Our Very First Masquerade Competition!

At Con Jikan last year everyone was buzzing about another Albuquerque based anime convention. “If you liked Con Jikan you’re going to love Sabaku Con,” everyone said in response to my excitement about the professional cosplay contest at Con Jikan. They could not have been more right. Sabaku Con takes place in the Marriott Pyramid, which is a gorgeous setting to enjoy any convention in. The lobby, where registration takes place, is an open area where, if you look up, you can see the hallways up to the top floor. There is also a natural waterfall covering two transparent elevators. It was a beautiful setting for us to enjoy lunch each day of the con, with a hotel buffet set up, as well as, a permanent Starbucks/Bar. Near registration was also a free professional photo booth where a photographer took photos of your cosplay for future upload on Flickr.

Day 1

The first day of Sabaku Con we drove in from Santa Fe after work and made the last part of Garnet Runestar’s panel on Thermoplastics and Foam in Armor. She had a slideshow where she talked about worbla and how inexpensive heat guns were, which was encouraging. Afterwards we went to Lady Zia’s panel on Cosplay Makeup: Special Effects. She also had a slideshow and explained the difference between haunted house makeup and special effects make up. The panels were split up in weird intervals with thirty minutes between each, which somewhat threw off our schedule. Our final event of the day was participating in Sabaku Con: Team  Trivia Challenge. I was the weak link with my severely limited knowledge of anime and, while @skyberry13 tried her best, even her knowledge was not enough. We finished tying for last place with 0 points, but that is because we had bet all 9 points that we had earned. The winner had upwards of thirty points if that gives you any idea of how terrible we were. While there was a rave that night, we still had costumes to finish so we went to our guest cosplayer’s family condo where we were staying that weekend. I stayed up till around 3:00AM painting stripes onto the purple leggings for my Pokemon Go Trainer and I do not know when@skyberry13 went to bed, but she was sewing finishing touches onto the Bulbasaur costume.

Day 2

When we woke up we realized, to our utter horror, that we had left the Bulbasaur wig back in our apartment so, @skyberry13 made the 45 min. trek back to Santa Fe while our guest cosplayer and I tried on our costumes in full for the first time. By the time we got to the convention center @skyberry13 was on her way back. IMG_20170408_164120_825We met up in the lobby and immediately headed to the bathroom to fix and put on the rest of our costumes. Once we looked as good as it was going to get we went to the photo booth where we got one group shot and an individual shot for each of us. We had our Masquerade Craftsmanship Judging in the morning so we were the third to be prejudged. I will preface with the fact that this was our first time entering a professional masquerade. The only other costume competitions we had entered at this point were walk on ones at comic conventions. Fortunately, I had attended enough cosplay panels at Con Jikan and we had watched the whole season of Heroes of Cosplay so we knew what to expect. We had our printed materials for the judges which started us off on a good foot. I had printed reference photos for each of our costumes as well as some in progress photos.
received_1660889384216487The judges were further impressed that @skyberry13 had constructed a corset for the Bulbasaur costume. They thought that because @skyberry13 did costume design/construction and I did fabrication of everything else including detailing on the costumes the final products came out very cohesive. The judges circled us, asking questions about construction, mostly of the costumes but they also asked about my stenciling and paining. This was probably the most gratifying part of the weekend, hearing professionals compliment our work.

After we had debriefed from that surreal experience we attended the Cosplay Photography panel put on by Oh Snap! Photography where he walked us through types of shots, how to get your environment to work for you, and lighting and accessories from inexpensive to high quality. We then had some lunch from the buffet set up in the lobby which appropriately consisted of rice bowls and salads. received_10210556032151195We took some time in the bathroom for costume touch ups before heading to the green room to begin the excruciating wait till the masquerade. They divided the contestants into groups and assigned each group a staff member to assist in anything they might need. I got to talk to some pretty great cosplayer, two of which were DJs for that night’s rave and all of which ended up placing in the contest. Our skit could have gone better. I had composed, what I considered, a pretty great narration that we were to act to. Our guest cosplayer was leery about getting up onstage so I had made it as easy as possible. We just acted out what was being narrated, though in hindsight overlaying some Pokemon Go theme music would have been nice. Here is the narration I composed:

