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On Saturday, I went to SMASH!, for the first time in five years. It was out at Rosehill Gardens, and I was pretty stunned at how huge it had become. So many people! (I was also a little stunned that it was now $45 for the day.)

AnimeUNSW )

A Bride's Story: Same-Sex Love and Unions )

Shopping )

Photos )
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The weekend before last, I went to Supanova in Sydney. I thought it would be a pretty low-key year - my only goals were to check out two panels and say hi to whoever was around - but I ended up chatting with quite a few people. It was nice.

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations: Seeing Ourselves in Popular Culture )

Brandon Sanderson )

Shopping )

Photos )
meteordust: (kujaku)
Last weekend, I went to Supanova in Sydney. It was a pleasant and relaxing day: attended a couple of panels, saw some of the cosplay competition, and wandered the stalls.

Juliet Landau )

John Noble )

Shopping )

Photos )
meteordust: (kujaku)
So a couple of weekends ago, I went to Supanova in Sydney. It was a whirlwind of a day, catching up with friends and checking out panels and browsing the stalls.

Jason Isaacs and Bonnie Wright )

Behind the Scenes of Mad Max: Fury Road: Greg van Borssum and Mark Sexton )

Lady Creators Assemble! Alisha Jade, Samantha Calcraft, Komala Singh, Karen Beilharz, Alana Bruyn )

Shopping )

Miscellaneous )

Photos )
meteordust: (kujaku)
In March, I went to the second ever Room 801, a yaoi and yuri convention, held this time in Parramatta. I had an awesome time last year, and this year did not disappoint.

Highlights included:

* Informative panel sessions on acquiring yaoi and yuri content legally, making your own visual novel using the Ren'Py engine, and how to get into publishing ebooks.

* Interesting panel discussions about sports manga (overreading meaning onto text, and emotional declarations like "I will protect you!" and "I will stay by your side forever!"), texts that might be fujoshi bait (need tangible characters and deep emotional connections between them, not just appealing on a superficial level), and yuri (ships based on canon and ships based on subtext inspire different feelings, and the forbidden feeling of doujinshi makes it more enticing).

* A Let's Play of a gay dating sim called Coming Out On Top, about a young college guy who decides to come out to his housemates, and then begins the big adventure of dating. Charming and hilarious.

* The Saturday night swap meet. A relaxing place to hang out, while the AMV screening played.

I came home with the comic "Yuri Reversal" by Kittyhawk, an adorable Boxfox by Mamath, and a whole bunch of recs for series to check out.

I also bought a copy of Coming Out On Top and spent the next week obsessively playing it. I haven't really played a visual novel before, and it was surprisingly addictive, especially trying to get all the endings (good, bad, and bizarre). The characters were delightful and the illustrations were hot.
meteordust: (kujaku)
Normally at Supanova, there might be one or two guests I'm keen to see. This time, there were five. Which meant lots of queuing, but it was totally worth it.

Jamie Bamber )

Stan Lee )

Michael Rosenbaum )

John Barrowman )

Ming-Na Wen )

Shopping )

Photos )

Room 801

Mar. 1st, 2014 06:29 pm
meteordust: (kujaku)
Last weekend, I went to Room 801, a yaoi and yuri convention, and it went by in a wonderful blur. Lots of great panels, from 'Comparing Homoerotica, Slash and Yaoi/Yuri' to 'Legal Issues and Censorship' to 'Self-Publishing Mature Comics'. Other highlights included a live kinbaku demonstration from the Sydney Rope Dojo, and a playthrough by the Gaming Crew podcasters of Hatoful Boyfriend, a pigeon dating sim. (Which ended suddenly when our heroine got assassinated by the hawks...)

