Alright, Genrecon is done, I've properly slept and I'm getting back to being semi-organized after a 3-day con weekend, so here's my review! As it's a 3-day, I'll break it down by day. It's definitely been a while since I attended a 3-day convention (Anime North was my last one), and even longer for one of any kind in Guelph (3-day con? Last Con-G in 2014. Any con/pay-to-enter cosplay event in Guelph? Last Faeryfest in 2015). Friday
As Friday always starts in the afternoon and we were a nice short bus ride away this time, this was the more relaxed of the days. Furilas and I had our long super-thorough showers as convention weekends allow little time to shave, condition hair, cut nails etc., a big pre-convention breakfast of bacon and eggs, and I made sure that all my merchandise and such was packed and ready to go. Finally at 3, after getting into most of my casual Shepard cosplay, we hauled my enormous suitcase over a somewhat-snowy sidewalk for the couple of blocks to the bus stop, also managed to get ourselves onto the buses with the giant thing with a minimum of run-over feet, and got off at Genrecon, which was at the Holiday Inn again like last time. The location is definitely well suited; it's steps away from Stone Road mall (so, lots of cheap food options), also easily accessed by public transit, and the hotel itself is quite nice if a little odd in its layout.
We checked in with no problem (a short wait as they were still putting the badges together but nothing to the point of frustration), and set ourselves up in the dealer's room. I was quite impressed by the vendor treatment! We had a BIG table, an extra two feet wider than the convention standard (my tablecloth was actually too short!) with TONS of space behind us, and being at the end? Yay, no going behind people to get out! Though really, they could have easily fit an end-cap table in there and gotten one more vendor in. And, they'd given each table bottles of water and granola bars (we had our usual packed lunches already, but still, yay!), and the comfier padded hotel chairs compared to what convention centers usually give you (MTCC=aching back from folding chairs all weekend.... bleck). While we were setting up they had their staff going quite regularly around the room to check on things, as well.
I also wasn't open long before I made my first sale! My own neighbour-vendor bought one of my fancier hangings (and as they were representing the video game cafe downtown among a few other nerdy establishments, I may just work out a consignment deal with them and some of my LoZ and Skyrim items!). Friday was pretty quiet otherwise, though I did sell a few more things, and didn't get bored at all with plenty of attendees to chat with that night. Attendance-wise, not many were there on Friday; probably about 100 people with all-weekend passes.
I only have a single noteworthy complaint for this weekend; Genrecon's program book was essentially useless for scheduling. They listed the panels, the events, the guests and vendors and sponsors, but there were no TIMES for anything! We had to keep using their facebook page schedule to plan things. Not very handy. And my phone was out of data, so if I'd been unable to borrow Furilas' phone/ipad, I'd have been essentially screwed.
For panels, there wasn't anything I wanted to do while the vendors room was open, but once it was closed, we had some A&W for dinner, had to put up with some beer-drinking normies also staying in the hotel while we ate, got entertained by the 501st trooping around the halls (that Vader, man. Scared the CRAP out of me. But look, R2D2 whistling the cantina song and flashing to the music!) and then sat in on Cybertronic Spree for their concert; a Transformers-themed band playing all the nostalgic 80's and 90's nerdy rock tunes we remember rock.thecybertronicspree.com/
(so uh, is having the Power Rangers theme stuck in your head for the past three days a bad thing or a good thing?). Speaking as a former musician, smizmar of a videographer, sound-guy and musician, and the daughter of a rock drummer, the sound setup was very well done! Their levels were well balanced, the drummer wasn't so loud that they were drowning out everybody else (a common problem with small indoor venues and something my Dad gets a LOT of praise for at gigs, being able to control his dynamics for small spaces), and the acoustics in the room were actually pretty good (I forgot earplugs, unfortunately, because it WAS still very loud). And then of course, they all played/sang very well, equally important. Their Arcee had a fantastic voice to go with her keyboarding. If you can manage to sound note-for-note like Lisa Lougheed during "Run With Us", I sure hope you're singing for more than just fun!
Also, mad respect to anyone who can:
A- Play a guitar solo in a Transformers costume
B- Dance for an entire set in a Transformers costume (Bumblebee even had secret strobe lights!)
C- Play a long drum solo in a Transformers costume
D- Do all the above as a well-put-together band in Transformers costumes
(Oh yeah, and I noticed the paint on the Korg logos turning it into Borg. Heehee.)
Unfortunately we couldn't stay for the whole thing, as we had to get to bed before midnight, but we did enjoy a good hour of it before calling our cab (and I think darn near the whole con at that point was attending! That's how I got my estimate for Friday, since I saw nobody in the halls on the way out) and falling into bed at midnight. Saturday
The big one! We got up at 7-something am, not especially well rested from the night before, had our quick breakfasts, and I got into the travel-friendly parts of my Dark Brotherhood robes. We headed out the door on time, but uuuuuugh, THIS was not a good morning for transit. We missed our first bus by just a minute, and as waiting for the next would have us arriving after the vendor's room opened, had to hoof it 20 minutes to the downtown stop to make our transfer. Oh yeah, it was also REALLY damn cold that morning, and thin cosplay pants didn't help. It took most of the bus trip before I could feel my legs again. But THANKFULLY we got to the convention with less than five minutes to spare, quickly opened the table back up again, and were able to relax and then put on the rest of my cosplay once I was assured we weren't losing potential buyers by not having our stock out.
