By volume of attendees alone, MechaCon VII was a hit! The Hilton Riverside experienced a constant stream of every Technicolor of the rainbow as anime and manga enthusiasts, cosplayers, re-enactors, artists, performers, writers and fans of all ages made this New Orleans convention their mecca.
Cosplay, the abbreviated lingo for ‘costume play’, is the preferred attire for fandom conventions. Fandom, according to Merriam-Webster, is literally ‘the state or attitude of being a fan,’ and everyone has an opportunity to express themselves in an inviting atmosphere of friendship and tolerance.
Fans attended MechaCon in full force. THE Force was well presented by members of the Bast Alpha Garrison of the 501st Legion (in short, stormtroopers and the rest of the Dark Side) as well as the Dagobah Base of the Rebel Legion. Ewoks, Imperial troopers, even the otherwise-menacing Darth Maul shared photo-ops and interacted with attendees.
An imposing figure in his white uniform jacket, Ken Hafer was proud to play ‘the only guy in [Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope] with white hair and a white beard,’ otherwise known as Colonel Yularen, spy for the Emperor. Hafer’s wife Theresa made his costume, and to give her credit, hubby Ken appeared to have walked right off the set with Vader.
If you are an anime or manga enthusiast and you love conventions, it is likely you have heard of Neko Neko Maid and Hostess Club. If you have not, I’d love to recommend them to you. Once you enter the room set aside for these black-and-white-clad hostesses (and hosts), you are greeted and offered a seat.
Members of the club then offer a beverage and everyone is greeted once more. Names are exchanged. Next, it is guests’ choice…of games! Fun and playful discussions follow about everything from Pokemon to guest costumes, with a dance or impromptu monologue taking center stage throughout the experience.
Steampunk Americans is a hot group to join these days. Gears and sprockets, Victorian costuming and goggles galore have become a cosplay sensation. Leader and Founder Del R. Zervopoulos is already a character. Put him in a top hat, toss on a period vest and the ghost of Jules Verne might just haunt the man for inspiration.
For more information go to http://www.steampunkamericans.com.
Guest Aritst Amelie Belcher, seated at the side of her booth at a table with an open chair for “Ami Army” fans, was cordial, witty and welcoming. As she sat there drawing, Amelie shared, “It’s good to be home and at a con in Louisiana. I left the state to travel to cons across the U.S. because there was nothing here, and as soon as I leave these shows pop up! MechaCon is the best of the best here in the state.”