Connecticon is billed as “New England’s ONLY massively, multi-genre pop culture convention” presumably because it does not contain the word “comic” or “anime” in its name — but I’ve been attending for a few years now and “massively multi-genre pop culture” is exactly what Connecticon has become.
Connecticut is often depicted as the highway between Boston and New York; it’s not a destination, just part of the journey. And compared to the massively massive convention that also takes place midsummer every year, Connecticon is a drop in the ocean or a blip on the screen. It fits into two and a half floors of convention space and when cosplayers stop in the aisle for pictures you can just walk around them. The panelists are fans, the shows feature “con-famous” groups, the stars are from genre TV, the guest of honor was the voice of Winnie the Pooh. The longest line I stood in was for Starbucks.
There were no big industry announcements made at Connecticon. At the panel I attended on Game of Thrones their coverage on Season Four amounted to “Sorry, SDCC is next week so we don’t know anything yet”. But the Connecticon tags on tumblr are overrun with people calling it their best con experience EVER. And I completely understand. I find NYCC overwhelming. I would love to go to SDCC to see Andrew Garfield and Lana Parrilla. But for a con experience, I’m happy with Connecticon.
One note before I get into whys — while the Starbucks line was the longest I dealt with, I bought my passes at the con that weekend. My daughter, and a huge crowd of other people, pre-registered for the con and were subjected to lines that were anywhere from one to three hours. I hope the con committee learns from this experience because punishing people for choosing to attend months in advance is not a very good message to be sending!
Massively Multi-Genre Pop Culture
At least 75% of the con attendees were dressed up in some manner. The cosplay ran the gamut: anime, video games, books, movies, television series, steampunk, advertisements…fandom fandom everywhere. Twenty years after its premiere, Sailor Moon was sill everywhere. So was Firefly, ten years after its cancellation. My daughter dressed as a character from Persona 3 and was invited to participate in three separate photoshoots for the Persona fandom. The Disney cosplays looked as good (or better) than the characters in the Magic Kingdom. Homestuck has its own tag on tumblr: CtStuck. Game of Thrones came out in force — one Ygritte cosplayer was wearing a book-accurate sheepskin coat despite the 90 degree weather. Many different versions of the Doctor posed with life size TARDISes and too many living TARDISes to count. There were people dressed as characters from Sherlock, Hannibal, Star Trek, Adventure Time, Saga, Bioshock, Supernatural, Teen Wolf, Narnia…name anything, it was probably represented. There was a couple dressed as Flo and Mayhem from Progressive and Allstate insurance commercials. There was a girl whose Blair Waldorf cosplay was so perfect if it had been 2007 I would have assumed she was Leighton Meester. And of course, there were ponies.
Even people who were not cosplaying were dressed for the con. It used to be that fandom tees were only available AT conventions but now we can buy them at the local mall and online and wear them TO the convention.
The panels and presentations were not quite as diverse as the cosplay but they covered a variety of geek-friendly topics. The best, in my opinion, were the panels devoted to getting your friends involved in your fandoms. At a glance these seemed not unlike the dreaded “girlfriend lists” that used to clutter up comic book discussions involving female fans. But the point was actually “how to talk about things you love in a positive way” with the follow up “how to listen to your friends, suggest things they will like, and be okay with them not liking whatever you like best”. And that is a wonderful discussion. After months of being upset by all the negativity and bickering on the internet it really restored my faith in the concepts of fans and fandom.
I only spent one full day at the con but I participated in a cosplay photoshoot, went to two panels, watched part of two main events, chatted with fans of Doctor Who, Friendship is Magic and Captain Marvel, talked about twitter and celebrity with Marina Sirtis, met Tahmoh Penikett (OMG he is gorgeous), went shopping, and decided if no one else is going to cospaly Arya Stark I guess I will.
And I went to Starbucks.
And it was exactly the con experience I want.