“Pokémon Go trainer, Mae, scoured the dimly lit streets of her northern New Mexico home searching for her favorite ghost type Pokémon with her trusty starting Pokémon, Bulbasaur, by her side. It was on this night that the pair finally finished walking the two kilometers required to hatch a 2KM egg. The screen glitched for a second denying her the image of the Pokémon she had worked so hard for. Finally it loaded, revealing the dark blue tresses and skirts of her favorite Pokémon, Misdreavus!”

received_10210556031711184We bowed at the end and they had seating in the back of the room for us to watch the rest of the cosplay competition. There is an existing video of our performance, please don’t watch it. We haven’t and I’m sure it is an embarrassment to our art. Anyway, there were allot of dances and posing to theme music, but all pretty incredible costumes. Unfortunately, a Link cosplayer’s sword broke onstage, but she still got a judge’s choice award. The best of show went to a crossplay of Yuri on Ice, they did a dance and their gowns were very detailed. Craftsmanship for the Novice category went to a crossplay of Mercy from Overwatch. The judges moved some people up from Novice to Journeyman and they won the craftsmanship for Journeyman because of the wiring in their bodice. Craftsmanship for Master went to a cosplayer who made an incredible stitched kimono.

We were disappointed, but it was only our first try at professional masquerade judging so it had not been out of the realm of possibilities to lose. Still, we went and got drinks so we could be a little happier for the rave that night. By rave they really did mean rave, a DJ in a dark room with everyone jazzing in glow sticks. It was a pretty good beat and we stayed for an hour and a half, but we were tired from the day’s excursions so we went back to the condo for the first halfway decent rest we’d had that weekend.

 Day 3

Groggily, we packed and headed to the convention center for the final day of Sabaku Con. received_10210556030431152Our first panel was Cosplay Makeup: Face and Body Painting where Lady  Zia actually
did a demonstration like on Face Off. She recounted her actual mentoring sessions with contestants of Face Off’s Season 2 and answered audience questions while she painted. Her favorite face paint medium to work with is Wolfe Face Art & FX, which is what she used in her demonstration. She did a half face of one of the soldiers from Attack on Titan which was incredibly detailed and looked amazing. The model was one she had worked with on a number of projects and had been her model when she placed second in a Christmas Nightmare themed body painting competition in Albuquerque.

Next, was an Advanced Cosplay Q&A with Garnet Runestar where she answered audience questions. Both the questions and the answers at this panel were insightful and informative. They ranged from questions about how cosplay is judged and what qualifies a winning cosplay to metal versus foam armor. IMG_20170409_123044773She also shed insight into her international cosplay career, serving as a delegate of the United States by participating in cosplay competitions from Japan to Switzerland. She shared how intense the Japanese judging is. First, you have to present a PowerPoint on how your cosplay was constructed with progress photos of everything and then you have to make your case for why you deserve to win, all in front of judges from every country that is being represented in the competition. Garnet Runestar’s panel further proved as a great networking opportunity both to have personal interactions with a professional cosplayer of her caliber and with the other cosplayers in the room. While the schedule cut the panel at its end time Garnet Runestar even stayed afterwards in the hallway to answer further questions. She was one of the judges at the masquerade that weekend and shed insight into how we could improve for the next competition. I should have taken the time during judging to explain my decision to use paint as detailing because I thought that paint read better as a cartoon character. Though, I will have to learn how to embroider and macrame if we are ever to become “Master” level cosplayers. The finishes on our seams also needed to be cleaned up. While we do not own any expensive/fancy machines that do this for us, she said we could do any number of things to improve the finishing, namely of which was using pinking shears. Despite all this she still thought our cosplays were really cute. She was an incredible cosplay guest to meet and if you ever have the chance I would suggest attending any con she is going to be a part of.

received_10210557251741684We were a couple minutes late to Maddest Madi and Elle Graves Cosplay’s Cosplay on a Tight Budget panel because of our great fortune to speak one on one with Garnet Runestar, but I do not think we missed much. There was a slideshow of many cosplay fails and alternative things to use in cosplay. There was much ado made about garbage and dumpster diving for great cosplay pieces. Elle Graves even showed off her costume which she said was mostly made out of trash. The panel did digress at the end with YouTube videos, but for the most part was informative.