It was a really cool convergence of interests: anime and manga, western media fandoms, gaming, and professional art and writing. I got to talk to some awesome people about shared fannish loves, picked up some new recommendations (must watch Free!), and came home with a lovely haul of new stuff to read, including Ruby Coral Carnelian by Mary Borsellino (a fairytale novella about an apprentice mage), a reflection of you by amei (a gorgeous compilation of Attack on Titan stories about Eren and Jean), All the D by Maxxx, Crafty, Kittyhawk, Icarus and BattyBytes (a sexy comics anthology), Double Life by Beatriz Bravo (a comic about a gay superhero and his superhero family), and Foodventure Comics: Steamed Coconut Buns and Chicken by Beatriz Bravo (an illustrated recipe for a very tasty dish).

Thanks so much to Pirotess and LadyLuckDoubt for organising such a fantastic event!
meteordust: (Default)
So I wasn't planning to go to SMASH! this year, after feeling a bit too dinosaur last time, and deterred by the rising ticket prices (now $29 prepaid or $35 at the door). But. Shin-ichiro Miki. Who has played a billion roles in anime, including Allen Schezar from The Vision of Escaflowne.

All right. Maybe one more time.

Highlights )

Photos )
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I went on the Sunday this year, which, sadly, meant I missed the friends who went on the Saturday. Then, also sadly, Hayden Panettiere cancelled. So it was a kind of low-key Supanova for me this year.

(It was good to catch up with you, [ profile] fluffyduck!)

David Mack )

Steampunk )

Shopping )

Photos )
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GRAPHIC has reached its second year! I only went to the Scott McCloud talk, but it was totally worth it. He was an excellent speaker. I wish I could talk coherently about it, because it ranged over many areas of visual communication and drew upon many fantastic examples, but I was too engrossed to take notes and my brain filled up and overflowed.

While at GRAPHIC, I also got to pick up the cool new Chinatown Comics anthology by [ profile] stikman.
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An abbreviated SMASH! report for an abbreviated day, due to a hectic weekend.

I went in ambivalent about the new venue, the Sydney Convention Centre, at Darling Harbour. While a high profile setting, it seemed to run counter to the original idea of SMASH! as an intimate artist and fan gathering, plus I suspected it played a role in hiking the ticket price up to $25.

The biggest advantage, however, was that for the first time ever (unlike the UNSW Roundhouse or the Sydney Town Hall), the auditorium was a separate room. This meant that the ambient noise of the vendor hall didn't interfere with the panels and the cosplay comp.

I had a wander of the stalls, did a spot of shopping, watched the cosplay comp and the karaoke finals, and got to catch up with [ profile] _leareth, [ profile] xfire and [ profile] kawak.

Photos )

Also, COLLEEN DORAN IS COMING TO SYDNEY. Which apparently everyone has already known for months. ^^;
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My somewhat belated report.

I went on the Sunday. I'd never been there early enough for the doors opening before, but I didn't want to miss any of the talks I was keen on, and I wasn't sure how long it would take to get inside. But for some strange reason, the EFTPOS queue was shorter than either the cash queue or the prepaid queue. Sweet.

James Marsters )

Tom Felton )

Shopping )

Photos )


Aug. 9th, 2010 11:25 pm
meteordust: (Default)
Everyone I knew who was going to GRAPHIC - and a few who weren't - wanted to attend the Neil Gaiman reading. But The Arrival is my favourite Shaun Tan book, and possible my favourite graphic novel ever, so for me the must see event of the festival was Ben Walsh's Orkestra of the Underground performing a live score to projected images from the story.

Despite no one else I knew going, I didn't have to worry about being a nigel, because the Playhouse was packed. And! Shaun Tan introduced the performance. Which I was not expecting. He mentioned that it would be his first time watching it, so he would be experiencing it with the rest of us too. And! He sat in the empty seat in front of me. I resisted the urge to gush all over him about how much I love his work, because the lights dimmed, and the orchestra began to play.

What drives so many to leave everything behind and journey to a mysterious country; a place without family or friends, where everything is nameless and the future is unknown? This silent graphic novel is the story of every migrant, every refugee, every displaced person, and a tribute to those who have made the journey.

Shaun Tan dedicated this book to his parents. It is also the story of my parents, and the story of my friends' parents. And in The Arrival, it is the story of one man who makes this journey to a bewildering and fantastical city, and all those who have made the journey before and after him.

