Last weekend I went to Boston for Arisia 2014. I was theoretically there last year (I had a ticket) but was too sick with migraines to even leave my room, in a separate hotel down the road. This time I swore to actually check out the convention even though we almost didn’t go because we are not yet ready to promote MISTI-Con 2015, and because Christine and Jon did not have the best time running our fan table last year. There were some major great factors this time though- we were going up with Cat and Katie AND I was debuting a new costume.
So here are my quick thoughts on the convention:
- It was a very laid back convention, with far fewer of the clogged up halls and generally overwhelming amounts of people that usually cause me to totally freak out. I loved the hotel set up and the way I could slip away to the room for a moment to myself at any time, but because of such nice things as the chairs outside of the grand ballroom and various places to chill out it wasn’t even necessary.
- Christine, Cat, Katie, and Gracie were wonderful roomates and companions. We always had plenty of fun things to do, but rarely did anyone seem pressured to do anything they weren’t feeling like doing. It was wonderful to get to spend so much time with Cat and Katie and really get know them better- the entire convention was worth it to me just for that. Cat gave me a “cat pin” and a ukulele, and now we get to go back to visit so she can teach me to play it. Katie and I talked the whole 4 hour trip back about Once Upon a Time and Orphan Black, I can’t wait to go in-depth like that with her again! (I wish Alex could have come, but singing “Franklin Shepard Inc.” with him while Christine was shopping also puts him on this list!) Also, the best thing- Christine, Cat, Gracie and I got to do “family” cosplay, as we all did the cast of the Pandorica! (With the amazing Jarred, who I will get back to in a minute.)
- I didn’t go to a single panel (or participate in one) but that was actually great, the panels looked cool, and there are some I might have enjoyed, but Arisia was a great place for “lobby con” so I spent my days wandering around and getting my picture taken. Which is always my favorite part of cons anyway! Nor did I go to any of the parties, or any event other than the Masquerade, which I only went to because Christine, Cat and Gracie were all participating. (Christine and Gracie both won awards for “Best Replica Costume” in their respective categories!)
- I LOVED the new people we met as well. A whole group of awesome Whovians (who really adored Cat and Christine, because- who wouldn’t!) and who were each wonderful in their own way- It wouldn’t have been anywhere near as fun without holding court in the room with Faith (“she almost makes me like Clara”, Allie (we had paradox Amy’s in the Pandorica- it was epic!), Emily (the TARDIS), Gavin (who was hilarious), and of course- our 11 Jarred- Who was the most “Matt Smith” person ever, in every awesome way, he brought amazing energy and compassion, and was even great with kids! You were all the best!
- In addition it was great to catch back up with other people I know and love, like James, David, Kat and Lisa. It was also really cool during the set up time for the Masquerade who to hang with #AskKayleeFrey (who really looks like… Nyssa! If you see this, I bet you haven’t heard THAT as often as the other one.) and a really really sweet Giselle from Enchanted cos-player (It was really awesome to chat!) I’ll post some pictures separately.
- The only thing on the down side from the whole weekend (other than my obligatory stress/freak outs a couple times) was running into some real negativity from a couple of the other guests- there were unfortunate demands on the volunteers, and some yelling and putting down of people that seemed out of place and was really upsetting. It is understandable that we get upset, but we should always try to be respectful and considerate of our fellow humans. (This goes double for ANYONE who steps over that “cosplay is not consent” line too. It is never ok to not treat people like people, end of story.)
All in all, I had a great time, and really loved it- which all came down to the people. To everyone mentioned here, and all those who I didn’t, thanks so much. Experiences like this are why I love this community and I love meeting (or getting to really know) you wonderful, creative, loving, and fascinating people.
Being a part of the community of fans collectively called “cosplayers” has been an extremely interesting experience. There are variances in behavior, expectations, attitudes, and interactions between fandoms and between cosplayers of different levels of expeience. And sometimes there people who seem to make it more about judging the quality of others than about the interactions, performance, and quality of their own efforts.
I have a lot of thoughts about all of those things, and I will likely write about each of those points, but I want to focus this on a different aspect of judgement of one cosplayer over another: The ways we do, and perhaps the ways we should, interact when we dislike the character someone is cosplaying.
Me as the Eleventh Doctor (no I am not changing the numbers) with Jess (anexcentricoptimist.tumblr.com) as Rose and Sarah as Clara
This particular form of fandom division can take several different forms, I want to talk about each in turn:
I. The humorous aside- This is the one that I am definitely guilty of engaging in (if in fact it is even wrong to do). I use self depreciating humor all the time, and like to poke fun at the things I like, so I often reach out and use that same steak of humor on the things that represent it in real life. Ten is not my favorite Doctor, and I love the fact that the Doctor always snipes at hiselves, so sometimes I like to play that up. Also, I sometimes like to kid Sarah above about how I find Clara bland. There are three keys to this in my mind though-
1. It needs to be done entirely in character, and even then limited and never MEAN SPIRITED
2. The people who you do this with should be people you know, in real life, who understand your humor and appreciate that you love them no matter what (In case you are reading Sarah :) )
3. If you are doing the second thing, don’t do it with other people around, especially if they are people you don’t know, or if they play the character in question.
II. Unbridled Love of another- This is a situation that has happened to me no fewer then five times: I am dressed as a character (any fandom, let’s pick on Harry Potter for a minute instead of Doctor Who) let’s say Lupin.
Remus Lupin, former professor at Hogwarts, friend to Harry, Marauder, werewolf
So, I’m doing my Lupin thing and someone asks for a picture, of course I oblige. While we are getting the picture the photographer says: “I loved Snape” Still no problem, that’s cool, same fandom, related character so I say “Ah, yes, I wish things had gone better with Sev.” And the other person launches into one of two things:
1. How terrible a character the one you are portaying is because of something that should have been done for his/her favorite. Or.
2. A long long discussion on why his/her favorite is the only one that matters. And also, several more times… just how absolute much she/he loves the other.
None of that is bad on its own, but remember this is a community, we all know that we all have different favorites, and saying it is fine. I just think we all could do well to respect the choices and time of those we are with and either engage in a real conversation (“I love Lupin in these same ways you love Sev.”) or at least throw a tiny bit of recognition to the character who is “in the room”.
III. Character assassination- Both of the others are really a matter of extremes, in moderation they are fine and with friends it may be all you ever want to do, but there is one last thing that happens in these interactions which is simply never ok, and we should all be working to weed it out of our cosplay communities, I’m going to call it “character assassination”
(To be clear I don’t think ANY of these things, but I have heard them all, and in an angry awful tone most of the time)
Character Assassination is when you go up to a person dressed as Rose and say- “I hate Billie Piper”
Character Assassination is when you go up to a Clara and say “She ruined the show”
Or an Eleven and say “Ugh, him again.” Or a River and say, “She shouldn’t even be on the show.” Or an Amy and say, “so slutty”
Or any other inane senseless, unintelligent, drivel mascarading behind the thin veneer of “it is just my opinion.”
Because in this case it isn’t. You can have all the opinions you want about the characters, even ones I don’t agree with like the above, but that is a different thing when you say it to a person.
Most people cos-play a character because of some personal connection, (unlike the actors, and yet most relatively sane people wouldn’t consider being so hateful in front of the actor.) There is something that draws them to that idea and ideal, and when we engage in this form of character assassination, we are doing it to the person who is right in front of us.
I think it is important that we keep that in mind and treat each person we meet in cosplay, no matter our feelings on the character, with respect.