We had to leave after this, but our cosplay guest stayed for one more panel, Learning to Love Yourself Through Cosplay. Since it was nearing the closing ceremonies there were few people left at the con and most of the audience had been brought into the panel somewhat against their will. Apparently, the panelist had a slideshow about the many issues she faced in life including domestic violence, rape, depression and self-harm which was a difficult presentation to get through both for the panelist and audience. There were a couple slides at the end with her in cosplay, though. So, long story short cosplay had a positive impact on her life.

So, the weekend was a mixed bag, but it prepared us for our future cosplay ventures. We got some incredible insight into cosplay by a new favorite cosplayer, Garnet Runestar who we will hopefully have the good fortune of being judged by again. And we created three costumes for the first time. While we had been working on my Pokemon Go trainer and Misdreavus all month, our guest cosplayer came late to the game and Bulbasaur was constructed in less than a week. Which, with a full overbust corset construction was no small feat.



The Sci-Fi Experience: Fan Expo Dallas


Brittney D. Wojtek

Brittney is an avid con goer from Texas. She has a bachelor of music with a vocal concentration from unnamedAngelo State University and is currently working toward getting her teacher certification. She loves showing her geek side, through both cosplay and photography, and has attended six comic conventions all around the Lone Star State including: Houston Comic Con, Alamo City Comic Con, Space City Comic Con and Fan Expo Dallas. Her favorite fandoms include sci-if and fantasy favorites: Star Wars, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Firefly and also Disney.  Her most memorable con experience was cosplaying as Clara Oswald from Doctor Who, meeting and taking a picture with the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, then fake proposing to him at his panel. (He graciously turned her down.)

Many people get excited when they see Cinderella’s castle at Walt Disney World. Other people thrill to the feel of foreign soil under their shoes when stepping into another country for the first time. Some people just get happy when they glimpse the McDonald’s arch around lunchtime. Me? I become like a kid in a candy shop when I step into a room filled with people dressed up in costumes. No, confused people were not celebrating Halloween in April. They were cosplaying for the 2017 Fan Expo Dallas. Fan Expo HQ is one of the largest convention groups in the world and, as this was my third year attending the Dallas location, it should be obvious I have not been disappointed. Like all conventions, however, there were pros and cons, but for me with comic con still on the brain I think the good definitely outweighed the bad.

First of all, this year the guest lineup was amazing. For many people, legendary names like Stan Lee, Tim Curry and Mark Hammil alone made the price of admission totally worth it and let me tell you, I am definitely one of those people. Of course, Fan Expo didn’t stop there. Walking Dead fans were not disappointed because this year two major stars were making an appearance: Daryl himself, Norman Reedus, and big bad Negan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. This year was also quite special for fans of the Vampire Diaries, as the two Salvatore brothers themselves were attending: Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley. (And let me tell you, ladies and gentleman: they were just as handsome and charming up close as you might imagine they are.) Being a Whovian, I was especially excited to see the crazy, always entertaining John Barrowman, who played Captain Jack and Alex Kingston, who played River Song. I thought the real treat was the first con appearance by Catherine Tate, who played my favorite companion, Donna Noble. Also attending was the lovely Milo Ventimiglia who currently plays Jack in This is Us. Last but certainly not least, I was very excited to see actor Alan Tudyk, a man whose portrayal of Wash in the short-lived series Firefly originally captured my geeky heart, and whose portrayal of the sarcastic droid K-2SO in Rogue One blew my Star Wars-obsessed mind. Also appearing were many other greats including Batman legends Adam West and Burt Ward, Rocky Horror reunion guests Meatloaf himself, Barry Bostwick, Nell Campbell and Patricia Quinn, and Boondock Saints reunion guests Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco.

Day 1

My con experience was a little different from those I’ve had in the past because I was on something of a budget. I opted out of purchasing photo ops, instead deciding to enjoy as many “free” Q & A panels as I could. Although I did walk through the main exhibit hall where you can buy everything from artwork to comic books and other memorabilia from hundreds of vendors, really I only had two things on the agenda today: the first one was what we had been told was the last Texas con appearance by national treasure Stan Lee himself. Although he is 94 years old, he has the spirit of a much younger man. During his panel, he constantly joked and teased, keeping us all laughing and smiling. Unfortunately his hearing has been going, so the moderator had to repeat audience questions to him, but Stan took it all in stride. Modified3He spoke about all things Marvel-related from his favorite superhero, Spiderman, to the character he would most like to hang out with, Tony Stark (Stank), because then there would always be beautiful women around. (Stan’s still got it.) I’m sure I wasn’t the only one with a tear in their eye when we stood up to wish him a fond farewell, and listened to Stan bid us his fond farewell by yelling his trademark “Excelsior!” Here’s hoping he still has many more years to regale us with tales of creating his wonderful, colorful comic-book world, entertaining us with cameos and just making you feel like a kid again by being in his energetic presence alone.