The music was great, by turns sweeping, playful, dramatic, and moving. But the genius was how it was matched with the images from the book. The use of framing, zooming, and other techniques; a cascade of images for motion, or a lingering shot of a splash page for reflection: it added the dimension of time to the work and meant viewing it in a different space. More than once, I wondered whether Shaun Tan had drawn new images for this performance, but of course he hadn't, it was just that I was seeing the story in a new way. The experience was like watching a movie of the book. And it could not have worked so well had the book not been completely wordless.

I wish I could better describe it. I think I'd need a thousand words.

It got a standing ovation.

I missed out on Neil, but it was totally worth it.

SMASH! 2010

Aug. 9th, 2010 11:10 pm
meteordust: (Default)
So for this year's SMASH! the Japanese seiyuu guest of honour was Yuko Miyamura, most famous for her role as Asuka from Evangelion. I thought I would be late for her panel, but I should have known that these things never start on time. Anyway, she came across as a warm and lovely person, and hardly seemed old enough to have been doing this fifteen years ago.

Most of the questions were general, but one I found interesting was that she was the one who came up with the "Kimochi warui" line at the end of the original Eva movies, after director Hideaki Anno asked her what she would say if she woke up to find someone strangling her. On request, Miyamura performed the "Anata baka!" line and demonstrated the Eva roar. But the highlight was the live dubbing session, where three scenes from Eva were played, and she voiced Asuka's part in front of us. The first was a fight with the Angels where she kicked ass, the second was her introducing Shinji to her Eva unit, and the third was where she and Shinji were having an argument after a battle. I was amazed at how swiftly and completely she dropped into character, full of fire and energy. Very impressive transformation.

The cosplay comp was pretty entertaining and largely pain free. Highlights included a guy who danced an Idol Master routine with a dead serious expression and complete knowledge of the moves, the most adorable 12 year old and 8 year old sister pair as winged characters from Touhou Project, an FFXIII group whose white robe costumes were unveiled to reveal another set of fighting costumes beneath, and a Loveless dance that was unsettlingly charged but a genuine example of dance as story that I have never seen at a con before.

I caught a few of the AMVs and some of the karaoke finals, and wandered through the stalls without picking up anything this time. Although I did stand in front of a plush Mokona for several minutes wondering if I really was too old for it.

I have to say, I'm still not completely sold on the Town Hall venue, although it is convenient to be able to just go upstairs from the train station. It's a bit of a maze, and the sound still carries between the main stage and the art stage, with ambient noise permeating both. It is a lovely building though, and to be able to watch the cosplay from plush red velvet seats in the gallery was kind of cool.

I caught up with [ profile] aerias, [ profile] kawak, [ profile] xfire and Chris. Everyone else though seemed like they were ten years younger than me. Some of these kids probably weren't even born when Eva first screened. I felt like a bit of a dinosaur, and kind of wished there were more of my fellow dinosaurs around to chat about the prehistoric days.

I had a caramel mousse cake from the Guylian Cafe for dinner, since there was no one to stop me, and then I headed on to GRAPHIC!

Photos )
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The one convention I go to every year. Sometimes there are guests I want to see, and sometimes I just want to go hang out.

Eliza Dushku

This year, I was keen on seeing Eliza Dushku, aka the very cool Faith from Buffy.

Which is why it was incredibly disappointing when I couldn't.

I spent an hour and a half navigating trackwork to get to Olympic Park, and queued for another quarter of an hour to get inside. Only at the door to the panel room did I find out that her panel on Saturday was restricted to VIP pass holders only.

I was told that Sunday's panel was the one open to everyone. But that doesn't do much good to someone who has already set aside the day, made the trek, paid $25 entry, and has made other plans for the next day. In the five minutes I hovered near the door, I witnessed several other people turned away with the same message, so clearly I wasn't the only one. It was particularly galling since it appeared that the room was half-empty.

