The Biggest Nerd Convention in New Mexico

This weekend was our first time attending Albuquerque Comic Con (ACC). We had heard varying accounts of what to expect from this convention from fellow cosplayers and, having experienced a convention put on by TriCon, we had our own assumptions. For weeks leading up to the convention local radio stations were giving away tickets in anticipation of this huge event in the Duke City. I tried to win some by participating in one of their call ins, but unfortunately I was caller two in a six caller race. Tickets at the door for Saturday alone ran $35, which is pretty standard for conventions of this type.

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Check out our new website at maeberrycosplay.com

We decided not to cosplay for this convention because we were only going Saturday and we wanted to properly launch our re-branding. So, decked in MaeBerry Cosplay gear (also repping ClexaCon with my snapback) I got to the Albuquerque Convention Center at 9:00AM and thank God for that. Had I not gotten there an hour before the convention I would have been stuck in a line that circled the convention center for blocks rivaling the newest i-phone waiting lines in most big cities. This was largely because of what I have titled in previous blogs about other TriCon conventions the ridiculous Convention Security Administration or C.S.A. At this checkpoint you were required to place your items in a bin, have your bag checked and extend your arms for a full body scan of both your front and back with security wands. This completely unnecessary addition to TriCon’s security added a 45 minute wait before even reaching either of the two convention entrances to anyone unfortunate enough to come any time after 9:00AM till about 3:00PM when the lines thinned to about a 25 minute wait. @skyberry13 was one such unlucky soul as were many of our cosplay friends. Of course, this is a huge area for improvement at this convention. One does not go to a convention to spend half the day in line. Big city conventions that require similar security checkpoints account for the crowd they are expecting and plan accordingly before bottle-necking their mass of attendees.

Once you finally enter the convention center there are two huge vendor halls on the first floor, one on your right and one on your left. Up the escalator on the second floor was a huge artist hall, the convention management booths and the Kiva Auditorium where many of the larger panels were along with the cosplay masquerade. Down the escalator on the underground floor you are greeted by a large fireplace and comfortable seating to enjoy between panels. On this floor was also the comic trivia and another panel room. My first panel of the day, and the only cosplay panel at this convention, was in this lower level panel room starting at noon. IMG_20180113_120032391Presenting for Just Cos Cosplay: Conquering Your Cosplay Insecurities was Rabbit + Hare, the newest addition to Just Cos Cosplay Supply as their inspired wig styling division. This cosplay duo is new in town from Seattle and is taking the cosplay community by storm with their incredible wig styling. Dressed as Leon Scott Kennedy and Albert Wesker from Resident Evil 4, Rabbit + Hare discussed their cosplay insecurities as well as how to negotiate the ever evolving world of cosplay from novice to master. Similar to their panel at Con Jikan, they went around the room asking attendees to share their cosplay insecurities and discussing each one.

IMG_20180113_135631591After the panel I met up with @skyberry13 and our friends from Retrospect Cosplay who were cosplaying Hunk Garrett and Keith Kogane from Voltron. At the entrance they met a huge group of cosplayers who were also cosplaying from Voltron and took some pictures. We toured the dealers halls finding all of our cosplay friends booths. There was a huge variety of merchants at this convention. On top of the expected geeky merchandise vendors and artisans X-Finity had a booth where you could game on two large screens. There was a lady from Steeped Tea where we bought from a great selection of loose leaf teas to add to our apartment’s tea corner collection. @skyberry13 of course had her henna done by our favorite henna artist, Cynthia Ann, of Starlit Skies. These dealer halls definitely lived up to our expectations of having more vendors and variety than any other convention in New Mexico.

Our final event of the day was the cosplay masquerade being held in the Kiva Auditorium. IMG_20180113_174141958Right before we headed over we ran into one of the judges unsuspectingly who was cosplaying an amazing Frolo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He was in character the entire time we interacted with him, which is always great to see a cosplayer taking their art so seriously. Another judge for the masquerade was our friend Maddest Maddi, whose presence in the professional cosplay scene has really exploded this year. We’re so happy for her!

The entertainment, if you could call it that, leading up to the cosplay contest was reminiscent of the emcee for the costume contest at Star Fest Denver including the racist, trans-phobic and sexist remarks. Towards the end, realizing the displeasure the audience had with their attempts at humor they resorted to calling audience members up for a dance contest. This is very successful at Dallas A-Kon where it is planned entertainment leading up to their masquerade. Anyway twenty three minutes late, the contest began with the judges walking onstage to take their seats. One source of frustration that cosplayers expressed about this contest was the poorly communicated place and deadline for entry. The sign up was held at Kitty Kaboom, one of the cosplay guests, booth and ended two hours before the contest. Anyway, the contest kicked off with incredible costumes from all ages and ranges of skill level. IMG_20180113_203838772Some highlights were the Grand Duchess Anistasia featuring a seamless dress made of twenty yards of fabric with impeccable embroidery. The cosplayer with this costume, who has previously won contests for their craft at Sabaku Con and Con Jikan, placed in this one as well. There were some adorable children’s costumes, one group toting bean bag chair like costumes from multiple Hayao Miyazaki films, who also placed. My personal favorite did not place, but I had admired her costume around the convention all day trying to decide if it was in fact this character, was a little girl cosplaying The Evil Queen from Once Upon a Time. Her dress was seriously amazing. This is one of our dream cosplays and she pulled it off, with the help of her mother I’m sure, so beautifully. All the winners were very deserving, some more notable ones being a couple Klingons from Star Trek with nicely applied prosthetics along with an Eliza and Peggy from Hamilton with pristine ballgowns.