The second event on my Friday schedule was Mark Hammil’s panel. Having been fortunate enough to see the princess herself, Carrie Fisher two years ago at my very first con, I couldn’t wait to be in the presence of Luke Skywalker. Right before the panel, the moderator had everyone raise their lightsabers in the air in tribute to the late Carrie Fisher. While there weren’t that many lightsabers (he commented he thought we would have more) it was still a touching tribute to such an inspirational woman. Modified4For this panel I did jump up in line behind a mic, hoping to ask Mr. Hammil a question. Unfortunately they ran out of time RIGHT AFTER I reached the mic, but at least I got a closer view of him as I was waiting in line. (Nope, I’m not bitter.) And really, the man rambled a lot but it was amazing so I wasn’t too bitter. He talked about everything from Star Wars to voicing the Joker from Batman: the Animated Series to playing the Trickster on the Flash. Memorable moments for me were him talking about how people think everything he says or tweets are possible spoilers for the next movie, the Last Jedi. When he was talking about how beautiful and talented Daisy Ridley was, he feared he was coming off as a “creepy old man” so he quickly added, “in a fatherly way.” Of course people assumed he meant that oh, Luke Skywalker really IS Rey’s father! Although Mark wasn’t in that much trouble, he got a mild talking to by a higher-up. He informed us the only time he’s heard five scarier words was when Harrison Ford called him up and said, “Hey kid. Let’s go flying.” (re: Mr. Ford’s fairly recent flying accident. Also, Mark does a great Harrison impersonation.) He also brought one of his newest rescue dogs on stage and all the cell phones whipped out to take pictures of Mark with an adorable mutt on his lap. Although I didn’t pay the $195 to get Mark’s autograph or a photo op, I was highly satisfied just being in the same room as one of my childhood heroes.

Check out this video for the Mark Hammil panel.

Day 2

Saturday was a busier day for me. First of all, that day I did actually put some effort into my cosplay: Modified5I dressed as Maggie Greene from the Walking Dead, complete with a gun, thigh holster and plastic cap gun. It was especially fun teasing my hair into a big mess and using black and brown eye shadow to affect dirt on my skin. As busy as the con was, I only spotted one other Maggie, so I was pleased with my cosplay choice. The Negans ran wild, of course, including one small child dressed complete with a leather jacket and the dangerous bat, Lucille. (Parenting done wrong or right? Just kidding, he was totally adorable.)

Secondly, I really only had three things on my agenda today, and the first was the panel for actor Milo Ventimiglia who currently stars on the show This is Us. However, I know and love him from Gilmore Girls and Heroes (although now I just have to watch his current t.v. show.) He was humble and down to Earth, and answered questions as if he were talking to friends. Afterward, I just had to get his autograph and the chance for a selfie on my phone. (He was that handsome, guys.) Unfortunately… the throng of people seemed to have appeared while I was in the panel. The vendor room was so packed that you could barely move. I’m not a person prone to panic attacks or claustrophobia, but I was beginning to feel overwhelmed so I left the room to get in line early for my next panel. 17426043_10100604953700272_7891530003447128_nThis meant I had a good seat for the Vampire Diaries panels featuring Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley. Paul entertained us by answering questions first because Ian was running late. When he finally came running in, he informed us he had to pee really bad because he had just come from photo ops and he hadn’t wanted to be late. The two men were attractive, engaging and funny, and had a kind of brotherly camaraderie similar to that of the boys on the show – but with less brooding and glaring. Let me tell you, my phone is filled with way too many pictures of these boys.