Now, when it came to the crowds? DEFINITELY more people here on Saturday. I'm hoping Genrecon will release the numbers for those who bought badges, but I'm guessing a weekend total of 3-400, I saw quite a lot of one-day Saturday and Sunday badges. Still small, but not bad for a con just off a 2-year hiatus and with a more literary bend to it (Ad-Astra seems to have about that many, and they've been running for decades). That said, the "flow" for the busy vs. quiet hours in the room this time were pretty odd. For all our panic about being late, the dealer's room was VERY quiet for most of the morning. I'm a bit too used to Comicons that usually have a small stampede at opening on Saturday mornings, then wind down at midday. In this case, it was a very dull morning, THEN got busy in the afternoon. Made a decent amount of sales too, in line with Saturday being the busiest day of a convention (though by sheer $ figures, same as Friday since I sold my most expensive item then and much of Saturday was smaller items). I didn't get up to TOO much, as there were enough people I didn't want to leave my table too long, but I did get around to doing some things. I got my own proper walk-around to see the other tables and the 501st droids on display, also to warm up as it was REALLY cold in the vendors room that day while the hotel's upper walkway is realllllllly warm due to it getting all the rising heat and pool area humidity, did go to the hilarious and cringeworthy panel on Convention Horror Stories, and watched a fencing demo put on by the Royal Garrison (I'm guessing the archery, axe/dagger throwing and medieval-style swordplay also taught there didn't get demoed for both safety reasons and space constraints....).
Then at 7 pm, the dealer's room was closed for the night, and I sat around and killed time upstairs while Furilas went to a panel. And was supposed to run out for some Thai Express, but apparently the mall hours have changed since I was last aware and it was closed when he headed out after the panel. So, we treated ourselves to a proper sit-down dinner in the hotel restaurant. Just like the last Genrecon years ago, the food is fantastic and very reasonably priced for locally-sourced and in-a-hotel fare (and come to think of it, I think I even got the same thing as last time!). It did get a bit awkward as I forgot the murder mystery dinner was going on while we were there, but we were at least able to get out of our tables when we were done eating.
Then with us properly fed, we found some seats for the evening cosplay drag and burlesque show. It was always a hilight of Atomic Lollipop, so we were both looking forward to it immensely. We weren't disappointed! It was an excellent show (and I wished I'd made enough sales so I could pass a tip up myself, but alas). As I don't put 18+ content on this page I won't go into much detail, but Troyboy entertainment is definitely worth having at a convention. We also had to leave a bit before the end (I really didn't expect the show to go as long as it did), but saw most of the acts (just a few drag and/or burlesque characters portrayed included a stormtrooper, Samus- and holy CRAP how did that wig stay on with all that dancing, ponytail-flipping and a somersault, I need
to know-, Catwoman, the Joker, Poison Ivy and several others). We once again grabbed a cab home, and got ourselves to bed a little after midnight. Sunday
The last one. Oddly, I'm usually a total zombie on Sundays, but I actually slept reallllllly well and woke up feeling just fine aside from my usual not-morning-person-ness. Like Saturday we packed up our lunch, brought a blanket with us too in case the dealer's room was as cold as Saturday again as I spent most of the time at the table freezing my arse off even in three layers of suede, I had a fast "scrub off the stanky parts over the sink" wash in lieu of a shower as I take ages in the morning and had no time on Saturday night (hooray for that nice hood on my costume.
), I put on my Dark Brotherhood robes again, and off we headed for the last day. THIS time, the bus gave us no issues, partly because I insisted on leaving earlier than we were supposed to, especially with Sunday buses only running once every half hour. We got to the con right on time to open up our table again, and as expected of a Sunday it was pretty quiet, though still quite a few Sunday-only badges. Morning was pretty quiet, with a pick-up of activity from the day-only attendees doing their shopping in early afternoon, and aside from a last sale or two near closing, it was quite dull compared to Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately the dullness also meant that my sales were pretty slim; while definitely not "none", I still fell short of breaking even by a small amount. I asked around with some other vendors and it was pretty mixed in response to who had broken even/profited/lost, though I definitely didn't see a lot of attendees intending to spend more than a small amount with this convention (minus the many cash tips being given out at the drag and burlesque show). But I did manage to sell quite a bit of discontinued stock I don't plan on remaking (mostly due to said stock not being a good seller...), so yay, more storage space! And I also finally got that etched Skyrim glass from Red Moon Glassworks, for myself.
As for events, I didn't get up to too much; one panel I'd wanted to do at 5 conflicted with one that Furilas also wanted to do at 5, an 11 am one was impossible for either of us since we had to be setting up the table, and Sunday bus scheduling meant we'd have to be quick at packing up at 6, so I had to opt out of attending the one at 5 for a second reason. I did, however, get to go to "This Princess Saves Herself", which was an excellent discussion on strong female characters in fantasy and other genres.
And then at 6, the con was over, we packed up faster than usual due to being on a tight schedule for the bus, hauled the ginormous suitcase back out to the bus stop, and headed home. And since Furilas wore his Wubby hat on the bus home due to the cold snowy weather, I nearly sold a hat on the bus when it attracted quite a bit of attention.
At last, we got home for good, then spent the rest of the evening getting cozy in pyjamas and blankets, an easy dinner and lots of tea and video games followed by a long sleep.
So in summary; Genrecon was decent, though I'm glad I went as a vendor when it came to having things to do as I'd have been pretty bored otherwise for most of the day. I hope the con will keep up what it's doing as it's definitely got potential, especially with Guelph now being so lacking in area conventions. Although I didn't come away in the black, it was still a cheap convention for us, being local, and sales weren't too bad, so I'd give it another go for 2018.