don’t go to mechacon.
But seriously, was anyone having a good time in this alley? I don’t even think I have photos to share (maybe just a ton of drunken videos asking where is Bic Vaughn).
EDIT: There’s an update at the end for anyone curious!
So I guess finding the check-in was a little easier this year. I found it, and upon realizing I didn’t get my helper a badge (she was confirmed late, so I missed the window at first because I assumed I wouldn’t need a second badge), I was told you can’t purchase extra artist badges because they’re pre-reg only. This is fucking stupid and I’m gonna tell you why: 1. it’s a fucking artist badge, you’re not trying to incentivize pre-sales for profit with “pre-reg” artist badges because we’re coming as workers 2. we’re coming as workers, we’re contributing (in theory) to the profitability and economy of the convention and our table/badge sales (theoretically) help pay for the convention space 3. we’re coming as workers, our asses are sitting in the LONG FUCKING HOURS of your artist alley, we’re not trying to take advantage of the SyStEm, we just want reasonably priced badges to sit in the fucking dungeon of an alley AND FINALLY 4. THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE AT LITERALLY ANY OTHER CON I’VE BEEN TO. Have some blank badges, let me hand you the 40 bucks or whatever, bing bang boom.
Update: I realized San Japan did the same thing. But also San Japan’s logistics got a 0/666, too, so therE YOU GO.
So nah, poor Sonia had to stand in the registration line for an hour- an hour I definitely would have preferred to have her helping me/working for me.
So all that fuckery aside, come inside the dank (in the literal sense, not the new meme-y sense) alley and find my table- ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK IN TOTAL DARKNESS! LOLOLOL. I am not even exaggerating, here is an unedited photo with no flash:
So they’ve made me pay extra for a second badge and now they’ve placed me in a back corner in complete darkness. That’s 100% perfect and beautiful for sales, just what every artist dreams of. Even the artists that weren’t in total darkness were still in garbage lighting. And then, the day 2 solution was to move everyone down X number of feet- this *sort of* moved me out of the darkness and *definitely* moved other artists INTO the darkness. NO AFFENSE BUT how the FUCK do you plan an Artist Alley and not turn on the lights and say “wow, this is total shit!” Frankly I’m amazed at myself for not demanding my money back.
Through all of this, I don’t think I saw the actual AA head once, just a helper who seemed panicked and unsure of basically everything. Other fun tidbits include: asking if we can just get a light and plug it into the giant pillar in front of our table with outlets, being told No because the electricity isn’t on, and finding out on Sunday that it was on the whole time! Crazy Long AA hours- I don’t think you’re doing me a favor, I think you’re making me stress as to whether attendees are gonna rifle through my stuff when I (reasonably) decide to leave to get dinner.
Performance was terrible, surprising no one. At least I made a profit, but it was almost half what I do at my best cons, certainly down from last year, and certainly less than I expected. Enamel pin and acrylic charm sales were so obviously hurt by the setup- I sold not a single acrylic charm because, y’know, no one could even see them. This is insanely unusual for me. Considering the cost of the hotel and my flight to NOLA from NYC, I really don’t think I’ll be returning based on this alone. I think plenty of artists did not break even at this convention, which is a damn shame.
As usual, when you’re in AA, you don’t get to see much of the con. I had a fun time seeing my NOLA friends and New Orleans is such a wonderful amazing city- it’s a shame that I really don’t think I can justify returning next year. We had fun at Anime Burlesque and the rave, and I heard everyone had a ton of fun at all the Lolita programming, though I was unable to attend. I also must say, having a mini food court right outside the AA and a Starbucks one floor up was life-saving (though it was a literal Escape the Room challenge to find the second floor). And thank you, New Orleans, for having alcohol in your CVS<3
I don’t even have more photos from this convention because holy shit, it was depressing and impossible to photograph anything. Luckily, I DO have this photos of Marina and I in our matching kigurumis. Yes, hers is a bird and mine is a sloth but that’s just who we are and IT MATCHES, OK?
I had an amazing amazing time speaking with people and meeting people that follow me on the internet, though, I have to say! This really is so meaningful and important to me! It kept me cheerful despite residing in the LITERAL epitome of an AA Cave. But unfortunately, I’ve pretty much decided to never table at MechaCon again 😦
UPDATE: So it looks like Mechacon is releasing tables in waves– each wave costing more than the last, and each wave costing more than last year’s table cost. The table layout/Artist Alley room looks to be 100% the same as last year, so you can expect more dank dungeon con 2018. No statements have been made addressing the issues Artist voiced during the con, no acknowledgement of problems, not so much as a response to a somewhat critical Facebook comment. I have also since spoken to several artists who had similarly awful experiences at this convention in 2017 (including a horrible story from my friend shared in the comments of this post). My final word on the matter is really that if you are an artist who takes their work and business seriously, I recommend steering clear of Mechacon!