Linus Lam Network News
convention coverage report of
Katsucon 2014!

Welcome to another edition of Linus Lam Network News for 2014!  This news report covers our trip to Katsucon 2014 for a huge weekend of anime and manga enjoyment and a whole lot more!  Held at the Marriott Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland over the weekend of February 14-16, Katsucon 2014 saw lots of attendees ready to party on with a bunch of dedicated artists, live performances, gaming events, cosplay fun, and plenty of opportunities to hang out with fellow anime and manga fans. Our exciting trip to Katsucon 2014 starts here!  Coverage you can count on, here at Linus Lam Network News!

Highlights: Various live programming events kept the attendees well-covered throughout the weekend. Guests included Robert Aldrich, Christopher Ayres, Greg Ayres, Steve Bennett, Holly Blumner, Brian Boling, Kevin Bolk, Lawrence Brenner, Kathrine Callahan, T Campbell, Katie Chaplin, Chin Hamaya Culture Center, The Comiku Girls, Charles Dunbar, Richard Epecar, Kaja Foglio, Phil Foglio, Geek Comedy Tour, Garth Graham, Yaya Han, Caroline Holbrook, Richard Horvitz, Greg Houser, Phil Kahn, Kamui, Kuniko Kanawa, Senno Knife, Kate A. Lebherz-Gelinas, Sarah Martinez, Kevin McKeever, Sarah Rempe, Bill Rogers, Jamie Rosenberg, Rikki Simons, Ellyn Stern, Tom Stidman, Super Art Fight, Symphonic Anime Orchestra, Tainted Reality, Michael Terracciano, and Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons. Exhibits included the Katsucon Art Show, Autograph Sessions, Charity Auction, Hall Costume Contest, Japanese Cultiral Institute, Artists Alley, LARP, Maid Cafe, Model Contest, World Cosplay Summit, Katsucon Dance, Katsucon Idol, Anime Music Video Contest, Masquerade, and much more. Panels and Workshops included 3D Printing and Cosplay, 8-bit Improv, Adventure Time Theories, Affording Lolita, Anime Biology 101, Con Stories and Fan Glory, Anime Vendors are Serious Business, Horror Anime, Asian Brush Writing, Awesomely Bad Japanese Music Videos, Awkward Dance Moves, Best Anime Movies You Haven't Seen, Brief History of Anime, Brief History of Japan, Character Building 101, Closet Cosplay, Convention Chair Summit, Cosplay and the Camera, Cosplay Chess, Cosplay Dance Off, Creating Music for Animation, Crossplay for Girls, Critical looks at Popular and Classic Anime, 15 Years of Digimon, Dramatic Fanfic Readings, Everyday Life in japan, Fabric Choices in Cosplay, Face Your Cosplay Fears, Fan Fiction Pet Peeves, Formal Ball, Getting Fit for Cosplay, History of Taiko Drumming, Convention on a Budget, Japan on a Budget, Martial Arts, Amsrican J-Rock Industry, Japanese Language, Kamui's Armor Making, Kamui's Prop Making, Kimonos, Modern Japan, Power Rangers, Lolita Fashion Show, Meaning and History of Sushi, Making Plushies, Mystery Anime Theater, Origami, Photoshop 101, Puppet Making Workshop, Posing for Cosplayers and Photographers, Silk Painting, Social Issues within Cosplay, Super Art Fight, Webcomic Artists Roundup, Victorian Japan, Wig Dyeing 101, Women in Japan, Yokai Nation, World War Gundam Style, and much more.
Cosplay: This year's trip to Katsucon saw lots of inspired costumes from numerous anime and manga characters and more! Chart-topping displays for this year included characters from Kill la Kill, Dangan Ronpa, Sakizou, Vocaloid, Attack on Titan, Pokemon, League of Legends, Frozen, Evangelion, Sailor Moon, Persona 4, Final Fantasy and much more! 
Please check out more cosplay photo coverage from our Katsucon stock convention archives!
Report: Katsucon 2014 was a cornucopia of live events celebrating Japanese culture for now over 20 years. What supposedly was its greatest birthday of all time quickly got shrouded in a blizzard of snow and ice just before the wintry weekend in what was known as the largest cancellation of flights and badly delayed travel in the nation. Though no fault of its own, Katsucon had to deal with tremendous obstacles in its path to get its own staffers, infrastructure, and supplies into the hotel and convention on Day 0 with much of it barely scraping by on Day 1.

