, offered to give me a free pass next year (I wonder if they'll follow through?), and a package of Chips Ahoy!. I was satisfied... for a while.
After that I followed Suspi to the Masquerade room and accompanied him as a "press assistant". I admit that I didn't really do anything other than crack silly jokes and chat it up with another press photographer who was sitting in front of us. Apparently she works for Gaia Online(?). I gave her a Slightly Damned sticker with my name and URL written on the back, because I'm bad at planning and still haven't gotten any new business cards made. Before the masquerade began, I saw Stan Sakai and his wife get ushered into some second-row seats behind the judges. They quietly slipped away sometime during the show, though.
ALA's cosplay masquerade was the first one I had watched since high school. I always skipped out on watching masquerades at Fanime in favor of other activities, but I dunno. Maybe I should make it a habit from now on? A lot of the acts were... awkward, but I enjoyed the ones that I felt were actually pretty good. I also don't want to begrudge people for going out there and shamelessly showing off how much they love their hobby. In my opinion, the best skits were the one about OkamiDen and teaching Chibi how to use brush techniques, the one parodying magical school girls (in general) which featured real props and transformation and attack sequences (!), and a My Little Pony skit with girls in dresses as Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie. That last one won best of show.
I was going to stay the night at a friend's house, but I screwed up and didn't call her to let her know I wasn't dead. By the time we got in contact with one another after the masquerade, it was past 10pm and I didn't want to make her drive across LA to pick me up. After eating dinner at Denny's (country-fried steak and broccoli and greenbeans that weren't quite warmed up enough), I ended up sharing a hotel room with my friends. In the end, there were 4 people in the room: me and 3 guys. Which is funny not because of the gender ratio (because whatever, who cares), but because that is the least amount of people I've ever shared a hotel room with at a convention. I'm used to a few nights of having to having to tiptoe around bodies strewn about the floor, remembering that the closet door could open at any second because someone is sleeping in there, and to check the tub for people before using the bathroom.
Sunday was the last day of the convention as well as my last day in LA. It was a very short trip. I met up with my friend (the one whose house I was supposed to stay at), we had brunch at a Coco's, and then we hopped back to the convention. I got the idea to once again make a snot of myself by complaining to con ops about being left out of the con booklet. I told them, "I came here for Stan Sakai and to tell them that I colored his work. I didn't make it into the convention booklet, so now I'm afraid he might think I'm just lying. Can someone introduce me to him?" Although I'm sure I sounded more annoying than that. Wearily the con ops staff told me to talk to the convention chairman (and they probably rolled their eyes when I left). After waiting in line, I did just that. The chairman shook my hand, gave me an apology and a "Sorry" ribbon to attach to my badge, and the official convention photography took me to Stan Sakai's autograph session.
I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that there were less than 10 people lining up to see Mr. Sakai. On the one hand, I feel he deserves a lot more attention and recognition than that. On the other hand, not having to deal with a crowd was probably pretty nice for everyone, because Mr. Sakai is a really nice guy who took the time to chat with everybody. Anyway, the convention photographer (Richard Man
) introduced me and took a photo of me and Mr. Sakai together. I told Mr. Sakai that I colored his work and he complimented me on doing a good job. I have him a note with a Rhea sticker and charm attached, and he gave me an "Usagi Yojimbo" ribbon and signed my badge.
And then after that my friend and I toured the Dealer's Room and Artists' Alley. I didn't buy anything aside from the official convention t-shirt, but my friend got an Ezlo hat from the Minish Cap. I got some good ideas for what to do for displays at my next convention appearance. I think I'll stop writing this entry because what happened after that doesn't really have anything to do with Anime Los Angeles! My friend and I just spent the day shopping and eating together before I flew home. I will say, though, that it was really good to eat quality okonomiyaki again.
It was a great trip and I glad I went, even if I did get a case of the post-convention snots (sore throat, runny nose, blech). Just part of the experience, I guess.
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