The costume masquerade, as always, was the perfect ending to an awesome day! There was an official after-party sponsored by ACC being held at The Sand Bar followed by an after party at The Gentleman’s Club in Albuquerque. Needless to say, we did not participate in those evening events and instead took the long drive home back to Santa Fe.

Cosplans & Convention Plans For 2018

After being on the cosplay convention circuit for a year we have learned allot of things. We are aiming to be more organized in 2018 and plan out our cosplays in advance. (LOL. I know that’s impossible, but we are going to try our best, ok?) Especially because we are going to be cosplay guesting at this, the second year, of ClexaCon! Our cosplays are subject to change depending on budget and who is guesting. We tend to attend conventions with guests we like and cosplay their characters. There are conventions for everything now and finding the truly great ones is sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack. So, here is our comprehensive list of conventions we enjoyed so much that we are willing to go back again! This list is in chronological order to when these conventions fall in the calendar year. Enjoy!

Albuquerque Comic Con

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Date: January 11-14

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Cost: $30-20/day or $60/3 day pass

Except for this one, this will be our first time attending. While it is the sister con to Santa Fe Comic Con, it is an important venue for us to be seen cosplaying in for our local followers. It is also the main convention for allot of local cosplayers so building relationships in the cosplay community is key to our work.

Cosplays: Arthur & Muffy from Arthur

Hiro Hamada & Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6

ClexaCon

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Date: April 5-9

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Cost: $150/3 day pass

This convention for queer women in media is our main convention and definitely our favorite. They bring in the best guests from movies and shows with the most prominent queer representation. The panels are led by the experts in their fields and center around pertinent issues to queer women. The cosplay presence is about to get a huge bump because we are guesting at this convention for the first time presenting the panel: Queer and Plus Sized Cosplay!

Cosplays: The White Canary & Nissa from Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow,

Carmilla & Laura from The Carmilla Movie

Korra & Asami from The Legend of Korra

Ruby & Sapphire from Steven Universe

Star Fest Denver

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Date: April 20-22

Location: Denver, CO

Cost: $75/3day pass

This science fiction convention features every sci-fi show you can imagine. Throughout the convention are iconic sci-fi scenes: a Star Gate, the robot from Meet the Robinsons-you name it. There were Star Trek and Star Wars characters littered throughout the crowd. The guests they had were incredible. The staff running this convention were not friendly and left something to be desired. But the atmosphere was still out of this world!

Cosplays: Captain Janeway & Chakotay from Star Trek Voyager

Dr. Crusher & Wesley Crusher from Star Trek Next Generation

SabakuCon

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Date: May 11-13

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Cost: $35/online or $50/at the door

This anime convention is the largest one in New Mexico, boasting: maid cafes, a cosplay contest, internationally recognized cosplay guests, cosplay photography workshops, and body paint seminars. We really enjoyed our first cosplay contest experience here, it is judged harshly enough but also is small enough that you have a chance with a really good cosplay.

Cosplays: TBD

Dallas A-Kon

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Date: June 7-10

Location: Dallas, TX

Cost: $60/4 day pass

This anime convention based in Ft. Worth is the single largest anime convention in the country. The cosplay presence here is huge and top notch. It is well worth the entry price just to see the costume contest, but there are some incredible panels and high profile guests. Their artist and dealer’s rooms are unimaginably huge and filled with everything your anime heart desires and things you never knew you needed.

Cosplays: Celene & Briala from Dragon Age: Inquisition

Varrick & Zhu Li from The Legend of Korra

Lolita Jiggly Puff & TBD Gymn Leader from Pokemon

Moriarty Mini Con

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Date: August 5

Location: Moriarty, NM

Cost: $5 for 13+

This mini one day comic convention is in it’s second year. The first year promises that the second will also be full of fun and entertainment for the whole family. The dealer room was small, but had some good vendors. Unfortunately, the only entertainment was homophobic/trans-phobic/misogynistic gunslingers. But here’s hoping they build upon the other activities of the day including a comic trivia and a cosplay masquerade contest.

Cosplays: TBD

Indigenous Comic Con

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Date: November 10-12

Location: TBD, NM

Cost: $100/3 Day Pass or $95/VIP

This Native American comic convention based out of Albuquerque is the only one of it’s kind. Featuring native artists, vendors and guests it is an amazing and immersive experience!

Cosplays: TBD

ConJikan

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Date: December 16-17

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Cost: $40/weekend pass

This anime convention is run by the local university, UNM. It features interactive panels and activities for every weeboo including cosplay chess. The cosplay contest is always an event and not to be missed. The amazing winter cosplays sported at this convention are what set it apart from all other anime conventions in the area.

Cosplays: TBD