The blizzard that pummeled the entire East Coast with record amounts of snow and ice had delayed so many flights in and out of the nearby airports and caused major traffic problems that the previous convention had their room nights extended causing Katsucon's own staff rooms to be blocked out for registration. The mood worsened when many critical staffers could not arrive on time and network problems caused equipment to go down during Pre-Reg Thursday night. Things picked up though as the remaining staffers resolved to fight the great fight and get the show going on time as scheduled. The Pre-Reg lines were pretty long but most people understood what was going on through informative staffers. Surprisingly, everyone got their badges within a reasonable time and it didn't register a huge blip on the radar. I registered for a VIP badge costing me $150 allowing me to bypass all of that and get my reporting work done. It's a pretty good deal, really, you get a free shirt, first-in-line access to every event and even a special VIP hangout lounge.

The convention staples didn't seem too different from previous years. More KPop merchandise was found and I got some nice posters for a friend. Business seemed fairly brisk and I saw the usual assortment of vendors for cosplay, manga, online video retailers, custom-screened shirts, cosplay apparel, posters, figurines, and whatnot. Artists Alley was packed as usual with plenty of artwork inspired by Frozen, Attack on Titan, and Sailor Moon. I had no problems locating the gaming rooms, now located on the Gazebo Level for Tabletop and LARP. The Dealers Hall, Artist Alley, and Registration were located at the Lower Level as usual. I was able to bring out the Evangelion cockpit again for both Friday and Saturday and many Eva cosplayers got their one chance to sit in it for photo opportunities. A hotel security staffer even came by and took photos and told me it was the coolest thing he saw that weekend.  I noticed the Gaylord didn't run the Fountains and Light show as usual and it was explained to me that many guests had complained about the loud volume in the past so they only use it for special events now. The Gazebo jokes were rampant (Gazebo-con, Gazebo-Gate) but honestly people were really polite about it this year and everyone seemed pretty calm and understanding.  Additional obvious jokes were blaming the blizzard on all Frozen cosplayers and many laughs were heard. Sometimes it takes a weather calamity to bring us all a little closer to our fandom.

There was a lot of confusion about the photography rules with signs on the Gazebo Level stating "no professional photography".  I asked a hotel employee what that meant and how it was defined and he was very nice about explaining to me that it meant the hotel wants to discourage outside paid photographers to come in and use the Gaylord features to make a profit and not compensate the hotel in return.  How to identify that is very difficult so the only way to somehow call it out it is on photographers who use external lights on top of tripods or using hand-held mobile umbrellas. Though crude in the interpretation of what defines professional photography, they have a somewhat-skewed point and it did save a lot of space for a very crowded Gazebo level. I witnessed a few photographers bring out their external lights without being caught and others being told to put away even a small remote-triggered one held in the other hand. Just kind of a mixed bag of results. Not needing any of this external equipment and only armed with two very mobile cameras, I was not affected at all and had plenty of opportunities to perform both convention coverage and photoshoots without any problems. Whatever attendee badge policy about being in the Gazebo Level wasn't seen nor enforced in any way, so that seemed a bit unnecessary.

You have to give some amount of applause to the skeleton crew of Katsucon staff for doing extra duties they were not trained or authorized to perform in order to get attendees badged and enjoying what the con had to provide.  Extremely bad weather caused emergency conditions to be implemented and Katsucon did a pretty good job of helping each other out and doing that.  I recall a friend posting about proposing a shirt to be made: "I survived KatSnowCon 2014" and I'm all for that.

Come check out more cosplay and events photo coverage from our Katsucon stock convention archives!

Be sure to visit the next Katsucon!

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