The program on the website and in the showbag said only that this event was a "Whedonverse Exclusive", which could mean anything. I had to dig around in the other sections of the site when I got home to find out exactly what this was. In contrast, one of the writing workshops was clearly labelled "ticketed event". In all my years of attending Supanova, this is the first time that I've missed out on a guest talk because of something like this. Probably because the organisers usually label VIP pass holder events with something like "VIP pass holder event". This is my biggest gripe, the poor communication.

Summer Glau

On the other hand, I did get to see Summer Glau's panel, and she was absolutely lovely. Although it wasn't her first visit to Supanova, it was the first time I'd heard her speak, and she was very genuine and generous and talked about how science fiction had become a wonderful home for her. Firefly was her first show, and she seemed still really connected with River.

During the Q&A, someone mentioned that Nathan Fillion had, at a convention in Melbourne, talked about all the stuff he stole off the set when Firefly ended. What did Summer take? She answered that because she was new, she was a goody two shoes and obeyed all the rules, so she didn't take anything. And afterwards, everyone else talked about this they had stolen and that they had stolen, and she was sad, because she had wanted her combat boots.

Nathan Fillion, by the way, sounds as scary as Caleb. You know when people steal garden gnomes and take them on holiday around the world and send photos back to their owners with the Eiffel Tower in the background ? Well, Nathan did the same to the propmaster's toy monkey, and everyone thought it was pretty funny - until one day Nathan *cut off the monkey's thumb* and sent it to the propmaster. And then it was "kind of sad", and not so funny anymore. Argh!

Summer's upcoming projects: a TV series called The Cape, and a movie called The Knights of Badassdom.


I picked up Pirotess's Follow My Lead and Pete Townshend and J Marc Schmidt's Psychoderelict, but apart from that I was very restrained this year.


I didn't sit through the cosplay competition this year, which means I missed out on seeing [ profile] kawak's group take the prize for their Berserk entry. However, I did catch the Sailor Starlights skit later, which featured a very memorable live transformation scene. And there were lots of cool cosplayers wandering around.


Had a great time catching up with lots of people, including [ profile] _leareth, [ profile] fluffyduck, [ profile] evilhayama, [ profile] mrtang, [ profile] kawak, [ profile] maikero, and Ronin. I even stopped by the AnimeUNSW table for old times' sake.


I ended the night with dinner and karaoke with the gang, a wander through the lights of Vivid Sydney, and hot chocolate at the Guylian cafe. All's well that ends well.

Photos )

And that's it, until SMASH!

SMASH! 2009

Aug. 8th, 2009 11:35 pm
meteordust: (Default)
I always say that Supanova is the one convention I go to every year, but perhaps I need to add SMASH! to that count too. Today I went to the third one in three years, and enjoyed it as thoroughly as the first.

SMASH! is small and intimate and fannish, with the additional nostalgia value of being at my old stomping grounds of UNSW. Much of the pleasure is in catching up with friends, or watching people go by, dressed up and enthusiastic and having a good time.

I picked up Adventures of an OG Addict (an FFXI anthology) by Libbie, The Credit of Time by Poshua, and the new Dylan Bradley: The Dark War by FIGHT!! Comics.

Highlights of the cosplay contest included a giant plush Mokona, [ profile] kawak's Utena group, and a Sailor Moon who was six feet of blond awesomeness.

We finished the day with dinner at GPK. What more could you ask for?
meteordust: (Default)
I went on the Sunday. This year, for the first time since I can remember, there wasn't anyone among the guests I particularly wanted to see. So I mostly wandered around the stalls and chatted to people and took photos of cosplayers. I was astonished to discover that a novel based on the old Australian Realms campaign world, The Fall of Ossard, is coming to bookstores in August. And I was pleased to learn that the new Studio Ghibli movie, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, is coming to cinemas in September.

Conventions are often like carnival - there is so much shiny stuff on display, it's a real temptation to go wild, and you have to stop and ask yourself, do I actually need an inflatable Dalek or a Dexter bobble-head or a t-shirt saying "... and then Buffy staked Edward. The end."? I managed to limit myself to filling in some holes in my manga collection, and picking up some cool new stuff from Artists' Alley. I ended up with the latest releases from FIGHT!! Comics, the first issue of The Pantheon by Rahball, the new full colour Generation anthology, and a very delectable BL artbook from Poshua, Caleyndar, Pirotess and RAE. (And now I am hanging out for the special edition of Adventures of an OG Addict by Libbie and the third Dylan Bradley comic by FIGHT!! Comics, both due out at SMASH! in August.)

