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Anime Detour 2014 AAR

Yeah, it's a few weeks late, but April was hella busy and once we got into May I kept forgetting. Quit whining about the free ice cream, already.

I've already discussed the beginning and end, and the middle...well, the two major events for me were the "Politics in Modern Japan" panel with angeljuliet, which had a small but very active turnout, and the "Diet and Diabetes" panel with gohanvox, which also had a small turnout, but we did reach at least one fan with the message. Kyle and I are talking about doing the panel at AMA, which is going to involve a drive (and maybe an overnight stay) to Richmond, and we'll see how that goes. As for the rest of the convention, I spent a lot of time with jtrainor, which was good, and not so much with my other AD droogs, which was unavoidable, really.


It was good to see Jayson take over as Chairman from Gifford. As he wisely observed, every chairman has brought something different to Detour, and he is looking to help develop talent and leadership so that the convention won't be relying on the same old faces as time goes on. Staff turnover is a constant; people burn out and need to be replaced, and replacing old and tired staff members with fresh meatblood is important. The feudal farm-team system that uses the pool of volunteers as the source of future staff has worked well enough so far, but it sounds to me like Jayson wants to introduce more formal leadership training and talent development to our brave little band, and I think that's a good idea. Not that he needs my approval, of course. :)

I'll be returning to staff myself after a seven-year absence, though for the most part the staff has extended me the courtesy of treating me like staff in a number of ways even though I've just been a volunteer. I'll be assisting in Gaming, and I hope to have learned a little bit about consoles before next year so I can do more than just man the desk. We'll see how that goes. I appreciate the second chance.

People have been noting that conventions in general are becoming less genre-specific and turning into general-purpose "geek culture" conventions, and with some exceptions I think this is true. Whereas Josh could joke at Opening Ceremonies in 2004 that Detour was for anime and manga, not Harry Potter and Spiderman, we can't really say that any more because we cater to movie fans, cartoon and comic book fans, furries, gamers, and maybe even some old-fashioned book-reading fantasy and SF fans as well. This is, IMAO, a good thing; Detour will always be primarily about anime and manga, but having a little geek flavor from other sources is a way to attract new fans to other parts of fandom they may not have seen before.

On the other hand - and I realize this may sound contradictory - Detour may want to take a long hard look at its raver and room party subcultures. Like other conventions that host room parties, we're having problems with druggies and drunks who can't seem to take one weekend off from their habits and just enjoy the convention. Every year, staff winds up calling the police and/or an ambulance because some underage shithead gets into the booze or winds up mixing the wrong chemicals in their brain. Maybe the convention needs to become "dry" and ban all alcohol in public room parties. Maybe we need to become more aggressive about blacklisting idiots who insist on drinking or drugging themselves to the point where they literally can't stand up. It's something we have to look at and deal with before somebody else -like, say, the hotel or the Bloomington PD- decides to deal with it for us.

So, back on staff and registered for next year. Won't be attending Katsucon next year, so I should have more cash for Detour and Balticon.

And now it's starting to rain, so I think I'm going to head on home; the traffic should be all cleared up by now.