The last panel of the day was one I had been looking forward to. I had missed John Barrowman at the last Texas con he attended and, having seen recordings of some of his previous panels, I knew I was in for a unique treat. He did not disappoint. John is known for having absolutely no filters, messing around with the signers for the deaf and hearing impaired, and generally just making you laugh until you cry. He regaled us with stories from the set of Arrow, to representing the gay community, to accidentally filming his husband in the nude while he was in their hot-tub doing a Facebook Live video for his fans.

One of the people in charge tried to end his panel early, but because his lateness had not been his fault, he insisted he have his entire hour with his fans. (His assistant, a young woman he had fondly nicknamed “my Asian bitch,” fortunately worked it all out for us.) He closed his panel by singing “A Thousand Years” to the audience, his lovely voice moving me to tears of a different kind than before.

Day 3

On the last day of the con I cosplayed as Maggie once more, but with a different outfit. I had the pleasure of meeting two guest cosplayers that day. The first was Riddle, an adorable girl who loves squirrels and told me how she was sad to have missed out on witnessing one of her rescue squirrels giving birth while she was at the con. (Her husband sent her footage.) Apparently there is a rare issue of Squirrel Girl with her dressed as the heroine on the front, but sadly it was nowhere to be found at the convention. She was dressed as Laura from the movie Logan, complete with the pink sunglasses and a can of Pringles. I also met Monika Lee, a cosplayer I was anxious to meet so I could tell her she had inspired one of my friends to purchase a sewing machine. She told me that people didn’t realize how difficult sewing actually was because after you’re done “you have to wear that shit!”

My first panel of the day was Alex Kingston who is best known for playing River Song on Doctor Who. ModifiedShe was lovely and charming, perching on the table at the beginning of her panel to actually lying down on it at the end so she could be in the proper pose to receive closing compliments from the moderator.

I was very excited for the next panel because I am a huge Star Wars geek. Although I first discovered Alan Tudyk as the lovable Wash from the show Firefly, I’ve loved him for all his Disney voice-overs, including Hei Hei the chicken from Moana, to his more recent portrayal of K-2SO in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Modified2He was funny and geeky, proving himself to be just like us, and my favorite story was when he talked about his improvisation on the set of Rogue One. Apparently the slap to Cassian Andor was improvised, and if you look closely enough you can actually see Diego Luna hiding a laugh behind his hand. Although I’m not sure I have a favorite panel, the very last one of the con was definitely a highlight for me. Catherine Tate is most well-known for playing Donna Noble in Doctor Who. She began her career as a comedian and her comedic chops were obvious during this panel. Catherine had a lovely, poignant moment with a fan who told her how her character, Donna, helped her out of a bullying situation. The highlight of the panel, however, was when we were given a surprise in the form of a pesky photographer who turned out to be more than he seemed. (Spoiler alert: it was John Barrowman.)

Check out my video footage of the Catherine Tate panel.

All in all, this was a fun comic-con for the girl on a budget. In the past, I’ve returned home with autographs, cosplay prints, artwork and photo ops galore, but that didn’t mean that I enjoyed myself any less this time. Although this con was a little unorganized at times, I would definitely recommend it to anyone, whether they’ve been to a hundred cons or never experienced a con before. Whether or not you cosplay, you’re in for the experience of a lifetime. Just remember to wear comfortable shoes, bring snacks, your camera, and an incredibly patient attitude.

ClexaCon day 4: When Carmilla and Laura met Natasha and Elise

Day 4

Sunday was the final day of ClexaCon. Again, the con doors opened at 11:00AM and we had another cosplay to debut. Since Sunday was the day for all of the Carmilla related events, we thought it would be fitting to wear our Laura and Carmilla cosplays. DSCN3355So we had to rise early again to put together our looks. However, we also had to pack and check out of our room. Fortunately, the hotel will hold bags for 24 hours so we didn’t have to lug our luggage around con all day. After checking our bags we proceeded to the con floor.