I also sat through the entire cosplay competition, which reminded me why I rarely do that anymore. The costumes were fine, but the skits--! If I was liveblogging the event, there would be a great deal of "Please no!" and "*facepalm*" and "I'm too old for this". I'll say again what I said last year: (1) risque banter sounds better on the page than on the stage, and (2) acting really is hard to do without sounding fake, wooden or cheesy.

However, the groups that prerecorded the audio track to their performances came across much better. Highlights included Howl versus Howl-in-Bird-Form, the Dance Dance Avatar group, Penelo of FFXII playing an oboe to the end song, and the Absolute Obedience group, featuring [ profile] kawak as you have never seen him before. I was also impressed by the KISS cosplayer wandering around the convention, and by the trio of little kids playing Indiana Jones (8), a Stormtrooper (6), and Zelda (4).

Photos )
meteordust: (on the set)
So I already kind of knew that the boys of Supernatural were going to be doing a convention in Sydney in April.

Guess what?

It's at the University of New South Wales!

Not only that.

It's in the Sir John Clancy Auditorium.


SMASH! 2008

Aug. 7th, 2008 12:33 am
meteordust: (Default)
So SMASH! is in its sophomore year, and showing no signs of slump. Very healthy turnout when I went on Saturday, hordes of cosplayers and artists and enthusiastic young folk and even a good swathe of the old crowd. Sometimes it's good just to hang out and let the carnival swirl around you.

There was one event I had to check out though - the interview with guest of honour Hidenobu Kiuchi, the first Japanese seiyuu to attend a convention on these shores. The interviewer seemed inexperienced with bilingual interviewing and did a few awkward things, like ask questions using long and convoluted sentences, and engage in patter aimed primarily at the audience, which made things hard for the translator. But it kind of smoothed out towards the end. The questions were mostly general - how did you get your start, what's the recording process like, etc - but the audience was enthusiastic and the mood positive.

The interview was followed by a live dubbing session, in which Kiuchi performed his lines as various scenes from his anime were played. It was interesting to witness the differences between the roles and how he modulated his voice for each one. Plus bonus audience participation in the supporting roles, which was entertaining.

I went easy on the shopping this time - just picked up some cute Bleach bookmarks and an even cuter postcard with two lovely guys kissing and the caption "The closet is for clothes."

The day seemed to pass too quickly, and I wonder if SMASH! will eventually become a full weekend event. In any case, I'm sure it will be back next year, and all the fans with it.
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At Supanova I saw promos for a heap of future events:

* Gen Con Australia (3 July - 6 July) - Oh my god, where were you ten years ago, when I was still gaming and the original Gen Con was like some distant dream? But alas, this comes too late to persuade me to hike up to Brisbane for it. The one thing that stirs my interest is the Australian premiere of the Dragonlance animated movie - wow, it's not just vapourware, it really has happened. Sadly, the reviews suggest I will be disappointed.

* ReelAnime 2008 (3 July - 16 July) - It's on again at the Dendy, this time showing Appleseed: Ex Machina, Batman: Gotham Knight, Vexille, and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. I haven't seen any of these, and I am quite tempted by the $40 season pass.

* Winterfest 2008 (5 July - 6 July) - I've never been to a renaissance fair before, mostly because they're usually out of the way. North Ryde is a hike, but it's still hikeable, so yeah, I will be going there next weekend to check out the jousting and falconry and archery!

* SMASH! 2008 (2 August) - I'll be there. Will you be there?

* BjdOzCon 2008 (12 December - 14 December) - I'm not actually a collector of ball-jointed dolls myself, but it's pretty cool that there's enough of a critical mass in Australia now to fuel a convention, and who knows, I may wander by to check it out.


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