After walking in, you could tell it was the final day of the con. Sundays are always slow days at cons. Many people have already started heading home and those that are still there are typically exhausted from drinking, partying, and fangirling the last few days. ClexaCon seemed especially empty but that is probably due more to this being the first year and people not really knowing what to expect from the weekend. To put it plainly, the con was mostly dead, so you know, slightly alive and the only thing that could save it was true love. And that true love came in the format of Natasha Negovanlis and Elise Bauman. Today began with with a choice between a showing of Almost Adults (Natasha and Elise’s new movie) and a Carmilla fan meet-up. We opted to go to the meet-up. Only about 8 others made that decision. Everyone else picked the movie. I know because the meet-up was held next door to the movie and they weren’t exactly a quiet audience. We did get to talk to a few pretty awesome ladies who really had their lives changed by the Camilla Web Series. We then went to go wait in line for the Carmilla Reunion Panel on the main stage. This was the first main panel that we attended in full and it was definitely worth it. There was much laughter, solid questions, and impromptu readings of classic lesbian scenes.

We then grabbed a quick lunch and touched up our looks before heading back to the con to wait for the photo session once again. The line began to quickly grow and you could soon see that people were only interested in the duo photo (I mean, that’s what we were there for, but we were cosplaying their characters) so they were able to start a little early. It was at this moment that the butterflies hit. Again, we were meeting an actress as their character. You can only hope that they get it, because if they don’t you obviously failed. The line moved up. 3 people…2 people left… 1 more to go. P-W1J-KMD-RM1Then it was our turn, the moment of truth. Did it read? “Wait, are you guys cosplaying?” There it is folks! The relief that we didn’t totally eff up. That we weren’t walking around like total fools. That the money was worth it. So now that we could put our self-doubt and anxiety aside we could relish in the fact that Natasha and Elise thought we looked great and they seemed to have been flattered as we were the only Carmilla cosplayers they had seen that weekend (we were the only ones, so I’m glad they saw us). Natasha was even jealous of ODB’s wig, saying it was better than her real hair while filming. This energy produced a pretty fabulous photo because they both made the same pose and I’m fairly sure that neither knew the other was posing in the same way. We proceeded through the line, got our picture and then de-wigged ourselves so that we could meet Ali Liebert.

Ali Liebert was the first celeb announced that made us want to go to ClexaCon. We had recently watched Bomb Girls and Betty is obviously our favorite character. Ali was going to be a panelist in the LGBTQ Actresses in TV and Film Panel.
DSCN3385DSCN3420DSCN3407It was our last panel for the day and the final panel of the con. It touched on some great topics and allowed us fans to catch a glimpse of the people behind our favorite characters. All of the ladies on this panel identify somewhere along the LGBTQ scale and it was interesting to hear how their stories differ. From queer roles leading to self-discovery to straight roles having little to no affect on their outness. We also got to hear about how some had been lucky enough to only work with accepting people and others had been told they had to bring a male date to events related to the job. After the panel we were the first in line to Ali’s autograph booth. Since we did not have a photo with her, we got one of her generic shots signed to both of us. We got a chance to tell her that we loved Bomb Girls and then you have to move on because other people want to talk to her too. That was the final event of the con.

We did one more swing around the vendors booths, but most had already packed up. We claimed our bags and managed to catch an airport shuttle an hour before our scheduled pick up. Since it was getting dark we got to see a view of the city and the lights were clicking on for the night. We get to the airport and are ready to check in when disaster struck. We had left a wallet on the shuttle. Checking in for a return flight is about the worst time to misplace your identification. Fortunately we were able to get a hold of the driver and were able to acquire our belongings. We checked our bags (with ease, God bless Southwest Airlines) and headed to our gate. With only one hiccup at the security check (forgot that we had candy in our carry-on) we proceeded to the gate where we crossed paths with, none other than Ali Liebert. We recognized her, but she had no reason to recognize us (she met so many people this weekend) so it was only slightly awkward when we waved at her. We did get to see her and her girlfriend bump into another Clexacon Guest and her wife. It was a cute exchange. However, we decided not to be too creepy and went on our way to find a place to eat as we had a few hours before our flight. We end up at Pei-Wei (which was packed, oddly enough lots of people are flying out of Las Vegas on a Sunday evening) and had a couple of drinks before waiting at our gate. It was then that I began writing the first blog. I had every intention of covering the whole weekend in one post but as I quickly realized, it was going to require a breakdown to really cover this wonderful, emotional, busy weekend.

I hope that you have enjoyed my thoughts on Clexacon 2017. We definitely plan on attending again next year and hopefully there will be a stronger cosplay presence as the con grows (and I have no doubt that it will because it is the only con of its kind and it seemed really well received). Hopefully we will see you there!